Featured Columns

May 28, 2010

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: War Of The Woods, Phoenix Wright and Phenomenal

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma-Rays! This week, we take a peek at the online comic fun of War Of The Woods, the manga series Del-Rey dropped the ball on with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and lastly for your viewing pleasure, the European superhero fun of Phenomenal.

Keep Your Eye On It: War Of The Woods
Publisher: Zuda (DC Comics)
Writer/Artist: Matthew Petz

War of the Woods, up on Zuda right now, looks like it has the potential to be a ton of fun, which is why I’m putting it in the column this week to get your attention. An obvious play-off of the title War of the Worlds, War of the Woods tells the tale of a group of animals in the Pine Barrens in New Jersey who suddenly realize they are being invaded by space aliens (who are not just invading the woods, but the entire world). The animals quickly realize they need to prepare for battle, and begin to form a plan in a very Red Wall-esque fashion. Although we are only one chapter into this tale from Zuda, both the artwork and writing I found very to be very entertaining, and will enjoy seeing how this series unfolds.

You can check it out here!

Something To Forget About: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Publisher: Del-Rey
Writer/Artists: Various

Phoenix Wright started as an awesomely cool videogame series from Capcom, in which the gaming-style is a text-adventure game. You’d guide Phoenix Wright through several cases he takes to court as a defense lawyer, solving the mysteries behind them along the way. If you haven’t played it, it is the most highly addictive game for the Nintendo DS next to the games in the Professor Layton series. Del-Rey has released two manga volumes about Phoenix. So what is the result of the manga volumes? EPIC FAIL!

That’s right, I’m not going to candy-coat my disappointment with these volumes. For starters, if you are not a fan of the Phoenix Wright video game series, you’re not going to be able to remotely enjoy these volumes. So non-fans, instantly forget these, don’t pick them up, invest your money in another manga series out there.

The stories in these volumes are not the current Phoenix Wright manga running in print in Japan right now. In fact they are a collection of fan-manga from Japan, created by the legion of Phoenix Wright fans over there in the Land of the Rising Sun. The stories are all disconnected shorts, that revisit the cute funny side of the characters in the games, but are nothing, NOTHING to write home about. They even lose their appeal to Wright fans very fast. Some art is good. Some is terrible. Some stories make me snicker, since I enjoy the characters and they captured the humor of the game well. Some I wanted to save to double as a back-up emergency plan when I run out of toilet paper in my bathroom.

I wasn’t going to write about these two volumes after I was provided a huge disappointment from Del-Rey’s manga arm, however then I thought I should give a warning to people to forget about this title.

Something To Watch: Phenomenal (a.k.a. Fenomenal and The Treasure of Tutankamen)

And suddenly the reader goes, “What the f*** is Phenomenal?!?!” Well reader, I’m glad you’re confused, and it doesn’t surprise me that you have no clue! This is precisely why I chose this for the Something To Watch section this week. The United States has had only a handful of art forms that were distinctly created here, all of which have taken the world by storm: Musicals, Jazz Music, Rock and Roll, and what I consider the most important: comic books and comic strips. When looking at other cultures’ take on our favorite American creation here, frequently we look at Japanese manga due to the popularity of anime in the United States, but as mentioned before in this column, with comics such as Tin-Tin and Ferdinand, we don’t look enough at Europe which has a wealth of comics. Phenomenal is a European superhero, who is quite like a Batman-figure. He simply wears a black mask (with no eye or mouth holes, an entirely blank face) and appears out of nowhere with a menacing laugh, which then is followed up with him kicking the crap out of bad guys.

Made by the Italians in 1968, with a slight Danger: Diabolik feel to it, Phenomenal is not a stellar piece of cinema by any means, but is still very entertaining to pop in for a late night treat or to explore the whole European superhero scene. Directed by Ruggero Deodato (who is best known in the cult movie scene for directing the notorious piece of Euro-Trash/Horror cinema Cannibal Holocaust), the entire plot is simple and straight forward: The mask of King Tut is on display in France and a crime ring is after it. Phenomenal waits in hiding for them to make their move so he can take down the crime ring and multiple baddies connected with it.

The first half of the movie is golden, and gives us so much promise, and unfortunately it loses it in the second half. So if it’s not stellar, why write about it? Simply because I had a complete blast and really entertaining time watching it at 2 AM one night, and enjoyed it for what it was. So seriously, if you dare to take the plunge this weekend, you can pick it up off Amazon for super cheap.

See you in two weeks!

Drew McCabe



  1. Boooo for dissing the Phoenix. I very much enjoyed both of those manga. Sure, they had their problems, but over all, I was quite entertained. And I’m a big fan of the Ace Attorney games.
    BTW, “text adventure game” is very…American. I guess that is what we’d call it here. But it’s not quite the same. It’s more along the lines of a visual novel.

  2. drew

    Lol, I guess visual-novel-game would be a more apt description, and I lvoe the Phoenix games too, got ’em all for my DS (as well as Touch Detective, but that’s unrelated), however I just couldn’t get into the manga 🙁

  3. Billy

    Good write-up dude.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rick Todd, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: From Friendly Ghosts to Gamma Rays: War of the Woods, Phoenix Wright, and Phenomenal! http://dld.bz/fpjg #comics #manga […]

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