Review Date: 03/06/2009

Good King Leonardo's cousin, Prince Itchy, just saw Brad Bird's classic animated movie "The Iron Giant", and can't say enough good things about it. So in honor of that movie, its "Robot Comic Book Week" Here In Bongo Congo! As Itchy says, Domo Arigato, Mister Roboto! Let's see how two robot-themed comics fare in our reviews below:

Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #4
Publisher: Oni Press
John Layman, Tom Peyer & Jim Massey:
Writers Robbi Rodriquez: Art
Pete Pantazis, Aurelio Alfonso & Nathan Fairbarn: Coloring
Stephen Colbert: Galactic Overlording

Oni Press is publishing a five-issue mini-series comic in conjunction with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, entitled "Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen." For the uninitiated, Colbert is the popular and successful host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" (silent "t's" at the end of both Colbert and Report!), the half-hour nightly satirical political talk show that is a spin-off and follows "The Jon Stewart Show."

The comic book is a spin-off of a recurring gag on Colbert's show, revolving around a supposed 1,800 page novel that he wrote and self-published entitled "Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7-Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure. The concept is a spoof on superheroes, with "Tek Jansen" drawn as a stong-chinned, buffed superhero version of Colbert, who fights evil in his goofball way as part of Alpha Squad 7.

I'm a huge fan of Colbert's show, and was hoping that his brand of satirical humor would be translated into this comic. Not to worry, Colbert Nation, the comic book's creative team has done its job! Issue #4's main 16-page story is entitled "Too Many Jansen's," with a plot that centers on Jansen/Colbert battling an evil twin from a parallel universe. It's followed by a shorter, 7-page story entitled "Born To Be Hyperwild," a hilarious send-up on undercover sleuthing in an alienbiker bar. In the tradition of some Tek Jansen animated shorts produced for The Colbert Report t.v. show, "Born To Be Hyperwild" concludes with a nude Jansen riding off into the sunset.

I happily give an enthusiastic thumbs-up for this gem of a superhero spoof comic. While the art is excellent and the plot strong and solidly funny, its the little satirical gems that make the two stories shine, ranging from future homeless aliens, known as the "planetless," to a hilarious dialogue between the good and evil universe Tek Jansen's regarding the true nature of good and evil-doing, after which you'll be convinced that there's no difference at all!

Oni Press produced this comic in the old-school science fiction paperback "flip side" format, with the two stories upside-down from each other, along withreverse covers on the front and backsides. The covers alone are satirical sci-fi gems; the first story's coverfeatures Jansen rescuing an aliendamsel-in-distress from a giant killer robot, while the second story cover gives us Jansen firing rayguns in space alongside a giant, raygun-shooting, space-helmeted dinosaur. The killer robot cover which attracted me to this comic didn't translate into the story plot; but no matter, the two covers alone are classic and both story's are great fun.

So whether you're already a Stephen Colbert fan or a newbie, my advice is to run, don't walk, to Ye Olde Comic Shoppe and get a copy of this high quality, just-plain-funny comic!

Terminator: Revolution
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Simon Furman: Writer
Lui Antonio: Art
Adriano Lucas: Colors

Our second review of the week is issue #3 of Terminator: Revolution. This is one ofa fewTerminator titles currently published by Dynamite, based on the current Fox Network television series, in which John Connor and his mother, Sara Connor,try to prevent events from progressing in the mid-1990's to the Judgement Day nuclear war that would usher in the killer robot/computer future that's well-established from the Terminator movie series.

The plot of issue #3 flips back and forth between 1996 events and 2015 events. In 1996, Sara Connor is teamed with her young, present-day son and an older version of John Connor who's comes back from the future to try and prevent the expected Apocalypse. In the 2015 sub-plot, John's wife, Tara, is battling a giant Terminator robot dog who also seems to be at odds with the rest of the Terminator robot bad guys, giving us a glimpse at a possible splitin motivation withinthe killer robot society.

If you're a fan of huge explosion scenes from the t.v. series and movies, then by all means read this comic. But beyond that element, the comic trips-up badly as a stand-alone comic book. The 1996 sub-plot is a very tired rehash that we've seen from movie and t.v. episodes of this series, of Sara rushing to her son's school to try and prevent the latestTerminator attack on him, then dealing with the actual attack on the schoolgrounds. The future sub-plot premise of the killer dog had potential, but goes nowhere in terms of story development beyond the dog robot fighting with other Terminators.

While Lui Antonio's art is o.k., itsfrankly creepy the way heportrays both of the main female characters running around in extremely low-cut pants, exposed thongs and half-piece, extremely tight shirts with no bras. Its so bizarrely unrealistic as to how any of these women would even remotelydress in real life, that I can only assume that this stupid costume element is deliberately combined with the huge explosions/lack of aplot as a marketing ploy to try and sell this comic to young teenaged boys. If that's the case, good luck with sales of this comic. But for any male (or female) over the age of 14, I'd recommend spending your $3.50 on a comic book with an actual story to it.

  Jersey Gods #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Glen Brunswick: Writer
Dan McDaid: Art
Rachelle Rosenberg: Colors
Mike Allred: Cover

My brother Dave went to the New York Comic Con last month, and was kind enough to bring me back lots of free swag, including this wonderful new comic book entitled "Jersey Gods." Glen Brunswick's the writer, with Dan McDaid providing the art and Rachelle Rosenberg doing the coloring.

The premise is a very fresh, campytake on the world of relationships. Zoe is a typical Jersey chick, who's boyfriend dumps her while they're holiday shopping at the Cherry Hill, New Jersey mall. A few moments after this earthshattering development in her life, the mall literally does shatter as the Gods/Superheroes from the planet Neboron bring their never-ending clash between good and evil smack into the middle of the mall.

As good gods Barock and Helius battle bad god Minog, Zoe gets caught smack in the middle of the whole mess. Woe be it to Minog, when the good gods team-up with a Jersey chick whose just been dumped by the latest boyfriend! Hell hath no fury like a Jersey mallrat scorned!

I immensely enjoyed this comic, with its perfect blend of relationship humor and spoofing of the Jack Kirby Eternals/New Gods Universe. There's a lot of depth given to the character of Zoe by writer Glen Brunswick, which is heightened by the expressive range that artist Dan McDaid brings to portraying her. With the casting of the right actress, I can easily see this comic concept crossing-over into a smash hit television series. McDaid's art reminds me of Darwyn Cooke at his best. Cooke is actually scheduled to draw the cover for the upcoming issue #2.

In summary, we have Jersey malls, a hot chick on the rebound from her latest break-up and the comic book gods returning to Earth just in time for the holiday shopping season; who can ask for anything more! I'm personally looking forward to issue #2, and hope that at some point, Paul Blart, mall cop, shows-up to join the battle!

So there you have it, Good Reader, two hits and one miss for this week's comic book reviews.
Happy reading, and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!


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