Graphic Novels, February 8, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

This rip-snorting, two-fisted pulp adventure is the first of four titles in TKO’s debut lineup; of interest to fans of “Peanuts” or vintage children’s comic books; a midnight-hewn thrill ride whose sophisticated art perfectly captures the electrifying colors and terrifying aftermath of deeds most foul

Week ending February 8, 2019

redstarChun, Tze & Mike Weiss (text) & Dan McDaid & Daniela Miwa (illus.). The Fearsome Doctor Fang. TKO. 2018. 172p. ISBN 9781732748514. pap. $17.99. Rated: Teen+. ACTION/ADVENTURE
In 1906 San Francisco, headstrong police officer Nayland Kelly uncovers a lead in his revenge-fueled hunt for the Fearsome Doctor Fang when he learns that the supervillain will try to pilfer an artifact: the puzzle box of Kublai Khan. After the opening night presentation of a Kublai Khan lecture series by researcher Alice Lecroix, Fang bursts onto the scene, swooping in to steal the box and then flying away. Nayland and Alice team up to follow him, ignoring that the presumed villain interrupts his getaway to save some children from the threat of a collapsing building (presumably resulting from the devastating 1906 earthquake predicted by Fang himself). Nayland and Alice eventually catch up to Fang, but then all three are beset by a different crew of masked brigands. Over the course of the clash, Nayland shockingly discovers that Fang is leveraging his keen intellect and amazing inventions to combat fiendishness. Can the trio work together and prevent a hideous weapon secreted by Kublai Khan from being unleashed? Collects single issues 1–6.
VERDICT This rip-snorting, two-fisted pulp adventure is the first of four titles in TKO’s debut lineup. Here, filmmaker and TKO publisher/cofounder Chun ( 7 Deadly Sins), along with Weiss (The Mentalist) and artists McDaid (Firefly) and Miwa (Shaft), takes the tarnished trope of "yellow peril" fiction and flips it, transforming Fang into a Tony Stark–esque superinventor with a heart of gold. With any luck, this will be the first of many globe-trotting, stereotype-crushing adventures.—Douglas Rednour, Georgia State Univ. Libs., Atlanta

Schulz, Charles M. & others. Peanuts Dell Archive. Kaboom! 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781684152551. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781641441179. COMICS
First published in 1950, Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts became a multimedia phenomenon. This volume, produced with help of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, reprints for the first time stories published in Dell and Gold Key Comics, 1957–63. What makes this collection notable is that Schulz, who wrote and drew the strip without assistants, created little of its contents. Although a few stories and covers by Schulz are included, the bulk consists of other artists and writers mimicking his style. Geared toward younger readers, some selections lack the sensibility that makes Schulz’s work unique and feature a different narrative rhythm. Still, the familiar characters shine through. An informative introduction by Schulz authority Derrick Bang contextualizes the original publications, with the various other artists identified throughout.
VERDICT This well-produced collection will be of interest to fans of Peanuts or vintage children’s comic books and may have a nostalgic appeal to readers who grew up with the famous strip.—Bill Hardesty, Georgia State Univ. Libs., Atlanta

redstarSouvestre, Pierre & others (text) & Julie Rocheleau (illus.). The Wrath of Fantômas. Statix: Titan Comics. Feb. 2019. 168p. tr. from French by Edward Gauvin. ISBN 9781785868863. $29.99. Rated: Mature. HORROR
[DEBUT]In 1911 Paris, Inspector Juve brings to trial his ghastly nemesis Fantômas, who spectacularly kills a witness in court with an exhibited piece of dinnerware before being hauled off to meet the guillotine. Juve attempts to rest easy for the first time in 16 years but discovers far too late that the ghoulish master of disguise has escaped justice again, having drugged an actor to take his starring role at the execution. Free to act, the ever-masked Fantômas vows revenge while scheming to plunder all the gold in France. As his enemies’ bodies pile up through explosions and wild devices, can Juve track down the elusive criminal phantom who is able to conceal himself as anyone and will dare anything in the furtherance of his pursuits?
VERDICT Adapting one of French pulp literature’s most lurid diabolical masterminds, debut comics creators Olivier Bocquet and Rocheleau render a Fantômas who spectacularly breaks the shackles of the printed word developed by Souvestre and writing partner Marcel Allain to invade the graphic medium. A midnight-hewn thrill ride whose sophisticated art perfectly captures the electrifying colors and terrifying aftermath of deeds most foul.—Douglas Rednour, Georgia State Univ. Libs., Atlanta

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