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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 11/29/2009

Marvel and D.C. Comics each have a new comic issue out this week with very relevant current event themes, so Good King Leonardo suggests that we take a review look at each, followed by a third comic review on a much lighter, kid-friendly note:
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Amazing Spider-Man #612
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Mark Waid: Writer
Paul Azaceta: Art
Dave Stewart: Colors

 
 

        
          The latest issue of Spider-Man presents the first installment of a new multi-issue story arc.  Entitled "Power To The People," its scripted by veteran writer Mark Waid with art by Paul Azaceta and Dave Stewart.  A page one narrative explains that this new storyline will advance the theme established last year that for a so far undisclosed reason, someone is gathering into New York many of Spider-Man's famous past supervillain foes for the purpose of hunting-down both the webcrawler and many of his friends and allies.

      Issue #612 adds to this story by re-introducing Electro to New York.  The returned villain is much older than in the past and due to advancing age cannot control his on-again, off-again electrical powers.  The main plot centers on our real world current event situation of millions of American investors losing their personal nest eggs in the recent national economic downturn.  While in a sub-plot Electro seeks the assistance of The Thinker to restore the reliability of his electrical powers, in the main plot a penniless Electro actually makes a stand against Wall Street bailouts and the financial fleecing of citizen savers.  Electro's public speech electrifies (ouch!) the City populace, making him a hero and the leader of a mass public movement against the government bailout of corporate greed.  By issue's end, Spidey is attacked by the angry mob while trying to apprehend Electro for his past crimes.

     Veteran writer Mark Waid has scripted an ingenious story starring our current national economic situation as the main character.  This is not a comic tale using a current event as a narrative element to advance a superhero story.  On the contrary, Electro's lengthy public rallying speech is well-written and works as a very rational real world political commentary with the comic book setting added for flavor.  Irregardless of your personal opinion on our current economic state, the result is both fun and informative reading that adds a lot of well-crafted realism to the world of Spider-Man. 

     In addition to the main 23-page story, issue #612 has a second 8-page story starring Spider-Man and Black Cat, written by Joe Kelly with art by Jm Ken Nimura.  Entitled "The Other Woman", its a cute tale of the two costumed heros playing romantic cat-and-mouse with each other, ending in an unexpected and intriguing development between the two in their personal civilian identities.  So my recommendation is an enthusiastic thumbs-up, you'll be both entertained and educated by this high quality edition of Amazing Spider-Man.

 
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The Brave & The Bold #29
Publisher: D.C. Comics
J. Michael Straczynski: Writer
Jesus Saiz: Art
Trish Mulvihill: Colors

 
 

          
    There's been a lot of excitement over the past few months amongst DC fans regarding highly-regarded writer J. Michael Straczynski taking over writing duties on The Brave & The Bold.  I reviewed Straczynski's first effort with the B&B for issue #27.  In the current issue #29, Straczynski teams with Jesus Saiz and Trish Mulvihill to give us the unusual pairing of Batman with of all people, Brother Power The Geek.

     For readers not old enough to remember, Brother Power The Geek was a 60's subculture character created by Joe Simon in 1968.  With parallels to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Brother Power originated as a mannequin in a tailor shop who was dressed with hippy clothing and struck by lightning, whereupon he came alive and had superpowers.  The character was famous for having ignited a political war within the DC staff between liberals and conservatives, resulting in DC pulling the plug on the Brother Power title after only two issues.

     The new issue #29 story is entitled "Lost Stories Of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," and begins with Batman discovering Brother Power shambling about a run-down section of Gotham, having emerged after all of these decades from the ruins of a recent toystore fire.  The intricate plot interweaves three storylines: two flashbacks detailing both Brother Power's early days in the 60's peace movement and Bruce Wayne's days as a kid with his parents, along with a present-day plot.  In the modern day storyline, Batman investigates a series of inner city arson fires, culminating in Brother Power sacrificing himself to save a young family from one of the fires.  The issue ends with the explanation that Brother Power has the ability to regenerate from his fire damage, thus allowing for his return in a future DC comic issue.

     I was very impressed and entertained by Staczynski's approach to bringing this 60's counterculture niche character into the 2009 DC comic world.  The writer made the very effective decision to avoid any 60's political elements, which would have seemed very stale and irrelevant to Brother Power functioning in today's Gotham.  Instead, he had Brother Power lamenting how while society has advanced technologically, we've lost something in how people in pre-computer America connected with each other.  The creative team gives us a very moving six-page panel toward the end of the story showing how so many people today live in their own isolated i-phone, i-pod worlds, often losing worthwhile personal interaction with our fellow human beings.

     Yet in the end, both Batman and Brother Power offer the lesson that its really not that simple of an issue, there are still people like themselves who rise above the allure of self-absorbing technology and still put themselves forward for their fellow man and the greater good.  The result is both an interesting comic book story and a lesson that there's not as much of a difference between "the good old days" and today as cynics and curmudgeons might want us to believe.  So check-out  this comic book, its a worthwhile read for both its unique hero pairing as well as the high quality of the story and artwork.

 
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Batman: The Brave and The Bold #10
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Landry Walker: Writer
Eric Jones: Art

 
 

          
    In contrast to the main Brave & Bold title, DC is up to issue #10 in publishing Batman: The Brave And The Bold, a more kid-friendly version of B & B based on the popular television cartoon show.  The comic title is written by Landry Walker with art by Eric Jones.

     Issue #10 is entitled "Attack Of The Sea Creature!" and begins with a nice three-page summary of the title's story to-date, showing us how Batman, Black Canary and Green Arrow recently defeated mad scientist Dr. Hugo Strange from his plot to turn Batman into a Frankenstein-like monster.  The rest of the issue focuses on the surprise that Dr. Strange had actually succeeded, when in a delayed reaction Batman transforms into a Godzilla-sized monster and starts rampaging through Gotham.  Its up to Batman's friends Green Arrow and The Atom to get an antidote out of the now-imprisoned Dr. Strange and ultimately save the day.

     Credit is due to DC for creating a kid-level comic that is also very entertaining for adult readers.   While the animated cartoon-style art is a refreshing change of pace from standard comic book story art, what makes this comic book a real hit is the sense of humor that writer Landry Walker brings to the script.  The constant, sharp banter between Green Arrow, The Atom and Batman is worthy of any of the established Batman title series, and just plain fun to read.  I also liked the use of Dr. Hugo Strange, one of Batman's original Golden Age foes who actually preceded The Joker, as the villain in this comic; its a nice, historical touch to this modern-day, lighter Batman story.  So an enthusiastic thumbs-up for another comic that's worthwhile for both kids and adults to enjoy.

 
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New Contest Announcement!!!

In the spirit of the holiday season, Good King Leonardo and the Bongo Congo panel of contest judges have come-up with an all-in-good-fun challenge for our latest contest.  Have you ever read of a comic book character that reminds you of someone you know?  Or vice-versa, have you ever met someone who reminds you of a certain comic book character?  If so, this contest is for you!

Your challenge is to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com and tell us which comic book character any one of the good staff at That's Entertainment reminds you of (sorry staff, Ken has pre-approved this contest, so you're along for the ride!).  For instance, have you ever noticed how Harvey Comics always used the same facial template for its characters, such as Ritchie Rich, Casper The Ghost, etc.?  Given the similarities, my theory is that Harvey Comics used Dave Taberner's face as the model for their famous characters (it's a complement Dave, believe me).

So let us know which staff member at Ye Olde Favorite Comic Shoppe reminds you of a comic-based hero, villain, super-pet or non-superpowered character.  The contest winner will receive a $10.00 gift certificate from That's Entertainment.

That's all for now, so have a great Thanksgiving holiday break and see you again next week
Here In Bongo Congo!

 
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