From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 107: Welcome To August
Aloha, surfers of the interwebs, and welcome once again to your place for all-age comics goodness, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! As the Olympics are underway, August has come rolling in as the last days of summer start to take place already! However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some great stuff to check out and read, so let’s get down to looking at it!
The last time the Power Rangers were in comics was back during the show’s early days, while still on Fox Kids, only running for a very small chunk of issues. Considering how big of a hit it was, I’m surprised there wasn’t a larger/longer comic book tie-in at the time, but there wasn’t. It doesn’t come as any surprise that as we both celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Power Rangers in the United States this year, and have numerous waves of nostalgia based comic book titles on the stands (everything from Mars Attacks to even Battle Beasts), that we would get a new Power Rangers title finally. However, unlike those other numerous titles which reboot their classic characters, Papercutz smartly aims for the children currently watching the Rangers on TV by having the comic tie into the latest series, Power Rangers Super Samurai.
For those who haven’t been caught up with their Power Rangers the past few years, the new comic not only gives you a great adventure, but also fills in all the back and origin stories you need to know! Power Rangers Super Samurai tells the story of six teenagers who have inherited the mantle of being Power Rangers to fight off the Nighlok, an evil which has existed for thousands of years, and it’s up to each generation of Power Rangers to make sure they stay sealed away and defeat them as they came over into our world from the Netherworld. In this first volume, the Rangers are at a concert enjoying themselves when it is attacked by a monster called the Oblivitor, who has another little monster attached to his head spouting out some fun comic-nonsense. Right away the Rangers transform and go into battle against Oblivitor and the foot-soldiers of the Netherworld. During the battle, Jayden, the leader and Red Ranger, is just hit too hard and loses his memory, so it’s up to the other Rangers throughout the battle to jog it up to speed and remind him what’s going on, giving us plenty of background and origin. Finally, with everything caught up, Oblivitor turns into a giant kaiju, and the Zords are called upon to form the giant Megazord for the final showdown!
The first volume is a great start for both fans of the current show, and elapsed fans who haven’t watched in years but are currently on their nostalgia wave. Petrucha gives us a great action packed story, but smartly includes Jayden losing his memory in order to include some background and origin to catch-up new comers without doing a pure origin story, which was both helpful and enjoyable. Henrique’s art was just perfect for this title. It has an manga/anime vibe which is more than fitting considering the source material, but unlike some other Ameri-manga stuff where you roll your eyes, Henrique does a really great job with the artwork. His art combined with the colors, by Laurie E. Smith, give visually an overall vibe like Hong Kong comics, like Storm Riders or the Hong Kong Ultraman Tiga adaptation Dark Horse released here a chunk of years ago, that is enjoyable and looks polished.
2012 has been the heaviest year on record for nostalgia releases, you can’t throw a rock without hitting something from Voltron to G.I. Joe, and more are coming. That said, Power Rangers Super Samurai is one of the stronger releases this year that you can group in with that trend in comics, partly because it’s based off the new material, and partly just because it is a good comic. Check it out, folks!
Cinnamoroll: He’s an adorable dog (who is frequently confused by the un-anointed as rabbit because he’s white and has long ears), who talks, hangs out with other talking animals in the Sanrioverse, can fly, and runs a cafe that serves the best damn cinnamon rolls in this or any other world. I cannot say enough in writing whenever we review these volumes about just how simply fun this comic is, and volume 4 continues that trend of simply just being some of the most innocent fun anyone can have reading a comic.
Volume 4 gives us plenty of new adventures for Cinnamoroll and his friends Chiffon, Cappucino, Espresso, Mocha, and Milk. We get a great multi-arc tale featuring Cinnamoroll and friends going to a city to bake some treats for a school, but discovering the whole city has become this boring place where all the adults live or die based on time and doing work non-stop, and the group finds only their baked treats have the magic to reverse things! We also get an Iron Chef like competition, a really fun Halloween, Valentine’s Day and White Day stories, and an odd little tale where Espresso sees Cinnamoroll is dressed as a girl while Cinnamoroll is helping his friends design clothes, and we get a classic case of mistaken identity/crush story. Volume 4 also once again brings us a chunk of tales of Pretty, Cutsey, Cinnamon Angels!, a side story featuring the adventures of Chiffon, Mocha, and Azuki. Last volume these stories were a little all over the map, but in this current volume, the side tales take a solid shape and give us a kid’s version of a shoujo-like tale, where Mocha falls in love with Galette, the leader of a boys’ rock band. The only way to make their love public and not put aside for work is for Mocha to form her own pop-group and become famous, as well as to show her love and dedication to Galette! This multi-arc tale drips romance all over it, and there is something bizarrely amusing about seeing high tension romance while watching a sunset, with the characters being anthropomorphic dogs instead of humans.
Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll volume 4 keeps cranking out the fun for readers, as the tales get a little bit odd, but never the less, you can’t put the book down because of how much fun is in these pages, even if that fun is seeing two Sanrio characters with over sized dog heads, confessing their love and kissing in the sunset.
DC is having a love affair with their own nostalgia tie-in title, taking the fondly remembered toy line and animated series, Masters of the Universe, and doing a handful of comics: a mini-series titled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, an upcoming mini-series based on Skeletor, and of course a bi-weekly digital first comic simply titled Masters of the Universe, which gives us solo tales of the numerous characters that populate this universe. And you know what? When the books are as fun to read as issue #3 of Masters of the Universe, I hope that love affair doesn’t end for awhile.
The latest digital first issue follows our favorite scaredy-cat gone beast, Cringer/Battle Cat! Costa pens a short tale that tells the origin of Cringer. As Battle Cat battles some evil, he thinks back to his birth in the Green Tigor Clan, the clan’s fall to a group of panthers and him being scared from it, and his eventual transformation into a brave warrior when thanks to He-Man, the power of Greyskull flows through him. The tale is told through the first person narration of Battle Cat, and when it switches over to Cringer, the shift and tone is hysterical and picture perfect for this character. The art by Raapack is simply awesome and looks amazing, the best thus far for this digital first series, with each battle sequence being well drawn and pumped with action.
Like the other DC digital first titles, eventually this will be collected and released in print, however if you have a tablet, why wait? For a buck an issue, DC is doing great stuff with this title, and no hardcore fan of Masters of the Universe should overlook or pass this up. On the same note, for new readers, this digital first series may not be the best place to start, given these stories are awesome extensions for the numerous characters in this world, and may be better off starting with the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series, or even the cartoon itself, which is a great classic that you can find for cheap these days! Masters of the Universe is available digitally on comiXology to check out.
It’s good to see that after all these years, Wacky Packages are still going strong! These hysterical sticker cards, coming after the bizarre wonder of Mars Attacks and leading to the birth of fan-favorite The Garbage Pail Kids, parody the packages of products and turn them into an array of hysterical oddities! The series, originally under the eye of Maus creator Art Speilgelman, elapsed for a few years, but a number of years back Topps started new versions of both The Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages for our hysterical enjoyment! Series 9 features 55 cards, including special magnet cards, motion cards, and cards of the original sketches. Highlights from this round of parodies include video games like “Bubonic the Hedgehog” showing a rotting Sonic with the bubonic plague, as well as the typical food-related parodies, like Corn Butts instead of Corn Nuts, etc. Series 9 of Wacky Packages is sure to put a smile on your face if you are into this humor, and continue to make comic art alive and well as we get them on portable little trading cards that we can peel off and stick anywhere.
That’s it for this week, see you next! Until then, get your kaiju-game on!