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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 06/05/2009

King Leonardo's Royal Advisor, True Blue Odie, has advised our benevolent monarch that this is a good
weekfor various Marvel Comics titles, so let's see how the following three comics stack-up:

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Fantastic Four #566
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch: Writers
Cam Smith, Andrew Currie & Bryan Hitch: Inks
Paul Mounts: Coloring

 

 
 

      
     The long-running Fantastic Four is up to issue #566.  The comic is co-written by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, with art by a team consisting of Cam Smith, Andrew Currie, Bryan Hitch and Paul Mounts.  Entitled "Doom's Master," the issue is the latest in an ongoing multi-issue story arc in which the Fantastic Four's longtime foe Dr. Doom is dealing with an unrevealed entity who apparently trained Doom to become the bad guy with whom we're all familiar by now, and is now returning to the scene.

     The plot of issue 566 is heavy with a forboding sense of doom (no pun intended) and disaster right around the corner.  The issue begins with Fantastic Four leader Dr. Reed Richards arriving at a beach in Thailand to find the huge dead body of The Watcher washed-up onshore.  This Watcher is actually a version of our Watcher from an alternate reality, leaving Richards to ponder who or what would have the ability to kill such an all-powerful being.  The rest of the story alternates between two sub-plots, one in which The Thing/Ben Grimm struggles with relationship issues, and a second, lengthier plot in which Dr. Doom awaits the arrival of his past mentor.  The issue concludes with the mentor's very chilling arrival to Doom's Latverian kingdom.

     This is an interesting issue to read for a few reasons.  First, the writing team does a great job of building the suspense leading to the arrival of the all-powerful mentor of Dr. Doom.  The sense of menace and actual creepiness builds very steadily panel-by-panel and page-by-page.  Secondly, its not easy providing a bad guy who's convincingly creepier and badder than Doom.  The art team does a wonderful job of portraying this creature/person in a manner that lends a lot of authenticity to Doom reacting with a mix of actual concern and fear regarding the return of this being.

     Third and perhaps most enjoyable for me was the experience of reading the current issue of this comic book title that's been around for over 40 years now that offers us such a fresh and intriguing story premise.  It's not easy keeping the long-running world of the FF new story-wise after all of this time, so credit must be rightfully given to the creative team for thinking-up and skillfully presenting the new concept of Dr. Doom having a secret master.  Although he arrives at the issue's end, its clear that the creature is more powerful and scarier than Doom himself, which should make for very interesting action as the story continues over the next few issues of this title.

 
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Beta Ray Bill: The Green Of Eden
Secret Invasion: Aftermath
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Kieron Gillen: Writer
Dan Brereton: Penciler
Jose Villarrubia: Colorist

 

 
 

          
    Marvel Comics has a new one-shot issue out this week starring the character Beta Ray Bill, as part of the Secret Invasion: Aftermath group of Marvel titles. The comic is scripted by Kieron Gillen with art by Dan Brereton and Jose Villarrubia.

     Beta Ray Bill is an alien character first introduced into Thor comics back in the early-1980's.  A member of the Korbinite alien race, Bill is a hybrid of Korbinite and wild beast, giving him a horse-like face.  As a quick background to the character, Bill was endowed with Thor-like powers when he came to temporarily possess Don Blake's cane.  Nowadays, Marvel has him wielding his own Odin-bestowed Hammer, called Stormbreaker, which he uses in serving side-by-side with Thor in carrying-out superhero deeds.

     The one-shot story is entitled "The Green Of Eden."  The story focuses on Bill meeting in outer space a band of Skrulls who have become a peace-oriented monastic sect in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion.  Bill agrees to protect the group from assault by the mainstream Skrulls and their main weapon, a genetically-enhanced Super Skrull named S'Kann.  Without revealing any spoiler details, by story's end Bill saves the group and leaves them to a life of peace in assisting an outer space robotic race that had befriended them at the beginning of the story.

     I had never read a Beta Ray Bill story before, and as such this turned-out to be a decent comic issue to familiarize myself with this character and learn about his basic comic book world structure.  I liked the mix of blending a traditional outer space alien character into Thor's superhero world.  It was interesting to see Bill portrayed as having the same Thor-like personality with a Norse God-like sense of honor and duty toward helping the downtrodden.  The story had a very simple plot but was enjoyable with a lot of action and a satisfying conclusion to the tale.

     George at That's Entertainment tells me that Marvel might be publishing a Beta Ray Bill title in the near future.  If so, this issue serves well as both a stand alone one-shot comic and as a good introduction to this character as a lead-in to his own upcoming title.  Either way, a definite thumbs-up for this comic book!

 
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Rampaging Wolverine #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Various Writers & Artists

 

 
 

          
     A quick third comic book review this week is for Rampaging Wolverine #1.  Sub-titled as a "Super Issue," this is a very unique 48-page compilation of new and alternative-style Wolverine stories.  All four stories are in black and white.  There are too many artists and writers among the overall creative team to mention individually.  But credit should be given to all participants in this very original publication.

     The comic feels more like one of the the silver age graphic magazines such as Heavy Metal, Epic or the horror comic mags as opposed to a traditional comic book.  There's a common theme among the four separate stories; in each, Wolverine is dealing with a situation on either a faraway island or an isolated tropical setting, and has to choose between violence or caution in dealing with the story issues.  He inevitably chooses violence, with various results.  The third story in this comic is actually a standard written short story with three illustrations, and serves as a fictional continuation of the second graphic story in this issue.

     In sum, I highly recommend this very original comic as an exceptional creative alternative to the standard comic book format.  I would love to see both Marvel and DC repeat this type of black-and-white alternative story and artistic format with some of the other well-known super-heros from both comic companies. 

 
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Ogoing Contest Reminder!!!

Just a reminder that we have another week or so to our current contest, in which your challenge is to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with your preference of whether Archie Andrews should marry either Betty or Veronica in this summer's upcoming "what-if" marriage issue in Archie Comics.Although there's a lot of internet marketing announcing Archie's engagement to Veronica, who really knows who Archie will end-up with by the end of the story!  So send us your entry along with your reason why Archie should marry your pick, now!!!

Royal Vacation Announcement!!

Our Good King Leonardo has granted approval of our request for a one-week vacation, so enjoy your next
few weeks of comic book reading and I'll see you again in two weeks, back Here In Bongo Congo!!!

 
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