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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 01/22/2010

Good King Leonardo decrees that this week we review the latest issues of two popular DC titles, both of which have recently returned from hiatus for
fresh title runs, 
and that we round-out our reviews for this week with a look at a new and highly anticipated Marvel Comics event:

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Batgirl #6
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Bryan Q. Miller: Writer
Lee Garbett: Penciller
Trevor Scott: Inks
Guy Major: Colors

 

 

 
 

        
DC Comics has issued this past week the latest installment in the new and popular return of the Batgirl title.  The comic is written by Bryan Q. Miller with art by the team of Lee Garbett, Trevor Scott and Guy Major.  The concept of this latest version of the Batgirl title has college student Stephanie Brown taking-up the Batgirl cowl, while being mentored by the original Batgirl Barbara Gordon (no relation!), who now operates at a computer center in the Batcave in her role as the wheelchair-bound computer guru The Oracle.

     Issue #6 is entitled "Batgirl Rising-Core Requirements", and is the second installment in an ongoing three issue multi-issue story arc.  Last month's issue #5 introduced us to the guest star team of the current Dick Grayson/Batman with his little crackpot partner, the 10-year-old psychopath Robin, whose father is Bruce Wayne and whose mother is the daughter of famed Batman villain Ras Al Ghul.  The story highlighted a personality clash between Batgirl and Robin, as the foursome of heroes tried to both work together and independently deal with intrigue surrounding inner city arson and threats to a family of neighborhood entrepreneurs, one of whom is a college student friend of Stephanie Brown.

     Issue #6 picks-up from the previous issue's cliffhanger ending, in which Stephanie's friend is kidnapped by his entrepreneur father's enemies and Stephanie is grazed by a bullet in the abduction.  Two interesting sub-plots dominate most of the storyline, as Batgirl tries to convince Robin to stop acting on his own as a violent renegade, while Batman/Grayson and Barbara/Oracle spar over Batman's resistance to Barbara Gordon mentoring a new and realtively inexperienced version of Batgirl.  The final third of the plot becomes more action-oriented, as Batman is attacked and trapped by three supervillains who will remain nameless in this review to avoid spoiling the surprise, while Oracle, Batgirl and Robin move into rescue mode.

     Last month's issue #5 was about as perfect as a Batman universe comic book gets, with fresh and humorous dialogue and a plot that pulls the reader into an exciting and very original tale.  The current issue #6 story installment moves a bit slower, with more talking-head dialogue dominating the first two-thirds of the story.  But that's o.k., as this engrossing three-issue storyline needs a midpoint issue installment to have the main characters brainstorm some of the mystery elements of the plot, necessarily leading to the final pages of action and the anticipated high action and resolution of the storyline in next month's issue. 

     I also have to give a major thumbs-up to writer Bryan Q. Miller for evolving the current Robin's story role in two significant ways.  I've commented in previous Batman comic reviews that it disturbs me how psychotic this kid is, and how no one seems to be addressing that point in previous Batman stories.  Miller finally does so here in two ways. First, he gives us a story in which the other major characters, particularly Batgirl, acknowledge that this kid is completely mentally unhinged to the point where even Batgirl fears for her own safety around him.  And secondly, Miller has the creativity and writing skill to finally take the first steps to begin evolving the personality of this nutbag of a kid to the point where he is finally portrayed as struggling to at least intially try and address the "coo-coo as cocoa puffs" side of his warped personality.  The effect is an enjoyable mix of humor and intrigue as the reader finally is teased with the possibility that there might be some redeemable value in the current Robin.

     So an enthusiastic thumbs-up recommendation for this relatively new Batgirl title.  Issue #6 hits a home run, both as a stand-alone read and as the second installment in this ongoing three-issue story arc.  So feel free to either just enjoy this month's edition or backtrack your way to last month's issue #5, still available for your enjoyment on the new issues comic book shelves at That's Entertainment.

 
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Adventure Comics #509/6
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Geoff Johns: Writer
 Francis Manapul: Art
Brian Buccellato: Colors

 

 

 

 
 

          
     Our second review this week that features the return of a comic that's been on hiatus for awhile is DC's Adventure Comics.  The current issue is numbered both #6 to reflect the new, recently-revived title run and #509 for continuity of this historic title which originated in the early beginning of the Golden Age of comics.  The current version is written by veteran Geoff Johns with art by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.

     The latest issue is the fifth and final installment of a multi-issue story arc starring the Connor Kent version of Superboy, with everybody's favorite Superpup Krypto faithfully by his side.  The storyline to-date has Connor settling-in with Ma Kent in Smallville, as he struggles to reconcile the fact that he's a product of both good and evil, due to his origins as a cloned experiment which combined the DNA of both Superman and Lex Luthor to produce him.  In each issue, Connor reacts to his thoughts on the subject in a journal that he keeps, trying to decide what Superman or Luthor would do regarding each story situation that he finds himself in.

     This ongoing storyline comes to a climax right at the beginning of this issue, as Lex Luthor returns to Smallville and blackmails Superboy into assisting him in creating a miracle medical cure for Luthor's ailing sister, who still lives in Smallville along with Luthor's teenaged niece, who is a friend of Connor's.  Connor and Krypto travel extensively in time throughout this issue, gathering the scattered ingredients that are required for Luthor to concoct his miracle cure.  Without giving away any spoiler details, the story takes a very original and unexpected turn with the success of the cure, giving us both a very original take on the good and evil dynamic within both Connor and Luthor himself, and providing us in the very last panel of the story with an intriguing hint of another mixed-DNA clone in the works for future Adventure Comics stories.

     I enjoyed this comic book very much for three main reasons.  First, as usual the esteemed veteran writer Geoff Johns brings his A-game to this writing effort, with a well-balanced blend of story narrative and fast-paced action.  Secondly, I'm a huge Krypto fan and enjoyed the rare treat of a story co-starring our favorite superdog, as opposed to many stories in which he's just a secondary character.  Third and most importantly, I was very impressed with writer Johns's effort in the second half of the story to explore the philosophy of just how far a villain such as Luthor would go in his revenge obsession against Superman, when the life of his own closest family member is at stake.  The details of this part of the story were fascinating and I don't believe have ever really been examined, to my personal knowledge at least, in any previous Luthor-oriented comic book story.

     So an enthusiastic recommendation to read this latest installment of an old DC title classic, which gives us the entertaining combination of excellent art, a meaningful story and the time-traveling adventures of Krypto, to boot!

 
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Captain America-Who Will Wield The Shield? #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ed Brubaker: Writer
Butch Guice & Luke Ross: Art
Dean White: Colors

 

 

 

 
 

          
     Marvel Comics has just published a one-shot comic title addressing some Captain America storyline issues in the "Return of Steve Rodgers" saga that is currently unfolding at Marvel.  The comic is written by Ed Brubaker with art by the team of Butch Guice, Luke Ross and Dean White.  A first-page narrative in this comic book nicely summarizes for the uninitiated both the "death of" and subsequent return to the active Marvel universe of Steve Rodgers, the original Captain America.

     This issue's storyline can be neatly divided into two halves.  The first half of the issue is slow on action and heavy on talking head dialogue, as James "Bucky" Barnes and his girlfriend The Black Widow debate James's desire to give-up being Captain America in order to relinguish the shield back to the revived Steve Rodgers.  Rodgers and his girlfriend, SHIELD agent Sharon Carter, hold a parallel debate on the same subject, with Rodgers being reluctant to step back into the role.  The second half of the issue brings the old and new Caps back into action alongside The Black Widow.  After fighting and defeating a bad guy, Rodgers and Barnes have a heart-to-heart talk and make a mutally agreed-upon decision on who will be Cap.  Of course, I won't spoil any of the interesting details in this review, other than to comment that the decision is concluded with several intriguing clues as to what the future will hold for both of these warriors.

     This is a fun and interesting comic that succeeds in its obvious goal of setting up how Rodgers and Barnes will operate together in upcoming issues of Captain America.  Similar to the Batgirl #6 comic reviewed above, its a bit slow and talking head-oriented in the first half; however, that conversational section of the tale is both well-done and absolutley necessary, in order to set-up the eventual action and the key decision that the pair make regarding their respective superhero futures.  So be patient, read your way through the early part of this comic and let it take you farther along the very fresh and interesting trail that these two iconic Marvel superheros currently find themselves traveling upon.

 
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Contest Winner Announcement!!!

Our current contest challenged you to pick a side in the preference between brainy, human skill-level superheros and superpowered folk, telling us which category of hero you prefer with an example.  Ken at That's Entertainment tells us that he's always enjoyed Hawkeye because he always provided a human-level view of superhero battles, letting guys like Iron Man and Thor take the big battle lead but contributing at a key moment in his own way.  Ken adds that "Hawkeye seemed to have bucked the odds in getting the most out of his comparatively modest abilities."

And our contest winner is (drumroll, please)...Gordon Dupuis, who tells us that while its difficult to choose a side, "the unpowered hero is particularly special as anyone can be gifted with tremendous power and plow blindly ahead.  It takes someone truly special to claw their way past their own limitations and be the best they can be."  Gordon cites Batman as a comic book example as well as Odysseus in Greek mythology, in his interactions as a human with the gods.

     A thought-provoking and interesting submittal Gordon, congratulations on winning
the contest and the prize of a $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment.

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

 
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