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Rambo 3.5, Brightest Day among new comic reviews 

As always, I've been reading a ton of comic books lately. Here are some quick looks at a few titles I picked up last week:

Rambo 3.5: A reader may initially write this comic off as one of those weird, funny indie parodies. But writer/artist Jim Rugg packs a lot of subtext into the hilarious frame of this black-and-white mini comic — with a story that takes on themes of hyper-masculinity, post-9/11 politics, homophobia and more. And when it comes to the art, Rugg employs a steadily morphing style, which shifts from panel to panel — from ultra-realistic to super-cartoony — to uncover a treasure chest full of influences.

Brightest Day No. 10: I'm enjoying this comic better than DC's other bi-weekly series, Justice League: Generation Lost. While I've grown a little bored with the one-note nature of Generation Lost (a comic that is about the search for one guy), Brightest Day stays nimble by giving us looks at a number of different characters and story lines. This issue alone focused on Firestorm (both of them), Aquaman (joined by his wife Mera) and the new Aqualad, among others.

Captain America No. 609: I've pretty much abandoned this comic, and that's because it seems like writer Ed Brubaker has just been turning in the same story over and over. This issue is slightly better — actually showing a confrontation with Cap and this arc's big villain. But it still seems padded. And the art, by Butch Guice, looks really rushed. I think this is a comic that's due for a creative shake-up. In the meantime, I suggest skipping it.

25 To Life No. 1: I didn't expect to like this crime-oriented comic; it seemed like it was just going to be a vehicle for actor Eric LaSalle (the guy from ER ... who wrote the story) to get into the "hot" world of comics. But, my bias aside, it's a fun read. The book's concept is pretty interesting — although it's being done in the pages of Thunderbolts (and before that in the Suicide Squad). To be fair, however, there is no spandex to be found in 25 To Life; it's a straight crime comic set in the real-ish world.

Comic News: The new creative team behind the monthly Fantastic Four comic — Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting — will be signing comics at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find this Wednesday (Sept. 22) from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.heroesonline.com.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find.

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