From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 138
Welcome everyone to another edition of our all-ages column here, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Before we get down to it this week, two notes. First is the other day we reviewed Viz Media’s new all-ages comics app, click here to check that out! Next is a note for our regular readers that we will be off next week, so tune back in two weeks from now!
With issue #641 starts the Archie/Glee crossover, which has been heavily hyped by Archie Comics Marketing Department for months now. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year’s really awesome Archie/Kiss crossover, this go around we find the gang from Riverdale meeting the gang from the hit Fox TV show.
Part One has its downsides and upsides, but it’s off to an OK start with its first story. We find out Dilton has been playing with inter-dimensional portals into other worlds, and has found the one populated by the cast of Glee. As he prepares to attempt his cross over into that world, something goes wrong, and several Archie cast members end up there while several Glee cast members end up in Riverdale!
And…well that is pretty much the first chapter. Majority of the issue is Dilton talking to Brittany, as he compares certain Archie characters to their counterpart characters in the Glee-world. Although nothing sounds epic about that, it does serve as a good introduction to Archie readers who are not familiar with Glee, as well as Glee viewers who don’t read Archie. Humor wise there is an occasional laugh here, but nothing side splitting. The one enjoyable thing oddly enough was how text heavy the comic was. Dilton explains EVERYTHING, and it took double the time to read this issue when compared with other recent Archie issues, and one may feel like they get a little bit more entertainment for their cash out of this. Art wise everything looks great, Dan Parent doing nice work with the art being poppy and the Glee characters looking like the actors on TV while still feeling Archie-verse like.
Overall it is tough to say where this arc will go after reading this issue, certainly aside from the musical base of both worlds (one with glee club, the other with the band the Archies). One thing is for sure, and that is it certainly didn’t have the punch that the first issue of the Archie/Kiss crossover had. It may be wiser for readers to wait until the story arc is in a collected edition to pick up, unless some crazy must-read stuff happens soon. Archie #641 is out now in print and digital from Archie Comics.
From Papercutz comes the second volume of Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, written by Kinney and with art by Goldberg.
This second volume finds the Clue Crew on a school trip to the modern art museum. Once there, though, being Nancy Drew, the group runs straight into a mystery. At the Tibetan Monk exhibit, a monk named Gelek has been working on a sand painting, and today was to be the final ceremony. However, part of the art was destroyed somehow, and as the manager is quick to point fingers at the new janitor, Nancy believes it was something else and jumps on the case to figure it out.
No haunted houses or ancient castles here, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew seems to have a more real world approach to the mysteries facing the team. Last time it was missing volcanoes at school, this round a damaged sand painting. It is an interesting spin thus far, perhaps one that kid-readers can connect with more, although somehow the gravity of the situation doesn’t feel dire. Watching Nancy and friends still try to unravel the case was a fun trip, primarily because of Goldberg’s artwork. Stan Goldberg once upon a time worked on Archie stories, and some of that Archie Comics vibe still translates visually over here. Whether that’s intentional or not doesn’t matter, because this art style works well for this title. That said, the writing is what is on the fence in this volume. Kinney’s dialog flows fine and everything feels natural and well-paced, but it goes back to that previously mentioned gravity of the situation. If Nancy did or did not successfully solve who damaged the sand painting, it didn’t really matter at the end of the day. If she failed, nothing of consequence would have happened to her or her friends. The field trip would have ended and they would have gone home, the end. That lack of weight in the mystery to be solved killed the reading from being compelling throughout the second volume. Yes, not everything needs to be a life or death situation, and that is obviously not the type of story they want to tell in Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew, but if the reader doesn’t feel that Nancy has to solve the mystery, what is the fun of reading it?
Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew Vol.2: Secret Sand Sleuths is out now from Papercutz.
Sports and comics: something that never quite caught on here in the United States. Britain, Japan, France, basically a chunk of everywhere else, pretty easy to find comics about sports, but not here. Specifically looking at American football, there haven’t been a ton of comics made, but they have existed over time, varying from some of the worst comics ever published, Marvel Comics’ NFL Superpro, to some of the best, Viz’s translation of Eyeshield-21 (a series that seemed built to succeed here but never took off). So where does NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians come in? Based off the new Nick cartoon, Action Lab, who has many recent triumphs with things like Princeless, gives us a comic book spin-off that in its first issue proves to be an entertaining read.
The comic follows the adventures of 10-year-old Ish, who has been the protector of shards of a power source called “The Core” hidden across 32 NFL stadiums. When some sort of related danger happens, he has the power to transform into this kind of fusion between Ultraman and a football player in order to save the day. In the first issue, a guy watching his football game realizes he has the power to use his remote to rewind the game and choose the outcome, ultimately controlling reality. His playing around with space and time comes to the alert of Ish and company, who go off to stop him.
As a reviewer who looks for obscure and odd comics and animation, the idea of NFL Rush Zone seemed so wacky that I thought it could work, and amazingly it does. Yeah, I know the central setting of the comic is at a football game or people watching a football game, and that feels wrong for some nerd-culture, but the villain had cool flare, Ish had a neat transformation, and also it was really amusing to see a hero-like version of the Falcon’s mascot flying around to save the day! The action scenes from Cicconi and Dwonchi’s pens look nice and everything had a steady flow. Honestly, I am unsure how it holds up to the cartoon it is based off of, but the show has a following and no one has taken pitch forks in anger to this book yet, and that happens pretty fast these days usually, so we’re gonna assume fans of the show like the adaptation in these pages.
NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians is out now in print and digital from Action Lab!
That’s it this week, see you in two weeks!