Friday, December 14, 2018

Fantastic Four Wedding Special #1


   When I mentioned to a friend that I had picked up the Fantastic Four Wedding Special, he asked, "Are Reed and Sue renewing their vows?" 

    It was a fair question, since that original story with Reed and Sue's wedding is so iconic, and who else would be getting married in the FF's comic? (The less said about Johnny Storm's wedding the better.)

   Of course, the wedding in question (as the cover clearly shows) actually features Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters.  (To which we can only say, "It's about time! They're been an item since the earliest days of the FF's adventures.")

   Ah, but no wedding takes place in this issue. Instead, we get a couple of stories focusing on the pre-wedding events (plus a delightful short at the back by Fred Hembeck).

   I wish I could say they're terrific tales, but they're just... ok. One is a "girl's night out" story that takes a couple of wrong turns along the way (in more ways than one), and the other has the Thing tackling a job that his strength can't help him with. They're not bad, but neither one is epic. 

   But artists Mark Buckingham and Mark Farmer offer up a nice Kirby look to the art on the second story.

   Hopefully the upcoming (actual) wedding issue will have a lot more oomph in it.

Grade: B-

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Comics Day


     Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- AVENGERS #11 - Who's joining the team?

- CHAMPIONS #27 - A visit to Weirdworld.

- FANTASTIC FOUR WEDDING SPECIAL #1 - At last, there shall be... a wedding!

- HAWKMAN #7 - His origin revealed!

- HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL 2018 - Happy holidays from hell!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #14 (OF 15) - In the enemy's stronghold!

- SUPERMAN #6 - Teaming up with General Zod?

- UNCANNY X-MEN #5 - More dissembling!


     And I received these review copies:

- ALBERT EINSTEIN TIME MASON #3 - In the Wild West!

- BRITANNIA TP VOL. 3: LOST EAGLES OF ROME - A quest into the unknown!

- DOCTOR WHO ROAD TO THE 13TH DOCTOR TP - Counting up to #13!

- MIKE HAMMER TP NIGHT I DIED - Collecting the adaptation of a new Hammer story.

- MINIONS VIVA LE BOSS #2 - Adventures through history.

- PRAGUE COUP HC - A plot to unseat the government of Czechoslovakia.

- ROBOTECH #15 - The saga continues!

- SHADOWMAN #10 - Death in the Darque!

- TANK GIRL COLOR CLASSICS HC VOL 01 1988-1990 - The original tales!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Doomsday Clock #8 (of 12)


   I am more convinced with every issue that this series is not taking place in the DC Universe (whatever that is these days).

   Doomsday Clock is a mash-up of the Watchmen Universe and DC's, with the result that the story is dark and deadly.

   So heroes lose control and threaten innocents, real-world politicians get involved, conspiracy theories (especially the one that centers on Superman) threaten to destabilize world governments, and that's just the beginning of the strange events that are building to a deadly showdown with the mysterious Dr. Manhattan.

   Presumably the series wants to unsettle the reader, and in that it succeeds wildly. 

   I have no idea where writer Geoff Johns is heading here, and that's good - but I don't care for the mud it's throwing on DC's heroes (and supporting characters), who are behaving in strange and unexpected ways. The art by Gary Frank is raw and real - very powerful and effective.

   I'll be tuning in, but I can't give this series a whole-hearted recommendation. DC's comics were designed to be for all ages, and this series breaks that mold into a zillion pieces.

Grade: B

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Shazam #1


   (Your pal Chuck has been swamped this week, so today and tomorrow we'll have some mini-reviews to get back on schedule.)

   As a big fan of the original Captain Marvel (Fawcett version), I have to admit I'm struggling a bit with the new version of that hero, who goes by the name Shazam!

   I understand the reason for the change, and there are some elements about the new version of Billy Batson and his extended (adopted) family that I enjoy - but none of the super-powered kids are particularly likable, and I have no idea what their names are. 

   Will they all have name changes? It was bad enough the Captain Marvel Jr. couldn't say his own name - now Shazam can't speak his name, either!

   And how are they all sneaking out of the house like that?

   The art is great and they're building a new world here - but I still miss the Big Red Cheese.

   (To see how to do it right, check out Grant Morrison Multiversity comic.)

Grade: B

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Friday, December 7, 2018

"Avengers Endgame" - Movie Trailer


   A happy surprise as the new Avengers trailer is out. We've been calling it Avengers 4, but now we see the official "Endgame" title.

   It's just a teaser, but it's a mighty promising one!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New Comics Day


   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN '66 #5 (of 6) - An entire town against them!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #9 - A housing dispute.

- DOOMSDAY CLOCK #8 (of 12) - When heroes lose control.

- GREEN LANTERN #2 - Talking tough with a Spider Pirate!

- SHAZAM #1 - New kid in town.

- WEST COAST AVENGERS #5 - Facing Gridlock!

- UNCANNY X-MEN #4 - Disassembled!

    And I received these review copies:

BLACK AF DEVILS DYE #1 (OF 4) - A deadly drug targets those with powers!

BREAKNECK #1 (OF 4) - A gritty crime thriller!

DISSENSION WAR ETERNAL #4 - Where did Delphi get her powers?

DOCTOR WHO 13TH #2 - Who is the mysterious new traveller?

HER INFERNAL DESCENT #5  - Will Lynn find her family?

NINJA-K #14  - Going rogue!

PENNY DREADFUL #12 - Continuing the story from the TV series!

SNAP FLASH HUSTLE #1 (OF 4)  - A secret society of models!

WE ARE DANGER #4  - When you reach the top, the only direction left is down.

   And that's it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Once and Future Tarzan


   Surely there is no literary figure who has been more badly beaten up by unthinking interpretations than Tarzan.

   Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the story of Tarzan begins with an infant whose parents are killed after they are left in the jungles of Africa - and he is raised by the Great Apes. 

   But the real Tarzan is not the crude "Me Tarzan, you Jane" character brought to life in movies and TV shows starring actors like Johnny Weissmuller. In the original stories, he's self-educated (thanks to the books his parents left behind), and he eventually divides his time between the world of civilization, where he is the respected Lord Greystoke, and the jungle (and numerous lost worlds all over the globe).

   Those original stories captured my imagination in a way few original stories by other writers have managed, and I'm glad to report that the trade paperback collection Dark Horse's Once and Future Tarzan stories live up to that legacy in a very satisfying way.

   Written by Al Gordon, the stories were serialized in small chunks in Dark Horse anthology titles - which is perfect for the jungle lord's stories, since they're all about cliffhangers and propelling the story forward at break-neck pace.

   This is set in the future, where Tarzan is somehow still in his prime (impressive for a 300-year-old man), only now instead of exploring strange lost worlds, the entire Earth has become untamed and wild, with danger around every corner.

   The art is wonderful, featuring chapters drawn by Thomas Yeates and Bo Hampton - both masters at heroic battles and amazing environments and creatures. And boy, do they get to strut their stuff here.

   It's a smart, terrific tale, and it's great to see the Ape Man (and his wife, who also kicks ass) in top form again. 

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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