Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Volume 16 Review


The My Little Pony roll continues as I enter Volume 16. We’ve got another good batch of comics here with one of them being a Halloween special! I suppose I probably should have read this one about a week or two ago, but better late than never right? There are 5 stories here all with their own unique adventures. They’re all solid stories in their own right with no weak ones so the series continues to have a good amount of consistency.

One story has the elder apples playing Bingo with Applejack. The young pony decided to invite Rainbow Dash this time though and that ultimately leads to her downfall. Rainbow quickly points out that the game is a little boring and Applejack had apparently been leading this game for 5 years so everyone else was tired of it as well. Rainbow decides to spice things up by introducing them to Extreme Bingo. What happens in this game is that Rainbow hides the pieces around Ponyville and now the elders will have to split up and find them. First one to get a line wins. Applejack is against this because she feels it will be dangerous, but Granny Smith won’t hear any of that.

Applejack admittedly has a point here. Rainbow put some of the pieces in really dangerous places like an abandoned haunted house or past a bridge that was breaking down. Most of the other pieces are safe, but even just 1-2 like that do make things difficult. Had Rainbow not done that then I would have been on her side since Applejack always is overprotective. It was Rainbow’s loss this time, but it’s still a fun issue nevertheless. It was also nice seeing the elders call in their favors with the Mane 6 to get them into the competition. Honestly this could have been a two part comic with every member getting a buddy and things getting super competitive.

Another issue has the Student 6 getting invited to a haunted house by Twilight Sparkle. She was in disguise, but unfortunately they saw right through it. What Twilight didn’t count on was the fact that the rest of her friends put in a lot of contraptions of their own so when mixed together there is some real danger here. The kid are scared, but the Yak reminds them that if you use fear it can turn into power. It’s a good issue although it was a little extra irresponsible of Twilight to not check over the house herself. Also, she could have teleported in at any time so I don’t see how she took so long to get there. Parts of the plot were hard to buy so this is the weakest issue, but it’s still good. The moral that everyone feels fear is pretty good. People may not always show it, but just having that knowledge will let you cope with it a lot better than you otherwise would.

Next up Pinkie Pie gets the ability to make her wishes come true by eating a golden apple. This is Pinkie Pie so as you can expect she immediately begins to make a ton of wishes which puts everyone else in danger. She nearly drowns some ponies in hot fudge and she summons a bunch of balloons which get in Rainbow’s way. Even when her friends tell her to stop Pinkie is reluctant because she knows that her wishes will ultimately make everyone happy. There’s no two ways about this one, Pinkie’s the villain. She may be trying to justify this, but once her friends are flat out telling her to stop and she refuses this gets a little tricky.

Most of her wishes are also not that helpful. I think she would have convinced me of her side more if she wishes for better houses in the village or something like that. Wishing for Fluttershy to be transparent for the rest of her life? That probably stings for such a pleasant character as Fluttershy. Eventually Pinkie sees the light and we’re reminded that power corrupts. I do have to question why Applejack has had a golden apple like that and never used it before. That certainly would have come in handy during several of the villain invasions in the past right?

One story has Fluttershy acting rather oddly. She seems rather emotionless and even a bit rude to the rest of the Mane 6. She even kicks Rainbow Dash away which was pretty violent for such a peaceful pony. Well, it turns out that Fluttershy is acting like the animals around her thanks to an ancient amulet and now she has the personality of a dangerous wolf. The heroes will have to find a way to remove the effects of the amulet quickly or the damage Fluttershy does will eventually become irreparable. This is a good story and it reminds you not to mess with dangerous amulets. Spike also had a pretty good plan here. It’s rare that he thinks of something before Twilight so that was definitely fun for his fans. He stepped up when they needed him to do so and that’s always good.

Finally we head back to the Apples as Granny Smith thinks about an apple pie that Applejack’s mom used to make. It was the best ever, but nobody’s been able to recreate it. Applejack decides that this won’t do and gathers the local cake experts to crack the code. Pinkie Pie and Miss Cake are brought in, but even their efforts are in vain. The problem is the mysterious ingredient of “Love” in the recipe that they can’t seem to crack. After all they all really want to make Smith a good pie so shouldn’t that be enough? To find out what the ingredient is they will have to travel across Ponyville finding all of the ingredients that the Mom used to make while piecing together the past.

This is a pretty nice comic because it’s doing so much at once. We learn a lot more about Applejack’s parents through the stories that the villagers tell. Then we also get to see ponies team up in a rare combo because Miss Cake is rarely such a major player. I’m also always up for a good food story and since pie plays a big part here it’s nice to look at. In the end this is just a very wholesome comic. There may not be high stakes, but being able to recreate a recipe is always fun. It’s also something you can relate to because it’s always hard to make something quite the same way as someone else. I always like making recipes for myself so I don’t need to worry about that, but for people baking for a group it’s always a source of pressure.

As always the artwork is on point here. The pie comic is the only one where everyone was maybe drawn a little too young, but beyond that the proportions were all on point. The colors are vibrant and it always makes for a very pleasant read. The writing is definitely solid as well with everyone being polite while not being afraid to throw a little sass into the mix. You have to read between the lines at times to see how the ponies really feel. Except for Applejack, she’s always quite direct.

Overall, Volume 16 continues My Little Pony’s strong run. Alas, this is the final volume of the main series I have on hand so it could be a while before 17 hits. I do have one more MLP comic to read but it’s a little different from these. If you haven’t read this comic yet then I’d recommend picking it up. MLP is one of those comics that anyone can enjoy. These stories are just plain fun and whether you’re a kid or an adult you can pick up on the messages and have a good time with the characters. Now I’m ready for some Apple Pie, but I must stay strong until Thanksgiving!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Volume 15 Review


It’s time to take a look at the next My Little Pony volume. We’ve got quite a few hype stories here ranging from Mane 6 adventures to the supporting characters stepping up to the plate. As expected this is a very solid volume that keeps up the momentum from the last one. It’s also cool that the series has enough issues for 15 whole trades. That’s really not an easy feat for any series. It shows that MLP is doing quite good.

First up we see Rarity and Fluttershy head over to Manehattan. Fluttershy is here to learn more about how to operate an animal shelter while Rarity wanted to get some inspiration for her fashion trends. Unfortunately Rarity is saddened to learn that the fashion has gone back in time to when she first went there and developed a line. She doesn’t want to re-do what she used to make, but at the same time Rarity doesn’t like creating her own trend. Meanwhile Fluttershy’s workshop doesn’t go well since the ponies keep guilt tripping them all on what they should have done originally. Now Fluttershy isn’t sure if she should have created a shelter in the first place.

It’s a fun story and one that is packed with plotlines since we have two in one issue. I think Rarity’s predicament was a little easier. Sure, it’s not really as fun to develop the same things you’ve already done, but she does learn where she could have improved the first time around. For Fluttershy the whole situation is pretty stressful since she finds out that her shelter has basically been operating outside the law. Still, it’s not like she can fix the past so she does her best to move forward. A solid way to start the collection.

Next up is the best issue in my opinion. Princess Celestia apparently goes down into town once a year in disguise. She uses a powerful amulet to seal away all of her powers to make the disguise more complete. I personally think she could have done the illusion without losing her powers, but I suppose whatever will trick the ponies more completely right? Unfortunately someone steals her amulet so now she needs the help of the Mane 6 to get it back. It’s a fun tale because we rarely get to see Celestia hang out with the main characters as just another pony. It did take a lot of convincing to get the Mane 6 to accept her though. I suppose Celestia will always be a little intimidating. Meanwhile the pony who stole the amulet works for an old lady who seems pretty corrupt. It was interesting to have a villain group like this standing in the heroes’ way. The villain also did get super powers even if it didn’t lead up to a big fight. This story had the highest stakes.

Then we had a story where we find out that Ponyville is doing a movie based on the Mane 6’s adventures. Rarity and friends are offered jobs as directors to make sure that the whole thing is historically accurate. The problem is that everyone has different memories of how things went down and they can’t agree on a single vision. This ultimately leads each of the ponies to try and do their own thing rather than teaming up. We get 6 different scenes that are spliced into a movie which goes about as well as you would expect. So whose memories were right or are all of them a little off? The characters are all a little unreasonable here as you’d expect. I guess the offer of being a director was just a little too tempting for them to resist. The group definitely don’t tend to get along when they have to team up like this. It’s a good reminder that your memories aren’t always 100% accurate and likely differ from the person next to you.

Finally we have the big story that takes up two issues. It takes place after the movie and Tempest is still having a hard time adjusting to normal pony life. They all just seem so happy and over the top cheerful for Tempest to really feel at ease. She decides to leave the kingdom for a while and Cadence suggests that she go and help out a nearby village. Tempest meets up with one of the ponies she used to be friends with before she turned evil but still harbors a grudge over the past. She will have to put that to the side for now though since the cosmic bear who broke her horn as a filly has returned. Tempest will need all of her skills to win this round.

This was the weakest story for me. The length wasn’t an issue, but I do think that Tempest got nerfed a little too hard here. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t have been able to defeat the bear with ease. The comic has her freeze with terror and it was a traumatic experience back when she was a kid, but I feel like she would have taken this situation in stride a lot better than she did here. I also don’t blame her for being upset at the other ponies because in the film we saw how they abandoned her. It turns out that they went on a really fun vacation and sort of forgot about Tempest. Mix that in with Tempest being overly defensive and they just broke apart. Tempest definitely got a pretty raw deal all things considered, but things are looking up for her. Her character development arc is similar to Starlight’s, but she just hasn’t gotten quite as much screen time yet. Hopefully she gets to appear more in the future.

The artwork here is definitely solid. The ponies are very expressive like the later seasons of the show. The colors are vibrant and it’s very easy to read through these issues. It’s a fun volume through and through. It also felt a little longer than the last trade since we got 5 issues here instead of 4. It helps add more value to your purchase. The writing here is solid and consistent so I have no qualms there. While the Mane 6 may still fight quite a lot considering how many friendship lessons they should have learned by now it does remind you that you can always learn something new.

Overall, Volume 15 is pretty solid. Without the Cutie Mark Crusaders I wouldn’t put it quite as high up as volume 14, but it’s definitely close. As I mentioned my favorite story is the Celestia one. It’s always a cool concept to have the leader walking around town in disguise. It also makes sense to do this since the leader won’t hear everyone’s true thoughts. It’s always a sad reality for the boss that there are layers put onto everything they hear. You’ll never get past the filters no matter how nice you may appear to be so becoming just “one of the ponies” is the best way around this. I’ll be checking out volume 16 pretty soon so stay tuned!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Volume 14 Review


It’s time to look at one of the volumes for the main MLP:FIM series. We’re jumping all the way to volume 14 so these issues are actually fairly recent. It’s also cool that the Cutie Mark Crusaders get an issue here since I just got to read their mysteries from the spinoff. It’s definitely a solid volume and while I would give the earlier volume the slight edge, this one brings the same level of quality that you would expect from the series. Without further adieu lets take a look at em.

The first story is a sequel to the episode where Rainbow Dash kept throwing away Pinkie Pie’s pies. Pinkie has decided that she needs Rainbow to learn to love pie. Her method for getting Dash to see the light is to make a bunch of different pie flavors. She figures that Rainbow is bound to love at least one of them and that’ll be her chance. Rainbow doesn’t want to hurt Pinkie’s feelings again, but she really doesn’t like pie. What can she do? It’s tough for Rainbow because half the time she is trying to be nice and that’s why the issues happen here. Rainbow really tries to be a good sport about this, but as always Pinkie uses that as an excuse to go a little too far with her plans. She should have taken the hint that this was no fun for Rainbow.

It’s a pretty fun story and I was definitely on team Dash here. Her idea on how to get the message across to Pinkie was really quite sound. It worked effectively and also wasn’t a mean way to do it. Pinkie’s a little slow on the uptake at times, but it does sink in at the very end and Rainbow did it in a way where they could keep their friendship. It’s a solid story with a really solid resolution.

Next up is the Cutie Mark Crusaders issue. The rich moneybags is bringing his daughter along and she does not have a cutie mark yet. Rarity advises him to have her go to the CMC camp where they help little ponies find their calling. Scootaloo quickly realizes that this pony isn’t having any fun, but Apple Bloom and Sweetie Bell are confident that if they do things the way they always have it’ll work out regardless. As a result they also shut down all of Scootaloo’s ideas to make things more exciting. It looks like she will first have to convince her friends to change things up before she can help the other ponies.

I think Sweetie Bell and Apple Bloom are a little out of character here. It’s not like them to just shut down Scootaloo at every turn. It gets to the point where they cut her off and act a little rude. I’m also surprised Scoot didn’t talk back even a little. It’s great that she’s so nice, but if there was ever a time to be a little aggressive then this is it. Ultimately she talks to them and they agree to do her ideas, but not in time for the camp. I suppose there is always next year though. The main plot with moneybags goes pretty well as he isn’t disappointed in his daughter getting a telescope mark. He seems like a very reasonable guy. Certainly the supportive father you would want to have as a young filly.

With the third comic we bring the center stage back to Twilight Sparkle. She is attending an event where the rulers of each species arrive to learn more about each other’s culture. Most of them aren’t used to learning about others and are really just here to brag about themselves. Twilight is still fascinated by all of this, but things get a little dangerous when they find a scroll that says Equestria didn’t pay off the Griffins and must give up half of their land. If Twilight doesn’t find some other material to prove they paid Equestria will be changed forever in a diplomatic incident. This event just got a lot more tense.

When something like this happens you quickly learn who your real friends are. The leader of the griffins is quick to say that he wants half of the land or money with interest enough to bankrupt Equestria. Once they find the scroll he changes his tune, but it’s way too late for that. We saw his true colors quite vividly. The real villain is another member though who is enjoying this quite a lot. It’s not some grand conspiracy like he made the paper up, but he does seize the opportunity. It’s also nice to see the rulers of all the other kingdoms weigh in here. There have definitely been a lot of other species introduced over the years and it’s easy to forget that they have a lot of characters as well. My Little Pony isn’t all about the ponies anymore. I’d like to have seen Celestia stand up for Equestria a little more here, but I suppose she did what she thought was the fairest course of action.

Finally we have the anti sugar club. An old lady shows up and demands that Ponyville bans sugar. She points out all the legitimate safety concerns and the ponies quickly jump on her side. Well, most of them do. A small resistance group including Applejack and Rainbow Dash hide in the barn where they eat as much sugar as they can. Ironically this would quickly lead to everything the old lady warned them about. Twilight points out that sugar in small doses isn’t so bad though. It’s a fun comic, but Ponyville is way to quick to turn on everyone. I can understand them not wanting to have sweets for a while, but why act mean to Mr and Mrs Cake as well as Pinkie Pie? It’s not like they were baking cakes with the intent of harming people. I also thought it was a stretch that Pinkie Pie joined the old lady so quickly.

From the four comics this was the weakest one mainly because the ponies turned on their heroes so quickly. After everything the Mane 6 have done for them you’d expect a little more loyalty. The old lady isn’t necessarily wrong in that sugar is the biggest killer of them all, but you don’t need to ban it. Self control is the important thing here and eating sugar is a choice. If you choose to have a lot of it then that’s just the way the ball bounces. If you ban everything that is bad for you then you’ll run out of things quickly and will embolden the underworld. Pinkie Pie would also be the first to get sick with how many cakes she’s eating. The issue does address that though as Pinkie admits that she has a ton of vegetables off screen. Good to see that she stays healthy.

The art varies a little more compared to the other trades. I’m guessing some issues were done by different artists. It can be a bit more scattered with ponies appearing off model, but overall is looks pretty good. The colors are on point and it’s definitely a comic that is very easy to read. You’ll be breezing through as you enjoy the nice adventures. The writing is always solid and these issues just make for a fun read. There’s really nothing negative to say about them.

Overall, Friendship is Magic continues to be a solid series. My favorite issue was the third one. It was a good way of getting all of the different groups to put aside their differences and team up. It’s also nice to see how proud of their cultures each animal is. The dragons may be rather arrogant, but beneath that it’s just because they want to make sure their fellow dragons are given respect. The same can be said for all of the others. By the end of this ceremony they are all a lot closer than they were before it started. I’ll be starting the next volume pretty soon so get ready for another review!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: Ponyville Mysteries Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the My Little Pony spinoff comics. This one is about the Cutie Mark Crusaders so right away you know that it’s going to be pretty good. These guys have always done a tremendous job of holding their own stories and I don’t expect that would change here. I was right and these are quality adventures. The mystery angle is also really nice since it adds that extra element of tension into the mix. Lets take a look at the various stories here.

In the first story the Crusaders learn that someone is stealing supplies from a hospital. This is pretty big news since you wouldn’t expect that kind of behavior from anyone in Ponyville. The new nurse is also being blamed for this so the crew have to solve the mystery very quickly before things get out of hand. Fortunately they have connections with almost everyone in town so they get to work on finding out what is happening here. It’s a pretty good way to start off the volume. The hospital actually has a bit of a point with the nurse being partially responsible for the thefts though. After the fist few times you would expect her to keep a closer guard on the supplies. suppose it may not be entirely her job to be security as well as being a nurse but to keep your job it’s worth doing a little extra for a while.

These are mainly fun issues so don’t expect big villains or the like. Typically there are just a lot of misunderstandings going on, but that doesn’t take away from the fun factor here. The next story has a pony getting ready to break the bowling record, but the pins keep being stolen at night. As a result he isn’t getting any chances to practice and this could hurt his chances at smashing the record in the real game. The Crusaders are put on the case and suspect that it may be a rival team. After all they would stand to gain quite a lot from knocking out this team. When it comes to sports sabotage is definitely a big deal so if anyone is responsible for this they may end up being banned from the sort. The crusaders have to be extra careful not to catch the wrong person here.

This next comic likely had the highest stakes. That’s because a fire appears in the Ponyville retirement home. Whoever is responsible for this could have easily destroyed a few ponies even if that wasn’t the intention. Due to this it is unlikely that anyone will fess up for the crime so this is another job for the Crusaders. Naturally they have a hard time believing that any of the nice elders of the village would do such a thing, but the evidence is pointing that way. They have to put aside their feelings for this one and just dive in. While my favorite issue is the second one, this story definitely continued the comic’s solid level of quality.

Following that up is an issue where the spa water in Equestria is being drained away. This isn’t good for the ponies who all look forward to a quick spa visit so the Crusaders try to figure out what is going on. They follow some pipes over to the Apple farms and Apple Bloom is saddened to learn that her own family may be stealing the water. She decides not to question them though and the group run around town trying to figure out what is going on. Have the apple family finally become criminals or is it possible that someone is framing them? This is a fun issue, but definitely one where things would have been solved quite easily if the ponies had either confided in the Mane 6 or just followed the pipe to the end. They sort of just stopped at the tree rather than making sure that the pipe actually stopped. They didn’t see any water so why would they assume that it just ended abruptly on the farm? Once a certain villain shows up then you’ll quickly realize what just happened.

Finally we come to an issue where Rarity is forced to ask the group for help. Songbird Serenade is coming to Ponyville in 2 days and she wants a lot of outfits to be ready. Rarity was also looking after her priceless artifact, but took her eyes off of it and so naturally someone stole it. The crusaders need to figure out who would do such a thing and put a stop to it right away. There are a lot of people who have openly stated that they would like the artifact, but sometimes the true crook isn’t the one that you initially suspect. This was a pretty fun story and the heroes definitely cut it really close. A few more minutes and they likely wouldn’t have made it in time to stop the villain from making a clean getaway.

As expected the artwork is pretty good here. It actually beats the main series as it just feels more consistent. I won’t say that it’s absolutely top notch but it gets the job done and the character designs are on point. You’ll always know what’s going on and it makes for an enjoyable read. The writing is on point here and none of the stories were weak. They all had their charm and an interesting story to back them up. Ultimately what else could you ask for?

Overall, Ponyville Mysteries was fun. It’s a shame that it never got another volume, but I suppose at the time the series was trying to have a lot of mini titles as opposed to multiple ongoing stories. That’s fine, it’s a legitimate strategy so long as the others one shots are solid as well. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet then you definitely should. Whether you are a fan of MLP or not, this is just a fun comic to read. It’s good entertainment to sit and read on a weekend. It’s long enough to tell complete stories while still being short enough where you can down it in one shot. I’ve rented a few more MLP comics so you can expect more reviews on the way!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: Legends of Magic Volume 2 Review


It’s time to venture back into the world of My Little Pony! Legends of Magic is a spinoff series about the old timers and other magic threats. This one is a prequel about Stygian and how he gathered Equestria’s mightiest defenders. It’s a fun volume and while you may miss the Mane 6, these guys aren’t so bad. They may not have as much charisma but they are all pretty strong and it’s like looking at an ancient version of the ponies. It also helps tie in an element from the Equestria Girl film.

The comic starts off with Stygian doing more studying as always. He runs across 3 Serpents who ask him to bring them to the town so they can play for the people. Stygian refuses because these girls are super shady and does some chores for an old pony. When he gets back to town he sees that these Serpents have already made it into the village and cursed everyone with their singing. Stygian barely escapes and decides that in order to stop these guys he will need the strongest Ponies around. Will Stygian be able to find these guys and stop the villains in time to save the day? Only time will tell.

There are 6 issues here and essentially each issue is about recruiting a different Pony and getting one step closer to being able to return to his village. The first member he recruits is Rockhoof. Rockhoof is the power member of the team and he’s so strong that he can create a path to divert the river in no time at all. From there he can take on Bears and do all kinds of things. At first his super power appears to be raw strength but the more you read the comics the more it seems like determination is his special skill. That ultimately makes more sense since he isn’t able to even block a bunch of bunnies from entering the room in a later comic. I’d argue that he is still the most powerful of the group though. He’s a nice guy and it’s good to have someone on the team who is always ready to stand up for Stygian.

Another member of the group is the speedster Flash. He was dealing with some dragons and so at first he didn’t have time to deal with this impending danger. Fortunately the gang was ready to take it out with the dragons and that all ended up going well. Flash is very confident and he’s a good foil to Rockhoof. I dare say that he was necessary in order to make the group a true threat to the villains. Mistmane probably had the most embarrassing adventure since she was kidnapped by her own plants. Ultimately they may have listened to her, but if the others hadn’t shown up when they did I fear that she would have been truly doomed. I just don’t think she would have been able to stand up to the others for very long otherwise.

Meadowbrook had to deal with a lot of violent animals thanks to some poison in the plants. She’s a nice enough pony even if she isn’t a fighter. Her medical expertise could certainly come in handy during a fight. Then we have Somnambula who was dealing with Zombies. She’s the Pinkie Pie of the group due to how cheerful and unpredictable she can be and yet she manages to do so without being completely over the top the way that Pinkie usually is. It is a welcome change to be sure. Somnambula is actually charismatic and while she does enjoy poking fun at the others more than actually helping out, it’s not as if we ever considered her to be a hero.

Finally we have Star Swirl who is as self absorbed as ever. His only goal is to stop the menace threatening Equestria and it’s something that he believes only ponies with power can accomplish. As a result he brushed Stygian to the side the whole time. While he isn’t as exaggeratedly mean as in the TV show, you can see how the seeds are already planted with his character arc. He may be powerful, but the guy isn’t particularly likable. Too bad Starlight wasn’t around yet to show him what true power really is.

These are a fun batch of issues leading up to a satisfying climax. Each issue gave us a nice little threat and then the actual climax delivered with the big confrontation with the Serpents. (I think they were known as the Sirens in the issue, but they look like Serpents) I’d be down for a battle between the Pillars and the Mane 6 at some point. That would definitely be a blast. The writing is solid here and the pacing is good. Each issue feels like it is over in a blast as a result so you are always ready for more adventures. The artwork is quite solid and looks like it came right out of the show. The character designs are on point and the comic excels with the technical aspects.

Overall, Legends of Magic is a very good volume. It gives us more character development on Stygian and it is easy to see how he became the Pony of Shadows. There’s not a lot of gratitude here considering that he saved not just a town, but multiple towns by the end of this mini series. People really didn’t give him much of a chance just because he didn’t have powers. At least this helped the other ponies to learn later on that it’s not the powers that make the Pony but the other way around. I’ve got quite a few more MLP comics on the way so you can expect more reviews in the near future.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 3: A Long Time Ago Review


It’s been quite a while since I read my last Star Wars comic so it’s good to be back. It definitely brings quite a few issues here along with the next annual. Han Solo may still be trapped thanks to the events of the movies, but the comics weren’t about to let that sideline him so you’ll still get your share of Han Solo adventures here thanks to flashback issues and the annual which is all about him. You can definitely tell that he was quite the fan favorite back in the day. (Still is!)

There are a lot of different adventures here. The first few are still dealing with the fact that the rebellion doesn’t have a home base after they were chased out by the empire. All of the characters split up to find a new home, but none of the planets seem to be sticking. Finally they find a planet that might work out and currently it is home to a bunch of little gerbils among a rainbow planet. The rebels may like it here, but will they be able to co-exist with these creatures rather than taking it for themselves? The rebels are on the right side, but the individual members can be a little hasty at times and they nearly do try to steal the world which would have been dicey. Fortunately Leia saw reason here.

One of the big story arcs that starts off early as a subplot involves a new character named Shira. You know right away that she’s going to be a big character because she has an actual design as opposed to all of the random pilots who are running around the ship. She also seems to be trying to get in between Leia and Luke so as a rival you know that the comics wouldn’t be done with her too quickly. Her saga is a lot of fun and definitely puts Luke’s force abilities to their ultimate test. You may suspect the twist about her early on, but it’s really well executed as you may start to harbor some doubts by the end. She’s just such a nice character after all.

I also dare say that this is the longest saga in the collection as most of the stories are stand alone adventures. One such stand alone is C3PO’s comic at the very end. It’s sort of like a meeting of the supporting characters as the main characters are the droids, Chewy, and the gerbils. The main villain is a powerful sorcerer and the whole thing is so random, but pretty fun. You also realize how lucky the rebels are to have managed to survive so long with such a powerful villain right in their midst. The guy was literally living right outside the base which is pretty crazy.

Meanwhile we don’t get to see a ton of Vader and the others, but whenever he appears he definitely does look quite good. Everyone is pretty scared of Vader and you would expect no less. They even reference how he is always murdering his lackeys so now some of them are ready to fight back. It makes sense to try and take Vader out because otherwise he will surely destroy them. The attempt goes about as well as you would expect though. Vader is simply way too powerful and the fact that he can use the Force means that the humans will never truly have a chance against him.

One of the generals was pretty solid. I forget his name, but he ends up being demoted after an earlier mission to an abandoned planet and even then the rebels show up to beat him once more. The guy definitely had more heart than most of the other Empire flunkies and at least he was trying. It was ultimately a futile effort but even Vader had to comment on how the guy actually had some honor. In the end you just can’t hope to beat the rebels. They may be outnumbered but whenever they get into a fight every one officer is able to beat around 5-10 Stormtroopers. It’s no wonder why the rebels are making such good ground.

They definitely aren’t the most loyal of companions though. They’re very quick to turn on Luke after he is framed. Of course the whole point of being framed is that nobody knows the truth, but Luke is the guy who saved the solar system from the Death Star and he’s been fighting against the empire his whole life. Why would he suddenly change sides now? Lando and Leia at least stay on his side, but even they aren’t bold enough to do it in public. They should have just stuck by him here as he easily could have been in major trouble otherwise. At least the jury wasn’t rigged so once it went to court he came out all right.

I haven’t talked much about Lando, but he serves as Han’s replacement while the infamous bounty hunter is still trapped in ice. His team-up issues with Chewy are fun even if he doesn’t have quite the same connection. The characters can never let him forget how he betrayed them all a while back so he’s got a lot to prove in each issue. Lando’s done a good job of making up for his earlier actions though and he even manages to save his own city at one point. I wonder if he’ll continue to be a main character once Han returns or if he’ll go back to being a guest star. Only time will tell.

Finally there are also another fun saga which involves Leia heading to a world that’s like the Savage Land. She meets up with a guy who’s like Kazar and a bunch of others who have been under attack by a faction of the Empire led by some cool alien creatures. She helps them fight against these guys and while their technology may not be too advanced, they definitely do know how to fight when it counts. The only iffy plot here is that the main guy is engaged but he falls for Leia. The whole time he even keeps telling himself that this isn’t good, but can’t seem to truly stop himself until Luke comes and puts an end to this. The fiancee was super forgiving the whole time and took it surprisingly well, but the guy should have never weakened so much anyway. Still, it was fun seeing some real hand to hand fights in a Star Wars comic.

As expected the art here is definitely quite good. It’s really nostalgic to see such retro art and these were fun times to be a Star Wars fan. The writers do a good job of coming up with so many adventures in between the movies while taking care not to actually meddle in the events that could come up in the next sequel. Luke is also a little more experienced with the Force than in the last collection so he does a little better here. He’s still got a ways to go though as some of the creatures are still able to mentally overpower him which definitely wouldn’t be happening once he becomes a Jedi Master.

Overall, This collection is definitely quite solid and continues to do the Star Wars series justice. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not you can easily jump into these comics and get what is happening. One solid thing about the old issues has always been that they go out of their way to recap the events for you to ensure that you always know what is going on. That’s definitely important and since most of the issues tell their own story you’re good to go. There are various plots that continue in the background like with Shira and Han, but you’ll quickly get what is happening there as well.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X-Men Inferno Volume 2 Review


It’s been a long time since I reviewed the first Inferno comic, but it’s finally time to wrap up the saga. It definitely feels like one of the grandest X-Men story arcs in scope even if it never seems to be brought up nowadays. Pretty much all of the big players are here and there’s definitely a lot of action. You probably will wonder where the Avengers and FF are at times, but they are referenced and I believe they were on a mission somewhere at the time. It’s a pretty enjoyable story arc, some parts can get a little dark and others not as exciting, but on the whole it’s definitely an intense arc.

There are a lot of plots going on at once here. For the main plot, the Goblin Queen has decided to embrace her dark powers and take control of the planet. To that end she has teamed up with demons to transform the entire city. Some of them have plans of their own as well though. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and the rest of the X Factor head out to stop her, but their team isn’t as united as usual. Cyclops blames himself for the Goblin Queen’s transformation since he did rebound after marrying her pretty quick.

Another plot is that the X-Men are doing battle against an anti mutant faction and in the process they are becoming demons as well. As they lose more and more of their minds they start to barely even resemble heroes anymore. This leads them to start attacking all of the sides. Then you’ve got the Power Pack who are being forced to deal with the fact that their parents now know who they are thanks to the events with the Orphan Maker from volume 1. The parents are having a real hard time coping.

Then the New Mutants are also flying around trying to save Magik. Magik took control of Limbo but now the villains are starting to wrestle control back from her. Magik can destroy them, but doing so will eliminate the last of her light so she has a tough choice to make. Meanwhile Colossus is also trying to find her, but going from world to world is tricky and the villains are content to mock rather than help him. Finally, Sinister is also in the mix and naturally he also wants to mess things up for the heroes.

Those are just the main plots and there are even more subplots running around. I imagine that this was definitely the ultimate X faction arc back in the day. Pretty much every X group was here and I forgot to mention that this even includes Excalibur. If the heroes were all in one place this would probably be an easy win for them, but naturally the demons won’t let that be an option. Even as this trade ends there are already a lot of plotlines set up for the next arc.

I think one of the best aspects of this saga is the subtle craziness of the situation. In the background you’ll see the animated objects making a lot of jokes at the humans as they crush them. For example one mail box reminds one guy that he should have used a stamp before eating him. There are a lot of fatalities here as by the time the heroes arrive the humans are long gone or no longer human. The villainous appliances all have a pretty good sense of humor though. It’s definitely pretty grim humor, but it works well.

As for the characters, this is definitely gonna be a rough showing for Havok fans. Regardless of all his justifications, he seems to be going for the Goblin Queen to one up Cyclops. He had no problem with cheating with her even while she was with Cyclops so you doubt his motivations from the start. I usually like Havok, but definitely not in this comic.

Another character who looks really bad here is Rachel Summers. Keep in mind that during this saga she is a host of the Phoenix Force and yet she can’t win a single fight here. There’s gotta be some reason why her Phoenix Form was so weak, but I definitely would have liked that to have been elaborated here. She gets mind controlled and one shotted early on and as such has nothing to do for the whole volume. I couldn’t believe it when she was taken out so easy.

Cyclops naturally gets a big role here as well. It’s not his best appearance, but he is doing his best to handle the situation. It’s just gotten past the point of merely being “personal” since his kid is being hostage and his ex-wife is trying to murder everyone. Cyclops did have a pretty fishy set of decisions that led to this moment like ditching his wife and getting back with Jean, but that’s all events that happened before this volume. In this one he is trying to pick up the pieces, but it’s been awfully difficult. So I wouldn’t say that he looked bad per say, but I’ll be glad for him to have this drama past the bend.

Ice Man and Psylocke don’t do a whole lot in comparison to the other characters, but they are around for the full saga. They look really good as they focus on an objective and support the team the whole time. Ice Man’s powers are definitely at the point in the series where they are steadily becoming a top tier threat. Psylocke still seems to be quite a bit weaker than the other main telepaths, but at the same time she does contribute. I don’t think she’ll ever be seen as one of the strongest telepaths, but as long as she is strong enough to help out that’s good enough.

The Goblin Queen naturally gets a really big role here as well. Her emotions are all over the place as she constantly switches between acting as the victim and embracing her role as the evil empress. I can’t really say that she’s my kind of villain, but her motivations for revenge are definitely pretty reasonable considering what a bad hand she’s been dealt. She has to live with the fact that everyone considers her to be a fake and she’s being manipulated by quite a few parties. At times it can be a bit iffy to see her being led around so much though. She’s a villain who was thrown into the role and as such isn’t prepared for it. You kind of want her to have a happy ending even though from the start you don’t really think this will be possible. She simply went too far down the rabbit hole into darkness.

We get cameos from some characters like Magneto, but sadly he doesn’t get to do much. It was nice to see him, but there was almost no point to be honest. I’m sure his scene probably continued in a spinoff though. The Power Pack’s plot is probably the most annoying in some ways as the parents just do a terrible job of handling the situation. The plot was going for realism, but I dare say that their reactions were so poor that it wasn’t realistic at that point. They basically fell into depression instantly which was a bit iffy. Surely they could find some silver lining to the kids being superheroes right?

As for the X-Men basically turning into demons, it was unfortunate that their will power was not all that good. Most of them fell into the evil instincts very quickly and so the X-Factor definitely ended up doing a much better job. One thing the X-Men comics like doing a lot that I could definitely do without is all the “Surprise!” kisses that occur. The villains seem to love doing that to the heroes which is definitely a dicey power move. There are way better ways to make the villains a threat than by doing that. There aren’t any quality romances to be found here, that’s for sure. Throw in the Cyclops drama and you’ve got a real complicated situation for the heroes.

I would have liked to have seen more of Magik’s plot since hers was probably the most interesting. Limbo seems to have quite a lot of power struggles over there and with her abilities continuing to grow it would be interesting to see how she fares against the bigger X-Men villains. I’m thinking that’s why they always keep her out of Earth. Even the Sinister threat probably would have been a whole lot smaller if she was around since one or two hits would probably take him down for the count.

The art is definitely real solid. It’s pretty consistent across the various titles. The character designs are definitely on point although of course a lot of them look pretty evil most of the time since they slowly start to lose their sanity. The battle scenes are definitely really good and it’s definitely an easy page turner. The pages are never too busy where you have to slow down. This trade also brings a lot of issues so it’s definitely a comic where you get your money’s worth.

Overall, There’s a lot happening in Inferno. It’s definitely very dramatic and the characters get a lot of development here. It’s not quite my favorite X-Men arc, but on the whole it was definitely pretty solid. I could definitely roll with seeing the town go crazy a little longer. I do think the epilogue parts are a bit hard to swallow though as there were too many witnesses for this to be swept under the rug. I mean, the humans in these comics usually aren’t too smart, but I dare say that this is almost pushing it a bit. It’s easy to see why Earth would crumble without the superheroes in these things. If you haven’t read Inferno volume 1 yet then you’ll probably want to do that before jumping into volume 2. It’ll definitely flow a lot better for you that way.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 6 Review


It’s time for some more Scooby Doo adventures! These guys have helped quite a lot of people out by this point. They’ve aided heroes like Batman, Superman, and many more over the course of this series. It’s always fun to see how they interact with the other series and evidently many others must feel the same way for this title to have reached 6 trades. This volume is another solid one with a good array of stories.

The first issue has the team come over to aid the Atom in his fight against a ghost who exists on an atomic level. The gang is a little skeptical of a ghost showing up since usually they’re fake. That being said, how could someone put on a mask and then shrink to this size? The Atom gets a lot of hype here as he beats up on the enemies while also apologizing to the gang for not saving any for them. The Mystery Inc also keep their cool here (Aside from Shaggy and Scoob) as they realize what’s up. It’s definitely a pretty solid intro issue and the cool part is that it’s the only one that actually continues to the next.

The gang may have just escaped from their growing problems, but then they meet up with the Atomic Ant. I’m not familiar with the guy, but apparently his thing is that he has super strength and can fly thanks to a jet pack. It’s definitely a pretty handy thing to have up his sleeve. Still, he’s up against a group of monsters so Fred and the others have to think of a way to help them. This one isn’t really a mystery so much as just a team up battle. Daphne has learned how to fight thanks to a book she read during another issue which is a nice bit of character development that stuck. Together they end up having the edge in this fight.

Then we’ve got a team up issue with Huntress, Batgirl, and Black Canary. It’s tough for Huntress because she’s trying to get things done and just take out villains, but the rest of the group is busy dealing with the Mystery Inc comedy shenanigans. She is ultimately forced to play the straight man here as Huntress points out that this is no time for games. The rest of the gang apparently don’t really agree with that based on how they act. Still, the team will have to put their differences aside to save Gotham City, but can they do it? It’ll take all of their skills this time.

Then we’ve got a pretty fun comic with the Inferior Five. The story takes this moment to also bring in a lot of other infamous DC characters. I didn’t even know most of them so that was pretty neat. We finally have a group that is even more nervous than the Scooby Doo gang. There are a lot of other guest stars here as well and the whole thing takes place near a game show so that was pretty neat.

Following that we’ve also got an issue with the Legion of Superheroes. The Fatal Five have struck again and it also seems as though the ghost of Ferro Lad is here to haunt the heroes. He even has a twin brother who seems made up for the series and may have a grudge against the league. This one’s probably the closest case we have here to a full on mystery. It’s also one of the best comics in the collection as we get some fights and the gang looks reasonably good. It’s also cool to see Ferro Lad even if he is a ghost here because I remember reading the fateful issues where he ultimately paid the big price.

Finally we have Yogi Bear show up in another issue. He definitely steals the show here as he tricks the mystery gang into thinking that he is the police chief for a bit. In their defense, they’ve come across so many strange cases that it isn’t even unbelievable for that to be the case. Of course while he is guilty of many crimes it seems as if someone might be framing Yogi. Who would dare do such a thing? Furthermore, who would even want to frame Yogi? The bear seems like a nice guy and you have to make some pretty big enemies for this to happen.

Definitely a solid array of stories here as I mentioned. The art for the issues is also pretty good. The style lends itself well to team up adventures. All of the character designs are on point and it’s very easy to read through the adventures. 6 issues is also a reasonable length for a trade as I see a lot with only 4. You’re definitely getting some pretty good value for your dollar. The Mystery Inc are all in character as well. Naturally the two members who look the best here are Daphne and Fred. Daphne is the team’s best fighter by far and actually does contribute in quite a few of the fights against real villains. Then Fred always sticks up for the team and stands up to the others who try to talk down to them. Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby mostly just hold the team back which is why they should be glad that they have Fred and Daphne at the ready.

Overall, This is a solid collection to add to your pile. Whether you know a lot or a little about the Scooby Doo franchise and DC ones, the stories are very accessible. You can easily gather what is happening right away and then go from there. I definitely recommend checking it out and even more so if you are already a fan of these franchises. I definitely wonder if the series is still going. Hopefully so as there are always more heroes to cross over with. I don’t know when I’ll be reading another comic, but I’ll definitely be ready for whatever it is.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Justice League #0 Review


While at the theater for the Shazam movie they ended up giving out free copies of Shazam’s first appearance in the New 52 so that was pretty cool. It’s been a long while since I’ve read a single issue as I typically read the trades. I remember how Shazam’s new portrayal was always pretty controversial. He’s definitely a lot meaner than in his original days but it works pretty well. At least if you just judge from this issue, he’s pretty solid although he loses some edge once he transforms.

The issue starts with Black Adam beating up the wizard and then dashing out of there. The Wizard feels pretty shaken at this point and then a kid named Billy Batson shows up and threatens to beat the wizard up. While this isn’t the “pure good” person that the wizard was hoping for, he learns that maybe such a person would never appear. He gives Billy his powers and the kid turns into the powerful Shazam. He manages to get Freddy to believe that this is his new identity and then he goes around beating people up. The issue ends with Shazam realizing that he can potentially make a lot of money in his new form.

You can definitely see where the film took some events from while not adapting this 1-1. Shazam is definitely attracted to money pretty easily here, but hopefully he’ll use it to help the neighborhood out. Naturally there isn’t a whole lot that you can cover in a single issue but this does a good job of setting up the characters and events. Personally I thought Billy was pretty solid here. He seems like the kind of guy who protects his neighborhood from the shadows even if he’s not all that nice about it. As Shazam he definitely seems a lot more normal so maybe that’s a subtle effect of the transformation.

The art is definitely solid. While parts of it have that New 52 glimmer, others are a bit more rugged to try and fit the tone of the issue. The end result is a very good looking comic that’s easy to read and looks pretty impressive. It’s definitely very solid. There aren’t any fights yet of course, but once those come it’ll probably look even better. I suppose the weakest part is probably the humans and even that looks pretty good for the most part I’d say.

The New 52 still feels so recent, but I suppose at this point it’s ancient history. I never really kept up with the Shazam series, assuming he ever actually got one. If he was just relegated to side issues and guest star roles then that would be pretty unfortunate. There’s definitely a lot you can do with the character. After all, he’s basically Superman 2.0 so that makes for a good read. Then there’s the fact that Billy doesn’t let anyone mess with him. Makes for a very unique experience I’d say.

Overall, Shazam is a pretty solid first comic. I’d definitely check out the follow up issues. Somehow I don’t think that’ll be happening anytime soon, but next time I’m at the library I’ll definitely stay sharp. If you have never read the new Shazam adventures then I’d recommend changing that. With Black Adam introduced out of the gate and solid artwork throughout, the series is poised to really deliver on the action front in the future.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu & Let’s Go! Eevee: Adventure Start Comic Review


It’s time to look at another quick Pokemon manga. This one is about the Let’s Go game and decides to frame the one shot as being about the kids playing it as opposed to taking place in the game. It’s a tactic that Nintendo used earlier with another Pokemon manga so I guess they thought it went well. I do like this approach. I probably wouldn’t want it to happen too often but it’s a good change of pace once in a while to keep us guessing. This is a nice one shot to quickly check out before you play the game.

It starts with two brothers getting their copies of Pokemon Let’s Go. The main character is a longtime Pokemon fan so he’s been waiting for this one while the other admits that he has never played the Pokemon games before. Naturally the lead decides that this won’t do and so he lets the brother play first. As he is playing, the main character shows his bro the ropes. How to land a good catch and stuff like that. As this game takes mechanics from Pokemon Go it is a very different experience compared to most of the classic Pokemon games. A tutorial like this makes sense for newcomers although Nintendo’s always done a great job of making their games pretty self explanatory so I don’t think it would confuse you for long. As they play the two main characters quickly realize that this may be the best Pokemon game yet.

At the end of the day this is basically a glorified advertisement for the Pokemon Let’s Go game. I think it’s a pretty effective one though. The artwork looks nice and it is a very realistic showing of what the game looks like. The screens on the TV in the manga look accurate and all of the advice is quite sound. I never ended up getting the game myself so I had to forego my chance at getting all of those crispy Meltan gifts, but it’s definitely a title I could see myself getting one day once it has been long forgotten by the masses.

Overall, This is another good one shot. It helps that I am just a Pokemon fan in general. I don’t expect you will learn anything new here unless you somehow missed the Pokemon Go boom. Still, it’s a nice enough story to remind you that for some people, Pokemon Let’s Go will be their first big Poke experience. It’s definitely something to keep in mind when playing. It may not be the best installment yet, but if you hadn’t played the others then I think it would rank even higher. I’ll definitely be ready for when the next big Pokemon game comes out.

Overall 7/10