'Man With No Name' is a smokin' adaptation

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

That line neatly sums up the plot and freewheeling attitude of "The Man With No Name," Dynamite's latest successful effort to put an icon in print.

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"The Man With No Name" comics published by Dynamite take up where Clint Eastwood's character in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" left off.

Incredibly, this is the first time the character has been adapted to comics or even seen the light of day since Clint Eastwood brought him to life in a trio of 1960s films helmed by Sergio Leone and forever - and fondly - recalled as "spaghetti Westerns."

The character's enduring popularity and name recognition would seem to have made further tales in comics or elsewhere a no-brainer long before now. But the feeling here is that the character was so unique and Eastwood's performances so ingrained in fans' minds, that it seemed impossible to satisfy them and do the character justice.

Leave it to a publisher with the swagger of Nick Barrucci and a writer with the talent of Christos Gage to finally make this happen.

What we have here is the tale of a man who does not have the squeaky-clean image of "The Lone Ranger," another superlative adaptation of an icon by Dynamite, but who is far more heroic and likable than DC's "Jonah Hex."

Gage captures the character's cunning, intelligence and overall character perfectly. Despite fanboy complaints, he keeps the dialogue to a minimum, since TMWNN is famous for being a man of action and few words.

Gage has the story take place directly after the events in the film "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." He shows off his knowledge of the character while treating him with respect and making him accessible to those who are being introduced to him for the first time.

The main plot of Gage's opening arc has The Man scoping out a mission as he fights to get inside to honor a pledge he has made to protect it from those who would raid and raze it. Oh, and he also finds himself helping a Father Ramirez, brother to the films' Tuco.

Naturally, The Man infiltrates his enemies, and that's when the fun begins. With a price on his head and a task to achieve against overwhelming odds, The Man shows us what he's made of.

When Ramirez frets that their foes will not be satisfied until everyone at the mission has been killed and the mission torn to pieces, The Man adds, "Or until they're all dead."

Gage really has the character's voice. Toss in empathetic adversaries and allies who make you think a bit, a great handle on The Man's world, numerous twists and turns, a cliffhanger every issue and a story that does an iconic character justice, and there is really no reason not to pick this up.

The book is hotter than a pistol; it should last a very long time. "The Man With No Name" is the best, most satisfying Western on the stands today.

Watching for 'Watchmen'

The Associated Press reported last week that a federal judge had ruled that 20th Century Fox owns a copyright interest in "Watchmen," potentially jeopardizing the superhero movie's March release.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess in Los Angeles disclosed the decision in a written order Wednesday.

While this has fanboys in an uproar, threatening to do everything from jumping off buildings to boycotting Fox's "Wolverine" film, Comics Guy has one word for everyone:

Relax.

Really, this is just basic Hollywood maneuvering. The chances of Fox blocking the film's release, with so much money on the table for all, is practically nil. A deal will be struck, and everyone will get to see the film they are drooling over.

And even if Fox were insanely stubborn or greedy, does anyone really think a boycott of "Wolverine" would do anything - assuming it would be successful? Other than hurt future comic book movies?

Besides, when all is said and done, Fox is in the right on this. So, until it all plays out, calm down and pass Comics Guy a bucket of popcorn. *