Review Date: Friday, May 6, 2011

Good King Leonardo has selected a wide range of story subjects for our comic book reviews this week, from a fast action/horror thriller to a planet full of intelligent apes and finally, to the God of Thunder himself. So let's see how these various titles stack-up against each other:

Danger Girl & The Army Of Darkness #1
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Andy Hartnell: Writer
Chris Bolson: Art
Adriano Lucas: Colors
Dynamite Comics has just published issue #1 of a six-issue mini-series entitled "Danger Girl & The Army Of Darkness." The series is a mash-up of two separate Dynamite titles. For the uninitiated, Danger Girl is a spy series featuring a team of sexy female agents led by an older male mentor named Deuce. The series is a spoof on James Bond films. The Army Of Darkness is a comic book series based on the horror movie of the same name, featuring a guy named Ash Williams. The limited series title is scripted by Andy Hartnell with art Chris Bolson and colors by Adriano Lucas.

Issue #1 kicks-off with lots of explosions and adventure, as Danger Girl team member Abbey Chase lands smack in the middle of a huge running battle in her attempt to rescue a client's kidnapped brother. The storyline both introduces Abbey's teammates and advances the plot into The Army Of Darkness horror territory. It soon becomes clear that the unseen kidnappers have obtained from the kidnap victim The Book Of The Dead, which obviously holds the power to destroy the world, zombie-style. Without giving away any spoiler details, the kidnap rescue ends with a bit of zombieism creeping into the picture. Issue #1 ends in a bridge to the next issue as Abbey Chase becomes armed with two important artifacts in her search for the bad guys and their evil possession: an ancient amulet that wards-off the book's effects and a supernatural clue regarding a man to contact as her quest begins.

Prior to reading this kick-off series issue, I wasn't sure if the combination of a sexy secret agent story concept and horror theme would mesh together credibly or not. Happily, the creative team gets this concept off on a solid footing in issue #1. Writer Andy Hartnell is sharp enough to realize that the driving force here is the thriller spy action concept, with the horror element just being the particular story feature that these spies-for-hire find themselves drawn into. So most of issue #1 is big-time, conventional battle action stuff, which serves a dual purpose here of giving the reader a lot of high action entertainment while introducing novices like me to the members of the Danger Girl mercenary-for-hire team. The zombie evil stuff is slightly introduced in the last third of the storyline, just enough to make comic book plot sense of why these private sector spies are getting pulled into a horror plot situation, while also hooking us into wanting to see where this all goes in next month's issue #2.

So a well-deserved hats-off to the creative team for successfully kicking off this spy thriller/horror mini-series with an excellent first issue. Whether you're a fan of either of these comic book genres or just looking for an entertaining fast action comic book read, this comic is definitely for you.

Planet Of The Apes #1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Daryl Gregory: Writer
Carlos Magno: Art
Juan Manuel Timburus: Colors
BOOM! Studios has just released the much-anticipated first issue of a new Planet Of The Apes comic book title. You have to be from another planet to not be familiar with the Planet Of The Apes science fiction franchise, which began with the classic 1968 science fiction movie starring Charlton Heston and grew through several movie sequels, television series and graphic adaptations. This new title is scripted by novelist Daryl Gregory with art by Carlos Magno and colors by Juan Manuel Timburus.

The premier multi-issue story arc is entitled "The Long War," and is set in the year 2680 A.D., 1200 years before the events of the original Charlton Heston movie. In this earlier era, man hasn't yet declined to savage level. The talking apes do control a joint man-ape low tech civilization, an alliance that is shattered when a masked human assassinates the peace-loving ape ruler via high-tech machine gun fire. Without providing any spoiler details, the plotline in issue #1 advances through political and personal intrigue, as various key human and ape leaders begin to maneuver to either try and preserve the shattering peace between the two races, or exploit the crisis for their own purposes.

This new comic book is an incredibly rich and entertaining new interpretation of the Apes story concept that breathes creative, invigorating new life into the classic Planet Of The Apes franchise. Its absolutely brilliant to create a fresh, prequel world in which mankind is just beginning to decline while apes have taken the first political and military steps toward world dominance. The creative team weaves a detailed fabric of a low tech society, almost Victorian in style, running on coal energy and zeppelin transport. In the hands of this A-list creative team, it will be both entertaining and just plain engrossing to read month-by-month as the main characters of this book, representing both sentient races on Earth, maneuver for ultimate control of civilization and the planet.

So not only an enthusiastic thumbs-up recommendation to read this smash hit of a new comic book title, but a well-deserved Tip-Of-The-Review-Hat to BOOM! Studios for green lighting this wonderful spin on the world of Planet Of The Apes, that's not just a great comic book, but a worthy and important contribution to the wider folklore of this historic science fiction franchise premise.

The Mighty Thor #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction: Writer
Olivier Coipel: Pencils
Mark Morales: Inks
Adding to the many Thor comic book titles being published these days, Marvel has just released issue #1 of The Mighty Thor. A page one narrative connects the series to ongoing action in other Thor titles, summarizing that the fallen Norse city of Asgard, located now outside Broxton, Oklahoma, has recently suffered the catastrophic destruction of "The World Tree," breaking the connection between many magical realms and releasing cosmic levels of "space-time energy" out of the rift in the City. The new series is scripted by Matt Fraction with pencils by Olivier Coipel and inks by Mark Morales.

The kick-off storyline is entitled "The Galactus Seed 1: The Silence" and interweaves three subplots. The main plotthread is an action-adenture sequence, as Thor, his girlfriend SIF and evil half-brother Loki band together and literally swim an epic distance through the liquidy space-time energy in a quest to save or restore the heart of the World Tree. The second plotline stars the Silver Surfer and his boss Galactus, as they become attracted to the massive energy output of the Asgardian energy rift. And the third plotline features a Broxton, Oklahoma church pastor as he interacts with several of his congregants regarding the concept of God and faith.

I immensely enjoyed this new Thor comic book for a few reasons. First and foremost was the delight of the unexpected costarring of The Silver Surfer and Galactus in this storyline. Secondly, the art team's visual style and finished product is just a beautiful thing to behold. And third, the structure of this comic book presentation slowly and surely interconnects three seemingly nonconnected subplots in a very effective and entertaining manner. Its obvious by issue's end that the characters of the trio of story sequences are all going to come together with a galactic-level big bang as this story progresses month-to-month.

So a well-deserved positive thumbs-up review recommendation to add this brand new Thor comic book universe title to your ever-growing, Galactus-sized new comic book reading pile!

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

Our latest contest challenged you to correctly tell us which switchhitting Major League Baseball (MBL) Hall Of Famer completed exactly half of his career hits as a lefty and half as a righty. And our winner chosen via a roll of the dice from among the correct submittals is (drumroll, please)...Erin O'Connor, who correctly identified Saint Louis Cardinals star player Stan (The Man) Musial as the holder of the amazing record, with 1815 hits from each side of the plate for a grand total of 3630 career hits. Congratulations to Erin as the winner of the $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Announcement!!!

As all good fanboys and fangirls know, this Saturday, May 7, 2011, is National Free Comic Book Day! So in honor of our most special of national holidays (aren't all local, state and federal government offices ordered to be closed on National Comic Book Day?), the Bongo Congo panel of contest judges challenges you to e-mail us at Gordon_A@msn.com and identify your three most favorite free comics that you read from the Free Comic Book Day giveaway, telling us a little bit of why you liked each of your three selections so much. Our contest winner will receive the first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

That's all for now, so have a great National Free Comic Book Day and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!!!


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