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Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #3 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Coloring: Joey Mason
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

This issue opens in the 8th-grade lunchroom as Linda and Lena are eating–“banished” from fellow students. Belinda moves in and pretends to be friends, actually stirring up trouble. Linda spots danger and zips into action as Supergirl, saving the city–but gets blindsided by a second asteroid. When she wakes, she finds that all her fellow students are now pretty super, and needs to adjust to this strange new status quo.

The art in the issue is quite good–sure, it’s not Perez or Ross–but it really gives this book its own visual and tone. Moreso than many other comics, that unique tone is necessary for the story to work; and here, it does. I’m put in mind of any of a number of animated series on tv, while this does not directly adapt any existing series. The familiarity sells it, while the uniqueness makes it work.

The writing is consistent with earlier issues, and pulls one in–providing at once a story that one can pick up and read without having read the first two issues…but if you’ve read those, you’ll start seeing where things have been set up to have continuing impact on the larger story.

I recall being lukewarm on the first issue, more interested with the second issue, and at this issue, I’m sold. We have an engaging title character, silver-age elements made to seem perfectly contemporary, and a story with stuff adults can enjoy without the issue being aimed for adults. Ridiculous as some of the “drama” is, I can’t imagine it being anything but realistic, particularly for the age-range this book’s aimed at.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 [Review]

The Panic of the Composite Creature

Writer: Matt Wayne
Penciller: Andy Suriano
Inker: Dan Davis
Colorist: Heroic Age
Letterer: Randy Gentile
Editor: Rachel Cluckstern
Cover: James Tucker
Publisher: Johnny DC / DC Comics

I decided to pick this issue up, having enjoyed the last several Johnny DC books I’ve tried. Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat disappointed with what I got in this issue.

The issue opens at the tail-end of an adventure shared by Batman and Aquaman, before Batman learns of a monster tearing apart London. Joined by Power Girl, he faces this composite creature, formed from civilians in a several-block radius of one of Luthor’s devices. The story resolves in a fitting manner for the style, and leaves things ready for the next issue.

The art seems to be a mix of classic Batman from the silver age, the Super-Friends cartooney-style, and a hint of the Adam West Batman. Of course I assume it’s also inspired by the cartoon this series is based on, but not yet having seen an episode of that, I reference what I know. The style works, as it lacks the dark, grim, and gritty style that would likely be fairly inappropriate for kids and hams up the almost cheery, lighter style that could draw the younger crowd in while not traumatizing them if they move on to the mainstream DC version.

The story is simplistic, but that’s me as an adult pushing 30. I’m sure it’s well within range of appropriateness for the target audience of this book. Simplistic though it may be, it is not unenjoyable–just slightly cheesey/hokey…but I expect that going in. My main complaint with the issue is the lack of Blue Beetle and so little of Aquaman.

If you’re looking for a “fun” version of Batman, this seems a good one to go with–plus you’ll have other familiar characters along for the ride. I would be curious as to kids’ reaction to this issue, as it seems perfectly appropriate for the younger crowd–I just can’t speak to their actual enjoyment.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7/10

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #2 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Joey Mason
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC/DC Comics

This issue follows Supergirl (Linda Lee) as she deals with the introduction of a new rival who makes life quite frustrating for the young Girl of Steel.

The art is nice and consistent with a stylized cartooney appearance that really fits the story perfectly. This looks like it could be a storyboard for a rather entertaining cartoon complete with some of the classic visual trappings and exaggerations I’d expect out of a cartoon.

The story itself–with the introduction/origin/initial status quo set up for Supergirl out of the way last issue–is able to function very well as a slice of life/done-in-one adventure-in-the-8th-grade for the character, while introducing a couple characters that will likely be part of the recurring cast.

I liked this issue quite a bit–I liked it more than the previous issue, and that’s a trend I certainly enjoy with comics. There are some nice nods to mainstream DC continuity that older fans can get, while those same elements build on the character as found in these pages. A main point in this story is this anti-/opposite Supergirl character; something that is pulled off and makes much more sense as done here than it did in the main Supergirl book several years back.

If you’re looking for something to give to a younger comic fan–or someone you’re looking to turn into a comic fan–this is a great place to start.

As only the 2nd issue, if you haven’t already grabbed the first, it’d also be well worth picking up both in one go.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! [Review]

Words, Pics, Heart: Mike Kunkel
Letters: Steve Wands
Assoc. Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Mike Kunkel
Publisher: Johnny DC (DC Comics)

This issue picks up with Billy–as Captain Marvel–sitting around ready to play hookey from school. Mary convinces him to go in due to identy and detention issues. While serving detention, Billy helps some other kids stuck in detention before Theo Adam strikes, still seeking the magic word to transform himself back into Black Adam. As a dangerous schoolyard-bullying act plays out, Mary innocently slips, and we’re reintroduced to Captain Marvel’s nemesis, Black Adam.

The story here is at once fairly complex and yet quite simplistic. In other words, kids or adults ought to be able to enjoy this…better yet, adults oughtta be able to enjoy sharing this reading experience with their kid(s).

The art has a simplistic style to it while conveying a good deal of emotion–and motion. Visually and story-wise, this feels like it ought to be serving as the comic-book counterpart to an animated series. And while I never really cared for the anime-styled Teen Titans show, a Shazam/Captain Marvel animated series would thrill be quite a bit.

This is definitely a good series for the younger crowd, yet should be fairly enjoyable to older readers. I’m actually enjoying this book more than many other “regular” DC titles these days. And in this day ‘n age, you simply cannot beat the price, either!

We do get a “to be continued” on this issue, but on the whole it’s quite a good read, with plenty of dialogue TO read and numerous panels per page rather than constant splash pages and few panels per page.

Taken seperately I my not generally like the story or art as much…but taken on the whole, I really enjoy this. The book is more than its individual parts. Very much recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #1 [Review]

Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artist: Eric Jones
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Joey Mason
Editor: Jann Jones
Cover: Eric Jones
Publisher: Johnny DC / DC Comics

While Superman battles Lex Luthor in a huge mech-armor, the villain gloats that only an other-dimensional rocket could destroy his armor. Then, lo ‘n behold, an other-dimensional rocket arrives, crashing through the armor, and from this craft comes a young Super-girl.

This is a rather cutesy start to the series, but gives a nice quick premise: we have a Supergirl arriving in a rocket from some other dimension. As the issue progresses, we get more background info about what’s brought her to the present: it’s a setup that departs a bit on some key points from what I’m aware of as her traditional background, but it does so presumably to keep things on the lighter side. This IS supposed to be a comic the younger crowd can read, and the lighter tone preserves key points of Supergirl’s situation while leaving other stuff open to future use.

The story is not bad…it felt a bit simplistic and repetetive sometimes, but I’m pretty sure that was done intentionally to lend tone to the story, capturing the feel of what Supergirl goes through trying to begin acclimating to Earth.

The art is a bit too cutesy for me…I realize it’s aimed at kids, and that I’m not the primary/target audience for this. It definitely looks like a saturday morning cartoon series I’d find–and complain about–on the Cartoon Network. This Supergirl would not be entirely out of place for me appearning in Dexter’s Lab or Powerpuff girls. As a whole, the art does definitely fit the story, and taken together, is a pretty good package.

I wouldn’t recommend this much for an adult reader with no kids to interact with on it…but as something to give to a kid (and at risk of political incorrectness, probably more the young female crowd), it’s another fine addition to the Johnny DC line…though as the first of only six issues (according to the cover), it almost seems like it could be worth waiting for a digest-sized collected edition much like what Archie produces…if DC were to do that. My rating below is based on how it hit me–a 28-year-old single male reader with no kids and no one to hand this issue off to. I’m confident it would be rated a couple points higher by someone significantly younger than me with an interest in the Super-characters.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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