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Diary Comics, Spawn among this week's comic reviews

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Another week, another ass-load of comic books for me to peruse. Here are some quick looks at stuff I've been reading lately:

Diary Comics No. 1: It's taken me a minute to get around to reading local boy Dustin Harbin's collection of autobiographical strips, but I'm glad I finally picked it up. Harbin successfully captures the mundane humor and horror of everyday life (along with the joys of Totino's Pizza) — and he manages to squeeze in a ton of Charlotte-centric moments. It's always cool to read a comic and say: "Hey, I've been there!"

Spawn No. 200: If you like plodding, uninteresting comics that feature tons of exposition and are totally based on more than a decade of continuity, you've got to pick up Spawn No. 200. Sure, creator Todd McFarlane handles interior art chores this issue after taking a long hiatus; however, unless you're a diehard collector, avoid this comic.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer No. 40: Writer Joss Whedon wraps up Buffy's official "eighth season" on a somber note ... but that's not an insult. Over the last few years, Whedon and a slew of other writers found a way to translate the feel of the show into the pages of a comic book — and that's not an easy feat. If you watched the show at all, you owe it to yourself to read this issue ... and then go and hunt down the trade paperback collections of the entire series.

John Byrne's Next Men No. 2: I was actually excited about the return of this comic, which hadn't been published for more than a decade. But after reading the ultra-confusing first issue and then reading the second — which contains one of the most senseless and offensive scenes I've ever seen in a comic — I'm pretty much through with Next Men.

Brightest Day No. 18: I'm still loving DC's big biweekly series (much more than the other biweekly book, Generation Lost), but damn — why did they have to kill ... OK, I won't spoil it. But ... damn! Hopefully writer Geoff Johns can clean this up before the book ends in a few months.

Some reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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