Friday, March 21, 2014

Comic Reviews 3/21/14

Here In Bongo Congo

     Good King Leonardo has decreed that we select for our reviews a variety of comic book genres this week. So let's check-out this eclectic mix of new comic book titles and see how they stack-up against each other:
Fantastic Four #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
James Robinson: Writer
Leonard Kirk: Art
Karl Kesel: Inks
Jesus Aburtov: Colors

     Marvel Comics recently released issue #1 of yet another re-boot of its Fantastic Four comic book line.  This latest series is scripted by James Robinson with art by Leonard Kirk, inks by Karl Kesel and colors by Jesus Aburtov.

     This comic book is Part One of a multi-issue story arc entitled "The Fall Of The Fantastic Four."  The tale begins with a flashback narrative by Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, in which she first describes the team in a present-day total crisis with Reed Richards having an emotional breakdown, Ben Grimm jailed on murder charges and Johnny Storm running amok as a burnt-out New York social scene party animal.  The flashback then kicks into high gear with an extended action sequence in which the team battles and overcomes their old dragon nemesis Fin Fang Foom.

     After the battle, each Fantastic Four member gets a personal life scene: Ben Grimm reunites with his old blind flame Alicia, Reed and Sue have a quiet romantic evening together and Johnny Storm embarks upon a personal life career as a rock star.  But its all just the-calm-before-the-proverbial-storm, as in a dramatic bridge to next month's issue #2, a portal located in Reed's lab that leads to another dimension mysteriously unlocks and an endless horde of reptilian demon creatures use it to invade Manhattan.

      This is a pretty solid first issue re-boot of the iconic franchise of the Fantastic Four.  The team has been around for so long and has endured so many make-overs, that any new success mandates some very fresh re-boot elements.  Here, the creative team gives us a mix of major and minor re-boot makeovers that combine into a fresh and entertaining new series.  The premise of the team completely shattered gives us an entertaining new story concept and the story lay-out approach of presenting a positive flashback sequence nicely foreshadows the impending total doom hinted at by Sue's early narration.  While we still have no idea of the catastrophic detail's events, there's a nice sense of dread that hooks the reader into wanting to read next month's story segment for further enlightenment.

     Among the minor makeover touches, I liked the redesign of the team's uniforms to a red-colored skintight mode (Sue Storm looks better than most women half her age in her sexy makeover design!), and the new soap opera elements of the Ben-Alicia romance rekindling and Johnny heading toward rock star fame add some nice detail elements of the team's personal life in counterbalance to the expected superheroing of the plotline.

     So all in all, a thumbs-up positive review recommendation is well-deserved for the creative team managing to pull-off a fresh and very entertaining kick-off story segment of the latest new and improved version of everyone's favorite Manhattan-based Marvel Comics foursome of The Fantastic Four!

Brain Boy #3
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Fred Van Lente: Writer
R.B. Silva: Pencils
Rob Lean: Inks

     Dark Horse Comics is up to issue #3 of a series entitled Brain Boy.  The "Brain Boy" in question is Matt Price, the world's most powerful telepath who has espionage action-adventures as a consultant to the U.S. Secret Service on behalf of his corporate employer Albright Industries. Matt also deals with a murder mystery regarding the unsolved deaths of his parents back in his childhood. The series is written by Fred Van Lente with pencils by R.B. Silva and inks by Rob Lean.

     Issue #3 is the concluding segment of a kick-off multi-issue story arc entitled "Psy Vs. Psy." The plot features a lot of action-adventure as Matt's ongoing cat-and-mouse game with evil telepath Emil Ricorta comes to a head. Interestingly, Ricota is the president of a South American country and is visting the U.S. for a few evil reasons.  Without spoiling any fun details, Matt confronts Ricota as well as a mob of telepathically-controlled innocent people manipulated by the bad guy. After some fantastic action among the warring sides, Matt seemingly defeats Ricota and in a stunning reveal we learn that there is actually an alien science fiction element behind Ricota's ultra-powerful psychic abilities.

     This is one very fresh and unique comic book take on the fiction genre of psychic abilities.  Writer Fred Van Lente does a masterful job of blending the concept of telepathy with espionage adventure.  The dialogue is also a pitch perfect blend of drama and humor.  Yet perhaps the best element of this series is a weaving of intrigue throughout both the plot and the general concept of Brain Boy. As in many quality espionage series, we learn that nothing is at it seems. By issue's end, there are strong telltales that Matt's trusted boss Georgina at Albright Industries knows the answer and may actually be responsible for Matt's parent's deaths.  There's also a really neat fantasy element to Georgina which is reason enough on its own to check-out this comic book.

     I say it every once in awhile regarding a reviewed comic book and I'll say it again for Brain Boy: this is one comic book series that would make a fantastic television show, either on network t.v. or on cable.  So by all means, enjoy it now in comic book form so if and when it does hit the small screen, you'll be able to tell all of your friends that you were a fan of Brain Boy from the get-go! And by the way, Matt hates to be called "Brain Boy"!

Lords Of Mars #6
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Arvid Nelson: Writer
Roberto Castro: Art
Alex Guimaraes: Colors

     Another Dynamite Comics title that's currently up to issue #6 is Lords Of Mars, one of several Dynamite titles published within the John Carter, Warlord of Mars franchise. This is the final issue of a limited, six-issue mini-series.  I've reviewed a few of Dynamite's other John Carter Of Mars titles, which are spin-offs on famed writer Edgar Rice Burrough's famous and popular early-to-mid 20th century series of novels that feature Western adventurer John Carter transported to a Pulp-Era fictional Martian society for many action-adventures.  Lords Of Mars explores a new premise of Tarzan and his wife Jane subsequently also transported to Mars for adventures with John Carter and the several different Martian alien races. The series is scripted by Arvid Nelson with art by Roberto Castro and colors by Alex Guimaraes.

     Issue #6 concludes a six-issue multi-story arc entitled "The Eye Of The Goddess," in which John Carter, Tarzan and Jane struggle against the evil intentions of Jagati Kehn, a fat Jabba The Hut-type evil leader of the Martian race of Holy Therns.  This issue focuses on climactic action, as its revealed that Jagati Kehn and his army plan to use a weapons technology that will destroy half of the inhabitants of Mars.  Again without spoiling any details, various action sub-plots come together in this issue, with the result that in standard Golden Age pulp fiction style, our good guys win the day.  The key here is an end-of-story unexpected plot twist, in which Tarzan and Jayne reveal that via Martian transported technology, there's a secret Martian presence established back on Earth.

     This is a series that deserves a positive review recommendation albeit in the average decent-quality category.  On the plus side, the weird mash-up concept of Tarzan and Jane on Mars, of all places, hanging-out with John Carter and fighting multiple Martian races actually works pretty well as an entertaining storyline.  The threesome are all Victorian/Pulp Era heroic characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and have a compatible feel to their personalities and mannerisms.  So it is a pretty creative and neat addition to the wide-rannging John Carter On Mars story franchise.

      On the negative side, the artwork is disappointingly uneven, primitive and sketchy at times and very good at other points in the issue.  Its an annoying pattern akin to trying to keep a t.v. picture in tune as it phases in and out.  In addition, the plot details at times are also too simple and crude, also incorporating overly-graphic killing/gore scenes that don't fit with the original writing style of Burroughs.  The issue does carry a mature reading warning on the cover because of the violence, but it could have been toned-down to allow readers of all ages to enjoy this neat and fun spin-off mash-up of John Carter and me Tarzan, you Jane.

     But these issue flaws aren't serious enough to lower the good stuff in this issue below the positive review radar.  So a positive review recommendation is well deserved for this unique and kind of funky combination of the well-known storyverses of John Carter, Tarzan and Jane.  If the positve quality of issue #6 is any indication, the overall six-issue mini-series is a worthwhile and enjoyable read.

The Twilight Zone #2
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
J. Michael Straczynski: Writer
Guiu Vilanova: Art
Vinicius Andrade: Colors

     Our second Dynamite Comics-published comic book reviewed this week is issue #2 of the new Twilight Zone comic book series.  Last month, I gave a positive review recommendation to issue #1. Unlike the television series's stand-alone one-episode storylines, the comic book format presents an ongoing multi-issue story arc, so I decided to also review issue #2 to see how that structure does or doesn't meet the science fiction stylings of The Twilight Zone. The series is written by A-list writer J. Michael Straczynski with art by Guiu Vilanova and colors by Vinicius Andrade.

     The multi-issue storyline is entitled "Lost." In the issue #1 plot, Wall Street sleazeball Trevor Richmond is shown as a trainwreck in all aspects of his sordid life, from embezzling from his Wall Street employer to being emotionally-abusive to his beautiful girlfriend.  As the law closes in on his corporate theft, he uses the services of a mysterious company to completely alter his physical looks and entire lifestyle, emerging as a new person among the lower working class in New York. The issue ended in a dramatic bridge to issue #2, as Trevor watches a t.v. press conference in which a person appear in his old identity and confesses to his crimes.

      Issue #2 expands that development and Trevor's reaction to it. Early in the plot, we witness the new Trevor repenting, gaining public sympathy and gaining back the love of his beautiful girlfriend.  Old sleazeball Trevor returns to the mysterious identity company and learns that they've plugged another customer into his old identity. Powerless to stop it, dirtbag Trevor tries to confront his replacement.  Without spoiling any details, the effort goes badly and old Trevor is on the run from the law through the underbelly of Manhattan.  The issue ends in another bridge to next month's story segment, as Trevor begins stalking the new guy and the girlfriend as he plots a yet-to-be-disclosed revenge.

     I have mixed review feelings about issue #2 of this series.  On the positive side, its an excellent and absorbing thriller fictional tale scripted by one of the best comic book writers in today's business. I definitely want to see where this crumbling bizarre identity switch storyline takes both the story characters and readers.  But on the other hand, the story fails as a Twilight Zone-style script, for at least two key reasons.  First, its just not that Twilight Zone-style spooky in today's world for a person to pull-off an identity change in the manner presented. Given today's technology and social structure, it actually feels kind of real world and routine. 

     Secondly, my fear expressed in my issue #1 review is confirmed in issue #2: a multi-issue story arc format doesn't work for the Twilight Zone-style of storytelling.  Zone tales need to be compact, fast-moving and most importantly, need to hit us hard with a surprise reveal that makes the reader/t.v. viewer say "wow, I never saw that coming!" The multi-issue story arc concept completely kills that rush as the story proceeds at a routine pace through issue-after-issue.  This story is very interesting, but it lacks that zing and pacing required for the Twilight Zone storyverse to be present and effective.

     The creative team is still giving us a very high quality comic book series that's well-worth reading for its mystery/thriller style of entertainment.  But if you're looking for a standard Twilight Zone style of entertainment, I think that like me, you'll be left feeling unsatisfied.  So bottom line: by all means check-out and enjoy this comic book, but a title such as "Tales Of Mystery" would be more appropriate to the actual story in between the covers.

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

      Our latest contest came on the heels of the recent annual Oscar awards for the movies, and challenged you to tell us what was the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history.  And our contest winner is (drumroll, please)...Chris Begley, who correctly identified actress Patty Duke who simply said "Thank You" and then walked off the stage after winning her Best Actress Oscar for her role as Helen Keller in the 1963 movie "The Miracle Worker."  Congratulations to Chris who wins our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     The Bongo Congo Panel Of Contest Judges has an unusual trivia contest challenge for you this week.  We're all familiar with plastic gift cards, with over 50% of all Americans stating in surveys that they give at least one gift card annually.  But where did they originate?  So your contest challenge is to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, April 2 and correctly tell us which company offered the very first gift card in the U.S. and why did they start using plastic gift cards instead of the traditional paper gift certificates? Hint: the year was 1994.  As always, in the event of multiple correct answers, the winner of our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be selected via a roll of the dice.  Please note that our $10.00 first prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, ongoing specials, only.

     That's all for now, so have two great red-hot winning Boston Bruins watching (Go Broons!!!)and comic book reading weeks and see you again on Friday, April 4 Here In Bongo Congo!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Comic Reviews 3/7/14

Here In Bongo Congo

      Good King Leonardo has found lots of good new comic books this week on the new issues shelves, so let's get right to it and see how these titles stack-up against each other:
She-Hulk #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Charles Soule: Writer
Javier Pulido: Art
Muntsa Vicente: Colors

     After a hiatus of a few years, Marvel Comics has once again revived its well-known She-Hulk title.  For the few folk who aren't aware of the Green Goddess's background, she's Jennifer Walters, cousin to the original Hulk, Dr. Bruce Banner.  She gained her ability to transform into the Hulk through a blood transfusion from her cousin and unlike her cousin, she doesn't lose her normal personality when she physically transforms. Jen actually practices as an attorney, both in her human and Hulk-like roles.  The previous She-Hulk run of a few years ago was an acclaimed series scripted by Dan Slott.  The new title is written by Charles Soule with art by Javier Pulido and colors by Muntsa Vicente.

      In the last series, Jen worked for a large Manhattan law firm which specialized in providing legal services to superheroes and supervillains.  The plot of issue #1 is entitled "Motion," and literally finds Jen in motion in two ways.  First, she quickly quits the law firm when she finds that the senior partners are manipulating her presence merely to bag major superhero clients.  The bulk of the plot is pure comedy; nursing her new unemployment in a bar, Jen meets the widow of a deceased supervillain, who actually has proof that Tony Stark/Iron Man had stolen her husband's patented supertechnology.

     Slapstick comedy ensues as Jen moves into legal motion, both in a courtroom lawsuit and in trying to wind her way through the endless bureaucracy of Stark Enterprises in order to connect with Tony and negoatiate a fair settlement to the lawsuit.  i really don't want to spoil any of the funny details, suffice to say that Tony Stark is not a bad guy in this case and that in the end, Stark himself, the widowed client and Jen all come-out winners. The issue concludes with Jen deciding to open by herself a one-woman law firm to continue her unique combination of lawyering and she-hulking in next month's issue #2 and beyond.

     I was a huge fan of the most recent previous She-Hulk title, particularly for its strong element of comedy in the storyline.  So I'm pleased to report that the latest creative team continues that tradition with strong positive results.  The comedy is now blended with the tongue-in-cheek narrative style of Marvel's acclaimed current Hawkeye comic book title, resulting in a wry storytone that while funny, also allows for some valuable dramatic emotion to weave into the tale.  Similar to Hawkeye, humor is used here to explore and promote some valuable life lessons.  In issue #1, that life lesson focuses on Tony Stark/Iron Man, and presents a worthwhile lesson on personal responsibility when Tony discovers how unbenownst to him, his company was financially mistreating the villain's widow and orphans.

     Two other story elements also contribute to making this new title a winner.  The first is the artwork, which very effectively visually duplicates Marvel's Hawkeye title in its t.v. animation cartoony-style. Secondly, I liked very much the Hawkeye-like plot approach in which folks in this storyverse aren't clearly characterized as either good guys or baddies.  The deceased villain's innocent wife and kids are clearly good people; Jen knows that and when she comes through for them, they both treat and reward her accordingly.  Tony Stark's company is clearly a bad guy early in the storyline, but by issue's end, good guy Tony makes things right, taking responsibility and literally cleaning his own house.

     I could continue writing about all of the good and interesting elements of this comic book.  But I've given you enough of a picture, already.  So in sum, a very positive review recommendation is well-deserved, for all of the above reasons, for this latest She-Hulk title.  So thank you, Marvel Comics, for bringing back Jen Walters, for another hopefully lengthy run as everyone's favorite green-skinned crusading lawyer!

Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rick Remender: Writer
Roland Boschi: Art
Chris Chuckry: Colors

     Marvel Comics has just released issue #1 of a new title featuring its well-known Winter Soldier character.  For the uninitiated, The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes, Captain America's original youthful sidekick and partner.  The Winter Soldier concept was created several years ago by Marvel and proposes that similarly to Captain America's frozen history, Barnes's frozen body was found post-World War II by the Soviets, whereupon he was revived and brainwashed into functioning as a seemingly unstoppable, international Soviet assassin codenamed The Winter Soldier.  This new comic book series is scripted by Rick Remender with art by Roland Boschi and colors by Chris Chuckry.

     Issue #1 kicks-off "The Bitter March," a multi-issue story arc.  Set in 1966, the initial story segment is a SHIELD action-adventure thriller starring Nick Fury and his 1960's SHIELD partner Agent Ran Shen.  When the evil organization HYDRA kidnaps two former husband-and-wife Nazi scientists to exploit their secret weaponry knowledge, its up to Fury and Ran Shen to grab the evil spouses for U.S. control of their invention.  In a lengthy James Bond-style undercover sequence, Agent Ran infiltrates the mountaintop castle HYDRA headquarters. Without being a key detail spoiler, the tide turns against our duo as a sexy HYDRA operative turns-out to have creepy evil superpowers.

   The plot dramatically introduces The Winter Soldier in the final third of the issue #1 storyline; when our SHIELD guys manage to escape with the evil scientist duo, Bucky arrives on the scene and in a very dramatic mountaintop action sequence, attempts to kidnap the evil scientist duo for Soviet purposes.  The issue #1 story segment ends in a cliffhanger as The Winter Soldier is gearing himself into unstoppable mode in hot pursuit of the fleeing escapees.

     This new Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier title is very entertaining, incorporating four strong production elements.  The first is writer Rick Remender's plotting style, which effectively cribs the story atmosphere and tone of 1960's James Bond spy movies.  Agent Ran Shen is cast in the Sean Connery/James Bond role and does a wonderful job, gliding his tuxedoed way through the upscale HYDRA castle reception with the sexy evil hydra supervillain on his arm.  There's also a nice balance between humor and drama in the plot; on the humor side, Fury and Shen engage in a constant and effective witty competitive banter, while the drama explodes at every key turn in the plot progression.  Third, it was a brilliant idea to introduce the partnership of Fury and Shen as the featured stars of the issue #1 story segment.  Via both the story action and the narration, we see The Winter Soldier from the outside perspective of these other key players, thereby reinforcing the fear factor of his image as an unstoppable machine-cold killer.  It will be interesting to see if and how the creative team chooses to add some humanity to Bucky Barnes as the multi-issue story arc unfolds.

     Fourth and finally, while the overall artwork is pleasing, colorist Chris Chuckry does an exceptional job is choosing the perfect color palette for conveying the outdoor mountaintop action-adventure elements of this thriller storyline.  So an obvious positive review recommendation is well-deserved for issue #1 of Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, which rightfully takes its place as a fresh and unique addition to Marvel's ever-growing Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier story inventory.

Miracleman #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Various Artists and Writers

     Marvel Comics recently began publishing a reprint title of Miracleman.  For the uninitiated (and that includes me before I spotted this issue on the That's Entertainment new issues shelves), Miracleman is a 1950's Golden Age British knock-off of the well-known Captain Marvel storyverse from American comic book publishing. Created by writer-artist Mick Anglo, the character was actually called Marvelman in its native British run and renamed to Miracleman for its U.S. editions.  Following its 1954-1963 original publishing run, the series was revived in 1982 by famed writer Alan Moore, with a run of 1990's tales scripted by Neil Gaiman.  This over-sized new issue #1 comic book presents six (6) reprint stories created by various artists and writers.

     The first tale is a Mick Anglo-scripted story from 1985 entitled "Prologue 1956-The Invaders From The Future." Its a detailed time travel story, in which Buck Rodgers-like bad guys from the far future of 1981 (!!!) invade 1956.  The story is a good vehicle to introduce today's readers to both Miracleman and his two Marvel Family-style sidekicks, Kid Miracleman and Young Miracleman.  The second and third tales are interconnected stories from our hero's 1982 run.  While creator credits aren't listed, these are clearly Alan Moore-scripted stories; there's more of a dark, sophisticated Watchman-like tone to the plot, which centers upon an amnesia-ridden Miracleman regaining his identity after several years and having to cope with a civilian wife who had no idea of his true background.  The second half of this extra-large comic book reprints three of the earliest black-and-white 1950's-era stories as created by Mick Anglo, including the very first Miracleman story from 1954.

     I was pleasantly blown-away by stumbling-upon this almost "alternate universe" British version of Captain Marvel. If you're a Captain Marvel and/or Golden Age comics fan, its incredibly entertaining and absorbing to dive into this knock-off of the well-known Captain's storyverse.  And a true knock-off it is.  To me, its a miracle that Fawcett Comics never sued Mick Anglo back in the day, in the famous manner that DC Comics sued Fawcett  over alleged copyright infringement regarding Captain Marvel vs. Superman (DC lost that case and Fawcett continued to publish the famed Captain Marvel series).  Even the little details of characterization are duplicated. My favorite is how paperboy Micky Moran transforms into his superhero identity by shouting "Kimota!", a backwards version of atomic, similar to the famed "Shazam!" shout of Billy Batson/Captain Marvel.

     My guess is that Fawcett probably sympathized with Mick Anglo's efforts after experiencing their own lawsuit from DC. They might have also seen this overseas franchise as a well-constructed homage to their own series, one which could only boost the popularity of both.  The three 1950's-era tales are decent-enough for comic tales of that era, while the 1980's tales in the front of issue #1 frankly shine.  "Prologue 1956" is very entertaining, both as an at-times complex time travel paradox tale and as a tongue-in-cheek riff on Buck Rodgers-style futurism.  I loved the way this 1985-published tale portrays the year 1981 as a 25th century jetpack-style world of tomorrow.  Alternately, "A Dream Of Flying" actually brings the reader dramatically down-to-earth with Alan Moore's realistic two stories of Miracleman literally waking-up in a very realistic version of a civilian life and having to cope on-the-fly with his lifetime as a married civilian.  There's a connection here to Moore's parallel efforts at the time in writing Watchman, which alone makes these two tales combine as a precious and important piece of comic book history to read.

     In addition to the six reprint tales, equally enjoyable in this oversized issue are page-after-page of extras, including reprints of key Miracleman covers, background articles on this storyverse and most enjoyably, an excellent reprinted interview conducted in 2010 by Marvels' Joe Quesada with Marvelman creator Mick Anglo, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 95.  So a positive thumbs-up review recommendation is well-deserved for this kick-off issue #1 of Miracleman.  Here's hoping that future issues include some reprints of the 1990's-era tales scripted by Neil Gaiman.  Irregardless, this is a reprint series worthy of providing enjoyment to old and new fans alike of this intriguing iconic superhero from "across the pond" in Britain.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Greg Pak: Writer
Mirko Colak: Art
Lauren Affe: Colors

     Dynamite Comics is in the process of reviving several Silver Age comic book titles published by Gold Key, including a new interpretation of Turok: Son Of Stone.  The original series ran off-and-on from 1954 to 1982 through publishers Dell, Gold Key and finally Whitman Comics.  It featured the aforementioned Turok and his brother Andar as two pre-Columbian Native Americans who stumble-into and become trapped within an unknown North American "Land Of The Lost" full of dinosaurs.  This latest Turok series is scripted by Greg Pak with art by Mirko Colak and colors by Lauren Affe.

     The kick-off segment of this multi-issue story arc is entitled "Sanctuary" and introduces us to a significantly revised version of the Turok origin tale.  In this new version, Turok is a young adult loner, living an isolated life as an in-touch-with-nature shaman, barely connecting with his nearby tribe as he goes about a solitary existence honoring his deceased parents.  Constant bullying by fellow tribesmen led by the lead bully Andar comes to a head in a very violent confrontation among all of these players.  Without spoiling the details, the situation becomes a life-or-death struggle for Turok. Suddenly, the entire situation grinds to a halt when the tribe is attacked by vicious dinosaurs, throwing Turok and Andar into an unexpected alliance to try and live through the assault.  The issue #1 story segment ends in a dramatic bridge to next month's issue as its revealed that the time and place of the setting is the year 1210 in pre-Columbian rural Manhattan and invading English Crusaders have brought with them and unleashed the dinosaurs on the tribe.

      This is a disappointing failure of a comic book that deserves a thumbs-down negative review recommendation for three reasons.  First and foremost is the atmosphere of the storyverse.  In my last column's review of the re-booted Ms. Marvel comic book, I wrote that there's a danger when rebooting a previous popular series in drifting too far afield from the elements that made the previous series great.  While it worked in Ms. Marvel, here writer Greg Pak steps on that landmine, in two respects. First, he adds a very jaded and harsh atmosphere to this entire storyverse, replacing the very popular heritage of television series-style action-adventuring with some nasty 2014 storytelling elements. He lost me as soon as Andar's bullying included slaughtering all of Turok's pet animals.

     Secondly, the big reveal of the story setting of Crusaders-as-antagonists flopped.  Shifting the setting from a Land Of The Lost to the real world takes away from the fantasy heritage of this acclaimed series, while the introduction of dinosaur-toting Crusaders is both jarring and logically dumb, even for the flexible bounds of the funny book storytelling genre. And third, some basic editing is needed regarding the tribal conflict portions of the plot.  I still can't figure-out who's smacking who around in the various tribal conflict panels, nor is it easy to discern between the present-day and seemingly flashback scenes pertaining to Turok's earlier years.

     In short, we have a muddled and unenjoyable mess of an attempted revival of an iconic comic book series that deserves so much better treatment from a publisher.  Valiant Comics did a pretty good job of reviving Turok in the 1990's, even adding-in some storyverse changes that didn't overwhelm the good elements that are at the very heart of the Turok series.  So we know it can be done. Dynamite Comics is usually top notch at reviving Pulp-era comic titles, so why can't they treat this Silver Age storyverse re-boot with the same respect and quality that its rich storytelling heritage deserves?  They can and they should, but until then, my advice is to avoid this harsh, confusing and poor quality Turok re-boot and instead check-out the better previous runs of Turok, all available in the back issue bins and among the reprint compilation inventory of That's Entertainment.

Contest Winner Announcement!!!

     Our latest contest challenged you to tell us the actual name of the well-known robot from the 1960's science fiction television show "Lost In Space," given that he was usually just called "robot" in the show's episodes.  And our contest winner is (drumroll, please)...Keith Martin, who provided one of actually two possible correct answers.  While the robot was referred to briefly as "B-9," in addition in a time-travel episode, viewers learned that the robot was originally named 'GUNTER," an acronym that stands for "General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Robot."  Congratulations to Keith, who wins our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment!

New Contest Challenge!!!

     The Bongo Congo Panel of Contest Judges enjoyed watching The Oscars on television earlier this week, but they yawned a lot during many of the overly-long acceptance speeches.  As such, we challenge you this week to e-mail us at no later than Wednesday, March 19 with the correct answer to the following question: What was the shortest acceptance speech in televised Oscar history?  One hint: it wasn't on this week's 2014 broadcast, for sure!  So tell us what was said and who said it!  As always, in the event of multiple correct answers, the winner of our first prize $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment will be selected via a roll of the dice.  Please note that our $10.00 first prize gift certificate to That's Entertainment is redeemable for regular retail merchandise or in-store, ongoing specials, only.

     That's all for now, so have another two great Red Sox Spring Training (Go Red Sox!) and comic book reading weeks and see you again on Friday, March 21 Here In Bongo Congo!