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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 10/09/2009

Good King Leonardo has decreed that we review the current issues of three comic titles which we've reviewed in the past, to see how the latest issues are holding-up:
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The Brave & The Bold #28
Publisher: D.C. Comics
J. Michael Straczynski: Writer
Jesus Saiz: Art
Trish Mulvihill: Colors

 

 
 

        
          DC Comics is up to issue #28 in its revival of the classic Silver Age title The Brave & The Bold.  The original run usually paired Batman with a new superhero partner every issue, making it a very fun title to read and collect for the variety of partners that The Caped Crusader teamed-up with over time.  While DC hasn't been featuring Batman much in the new title run, the current issue #28 is nicely retro with a team-up between Batman and Robby Reed of "Dial H For Hero" fame.  The story is scripted by veteran writer J. Michael Straczynski with art by Jesus Saiz and Trish Mulvihill.

     Entitled "Death Of A Hero," issue #28 begins with Robby and his grandfather visiting Gotham.  Robby wants to assist Batman in battling a crime spree masterminded by The Joker by dialing-up one of his superhero personas.  However, his hero dial-up device falls into the hands of a homeless street person, who promptly tests the device and becomes a superhero in his own right.  Without spoiling any story details, the second half of the issue gives us a fascinating plot focusing on two themes: the well-meaning but ultimately disastrous attempts by the street person to try and fight crime, as well as Batman helping Robby cope with his guilt over the ultimate result of this misguided episode.

     I drifted away last year from reading this title, as the stories were becoming below average.  I'm happy to say that in this latest issue #28, we have a very high quality story again for this historical comic title.  J. Michael Straczynski is one of the best comic writers around these days, and he comes through with a gem of a tale in three respects.  First, he gives us his own personal take on The Joker's personality, which adds a wonderful version to the varied interpretations of the villain created over the years.  Secondly, the subplot focusing on the homeless burglar-turned-superhero via the "Dial H For Hero" device is very entertaining with an unexpected dramatic result. 

     Third and hardly least, the creative team gives us a very moving two-page conclusion as Batman helps Robby cope with the results of this story episode.  Batman's advice to the boy about life in general could have come-off as cheesy or wooden, but in Straczynski's capable hands we're given a gem of an emotional moment between The Caped Crusader on the young struggling hero.  It was well worth my revisiting this title with the current issue #28, so a definite thumbs-up for The Good DC Reader to do the same and enjoy this excellent issue.

 
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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? #4
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Philip K. Dick:
WriterTony Parker: Art

 

 
 

          
         I previously gave a very positive review to issue #1 of this groundbreaking series, in which Artist Tony Parker is presenting a word-for-word, 24-issue graphic presentation of renowned science fiction author Philip K. Dick's classic novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?"  Fans are also familiar with the novel as the basis for the cult-classic 1982 movie "Bladerunner," adapted and directed by Ridley Scott and starring among others Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Darryl Hannah.

      So far, I've been very impressed with all four issues of this title as they provide the reader with a faithful graphic version of this novel.  As far as I'm aware, no other comic book publisher has ever dedicated a comic title to such an in-depth, verbatim representation of such a complex and detailed novel, versus the standard graphic adaptation of the gist of a story.  There's a well-known story amongst Phillip K. Dick fans that Ridley Scott read about half of the novel and stopped, feeling that he had anough information at that point on which to base his vision of a movie.  That frustrating story actually makes the comic series that much more enjoyable, as the reader finally is given a visual version of the original novel.

     And what a novel it is.  Aside from the basic plot details which I summarized in my review of issue #1 (rogue android hunting by L.A. police bounty hunter Rick Deckard, etc.), the comic faithfully reproduces author Dick's disturbing vision of a 21st century America addicted to technology for its own sake.  The comic works wonderfully in presenting both sides of the coin which Dick gave us in his unique novel, an action adventure tale of android hunters, while on the flip side a commentary on the nature and joy of actually living one's life rather than being passively entertained by technology.  In his commentary essay at the end of issue #4, Marvel Comics writer Ed Brubacker provides a correct and somewhat chilling observation regarding the wide degree to which Dick's mid-twentieth century fictional vision of our modern world became the true 2009 reality within which we currently live.

     I won't summarize in this review any of the specific story details of issue #4, as they would merely serve as a needless spoiler for properly enjoying this series as it unfolds.  Suffice to say that issue #4 advances the plot, characters and story theme in both an entertaining and intellectually moving manner which I believe that the late Phillip K. Dick would be proud of.  So get on-board the "Electric Sheep" series comic title; you won't regret it for a comic book-reading instant.

 
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Hulk #15
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Jeph Loeb: Writer
Ian Churchill: Pencils
Mark Farmer: Inks
Peter Steigerwald: Colors

 
 

          
         I reviewed in the past year a previous issue of Hulk, so I thought that its time to revisit the title with a review of the current issue #15.   The Jeph Loeb/Ian Churchill collaboration features the Red Hulk, a mysterious, highly intelligent and seemingly evil character whose personal identity at this point in the storyline still remains a major mystery.

     The current issue #15 features an all-out battle between the Red Hulk alongside a team that he's assembled, versus Domino and a team that she's put together.  The confrontation originated from Red Hulk's belief that Domino has possibly stumbled across his secret identity and as such must be eliminated.  The various characters in this issue-long mega-battle include Wolverine fighting on Domino's side and Electra wading through the battle with her own agenda.  By issue's end, both teams have beaten each other to a bloody standstill, with writer Loeb bridging the situation to the next issue with the dramatic last page introduction of a Red She-Hulk (yikes!).

     While this issue and the overall comic title is not on a par with some of renowned writer Jeph Loeb's other distinguished efforts, it is a quality comic and enjoyable in its own right for what it is: a new, fresh take on the world of The Hulk that's very high on action and low on plot content.  I really like the idea of this Red Hulk being seemingly unstoppable, highly cunning and bad, but after 15 issues I'm chomping at the bit to learn who he really is.  I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again: enough already, Jeph Loeb, tell us who he is and then let's all enjoy the consequences of that knowledge as it has an effect on this title's storyline.

     As a final comment, although its a very minor item, it really bothers me that each issue of Red Hulk has a one-page story summary entitled "Previously On Hulk."  The writer in me cringes every time I read this title-we're not watching a t.v. show, we're reading a comic book, so please, Marvel Comics, drop the pretension and change the title to "Previously In Hulk"-sounds picky, I know, but it really bugs me.  That aside, this is a fun title to read and you can quickly catch-up on the previous issues, already compiled in two volumes of softcover reprints that are available at That's Entertainment.

 
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Contest Winner Announcement!!!

Our latest contest was for you to correctly answer our trivia question as to what renowned Golden Age television show often referred to its cast as "The Kuklapolitan Players."  That's Entertainment owner Paul Howley and my fellow reviewer Dave LeBlanc knew the answer immediately, as I knew they would given our common baby boomer heritage.

From our pool of eligible entrants who all gave us a correct answer, by roll of the dice the winner is (drumroll, please)...Kevin Browne, who correctly identified the show as "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," the renowned puppet show created by Burr Tillstrom on Chicago television in 1947.  Along with host Fran Allison, the show ran nationally for decades and was a favorite of children and adults alike.  Congratulations to Kevin, who wins the prize this week of a $10.00 gift certificate to our home-away-from home, That's Entertainment.

That's it for now, so have a great comic book reading and see you again
next week Here In Bongo Congo!

 
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