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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 07/17/2009

We've been writing a lot of DC Comics reviews over the past few weeks, so Good King Leonardo has decreed equal time for the following latest Marvel Comics releases:
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Wednesday Comics
Publisher:  DC Comics
Various Artists & Writers
Price $3.99

 
 

        
     One of the most eagerly anticipated comic events of the summer began this week with the release of DC's Wednesday Comics #1.  Every Wednesday for the next twelve weeks, DC will publish a 16-page newspaper consisting of 20-inch x 14-inch newspaper sheets; each sheet will provide a one-page story of a different DC character or superteam, with the story arcs continuing through all twelve newspaper issues.  My fellow reviewer Dave LeBlanc and I have split the reviewing duties for issue #1 between us, so check-out Dave's My View column for eight of the story reviews.  My assignment was to read and review the Kamandi, Adam Strange, Demon & Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Hawkman and Flash story sheets, as follows.

     Of the seven stories listed above, the writer/artist creative teams on the Kamandi, Demon & Catwoman, Hawkman and Flash stories provide the strongest first issue efforts.  Writer Dave Gibbons and Artist Ryan Sook rise above the pack with a beautifully-rendered Kamandi broadsheet.  While the page merely summarizes Kamandi's origin, both the artistic and narrative style are a beautiful homage to the old Prince Valiant comics.  Walt Simonson, Brian Stelfreeze and Steve Wands partner on an excellent Demon & Catwoman tale, which kicks-off with Selina Kyle visiting Jason Blood a.k.a The Demon at his English castle, and preparing by the end of Part 1 to burglarize the place in her guise as Catwoman.  It should be fun to see her come face-to-face with Jason in his Demon Etrigan persona in an upcoming issue!

     Kyle Baker devotes his Hawkman sheet to five large panels, presenting a narrative from Hawkman's bird allies's perspective as they fly with him to rescue a highjacked airliner.  The bird narrator's dialogue is poetic, with beautiful lines such as "We Flap.  Though our wings ache and our lungs burn, we flap."  The art is classic and simply mesmerizing, conveying a dizzying sense of bird and Hawkman aerial acrobatics comparable to a film scene.  Karl Kerschl and Brendon Fletcher present two half-page Flash stories, through which they very creatively present Barry Allen/The Flash confronting his traditional foe Gorilla Grodd in the top half of the page, while in the bottom half wife Iris Allen struggles with the marital stress of trying to carve-out a normal relationship with a superhero.  It was interesting to see their perspectives on differing events that each experience in their respective half-pages within the same timeframe.

     My reaction to my remaining three assigned story sheets was to place them in lower-quality tiers below the four A-quality efforts detailed above.  The Teen Titans story, produced by Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway, didn't provide much substance beyond welcoming the reader to meeting the team, and seemed geared to a pre-teen readership level.  Ben Caldwell both wrote and illustrated the Wonder Woman page.  While I applaud his risk in trying a unique take on this iconic DC A-list character, Caldwell's artistic style is to draw Wonder Woman as a carbon copy of Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin movies.  The effect is unsettling and frankly kind of creepy in that I really felt like I was reading a comic story from that movie series instead of a Wonder Woman tale.  While both of these tales are at least average, I found Paul Pope and Jose Villarrubia's Strange Adventures/Adam Strange story to be a disappointing failure.  The art borders on the amateurish and while the story concept wasn't bad, the written dialogue is primitive and terrible, reminding me of something pre-high school fanboys would produce as they fantasize about someday growing-up and producing "real comic stories."

     The few criticisms in the paragraph above aside, overall this is one very unique and Just Plain Fun comic story product, taking the best of the DC Universe characters and presenting them in old-time newsprint format.  The result is a completely different and enjoyable perspective on these characters as we are entertained by them in this fresh and restructured format.  So my advice is to run-out and grab an issue of this fun summertime event every Wednesday for the next twelve weeks.  I certainly don't plan on missing a single newspage panel, and I think I'll suggest to my fellow reviewer Dave that we re-visit reviewing Wednesday Comics about halfway through the remaining eleven issues, maybe switching-off on reviewing the other half of our issue #1 review characters.

 
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Spiderman: The Short Halloween (One-Shot)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Bill Hader & Seth Meyers: Writers
Kevin Maguire: Artist
Dean White: Colors

 
 

          
         My brother Dave recommended as a fun summer read the recent Marvel one-shot issue entitled Spiderman: The Short Halloween.  The comic is co-written by Saturday Night Live comedians Bill Hader and Seth Meyers, with art by Kevin Maguire and Dean White.

     The Short Halloween (as opposed to the well-known Long Halloween Batman series) naturally takes place on Halloween Eve.  The story begins with a guy named Ronnie passing-out drunk in his Spiderman Halloween costume, while nearby the real Spiderman accidentally knocks himself out battling a bumbling criminal named Fumes.  Naturally, Ronnie's Halloween party buddies mistakedly drag the real unconscious Spidey back to their apartment, while Fumes takes the unconscious Ronnie back to his villian team's lair.  You can guess the general direction that this identity mix-up takes regarding both the real and party-guy Spidermen as the plot thickens.

     This one-shot comic is an enjoyable and light-hearted read.  Writers Hader and Myers do a credible job of giving us a humorous take on a case of mistaken identity.  While I expected the story plot to be more over-the-top with Saturday Night Live-type humor, the comedy had a lighter touch along the lines of many of Kevin Maguire's previous comic title efforts.  I particularly enjoyed the story ending, as the creative team showed strong writing skill in bringing the two story threads together into one very satisfying conclusion.  So a definite thumbs-up for this well-done summer comedy issue.

 
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Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers #2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Chris Eliopoulos: Writer
Ig Guara: Artist
Chris Sotomayor: Colors

 
 

          
       This comic is issue #2 in a four-issue Marvel Limited Series starring the pets of various Marvel superhero characters.  The team consists of The Inhumans dog Lockjaw, The Falcon's bird Redwing, a Thor-like frog (I kid you not!) named Throg and Kitty Pride's dragon Lockheed, as well as a talking dog and cat.  The series is written by Chris Eliopoulos with art by Ig Guara and Chris Sotomayor.

     The series plot centers on the pet team's quest to gather-up The Infinity Gems, which if used by the wrong person could destroy the universe.  In issue #2, the team journeys to Ka-Zar's Savage Land, where they meet and team-up with Ka-Zar's sabre-toothed tiger pal Zabu to locate and possess the second gem in their quest.  The story is action-packed, with the team using the first gem's power to pop back and forth in time as they confront an angry Devil Dinosaur as the team attempts to remove the second gem from said dinosaur's nest full of dino eggs.

     Add this comic book to our list of fun summertime comic book reads, as it succeeds as an entertaining story both for kids and adults.  The personalities of the various superpets are well-established by writer Chris Eliopoulos, with their character quirks playing-off well against each other.  I particularly got a kick out of Throg, the Thor-like frog from Central Park in New York.  There's plenty of action and adventure in issue #2, which ends in a good cliffhanger as a bridge to the third issue installment in this mini-series.

     So another positive thumbs-up for this summertime light and easy reading treat.  Issue #1 of this title is also still available

 
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CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT !!!

Our latest Bongo Congo Contest is on the topic of graphic compilation reprints of comic book series.  As you know, many wonderful comic book series and multi-story arc issue runs are eventually reprinted in hardcover or softcover graphic format.  Your contest challenge is to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with your recommendation of a comic book series or story run which you feel has been overlooked or is overdue to be re-issued in graphic format.  It can be an overlooked gem or something fairly recent which you just want to give a shout-out about to make sure that it reaches the wide world of graphic book re-printing.

As an example, my brother Dave and I (along with Good King Leonardo and His Short Subjects, of course!) are huge fans of Kevin Maguire's story arc run in Batman Confidential #17 through #21, in which a rookie Batgirl has her first confrontation with Catwoman.  It's beyond us why this wonderfully drawn and written series has not been reissued by DC for graphic compilation fans.

So put-on those Fanboy and Fangirl thinking caps, and give-us your pitch for a comic book series or multi-issue story arc run which deserves a second life in the hardcover or softcover shelf section of Ye Olde Favorite Comic Book Shoppe!  The contest winner will receive a $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment.

That's it once again for comic book reviews for this week.  King Leonardo and I are heading to Washington, D.C.
this upcoming week for a state visit, so we'll see you again the week after next, Here In Bongo Congo!

 
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