-
STORE NEWS
-
 
-

Review Date: 07/02/2010

Good King Leonardo has decreed that we beat this past week's summer heat with reviews of
three cool new comic books, one special D.C. anniversary issue and two new Marvel Comics:
-
-   -
 
-
 

Superman #700
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Various Writers and Artists

 
 

           
Fresh on the heels of the recent Batman #700 special anniversary issue, DC published this past week the issue #700 anniversary issue of Superman, and is scheduled in the near future to release the issue #600 special anniversary issue of Wonder Woman.  While Batman #700 gave us an issue-length multi-chapter story, Superman #700 presents three separate tales.  The first story is co-written by James Robinson and Bernard Chang, the middle tale is written by veteran scribe Dan Jurgens and the third story is written by the very popular writer J. Michael Straczynski.  The various worthy and talented artists on the three stories are too numerous to list in this brief review format, but all deserve a positive shout-out.

     The lead-off story is entitled "The Comeback," and serves as an epilogue to the recent lengthy New Krypton multi-titled mega-series.  The first half of the tale is all-action, with villains The Prankster and The Parasite in hot pursuit of our favorite Metropolis investigative reporter, Lois Lane.  After Superman defeats the bad guys and rescues Lois, the story tone shifts gears and becomes more dialogue-driven and retrospective, as Lois and Superman/Clark conduct a lengthy conversation about rekindling their relationship and feelings for each other.  While this might sound dry and/or dull, its actually very well-presented by the creative team as a small-scale closing chapter in the New Krypton story epic.

     Story number two, entitled "Geometry," is also subtitled "A Tale From Superman's Early Years."  The cultural references seem to place this story in the 1980's.  True to the iconic heritage of the DC's A-List superheros, the story co-stars Superman, Batman, a high school-aged Dick Grayson/Robin and Alfred the butler.  In a setting which begins in Metropolis and shifts to Gotham City, writer Dan Jurgens gives us an action tale, in which non-superpowered criminals are gunrunning between the two cities.  With Batman unavailable at a Bruce Wayne charity function, its up to Superman and Robin to win the day.  An interesting parallel sub-plot features Robin trying to balance his desire to be a teen superhero on his own with Bruce Wayne's stern parenting rules that normal teen responsibilities come first, such a finishing your geometry homework.  Said geometry assignment also gives us a very funny and human story ending involving all three of these superheroes.

     The final story in this comic book is entitled "Grounded Prologue: The Slap Heard Round The World."  This tale kicks-off the post-New Krypton Superman story world, which renowned writer J. Michael Staczynski is adding to his monthly DC writing duties.  The plot focuses on Superman struggling to find a new focus for his Earth hero responsibilities in the wake of the New Krypton war.  True to the story title, a grieving widow's face slap and angry challenge to Superman sets him off on an inner journey to determine how and where his abilities should best be focused.  After consulting both Batman and The Flash, its actually a very moving reminiscence of an old heart-to-heart conversation with the deceased Pa Kent that resolves Superman's soul-searching and places him on a brand new path for the future, which will be explored further each month in the Straczynski-scripted stories of the Superman comic book title.

     DC gives us the perfect blend of three past, present and future elements in this landmark anniversary issue #700 of the most historical and iconic of American comic book heroes.  Credit must be given to everyone involved in this epic issue for providing the appropriate structure with one story that concludes the New Krypton mega-event, another historical tribute story and a third prologue chapter that kicks-off the post-New Krypton direction of the Superman story universe for the next year or more.  My personal favorite is the second story.  Writer Dan Jurgens provides a wonderful script with a detailed mix of action and dialogue that's not only entertaining, but also presents a heartfelt tribute to the intertwined heritage and history of the Superman/Batman/Robin trio of heroes.  No matter your specific taste and preference for various Superman story types and artistic styles, there's something for every Superman fan in this top-notch anniversary tribute.  Although my guess is that most Superman fans will enjoy all of the various takes and styles of writing and art in this very entertaing and historically worthy tribute to The Man Of Steel and his extended family and friends.

 
-   -
-
-   -
 
-
 

Heralds #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
 Kathryn Immonen: Writer
Tonci Zonjic: Art
Nathan Fairbairn: Colors

 
 

     
Marvel Comics is up to issue #3 in its "Heralds" five-issue mini-series.  Since there are still plenty of copies of all three published issues on the That's Entertainment new issues shelves, I decided to go back to issue #1 for a review of the very start of this series.  The comic book is written by Kathryn Immonen with art by Tonci Zonjic and Nathan Fairbairn.

     Issue #1 is entitled "Heaven Or Las Vegas."  It's Marvel bad girl Emma Frost's birthday and she's celebrating the day in-style in Las Vegas with several female Marvel heroes, including Valkyrie and Abigail Brand, the head of the intelligence agency SWORD.  A parallel sub-plot introduces us to several ordinary folk who work and hang-out at a truck stop along a deserted stretch of highway outside of Vegas.  And a third interweaving storyline identifies a mysterious outer space energy anomoly that reaches Earth and causes a technological malfunction at a nearby SWORD facility.  All three plotlines come together as the anomoly causes a massive energy wave to hit the Nevada area.  The result by issues end is that the energy wave has caused some Vegas dinosaur statues to come alive and run amok, and has also caused some seriously violent behavior on the part of a key character back at the roadside truck stop.

     This issue doesn't give us a classic or cutting-edge story and/or artwork, but it does start us off on a very good comic book tale with some intriguing elements.  There's a nice sense of mystery here, regarding exactly what the outer space-based energy anomoly is and what its potential impact will be on the various story characters.  I also enjoyed very much the mix of female Marvel characters who are thrown together by the events in this mini-series storyline.  A third key strong point is writer Kathryn Immonen's script dialogue, which has an entertaining balance of humor and drama that moves the story along at a good pace.

    My only review heads-up is to point-out that issue #1 is so devoted to an issue-long introduction to the varied players and story locations that it wouldn't be very satisfying to read the issue and then walk-away from the remaining four issues in this mini-series.  So my advice is to commit to reading all five of the issues in this series and thus thoroughly enjoy this kick-off issue for what it is, namely, a very good start to a five-issue story arc.


 
-   -
--
-   -
 
-
 

Avengers Prime #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Brian Michael Bendis: Writer
Alan Davis: Pencils
Mark Farmer: Inks
Javier Rodriguez: Colors

 
 

 
          Unless you've been living on a deserted island reading only back issue comics for the past few months, you're most likely aware of the many new Avengers titles that Marvel has begun publishing to kick-off the aftermath of the Siege mega-event.  Issue #1 of the Avengers Prime title is written by A-list scripter Brian Michael Bendis with art by the team of Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Javier Rodriguez.

     The plot of Avengers Prime opens in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Seige mega-series.  Mega-bad guy Norman Osborne has been defeated, but in the process, Osborne has destroyed Thor's City of Asgard.  While exploring the ruins of the city, the trio of Thor, Iron Man and Steve Rodgers/Captain America inadvertently activate the remains of the Rainbow Bridge, Asgard's portal between our universe and nine known other dimensions.  The trio are thrown individually into three of the dimensions.  The final two-thirds of the story chronicles the arrival and initial exploration by each of our heroes of their respective dimensions.  The issue concludes with a dramatic bridge to next month's story segment, as Thor is attacked in his dimension by an old foe who's carrying a major grudge against him.

     This is a top-notch entertainment of a comic for several reasons.  The art team's work is exquisite, with a beautiful visual style along with a very creative and ever-changing usage of panel lay-outs.  Particularly impressive is an opening two-page lay-out of our trio standing at the foot of the ruined city of Asgard.  Secondly, after all of the change, drama and heaviness of the Seige mega-event, its nice to cleanse our reading palate, so to speak, with a return to the basic traditional structure of the Avengers.  The first third of the tale not only reunites our threesome as Avengers leaders, but gives us a very realistic sub-plot in which Iron Man and Steve Rodgers have a nasty argument over Iron Man's Seige-era behavior and its present-day consequences.  And finally, with the multi-dimensional element to this story, writer Bendis gives the reader his or her money's worth with a story line that is actually three full stories in one, as we get set to follow the separate adventures of our trio through their respective diemensions in upoming monthly installments.

     I haven't read the many new Avengers titles beyond this issue and Avenger's Academy #1 (scripted by Worcester native Chris Gage).  But if both of those issues are an indication, its worth the time and budgeting for all of us to try and become a regular reader of many of the various titles of this new Marvel Comics Avengers-oriented mega-event.

 
-   -
-

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

Our latest contest challenge was for you to tell us what event occurred at the June 4, 1974 Cleveland Indians major league baseball home game against the visiting Texas Rangers, which came to be known in the baseball industry as "The Worst Marketing Idea Ever."  We had more correct responses to this contest than any of our previous challenges, possibly due to the intriguing wackiness of the answer.

And our winner via roll of the dice from among our many correct entries is (drumroll, please)...Stephen Kostrzewa, who correctly identified the event as the infamous Ten-Cent Beer Night of June 4, 1974.

In a desperate attempt to boost dwindling attendance, Indians management offered for that evening all the beer you could drink for 10 cents a cup.  With 25,134 people in attendance, 60,000 cups of beer were sold.  Subtract the children in attendance as well as the non-drinking adults, and you can imagine the behavior triggered amongst the beer-sotted drinkers.  Highlights of the chaos included hundreds of drunk fans throwing live firecrackers all evening at each other and at the Rangers players, as well as so many streakers across the playing field, that by late in the game there was a huge pile of abandoned clothes in left-center field. 

Most infamously, the entire Texas Rangers and Indians teams grabbed baseball bats and stormed the field in the ninth inning to defend Texas player Jeff Burroughs, who was attacked by a drunk "fan."  And believe it or not, it was after the Indians and Rangers jointly beat their way off of the field through a mob of 200 attacking drunks that the real, stadium-wide riot erupted!  At that point, the game's chief umpire finally called the game as a forfeit win for the visiting team, the Texas Rangers. 
My only question is, what took him so long to call the game!

If anyone from Hollywood should ever read this column, please consider making a movie about this infamous night of baseball looniness!

New Contest Announcement!!!

For a change of pace, for our new latest contest let's shift away from trivia and go back to a challenge contest.  This contest idea came from my fellow reviewer Dave LeBlanc several weeks ago when we held our contest for you to suggest contest ideas.  The challenge is for you, the good comic book reader, to come-up with something popular in pop culture (i.e., a toy, movie, t.v. show, video game, etc.) and then recommend to us a comic book that fans of that item would also enjoy reading.  For example, Dave suggested that fans of South Park would also enjoy reading the comic book Barry Ween, Boy Genius.  Fans of Harry Potter might enjoy reading Kurt Busiek's acclaimed comic book series Leave It To Chance.

You get the idea.  So e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with your entry of a popular culture item and a comic book that fans of said item would also enjoy reading.  The contest winner will receive a $10.00 gift certificate to our favorite pop culture emporium and home-away-from-home, That's Entertainment!

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

 
-
 
-


© 2011 - 2015, 2016 All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.