August 20, 2014

Super Secret Crisis War: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot
Written by: Kate Leth on the one-shot, Louise Simonson on pages 19 and 20
Drawn by: Troy Little on the one-shot, Derek Charm on pages 19 and 20
Lettered by: Tom B. Long
Published by: IDW Publishing
Published on: 8/20/14
Review by: Wesley Messer

Oh yes, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot was one I’ve looked forward to in Super Secret Crisis War event. This show was a favorite of mine at one point, a demented sense of humor and characters you couldn’t help but love. When I learned this was part of the Super Secret Crisis War, this intrigued me. While only a one-shot story in the midst of the war, still if anything this was going to be a lot of fun. Of course the tricky was if this one-shot was going to have the same energy The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy had. The best part of Super Secret Crisis War was how faithful to the style of each show making it relate to the overall story.  Time to see if The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy isn’t just a strong part of Super Secret Crisis War, but a story that will make the fans of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy happy. Onward to the continuing adventures of Super Secret Crisis War with The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

Story:

In capturing the spirit of the The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and making it work with the Super Secret Crisis War, Kate Leth deserves a round of applause.  Making Super Secret Crisis War fit into the worldview of the show, that impressed me.  The evil robots from the first issue of the Super Secret Crisis War appear in the Grim Adventures World and somehow the robots are merged together. The robots are glitched up, messed up, and hilarity ensues from there.  Everyone from Billy, Mandy, to Grim are all executed perfectly in their roles. Billy wanting the merged robot as his pet was adorable. As the robot started to glitch up more and a explosive chase scene happens, it’s brilliant and hilarious. With Mandy’s cynical tone right in line with the madness around them.

I will say the only part of the story that didn’t entirely work for me was right near the end with Grim’s friend. His style didn’t entirely fit with the worldview of the show and story for me. Overall, Kate Leth captured the spirit of the cartoon outside of the last few pages; this is a near perfect story.  The ending was cute though despite me personally not jiving with the way the story turned out. If the ending would have been a little stronger, this would have been so much cooler. Overall though I had a great time with the one-shot.  Story: 8 out of 10

Art:

Troy Little’s art was great for this one-shot for The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy because just like Kate Leth; he captured the spirit of the show. Troy Little captures the spirit of the show and then some, it doesn’t hurt that I enjoyed the show. Little’s art brought back many great memories for me. His storytelling is strong here. The way Little handled the robots was fun. Leth’s script in words showed how glitched up they were, it was through Little’s art that the full insanity of this situation revealed itself. This is solid art for an overall solid story, outside of the battle scenes in the city, that’s where the art got hit or miss for me as to how the battle was conveyed. I must say though, Little did wonders with Leth’s script and for fans of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, you’re going to love the art here. Art: 9 out of 10

Overall:

It’s not essential to Super Secret Crisis War but wow it’d be a shame to miss reading this one-shot. Even if you aren’t reading Super Secret Crisis War, if you’re a fan of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, you are going to love this. You feel as if this is a lost episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy by the time the comic is over. Weird enough to admit that this is a one-shot that holds up on its own while being a neat part of the story. A clever one-shot that keeps you hooked every step of the way. Nothing more to say outside of read this comic and enjoy yourself.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

To check out the rest of my Super Secret Crisis War coverage thus far, check out the links below and make sure that you haven’t missed a second of this event.

Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War #1

Super Secret Crisis War: Johnny Bravo One-Shot

Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War #2

If you want to see what other comic reviewers thought of this and other comics, check out www.comicbookroundup.com.

 

SSCW: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot – RWG Reviews Super Secret Crisis War: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot Written by: Kate Leth…

August 20, 2014
Shock Power Dragon Express: Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures Episode 1

Shock Power Dragon Express: Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures Episode 1

Practically a clone of the first Pac-Man game.

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August 20, 2014
Super Hero Speak - #68: Con v Con: Dawn of Injustice

Super Hero Speak – #68: Con v Con: Dawn of Injustice

This week Dave, Ben and John sit down and talk about some of the latest comic book news. Batman v Superman moves their release date, they are no longer going to up against Cap 3. Along with that some of the plot points have been leaked. Doctor Strange movie not going to be an origin story. And perhaps the most disturbing recent development, San Diego Comic-Con sue Salt Lake City Comic Con over…

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August 19, 2014
RBDHB Chris Burnham Interview BCC 2014

RBDHB Chris Burnham Interview BCC 2014

RBDHB Chris Burnham Interview BCC 2014

Frank was lucky enough to get to interview Chris Burnham at Boston Comic Con 2014. We talk about his work on Batman, his new series Nameless & Jack Kirby.

Check out the audio version of this interview here -

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August 19, 2014

Justice Inc. #1
Written by: Michael Uslan
Illustrated by: Giovanni Timpano
Colored by: Marco Lesko
Main cover by: Alex Ross
Published by: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Reviewed by: Dante Cianni

Having spent part of last weekend at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island, you might say I’m sort of an early 20th century enthusiast (“Meh, see!”). Dynamite’s Justice Inc. should be right up my alley then, drawing upon old school pulp magazine references of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Justice Inc. teams up The Shadow, The Avenger and Doc Savage in a historic cross-over “75 years in the making.” The question remains: Has it been worth the wait?

The Story: Move over Higgs boson! Present-day Doc Savage has set up a lab deep in the Himalayas with an atom collider aimed at discovering the Wells particle – “Literally, it’s time,” Doc says, explaining it’s the next step in our evolution. Inevitably the experiment goes awry, creating a time wormhole that sucks in a nearby passenger plane. Doc dives into the wormhole to save the bystanders, but they are teleported to New York City, 1939. Confusion ensues as young Benson (The Avenger) and The Shadow meet the older Doc Savage.

If I could isolate the Wells particle, I’d go back in time and read an original pulp magazine. Or I’d stop time so that I could comprehend everything going on here. There’s entirely too much going on in these 26 pages. Too many tangents, too many characters…it’s easy to get lost. And the dialogue is painfully melodramatic, that I have no desire to go back, re-read, and synthesize all the parts. However, I love the idea of the Wells particle and atom collider – much more believable than just, “Hey, I built a time machine!” However, the book is lacking an effortless flow. Story: 5 out of 10


The Art
: Sometimes artwork can save a story, but here it just makes it more confusing. Characters are shown speaking with their backs turned, making them indistinguishable. The panel layouts have been played around with, which can sometimes enhance the story line or dramatize a moment; here, they make the dialogue hard to follow, further confusing the reader. The art has the look and feel of updated pulp art, which I can appreciate. Art: 6 out of 10


Overall
: The concept here is solid – it’s a throwback while still being original. Unfortunately, everything is lost in the execution. Fans of the old pulp magazines might be able to jump in and appreciate the cross-over aspect of these characters coming together; but I don’t think there’s much for new readers to latch onto. Overall: 5.5 out of 10

Want to see what other people are saying about this book?  Check out our friends at http://www.comicbookroundup.com!

Justice Inc. #1 – RWG Review Justice Inc. #1 Written by: Michael Uslan Illustrated by: Giovanni Timpano Colored by: Marco Lesko Main cover by: …

August 19, 2014
Life Leave Me Alone Ep. 51: I Went To Ferguson

Life Leave Me Alone Ep. 51: I Went To Ferguson

Episode 51

I (Matt) found myself in St. Louis for a business trip and staying in a hotel staffed nearly entirely by Ferguson residents. Eventually I ended up right at the McDonald’s and Ferguson Market where, as of the writing of this post, much violence has occurred.

I didn’t see any tanks or tear gas as I was there during the middle of the day and things were comparatively tame.

I’m not a…

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August 19, 2014
Who’s Who of Frank Miller’s Sin City – Gail and Miho

Who’s Who of Frank Miller’s Sin City – Gail and Miho

SC_GailHello comic book and movie fans! If you’re anything like me, after seeing what a bang-up job Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez did in recreating the Sin City universe with it’s first cinematic release back in 2005, you’ve been patiently anticipating its fateful return to the big screen. Well, a couple years ago, someone must have sold a few dozen souls, as Sin City 2 was greenlit for production.…

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August 19, 2014
Shock Power Dragon Express: Wheel of Fortune Episode 1

Shock Power Dragon Express: Wheel of Fortune Episode 1

Pat Sajak doesn’t exist.

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August 19, 2014

Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #1

Publisher: Dynamite

Writer: Tony Lee

Artist: Aneke

Review by: Ben Penfold-Marwick

‘Steampunk’ is a genre you may have missed that involves steam-powered technology in a science fiction setting, generally in the past. Do you remember that terrible, huge spider thing in Will Smith’s Wild, Wild West? Steampunk. Have you ever seen a woman in cosplay that involves a corset and goggles? Steampunk.

“I may not be aware of steampunk”, you say (I bet you’re lying), “but I know all about Battlestar Galactica. That show was frakking awesome!” I am one of the few people in my circle of friends who didn’t get into the 2004 take on Galactica and found it all a bit self-serious and boring. I know, I know. You all think I should give back my “geek cred” card and stay off the internet for the rest of my natural born life, but I am a huge fan of the original 1978 series that the new, snazzy one is based on. You know, the one you probably turned off when you realised there were no attractive women in it and saw that the Cylons looked like silver, overweight Stormtroopers? Yeah, can I have my card back now? Thanks.

Anyway, long introduction aside, this new series from Dynamite has decided to tell a steampunk version of the original Galactica tale, where Starbuck is a dude. This is possibly going to be the nerdiest comic book I’ve ever read, with the most narrow target audience possible. There’s only one way to find out…

Story: Steam powered, gigantic cylons are destroying Caprica, like the giants in the popular anime Attack on Titan. Some grapples can take them down, kinda like the grapples used in….. Attack on Titan, but the cylons prove too much and destroy the city. The tech is all bubbleships, steel and wood. The characters you know and love are all here, but they’ve been steamified. Baltar has a glass dome over his head. Athena is wearing a revealing corset and a burlesque-style tiny pilot’s hat. There is no hook in for the drama here. It’s just fun to see how everything has been changed from the original. Credit to Lee; if you’re a sucker for steampunk and original Battlestar, this is by no means a badly told comic book story. It’s just not really written for anyone else to jump on board. Story score: 5 out of 10.

Art: It was cool to see giant, old-school style cylons attacking Caprica, but there is nothing spectacular about the art here. That said, the costume designs are cool and it would not surprise me if Steampunk Battlestar Galactica cosplay starts popping up very soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if cosplayers buy this book for the costume designs alone, so props for that.Art score: 6 out of 10.

Overall: This is definitely inaccessible to the majority of readers out there, but who the hell is going to pick up a comic book called Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 if they don’t love both steampunk and Galactica? Anyone who has the urge to read this will find some fun, but for the rest of us, this is another cultural oddity that we’ll only remember to reference in passing jokes to fellow comic book geeks. Final score: 5.5 out of 10.

Want to see what those ‘other’ comic book websites thought about this comic?  Check out comicbookroundup.com for a full scoring breakdown!

Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #1 Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #1 Publisher: Dynamite Writer: Tony Lee Artist: Aneke Review by: Ben Penfold-Marwick…

August 19, 2014

The Fade Out #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colors:  Elizabeth Breitweiser
Publisher: Image Comics

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are a creative duo that rarely disappoint.  Over the years they’ve set the standard for crime noir series bringing a gum-shoe sensibility that’s kept the spirit of the genre alive.  One only needs to glance the breadth of their previous works together to see that when it comes to telling stories about hardboiled yet heroic gangsters they’ve created the definitive playbook.  From Sleeper to Criminal to Incognito and most recently Fatale, fans eagerly await each new creative collaboration with open wallets.  No wonder then that Image Comics, in a bold move announced back at January’s Image Expo, signed Brubaker and Phillips to a five-year deal to create new stories with carte blanche creative decision-making power.  It’s an unusual step in comics publishing which only further solidifies the reputation and level of quality that they’ve been able to deliver with each new series.  With expectations at near sky-high levels, we turn to The Fade Out #1 and the latest glimpse in the seedy underworld of the 1940’s.

Story:  The Fade Out tells its story through setting and historical reference as much as plot.  Set in the post-war era immediately following World War II this first issue tells the story of an up-and-coming Starlet’s murder in Hollywood and the fallout immediately surrounding her death.  Its a world of movie stars and hangers-on, gangsters and police.  Each plays their part in creating a rich backdrop in which this story unfolds through hazy memories of late nights and early morning hangovers.  Brubaker’s main character this time around isn’t someone who feels particularly heroic.  The reader’s porthole into this world is Charlie Parish, a part-time screen writer and reprobate, quite simply an ordinary man whose life is changed forever when he wakes up next to the body of Valerie Sommers.  But when her murder is covered-up as a suicide, Charlie’s life quickly spirals into danger and the driving need to uncover the truth.  Plagued with guilt for his part in the death of Sommers, Charlie takes another drink and fades mysteriously between the past and present.

Brubaker captures the zeitgeist of the era – immediately conveying the sense of both optimism and weariness the accompanied life in the post-war world.  As this tale takes place in Hollywood there is always the juxtaposition of glamour and despair.  The Fade Out #1 exists simultaneously in two worlds, one shiny and bright, reflective of America’s promise in this new era, and one much darker yet more familiar; a reminder that violence never really truly leaves this world.   Brubaker is a master at creating these kind’s of worlds at this point.  While his last creation blended Lovecraftian horror and mystery, this series appears to be grounded much more firmly in reality.  In that sense it’s a return to form similar to his work on the Criminal collection.  The story doesn’t need superheroes or anything to distract from the murder mystery driving the plot forward.  It’s an enjoyable and engaging first issue which unfolds like the first twenty-minutes of a noir film.  While it’s too soon to really form an opinion on where this story may be headed, it’s clear that Brubaker is telling the story he wants to tell without anyone over his shoulder, and for fans of his work that alone should be exciting.  Story:  1o out of 10.  

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 5.33.48 AMArt:  Phillips makes the post-war era come alive with his accurate and detailed depiction’s of early 1950’s life.  In that sense he’s as much of a storyteller as Brubaker – his art transforms the mundane in something right out of a memory from another era.  From classic cars right down to the typewriters used in the movie studio, Phillips has spared no detail in providing a picture-perfect recreation of the period.  His attention to detail envelops the reader and seamlessly creates a world of crime, classic cars, and beautiful strangers.  This era has its share of glitz and you feel as if the Rat Pack would be right at home in the backgrounds spread across the page.  That’s not the say Phillips creates nothing but pretty pictures.  His depictions of violence are often understated but imply a greater violence.  When the first victim of the series is discovered (to the shock and horror of the series lead Charlie Parish) the violence surrounding her passing is displayed with a subtle touch that leaves the reader slightly unnerved.  Elizabeth Breitweiser does her part in enhancing the tone and feel of the story to make it feel as if it is right out of the film noir era.  With a first issue that takes place at all hours of the night and early morning, it’s always immediately apparent where the story is taking place in the timeline of events.  With a story so reliant on flashbacks the color contribution helps chart a series of visual markers which keep the reader on track in the story.  Excellent art, beautiful colors.  A pleasure to pour over small details on every page.  Art:  10 out of 10.

Overall:  Rarely does a creative team mesh together so perfectly to tell a story.  Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are a rare team-up of talent and drive the story-telling possibilities of comics to an entirely new level.  Their stories are challenging and grip the reader as they unfold.  The Fade Out will occupy a special section in my collection next to Stray Bullets and other excellent examples of crime-drama storytelling.  It’s a period piece that unfolds itself with brutal honesty.  Both the beauty and the horror of this world are on full display.  Reading this story feels almost a bit voyeuristic, as if you are peering through a peephole into the private lives of a rich and corrupt society.  Rarely does a comic deliver on such high expectations.  The Fade Out #1 delivers.   Overall:  10 out of 10.  

The Fade Out #1 – RWG Reviews The Fade Out #1 Writer: Ed Brubaker Artist: Sean Phillips Colors:  Elizabeth Breitweiser Publisher: Image Comics…

August 19, 2014
Great Caesar’s Ghost - The Infinity Gauntlet vs. The Anti-Life Equation

Great Caesar’s Ghost – The Infinity Gauntlet vs. The Anti-Life Equation

Do not look at the man behind the curtain!  Great Ceasar’s Ghost is the official column of RWG’s Editor-in-Chief J. Reifler.  A weekly glimpse into the mind of a man who makes this page run on time… sometimes.  This week we look at the most powerful artifacts in the universe!  Read on, dear reader, read on!

A simple question:  What is the most powerful object in the universe?  The answer may…

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August 18, 2014
RBDHB - Gail Simone Interview BCC 2014

RBDHB – Gail Simone Interview BCC 2014

RBDHB – Gail Simone Interview BCC 2014

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll know someone among us is a big Gail Simone fan, and he just had to be the one with the mic this time. We talk all about Batgirl, her love of Oracle & her new work on Sensational Comics.

Check out the video version of this interview here-

Check out the audio…

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August 18, 2014
Who’s Who of Frank Miller’s Sin City - Ava Lord

Who’s Who of Frank Miller’s Sin City – Ava Lord

SC_AvaHello comic book and movie fans! If you’re anything like me, after seeing what a bang-up job Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez did in recreating the Sin City universe with it’s first cinematic release back in 2005, you’ve been patiently anticipating its fateful return to the big screen. Well, a couple years ago, someone must have sold a few dozen souls, as Sin City 2 was greenlit for production.…

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August 18, 2014

That’s Not My Galactus!

A weekly column by Benjamin Penfold-Marwick

31 – Mighty Morphin Ninja Turtles

The new iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has hit cinema screens around the world and, by most accounts, it is terrible. While I have yet to see it (we don’t get it in Australia until September 11th because of our school holidays I suspect), I put this to you: there is a much worse version of the ninja turtles franchise that you may have missed, and while the new film may be bad, it’s not this bad.

I’m talking of the 1997-1998 live action television series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. The series only ran for 26 terrible episodes. A friend lent me the DVD of the first six episodes and I spent Sunday morning in bed, remote in hand, watching this hilarious travesty unfold before my eyes. Hard core Ninja Turtles fans may think, ‘How bad can it be?’ Well, let me enlighten you with a few moments that I found entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. This has to be seen to be believed (so click on the helpful links I have provided throughout this week’s column).

The Theme Song

The theme song from the original animated series (1987 – 1996) may be terrible in hindsight, but it is a very much a product of its time. It’s also extremely catchy and the lyrics mostly make sense, although how one “does machines” I’ve never really understood.

The theme song to Next Mutation (which is apparently a different version on the DVD than the original for some reason) sounds like a nasty version of K-Pop put into a cheap blender with Justin Timberlake’s dignity and a Black Eyed Peas cover band. It reeks of un-copyrighted music, the kind you hear in incredibly cheap, straight to video productions. The lyrics sound like they begin with a chorus of “Fun. Fun. Fuuuuuun” followed by a lame, annoying “We’re fantastic. Never panic”. Are we supposed to not panic when we see the freakish robotics on display?

The Freakish Robotics

The outfits of these turtles look fine, but their strange, twitchy mouths and eyes are like something out of an early ‘90s nightmare. It’s like they hired the special effects team that worked on Mac & Me, but they were all drunk and stoned throughout the entire production. I imagine these being animatronics at a seemingly harmless TMNT amusement park, but their faces all melt off and scare the children. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. One look at Splinter’s gaping mouth says it all.

Seriously, while he isn’t speaking, his mouth looks like this, like he’s in a constant state of shock and/or about to eat your 7 year old face off.

The Magic Girl Turtle

A female turtle appears on the scene in the first episode, which the gang decides to call ‘Venus’. She comes from China, so her accent is overly eloquent, like every racist Chinese stereotype should be. She also doesn’t understand Western slang, so we’re frequently treated to ‘jokes’ which are in the same vein of Drax’s inability to understand metaphors, only done badly.

Venus has a light blue mask, because apparently there are no colours that are more dissimilar to the colours the already existing four turtles have, but she also has another distinguishing feature to help the audience differentiate her from the other turtle dudes: shell boobs.

That’s right. Nature, in all its wisdom, decided to give this female turtle little lady lumps in the front, which is enough to make this officially the worst incarnation of them all, but there’s more. Much more.

Venus has magical powers; so much so that she beats Shredder in the second episode with some lightning-looking bullshit, while a room full of foot soldiers just watches and does absolutely nothing to stop her. The death of Shredder (yep, death. She sucks all the power out of him so that he looks like a dried up old corpse when she’s done) leaves room for more terrible villains and more terrible make up.

More Terrible Villians

This is Silver, a gangster ape. He’s the last of his kind and he likes to make puns that almost aren’t puns and jokes that definitely aren’t jokes. He also grabbed all the clothes for himself and his crew from the 1990 film Dick Tracy. Perhaps they were auctioned off cheap.

There’s also a ‘dragon’ villain. I use the word ‘dragon’ loosely because he and his sidekick look like Dinosaurs rejects. Maybe this is where all the Timmy’s went?

The Credit Noises

There are sound effects over the opening credits, meaning that while a quiet conversation is happening, there are random “wooshes” and “smacks” going on. It sounds like a fight is happening off screen, but it took me three episodes to realise that it coincided with the cheap, neon green credits where the people who worked on this were brave enough to allow their names to be attached to it.

I can’t finish without mentioning the crossover.

Saban Entertainment were the folks who gave us this painful series. They’re also responsible for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (which I honestly think is a better show). This means that somewhere out there on the internet, or in your scarily extensive VHS collection, there is a crossover episode where the Turtles fight alongside the Rangers. Perhaps this makes the whole thing worth it, but I’d recommend skipping the series and saving all of your zingers and eye-rolls for the crossover special.

The argument still stands: the new, Michael Bay-ified Turtles film is not the worst version of all.

See you next week folks.

Mighty Morphin Ninja Turtles – TNMG #31 That’s Not My Galactus! A weekly column by Benjamin Penfold-Marwick 31 – Mighty Morphin Ninja Turtles…

August 18, 2014
What Are The Consequences Of Mario Kart?

What Are The Consequences Of Mario Kart?

In which our heroes slip on a banana peel and blue shell themselves. It’s Mario’s reign of terror as we try to work out the logistics of organising a go-kart race with your nemesis, your girlfriend who keeps getting kidnapped under your watch, a living fungus and an actual, wild gorilla to name a few.

Jackson looks at things from the perspective of a goomba, Duscher brings forth Mario’s clear…

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