Friday, June 21, 2013

Comic Reviews 6/21/13

Good King Leonardo found lots of good month-of-June stuff on the That's Entertainment new issues shelves, so we'll get right to it in a moment and see how this week's four picks stack-up against each other. 
Adventures Of Superman #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Various Writers and Artists

     DC Comics has just added a new Superman comic book to its large Man Of Steel title inventory.  Entitled "Adventures Of Superman," three short Superman tales are featured in the premier issue, each produced by a different creative team.  This is an anthology-style title featuring monthly short stories that each take place in their own right, outside of the ongoing continuity of "The New 52" DC storyverse events.

     The lead tale is entitled "Violent Minds" and is scripted by Jeff Parker with art by A-lister Chris Samnee.  Its a fast-action tale in which Superman responds to the crime scene of a known Metropolis drug addict who's running amok, high on a new street drug which gives him super-strength powers.  After our hero confronts the addict with mixed-successful results, the well-known Superman Family villain who is responsible for the situation is revealed to the reader.  "Fortress" is the second tale, both written and drawn by Jeff Lemire.  It's a Middle America tale of two boys who creatively use their imagination to play various versions of "Superman versus the Supervillain," with warm-hearted and cute portrayals as a commentary on the power of imagination.  The third and final tale is entitled "Bizzaro's Worst Day," and naturally stars the opposite-world Superman clone Bizarro.  It follows the standard Bizarro story concept of the real and Bizarro Supermen confronting each other, until the Man of Steel uses the expected reverse psychology to get his damaged counterpart to behave appropriately.

     I enjoyed this variety-pack of short Superman tales very much.  The stories are presented in descending order of quality.  "Violent Minds" is a high-quality and very entertaining tale that meets the high expectations for a Chris Samnee story.  It has the same understated plot charm that Samnee has brought to such previous gems as "Thor, The Mighty Avenger," and beautifully mixes-up fast action, character charm and a neat surprise reveal of the villain's identity.  "Fortress" is a cute story reminiscent of writer Ray Bradbury's well-known tales of kids growing-up in small-town mid-20th century America.  The art is crude but the plot balances-out for some fine entertainment.  The Bizarro tale didn't work for me.  Its not a bad attempt at storytelling; it's just that the convoluted, "speak everything in reverse logic" plot details that are necessary for any Bizarro storyline became so detailed that I practically got a headache and ultimately gave-up trying to follow the logical specifics of what Superman was trying to pitch to his oddball copy.  The story just reinforced my opinion that Bizarro has run his course in the DC pantheon and should be either permanently retired or only wheeled-out to join a new story on very, very rare occasions.

      As a final review comment, while this issue is a lot of fun, DC might want to cut the story inventory back to two tales per issue, in order to give a pair of stories a bit more room to breath with enjoyable script and artwork details.  But whether we see two or three tales per issue, a definite thumbs-up positive review recommendation is deserved for the new Adventures Of Superman comic book title.

Avengers: The Enemy Within #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Kelly Sue DeConnick: Writer
Scott Hepburn: Art
Jordie Bellaire: Colors

     Yet another new addition to Marvel's wide-ranging inventory of Avengers comic books is issue #1 of Avengers: The Enemy Within.  The kick-off issue is part one of a five-issue story arc, the rest of which will continue in upcoming issues #16 and #17 of Avengers Assemble and issues #13 and #14 of Captain Marvel.   The story is scripted by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Scott Hepburn and colors by Jordie Bellaire.

     The plot continues an apparently on-going storyline from another title in which Captain Marvel (the former Ms. Marvel) deals with two issues: first, a growing brain lesion which worsens whenever she uses her powers and secondly, her search through the streets of New York, assisted by Spider-Woman, for an elderly missing friend named Rose.  The two plotthreads come together quickly, as our two heroines discover that Rose has been abducted by an unnamed super-villain; by issue's end, Captain Marvel has damaged herself some more by using her powers to free Rose, while the anonymous bad guy has further advanced his long-term plotting against Captain Marvel.

     I'm giving this issue a negative review recommendation for three reasons.  First-up is the poor scripting.  While the basic story concept is fine, the dialogue is horrendous, with an amateurish feel to the narrative and the character's various behaviors.  I felt as if I was reading the product of a high school kid trying to figure-out how to write a comic book script.  This failure is furthered by a plainly lousy artistic style, with everyone drawn in an annoyingly elongated, funhouse-mirror manner.  Third, this simply isn't an Avengers tale.  Its a Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel story with Spider-Woman thrown-in as a support character, along with a very brief Thor appearance.  While it makes sense that the next four issues leave this Avengers title, none of them should be anywhere near an Avengers-themed comic book title in the first place.  The comic book fails to establish a deserved Avengers identity for this new title, rather than merely serving as a stop along the way for a Captain Marvel tale that's continuing in other titles.  The reader is left with no sense of what this particular take on the Avengers team is all about, as well as no reason to stick around for whatever Marvel Comics chooses to present in next month's issue #2.

     So bottom line, avoid this mish-mash of a poorly-produced new comic book title that's saddled with an identity crisis, and instead check-out one of the many fine other Avengers titles, both old and new, available on the new issues comic book shelves.

Miss Fury #1
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Rob Williams: Writer
Jack Herbert: Art
Ivan Nunes: Colors

     Dynamite Comics recently published issue #1 of the latest incarnation of costumed feline Miss Fury.  The Catwoman-like character began life in a 1940's Golden Age newspaper comic strip and evolved through many versions over the decades.  Paralleling Bruce Wayne/Batman, Miss Fury's secret identity is that of wealthy New York socialite Marla Drake.  Two of the most noteworthy takes on the character were the 1950's Charlton Comics title drawn by veteran artist Dick Giordano and a brief cameo appearance by Miss Fury in Marvel's acclaimed 2008 title "The Twelve."  The latest Miss Fury title is scripted by Rob Williams with art by Jack Herbert and colors by Ivan Nunes.

      Issue #1 interweaves two storylines.  The first sub-plot neatly re-introduces Miss Fury's origin tale.  Via flashback, we learn that on a 1940's African vacation, 21-year-old socialite Marla Drake befriends a native tribe that provides her with a supernatural potion that gives her heightened, cat-like reflexes.  Given her spoiled-rich-girl personality, upon her return to New York our heroine follows the Catwoman route and amuses herself by becoming a costumed cat burgler, prowling the City at night and conducting upscale heists such as diamond thefts.  Our second plothread introduces a science fiction element to the title.  Stumbling upon a pre-World War II Nazi domestic spy cell during her New York nighttime prowling, Miss Fury becomes the victim of a secret Nazi technology that repeatedly richochets her back-and forth between the New York City timeframes of 1943 and 2013.  The issue ends in a dramatic bridge to issue #2, as its revealed to a bewildered Miss Fury that World War II is still being fought in 2013 in the air over the New York City skyline.

     This new comic book title hits a solid homerun in terms of both quality storytelling and entertainment value, in several respects.  A common tough challenge in reviving any Golden Age comic book character is finding the proper balance in the new series between preserving the original character elements and introducing modern-day plotlines and story atmosphere.  The creative team does a fantastic job here of finding the perfect blend of both.  There's a wonderful Art Deco, pre-WWII New York cultural feel to the characters and setting that's infused with just the right amount of 2013-style action-adventure, sex and violence that makes this comic book a must-have read for serious comic readers.

     I'm very intrigued by two elements of the issue #1 story.  The first is the edginess of Marla Drake/Miss Fury's personality.  "Miss Fury" is the perfect name for Marla's secret identity, as by day she's a snotty rich bitch and by night she's a hot-tempered costumed thief with major anger management/violence issues.  It will be fascinating to see how her time-traveling adventure most likely redeems her by rechannelling her anger in the direction of use toward a greater good.  The second tantalizing plot tidbit is the mysterious nature of her ping-ponging visits to the year 2013.  Issue #1 gives clues as to three possible explanations for her 2013 experiences: time-travel to a somehow revised actual future, a visit to an alternate reality timeline or possibly it's all just a hallucination brought-on by anger and stress.  Again, it will be fun to see how these possibilities sort-out into one reveal as the title's issues unfold.

     My only minor criticism of this new title is that it definitely needs to add a missing "Mature Readers, Only" warning onto the front cover, due to a fair mix of sex within the storyline.  But that item aside, this is the most fun, fresh and entertaining reintroduction of a classic Golden Age comic book figure that I've read in many a year.  So for a wild ride of traditional costumed comic character storytelling, science fiction adventuring and all the good stuff that we all want in our comic book storytelling, by all means don't miss this excellent new series!

Superman Unchained #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Scott Snyder: Writer
Jim Lee: Pencils
Scott Williams: Inks

     DC Comics has released to great fanfare issue #1 of its new "Superman Unchained" title.  The series brings acclaimed Batman writer Scott Snyder into the Superman storyverse, accompanied by veteran A-list penciller Jim Lee and inker Scott Williams.

     Issue #1 kicks-off a multi-issue storyarc with a segment entitled "The Leap,"  consisting of three separate storythreads.  In the brief introductory sub-plot, we flashback to the April, 1945 atomic bomb drop over Nagasaki, in which a young boy witnesses a previously-unknown superpowered being who was apparently linked to the event.  Our second storythread flash- forwards us into a typical Superman-Lex Luthor confrontation, in which Luthor challenges Superman by crashlanding various orbiting satellites around the Earth.  And our third sub-plot shifts the story focus to General Lane, Lois Lane's infamous Army General Dad.  Without being a detail spoiler, Superman unwittingly crosses paths in his satellite retrieval with a secret military project run by General Lane.  Two end-of-the-issue dramatic bridges lead us to next month's issue:  its revealed that General Lane has a connection to the mysterious Nagasaki superbeing, and a brief two-page Epilogue scene reconnects the 2013 storyline back to the young boy who witnessed the unknown superpower activity in 1945.

     This is an entertaining new Superman title that brings some freshness to the Superman storyverse in a few ways.  First, its just plain exciting to read Scott Snyder's entry into this wing of DC's publishing inventory.  He brings to this issue the same style of introspective, absorbing story narrative that made his many Batman issues such great entertainment.  I also liked very much the intriguing story element of the WWII mysterious Superbeing, who's obviously on a plot collision course in 2013 with Superman.  Third, I liked the way that Snyder comfortably fits our modern hi-tech social media elements into the daily lives and behavior of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson.  All three have left behind the stodgy, old-style trappings of The Daily Planet and now Tweet, text and blog all of their journalistic activities, adding some neat real-world credibility to their profession in this comic book world.

     Two final minor but noteworthy review items:  First, I really loved the way that Snyder presents Superman as identifying more with the Clark Kent side of his persona than the Kal-El side; throughout the story, in his inner dialogue with himself, Superman refers to himself as Clark, giving him more of a connection with his civilian identity than is usually seen in DC's stories.  Its a small but noticeable touch that goes a long way toward making Clark Kent a real person as opposed to just a costumed persona for The Man of Steel.  Secondly, there's a nice poster-size pull-out for pages four and five of this issue that presents a panoramic outer space action scene, the fold-out size of which enhances the major impact of this epic scene to the story.

     All-in-all, DC has hit a grand slam home with this excellent new addition to the many Superman titles on those new issues shelves.  So what are you waiting for, stop reading this review already and get down to That's Entertainment to pick-up your very own copy of Superman Unchained #1!

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest is our annual Summer Movie Challenge, in which we asked you to tell us what summer movie or movies you're looking forward to seeing, and why we should all also get in line with you to see your choice!  And our contest winner is (drumroll, please...) Nessa Shields, who tells us that she's really looking forward to seeing two movies.  First, she wants to see the new "Superman" movie because "it looks very different from what we have been used to, for example, the new suit, and it has a great cast."  Secondly, she wants to see "After Earth," starring Will Smith and his son Jadin, because "we've seen Will Smith grow into an amazing actor, I can't wait to see the next generation!"  Two great choices for summer movie-going fare: congratulations to Nessa, who wins our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     The Bongo Congo Panel Of Contest Judges has decreed that we offer-up a civics trivia question for this week's contest.  Your challenge is to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, July 3 with the correct answer to the following question:  which U.S. State is the only one among the 50 states that has a two-sided state flag instead of a one-sided flag?  For extra credit (but no extra prize), can you also name the currently very popular television sitcom that also mentioned this trivia fact in an episode?  As always, in the event of multiple correct entries, the winner of our $10.00 first prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be selected via a roll of the dice.  Please note that our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, on-going specials, only.

     That's all for now, so have two great Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Finals (Go Broons!!!) and comic book-reading weeks and see you again on Friday, July 5 Here In Bongo Congo!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Comic reviews 6/7/13

Here In Bongo Congo

     Good King Leonardo found an interesting variety of new comic books to review this week, so let's get right to it and see what this eclectic "bunch 'o books" are all about:
Batman Incorporated #11
Chris Burnham: Writer
Jorge Lucas: Art
Ian Hannin: Colors

     Batman Incorporated is currently up to issue #11 this month.  For the uninitiated, the premise of this title is that of Bruce Wayne/Batman establishing a global network of franchised surrogate Batmans, thereby evolving his persona into an internartional corporate crimefighting franchise.  The series was originally written by Grant Morrison with art by Chris Burnham.  Burnham currently scripts the series, with the issue #11 art produced by Jorge Lucas and colors provided by Ian Hannin.

     The issue #11 story is entitled "Interlude: A Bird In The Hand," and features Jiro, the Japanese Batman with his girlfriend/sidekick, the six-inch tall winged superheroine Canary.  The story unfolds in three acts; Act One is fast action, as the Japanese dynamic duo wage battle on the streets of Tokyo with a mysterious gang of high tech female motorcycle-riding villains.  The Second Act follows the bad girls back to their lair, where we discover that they're actually the Japanese chapter of Batman, Inc.'s world-wide foe Leviathan and they're led by a lioness-costumed bad girl.  Act Three brings the foes back together for a final battle, which of course our heroes win, but not before resorting to some very ingenious high tech trickery of their own, the details of which I won't reveal in the review.

    I got quite a kick out of this comic book.  As a certified Batman nut, I'm also usually a Silver Age purist and as such, I sometimes hate to see some of the major revamping of Batman that naturally occurs from time-to-time within the DC storyverse.  But Batman, Incorporated is the safety zone of alternate Batman stuff for we Batguy traditionalists, a title whose main theme is to stake-out a neautral storyverse territory for taking alternative creative stabs at the character stylings of Batman.  Taking Batman around-the globe is a brilliant addition to The Caped Crusdaer's story heritage, giving readers all sorts of foreign Batman takes through the eyes of fresh overseas versions of our hero, while maintaining his original Gotham persona intact in order for him to interact periodically with his corporate franchisees.

     The creative team does a wonderful job here in presenting the Japanese Batman.  The artistic style blends-in a fair amount of manga/anime visuals, including redesigning Jiro/Batman's cowl with a Japanese flair.  But the real beauty here is writer Chris Burnham's script, which neatly balances the kitchiness of Japanese pop culture with a fun action plot. Of particular worthy note is the wacky humor, from the oddball romantic banter between Jiro and Canary, to the campiness of the futuristic biker gang girls and their weird partly-bionic lioness leader.  Picture the campy 1960's Batman t.v. series updated into a Japanese manga storyverse and you get a fairly accurate vision of the odd-but-endearing atmosphere of this comic book.

    I'm not a regular reader of Batman, Incorporated, but after reading issue #11 and a few previous scattered issues, I have to give the various creative teams a lot of well-deserved credit for establishing their own fresh storytelling niche in the Batman world, delivering-up a fun variety of new global Batmans as they all fight for good in their respective international settings.  So by all means, add this very entertaining issue #11 of Batman, Incorporated to the top of your new issues reading pile!

Powers: The Bureau #4
Publisher: Marvel/Icon Comics
Brian Michael Bendis:  Writer
Michael Avon Oeming: Art
Nick Filardi: Colors

     Marvel's Icon imprint is up to issue #4 of the latest Powers comic book series, entitled Powers: The Bureau.  For the uninitiated, creators Bendis and Oeming originated the series back in 2000, as a superheroes-meet-real-world-cops story concept.  The initial series starred police detective Deena Pilgrim and her partner Christian Walker in a murder mystery, as they investigated the death of a "Powers," slang for superhero, named Retro Girl.  Three unique elements of the storyline included casting various other superheroes as the murder suspects, identifying Christian Walker himself was a retired Power and also revealing via flashbacks that Walker is an amnesiatic immortal, having survived through previous historical millennia in various lifestyles.  The current Powers title is published by the Icon imprint of Marvel Comics, with creators Bendis and Oeming at the helm and colors by Nick Filardi.

     An issue #4 inside-the front-cover-narrative brings the reader up-to-date on the story so far.  Walker and Pilgrim are now Federal agents, in follow-up to the government declaring that all Powers-related crime cases now have Federal jurisdiction.  Prior to this month's issue, Walker has gone undercover to track a criminal group that's selling black market Powers sperm to anyone who wants a superpowered offspring.  The action-oriented current issue unfolds two efforts of the undercover operation.  The first several pages present an elaborate ruse, the details of which I won't spoil in this review, by which Pilgrim and Walker manage to convince the bad guys that Walker's criminal cover is the real thing.  The lengthier second sub-plot leads Walker deep into the black market operation.  The issue ends in a dramatic bridge to next month's story segment, as Walker is seemingly shot while trying to protect a kidnapped Power-pregnant woman from the criminal plot.

     From 2000 to 2004, Powers was one of my top five favorite comic book titles during each of those years.  The "Who Killed Retro Girl?" series transcended comic book storytelling, basically presenting a slice of American literature in graphic format.  While it wasn't at the very highest quality level of either "Watchmen" or "Maus," it occupied the next quality level just below those two iconic books.  I drifted away from reading the series as the quality naturally came back down to earth after 2004, as no continual series can sustain that level of greatness for more than a limited timeperiod.  As such, I was very curious to check-out the current series and see how all-things-Powers are holding-up in 2013.

     My reaction is a mix of relief and disappointment, resulting in a barely-average quality review recommendation for Powers: The Bureau.  First, the relief: for the newbie reader, the creative team still has the creative juices flowing enough to deliver a decent enough stand-alone action-adventure storyline, thick with a detective/criminal noir atmosphere and fast-paced action-adventure.  But three additional elements provide the disappointment.  First, the story lay-out continues a post-2004 flaw of being paper-thin on narrative, spreading-out too many panels and pages of wordless or one-word action scenes, resulting in the feel that we're reading much less than a full issue's worth of storyline.  I've suspected for years that the detail thinness of the later-period Powers issues is due to the hectic, multi-tasking schedules of its A-list creators, and this issue continues to fuel that suspicion. 

     Secondly, the language raunchiness of our detective duo is layered-on so thick as to feel desperate.  Again, this has been an ongoing flaw for years in this title.  I'm not being a prude, here;  it's just that Bendis delights so much in tossing freshly-creative raunchy quotes and sayings into his Powers dialogue that the result is a level of raunchy slang overkill that feels both overloaded and frankly amateurish.

     The third and final flaw is that the current storyline just can't live-up to the freshness and rare quality of the original series.  Read on its own, this is a fairly decent and entertaining superheroes-meets-cops comic book title.  But within the framework of the previous timelessness and greatness of this series, it just all feels dull and tired.  It's not fair to blame Bendis or Oeming for this decline in the series's specialness and I wouldn't presume to do so; as I mentioned above, its a natural progression of any fictional series over time.  But for fans of the original series, the lack of pre-2004 greatness will leave a bad taste after reading the 2013 version. 

     So back to that mixed thumbs-up positive review recommendation.  If you're a newcomer to all-things-Powers, then by all means check-out this averagely-solid noir-meets-superheroes comic book, then prepare to be blown away as you backtrack through the That's Entertainment back issues bins to the rarified preciousness of the early days of this title.  And if you're an old-school Powers fanboy or fangirl, walk away now and just enjoy the old-school original series both in memory and re-reads, or fill-in the blanks of your original Powers reading with the back issues or graphic reprints of the 2000-2004 Image Comics run of this title.

Star Wars: Legacy #3
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman: Writers
Gabriel Hardman: Art
Rachelle Rosenberg: Colors

     Dark Horse Comics is up to issue #3 of the Volume 2 re-boot of its popular Star Wars: Legacy comic book title.  The series takes place approximately 138 years after the events of the very first Star Wars movie, officially entitled "Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope" within the six current films of this renowned science fiction movie franchise.  The comic book is scripted by the husband-and-wife writing team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, with art by Gabriel Hardman and colors by Rachelle Rosenberg.

     An inside-the-front-cover narrative brings the reader up-to-date on the story so far.  Its a time of peace in the galaxy, with an uneasy political alliance ruling that includes the Jedi Knights, the Imperial Court and a remnant of the old Galactic Alliance.  Two events have unfolded in the previous two issues: the bad guy Sith have kidnapped and replaced Imperial Knight Yalta Val with an imposter, and Ania Solo (Leia and Han's descendent) has found the missing Knight's light sword and is on the run in outer space from the Sith, accompanied by both a robotic and an alien friend.

     The issue #3 story segment begins with a typical Star Wars outer space chase scene, as Ania and friends outwit their pursuers with lots of action and ingenuity.  The midpoint of the tale shifts back to the Yalta Val conspiracy, as fellow Knight Jao Assam stumbles into uncovering the ruse and also flees from the Sith.  And the last third of the story segment brings the two storythreads together; after Knight Assam helps Ania and friends fend-off a space monster attack, the group pieces together the gist of the conspiracy.  The issue ends in a cliffhanger scene as the assembled group is caught in the tractor beam of an unidentified large spaceship pursuer.

     Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to shy-away from Star Wars comic book titles, as the first few back in the day seemed to be set in the original movie world's far past or future without much connection to the film's world or characters.  I'm happy to say that this new series eliminates that issue and provides a well-structured and very interesting connection to that original heart of the franchise.  Its just plain neat to read about this Ania Solo as the lead for the series.  She's an interesting mix of familiarity and mystery; we know who she's descended from, but we don't know yet why she was living a quiet, ordinary citizen life as a junk dealer before the Imperial Knight conspiracy dropped into her life.

     Four further elements result in this as a stand-out of a new comic book title.  First, the supporting characters are a nicely-balanced mix of old and new, from Knight Jao Assam's R2-D2-like robot W3 to Ania's frog alien and droid counselor sidekick.  A tip-of-the-review-hat is also due to the writing team's very high quality script that perfectly balances adventure with quieter moments of narrative and dialogue, reflecting nicely the story atmosphere of the first three Star Wars movies.  Third, the writers construct an entertaining personality for Ania, who's tough, smart, brave and just-plain-interesting to watch in any scene.  And fourth, the art team provides a high quality and effective visual style.  As one fan writes in the issue's letters column, its reminiscent of Carmine Infantino's work on the first Star Wars title published by Marvel Comics back in the 1980's, and that's high praise, indeed.

     I haven't been following the on-line chatter regarding any plot ideas or gossip for the forthcoming new Star Wars films from Disney Productions and creator J.J. Abrams.  But they may want to consider setting at least part of the series in this future Star Wars Legacy storyverse.  It would be a shame for the well-constructed character of Ania Solo not to make it to the big screen.  So in the meantime, by all means add this entertaining and fresh new slice of the Star Wars franchise to your new comics reading list.  I plan on backtracking to the first two issues of this title and to read the new issues as they're published each month and I recommend that you do, too!

The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1
 Publisher: D.C. Comics
Art Baltazar & Franco: Writers
Ig Guara: Pencils
J.P. Mayer: Inks
Wil Quintana: Colors

     DC Comics has just added a new comic book to its New 52 inventory entitled "The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires."  The concept assembles a group of young cutting-edge high tech-oriented people who have comic book plot action adventures.  The series is written by Art Baltazar and Franco with pencils by Ig Guara, inks by J.P. Mayer and colors by Wil Quintana.

     Issue #1 presents the creation of the team, as seen through the eyes of teenager Mohammed, the royal prince of an unnamed Middle Eastern country.  Wanting to prove himself to his father as an entepreneur, Mohammed travels to a high tech expo in the U.S. to meet and hopefully affiliate himself with Commodore Murphy, one of the richest "kids" in the world and a Bill Gates-style high tech innovator.  We meet the rest of Murphy's small inner circle, consisting of a blond movie teen actress named Cecilia Sunbeam, a cowboy hat-wearing guy named Houston and Houston's younger sister named L.L.  Cecilia also lugs around with her a baby leopard that seems to have a comic book-style smart, human-like personality.

     Most of the plot consists of Mohammed meeting the assembled team, while two sub-plots weave into the meet-and-greet session.  In the first, we learn that Murphy is soon old enough to inherit a 64 trillion dollar trust fund, while in the second storythread, Murphy obtains a high tech device that can give him superpowered armor in case some stalkers actually attack him.  Sure enough, the issue climaxes in a heavy-duty costumed stalker attack on the group, with Murphy powering-up the suit for continuation of the big fight in next month's issue #2.

     I'm giving this comic book an average-quality thumbs-up review, based mainly on its (hopeful) potential to improve.  On the plus side, I like very much the concept of high tech, non-powered whiz kids coming together to use their brains and skills in their story adventures.  The writers also built into the script a lot of real world cutting-edge high tech details that lend a nice technological authenticity to the story details.  On the negative side, the creative team is going to have to provide a much more interesting plot premise if this new title is going to have a shot at publication survival.  Most of issue #1 over-focused on introducing the team, while at the very conclusion layering-in a brief story concept about weird stalkers attacking the head whiz kid.  That's not a very interesting central plot concept to sustain a monthly comic book, so the heat is on for this comic book to evolve with a much more entertaining storyline.

     I was also put-off by the money-oriented details of the story premise.  There's a lot of talk about making money, growing money, etc. for its own sake, to the point where the kids seem to have a greed fixation, instead of wanting to increase their wealth to fund a particular worthy goal or purpose.  The concept of "teenaged trillionaires" also feels like a little kid's money fantasy; given the reality and size of the real U.S. dollar supply, tossing these kids into the "mega-trillionaire" range is just an immature babyish fantasy and stretches even comic book fiction credibility for this adult reviewer.  Two additional minor-but-annoying criticisms: there's only one teen trillionaire in this group, so the plural of the title is misleading, and the art team erroneously draws both Murphy and Houston to appear much, and I mean MUCH older than teenagers.

     So bottom line:  this comic book might be entertaining in its current issue #1 premise for young teen readers who have "get-rich-quick" fantasies, but it better mature pretty fast in terms of plot quality and story logic if its creators want it to hang around for any decent length of time on the new issues comic book shelves.

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest challenged you to name the "Original Six" National Hockey League (NHL) teams, that came-out of the 1942 restructuring of the League and stood alone until the next League expansion to 12 teams in 1967.  We had two correct answers to the challenge, so in honor of our Bruins doing great right now in the play-offs (Go Brooons!!!), our co-winners are (drumroll, please...) Keith Martin and David McBarron, who both tell that the six original teams are the Boston Bruins (naturally!),  Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers.  Congratulations to David and Keith, who each win a first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     Its that time of year again when we offer-up our Summer Movie contest!  Your challenge is to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, June 19 and tell us what Summer-Of-2013 movie or movies you're most looking forward to seeing and why.  Your submission could be an anticipated comic book genre blockbuster or just an all-around interesting-looking movie that you think is worth us letting the world know that they should line-up this summer to see it.  Please note that our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, on-going specials, only.

     That's all for now, so have another two great NHL Stanley Cup Play-Offs-watching (Go Brooons!!!) and summertime comic book-reading weeks and see you again on Friday, June 21 Here In Bongo Congo!