Friday, May 27, 2011

Comic Reviews 5/27/11

Here In Bongo Congo

Good King Leonardo has decreed that we review this week the latest issues of two current D.C. and Marvel crossover event series, as well as another Marvel comic book. So let's see how these issues stack-up against each other:

Flashpoint #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Geoff Johns: Writer
Andy Kubert: Pencils
Sandra Hope: Inks
Alex Sinclair: Colors

DC Comics recently published issue #1 of its Flashpoint event series. The core of the Flashpoint event is a five-issue mini-series, with many more issues being published in a lengthy crossover list throughout the summer. The series stars The Flash/Barry Allen, in a story concept in which Allen is the only person who realizes that most of the basic concepts of the established DC universe have mysteriously altered. The five-issue mini-series is scripted by veteran writer Geoff Johns with pencils by Andy Kubert, inks by Sandra Hope and colors by Alex Sinclair.

Issue #1 of Flashpoint jumps right to the heart of this story concept. Barry Allen wakes-up from a nap in his crimelab and discovers that the entire DC universe has been radically altered. The story features two sub-plots. In the first storythread, this altered reality in the midst of a devastating world war, as Wonder Woman and Aquaman lead their respective kingdoms against mankind, already resulting in millions of deaths and threatened human extinction. The second storythread introduces the altered nature of DC's stable of superheroes, as a large group of heroes gather to try and convince a vicious vigilante version of Batman to lead them against Wonder Woman and Aquaman to save mankind. This premiere Flashpoint issue ends in a dramatic cliffhanger, as Barry Allen confronts Batman in his own effort to convince the Caped Crusader that reality has been horribly altered.

Issue #1 kicks this series off to a wonderfully entertaining start, in three respects. First, A-list veteran writer Geoff Johns is at the very top of his writing game here, excelling with both the general plot concept and the small narrative and story details. We're treated to a wide range of extremely entertaining alternate reality DC universe details, including both significant alterations of well-known DC superheroes and the introduction of some brand-new heroes and villains in this altered reality. Secondly, the concept of Barry Allen as the featured series star works very well; Johns portrays The Flash's new situation very credibly and mixes-in some personal changes to Barry's life that are emotionally moving. Third, and perhaps best of all is the cliffhanger reveal of the altered Batman's secret identity. I wouldn't dare spoil the surprise for readers beyond noting that its a very entertaining idea of featuring this particular person as donning the Caped Crusader costume, one that I'm surprised hasn't been featured before (as far as I know) somewhere in a Batman title.

So while it does look worthwhile at this point for committing to the many comic book issues that will be published within the full Flashpoint event, at the very least, I enthusiastically recommend that The Good DC Reader check-out the core five-issue Flashpoint mini-series.

Invincible Iron Man #504
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Matt Fraction: Writer
Salvador Larroca: Art
Frank D'Armata: Colors

Marvel's new "Fear Itself" event series continues with several new crossover title issues, including this past week's publication of Iron Man #504. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my review of the Fear Itself Prologue issue, the storyline features the arrival on Earth of the God of Fear, a supervillain who has the power to use various superheroes fears against them. Thor and Captain America are featured the most in this series. This Iron Man issue in the series is written by Matt Fraction with art by Salvador Larroca and colors by Frank D'Armata.

The story segment is entitled "City Of Light, City Of Stone." An inside-the-front-cover narrative explains that the God of Fear has caused seven devastating weapons to rain down on Earth. This issue focuses on Iron Man's investigation of the weapon which has crashed into Paris, France. Upon his arrival he finds that the entire city population has been turned to stone, with a bizarre creature resembling The Grey Gargoyle having caused the problem. A battle between the pair ensues with the creature knocking Iron Man/Tony Stark unconscious. By issue's end, Iron Man awakens to find even more devastation occuring amidst piles of shattered former humans/statues.

While overall this issue gets a positive review recommendation, I had mixed feelings regarding some aspects of the story. On the plus side, the tale is very well-written and presented in excellent graphic style. I enjoyed both the main plot concept as well as a sub-plot that featured a continuation of the well-known emotional tension between Tony Stark and his attractive sidekick Pepper Potts. However, in balance to the good stuff are some very creepy scenes of thousands of former humans being shattered into granite pieces as our hero and the alien gargoyle creature battle throughout Paris. While the narrative acknowledges that even Iron Man is freaked over this destruction, it just lent a unusually intense and creepy pall to the tale.

But I can understand that this type of story element might require such heaviness to best present a tale of world-shattering events unfolding on a planet-wide scale. So as long as you're in the mood for a well-presented tale with some dark end-of-the-world elements to it, then by all means take this comic book out for a reading spin.

Heroes For Hire #7
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning: Writers
Tim Seeley: Art
Jay David Ramos: Colors

Marvel Comics has just published issue #7 in the "Heroes For Hire" title. The idea here is similar to DC's Oracle storyline. Instead of Barbara Gordon/The Oracle, we have bionic-arm detective Misty Knight running a mercenary superhero agency, in this case coordinating from her mission control center superheros Paladin and Spider-Man who are doing the dirty fieldwork. The current storyline is written by the team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by Tim Seeley and colors by Jay David Ramos.

Issue #7 is part 2 of a multi-issue story arc entitled "Neighborhood." The main storyline is Spider-Man action-oriented. Spidey gets caught by the bad guys while tracking through New York City a shipment of lethal narcotics that originated in the underwater realm of Atlantis. Parallel sub-plots feature Misty Knight coordinating efforts from her control room, as well as Paladin trying to get back into the action after getting clocked by bad guy Bat Roc in last month's issue. This story segment comes to a climax as Paladin and Spider-Man come to realize that there's an even bigger conspiracy going-on than the Atlantean drug situation, confirmed by the arrival on the scene of a well-known Spider-Man supervillain.

I enjoyed this comic book very much for a few reasons. First, after reading the two heavy-duty mega-event comics reviewed above, it was very cleansing to kick-back and read a standard, bad guys-versus-good guys Marvel Universe comic book in which the entire world wasn't off of its collective rocker. Secondly, this unusual trio of seemingly incompatible heroes actually meshed together very well as the story progressed. I also enjoyed very much a sharp and witty sub-plot in which Paladin takes a cab ride and has to converse with his New York cabdriver about the reality of being a C-List superhero, at best.

So for a just plain fun and interesting Marvel story universe superhero comic book read, by all means check-out this latest issue of Heroes For Hire. I liked it enough to eventually go back and check-out the previous six issues available at That's Entertainment.

Current Contest Announcement!!!

For the second superhero-themed contest in a row we have no contest entrants. Our latest challenge was for you to submit your positive or negative opinion regarding the new Marvel "Fear Itself" crossover event series. So we'll just move-on in the new contest below to a non-comic book trivia challenge.

New Contest Announcement!!!

Here's a simple but interesting trivia contest. E-mail us at with the answer to the following trivia question: What is the number-one most popular fruit eaten in America these days? As always, in the event of multiple correct answers, we'll select our winner of the $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainmnet via a roll of the dice.

Have a great comic book reading week and we'll see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Comic Reviews 5/20/11

Here In Bongo Congo
Good King Leonardo has decreed that its once again Women In Comic Books Week here in Bongo Congo. So let's see how the following three comic books starring strong female characters stack-up against each other:
The New York Five
Publisher: D.C. Vertigo Comics
Brian Wood: Writer
Ryan Kelly: Art

DC's Vertigo imprint of comic books has just completed publishing a 4-issue limited mini-series entitled "The New York Five." The series is a sequel to "The New York Four" mini-series, which followed the first semester experiences of four female college freshmen attending New York University. Both series are the creation of writer Brian Wood and artist Ryan Kelly. Wood is renowned for writing very character-driven comic book and graphic novel tales that have a strong short story fiction feel, in collaboration with Kelly, who produces the tales in a striking and effective back-and-white format. As all four issues are still available on the That's Entertainmnent new issues shelves, I decided to review issue #1 in the just completed limited series, in order to get a feel for the storyline from the very beginning.

The issue #1 storyline is entitled "Mistaken For Strangers" and reintroduces the four freshmen roommates (Riley, Lona, Merissa and Ren) as they reassemble in their apartment at the start of their freshman year second semester. The plot proceeds by introducing each of the four's current personal dilemmas, in two storythreads. In one plotline, each girl participates in a college therapy session, unloading their current personal dramas on the therapist. In a lengthier storythread, the actual events that they explain in therapy are portrayed. Without being a story spoiler, the issues range from Riley having drama with her estranged sister and her sister's sleazy boyfriend, Merissa having family issues, Ren dating guys too old for her and Lona behaving as a complete psychotic nutball by planning some unknown scary revenge against a professor for daring to give her a B instead of an A for a course grade.

I'm giving this comic book a qualified mixed-bag review. I think the plotline is very well-written, but its a very specialized type of story that I think is only of interest to a limited reader demographic, namely, high school and college age women, for two reasons. First, its extremely soap opera in plot style and secondly, there are no main or support characters present in this series outside of the college girl age range. As an aging fanboy, I felt like an outsider reading this plotline, a feeling that outweighed any sense of entertainment and which I suspect any reader outside of the high-school/college female readership pool would also experience. But as a reviewer, its always fun to check-out the latest comic title produced by Wood and Kelly, just to see what this extremely talented creative team are currently up to. So again, I'm giving a well-deserved thumbs-up recommendation for the high school/college age fangirl base to check-out this title, combined with a recommendation for the rest of the good comic book readership pool to pass on this very specialized story theme.

The Spirit #13
Publisher: D.C. Comics
David Hine: Writer
Moritat: Art
Gabe Bautista: Colors

The current title run of Will Eisner's The Spirit is up to issue #13. This particular Spirit series is published by DC Comics as part of its First Wave series, a group of interconnected titles featuring pulp heroes such as Doc Savage along with several golden age comic book figures, such as Denny Colt a.k.a. Central City's favorite masked noir detective The Spirit. The series is currently scripted by David Hine with art by Moritat and colors by Gabe Bautista.

Issue #13 is the third and final installment of a multi-issue story arc entitled "The Clockwork Killer." A page one narrative updates the reader on the story to-date, in which a New York gangster named Shonder Zeev is trying to muscle-in on the established Central City crime families. In the issue #13 story segment, Zeev hires a weird elderly hitman named The Professor to kill Police Commissioner Dolan. Instead, The Professor falls for Dolan's daughter Ellen (also The Spirit's girlfriend), building an Ellen look-alike robot and kidnapping Ellen in a bizarre scheme to help him program the robot to be like her. Hijinks ensue as the kidnapping and the out-of-town crime boss invasion come together by issue's end in a mutual conclusion.

While I'm a fanatical follower of The Spirit and have a soft place in my comic book reading heart for all things Spirit, even a more objective reader would conclude that this is a high quality and very entertaining Spirit tale. The story itself is fresh and fun, with lots of unexpected twists and turns. Writer David Hine pitches just the right balance of noir detective thriller and light humor that Spirit creator Will Eisner originally mixed into this comic book franchise, resulting in acclaim for this classic golden age comic book figure.

But in line with our "Women In Comic Books" theme of this week's review column, the best feature of issue #13 is the central and starring role of Ellen Dolan in this storyline. Always portrayed as a strong personality with an independent streak of resourcefulness, writer Hine adds just the right dash of humor and glamour girl glitz to the 1940's retro Ellen, updating her into a very entertaining character who starts as kidnap victim and evolves into saving both herself and the overall story situation in a very entertaining manner. And a special hats-off is due to the art team for giving us a great visual interpretation of Ellen with a fantastic range of comedic facial expressions.

So add Ellen Dolan and her sidekick's in this story, including The Spirit, to your ever-growing new comics reading pile!

Warlord Of Mars: Dejah Thoris #1
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Arvid Nelson: Writer
Carlos Rafael: Art
Carlos Lopez: Colors

Dynamite Comics is currently publishing a few comics exploring the science fiction world of Edgar Rice Burroughs's classic novel "John Carter, Warlord Of Mars." In honor of this week's Women In Comics Books review theme, I decided to review issue #1 of the title that stars Dejah Thoris, Carter's Martian Princess girlfriend from the series of novels. The comic book is scripted by Arvid Nelson with art by Carlos Rafael and colors by Carlos Lopez. That's Entertainment actually has copies of the first three issues in this new title on the new issues shelves in the store.

An inside-the-front-cover narrative informs the reader that the setting of this tale is 437 years before Carter's adventures on Mars, or "Barsoom" as the natives call it. The never-aging Princess Thoris is smack in the middle of a civil war between the cities of Lesser and Greater Helium. Without spoiling interesting plot details, in general terms this is a tale of political intrigue between warring parties. In the midst of the war, a higher Martian royal official mandates a truce and orders that Princess Thoris marry his son. By issue's end, all parties figure-out that the shotgun wedding idea is a trick by which the greater royal powers on Mars hope to conquer both feudal cities for their own purposes. The issue ends in a double dramatic bridge to issue #2, as fighting breaks-out against the royal schemers and an alien surprise is discovered buried deep beneath Helium.

I was prepared for this comic to be light on plot and heavy on action, and as such was pleased to discover that it provides a decent mix of both story elements. In between the royal warring, writer Arvid Nelson loads the script with detailed and intriguing dialogue, as the royal leaders of the two warring cities and the higher royal powers of Barsoom maneuver around and against each other for control and power. Similar to the Ellen Dolan figure in The Spirit comic book reviewed above, we're provided here with a very smart and savvy version of Princess Dejah Thoris, who steps-out from John Carter's shadow and solos on her own as both a story star and a strong political leader of both her royal family and the Martian people.

So a very positive thumbs-up recommendation for this new comic book addition to the wide-ranging Warlord Of Mars science fiction franchise. I plan on continuing to read this series, starting with issues #2 and #3 available right now at That's Entertainment and continuing on with future monthly issues of this comic book title.

Current Contest Results!!!
Surprisingly, the Bongo Congo panel of contest judges did not receive any entries to our current contest, which challenged you to tell us what your favorite three Free Comic Book Day comics were and why you liked them so much. So we'll move-on with our new contest below.

New Contest Announcement!!!
As all good fanboys and fangirls know, the newest Marvel Comics cross-over mega-event series is the "Fear Itself" series, featuring the God Of Fear, a supervillain who uses superheroes's worst fears against them. We gave a positive review a few weeks ago to the Prologue one-shot issue that kicked-off this new crossover event.

By now, readers have had a chance to start reading some of the many comics in this series. As such, your contest challenge this week is to e-mail us at and give us your opinion as to why you either like or dislike this series. The selected winning entry will receive the first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment.

That's all for now, so try to dry-off from all of this past week's rain by having a great comic book reading week and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Comic Reviews 5/13/11

Here In Bongo Congo

Good King Leonardo enjoyed so much last Saturday's free comic books distributed at That's Entertainment in honor of National Free Comic Book Day, that he's decreed that we review three of them for you this week. So let's see what these freebie gems are all about:

Atomic Robo
Free Comic Book Day Issue
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Brian Clevinger: Writer
Scott Wegener: Art
Ronda Pattison: Colors

One of the most popular giveways nationwide last week was the special Free Comic Book Day issue of Atomic Robo. I've previously reviewed a few issues of the monthly title, which features the science and action adventures of the endearing man-child robot created back in the 1920's by scientist Nicola Tesla, real-life scientific rival of Thomas Edison. In five story arcs totaling 25 issues to-date, our atomic hero has been featured in five different historic periods between the 1920's and modern times, battling interdimensional vampires, H.G. Well-type monsters, the wacky and wonderful Doctor Dinosaur and of course, a bad-guy fictional version of Thomas Edison. The title is scripted by Brian Clevinger with art by Scott Wegener and colors by Ronda Pattison.

The story setting of the Free Comic Book Day issue is appropriately May 7, 2011, of course; as soon as Atomic Robo arrives as the celebrity judge at an elementary school science fair in Boston, highjinks ensue as that crazy Doctor Dinosaur arrives on the scene and attempts to steal a fourth grader's science fair project. Turns-out fourth grader Emma Armstrong is the descendent of one of Robo's genious buddies from one of the earlier historic story arcs and as such her project has major scientific merit. Without providing any spoiler details, Robo, Emma and pals battle with their nutbag dinosaur enemy over the project artifact with hilarious results. The story wraps-up with a one-page conclusion set ten years in the future on August 12, 2021.

I doubt if there's a humorous comic book that sells-out quicker each month in comic book shops nation-wide than Atomic Robo, and with good reason. The mixture of charming humor and personality in Robo, combined with the historical period story arc elements of the ongoing, multi-decade Tesla-Edison conflict, make this one of the most entertaining comic books available in today's comic publishing industry. The Free Comic Book Day issue smartly follows in the footsteps of a similar freebie from a few years ago, also featuring the immensely nutty and funny Doctor Dinosaur. So a very enthusiastic thumbs-up recommendation to check-out this freebie if still available and also read the monthly issues of this title, available both on the new issues shelves and in the back issue bins at That's Entertainment.

As a final review note, the Atomic Robo free issue also features two brief stories introducing a pair of new Red 5 Comics titles, an 1840's gold rush adventure series entitled "Foster Broussard" and a 1950's pulp title set in New York City entitled "Moon Girl". While Foster Broussard looks interesting, Moon Girl is an amazing art deco pulp adventure knock-out. We'll review an issue of each of these new titles as soon as possible in upcoming editions of Here In Bongo Congo.

Super Dinosaur: Origin Special #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Robert Kirkman: Writer
Jason Howard: Art and Colors

Image Comics has launched via a Free Comic Book Day origin issue a new monthly comic book entitled "Super Dinosaur." The new title is written by Robert Kirkman with art and colors by Jason Howard.

Most of the issue #1 plot is a flashback tale, in which 11-year-old Derek Dynamo summarizes to two young friends how his scientist father, along with his Dad's partner Max Maximus, discovered a secret dinosaur world at the Earth's core. The pair bring back a Tyrannosaurus Rex egg, genetically altering the eventual hatchling to be a boy-sized, fully intelligent T-Rex named (of course!) Super Dinosaur. There are two detailed sub-plots throughout the flashback. In the first, the two scientists have a falling-out, with lots of battle action between the good Dynamo family/Super Dinosaur versus the bad guy Maximus and his band of villainous dinosaurs. The second plotline details the invention and upgrading of a complex set of robot arms and weaponry that Super Dinosaur wears and manipulates with his tiny dino arms in order to function like a regular person.

This is an extremely cute and fresh take on the common "dinosaurs at the center of the Earth" story concept, which as all comic book fans know pops-up frequently in the comic publishing world. The many characters, both good and evil, are richly detailed and the story concept succeeds on both kid and adult-reader levels. The one oddity here is the unbelievably detailed backstory that's presented in this kick-off issue. The issue is structured as an origin summary, creating an immense, richly detailed story universe for all of these folks in one quick 14-page shot.

Normally, this level of back-story depth and multiple plot concepts, along with the very detailed character bios in the back of the book, unfold over the course of at least a year's worth of comic books in a title. The result is a nagging feeling that we've missed about a year's worth of Super Dinosaur stories and are just being briefed on this title with a special origin summary issue. For me, the effect was disorienting and I don't understand why the creative team didn't just take a deep breath and calmly let this story universe unfold on a monthly basis, versus plopping it all down on our reading plate in one huge glob of detail. But I doubt that this is an issue for kids, who are most likely the main audience for this very entertaining new title. So an overall positive thumbs-up recommendation for kids and adults alike to have some reading fun with Super Dinosaur!

Captain America and Thor, The Mighty Fighting Avengers
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Roger Langridge: Writer
Chris Samnee: Art
Matthew Wilson: Colors

Marvel Comics has contributed to this year's Free Comic Book Day with a free new issue of the recently completed, eight-issue Thor, The Mighty Avenger mini-series. For the uninitiated, this was an acclaimed mini-series providing a unique perspective of Thor as a young, innocent hero living in Middle America. Both the series and this free issue are the creation of writer Rodger Landgridge and artist Chris Samnee, with colors provided by Matthew Wilson.

Our free story is entitled "Once And Future Avengers!" and is a fresh prequel interpretation of the first meeting between Thor and Captain America. In this version, the World War II Cap and the present-day Thor each touch a magic cup in their respective eras, which transports both to Arthurian Camelot. Without being a plot spoiler, the pair team-up to have a Camelot adventure that involves King Arthur, Merlin and of course, Thor's mischevious half-brother Loki. Our free issue tale concludes with both heroes returning to their respective eras wondering if they'll ever meet again.

This freebie giveaway is an unexpected treat for the many fans of the recently-concluded Thor, The Mighty Avenger limited-issue series, for at least three reasons. First and foremost is the return of the charming and unique personality that writer Landgridge applies to Thor, which he also extends to Captain America in this series. Secondly, the dialogue provides a perfect element of droll humor for the characters; its especially fun to read this version of Loki, who speaks more like an I-phone equipped mall shopper than the classic prince of all badness. And third, we're treated once again to the art team's unique and beautiful graphic style. I paerticularly loved the retro deign applied to Captain America's costume, adding yet another nice version to the many Cap uniforms presented over the years.

If you're already a fan of the Thor, The Mighty Avenger series, then by all means add this issue to your reading pile. And if you're a newcomer to the series, then I'd suggest moving-on from this free issue to read either the original mini-series issues or purchase the graphic novel reprint of the series, both available at That's Entertainment.

Ongoing Contest Reminder!!!

As of this writing date, we haven't received any entries to our ongoing contest, which challenges you to e-mail us at and tell us what are your three favorite comic books from among this year's Free Comic Book Day giveaways and why you like your selections so much. There's a $10.00 first prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment just waiting for a winner, so e-mail us your contest submission no later than noontime on Wednesday, May 18!

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

Friday, May 6, 2011

comic reviews 5/6/11

Here In Bongo Congo

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 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!!!