May 25, 2012

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: New Crusaders and Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.98:  Almost Summer

Hey guys, welcome back once again to another week of all-ages goodness here with From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays. Not much to complain about around here these days. Weather is getting hotter. I’m about to be on break in a few weeks from my directing gigs for the season, and I have the complete collection of DIC’s Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego (which those who’ve been with the column since its birth three years ago know I have a major weak spot for). Also, the most important thing is the comics I’m looking at are pretty solid “fun for everyone” titles, and that’s the most important reason you come here, right? (And not to, say, hear facts on how the voice of Squidward on Sponge Bob is the same voice of the Chief on Carmen Sandiego.)


New Crusaders
Publisher: Archie/Red Circle
Writer: Ian Flynn
Art: Ben Bates

So Archie re-unleashed its Red Circle heroes brand last week, like they’ve been promising us for quite a while now. Currently it’s digital on the New Crusader’s App, with weekly installments, and those installments will be collected together and put out in printed issue form, so for those who want first read, get the app and go digital first (we reviewed the App last week right here). The App has a cool back log of classic Mighty Crusaders stuff, but the real question is: How is the new New Crusaders?

From the first three installments, New Crusaders is right on track to becoming a great Archie/Red Circle title, right up there with the fabulous Megaman from Archie. Ian Flynn does a great job in these first few installments, introducing us to a wide cast of new characters (the teens who will take on the mantle of the New Crusaders), the old characters (smartly using text bubbles to let you know who’s who in the wide spectrum of the old Mighty Crusaders), and giving them a villain right away to fight, Brain Emperor (who for those unfamiliar is like Ultron to The Avengers, and Brain Emperor to the Mighty Crusaders), all while making it entertaining. The art by Ben Bates is great looking, very polished, and actually has a Megaman-ish feel about it, but less of an anime vibe (which is smart, as Megaman is such a solid popular title for them).

The plot so far is straight forward: the old Mighty Crusaders have led peaceful lives, and even built a town from themselves called Red Circle. The old heroes have a reunion, and all the old timers get together to celebrate peace in their lives. However, Brain Emperor, who they thought was long defeated, shows up with recharged and new powers. The old heroes take on this deadly foe again, as the original Shield leads their children away from the battle to protect them.

It’s exciting, well drawn, well told, and off to a great start. If you don’t mind putting down the dollar a week, I’d subscribe digitally to the New Crusaders (or wait for the printed collections).


Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll volume 3
Publisher: Viz Media (Viz Kids Line)
Story and Art: Yumi Tsukirino
Original Concept: Chisato Seki

Honestly, this is one of my favorite all-ages titles thus far this year. If you’ve frequented my column, aside from gushing about Reed Gunther or the new Garfield comic book, a little manga called Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll has received a heap of praise from me, because in all its innocent, friendly, almost candy coated charm, it has a lot of heart and works really, really well.

The latest volume of Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll (Gosh, I just can’t say that title enough. Go ahead. Try to say it three times fast!………Crazy, huh?) continues the sweet-like flying-dog’s sometimes magical and sometime just weird adventures here, there, and everywhere. This volume includes everything from looking for a magical land of sweets, penguins invading the cafe where Cinnamoroll works, and adventures on a sunken cruise ship. This volume also contains a handful of adventures featuring the Cinnamon Angels, which are like Charlie’s Angels but the women in Cinnamoroll’s life, which are fellow cutesy-dogs Mocha, Chiffon, and Azuki!

A majority of the volume holds up well. This mini-epic of looking for the land of sweets was fun and had plenty of laughs, and the sunken cruise ship story line was a lot of fun, too. This volume, though, finally had a weak point, and that was the extra story of the Cinnamon Angels. What was up with that, Tsukirino?! I couldn’t get into it and the artwork even slightly changed. That aside, the main Cinnamoroll stories were solid and good in both writing and art areas from Yumi Tsukirino.

Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll is a great comic; whether you love manga or not, you should check it out!


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

Drew McCabe



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