Monday, March 30, 2020



Written by Rob David & Lloyd Goldfine | Drawn by Freddie E. Williams II
Colored by Jeremy Colwell | Lettered by Deron Bennett
Associate Editor: Jessica Chen | Editor: Kristy Quinn | Group Editor: Jim Chadwick

So it's time for a confession. A little more than twenty years ago, I wrote a full-fledged fan-fiction story about a team-up between He-Man and the ThunderCats. It's probably still floating around out there someplace, since nothing ever goes away on the internet. It was a labor of love for me, and while I haven't looked at it in a very long time, I still remember a lot about it. So a crossover between these two is sometihng that's interested me for a long time. (I would've played it myself as a kid, if the toylines had been in scale with one another.)

So it's with heavy heart that I must report this particular meeting between the ThunderCats and the Masters of the Universe, in a 2016 DC miniseries, is... not good. It has its moments, which we'll look at below, but overall it's a pretty big letdown -- and I don't think that's because I had any unrealistic expectations for it; rather I believe it's because I had fairly reasonable expectations!

We'll begin with the artwork. At face value, it's fine. A little busy for my own personal taste, but very energetic and exciting. The problem -- and this is personal taste, I know -- is that I don't believe it's right for this kind of story. A mini-series meant to capitalize on nostalgia for two properties from the eighties should be drawn in a style that resembles those properties as they existed at that time. I know DC has had the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE license for years now, and they're doing their own modern spin on the property -- so there, modern artwork and artistic license are totally appropriate and acceptable. But here, I can't help feeling the story would have felt more authentic if the art had taken its cues from the HE-MAN and THUNDERCATS cartoon series (or the minicomics or something else of that era).

Friday, March 27, 2020


It's time once more for that annual tradition where I dig through the various and sundry comics I've bought but have yet to read, and review some of them. This year, I've got offerings in the queue from DC, Dark Horse (sort of), and Dynamite.

We'll start on Monday with the first DC offering, a crossover I would've gone nuts for as a child: HE-MAN/THUNDERCATS. I bought this one a few years ago via Comixology, I think around the same time I also picked up BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADVNTURES, but I just never got around to it until now.

We'll follow that up with another crossover, also half from DC: WONDER WOMAN/CONAN. The Conan half of the story comes from Dark Horse, back when they still had the license. And then we'll keep the Conan theme running with a book I grabbed in a Comixology sale when Dark Horse lost that license: CONAN: THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA & OTHER STORIES. But our Hyborian Age antics won't end there! The following week, we'll read our first of two books from Dynamite: RED SONJA: THE BALLAD OF THE RED GODDESS, written by Sonja's co-creator, Roy Thomas.

After that, it's one final Dynamite offering: FLASH GORDON: KING'S CROSS, a limited series which sort of revisited the concept of the 1980s DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH cartoon series, in that it teams up King Features' best-known comic strip action stars -- Flash, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician. And then we'll hop over to IDW for a look at last year's STAR TREK/TRANSFORMERS series.

All of this will take us through April, and when it's done I'll reveal what's coming up next: something from the House of Ideas, a place we haven't visited in over a year, if you can believe it!

Monday, March 23, 2020


Artwork: Philippe Aymond | Colors: Sébastian Gérard | Script: Jean Van Hamme

LADY S. book 5 begins with our heroine, now going by her birth name of Shania following her exile from the United States in the last volume, working as an interpreter at the European Parliament. But we learn in short order that she's actually there as an agent of CATRIG, which she has finally joined full-time. Her true purpose in this role is to draw out a Farik, Hassine, a known terrorist spotted in the area. And she does so, thanks to her roommate hooking up with his friend, leading to a double-date for Shania and Farik.

But the plot thickens when Shania's long-thought-dead father, Abel Rivkas, apparently resurfaces at the United States embassy in Lisbon. Shania heads there immediately with Ralph Ellington, the CIA field agent-turned-archivist who has popped up in most of her adventures, to confirm her father's identity. But unknown to Shania, Farik hid a disc in her handbag during their date when he saw the police nearby, anticipating that his friend, who had slept with her roommate, would be able to later retrieve it.

So the terrorists head to Lisbon as well, on Shania's trail to recover the disc. But Shania finds it in her bag and turns it over to the authorities before her meeting with the man who, indeed, turns out to be her biological father. What follows is a relatively light-hearted (for the most part) Lady S. adventure, as the CIA, working in conjunction with CATRIG for a change, easily outwits the semi-incompetent terrorists. The best analogy I can come up with is that this one feels like an episode of 24, if 24 was a dramedy. In fact, the nice balance of comedy with intrigue may very well make this my favorite Lady S. story to date.

Monday, March 16, 2020


Drawing and Color Work: Philippe Aymond | Script: Jean Van Hamme

Revelations abound in the third LADY S book, which I find to be the strongest one so far. In this volume, our heroine, Suzan, is on vacation with her father at their villa in France -- but their trip is not a peaceful one. It seems the CIA has learned of the mysterious Lady S., and believes she is connected with an unofficial European intelligence agency called CATRIG -- the Center for Anti-Terrorism Research and Intelligence Gathering. CATRIG's very existence infuriates the CIA, who, as the "world's peacekeepers", can't abide a rogue organization running around and fighting terror on its own. So the CIA stages an international incident: they send operatives posing as members of a Middle Eastern terror organization to raid the villa and kidnap Ambassador Fitzroy, leaving his daughter, Suzan behind. The intention is that Suzan will then run straight to CATRIG for help, and the CIA will draw the rogue organization out of the shadows.

But what follows instead is a comedy of errors. Unknown to the CIA, Suzan has no way of contacting CATRIG (and probably wouldn't want to do it in the first place since the past few times she's worked for them it was under duress). However, CATRIG finds her when her handler, Orion, shows up at the police station after she's finished giving her statement about the kidnapping. Orion, identifying himself as a French government official, takes Suzan "into custody". But Suzan's movements are being observed by Ralph Ellington, the CIA operative who she previously befriended in book one (and who took the fall for her theft of a file from the Turkish ambassador's safe in that volume). Ralph believes Orion actually is with the government, and knocks him over in a fender bender, taking him out of action.

Monday, March 9, 2020


Drawing and Color Work: Philippe Aymond | Script: Jean Van Hamme

LADY S is a European comic series which began in 2004 and follows the exploits of Suzan Fitzroy, the adopted daughter of a roving United States ambassador, who finds herself working a side gig as an unwilling agent of a top-secret European peacekeeping organization under the leadership of Colonel Orion.

The first book in the series, HERE'S TO SUZIE, was published in 2004, and lays out our heroine's backstory through a series of out-of-sequence flashbacks. I have to admit that as I read the story, I was slightly dreading the fact that when I finished it, I would need to sort through those sometimes-convoluted flashbacks and piece together Suzan's history for a summary paragraph here. So imagine my relief when I got to book 2 and found a nice recap page leading things off, which filled everything in quite succinctly! Thus, rather than try to stumble my way through resummarizing it, here's a brief history of Lady S from the horse's mouth, for your edification:

Friday, March 6, 2020


As mentioned in December's Unboxing, late last year I picked up the first five volumes of a European series called LADY S. I'm not sure exactly what prompted me to get it, other than a bargain price and some intriguing covers. It looked like a political spy series of some sort, and I liked the art style, so I went for it.

And now the time has come to read it! Beginning Monday, at a pace of two books per week, we'll check out those five installments (and if I like them enough, I'll probably buy the sixth and final volume as well to cover that in the final post).

...and usually I have more to say in these announcements, but since I have literally no idea what to expect from this series, that's all I got. See you on Monday for LADY S vol. 1: HERE'S TO SUZIE and vol. 2: LATITUDE 59 DEGREES NORTH!

Monday, March 2, 2020


Based on Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
Story and Art by dragongarow LEE

This goofball manga was published in Japan in 2017 and received an English-language release from Viz in 2018. I read it via "scanlations" when it was first released, and liked it so much that I bought Viz's digital edition. It's the story of a Japanese teenager, who happens to be a huge DRAGON BALL fan, and who is accidentally killed when he falls down a flight of stairs -- only to wake up in the DRAGON BALL world, reincarnated in the body of Yamcha, circa the end of the initial DB story arc, the "Pilaf Saga".

Our protagonist pretty quickly adjusts to his life, and what follows is a three-chapter storyline in which he uses his meta-knowledge of future events to his own advantage. The story skips straight past all of DRAGON BALL (after establishing that Yamcha is going to train with Master Roshi alongside Goku rather than travel to the Western Capitol with Bulma), and jumps to the Saiyan Saga. We learn that Yamcha has climbed Korin's tower and trained there, and has even borrowed Piccolo's spaceship to fly to planet Namek, where the Great Elder of Namek unlocked his hidden power and he trained with the warrior, Nail. Because of all this, Yamcha is able to fight alongside Goku and defeat Vegeta.