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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 08/07/2009

This week we're reviewing the latest comics for two classic superhero teams,
one from D.C. Comics and one from Marvel Comics, as follows:
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Justice Society Of America #29
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges: Writers
Jesus Merino: Art
Allen Passalaqua: Colors

 
 

 Most D.C. readers are by now familiar with the classic multi-year run which recently ended for the Justice Society Of America comic book title, in which renowned writer Geoff Johns gave us one of the highest quality-written monthly titles within the recent comic publication field.  As such, I was interested in reading and reviewing the latest issue to see how the new creative team fares in filling Johns's shows.  Issue #29 is the first part of a multi-issue storyarc entitled "The Bad Seed" and is written by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges, with art by Jesus Merino and Allen Passalaqua.

     There are three interweaving sub-plots in this issue.  The story begins with the JSA members trying to solve the mystery of a mysterious black egg found in their headquarters.  Without spoiling the details, I'll just say that Mr. Terrific takes the lead in trying to solve the mystery surrounding the egg.  A second storyline introduces us to two young superhero apprentices, The All-American Kid and King Chimera, who are pledged as young applicants for JSA membership status.  The bulk of the comic story focuses on a street battle between the JSA and a new team of super-villains called The Global Ultra Society Of Dread (yeesh!).  Cheesy name aside, the group uses a very well-planned strategy to reach the brink of overwhelming the JSA by the end of this issue.

     After the classic run of the previous JSA creative team, its only fair to read and judge the new writing and artistic team on their own merits.  On that level, this is a very well-produced and entertaining comic book issue.  Willingham is no lightweight himself, having created and helmed the high-quality Fables comic title published in D.C.'s Vertigo comic line.  The writing team of Willingham and Sturges bring two effective elements to this storytelling; first, creating an interesting and unpredictable plot that makes it fun to wonder where the multi-issue storyline will take us, and secondly, providing a well-balanced involvement in the issue by all of the many JSA members.  By my count, there are 19 heroes in this issue including the two wannabe pledges.  That's a lotta superfolk, and credit must be given to the creative team for effectively balancing all of them into the tale. The very high quality artwork of Merino and Passalaqua mixes-in some nice scenes of the large group, including a wonderful full-page and poster-worthy panel on page 11 of most of the JSA members.

     So a definite thumbs-up for the new era starting in issue #29 for the Justice Society of America title.  I recommend that fans of the first 28 issues stay on-board with this title, while newcomers can comfortably get on-board with this latest issue and also work their way back through the back issues and graphic reprints of the previous Geoff Johns era.

 
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Fantastic Four Giant-Size Adventures #1
(One Shot)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Paul Tobin: Writer
Various Artists

 
 

 
I first reviewed the Superman/Batman comic title last year, and decided to revisit it this week with a review of the latest issue #62.  The comic is written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, with art by Rafael Albuquerque and colors by David Baron. 

     Entitled "Sidekicked," the story has two alternating sub-plots, both of which focus on sidekicks Robin and Supergirl as opposed to the main title characters of Batman and Superman.  The start and finish of the issue focus on the two heroes meeting for lunch in Gotham in their civilian identities as Linda Lang and Tim Drake.  The bulk of the story is a 17-page flashback in which the pair reminisce about their first time working together, responding in place of their mentors to a supervillain prisoner takeover of Gotham's infamous Arkham Asylum.

     I enjoyed this issue very much for a few reasons.  Writers Green and Johnson bring a nice, balanced mix of humor and drama to their storytelling, which combines very effectively with the art team's excellent visuals.  I loved Rafael Albuquerque's expressive emotions on the character's faces, particularly in the various comedic scenes.  I was also appreciative of the artist's ability to portray the creepiness of Arkham Asylum along with the nastiness of the supervillain inmates without going too over-the-top on visual grossness.  While there's crazy villain blood and violence in the Arkham Asylum panels, it doesn't cross into that ultra-bloodbath category that I personally don't enjoy and complain about in some reviews.

     So another thumbs-up for an enjoyable read, with the two younger heroes guest-starring in their mentors's title.  Credit must also be given to D.C. Comics for providing strong consistency in storytelling and artistic style to this title from its first issue several years ago through the current issue #62.  My advice to D.C. Universe fans who aren't already readers of this comic is to get on-board with this very enjoyable issue #62 while at the same time diving into the first 61 issues, either through the reprint volumes of the earliest issues or through the back issue comic bins, all readily available at That's Entertainment.

 
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New Contest Announcement!!!

      Its mid-summer and time for a change of pace, so the Bongo Congo contest judges have decided to hold a trivia contest this time out.  But don't worry, we'll go back to making you think about good comic stuff in the near future!

     As we mentioned last week, our Good King Leonardo just came back from a Royal Visit to Washington, D.C.  Our nation's capital has many wonderful museums.  The King and True Blue Odie particularly enjoyed the National Air & Space Museum as well as The National Zoo.  As such, your challenge for this particular contest is to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with the correct answer to the following: Name either one of the two astronaut artifacts which are on display in the National Air & Space Museum that were manufactured here in Worcester by a well-known Worcester company.  Also, as a No-Prize question, how many pandas are currently living in The National Zoo?

     We'll follow the same contest rules that our fellow reviewer Dave LeBlanc uses for his trivia contests (roll of the dice on multiple correct answers, etc.).  So fire-up those diesel-fueled computers and e-mail us to win the $10.00 That's Entertainment gift certificate!

     That's all for this week.  Try to stay cool and see you all again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

 
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