Featured Columns

May 20, 2016

FFGTGR: Scooby meets Shazam and the Thunderbirds!

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.191

BruceLeeFightsBackPerhaps this past weekend you were pondering many things, things like, how did the Ukraine beat Australia and win Eurovision 2016? How did the Sunwolves and Stormers tie in their Super Rugby game, when both seemed evenly matched? How was it scientifically possible that Bruce Lee came back from the dead to star in Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave? Or maybe even, where did From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, the all-ages comic review column, go on ComicAttack.net? Well, I have theories, but cannot answer the first three questions. For the last one, I can at least say after almost eight months of resting, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays is back to answer the demand for a peek at all-ages titles, to help you sort out the best of the best to add to your weekly picks. Looking back on everything we’ve done since column no.1, I am readopting currently in each edition looking at one “something to read,” a comic; and one “something to watch,” since currently there is a healthy abundance of geek related material between streaming and TV that anyone can get into. And with that, let’s get down to it this week!

Something to Read:

scoobyteam16coverScooby-Doo Team-Up #16
Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Sholly Fisch
Art: Dario Brizuela

For almost three years now, DC Comics has printed a bi-monthly dose of one the best team-up titles ever written, Scooby-Doo Team-Up! That may sound like high praise, so without cutting and pasting the same sentence over again, I assure you that I did type the correct thing. DC has been delivering a wonderfully fulfilling all-ages title, certain to appease, delight, and addict both long time comic book junkies and their offspring alike.

In the latest, issue number 16, the Scooby-gang is called to Fawcett City not to help Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam, and his Marvel family, but to actually find the Marvel family! It seems they’ve gone missing, and so Tawky Tawny and Uncle Marvel call in Shaggy, Scooby and the rest, to find where exactly they have gone. Within panels, it seems the Monster Society (a go-to for any Shazam! fan) is the cause, and so our team of sleuths begin to narrow down the clues. After some logical deduction, the team finds themselves in the midst of the Monster Society, and just when things look glum, Shaggy and Velma suddenly find themselves with Marvel-powers of their own! As for why they got them and what happens, well, to leave this spoiler free you will have to grab the issue yourselves!

Fisch does a great job keeping up his track record on this title, writing a great tale which delivers on the comic page, always maintaining the balance of both our classic Hanna-Barbera and DC heroes evenly and with the right blend. Brizuela’s art on the issue work very well, capturing a lot of classic charters thrown at us in only so many blocks, and done so very well. Now, personally while I don’t love the designs Brizuela provides for the main Marvel family, I have to admit they fit in perfectly with the world of this title, and of course plenty of the villain designs are done to a capital T. So, personal pickiness aside, and really the design work on three characters is being picky, honestly nice work all around!

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #16 is on sale right now in both physical and digital!

Rating: High Recommend


Something To Watch:

From ITV Studios / Pukeko Pictures / Weta Workshop Thunderbirds Are Go on ITV and CITV Pictured: Virgil, John, Scott, Gordon and Alan. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: james.hilder@itv.com / 0207 157 3052

From ITV Studios / Pukeko Pictures / Weta Workshop
Thunderbirds Are Go on ITV and CITV
Pictured: Virgil, John, Scott, Gordon and Alan.
This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. 

Thunderbirds Are Go
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

The Thunderbirds are back, ladies and gentlemen! In 2015, CITV did a co-pro to bring the classic 1960s television series back to life, and a few weeks back Amazon secured the USA right and put the first 13 episodes up as an exclusive on Amazon Prime for subscribers of that streaming service.

At the core, the original members, the Tracy Brothers, Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John and Alan are back; along with Brains and Lady Penelope. Together they operate International Rescue, with the power of their super powered rescue vehicles (named Thunderbird 1 through 5, with each brother running one), to save those in distress in otherwise catastrophic situations in which normal rescue just doesn’t cut it. We are talking issues with high speed bombs, nuclear fall out, artificial intelligence gone bad, and more! Of course, for long time fans of the series, frequently the villain known as the Hood is behind a chunk of these, much to the long time viewers’ delight and the characters’ dismay.

Overall, catching the first 13 on a binge watch, I can say the spirit of the original is there. Yes, there are updates in terms of settings, and even one of the episodes is a rewrite of the original Thunderbirds’ first outing, but everything that needs to be there is in the package so-to-speak.

The qualms I have with this series are on the animation level. As most know, the original was done in Supermarination, with all puppets. This version goes for a strange hybrid in which the sets themselves are done beautifully in live action by Weta Workshop (yes, Peter Jackson’s studio behind the LOTR trilogy and more), yet the main character animation is rendered over it in a frequently jarring CGI-animated style. It takes some getting used to, and is quite bothersome, and honestly if the writing wasn’t so good to override the flaws, the show may have been lost. That said, the writing is so on par with other amazing revivals we have seen over the past decade, i.e. the Doctor Who relaunch, that the frequently sore-on-the-eyes key animation is easily forgiven, and more, you get used to it.

Over all, Thunderbirds Are Go is a great relaunch of the original, and provides us with a solid action TV show which becomes habit forming in the best ways. Available now digitally.

Rating: Medium Recommend


That is it for this week! We will back before you know it next week! Until then, live long and prosper!

Drew McCabe




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