Hello, Hello and welcome to the show tonight: Graeme reintroduces himself, thanks his wife and reviews a book that's coming out on Wednesday.

So, yeah. I'm not sure if I have to do an introduction, being one of the old guard here - and yes, that's pretty depressing, given my immense personal vanity and desire to think of myself as young and beautiful all the time - but, hello to anyone who came here for the first time via the press releases; I'm the one who tends to post a lot and swear. I'm also the husband of the woman responsible for the new look of the site (although I may be responsible for the green. Kate's also the one who got everything up and running on the new URL and everything else, as mad as it drove her last night when Blogger suddenly ate the post titles for no immediately apparent reason), and would like to push another round of applause in the direction of Kate, just because.

And just because this is a review site...

I'll say this about pull-quotes: Sometimes, they work. The evening that I got my copy of the new AiT/PlanetLar graphic novel MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK in the mail, Kate found herself reading the testimonials on the back cover from the likes of John Rogers, Jeff Parker and Ivan Brandon and becoming more and more excited to read the book itself. Me, I was sold on the name alone, and the realization that the acronym was M.A.N.

Like the recently-released first issue of their Wildstorm series, The Highwaymen, Monster Attack Network shows that Marc Bernadin and Adam Freeman have absolutely no problem writing popcorn action fiction - There are set-pieces here that are perfectly constructed in terms of mixing the spectacle of the main action with the cutaways to add scale and humor (I especially liked the massive monster slug-riding rushing past the window of a restaurant, with the shouted "Shit! Shit! Shit!" as parents talk to their son), and their High Concepts and snappy dialogue hits the spot repeatedly. Where they're lacking - and considering this was their first book, despite it coming out post-Highwaymen, it's really not that bad a flaw - is the ability to slow down; the story feels like it's always "on", and even the scenes that should be quieter and more still end up vibrating with the energy of the crazy.

The art has a similar problem; Nima Sorat's work is stunning in places, Paul Pope does the Venture Bros does early Marvel monster books, but there are times when the desire to wow the viewer overwhelms the clarity of the storytelling (There are, to be fair, other times when the art just clicks and sells the story to you - I don't want to imply that this isn't good art, because it is); it's as if everyone involved is so excited about working on the book that they can't stop wanting to really, really impress the reader and maybe go slightly overboard.

They needn't have worried; this is a really enjoyable book, despite the overeagerness: The central idea and plot are so strong that, even if the execution hadn't been as Good as it is, it still would've been worth a look. Like I said; I was sold on the name alone.