Mickey X: The Contest Review

91QwpY9Tv5L
Before reading this comic I had certainly never heard of Mickey X. I’d say that I’m a pretty knowledgeable Disney fan but I suppose I still don’t know all of the spinoffs. The premise for the series seems pretty interesting as Mickey runs errands in a supernatural world filled with dangerous characters. It’s a very different take on the classic characters but one that works pretty well so far and does have a lot of potential. That’s saying something since I feel like the majority of Elseworld tales aren’t very good. At the very least it’s a fun little comic.

There are two stories in this comic. The first one is the main adventure as a bunch of mystery authors are invited to a mysterious mansion. The owner may in fact have ill intent as monsters show up and begin attacking the guests. Can Mickey and his struggling author friend save the day or will monsters conquer all? One thing is for sure, someone is going to have to step up and get the job done.

I’m always up for an ensemble of mystery authors. Even Detective Conan did something similar in one arc. Goofy (Basically it’s him) can’t write so he has to bluff his way through the meeting. I’d say he does a decent job of it since he has lasted so long without anyone finding him out. Here’s my question though. Since apparently his friend was writing all of the stories for him in the first place, why would Goofy need to go to the bar to get inspiration? It’s not like it would help at all if he simply can’t write. Maybe he was hoping that he could finally write his first book which is a nice thought but I guess it just didn’t happen. Also in case you are ever caught in such a position I’d advise you to at least write something down as opposed to leaving a blank page and conceding defeat. Even if you don’t think the story is great, half a story is better than none.

While Mickey is really the supporting character here, he does a good job of keeping up with everyone. You get the feeling that he’s not in too much danger from the monsters due to his speed and reflexes. He comes across as an adventurer in training so I’m sure he’ll get more to do in other volumes. Minnie makes for an interesting ruler since she seems to have abilities here. At the very least, she has a lot of influence and can call the shots whenever she likes.

If I had a book that turned my writing into reality, I’d quickly write that my pizza made it on time and was free. I’d probably build some kind of calorie nullifier as well so that I could finally eat all the cheese that I wanted. The monsters that the authors came up with were fairly good though so I’ll give them some kudos on that. They had good imaginations and proved that they were the real deal when it came to author skill.

The 2nd story is a whole lot shorter but it’s still pretty good. Mickey finds a camera lying around but whenever he takes a picture there is a door in the background which is slowly opening more and more. He decides not to take any more pictures just in case but it may be out of his hands now. This camera could very well lead to the end of the world! That will weigh heavily on Mickey’s conscience.

I figure that behind the door is a specter who haunts the wielder of the camera for all eternity. It makes sense and adds in a lot of tension. However, theories are all that you can make as the monster doesn’t get to appear thanks to the anticlimactic ending. I was expecting a troll moment where a happy character comes out of the door or something, not for nobody to come out. Still, it was a pretty interesting story before that ending occurred. The ending didn’t ruin it or anything, but it was just a missed opportunity. It was short but who doesn’t like an evil camera plot?

The art looks pretty good throughout. All of the character designs are sleek and the pages are easy to read with the sharp colors all around. It’s light in detail which helps the overall comic be so comprehensive but naturally more details are always a good thing if handled well. The art is basic but in a good way so I’m definitely satisfied. No real action scenes to test its mettle of course but it’s not like you would expect one here. That’s why it is important that the overall comic looks good. I say the same thing about anime. If it’s not an action series then I feel like it should be very easy to have good animation since the character designs are one of the only things you are focusing on. If you still can’t have good animation then I’m not sure what to say. So Mickey X did a good job with what it was given.

Overall, Mickey X was pretty fun. It’s a very short read but one were both stories had a good premise. The first one works quite well while the second’s ending was anticlimactic but they were both solid stories. It’s always good to see more of Mickey Mouse, particularly in his modern design/personality. Hopefully the series got many more comics because I’d be interested in reading those. I’m curious as to where Donald Duck is and what his occupation/personality even is in this version. I’m sure that no matter what he’s doing, he is still the loud and confident character that we are all used to. I’d recommend giving this comic a read and enjoying the best Goofy portrayal that I’ve seen.

Overall 7/10

Advertisements

Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs Peel Review

4e2e904a0059c1d502926d1b7a5da5a3_xl
Batman 66 comics have always been pretty fun in the past. They have a nice balance of action and wit to keep you guessing throughout the adventure. That’s why I was surprised when this one actually didn’t turn out to be all that good. It’s still fun for the Batman and Robin scenes, but the artwork took a huge nosedive and the characters that the heroes get to meet aren’t too interesting this time around. Considering that these crossovers are quite limited with how many can be produced at a time, it’s a bit of a shame that we wasted one on these guys.

The comic starts off with Catwoman deciding to steal a large diamond. Bruce Wayne and a rich lady happen to be in the area so Catwoman goes after them next. With the lady’s tough talk and banter throughout, I figured that she was Mrs Peel. No, the real Steed and Mrs Peel show up shortly afterwards to try and handle the situation. Robin and Alfred (Dressed as Batman appear as well so the villains are corralled quite nicely. It turns out that this is a bigger plot that is being led by the villains of the Avengers series.

That is really Steed and Mrs Peel’s only cling to fame by the way. The series they are from is actually called The Avengers so at least it sounds impressive to the average comic reader. Their main villains seem to be a large organization that uses Cybernauts (Androids) to do their evil bidding. These cybernauts are now going to destroy the world once they get the diamonds so Batman and Robin have to stop them.

Here’s why the crossover doesn’t work very well. If you thought that the two men from Uncle weren’t too useful, these chaps are even worse. All they do is bicker and banter throughout their appearances. They don’t really contribute at all except for moments where you figure that Batman and Robin should have had the situation under control anyway. They made for rather boring characters in the story and couldn’t really keep your attention. At the very least, that’s why I couldn’t really get behind these guys. I didn’t really warm up to them by the end either. They had a convenient habit of forgetting everything about the villains until Batman and Robin would find out first. By then it’s not as if it really mattered.

One of the good moments of the comic was when the Cybernauts broke into the Batcave. Of course it was the guest stars’ fault again as they didn’t notice that the villains had bugged them. Still, it was pretty intense since I don’t believe a villain had ever gotten inside before in this continuity. Batman and Robin did a good job of holding the fort even against overwhelming odds. The Cybernauts actually have potential as they are henchmen that are actually pretty dangerous in a fight. You can’t say that about most henchmen.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier the art is pretty bad. Until now the Batman ’66 comics have all looked really good. This one looks very rough around the edges and the art style is really no good at all. The character designs are all wrong and the fight scenes suffer as a result. The comic now has to thrive purely on the dialogue. The writing is pretty strong as you’d expect so at the very least that does help the comic quite a bit. I think this author actually liked Robin more than the rest because he looks good for a change. He gives Batman a few ideas and even saves the day once or twice. He’s portrayed as being fairly close to an equal in this adventure so his fans will like that. Batman still looks like the capable leader he always is as well. He’s just more open to suggestions this time around.

The comic had a decent misdirect with the rich lady from the beginning, but once you knew that she wasn’t Mrs Peel it was pretty clear that she had to be one of the villains. Batman was a little too emotionally attached though considering that they barely knew her. He didn’t take the twist very well although I suppose he put up a decent front. Most of the characters didn’t suspect a thing. Mrs Peel finding out his secret identity was a little iffy, but I suppose that usually happens in crossovers for the mutual hype for both franchises.

Overall, This may not have been the best Batman ’66 comic, but the series does set a high bar. It’s still as reasonably entertaining comic and I’d recommend it if you’ve already read the rest of the issues. It had some decent fights and Batman’s always a fun main character. Beyond that, I’d still never recommend this over any of the other volumes to be honest. The crossover just didn’t work and at the end of the day that takes away a considerable amount of the hype behind the volume. I’m still ready for more Batman 66 crossovers though and the only one left is where they meet Wonder Woman. That should certainly be a great team up so it’ll be fun to read it some day.

Overall 6/10

My Little Pony: The Movie Review

4398241
It’s always interesting to read a novel adaption right after watching the movie because then you can really notice where they changed or omitted something. In this case, there was really massive change and a few fairly minor ones. The biggest one definitely involved Twilight’s falling out with her friends. Lets dive into the plot though and take a look at how it stands up on its own.

Twilight Sparkle is planning a huge party to celebrate a momentous occasion. She is even bringing out a talented singer to Ponyville for the event. Unfortunately, it is crashed by Tempest and the Storm King. They want to destroy Ponyville once and for all to show that their power is supreme. Twilight’s kingdom is no longer hers so she will have to go on a quest to find the mermaid ponies and save Equestria. Can she really hope to stop this array of villains or will it all be for naught?

It’s a pretty solid premise. As with the movie, it can just be a little annoying to see Twilight let these villains just walk all over her. At this point in the series her power level is quite high and she should have no problem just blasting these guys away. Instead she spends the movie getting wrecked by just about everyone. Even at the end she has to be saved one last time by her friends. She’s still a good lead character though and ironically one of the changed parts of the comic makes her even better. In the film she tells the other ponies that she wished she had other friends or something to that extent when they were bickering about whether or not they should have stolen the gem of power from the mermaids. It’s a big moment since it’s one of those lines that’s hard to take back and that’s why the team splits. In this case, the team splits up because they call her out for being a thief and Twilight responds with a snarky “Oh yeah?” I guess they took that really personally but it does make you wonder why the team would split apart for something like that. It makes their bond look a little more shallow if we’re being honest. Of course, Twilight’s expression in this moment was certainly priceless so I have to give the artist some props there. It was the best panel in the whole comic.
IMG_0645
The other scene that was cut out was Fluttershy getting one of the guards to cry, but I was pretty okay with this since it made the guards a little more serious. Not that they didn’t have any comedy moments, but now they didn’t have much at all. The book is basically the movie though so there’s not a whole lot of other things to say about it. The cast of characters is definitely solid and the art looks good. Of course, that’s basically the same as saying that the movie looks good. The songs are solid and it’s a good overall adventure.

Even if I did cover it as a movie, I’ll give a quick run down of what was good and bad about the story. The good part is that the action scenes are pretty good and Tempest is a solid villain. Her design is really good and her abilities are definitely the real deal. After all she was able to take down Ponyville in a single day. The pacing is pretty good and something is always happening in the book. The only slow part might be when they head to the water world but it was still pretty good.

On the weaker side, the supporting characters weren’t too good here. I didn’t really care for capper much or the mermaids. The Storm King was quite underwhelming with his dialogue and personality so it would have been cool if Tempest had replaced him. That would have made for a more intense climax. The only other real negative is that I felt like Twilight Sparkle should have done a whole lot better. The fact that she really couldn’t contribute at all was pretty bad.

Overall, You’ll be able to blast your way through the movie comic since it’s really not all that long at all. One batch is probably all that you’ll need to finish it. If you’re a fan of the MLP series then you’l definitely love it and even if you aren’t, it’s just a solid adventure. It will teach you about the power of friendship and that Ponyville is still a dangerous and dark place. It’s just how the place is and you can’t really fault the Mane 6 for it. It’s just the rest of the ponies who need to be a little nicer. Maybe Tempest can help to show them a better way. That being said, at the end of the day it’s probably better for you to just watch the movie then to read the comic. It’s just a more wholesome way to experience the story.

Overall 7/10

Wonder Woman ’77 Volume 1 Review

3592816.jpeg.maxheight-1500
Unlike the Batman’66 series, I don’t know much about the old Wonder Woman show. Still, if it was anything like the Batman comics, I knew this would be a winner. It’s definitely a fun comic and while the art isn’t quite as good as you’d hope, it has its moments. Hopefully this series did/is doing well so it keeps on going. We could use more retro comics like this. Next they need to bring in a Superman ’55 series or something.

There are only 2 issues in this volume but it’s as long as any Batman’66 comic so I guess they’re all triple length. They definitely feel like long comics and even have multiple stories inside so that’s cool. The first story has Wonder Woman go up against the Swan. The Swan was crashing a party so WW had to quickly step in. The fight actually lasts for a little while and was a good way to kick off the adventures. Villains who use super voices are definitely formidable opponents to be sure, but it can’t beat classic super strength.

The next story was also pretty solid as Wonder Woman wakes up to find out that someone else is playing the part. It’s always a pretty interesting premise as you have to wonder which reality warper is messing around this time. It’s pretty disheartening to be benched to the sidelines when you’re used to being a starter. Also, no worries it isn’t a dream or something like that. Either way I’d probably say that it’s the best story in the batch. It was just nice and interesting all the way through.

Following that is the return of the Cheetah. She feels bad because her exhibit was cancelled at the last second so the museum could do a feature about Wonder Woman. As a result, she found the Cheetah costume/artifact and became a super villain. As a result, this is a different Cheetah than usual. Wonder Woman still defeats her with minimal effort, but it was a good comic. I’m always up for another version of Cheetah since it means that eventually a good one will pop up.

The next comic really stood out because of the artwork. It looked a little different this time. Some of the faces could still be way off at times, but I thought the villain’s design was handled well. Her name is Celsia and I’ve never heard of her before so it’s possible that she was made up for the issue. She has Ice and Fire abilities which is always a nice combo since she can now counter most elements. She manages to give Wonder Woman a good fight and it’s always nice to have a villain that is trying to defy corporate. It was probably the second best story of the bunch and even added in the shady government subplot to keep the characters honest.

Finally, we end on a serious note with a very short last comic. Solomon Grundy shows up to help a lady who is in a bad relationship with random joe #45. Wonder Woman fights him for a bit, but then finds out the reason for Grundy’s appearance and helps justice be served. It’s definitely a pretty dark comic for the usually happy Wonder Woman stories and was probably a short story that was released to raise awareness. WW even quickly reminds the girl that she should testify in court to make sure the guy is put away and to embolden others. A good story even if it seems a little out of place next to the others. It’s only a few pages long at any rate.

As mentioned earlier, the art is definitely a step down from Batman’66. It’s going for one of those quasi live action looks where everyone is super realistic. I never think that’s a good option for a comic and this was no exception. It’s not really bad or anything and once in a while the visuals will look good, but I do think it holds the series back just a bit.

Also, this may just be due to the show being like this as well, but Wonder Woman doesn’t make nearly as many one liners and wisecracks as Batman and Robin. She’s also not a super goody goody like them either so the writing isn’t quite as funny. She’s a noble hero, but the comic doesn’t do much else for her. She is also a little more naive than the other heroes which leads to multiple misunderstandings which in turn get the villains to show up. Of course, Wonder Woman is still a good character though and I didn’t mind Steve as a supporting character either. It’s a little hard to gauge how strong Wonder Woman is here, but she at least does have some degree of super strength. As such, I want to see the next volume give her more of a super villain to go up against. The fights will never get too massive since that’s not the point of these retro comics, but even if it’s brief it would be fun to see a quick super powered tussle.

Overall, it’s a good start for the Wonder Woman comics. If each issue stays this large, it should have no problem getting a bunch of trade paperbacks. I look forward to seeing the rest of Wonder Woman’s cast show up. Also, the more volumes it gets, the more I will be used to the characters and that should help the series get better and better. Switch the artist and the series will probably jump up a star instantly. I haven’t read a great many Wonder Woman comics aside from the old Golden/Silver age stuff so it’s good to have read a modern adventure from her. I look forward to the next volume whenever it pops up. Final note, I looked the series up on Comicvine and even though the trade says that it is only 2 issues inside, online it shows up as being the first 13. I guess they were all parts and merged into these issues, but that definitely explains quite a lot.

Overall 7/10

Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

fdc3081921bff8b455409dcc8ae65dc3_xl
It’s time for the next Batman ’66 crossover event! This time he is meeting up with the Men from UNCLE which is interesting since I know nothing about the latter. From how they’re portrayed in the comic, I definitely wouldn’t call them heroes. They also seem a little outgunned next to Batman since they don’t really have any gadgets and appear to be only as tough as the average henchman. Still, I suppose they get enough one liners to keep them afloat and it’s a solid comic either way.

The Men from UNCLE are sent to Gotham after every villain in Arkham Asylum is broken out of jail. The company suspects that Bruce Wayne is involved since he has access to the prison and has enough money to pull this off. The Agents are sent into a party so they can keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin are puzzled as to who could do such a dastardly thing and quickly head to the scene. The party is a great cover for them since they can just act natural. Well, it turns out that all of the villains are now working with T.H.R.U.S.H. THRUSH is an evil organization that is quite large so the 4 heroes are going to have to team up to take them down.

Unfortunately we don’t get our hero against hero fight this time. I feel like it’s because there is no believable way that Napoleon or Illya could do well against Batman. He should completely outclass them even without his gadgets. Still, it would have been fun. The difference is that both agents already know Batman from his reputation and the characters team up from the start. To counter this, I would have liked to have explored the “Bruce Wayne is a traitor” plot a little more but it’s the only real missed opportunity in the comic. The plot is mentioned but immediately abandoned as the villains attack and Bruce slips into his Batman costume. From here on out they assume that Bruce is probably a good guy since he works with Batman.

The comic also shows us how differently the two teams handle a situation. The agents don’t mind getting civilians involved. It puts them at a slight risk but the agents claim that the end justifies the means and so as long as it works they will keep up this tactic. They also use guns and outright murder all of the henchmen they fight. Unfortunately Batman never gets to witness this. Robin does, but he just takes them at their word that it’s simply how they do business. Again, Batman would never work with these guys if he knew the truth. It’s a shame he didn’t find out since that could have led to a pretty fun fight.

The comics go by really quickly so you’ll be sad when it’s all over. It was nice that most of Batman’s villains were able to get squeezed in. Of course, most of them don’t get much of a role but at least they showed up. The big reveal for who the mastermind is won’t surprise anyone who reads the main Batman comics, but I suppose for fans of ’66 it may be surprising. Lets just say that this traitor knows a few things about villains. He can’t really fight though so it’s good that the minions were at the ready.

The art is quite solid as always. I really like Batman’s design and all of the characters stick out quite well. The pages are easy to read and the action scenes are engaging. This just makes a comic that is already solid even better. There are no real weaknesses in this story and a strength is in its writing. The writing is top notch as you would expect with Batman being a total law abiding citizen the whole time and getting his share of one liners. The Men from UNCLE can seem a little overconfident at times but they still seem like good characters. I just happen to be on Team Batman and enjoy him upstaging them the whole time, but it doesn’t take away from their characters. I’d be interested in reading a retro version of their tales as well.

Overall, This crossover is really good despite the Man from UNCLE not being the most exciting team up yet. The best crossover might still be the Green Hornet as that one perfectly showed why having team vs team fights can be so interesting. I really hope DC continues doing more of these crossovers. At the moment I only have 2 left. I have one coming up that is even more obscure so it’ll be nice to learn more about the franchise through the comic. That review should be coming up relatively soon. If you haven’t read this comic yet then you should do so ASAP. It’s just a quality story that is both action packed and humorous at the same time.

Overall 8/10

Ben Review

MPW-51064
It’s time for the sequel to Willard. As you can probably guess, this won’t really end well for the film. The first one had just about everything that you wouldn’t want to see in a film. While this film shows some marginal improvement with a better cast, it’s still so bad that it doesn’t really make a difference. There still aren’t any real positives to speak of so the film can’t really gain any ground. Furthermore, the concept was never good to begin with so it’s not like the film could fall back on its potential.

So, Ben escaped from the proper authorities last time. Now he is back and he has brought an army. The plan is for Ben and his friends to decimate the city and put all of the local grocery/supermarkets out of business. This plan hits a snag when Danny shows up. He’s a nice kid who always wanted to sing, but simply doesn’t have the talent. He has some kind of condition with his heart so it’s hard for him to breath or move all that much. Ben takes pity on him and decides to become friends, but he still has to defend himself from the cops. The cops suspect that something is up, but are too busy with their banter to give it too much extra thought at the moment.

At the very least, it’s nice to see the cops get more of a role. They talk and act with complete seriousness so you know that the threat is real. They arm themselves to the teeth with flame throwers, guns, sticks, and all sorts of weapons. These guys definitely didn’t come to play, they came to win! It’s all part of the plan, but alas it is not that easy. The Rats are smarter than they look and somehow can still compete. It’s almost funny when one guy runs out of the tunnel and informs the chief that they’re losing. By this point there are at least a dozen guys who ran into the sewers with their flame throwers and they’re still losing? I don’t know what to say about that. Once you have a fire weapon, the rats should not be able to break the line. Maybe the guys started to space out or something.

The rats definitely get a lot of hype so the humans are on the defensive for quite a while. At least they still manage to keep secrets from each other so none of them are on the same page. One of them even rubs in the fact that if the rats were a little bigger things would be dicier. Clearly these guys needed more grenades and such. While the climax is a lot more explosive and intense than the first one, it’s still built around animal violence so it’s no better.

As a whole the film was certainly less violent than the first one so that’s nice. It’s still violent enough to issue some warning bells though. Danny also doesn’t work well as a main character. First off, he’s pretty annoying like just about any other kid in a movie. Second, giving him the heart problem just felt like an excuse for some drama and it never added anything into the film. That subplot never should have made it past production. The sister’s insistence on Danny having an imaginary friend was also pretty dicey the whole time since he made it clear that it was real from the start. At first you just assume that she’s covering for him, but she actually ended up believing it. It was awful convenient for the kid that’s for sure.

As for Ben, he is now a family man which is an interesting twist. That being said, he’s not a particularly good one since he ditches his family every day to hang out with Danny. This plot point also felt out of place since it’s completely out of character and makes no sense. I believe the writers felt like it was the only way they could get Danny into the story, but then maybe they shouldn’t have gotten him involved at all. The rest of the film actually wouldn’t change at all and it would have helped a bit. Shorten the run time and increase the focus on the cops. Those are the first steps towards being a bad movie instead of a terrible one.

On a miscellaneous note, I still feel like people aren’t as scared of rats as the film series would have you believe. Sure, people find them kind of creepy and gross so they stay away, but you wouldn’t yell in terror at the mere sight of them. You certainly wouldn’t engage a few hundred of them, but you’d act with some dignity. Once they start biting you you’d run away instead of sitting down and just taking it. Honestly, the pain of getting dozens of bites in an instant should be enough to force you to move on pure instinct alone. I just don’t see a person freezing up even if it is more dramatic. At that point the fear is gone and only the pain remains. Much like when you start this film. You fear what’s going to happen and then once it plays the fear is gone and now you have to endure the terrible songs.

Overall, I’d say that Ben was unfocused. It tried having way too many plot lines and incorporating a bunch of characters even though there was no reason to do so. It should have just been Ben vs the World like you’d think from the posters. We don’t need happy human subplots. Maybe if they toned down the horror aspects it would work, but you shouldn’t do both. The writing isn’t good and there is still a lot of animal violence so at the end of the day you can be sure that this film didn’t fare well for me. It’s a title that you should forget and move on from as soon as possible.

Overall 0/10

My Little Pony The Movie Prequel Review

61ckikwrLFL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_
It’s time to look at the events that lead up to the movie. This comic focuses on developing the new additions to the cast so instead of the Mane 6 we get to see more of Tempest, Storm King, and the pirates. The movie didn’t have the strongest of supporting characters, but that’s what the comic is for so could it improve the characters? Well, I’m still not a Storm King fan, but it was nice to see more of Tempest.

The first issue is about the Storm King as he continues to conquer more and more kingdoms. Unfortunately his lieutenant betrays him and the Storm King must now give chase. He hands the 2nd in command position over to one of his weaker minions so that if he is ever betrayed again it won’t be that serious. It’s a sound decision, but one that also has some obvious weaknesses. While the Storm King did get suckered, it did help me gain respect for Strife. He actually seems like a pretty good villain. I don’t really trust in his abilities in a fight, but betraying the Storm King definitely earns him some respect in my book. The issue also shows how the Storm King is definitely a villain through and through as he destroys a village for no real reason.

The 2nd comic takes place at the same time, but is from the pirates point of view. They’re determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Unfortunately their money and supplies have been dwindling so they decide to rob a Storm King vessel. Fortunately Strife is here to help as he aims to stay aboard their ship for safety. Since he disables the Storm King vessel they’re okay with this, but you can’t keep the Storm King down for long. It would help the pirates a lot if they could fight, but unfortunately for them it seems like this is not the case. Once the Storm King actually does arrive, the pirates completely throw in the towel. In their defense I suppose they would get wrecked if they fought, but I definitely would have liked them to have thrown a few shows. It was a little weaker than the first issue, but still a fun enough read.

The third comic is about Capper and his tragic backstory. He never wanted to be a crook, but became one to make ends meet. He had a friend who was more enthusiastic about this. Eventually the friend decided to cut their ties so he betrayed Capper and ran off. Surprisingly this partner may have died since the blimp he took blew up. That’s what you get when you betray the heroes I suppose. Definitely the darkest story of the bunch and you can’t help but feel bad for Capper. Too bad this turned him into a full fledged villain though. At the same time, he works better as a villain than a hero I’d say.

Finally, the last comic is the best one since it stars Tempest. I still say she was very naive to trust the Storm King at all. Fighting it out with him would have been a lot of fun. Her lack of a horn definitely makes her design even cooler even if she isn’t a fan of it. You already see a good chunk of Tempest’s backstory in the film so this comic focuses on the part after that as she first meets up with the Storm King. Selling out Equestria was definitely pretty drastic though so she definitely has to be thrown in the traitor category as well. If only Equestria wasn’t so mean to everyone who isn’t the Mane 6. If the Mane 6 had never come around, I have a feeling Ponyville would be very different.

The art is pretty good here. I found it to be more consistent than in Friends Forever. All of the character designs are on point. The backgrounds are clear and the artwork never gets cluttered. It makes it easy to just pick up the comic and start reading. Even the text is nice and large. You’ll be done with the comic very quickly since it’s only 4 issues and the panels are pretty big. Still, it covers a pretty good amount of story in that time.

To reiterate, the comic really only has one weakness, the characters. As much as the comic gives them development, I still couldn’t find myself caring about the pirates, Capper, or the Storm King. Tempest is always cool, but the others just can’t really hold their own stories. That’s why even though the stories are good, they aren’t quite as engaging as they could have been otherwise.

Overall, This was a good comic. You definitely end up missing the main ponies though. It’s hard to have a My Little Pony comic that only has 1 pony show up during the whole adventure. I’m still not sold on the Storm King either. I dunno, as a villain Tirek and the others just work a lot better. This guy has a lot of fun with his job which is fun, but definitely takes away from the fear factor. I do recommend checking out this prequel though, especially if you’re going to watch the movie. If you’re looking for an MLP comic to start the franchise off with though, then you’re better off checking out Friends Forever or Pony Tales.

Overall 6/10

Teen Titans Go! Volume 4: Ready for Action Review

514903._SX1280_QL80_TTD_
Time for a Teen Titans Go collection! Of course, I’m not talking about the current flash animated show, but the original Teen Titans Go adventures. It’s basically the classic TV show team with the original designs so you can’t go wrong there. The art can be a little sketchy at times, but it’s definitely a pretty fun collection. We get quite a few stories and always some action around. As always, Robin also manages to steal the show.

The first comic deals with a bunch of zombies attacking. They seem to attack every place where a musician takes the stage so that seems awfully suspicious. The Titans head over there while Raven goes to fight the mastermind directly. He seems to have manipulation over the shadows so he is someone that you definitely have to be careful with. Of course, Raven has a lot of experience in this field herself so she’s certainly not worried. A pretty good start to the collection. It may not have had a lot of action, but I liked the mastermind who was in the shadows. Raven taking care of him with minimal difficulty definitely makes sense since there is no way this guy should pose much of a threat to her. Raven is simply on another level when it comes to powers from the shadows.

The next comic had Raven fall inside the video game world when Atlas made his big return. Cyborg has apparently been hiding from him for a while, but you can’t escape Wifi and lag switches. A lot of technical glitches occur which is why people keep falling into the game. Can the Titans clear the game and get out or will a cop out occur? Unfortunately it’s the latter, but it’s still a fun issue. The original Atlas episode is actually one of the most underrated ones in the series if you ask me and I thought it was pretty good. I would have liked for Atlas to have actually fought here. So it’s not as good as the first story, but still solid.

Next up is the Beast Boy adventure. He gets turned into a Godzilla homage so the Teen Titans have to team up with the East branch to bring him down. They take out the Voltron robot that Cyborg had been saving and manage to really knock the fight out of Beast Boy. Who doesn’t like a giant monster comic right? I prefer humanoid opponents, but it’s hard to say no to a Godzilla homage. At the very least it was also fun seeing the East squad again. Speedy and Robin had a nice team up as well.

Things changed a bit with the next comic as it was actually two mini stories. The first story is about Raven lending all of the Titans her super spooky book except for Beast Boy since she figured he couldn’t handle it. He’s not mature enough. He decides to prove her point by breaking into her room and stealing her book. It’s the wrong one though so he unleashes a monster to the world. Pretty decent comic and I’m glad we got the moral at the end that Beast Boy isn’t ready for it. The second half story was a lot better though as Robin faces off against Slade and they have an epic battle until Starfire wakes Robin up from his day dream. Hey, it might not have been real but it makes for a fun adventure. The art got very water colored for some reason for this issue. I’m not really a fan of that style, I’ll take the classic look.

The next two comics are definitely the best in the volume. First off is the return of Red X. He’s here with a vengeance as he starts committing a lot of crimes. The strange thing is that when the Titans try to stop him, he seems to be in 5 places at once. Most of them are robots but is the real one the real Red X? He’s never used such a tactic before. The Titans assemble and get ready to take him down. It’s a pretty action packed comic with Robin as the focus, how could this not win? Robin is also the only member to do well against his Red X counterpart which is worth mentioning. Yeah, all told, I was pretty satisfied with how the comic went. Even the art seemed to be at its peak here.

Next up was a sequel to the Master of Games story. The Titans are taking down crooks as per usual when a red gem shatters and they all switch powers. Robin gets Starfire’s abilities while Raven gets Robin’s hand to hand skills for example. It’s a pretty interesting development and as expected, Robin and Raven handle the changes the best. The others have a pretty tough time of it but they’ll have to stay strong since crime never takes a holiday. It’s not a super action packed episode or anything, but swapping powers can always be an amusing plot line for an episode. This one handled it pretty well at that.

Finally, we end off with a Christmas episode. The team has to deal with the Multiple Man. (I’m not positive if that’s his name, but it would make sense) He’s ruining Christmas for everyone. Robin manages to stop him with a good trick, but Beast Boy is sad because Robin has to give his present to a random guy whose present was ruined. The secret santa may not have worked out for everyone, but it’s the thought that counts. It’s a pretty happy comic that is fitting for a Christmas story and it’s a reasonable way to end the collection. It captures the spirit of the TV show as an action packed adventure that had a good amount of humor.

It’s always nostalgic seeing the old cast. The Titans Go series was definitely a blast so it’ll be cool seeing the other issues at some point. The art could use a bit of a tune up at times, but I like the overall color scheme and character designs. The author just has trouble with the faces from time to time. Either way it is certainly a style that is easy to read and stands out though so I’d call that a win in my book.

Overall, You should definitely check this comic out. Think of the issues as the lost episodes that you never got to see when you were a kid. Hopefully the series got quite a few more volumes before ending. The array of stories is pretty solid and it felt like a good amount of content was squeezed into the volume. In these troubled times of Chibi Teen Titans Go episodes, it’s always helpful to remember the original. Perhaps these stories will be adapted into a one season sequel show someday. You never know…it could happen.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 9 Review

STL045316
I’ll never forget when I first became a My Little Pony fan. It all started when I walked into Duane Reade and had to choose between buying the Pinkie Pie game for GBA or Backyard Football. I ended up choosing the latter, but only played it for a few days before it was tossed in the legendary drawer of games never to be seen again. Meanwhile, My Little Pony has continued to grow over the years and I had to hop on the bandwagon. It’s a fun series and this comic series is actually one that I preferred to the main title so it’s sad to see it end here. I can finally say that I have read the final issue of a long running MLP series.

There are 5 stories in the collection and the art tends to change for each one. Some issues look better than the others as a result, but the experimentation was fine since none of them looked terrible or anything. The first comic is a team up between Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich. This is where my status as a casual fan comes back to haunt me because I have never heard of Cheese Sandwich before. I actually thought the pony was a she, but apparently not according to the wiki. In this case, I blame the artwork. The story sees a giant, living house kidnap Cheese Sandwich and Pinkie Pie along with some other ponies. They have to now make such a large party that the house will leave them alone. Pinkie Pie tries to escape several times, but there are no shortcuts in this mission.

Despite being a Pinkie Pie story, I’d say that this is the weakest of the bunch. The house didn’t exactly make for a great villain and I wasn’t sure about the moral. We don’t need parties to go on forever and even if the house wants this to be the case, it’s just not happening. As a proud member of the “I don’t go to parties” crew, I have to say that silence is golden and the best parties are the Mario ones on the Gamecube. Still a fun enough comic of course, but it all gets better from here.

Next was Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer. Glimmer has quickly risen up the ranks to be one of my personal favorite ponies and this comic helps her case. Sparkle wants to impress the kingdom by reordering the books and decides to bully Glimmer into helping under the ruse of it being for training. Starlight would rather not do this since she has been waiting for weeks to read her favorite spell book, but Twilight tricks her into thinking that she’ll learn more magic by helping. Twilight refuses to listen to any of Glimmer’s advice and reminds her that this isn’t a democracy. As a result, giant monsters show up thanks to magic going haywire and Twilight realizes that abusing one’s power is not a nice thing to do. Especially when you try to command a friend.

I feel like Twilight should probably know this moral already, but I’ll let it slide. Starlight helped her see the light (See what I did there?) and ultimately helped make Twilight a better pony. The art was a little suspect here as all of the characters were very small and chibi, but it wasn’t bad. We also got some nice action scenes as Starlight had to defend the kingdom on her own by making a giant energy barrier. She’s clearly still got a lot of power at her disposal. I’d probably put this story in the Top 2.

The next story was Rainbow Dash and Soarin. Soarin’s a petty pony who suffers from an inferiority complex and decides to run away to the mountains. Rainbow Dash is tasked with finding him and not taking his grumbling too seriously when she attempts to bring him back. Twilight Sparkle warns Rainbow Dash that sometimes you shouldn’t go too far to try and help a friend since the situation is dangerous. Rainbow Dash calls Twilight out on this and dashes off. Dash is also the perfect pony for the job since she ignored Soarin’s subtle digs and just brags about herself to counter it. Soarin realizes the error of his ways and agrees to come back to the Wonderbolts. He may not be a kid genius like Rainbow Dash, but he’ll try his best to keep up.

It’s a fun enough story and the author certainly had fun with Rainbow Dash’s personality. While the rest of the ponies are acting really polite and trying to be subtle, Dash just goes right to the point. It’s a pretty refreshing contrast from the rest of the ponies. Twilight looked pretty bad again and I’m wondering if the series just doesn’t like her. It’s probably just that they want to make the other characters look good for a change and I’m fine with that. After all, having a meaner Twilight Sparkle makes for a pretty good dynamic and she’s one of my favorite Ponies either way. It’s also worth noting that Derpy made a surprise cameo here and took the world by storm. She gets some subtle hype as she was able to deliver a letter back to Equestria during a bad storm but you’ll only realize this if you pay close attention to the dialogue and piece together when she could have taken the letter. It was pretty cool.

The next story is about Fluttershy and Applejack…or not. For some reason they don’t appear at all in this batch. They may have a one panel cameo in the background or something, but they miss the whole adventure. The story is really about Rarity and Trixie. They are tasked with teaming up to make a Broadway show the best that it can be. It’s going to be in Manehattan so the stakes are really high. Unfortunately Rarity has not forgiven Trixie for her evil ways and decides to give her the cold shoulder. Rarity refuses to work with her and does her own thing. As a result, she doesn’t make the clothes fireproof so Trixie gets blamed when the fireworks go wrong. Rarity realizes that she was being a petty pony and apologizes. Trixie accepts the apology and then they make the show a success.

Once again, it’s the main pony with the issue and the side pony has to help save the day. It may seem a little borrowed from the Twilight Sparkle story, but I liked it all the same. I didn’t care for the unreasonable manager though who threatened Trixie and Rarity for no reason. She’s probably one of the meanest ponies I’ve seen in the series. The art was also solid so I’d probably have to say that this was the best story in the batch. The story right after is very close though and the Twilight story was hype as well. It was a pretty close battle between the three.

The final story is a team up with Celestia and Luna. After many years, they finally have enough time to enter the big Olympic events in Equestria as a team. Unfortunately they had already promised the town that they would fix all of their problems first. They decide to skip sleep and just work on the problems together. This begins to test their patience and they also eat special barrier which take away their powers and increase their anger levels 10 fold thanks to the meddling of an old witch. Celestia begins to show her true colors as she continually taunts Luna by saying that she is superior and nobody ever likes Luna. Celestia gets really personal the whole time. Luna always has a comeback ready and gets the last laugh, but never goes quite as far as Celestia and she makes sure her words don’t cut as deep. You can probably tell who I thought was in the wrong on this one.

The art is the most exaggerated part of the comic as the ponies really yell and make a lot of intense facial expressions. I’d say that the art was bad, but it did a good job of depicting Celestia, one of my least favorite main characters in the series. Even by the end she just never gets as likable as Luna. Still, they both learned their lesson about eating strange fruits and not inspecting their food before they ate it. The other ponies didn’t suspect a thing for the most part. Rarity figured it out since she’s one of the smarter ponies around but that’s to be expected. I’d also argue that Luna ended up winning the competition although I’m sure you could try to piece together an argument for Celestia, I’m just not sure it would go very far.

How did it work as a series finale issue though? Honestly you wouldn’t have even known except for the final line where they break the 3rd or 4th wall. I suppose it was fitting to have the two highest ranked ponies team up for the finale though so they did think that part through. I was satisfied with it. The ideal ending would have been a Mane 6 team up but I guess we see that a lot in the main series as it is. I’m still pretty behind on that one but I’ll get there eventually. My favorite member of the Mane 6 just judging from this volume is Rainbow Dash. Historically she is usually at the top although occasionally she is dethroned by Pinkie Pie or Twilight Sparkle depending on the graphic novel or episode.

Overall, This is a pretty fun comic. I may have taken some subtle shots at the Mane 6 forgetting morals that they probably should have already learned, but no pony is perfect. They can’t be expected to not make any more mistakes and at least they learn from them in the end. My Little Pony always promises well written, wholesome entertainment within each issue. It’s definitely one of the most solid MLP comics I’ve read and there weren’t really any bad comics. The weakest one was the Pinkie Pie adventure and it still made for a good read. The art may fluctuate quite a bit, but it’s pretty good overall. I highly recommend reading it whether you’re a Pony fan or not. There’s plenty to enjoy for everyone and at the end of the day it’s just a pleasant read. Hopefully the rest of the MLP comics I ordered from the library get here soon so I can continue the marathon!

Overall 7/10

Captain America and the Falcon Secret Empire Review

335024._SX1280_QL80_TTD_
It’s time to take a look at the Secret Empire. Recently Marvel has had fun bringing back old events. We got a new Civil War, Infinity Gauntlet, and even the Secret Empire. Many don’t know this but there was an original Secret Empire event which the new one is lightly based off of. Honestly, it’s very light so the plots are quite different, but it goes to show that Marvel has been doing their research. This isn’t a very good event, but it’s decent enough. The writing just hasn’t aged well in some respects.

The collection starts off with Falcon being jumped by a bunch of hooligans. Captain America saves him, but Falcon isn’t happy since he’s tired of being in Cap’s shadow. Cap offers to help him get a power up through Iron-Man or Hank Pym, but Falcon wants it to be someone more relatable so he goes to Black Panther. This is only the start of where Falcon starts to act petty. He brings his girlfriend along for the ride basically just to show off and she gets competitive with the others very quickly. She picks fights with almost literally everyone she comes across and even throws a spear at Black Panther just to get his attention. Thanks to her, two of Black Panther’s guards are murdered and Falcon doesn’t seem to care as he keeps bragging about his upgrades. He runs back to show them off to Cap and is quite eager to take on the Avenger in a fight.

While Falcon was gone, a smear campaign was run against Captain America on TV and it was quite successful. So successful in fact that within days the whole country was agiainst the hero, even the Avengers. It’s almost laughable how quickly Iron-Man shows up with his threats and Falcon starts to have doubts as well. Even Nick Fury quickly jumps on the bandwagon. Captain America begins to lose faith in America which is understandable but before he call it quits, it’s time to take down the Secret Empire. It turns out that they have also kidnapped most of the X-Men so Professor Xavier, Jean Grey, and Cyclops arrive as backup. Together, the heroes stand a fighting chance, but Cap may have to cross some lines in order to clear his name.

The Evil Cap part is what the new Secret Empire is really going for while here it was all just bad media coverage. I think a big problem with the arc is that it all hinges on Marvel’s America being as gullible as possible. Did everyone really believe these media interviews so completely? What happened to the Daily Bugle and their reporting skills? Why didn’t the Avengers launch a campaign of their own? Why would everyone accept a new Moon hero coming out of nowhere as Captain America’s replacement? I felt like this comic took a lot of beats from the Thunderbolts but in a far more rushed and less believable scenario. I don’t know, the whole thing was rather fishy the whole time.

Captain America also wasn’t at his most likable in this comic either. He basically said that he wouldn’t help the X-Men until they pointed out that it was the same villain behind both schemes. He falls for every trap that the enemies laid out because his emotions cloud his judgment the whole time. It’s easy to forget that he is supposed to be a seasoned veteran here because he rarely acts like it. He also makes the wrong decision to end the comic and this has got to be the 4th or 5th time he’s done this. I didn’t realize that he was lacking in confidence so often. He’s still an entertaining enough character to watch, but he can be annoying.

Falcon is unfortunately even worse. He spends the early issues being jealous of Cap and then he rushes into battle without actually remembering how to fight. In a critical moment he ends up knocking out Black Panther and himself by mistake and tends to lose in all of his fights. Even in his big return fight where he teamed up with Cap, he lost in under 5 seconds. Naturally he started throwing petty insults at Cap after that. Falcon has just got to be the most petty superhero of all time and I’d consider him to be more whiny than Alpha from the recent Spider-Man comics. I’m glad that the Falcon has improved over the years because otherwise I can’t see why he’d stay on as a main character.

Black Panther looked good here. Despite everyone rushing him and murdering his men, he stayed calm throughout and always had a plan. He was definitely useful here. Thor and Iron-Man had decent motivational speeches, but didn’t do much in the story beyond that. There is a subplot where Peggy thinks Cap still likes her while he actually likes someone else. This drama plot definitely feels like it’s out of left field. It could be resolved rather quickly but Cap is too nervous to say anything. I’m not too surprised. It’s not an easy decision of course, but he still needs to make the hero call here.

As for the villains, we mainly focus on the Tumbler. He’s not half bad although you can’t help but feel like he is just Batroc by another name. His agility lets him take on guys like Captain America, but I can’t see him lasting too long otherwise. The Moon villain was more of a threat and he was someone that I could take a lot more seriously. He had super strength, speed, and intangibility. I think he could also teleport. Captain America and the others really couldn’t beat him during the issues so his fans must be thrilled. He gave the issues some more stakes as this was a villain that they couldn’t beat with brute force alone. I also liked the design.

We also have the corrupt politician. He wasn’t quite as fun as Godfrey, but I liked him all the same. He did a good job of stringing everyone along in his plot. The Secret Empire members also weren’t bad although most of them weren’t actual characters. It is interesting how Hydra created so many splinter groups. It really is a dangerous organization in that sense since every major villain group seems to be connected to them in some way or other. I’m trying to figure out who the politician who destroyed himself was since it obviously rattled Cap. On one hand, I want to say that it was the President, but I suppose that would be a little too bold. Whoever it was, I still wonder why it would break Cap. Maybe they’ll say it in a future comic or maybe they won’t.

The art was certainly on point. Everyone was in their ironic costumes and it was easy to go from page to page. Everything was sharp and this comic has aged incredibly well in that respect. I breezed through the issues as a result. Good art can certainly make a difference in a comic. Now, this review may have been on the negative side as I just had a lot of logic issues with the whole thing, but it was a fun comic. If anything, it just reinforces to me that the Marvel characters are still a lot meaner than the DC ones. They doubt each other and change sides at the flip of a hat. That hasn’t really changed much over the years.

That said, the adventures were still fun to follow. Seeing Cap have to break out of jail and steal stuff was pretty interesting. The team up with the X-Men was a lot of fun as well and I hadn’t been expecting that. It was also interesting to see the X-Men in their extremely old costumes while everyone else looked quite a bit more modern. I believe their was a plot reason for that, but it was a fun contrast. I would have liked to have seen Cyclops do a little better in the fights, but this wasn’t exactly his rodeo.

Overall, It’s been a while since I read a Captain America comic. In many respects he was portrayed well as he takes command of the situation and always walks around with a strut. That being said, his self doubts and general disregard for everyone else could be a little extreme. The Falcon was certainly extreme and maybe it was just the writer who didn’t really understand the characters. It can make the issues funny in an ironic way as you wonder why everyone is acting this way, but it is certainly entertaining through and through. There are no objectionable scenes in the comic and it never drops a random animal scene or anything else to worry about. It’s just a fun action adventure and you can’t ask for much more than that. I’d recommend checking out this comic and you may look at Captain America in a whole different way.

Overall 7/10