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January 25, 2013

FFGtGR: Peanuts and Kikaider!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.130

Hello readers and welcome back to another edition of our awesome all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! As I write you this, I am wearing a Green Ranger t-shirt from the Power Rangers. Why start out the column this way? No clue, better than complaining about being, what I am now deeming, eternally sick with you guys. Plus let’s face it, if I had the Dragon Dagger, I’d do all sorts of stuff. I’d pilot my Dragon Zord to the store to buy food and take up an obscene amount of parking spaces. Trips to the moon. The works. Anyways, off track here. Earlier this week we wrote up about the All-New Shonen Jump, which brings us day-and-date with Japan for a ton of cool manga inside its pages, from One Piece, Toriko, fan-fave Naruto, and also an awesome new manga called One-Punch Man that is great superhero comedy stuff! I won’t fill up anymore space here, just click here and read about it! This week in our column we look at two great titles; the first is the ongoing Peanuts series, and the second is the fourth volume of Kikaider, that has finally hit our shores to please the cult-North American fans of that series. Let’s get down to it!

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Peanuts #5 (volume 2)
Publisher: Boom! (Kaboom! line)
Story: Alexis E. Fajardo, Vicki Scott, and Shane Houghton
Art: Alexis E. Fajardo, Vicki Scott, Mike DeCarlo
Classic Strips By: Charles M. Schulz

Last year Peanuts was one of the best all-ages titles on the market, and to start off 2013 the teams behind the ongoing title have delivered a great issue!

Aside from the classic Schulz material reprinted and colored here (which is great), we get a handful of new stories. “Adventures of the Flying Ace: Behind Enemy Lines” is a wonderful tale by Fajardo that gives us Snoopy in our favorite pilot mode, “shot down” and “behind enemy lines,” meeting up and comparing fellow Peanuts members to the days of the World War in hysterical fashion! “Crabby New Year” by Vicki Scott is a great story to bring in January, as Charlie Brown and Lucy have a great exchange on the holiday. Finally, “Dirty For A Day,” written by Houghton with art by DeCarlo, packs in laugh-out-loud humor as Linus gets down and dirty with Pigpen to walk a mile in his shoes and see the bright side of being dirty.

I don’t think there was a weak one in this batch, however, the lead story by Fajardo does steal the issue’s thunder giving us some magical moments with Snoopy as fans love this dog in fighter-pilot form! Tip of the hat as well to Scott who did the cover art for the issue of Snoopy fighting away there agianst the Red Baron, capturing a great look and making us dig into the pages.

Peanuts #5 is out now in print and digital from Boom!

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Kikaider Vol.4
Publisher: Ishimori Productions
Story and Art: Shotaro Ishinomori

ComiXology continues to release weekly a new volume of manga by famed mangaka Shotaro Ishinomori. Ishinomori is overlooked credit-wise here in the West, most people knowing who characters like the Power Rangers are, but never realizing those American versions were created based off the Sentai series manga by him! There has been a cult of fans for years for his character Kikaider, thanks to the original TV series being broadcast in Hawaii and San Francisco years ago, and more recently about ten years back the anime adaptation was broadcast on American cable. Needless to say these fans have been quite happy that they can finally read for the first time English translations of Kikaider!

Volume 4 picks up right where volume 3 left off. Jiro (Kikaider) is battling against four Hakaiders in the fallout of the fall of DARK. A barely recovering Doctor tells Jiro to visit a temple where he discovers hidden another android named Ichiro, who turns out to be Jiro’s prototype known as Kikaider-01! Things are not peaceful for long as a woman named Reiko shows up with a young boy named Akira, being chased by the squad of Hakaiders! Turns out Akira is actually the son of the evil Professor Gil, and has a tattoo on his back of the ultimate destruction weapon! Unfortuantely for Jiro, Ichiro was not built with a conscience circuit like him, and so Jiro needs to babysit his robo-brother to make sure he makes the right choices as they try and fight off evil to protect little Akira. To make things even worse, a new organization called SHADOW has risen wanting to kidnap little Akira, too!

Volume 4 of Kikaider is just great. It’s action packed, it’s full of twists and turns, and is a milestone for the manga series in terms of plot direction. Things are getting tougher, one after the other, and nothing seems to be giving up! The irresponsible Kikaider-01 is a welcome additon to the cast, and Ishinomori does a fantastic job with the artwork, from action scenes to layouts, showing us why he is one of the manga masters of yesteryear.

Kikaider volume 4 is available digitally now!

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That’s it for this week, see you next!

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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