Review Date: Friday, January 28, 2011

Good King Leonardo has decreed that we review this week two new Marvel limited edition titles, followed for a change of pace by a review of an offbeat new independent comic book:

Wolverine And Jubilee #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Kathryn Immonen: Writer
Phil Noto: Art
Marvel Comics has just published issue #1 of a new 4-issue mini-series starring the duo of older X-Man Wolverine and younger X-Teen Jubilee. The series is scripted by Kathryn Immonen with art by Phil Noto. A page one narrative very helpfully sets the background for this new series, explaining two key points to readers such as myself who don't regularly follow the current X-Men universe story events. The first point explains that Jubilation "Jubilee" Lee is a teen mutant who wields energy-blast power and has served as Wolverine's young sidekick. Due to recent M-Day events, she's lost her powers. The second point tells us that as part of recent "vampire invasion" events in other X-Men titles, Jubilee has been bitten and turned into a vampire, herself.

Issue #1 is entitled "Curse," and centers on various issues of the vampire problem storyline. The story begins with Jubilee detained by the X-Men, after being treated to control her vampire bloodlust while still being stuck as a nighttime-living vampire. This plot thread focuses on the emotional side of Jubilee's vampire status, as she struggles with the counseling of Wolverine, Emma Frost and a few of the teen X-Men to come to terms with her new and terrifying status. A second plotline introduces a mysterious local female adult vampire, who befriends Jubilee in downtown San Franscisco and mysteriously starts to mentor her. Jubilee disappears, only to be found by Wolverine when she's set-up by her new vampire mentor for a mass murder for which she's innocent. The issue concludes with Wolverine planning a major shift in both strategy and geographical location in order to clear his friend's name and protect her from the vampire bad guys.

This is an interesting and very entertaining new mini-series, for a few reasons. For non-regular X-Men readers like me, its a very fresh approach to pair the old-school X-Men led by Wolverine and Emma Frost with the newcomers, such as Jubilee and her friend Pixie. The vampire premise sounded cheesey at first, but in the skilled writing hands of Kathryn Immonen, the plot is very plausible and connects the seemingly disparate worlds of X-Men and vampires seamlessly together. There's a workable balance here between teen angst via Jubilee's situation and standard superhero mystery and action, which heats-up every time Wolverine and Emma Frost take charge of the situation. Finally, its always a treat to read another series with art by the popular Phil Noto. As I mentioned in last week's review column, Noto's art is one of my favorites both in style and emphasis on pleasing pastel coloring. Hats-off to Noto also for his particular rendering of Wolverine, which captures a strong resemblance to Hugh Jackman of movie Wolverine fame.

So a well-deserved review recommendation for you to get on-board for the first issue of this four-part mini-series. It should be fun to see where the mystery and action leads all of our characters as this limited series moves forward.

Captain America & The Korvac Saga #2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ben McCool: Writer
Craig Rousseau: Art
Rachelle Rosenberg: Colors
Our second limited edition title for this week's reviews is issue #2 of Captain America And The Korvac Saga, part of a four-issue mini-series from Marvel Comics. The title is written by Ben McCool, with art by Craig Rousseau and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. For the uninitiated, Korvac is a 1970's Marvel character who briefly appeared in a handful of issues, as a bad guy from an alternate universe who became a cyborg and tried to conquer the universe.

The issue #2 story segment is entitled "Souljacker." The issue begins with Captain America having jailed Korvac for whatever shenanigans he was up to in last month's issue #1. The futuristic Guardians Of The Galaxy team of interstellar superheros arrives on the scene to take Korvac away for their own captive purposes. Captain America resists, and in the melee Korvac escapes through a time portal to the 31st century. The second half of the issue is all action, as Captain America and two of the Guardians fight Korvac in the 31st century. As Korvac gains in unstoppable power, our heroes figure-out that Galactus, of all characters, holds the only technology able to contain the cyborg villain. The issue concludes as the trio of heroes prepare to visit Galactus's enormous spaceship to try and obtain the weapon needed to stop the villain.

Bringing-back a fairly obscure bad guy from the 1970's can be a risky undertaking, but the creative team does a very good job here of combining Marvel universe footnote Korvac with Captain America and The Guardians Of The Universe. There's a nice science fiction edge to the plot storyline and atmosphere, which one doesn't see very often in a Captain America feature. It's fun to see Captain America's reaction to the situation, as he's thrown into a very alien 31st century environment. The premise here is that Cap has never crossed paths with Korvac, The Guardians or even Galactus, so its interesting to observe as bit-by-bit these players are explained to him and he has to struggle to absorb the future shock of the situation while maintaining his focus on getting the bad guy.

So similar to the Wolverine/X-Men situation in the review above, its very worthwhile to add this unique take on the adventures of Captain America to your current issues reading pile.

The Guild: Vork
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Felicia Day & Jeff Lewis: Writers
Darick Robertson & Richard Clark: Art
Dave Stewart: Colors
Dark Horse Comics has just published a one-shot comic entitled The Guild: Vork. The comic is based on the internet comedy webshow The Guild, created and written by Felicia Day. This comic book-edition of the series is written by Felicia Day and Jeff Lewis, with art by Darick Robertson and Richard Clark, and colors by Dave Stewart. Similar to the webshow, the comic tells the story of the players who make-up an online game guild, similar to one of the band of players in the World Of Warcraft online game.

This particular one-shot story focuses mainly on Herman, a middle-aged member of the guild whose character in the game is known as Sir Vork. The story alternates between and interconnects Herman's real and online lives. In the real world, Herman lives with his 90-plus-year-old grandfather, a good-hearted but wacky old-timer who gets the two of them into trouble everywhere they go. On-line, the meek Herman lets his frustrations vent as the bossy Sir Vork, to the point where his fellow guilders boot him from the guild to teach him a lesson. Without spoiling any details, by issue's end Herman/Sir Vork faces his problems in both worlds and things come to a fair resolution in both realms.

The story here is dominated by non-stop, wacky humor that works consistently well. The creative team does a very credible job of developing the plot of an everyday mensch who let's his tough guy fantasies emerge within the game, getting burned in both realms but accepting some valuable lessons and happily working things out in the end for himself, his grandfather and his online friends. Besides the comedy, there's a very worthwhile life lesson going on here amidst the well-deserved laughs, regarding being decent to your friends and family, as well as learning to compromise in life's situations to the fair benefit of all involved.

While I had never heard of The Guild web series before reading this comic book, the high quality of this one-shot makes me want to definitely check-out this web sensation, as well as check-out four planned future The Guild one-shots that Felicia Day is spearheading at Dark Horse Comics. So cleanse your palate of your ordinary superhero reading, oh web guild warriors, and join us in reading The Guild:Vork now!

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

Surprisingly, we didn't have any entries to our current contest challenging you to pitch us your favorite animated, comic-related television series. However, we did receive a solid entry from Greogory Goding pitching his favorite t.v. comic-related series, which happened to be non-animated. Gregory makes a good case for nominating Human Target as his favorite comic book genre-related television show. The Fox series is based on the comic book featuring Christopher Chance as a mercenary-for-hire who takes the place of his clients to protect them against whatever danger they're facing.

Gregory likes the show because it has plenty of action and provides decent entertainment. While he hasn't read the DC comic book, the show will motivate him to check it out at some point. So the Bongo Congo panel of contest judges congratulates Gregory for an excellent entry and awards him the $10.00 first prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Announcement!!!

Good King Leonardo just can't wait for Major League Baseball spring training to start, only about 4 or 5 weeks away, now. So to get us through the "hot stove" winter league of baseball rumors, what-ifs and just plain anticipation for our Boston Red Sox, the King has decreed that we offer you a mid-winter baseball trivia question.

Your challenge this week is to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com with the correct answer to the following trivia question: Who is the only person in Major League Baseball history to have worn the uniform of all four of the New York-area major league clubs-the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and the Mets? As always, in the event of more than one correct entry, the winner of the $10.00 prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be chosen from among the correct answers via a roll of the dice.

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


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