Hey Sailor

Popeye #1

Long, long years ago, I went through a period where I was really, really into Popeye — and not the familiar Popeye cartoons, but the very old “Thimble Theatre” comic strip by E.C. Segar, the one that included characters that rarely made it into the animated cartoons, like Castor Oyl, Ham Gravy, the Sea Hag, Alice the Goon, and others. So a Popeye comic by IDW that features a ton of old characters, written by Roger Langridge? Yeah, I’m all over that.

First things first: That cover? That cover is pure win.

The story focuses on Castor Oyl, Olive’s brother, hitting on a scheme to find a mate for Eugene the Jeep, a small highly magical creature, so they can sell baby Jeeps to solve the family’s money troubles. Of course, they hire Popeye to take them to the semi-mythical Land of the Jeeps, and Wimpy tags along to keep from having to pay his debts to Rough House, the owner of the diner. They are pursued, of course, by Bluto, who tries to stop them by various dastardly schemes. And when they finally make it to the Land of the Jeeps, what they find is not what they expected.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is so blasted much like reading old Thimble Theatre comics. It doesn’t hurt that artist Bruce Ozella does a great job of replicating the look of Segar’s cartoons, but Langridge in particular seems to be channeling the style of those old comics.

Popeye #2

And the second issue has Popeye butting heads with Olive’s new beau, the famous actor Willy Wormwood. Popeye can’t match Wormwood for sophistication, style, or brains. Wormwood is obviously a villain — how can Popeye and Wimpy get Olive to see the truth? Plus a backup feature about Professor O.G. Wotasnozzle, brilliant scientist and inventor, as he pursues his twin quests of inventing a pill to make your feet two sizes larger and getting a little peace and quiet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. All the stuff I said before still applies. If you haven’t been getting these yet, give them a try. They’re good fun.

Avengers Academy #31

The X-Kids and the Avengers Academy kids finally figure out that Sebastian Shaw isn’t trying to kill anyone — he just wants to escape and to help the X-Kids escape. And the Academy students are really mostly okay with that — they don’t see the value in forcing the mutant students to stay as prisoners. So while Tigra and Hercules are generally in agreement, the campus is wired with cameras, and they can’t just let them walk away, so there has to be a fake fight for the cameras.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I really don’t get the necessity for a fake fight at all. It was pretty obvious everyone was pulling their punches, and everyone got up afterwards and waved bye-bye. So anyone watching certainly wasn’t fooled. I liked the camaraderie between the students and Hercules’ hammy over-acting, but the complete silliness of the fake fight ruined it all for me.

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