Teen Titans Go! Volume 4: Ready for Action Review

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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

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My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 9 Review

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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

The Batman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for another Batman Adventures review. The DCAU adventures have been a lot of fun and so I was expecting quality from the start. Fortunately, that is exactly what I got in return. This collection brings 10 stories and they are all from the main title so no specials of anniversary issues. It’s cool because so far the series has managed to do that for the first two volumes. None of the stories are bad which makes for a consistent volume.

The first story sees the return of the Man Bat. Everyone assumes that Kirk has had a relapse and he doesn’t help his case by admitting that there are gaps in his memory. Batman steps in, but the clues just don’t add up. It turns out that someone was framing Man Bat. This was a decent story although a slightly weak way to start the volume. As you all may know, I’m not a big Man Bat fan so his stories just aren’t as interesting as the others. Writing was on point though and there technically wasn’t anything wrong with it.

The second story was a Batgirl one as she had to go up against Cat Woman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This was a more enjoyable story with a lot of constant action and Batgirl always makes for a good lead. This was pretty early on in her career so I’m a little skeptical on how well she would actually do against these villains in a fight but it was pretty reasonable the whole time. A costume party is always the perfect way to stop crime while keeping your cover as well so it was a good decision on her part to take this chance to attack.

Next up is a team up with Talia and Batman. Essentially, she tricks him into helping her stop some criminals who stole proof of Ra’s illegal deals. That’s actually really impressive if you think about it, but once Batman and Talia are on the case you know that it’s all over. I still don’t buy into the romance part of it, but that’s why it’s always cool that Bruce Wayne is actually just a fake alter ego that Batman made. Batman himself is still all business as per usual and looks good throughout all of the issues.

The next story was a Robin story. I suppose the series was trying to switch up the protagonists pretty consistently. I suppose I can roll with that. The enemy is the Ventriloquist this time so Robin has no trouble taking him down. This seems like it came out just a little before the Nightwing phase so it’s nice to see a Robin who is so confident and competent the whole time. He basically spends the whole comic taking names and even points out something Batman could have done differently in his mission before he was cut off.

Commissioner Gordon got the next story and this one was surprisingly really good. Gordon decides to save a cop who’s been exposed by the villains on his own since he feels guilty about it. He allows Batman to also work on saving him, but tells him not to move in until Gordon has his shot. Gordon takes a lot of the crooks down and does a good job. In the end he may not have been able to win, but you have to admire the attempt. The DCAU definitely did the best job at making him a great character. He was a by the books guy without being overboard to the point where he would try to constantly arrest Batman.

Joker was up next and this issue did a good job of capturing the essence of Joker. He’s a villain, but one with a code of honor. He learns that someone is making comics where he always loses to Batman so he fires the author and kidnaps the replacement so the adventures can be more realistic. As a result, Joker wins in a few of the issues before Batman finally defeated him. As Joker pointed out, he wouldn’t lose so easily this time because he was fighting for the kids. He had to protect them from the comic’s lies. It was just a very entertaining comic to read and Joker actually put up a pretty good fight against Batman when it came time for fisticuffs.

Next up was a Ra’s story as he wants to change the world once again. He always acts as if he will ultimately help the planet which I don’t buy into. I actually preferred the Talia story, but this one isn’t as bad. It plays out as you’d expect and Batman seamlessly infiltrates the enemy ranks and shuts the project down. There wasn’t quite as much action in this story, but it had a good blend of detective work and action mixed in. I definitely liked the ninja outfit that Batman borrowed for the mission and the character who originally wore it must have been pretty cool.

Batgirl and Robin returned for a big team up issue. It was cool to see them team up for what was evidently one of the first times. Robin showed off his experience while Batgirl brought in the X factor they needed to take on the crooks and steal the proof they needed. It was a more low stakes adventure that focused on the core of being a crime fighter, stopping your every day crooks. Technically that is definitely a big part of the job as you can’t expect to see a super villain every time.

A pretty intense story that came up next had the return of the Scarecrow. He found a way to deliver the fear straight to everyone’s minds so they all feared just the sight of him. Nobody was immune so Batman just had to toughen up and get past it. Scarecrow may not be a tough villain, but his fear gimmick is certainly not something to be taken lightly. At least Batman has a lot of experience with dealing with his inner fears so he’s one of the perfect heroes for taking this guy on.

The final issue had a few D list villains escape from prison to unleash their master plan. It was a villain centered story, but it was reasonably amusing. The Nice Guy is certainly an interesting villain and he made the right call in not attacking the dog at the end. It’s probably the most light hearted story in the bunch and is a reasonably good way to end the batch. I probably won’t remember any of those villains, but it was a nice dynamic.

The art is pretty good. The designs from the DCAU are always good to look at and it’s pretty easy to keep track of what’s happening. The issues actually end a lot sooner than usual because each issue only has a few panels and they’re all huge. It makes reading through the comics really easy although I wonder why this is the case. It’s certainly a different style compared to the rest of the DCAU adventures. What really makes this comic solid aside from the art is that the writing is just really good. You can easily picture these stories being full length episodes and everyone stays in character. It’s no wonder why the DCAU has stayed so popular over the years.

Overall, This is a pretty fun collection of stories. There aren’t too many breakout hits that will really stay memorable, but none of the stories are bad. They’re all pretty fun and nostalgic to read through and I look forward to checking out more comics in the series. Ironically I have now read volumes 3 and 2 so I just need to find the original somewhere. With both Batman and Superman having 3 volumes it’ll be interesting to see which one reaches 4 first. If you count spinoffs, then Batman has already won though as I’ll be reading that one next. Get ready for Robin to get more of a role. If you haven’t checked this comic out yet, then I’d definitely recommend changing that!

Overall 7/10

Superman Adventures Volume 2 Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Superman Adventures series. Honestly it’s been a long time since I rented a comic so it’s good to start off with the greatest Superhero out there. My local library may have had the biggest selection in all of NYPL, but they’re going to be closing their doors for the next 3 years so I figured this could be my last chance to just go and pick out the ones that I wanted. I got quite a few DC comics and one Marvel one so prepare for those reviews to come out soon. In the meantime, this comic was just as great as I expected it to be.

It brings about 7 issues which is a good deal for a graphic novel. The first two stories deal with Superman contracting a rare kryptonite disease and now he is dying. His powers are fading away and the general public doesn’t know about it so they’re all bashing Superman. They claim that he has lost his drive or that he doesn’t want to play the hero anymore. Lois Lane is one of those skeptics until she learns the truth and decides to join a last ditch excavation to try and cure Superman once and for all. She’ll have to go through a war torn country to find it though, but at least this’ll give Superman a fighting chance.

It’s a pretty fun double comic. Hamilton is still annoying since I know he grows up to be a traitor someday but I suppose I’ll try to work around that. Lois is also a little iffy since I would have thought that she’d suspect something instead of also thinking that Superman was getting lazy. At least she is a woman of action though and quickly does her best to revert the situation. It’s just as much a Lois story as it is a Superman one and the dynamic works well. The ending is a little sad for a doctor who helps Superman out though. He was being blackmailed by Lex and is basically told to destroy Superman or to die. The doctor decides not to do it and Superman just tells him that he did the right thing…and then leaves the Doctor. It’s heavily implied that he just left the Doctor to his own devices which seems a little cruel of him. Superman didn’t seem very sympathetic at all but I suppose he’s still sore at almost dying. It would have been a sad way to go.

The next story had less stakes but was pretty amusing. An alien race arrives on Earth and challenges Superman to a best of 3 bout with their champion. He is incredibly strong and has some complex weapons which he uses to overwhelm Superman. The Man of Steel will have to put all of his common sense to use to defeat this opponent and that’s just what he does. What do you do when you’re fighting someone and both of you have weapons that you don’t understand? Just throw it away and win in fisticuffs. There aren’t many who can beat Superman that way after all. The writing may have been a little weak as this guy should not have been throwing Superman around, but I suppose I’ll overlook it in the spirit of just having a good time. Superman also should have been able to lift his medal at the end if you ask me.

There was also a special featured in this collection where Lobo is back in town. Superman inhaled a gas that is deadly to everyone on Earth so he goes to space to find the cure. Turns out Lobo is after the same cure, but only so he can collect the reward. The two ultimately have to team up against a bunch of aliens. Unlike the more gullible characters who fall for Lobo’s tricks, Superman is one step ahead of him the whole time. Their group dynamic is pretty interesting and I’m always up for some good banter. Lobo definitely doesn’t look nearly as impressive as Superman in this comic and I can certainly agree to that. While there may not be as much action as in other comics, it’s certainly one of the better issues here.

If you want one of the weaker issues, look no further than the Robocop issue. There’s this assassin with a Robocop suit who is out to silence all of the witnesses who are against Lex and the other local villains. A TV reporter with something to prove ends up telling him where the last witness is by mistake so now it’s a race against time. It wasn’t a bad comic by any means, but this guy isn’t even remotely a threat during the entire issue. Perry was also being a little unreasonable with how news is only what is written down and not what is recorded. As Lois pointed out, he should just be happy that his cameras are always the first ones on TV. I mean you can’t ask for much more than that right? Even if it is weaker than the others, I’m up for a more street level Superman comic once in a while.

Back to the more outlandish plots, Mr. Mxy- has returned to try and make Superman’s life twisted. He erases Superman’s memories and alters reality so that Clark was never Superman and he is instead. It takes a while for Superman to piece the puzzle together, but Mxy was pretty thorough with how much he changed reality so I can’t really blame him. Superman’s plan is pretty sound after that though. Mr. Mxy is definitely one of his most overpowered foes so it certainly involves plot hax each time. Mr Mxy just shouldn’t read stuff that he doesn’t know. That being said, I’ll take this kind of plot hax over serious power level stuff any day. I also thought Mxy did a great job of impersonating Superman even down to the personality.

On another more street level comic, Bilbo is having a tough time at the bar. See, he’s always lying about knowing Superman and it has finally caught up to him. He feels pretty bad, not about constantly getting drunk or lying to everyone, but he feels bad that nobody bought into his lie. He decides to be a real hero and gets to work beating up a gang. Superman shows up as well and feels bad for Bilbo so he officially makes them friends so now Bilbo isn’t actually lying when he says the stories. At least he has one true story, the rest are technically lies. It’s an entertaining issue, but it’s really hard to actually feel bad for Bilbo as my summary implies. He really brought all of this down upon himself after all. Nobody was pressuring him to make up those fantastic lies after all and he kept sinking himself into a deeper and deeper hole. The comic does show what a nice guy Superman is though.

Finally we have the big Dr. Fate comic. It seems like everyone went to Zatanna’s family to train as Superman also went there in his youth. He worked on fighting monsters and becoming immune to monsters. In the present, one of those monsters has now escaped and aims to take Superman down with him. Superman must remember his training which he can’t remember too well at the moment and take them down. Fate also shows up at the very end, but not as much as you would expect. While the stakes are higher here than in most of the other comics, it didn’t work too well for me. The whole explanations while in the portal were pretty convoluted and it jumped from the present to the past a little too often and suddenly. It was a little hard to keep up with and even the art was rather chaotic. It had a good start and a decent end, but it just all felt a little hollow to me. Ah well, magic is supposed to be confusing I suppose.

The art is very good during the comics. The issue with the best art was probably the Lobo special which makes sense since I imagine they definitely put a lot of effort into that one. The whole collection is quality though and it really captured the DCAU style. It would have been nice if these stories could have kept on going for years and years, but I think we’re reaching the end of them. I have the next collection at the ready though so I’ll be reading that one very soon.

Overall, The collection is a pretty good size. 6 normal issues and two specials is nothing to sneeze at. Superman’s the main character so you can’t go wrong there. It’s his DCAU personality as well so he’s essentially the perfect main character. It really is a Superman story as well since there are basically no guest stars. (Fate appeared so briefly that it barely even counts) I do love me some guest stars and the next collection has at least one, but it also reminds you that Superman is holding up the whole collection and doing it rather easily. Just as important, there are no real negatives in the comic. There are no objectionable scenes of any kind. It’s another reason why I loved the DCAU. You didn’t have to be nervous about reading through it because you know it was made for all ages. The writing is great and the comics are a blast. This was really DC at its height and I still miss these days. If you want a trip down nostalgia lane, this is a great place to start. It’s a must read for all Superman fans.

Overall 8/10

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Review


I’ve been a casual big My Little Pony fan for ages now, but I had yet to get into the Equestria Girls part of the franchise. When I saw that my library had ordered this comic I knew it was time to jump in. It’s a pretty fun spinoff from the main series. I definitely prefer the main title as you can argue that the whole point of My Little Pony is seeing the ponies show us values of friendship and harmony which we can then apply to everyday life. Seeing fellow humans use these messages can still be effective, but it loses the extra intensity that the main comics have since there are no dark overlords trying to murder everybody here.

There are really two main comics here. The first one deals with how the main characters met up and became friends in the first place. All of the ponies get a lot of screen time here, but Rarity may have looked the worst. So, Applejack has moved to the school and is hoping to make friends. Unfortunately her mean cousin is around and takes it upon herself to bully Applejack. Applejack tries her best to fit in with the “cool” crowd, but they won’t have any of it. Fortunately, Pinkie Pie has a plan to make everyone smile by cheering at the local soccer game. Rainbow Dash is too busy winning awards and stomping people into the dirt to help Applejack. Usually this is where Rarity would step up, but she enjoys the attention and decides to turn a blind eye to the bullies. Fluttershy would speak up, but she’s a little too intimidated by all of the other characters at the moment.

So, here’s why Rarity is probably the worst character of the story. She basically just ignores Applejack’s plight the whole time which felt a little out of character. Maybe it was the only way that the writers could get the story across, but it still felt a little iffy to be honest. She made the right call in the end though so I suppose that’s what counts. Rainbow Dash was probably the best character this time. Sure, she may have been a little overconfident, but lets face it, that’s why she’s such a great character. While the rest of the characters were getting messed up by the drama, Rainbow Dash was focusing on the win. Fluttershy was…Fluttershy. She was a little too nervous to confront the bullies, but at least she let them know that the dog was sick. That was definitely a good move. She’s a nice character, I just wish Fluttershy would put the others in their place a little more. Especially when they started subtly insulting her by calling her names like Flustershy or Flutterbye. She does quite a bit of crying in the story but it also shows that she has heart!

It’s always nice to see the characters meet up though so this was a great way to start the comic. I’m assuming they all know each other already in the movie then or this is some kind of alternate retelling of the origin. The bullies got put in their place, but surprisingly I don’t recall them being truly converted. I’ll assume that they turned good off screen since the heroes never leave anyone behind. They must all embrace friendship at some point.

The second tale is about the main characters hanging out with Sunset. She was shunned in Pony world and escaped to the human one so she can finally have some friends. (I’m pretending that I don’t know what happened in the main series. If you just read from this comic, this is the vibe you get) Twilight Sparkle has essentially banished Sunset to the human world so she can be a better person and must keep up a diary chronicling what happens each day. Sunset hasn’t gotten to enjoy the holidays since she had no friends, but Applejack and friends decide to help her out. After an intense Avengers esque scene where all of the friends are brought in to help with the party, they invite Sunset over. The party goes great, but then pictures of it start leaking out to the school and Applejack suspects that Sunset is guilty. Sunset pleads her case, but the main six will hear none of it. They are now getting bullied by the entire school and blame Sunset for it. Meanwhile Sunset is friendless once again, but has decided that she’s going to solve this case.

As you can probably guess, Sunset didn’t sell out her friends. Honestly that would have been quite the plot twist, but it’s probably a good thing that the comic didn’t go there. It may have been hard to have been a Sunset fan after something like that. She’s a pretty fun character and it’s cool to have one of the humans actually be a Pony. It seems like everyone knows, but she still tries to act like a human anyway as she quickly stops herself from saying phrases like “Everypony.” I’d probably just keep using it personally since it’s pretty unique and all, but I guess whatever works.

The rest of the main characters didn’t look quite as good this time around. They were a little quick to doubt one of their friends and Sunset’s denial should have been enough for them. Rainbow Dash’s battle against Fluttershy in the video game was pretty intense and I’m glad that Dash took the win. It was nice that Fluttershy was a little more pro-active in the game though and really got into it. The characters have definitely been through a lot by now so I’d expect some character development.

I could also sympathize with the villain of this story a bit since once again, Rarity was being a little iffy. The villain was clearly getting along pretty well with her friends so they could have let her stick around. I don’t think she would have gotten in the way or anything. The villain still made the wrong move, but at least it also reminded Rarity of an important message. I kind of wish they would have a letter at the end explaining the message for those who didn’t get it, but it’s clear enough so that shouldn’t be a problem.

As far as the art goes, it’s not amazing, but it’s pretty good. The character designs are all on point and the only part that is a little iffy are the tears. They end up creating large puddles which can be a bit much. The scenes of the characters all crying and still fighting each other were also intense. The best panel in the comic is definitely when Rainbow Dash tripped someone up and then jumped on his head as she passed him in the soccer game. A bit brutal sure, but this is Rainbow Dash we’re talking about. She’s always ready to go for the win.

The writing is also pretty solid. The whole point of the series is its 5 star writing after all so it doesn’t disappoint here. As mentioned earlier, my only gripe is that the Main 6 doubted Sunset a little too easily, but it does help you sympathize with her. It feels like everyone is always doubting her because of her past and it shows that even the main characters aren’t exempt from that. Still, she’ll stick around as one of the heroes and eventually they’ll all really accept her.

Now, there is one huge plot hole here that I have to address. Don’t be alarmed but I picked up on this instantly. (Humble brag) There is one scene where Rarity orders 16 pizza pies, but the stack looked a little too large so I decided to count them all. There were 17 pies that the character was holding. Where did the extra one come from? The quality checkers slacked off on that one a bit to be honest. It happens to the best of us though right?

Overall, This was a fun comic. Rainbow Dash was the MVP with Sunset being the runner up so Pinkie Pie lost out for a change, but she got a small role this time around. It’s too bad that Equestria Girls didn’t get its own ongoing like the main My Little Pony series. I’m sure that there are a bunch of stories that you can tell in this setting. Still, the main title is the one that I’m the most interested in so hopefully the library can get more volumes soon. If you’re a big fan of the franchise then you’ve gotta check this one out. If you’ve never taken the plunge before, then now’s a good time to start. You’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy My Little Pony during the adventure and one day you’ll be bold enough to call yourself a fan in public. Small steps first.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2017 Bongo Free For All Review

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It’s time for Bongo! It’s pretty impressive how you can always count on the Simpsons to show up with a comic year after year. You can also say that it’s a little worrisome how the writing in this story may be the best out of all the Free Comic books. Maybe that’s just a credit to this story rather than a diss to the others. Regardless, it was surprisingly good and reminded me that the Simpsons can be a good show when it remembers how to be one. It just so happens that it remembers very infrequently and there are probably more bad ones than good titles. (Bold statement I suppose)

The first story here is the best one as Bart Simpson breaks his back and now has to use a suitcase to get to school. The bullies have a field day with this and Bart finally learns what it is like to not be one of the cool kids. His reaction to this is on point as Bart uses the wheelies to his advantage. He can now out run the bullies to the ice cream sandwiches and also beats them in a basketball game. It’s just a very satisfying story all around and while Bart may have betrayed his new friends in the end, they got the last laugh.

The next story wasn’t quite as hype but it did its best. Homer Simpson stayed out late for some reason so he dashes home to steal his son’s sandwich. As he’s eating, Homer realizes that a burglar is outside so he goes to face him, only to be soundly defeated. The burglar in question is actually an animal and Homer finally realizes that it’s game over. The banter between Bart and Homer wasn’t bad to be honest. I also like the idea of Homer stealing his sandwich and their temporary alliance since they both should have been asleep. The execution after that wasn’t as interesting with the whole burglar nonsense.

The final story was the weakest one. Two kids are running around for some reason when they decide to start panicking over a bunch of cosplayers. They hide in the sewers and run all around town until they finally go home again. It was rather boring. The only good character was the local pastor who kept everyone in line and talked a really good game. He may let crooked cops take advantage of him, but at least the guy means well. I have a feeling that he may be the most entertaining character in the show.

Overall, This was a pretty good Bongo, I dare say that it was one of the better issues in the long series. I’m not going to become a Simpsons fan anytime soon, but at least this reminds me that the franchise always has potential when it’s handled right. Of course, you could say that about almost anything. There’s only one more free comic to get through so I’m pretty close to the end. It’s been a good run, but they all must end eventually.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2017 Secret Empire Review

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It’s time for a look at the big Marvel event that is coming up. The premise is pretty laughable and the actual comic has more plot hax than I’ve seen in a very, very long time. That’s part of the charm though, think of this as a satirical parody and you’ll be just fine. Otherwise, you’re just going t have to stretch your disbelief on this one a bit.

So, as you have probably heard by now, Captain America has turned evil. He works with Hydra now and wants to rule the world. The issue has him attack the Avengers so that he can bring everyone under his domain in one fell swoop. The Avengers roster is pretty strong as this point since they have female Thor, Iron-Man, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and a bunch of other fighters. No worries, Captain America has this planned out through very vague stuff as the heroes just start fainting. The narrator is pretty dramatic about the whole thing as he lets you know that the heroes were clearly outmatched. I value his input, but the heroes should have easily defeated Hydra. Even with Captain America on their side….it’s not as if the villains are that strong.

The art isn’t bad. There’s a red effect playing the whole time so it can be hard to see anything though. I don’t see this event being all that great, but I’m hoping that it’ll be somewhat good. Any Marvel event has the potential to be great since you’re bringing all of the big characters together for a lot of hype action scenes. How can that possibly go wrong right? I’m just going to need the writers to come up with a bunch of reasons for how the Avengers lost so easily so that at least one of them can be believable. Evil Captain America holding Mjolnir? Ha!

The backup story sees the start of a new Spider-Man series that must be written by Slott. The dialogue is just so bad that it must be him right? It starts off with Spider-Man and Mary Jane arguing quite a lot about everything that they can think of. They get in a lot of personal insults and then Spiderman has to run off to fight the Vulture. Spiderman acts very aggressively the whole time as he keeps on insulting the Vulture over and over again. Finally, they’re both immobilized because the new Trapster comes and takes them down. She steals the cash and insults both of them as well. Good thing she’s one of the “nice” villains who doesn’t want to actually destroy the heroes. She could have finished off Spiderman but decided not to do so. That’s nice of her.

I’m also glad that the comic referenced how old Spiderman is nowadays. The new Trapster mentions how he was around when she was a kid so he must be ancient by now. It’s definitely true since Spiderman should be very old at this point and time. Luckily being a hero gives you some immunity to the usual effects of time passing. You just can’t stop a friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I can’t say that there’s much of a hook to continue reading the story though. It seems like this is going to be a pretty bad depiction of Spiderman and the new villain isn’t much of a threat. Perhaps the point is that Spiderman will be back to dealing with street level opponents, but that doesn’t really come across as very epic now does it? Still, if the writing improves then it could be a good story.

Overall, I still can’t get past the concept of Secret Empire. Am I really supposed to be taking Hydra seriously after all of these years? The characters sure weren’t as they kept making puns and one liners even while they were being defeated. Clearly they weren’t feeling the danger. For Spiderman it seems like the same ole same old stuff, but I’m sure they could do something there to make the whole thing more exciting. Hopefully the event/series premiere ends up turning out good. It’ll have to be from the normal comic readers though as this issue likely won’t bring more people on board.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2017 Wonder Woman Special Edition Review

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It’s time for another year of Free Comic Book Day reviews! I wasn’t able to snag as many as I’d have liked this year, but I got 7 so that’s not so bad. Lets start it off with Wonder Woman since her film is coming out pretty soon. It’s…another origin story. Ah well, I guess this is so that new readers can hopefully pick up the series, but I always found the approach a little odd. I feel like the only people who know about Free Comic Book Day…are people who already read comics. Still, I guess I’ll assume that the company knows what it’s doing. Also, this is why I still prefer trade paperbacks if I’m being honest. Having ads every other page can be a little odd.

So the comic starts off with Wonder Woman longing to go to the outside world. Naturally, the Amazons are against this and Wonder Woman would essentially be exiled if she ever decided to go. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor and his army buddies are getting ready for another fight. Unfortunately, the planes crash on the Amazonian island and everyone dies except for Steve. Wonder Woman is left with the choice of saving his life or letting him perish. That’s how the issue ends.

It’s a pretty short comic of course and you can easily finish it in around 5 minutes or so. Based on the pacing here, the origin story shouldn’t last too many more issues. I’m not a big origin guy, but if you’re gonna do it, you may as well do it quickly. There don’t seem to be any real changes to the origin so it’s a fairly faithful interpretation. The art is fairly decent as well. There were maybe one or two faces that would seem odd when the camera zoomed in, but it looks good enough. I don’t expect that I’ll have any complaints with it and the whole thing should come to life once the action scenes start.

Overall, If this gets new readers interested then it’s worth it I suppose. I would have preferred a more plot heavy issue, but there’s always next year. I think this comic has a reasonable chance of being the best one this year, but I hope not since that would mean that the others simply raised the bar to a new level. Reviewing single issues is always tough when they’re this small since there’s not much to say. No need to drag it out I suppose, I got the main points in. I shall have the next free comic review up shortly.

Overall 6/10

Godzilla: Complete Rulers of Earth Volume 1 Review

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The library finally pulled through and ordered a bunch of copies of this comic. I got to read Godzilla in Hell a while back, but have otherwise been lacking in Godzilla comic knowledge. Well, that is the case no longer as I have heard it from a very reputable source that this is the best Godzilla comic series to date. I can certainly believe that as this is a considerable improvement to the last trade. G in Hell was pretty fun, but this feels more like a big Godzilla adventure and the plot makes the whole thing all the more engaging. Who doesn’t like a war between multiple groups of aliens?

The humans don’t realize this, but there are two different alien factions who want control of the Earth. There are the space invaders and the ones who come from the ground. One is aquatic and the other is more like your typical Xenomorph, except more humanoid and capable of humans speech and shape shifting. Both of them have an army of Kaiju at their disposal, with the aquatic group having titans like Ebirah and the other water Kaiju while the other group has all of the heavy hitters. Earth is a very easy target for them except for one key obstacle..Godzilla!

This series takes place after a few of the other titles I believe so the Earth is finally starting to get used to fighting these giant monsters. Godzilla is still too much for them to handle, but they finally have the equipment needed to take on the small fry like Ebirah. I don’t want to put the lobster on the spot here, but he definitely didn’t look all that strong throughout the comic. He was treated as a D lister and I suppose he is for now. It’s unknown exactly what Godzilla’s plan is, but the king definitely has something up his sleeve. He continues to challenge all of the Kaiju who show up and doesn’t back down even when he’s outnumbered. To an extent you do feel bad for Godzilla though.

He’s tough and can hold his own, but being constantly outnumbered and not having a lot of backup can be pretty annoying. Some members of the government like Steven Woods realize that attacking Godzilla is not in their best interests at the moment, but others just decide to blast all of the monsters indiscriminately. Not their wisest move I’d say. The only allies Godzilla can count on are Jet Jaguar and Mothra. Together, those three can take on just about any opponent.

Godzilla fans will be pleased at how good he looks here. He takes a lot of injuries during the adventure, but keeps on going. He is well known for his stamina and this comic definitely had that in mind. Seeing him use his nuclear blast or barrier of sorts was also good to take on the numerous mini Destoroyahs that were on him. As this comic is basically a big battle with all of the Kaiju throughout the Godzilla universe, there were a lot of opponents for him. One that naturally stood out was the return of Zilla. His fight with Godzilla in Final Wars is still legendary to this day and a rematch is something that his fans have always wanted. I can’t say that he did much better this time around, but at least he lasted longer than 7-13 seconds or whatever the official time for the film was.

Other fan favorites like Space Godzilla, Rodan, and Destoroyah show up to deal in the damage. They all look very good and while it can be a little sad to see them all being manipulated and controlled by the Aliens, it’s just how they were introduced in this series. I didn’t read any of the original titles so I have to assume as a reader here that the villains either created the monsters or trapped them with some kind of high tech hypnosis. I’d assume that it wouldn’t last for very long though and Gigan’s urge to fight could not be suppressed in the end. A fight will always bring out the tough nature of the Kaiju.

A surprise highlight was Jet Jaguar. I’ve always been a fan of this guy, but he was even more awesome than I remembered. He basically just shows up and takes names. Jet Jaguar proves that he can hold his own with Godzilla’s strongest foes and even with the king himself. His size changing abilities are incredibly handy along with his flight and laser blasts. While he may not be able to speak yet, you can easily tell that he is one of the good guys. Jet Jaguar has apparently been hunting the aliens for quite a while now and it is the first time that you ever see the villains look nervous. Besides Godzilla, Jet Jaguar is the biggest threat on the planet now and he actually was winning his brief bout with Godzilla. The villains can’t afford to ignore this new player, but it might not matter. Jet Jaguar already has their number.

Besides all of the Kaiju showing up and duking it out, the comic had time for two main human characters. Lucy is a reporter who likes to go to dangerous areas for a good scoop. She’s been around for quite a while and isn’t afraid of the Kaiju that get in her way. She seems like a reasonably tough character and is smart enough to realize the difference between Godzilla and his opponents. She encourages the army to make smart moves even if they don’t always listen. I’d say that she’s doing pretty well so far. The other character is Steven Woods. He’s a tough army member and he saves Lucy during one of the early scenes. This guy seems like a capable soldier and someone who gets the job done, but it’s a very tricky situation for him at the moment. For starters, he is now dealing with shape shifting aliens who don’t exactly play by the rules. You can be the strongest hand to hand fighter there is, but it won’t help if you don’t know who to aim your fists at. If he figures out what is happening, I’ll give him some major credibility points. I don’t blame him for not realizing the threat yet, but it is sad to see the humans just being messed around with the whole time.

As I mentioned earlier, the plot is really engaging. I always did like the sort of Secret Invasion plots that come up with shape-shifters. On one hand, it can be annoying to see them get away with everything since nobody even has a reason to suspect foul play, but it also makes everything intriguing as well. What will the aliens do with these abilities and how can they be stopped? It’s clear that the humans are losing and quite badly at the moment, but they do have Kiryu and the other mechs that they’ve acquired over the years. I like to think that Jet Jaguar would have a way of detecting them as well so that could be pivotal in helping the main characters by the end.

I also liked the fact that this took place at a time where humans already knew about Kaiju. This meant that we could skip the panic phase and go right into the plans and discussions about how to handle this. It’s not exactly just another day in the park for the heroes, but it isn’t anything too drastic either. They handle the situation quickly and efficiently.

Another thing that really makes the comic stand out is how good the artwork is. Some issues in particular looked incredibly sharp like Jet Jaguar and Godzilla vs Gigan or Mecha Godzilla vs Destoroyah. The whole series has been at a high level though and it’s certainly better than I would have even expected. The artwork can hold its own against any other comic no questions asked. Every character is portrayed perfectly and every attack comes across very smoothly. If there is any chink in the art’s armor, it’s that the humans can look a little off at times. Luckily, we’re reading for the Kaiju, aliens, and fights here. If the humans were specifically drawn with less effort so the rest of the comic could look amazing, then there will definitely be no complaints from me.

Overall, This is definitely the definitive Godzilla comic and it’s hard to picture another series overcoming this one. The cover definitely seems like click bait though since you would assume that a Complete Collection would bring all of the issues right? Apparently, it is volume one of the complete version so I have to wait for the library to get volume 2 to end the saga. It just came out today so hopefully the library notices and orders the copy as soon as possible. I’m definitely expecting a pretty intense ending. The series has already used almost all of Godzilla’s iconic monsters though so I’m wondering how they’re going to end the series. We haven’t really seen King Ghidorah yet so I’m expecting him to play a big role. As long as Jet Jaguar is also there, then I’m set. If you haven’t read this comic yet, I highly recommend changing that. If you think that it’s just going to be a comic where monsters fight each other, (Still sounds good to me) think again. The plot is sound and with a 3 way war going on along with Godzilla just fending off all attackers, there is a lot to think about as you read through it. It’s a very complete story and one that likely will not be rushed given how many issues there are.

Overall 8/10

Super Mario Adventures Review

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It’s time for a look at an old Mario comic series that came out a long time ago. I finally got to read the trade paperback and it was definitely fun. I can safely say that it was better than the Super Mario-Kun manga and it was a fun take on the mythos. There were some creative liberties like Peach’s new personality, but it was actually quite the improvement and it would be really cool if Peach could stay like that in the games. Bowser was a little worse than usual though so that helped to balance things out.

Mario and Luigi are called in to inspect a plumbing situation. They have to get it done before the day is over or it’ll spoil Peach’s party. Unfortunately, Bowser takes this opportunity to attack and says that if Peach doesn’t marry him, he’ll turn all of the Toads into statues. Peach doesn’t surrender to threats though and storms Bowser’s castle. Meanwhile, Mario has been turned to stone and stays that way for 3 days. Are Mario and Luigi too late to save Peach? More important, will Peach be able to save them from Bowser in time?

As mentioned earlier, Peach’s change is the most radical by far. She seems to be styled after Zelda from the TV show this time as she is eager for a fight and also very clever. She actually outshines both Mario and Luigi here as she escapes from Bowser on her own, defeats his underlings, and then escapes the castle. Mario was placed in the same situation later on and he was unable to break free. It just goes to show why Peach is the princess here and while she may have ultimately gotten captured by the end, she stole the show in the end. Peach was easily the best character.

Mario and Luigi were also cool of course. They do panic a bit and let their guard down around the enemies, but they come through when it counts. Mario got a big punch in on Bowser and took down quite a few enemies. Luigi boldly used a disguise to get into Bowser’s lair and even talked back to Peach as he wanted to keep the dress. Mario and Luigi also get to sing at the beginning of the comic so we know that they’re talented. The comic has a lot of fun with them, but it never goes too over the top to make them unlikable or anything like that. I still can’t get over the fact that Peach is stronger than Mario in this version though.

As for Bowser, he is the one sad part of the comic. His whole goal is to marry Peach falls for all of her tricks. He’s not much of a fighter in this comic and needs his underlings around him 24/7. I can understand why Bowser isn’t portrayed as a super serious villain, but they could have at least given him a little dignity. As it stands, he is just a poor villain and I actually preferred all of his henchmen. The piranha plants and Boos actually did the best as they kept biting the heroes. Yoshi was also pretty neat even if he didn’t get to do a whole lot. He was quite large in this version and that made him a powerful ally to have.

There was also one human character who tagged along at some points. He’s always looking to make a few bucks and actually tricked the Mario bros so you can’t say that he isn’t clever. His role was pretty small, but he made an impact and at least he had a fun personality. Fun was actually one of his titles when people would stop to greet him. I don’t know how he got here, but you can definitely tell that the guy is here to stay.

Aside from the main story, there was also a quick epilogue tale with Wario. Apparently Mario used to bully him a lot without realizing it. After 20 years, Wario decided to have his revenge by inviting Mario over while preparing a lot of traps. The problem is that Mario is simply too good so he overcomes all of the traps and then blasts Wario with a water gun anyway. You have to wonder how innocent Mario is in the middle of all this. It was a fun little comic, but you can’t help but feel bad for Wario the whole time. He didn’t ask for this! He should have just looked on the bright side and enjoyed the activities with Mario. You have to see the cup half full after all.

The art is a lot of fun to read. It may not be super detailed, but the colors are some of the brightest that I’ve seen. Every page really pops out at you and the backgrounds all look great. The trade paperback was rather tall and that’s a good thing since it allowed you to easily see all of the panels on the page. It made for quick reading and considering that it was 12 chapters long plus an epilogue bonus comic, the individual comics would have been insanely short. As it stands, this was a good length for a collection although I wouldn’t shell out too much money for it. The art is part of what makes it enjoyable and the definitive Mario reading experience. (Although the chapter book was also a lot of fun)

Overall, Super Mario Adventures was a fun comic. It’s too bad that the series couldn’t have lasted a bit longer. It’s the kind of title that could have easily kept on going and going since there is always another story to tell. The Mario franchise has a lot of characters so it’s not as if they would have run out. The 12 issues are basically just one arc so with a mere 5 arcs, it could have reached 60 issues. Ah well, Nintendo typically doesn’t do a whole lot of comics or other similar products so I’ll just be happy that they did this one. Since Link also got some comics, we just need some for Metroid next. There is less of a big universe to work around, but still enough for a bunch of comics. If you enjoy the Mario games, then I definitely recommend this. Even if you don’t, it’s just a fun all around comic that can appeal to everyone. Who doesn’t like a nice fantasy adventure?

Overall 7/10