Genres

April 20, 2012
 

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Green Lantern, Voltron Force and Jurassic Strike Force 5!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.93: Slam-Feast Kinda Week!

Howdy readers, and welcome back to all-age comics goodness with From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week is more traditional slam-bang kind of action stuff, all different from each other and all of them pretty entertaining reads. Let’s get down to it!

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Green Lantern: The Animated Series #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Art: D. Brizuela
Writer: Art Baltazar and Franco

The title of this series brought something back to me from the 1990s when we lived in a time populated by a handful of TV show tie-in titles that read “The Animated Series.” From what I can tell, though, unlike a lot of those early titles which adapted exactly what happened on the cartoons, Green Lantern: The Animated Series follows closer to the recent Young Justice title, where it is in the animated universe of the TV show, but takes place as a side story. That said, the first issue is just an overall great Green Latern story.

In issue #1, Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, and Kilowog are transporting the Red Latern Razer through space, when suddenly these two ghost like evil space-spirits who feed on such negative energy as hate and sadness slip onto the ship unnoticed (after all, they are not living beings, so the ship’s sensors don’t go off). The evil beings first touch Razer, making an evil duplicate of him, and by the time Green Lantern and Kilowog realize something is going down, they touch and make a copy of Kilowog too. This leaves Hal alone to battle against the two copies, who are feeding off the energy of Razer and Kilowog. After a few great twists and some action, we get a great done-in-one conclusion.

Let’s start here. The writing is great. I miss done-in-one comics, and I think everything is over serialized these days since they aim for collected editions. And this is a solidly entertaining done-in-one first issue, so if you miss getting your cake all at once, here is some tasty cake. Next, Balatzar and Franco basically own the kids’ DCU at this point. They’ve been doing guilty pleasure all-ages book Tiny Titans for over 50 issues now, they wrote one of the best Captain Marvel arcs with the final issues of Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!, and most recently did justice with the Young Justice book (no pun intended) last year. What they give us here in Green Lantern: The Animated Series is more proof they rock at creating all-age stories that are smart enough for an adult but entertaining enough for a child, and I am glad DC is letting them rock out so much in the kids’ DCU books.

The art is good, too. This is a tricky title, because for those who haven’t seen the cartoon, it’s 3-D animation, which doesn’t always translate well to the comic page. Brizuela did a good job translating the character designs from 3-D to 2-D without any cheese. It looks great, has a nice visual flow, and has a nice balance of friendly-yet-serious vibes to it.

The first issue of Green Lantern: The Animated Series was released last week, and it’s another staple of DC’s solid all-ages titles.

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Voltron Force Vol. 1: Shelter From The Storm
Publisher: Viz Media (Viz Kids line)
Writing: Brian Smith
Art: Jacob Chabot

Based off the new animated series that continues the classic franchise, Viz brings us the continuing comic book adventures of our favorite defenders of the universe.

The first volume of Voltron Force gives us a perfectly paced/sized story set in the new world of Voltron. Maahox, trying to impress King Lotor, creates a new Robeast whose power is to create a huge storm around himself that causes nightmares, which escapes into outer space. Meanwhile, the classic members of the Voltron force are training the new cadets Daniel, Larmina, and Vince, by having them spar off against old Robeasts of the past. Suddenly, this new storm creature shows up, sucking the three in, and pulling them each into their own separate nightmare worlds. Daniel deals with his own inner demons, Larmina faces a world where Lotor has won her home planet, and Vince deals with not being able to fill the shoes of Pidge. After dealing with and overcoming their fears, they snap out of it and join Lance and Hunk to form Voltron, and pursue a final battle with this new monster.

Volume one is an enjoyable comic. The plus side is the book is well over 80 pages, and so Smith has ample amount of time to write up a storm, and give us a great set up and enough challenges plus action to make the whole thing feel worthwhile. It’s never rushed, always entertaining, and there is plenty of monster dueling here. It’s a great example of the kind of story that’d fall off in single 20-page monthlies, but works great here given to us all in one big shot.

The artwork by Chabot was great. From page layouts to the characters, the art feels just right for this title and the colors pop off the page. Some older fans of the franchise may feel it doesn’t look “enough Japanese,” and they’re right. But you know what? It’s not supposed to. The new series isn’t a re-dub/re-write of an anime series, like the original 1984 Voltron was, and is in fact a new original series created to follow up and continue on the franchise that is beloved by Gen-X an Gen-Y. To be honest, I think the comic book art looks better in some places than even what we’ve seen in some footage of the new TV show.

This first volume of Voltron Force will definitely please fans of the new show, and interest and hook some fans of the old with how they tie everything together. A recommended pick up from the Viz Kids line.

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Jurassic Strike Force 5 #3
Publisher: Silver Dragon (Zenescope)
Story: Joe Brusha
Writing: Neo Edmund
Art: JL Giles-Rivera

The latest issue of Jurassic Strike Force 5 keeps the series going at a good pace. The Jurassic Strike Force 5 has been captured by Zalex and his minions, and as they are imprisoned and being “corrected” to fit Zalex’s forces, their human friends stumble through the computer files to find the heroes’ origin. We get a great flashback depicting when Zalex first came to Earth with a group of enslaved Nodes and started mutating dinosaurs into bio-weapons. The Nodes, fearful of this power, in secret developed their own dinosaur warriors to battle this new found evil. However, before we can find out the ending details of how they all ended up in cold storage, they are disrupted by the bad guys, who seem to have the upper hand.

As I’ve said before with this book, it is just a fun action title that delivers on the goods. Edmund’s writing and Giles-Rivera’s art combined together give us an entertaining title of mutated dinosaurs duking it out with each other to save the world. This issue gave us part of their origin story, which was cool to begin to unravel as the Jurassic Strike Force 5 universe grows. Everything in this title works exactly as it should for something called Jurassic Strike Force 5. Does it have the name TMNT in the title or Kirkman attached to it like Super Dinosaur? Nope. Does it entertain and give us just as fun of a story as those other mentioned similar books? Totally.

Jurassic Strike Force 5 is a rocking title, and if mutant action-excitement is your bag, you should check out this book, as well.

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That’s it for this week! See you next, and until then, get your kaiju game on!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

Review copies of Voltron Force and Jurassic Strike Force 5 provided by their publishers.

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