September 16, 2011

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Mega Man, Sonic, SuperDinosaur and more!

Hey gang, welcome back to your source for all-ages comics: From Friendly Ghosts To Gama Rays! We had a week off last week, so we ran a silly article instead (click here if you missed), but this week it’s back to basics with a fist full of stuff, so let’s go!

Out On Stands: Mega Man #5
Publisher: Archie
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Chad Thomas

Issue #5 starts the second story arc of the new (and very addicting) Mega Man series from Archie Comics, titled “Time Keeps Slipping.” The battle with the Robot Masters is over and they have been reprogrammed to help society again, and on their breaks, much to Roll’s dismay, play with their powers and have play battles with Mega Man. Dr. Light has them slowly rebuilding the city, but the suspicion about robots hasn’t easily gone away, so federal Agent Stern has been sent to keep his eye on things. However, everything suddenly goes bad, and while transferring Dr.Wiley from prison, a new evil Robot Master appears and frees his boss. Fingers are quickly pointed and things start getting bad for our heroes.

Flynn continues writing the series trying to give us a nice balance of action and humor while moving the plot along. I like what he did with the first four issues, and it’s good to see him continuing in the same vain as this new arc starts. It was cool that he decided not to get rid of the old Robot Masters that were defeated and figured a way to keep them in the series. The issue is a lot of set-up, but if it’s anything like the first arc, it’ll all pay off in this enjoyable read. The most noticeable change of this arc is the new artist, Chad Thomas. Thomas does a good job with the art work, but when putting it side by side with the first four issues and looking at the action scenes, page layouts, and more, Spaz who drew the first four issues is missed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Thomas and will keep reading every month, but it’s suddenly just not Spaz’s art. Overall, the new arc is off to a good start and is a solid place to jump in if you missed the first four (which you can order in a collected version already that’s coming out soon).


Out On Stands: Sonic The Hedgehog #228
Publisher: Archie
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Tracy Yardley

So here we are in part 3 of 4 of the “Genesis” story arc, which Archie has confirmed is not really a reboot of the Sonic universe, but more of a realignment and fresh jumping point for new readers. That becomes clear in this issue, as it’s pointed out at Dr. Eggman’s base by Snively that the dimensions are out of balance and something is wrong in the rift (probably caused by the huge explosion at the end of Sonic The Hedgehog #225, which left fans thinking Sally was dead). However, before we get this, we get the Sonic crew introduced finally to Tails! Their hip team-up becomes apparent as they go out to stop Dr. Eggman and the other Freedom Fighters can’t quite move as fast, leading to a parting of ways.

The big score of the issue, though: Sonic The Hedgehog Part 2 nostalgia. They tear up the Chemical Plant Zone (second level of Sonic 2 for non-Sonic fans), but they get all the details of it, the tunnels, the elevators, the moving blocks, right! This alone is worth the issue for any Sonic fan, but then on top of that they start rocking out the Oil Ocean Zone to a tee, too! Love or hate this realignment, they are giving all the just detail to the Sonic games in this arc, making it the best Sonic comics in a long time. Writing by Ian Flynn is great (although I’m fonder of his Mega Man title currently), and the art by Yardley is fantastic as well. The cover by fan-fave Spaz gives us homage to the box art of Sonic The Hedgehog 3, adding more great blast-from-the-past touches. If it can win people like me back to reading Sonic and enjoying it (which after middle school, I didn’t expect to ever end up reading again), you may just fall in love, too.


Out On Stands: Super Dinosaur #4
Publisher: Image
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Jason Howard

Half way through issue #4 of Super Dinosaur it dawned on me that the title would’ve made a great 16-bit video game back in the 1990s. Maybe it’s just all the video game related titles that have been dominating my reading time lately, but the structure building up to the apparent final battle lends itself perfectly. That aside, this issue jumps right into the action as SD and Derek face off against more bad guys, including Terrordactyl and Painklyosaurs, in a fantastic array of action, building up to the introduction of the big new monster at the end of the issue, the Mega-Raptor (a Godzilla-sized Raptor with weapons).

This issue is mostly action and less story with heart than in previous issues, but it’s the kind of butt kicking action issue we want to see every so many issues from a series like this. Kirkman does a great job penning this title, and gives us a twist or two (which I left out of this column for your surprise). Plus, how can you hate a guy who creates names like Terrordactyl. The cry to the massive action figure series of the past is a nice touch and makes me wish I could go to a store and pick some of these up for some distractions during my work day. Howard has some wonderful art on this title; the robot suits he puts SD in are just awesome and he knows how to draw action. Best of all we get a set-up for some kaiju-style battling, and you can’t go wrong there in my book. Still one of the best titles of the year, it hasn’t let us down yet and keeps going. Out now on stands!


Something To Watch: Santo Y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos

We head back to Mexico again this week (more Japanese TV next week) for your something to watch as we look at the rocking film Santo Y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos, which translates as Santo And Blue Demon Vs. The Monsters. Monsters indeed rule this film as a mad scientist and his hunchback midget sidekick lead an army of monsters which includes vampires, a mummy, a werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, and a Cyclops! The action starts off right away and doesn’t really slow down. Blue Demon is kidnapped by the baddies early on and they make an evil copy of him, giving us plenty of slugfests on film of Santo actually fighting Blue Demon (which he did all the time in real life, but only on occasion in the films). That aside, it is also one of the few films where one of the monsters, the vampire in this case, disguises himself as a luchador and takes on Santo in the ring! The plot is obviously thin: mad scientist wants to rule the world with an army of monsters, and Santo and Blue Demon interfere, but the action and fun monster effects (the Cycolps rocks) make up for it. Plus you get a pretty solid club scene where you are treated to five minutes of great Mexican show dancers on stage, very cool for old school movie fans. I was able to find a version on DVD in Spanish with no subtitles, so if you don’t know Spanish you may not be thrilled to jump at this, but there is so much action and excitement, you’ll soon forget it’s not in your native tongue (unless obviously your native tongue is Spanish). The DVD transfer from Lionsgate/Televisa is one of the best clean transfers I have ever seen of a luchador film, which was a nice treat as well! Your something to watch this weekend is Santo Y Blue Demon Contra Los Monstruos!


That’s it for this week! See you next! Sending you kaiju-love from America’s dust bowl!

Drew McCabe


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