Monthly Archives March 2017

What the…? 16

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What the…? 16

What the…? 16

Unlike it’s predecessor six issues back, What The…? 16 is a true holiday issue – including a homage to Halloween 1991 and EC Comics.

The first three stories dedicated to Christmas, each with a borrowed party favor from season’s past. First is Ock Around the Christmas Tree with Scott Lobdell penning the lyrical passage and Marie Severin adding enthusiastic pencils.

Sholly Fisch’s The Grinch Who Swiped Chanukah is a romp for both the sons of David and Gentiles with a healthy nod to Bill Finger for those who look close.

Someone to Watch Over Me by Barry Dutter and Keith Wilson reads like an extended Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip.

Finally, Aaron Lopresti pulls a hat trick with writing, penciling and inking chores in …Are You Man Enough to Enter the House of Misery, an unapologetic homage to the EC horrors before the CCA came to power. It also marks the return of Forbish Man and a blatant raid on DC’s horror hosts. Maybe the gem of the book and that’s saying something.

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Batman and Robin Adventures 3

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Batman and Robin Adventures 3

Batman and Robin Adventures 3

Paul Dini takes the new title for a holiday spin early on with the Riddler playing the Grinch who tries to steal Christmas from the well-to-do of Gotham by crashing an exclusive Christmas Eve festival at the Peregrinator Club.

When Batman the Animated Series first aired no one realized it would become, arguably, the best Dark Knight cartoon with only Brave and the Bold challenging the series. Later it would incorporate the Boy Wonder toward the end of the original run and later offer an even younger version with The New Batman Adventures.

With each incarnation the comic book would mirror its televised counterpart. The Batman and Robin Adventures are the four-color feature of The New Batman Adventures.

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Amazing Spider-Man 166

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Amazing Spider-Man 166

Amazing Spider-Man 166

When the blurb on the cover reads, “It’s a Holiday Holocaust,” ya just know it’s gonna be good…and 1970’s Marvel.

Spider-Man takes on Stegron and the Lizard in this Christmas classic of Jurassic Park proportions.

Okay, that’s the plot, and without any spoilers we know Spidey succeeds ‘cuz he went on to break box office records with multiple movies.

Still, it’s a good tale with just the right amount of Merry Marvel spirit sprinkled throughout. Spider-Man rights the Conner’s Christmas tree after its been overturned, the cover sports some wreaths that frame the action and the supporting cast hold a Christmas Eve party.

The seasonal tone is driven home on the last page as Spidey webs a present for the Conners outside the window not wishing to disturb the revelry inside.

Amazing Spider-Man 166 is a textbook Christmas issue that advances the title without taking time out for a more traditional holiday one-and-done story. One to pick up.

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Lobo’s Paramilitary Christmas Special

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Lobo’s Paramilitary Christmas Special

Lobo’s Paramilitary Christmas Special

It’s doubtful Lobo’s Paramilitary Christmas Special is gonna replace ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun read.

A very fun read.

Keith Giffen provided the inspiration to a reimaged Justice League after Crisis on Infinite Earths with an irreverent blend of behind-the-scenes at Saturday Night and Three Stooges slapstick that captured my attention and heart. It was only fitting he take the secular side of the most holy of holidays and rape the time honored tradition of Santa Claus by posting a price on his head.

No spoilers here, but the only red and green in this issue are the bloody trail to the North Pole and money readers happily plunked down for this issue.

Buy it, Fanboy!

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‘Mazing Man Special 2

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‘Mazing Man Special 2

‘Mazing Man Special 2

Okay, I don’t get it. Maybe I need to read more of the series, but just picking up the Winter Special does nothing for me. Yes, there is a festive and snowy cover to catch the eye, but readers first have to traverse four stories to get to “Christmas Open House.”

It’s a catchy little tale that were it a song, you’d probably find your foot tapping absently while the chorus became an earworm. Yet, as I stated above, I know nothing about the characters.

After a quick read through on Wikipedia maybe I should take more interest. Frank “The Dark Knight Returns” Miller is such a fan he even contributed a cover to help the series. Although noted as highly acclaimed there is no annotation for the citation.

Maybe the biggest catch with me is Denton Fox, a writer for BC Comics, who looks like a beagle. That harkens back to Angel and the Ape (look it up) for me. Maybe I should give this title a closer look.

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What the…? 10

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What the…? 10

What the…? 10

Billed as The What The?! X-Mas Special, the book opens with the only Christmas story, a mash up of a twisted Twas the Night Before… and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Of sorts.

It rhymes and has a sappy ending and could be a loose copy of either.

What The…? appears to be a revamping of Marvel’s Not Brand Echh from the late 1960s, a pale imitation of Mad’s earliest incarnation before it became a magazine.

The series has its moments, most notably issue 16, the second holiday issue; but falls short overall.

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Incredible Hulk 378

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Peter David was so underrated as the Hulk’s author print runs would dip when a new artists came on board. Maybe if they had read the book, those in power would’ve known what we knew: pictures are pretty, but without a script, there’s no substance.

David, in his prime, penned issue 378 with a flashback to the Hulk’s grey days on the road with Rick Jones and celebrating the season. No review could be as clever as the issue itself, so take the plunge and invest in maybe the best Hulk v. Rhino story available, as they prove, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.”

Incredible Hulk 378

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DC Rebirth Holiday Special

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DC Rebirth Holiday Special

DC Rebirth Holiday Special

DC overshadowed Marvel for 2016 when it came to Christmas specials.

Again, it’s hard to keep up with so many issues and changes as DC has survived three crises, the New 52 and now a “rebirth.” One was the return of Supeman’s son which I haven’t seen since the days of the 100-page spectaculars of the 1970s.

Damian has been around for several years. I hafta admit I was not a fan when Grant Morrison first introduced him, but have grown fond of the boy since the New 52. So, when DC gave them a touching team up with their super fathers, I didn’t have a problem.

My favorite of the whole book was the Batman-Detective Chimp team up.

Detective Chimp is my DC’s Howard the Duck; I love the character. Other than a brief resurgence of the 2007 crisis, Bobo has been an underused character. So, it was very satisfying to see him return. The rapport between him and Alfred is priceless.
My second favorite story would hafta be the Flash. Not only is there a return of his Rogues Gallery, but it’s a heartfelt bedtime story.

This is the best DC holiday special in years. Even at $10. I’ve read it cover-to-cover twice and have no complaints.

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Uncanny X-Men 143

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Uncanny X-Men 143

Uncanny X-Men 143

Uncanny X-Men 143 is the final issue of the incredible collaboration between Chris Claremont and John Byrne and a thoughtful Christmas gift to readers.

Yet it’s not a holiday issue beyond the well wishes of a Merry Christmas on the cover and the seasonal backdrop. Even the main character, Kitty Pryde, is Jewish.

What “Demon” is, is an unabashed retelling of Alien with Kitty as Ripley.

That’s not a bad thing.

Claremont even makes reference to “that movie” without mentioning any names as Kitty tries to kill N’gari originally unleashed in Uncanny X-Men 96.

Still, it’s one of my favorites and deserves a spot in any Christmas stocking.

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Marvel Two-In-One 8 and 74

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Marvel Two-In-One 8

Marvel Two-In-One 8

Marvel Two-In-One is a great title.

This is the second Marvel team up book, featuring the other ol’ blue eyes, Ben Grimm the ever lovin’ Thing. Each month Ben was teamed with a flavor of the month, normally one of Marvel’s lesser-known characters from Brother Voodoo to the Impossible Man to Quasar.

As I said, Marvel Two-In-One was a great title; just not it’s two holiday offerings.

The first homage to the happiest of holidays came early on in issue eight guest starring Ghost Rider.

This recreation of immaculate-conception for power purposes is best bought for the cover.

Marvel Two-In-One 74

Marvel Two-In-One 74

Issue 74 offers a promising beginning as the FF and Ben’s longtime girlfriend, Alicia Masters, finish their holiday shopping and ready for the annual Christmas party at the Baxter Building with friends. If the story had just been about the party, it would’ve been more interesting. This could’ve been a very touching Christmas story with Marvel’s first family and friends, but in the mid-1970s readers wanted action.

Again, buy this one for the cover and first few pages.

If you wanna read a good Marvel Two-In-One story, try issues 46, 60, 96 or annual seven. They may not be Christmas stories, but they pack more clobber.

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