Featured Columns

February 24, 2012

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Jurassic Strike Force 5, Jackie Rose and The Aquabats!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays No.86: BOOM! BLAM! KABOOM! INSERT SOUND EFFECT HERE!

No jazzy intros this week, let’s just get down to the all-ages comics goodness, shall we?


Jurassic Strike Force 5 #1
Publisher: Silver Dragon (Zenescope)
Story: Joe Brusha
Writer: Neo Edmund
Art: JL Giles-Rivera

Okay, I know what you are thinking. Jurassic Strike Force 5, the first issue just released from Zenescope’s all-ages line Silver Dragon, sounds basically like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Super Dinosaur. You would not be wrong in the least, but before you just write it off because you are a die-hard TMNT fan, don’t. The thing about stories like this, be it TMNT, or a toy line like Food Fighters, or Barnyard Commandos, is they work because making a team of mutated dinosaurs or animals or whatever always works if you just want to have fun with it, and this title is fun.

The plot is pretty simple: a team of scientists finds what looks like a space ship buried under ice, and upon messing with it, accidentally release the evil Zalex and his army of evil half-dinosaur/half-man creatures. Right away the baddies go to Washington and take on the army, basically kicking the crap out of them. In the mean time, back in Antarctica young Tyler and his scientist Dad have investigated the ship further and discovered more of these creatures deeper inside in suspended animation. The computer systems wake them up, as their leader announces them as the Strikeforce, whose mission is to now stop the reawakened Zalex.

The story by Brusha seems pretty formulaic, however, Edmund as writer has done a solid job pacing the script and given us a ton of action. To me that is the number one thing I want in a title like this: action. I want things blowing up and mutants kicking the crap out of other mutants, and Edmund writes just that, elevating this title from something to pass up into something that is a must read if you enjoy this genre of comic. The art by Giles-Rivera felt right for everything, too, having this late-90s quality to it which felt appropriate given the type of material we are dealing with.

Jurassic Strike Force 5 #1 left me wanting to read the next issue, and hopefully you will want that, too.


Jackie Rose “The Amazing Eddie Ripcord”
Writing and Art: Josh Ulrich

Josh Ulrich created a web comic a while back called Jackie Rose, which you can check out here. After the story (which had robots, Nazis, hidden treasure, all sorts of cool stuff) was completed, however, he did something most wouldn’t do next; he started from scratch with the same characters. The one-shot The Amazing Eddie Ripcord, which you can buy from the site, not so much reboots as it reinvents his characters Jackie Rose and Eddie Ripcord, making them younger, although the time period has remained the same.

The one-shot tells the story of how Jackie and Eddie meet. One day at an air show, Eddie is working as a stunt boy for a fairly irresponsible and drunken guy who pulled him out of the orphanage. For the stunt, the plane flies high and Eddie climbs on top and does a balancing act. While waiting to go off for their act, and getting over the fact the only costume that could be found is a girl’s, Eddie meets Jackie, who is wandering the air show, and the two become friends. Before we know it, though, it’s show time and they take to the skies, which is okay until Eddie’s troublesome pilot (and terrible adoptive pilot) passes out at the controls. I don’t want to give much more away, but it’s exciting and great.

Ulrich, who has been a color artist recently on Reed Gunther, has done a great job here. The story and characters are well written and paced, and the excitement of the aerial acrobatics shows through on the page. The black and white art is bold and suits the story to a tee, never looking bad or out of place. Maybe more importantly than the art, though, is the heart-infused button Ulrich gives the comic at its end, giving us a great moment beyond the normal adventure comics out there.

I enjoyed Jackie Rose “The Amazing Eddie Ripcord,” and it’s worth the download. It will be cool to see what further Jackie Rose adventures Ulrich churns out for us in the future.


Something To Watch: The Aquabats! Super Show!

Premiering March 3rd at 11am EST/8am PST will be one of the coolest shows of the season: The Aquabats! Super Show! Yes, one of the all time wackiest indie rock bands with numerous albums and their leader, Christian Jacobs, co-creator of uber-hit Yo Gabba Gabba!, now have a hysterical action packed show themselves.

Watching the preview episode I was sent, it was everything I wanted it to be. I can tell you after seeing these guys in concert personally, and jamming to their albums throughout high school, I had high hopes for how their translation into TV would be, and the answer is a perfect fit. All the odd ball humor is retained here on TV, and more importantly their music is mixed in and used throughout. The episode was constructed of a main adventure with side stops for a fake commercial (just like Ren and Stimpy used to do), an indie styled cartoon, and an anime inspired cliffhanger cartoon.

The main adventure, in which they had to stop a half-man/half-ant named Manant from blowing up burger places, was awesome. Part Batman, part Ultraman, and part luchador flick, the combination with their humor was uncanny entertainment. From foot soldiers to giant ants, everything was here. The cartoons were both great and laugh-out-loud, with quality animation for them. There are times when Yo Gabba Gabba! has been entertaining for both children and adults, however, it never reached the level of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse‘s ability to play to both audiences. For the first time since Pee-Wee, I want to venture to say The Aquabats! Super Show! has successfully achieved that formula and will be a funny, entertaining, superhero blast for anyone who tunes in to it. Highly recommended.


That’s it for this week, see you next! Until then, get your kaiju-game on!

Drew McCabe



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