Archive for Groo the Wanderer

Boot Hill


Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle #5

Helsingard’s zeppelin, the War Machine Basilisk, is on the move, and Atomic Robo, Marshall Bass Reeves, and Doc Holliday are aboard trying to fight off wave of cyborg outlaw soldiers to bring it down. A few problems: Reeves and Holliday are armed with six-shooters, which are not as effective as they’d like, and Robo’s atomic batteries are just about to run bone-dry on him. Can they stop Helsingard’s plans of conquest? Well, that’s a pretty sure thing, actually, since history didn’t show that Helsingard won. But where does this all leave Robo? Nowhere good, either in the past or the present.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Trying not to give away any spoilers — but could Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener maybe start the next series right now? Like, seriously, right now? Because after this cliffhanger, I really, really can’t wait.


Groo vs. Conan #4

Everyone seems to think either Groo or Conan has been slain, but it just ain’t so — their battle continues, with neither able to gain the upper hand. Groo’s stupidity keeps frustrating Conan, while Groo continues trying to destroy the bakery. Elsewhere, Sergio is still hopped up on pills and thinking he’s Conan — and the friendly neighborhood comic shop may still be torn down! Can any hero solve all these problems?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s been a really cool series, very much in the vein of “Archie Meets the Punisher,” with the cartoony Groo meeting up with the more realistic Conan. Lots of good jokes, ranging from the expected stuff from Groo to gags about MAD Magazine — and even Conan gets a few subtle jokes in here and there. Definitely worth picking up the collected edition, whenever it comes out, if you haven’t yet read the series.


Sensation Comics #3

A trio of stories in this one. First, Wonder Woman is a combination of superhero and rock star, meeting fans and confronting bullies; second, Wonder Woman meets up with Catwoman, whose scheme to steal the Golden Fleece has Diana facing a dragon; third, Gilbert Hernandez of “Love and Rockets” writes and illustrates a tale in which Wonder Woman is captured and hypnotized by Kanjar Ro.

Verdict: Thumbs down. None of these stories was particularly well-written. The first one is crammed to the gills with illogic, strawmen, and clumsy dialogue and interaction. The second was full of situations where Wonder Woman does the dumbest possible thing every time. (Take Catwoman out of police HQ? Take her to a cafe? Lug around the loot she stole without leaving it in police custody and without even checking to see what it was? Sure, Diana would do all that stuff.) And the third featured sometimes clumsy artwork and Diana being captured way, way too easily by the aliens.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • The lack of any plans to make movies about the Hulk and Black Widow is really the weirdest thing about the recent Marvel movie announcements. No Hulk movie for Mark Ruffalo? No Black Widow movie starring one of the most bankable actresses and action stars of the decade? What is Marvel smoking?
  • This really is kinda spectacular: the Internet Arcade has a few hundred classic arcade video games you can download and play.
  • Tumblr users seem to take a lot of flack, but they often bring the funny better than anyone else.
  • How ’bout one final Halloween video? This one’s even based on a comic book.

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You Are Likely to Be Beaten by a Groo


Groo vs. Conan #3

Poor Sergio Aragones is still over-medicated and completely out of his mind, running amuck in a Renaissance faire. He’s arrested and taken to jail — but then there’s a jailbreak, and the prisoners drag him away with them. Meanwhile, in our mix-and-match fantasy world, Conan has realized that Groo is not a gigantic monster — just a complete idiot. But he’s still a dangerous combatant. Is he too much for Conan to handle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great cartooning, humor, and action. It’s still fun to see these two wildly-different characters interacting together, partly humorously, partly seriously.


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #5

Our origin stories in this issue focus on devil-faced Lude and two-faced Annastasjia. Lude’s story starts back in Germany in the 1600s, when his mother is attacked by a demonic satyr and later gives birth to an adorable, obsidian-skinned, fanged, horned baby. Annastasjia’s is more recent — the 1920s — when she was a vain, shallow movie star, scarred in a bar fight. Her efforts to regain her beauty lead her into methods very far from medical science.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still kinda hard for me to believe I’m enjoying this as much as I am. The stories are still fun — and monstery and gross and often funny — and there are a lot more of the Nightbreed the creators can mine for stories…


Evil Empire #5

We get a break from the main storyline as we meet up with Ace, a serial killer, and Talia, his chosen victim. Ace’s gimmick is that he prefers to tie his victim up and make her watch him torture and murder people for days before finally killing her. He’s moderately well-adjusted, socially and mentally — he just likes to kill people and mentally torture women who remind him of his mother. But as the country starts to go to hell during the presidential campaign, Ace starts discovering that life is a lot more dangerous — people are murdering each other left and right, and no one’s getting in trouble for it. And when everything is permitted, Ace really doesn’t get the same charge he used to get from serial murder. Is there hope for his redemption?

Verdict: Thumbs down. I liked parts of this — the humor is really quite well done. Ace complaining about his new doubts about serial killing comes while he’s eating a body, for example, and his murderous impulses are largely played for laughs. The thing is, I’m buying the premise of the story less and less, and I especially couldn’t believe that a serial killer would give it all up just because everyone else is a serial killer, too.

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I’m Tired, and It’s Labor Day, So Let’s Do Some Really Fast Reviews


Silver Surfer #5

Things are really weird at the Greenwood Inn. Dr. Strange and the Hulk show up, and Nightmare has a dastardly plot to put everyone on Earth to sleep to gain ultimate power. Luckily, the Surfer never sleeps — oh, wait, he’s asleep and dreaming right now? And the world relies on Dawn Greenwood to stay awake?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very cute story and fun art to boot.


The Manhattan Projects #23

LBJ wants in on the Projects, and the alien-corrupted Soviets, led by Monster Brezhnev and a robot with three animal heads, want some mind-controlled dupes to help them control Cuba. So we get to meet up with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. LBJ is fun, even if he’s very similar to General Groves, and Castro and Guevara are all kinds of cool as they battle the Soviets.


Groo vs. Conan #2

Sergio is still looped out of his gourd and thinking he’s Conan. In the fictional reality, Conan has been led to believe that Groo is a gigantic monster, so he doesn’t recognize him when he meets him. But how do the townspeople think their first meeting is going?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great, weird fantasy fun.

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Too Many Barbarians!


Groo vs. Conan #1

I just can’t resist the concept. I really loved the old Archie Meets the Punisher crossover from a couple decades ago, mixing serious comics with funny comics and meshing cartooning with dramatic art. So Sergio Aragones’ pea-brained barbarian Groo the Wanderer meets up with Robert E. Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria — “black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth” — that’s just so weird, and I just don’t care.

While Conan heroically scales a tower, defeats a wizard, and rescues a fair maiden, Groo ends up getting tricked into helping some corrupt politicos and associated troops rout innocent villagers from a beloved local bakery. And wrapped around this story are our writers, Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier, getting mixed up in a riot at a comic shop. Sergio is injured and taken to a hospital, where he’s injected with enough drugs to get him hallucinating that he’s Conan himself and fleeing the hospital to find some evil to fight.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a thoroughly weird story, which means I’m basically required by law to love it.


Daredevil #6

In this Original Sin crossover, Uatu’s exploding eye has revealed a secret from Matt’s past — at some point, his beloved father Battlin’ Jack Murdock beat Matt’s mother, who is now a nun called Sister Maggie. When Matt returns to New York to quiz his mother about what happened, he discovers that she and two other nuns have been arrested after spray-painting peace slogans on the walls of a military base that was testing chemical weapons. But they haven’t been arrested for vandalism — in fact, no one is telling anyone what they’ve been arrested for. No one has read them their rights, and they’ve been given no legal counsel. And a military tribunal has ordered them extradited to Wakanda. Wakanda? What the heck? T’Challa is no longer in charge in Wakanda, and no one claims to know anything about the case. Matt ends up sneaking into Wakanda’s Manhattan embassy to find some evidence about what’s going on — and walks right into a trap.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The usual great writing and art. Thankfully, only a minimum of connection to the Original Sin series, as most of the emphasis is on the mystery of why Matt’s mother has been reasonlessly arrested. And it’s an excellent mystery — it definitely has me looking forward to the rest of this storyline.


Axe Cop: The American Choppers #3

Everyone meets Axe Cop’s real father, who was a general on General Planet and who sent Axe Cop to Earth as a baby to escape the destruction of his home planet. He brings Axe Cop back to life, and the whole team returns to Earth to fight Captain Axe’s evil uncle and Satan himself. They kill Satan twice — and then throughout the universe killing all of the Space Satans.

Verdict: Sorry, but thumbs down. Too self-aware, it repeated too much stuff that’d been done before, Axe Cop’s new origin was a groaner. I thought the most interesting parts were when the characters, who’ve always been focused exclusively on chopping off bad guys’ heads, actually made inquiries about deep philosophical and theological questions. But those moments were few and far between.


Mighty Avengers #12

Long story short: the Mighty Avengers of the 1970s take on the Deathwalkers, ancient wizard-kings, former wise rulers corrupted by human sacrifice. They want to destroy the world, and only our heroes stand in the way. But will Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stand a chance against impossibly powerful sorcerers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s mostly a slugfest, sure, but it’s a good slugfest.

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The Kingdom of Gog


Justice Society of America #14

The JSA starts working to hunt down Gog. Sand tracks him to the jungle, while the rest of the Society (there’s a great little scene showing how much they’ve outgrown their iconic meeting table) plans out their attack. Unfortunately, Gog surprises everyone by bringing the fight directly into the JSA’s brownstone. And he’s a lot more than they can handle.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There are lots of nice little moments. Like I said before, the scene with everyone sitting around the meeting table in lawn chairs and stools and recliners is actually pretty funny and gives a good sense of how large the team has grown. Sand gets his first lines in a year or more, and he has a great little scene all of his own. Gog makes a nice, dramatic entrance, and the fight against him is suitably knock-down-drag-out. It ain’t over by the end of the issue either, and the “Next Issue” blurb promises worse stuff to come. Can’t wait for the next issue.


Groo: Hell on Earth #4

Groo the Wanderer, promoted to Groo the General of an entire army, finally tracks down a war he can fight in. Oh boy, fighting! Of course, he has no strategy and cuts down as many of his own men as he does the enemy, but what’s important is he finally gets to fight! Meanwhile, the Sage continues to wander, trying to find some way to stave off multiple environmental disasters. Is there a way to stop the pointless war and to start mending the land?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The allegory is about as subtle as Groo’s fighting style, but the jokes are funny — often very funny — and the solutions to the problems of the war and the environment are elegant and smart.

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Groosome and Gorgeous


Groo: Hell on Earth #3

When last we left the mighty (but fairly dim) barbarian warrior Groo the Wanderer, he had been named the general of an army and was questing about mostly at random looking for another army to fight. Meanwhile, the Sage was trying to get all the different nations to stop abusing the environment — unfortunately, no one wants to take his advice because it would mean they’d have to work! Work’s no fun!

In this issue, much of the same. Groo is still leading his reluctant army, and the Sage is still meeting nothing but frustration when trying to convince anyone about what’s going on. But among all that, we get Groo interrogating pigs, Groo and his dog Rufferto gleefully feasting on rotten bison meat, the Sage getting on the bad end of an exploding cow belch, and Groo finally — finally! — running into a real army he can fight!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Groo is grand fun, no matter what.


Birds of Prey #114

Oracle is angry at herself over the failure of the mission last issue and the heavy loss of life, so she’s pushing herself and the rest of the BoP way too hard. She’s also taking out a lot of her frustrations on Misfit. Huntress and the time-displaced Lady Blackhawk go out drinkin’, and Lady B. runs into Killer Shark, an old enemy from back in the ’40s. Oh, and Black Alice shows up wanting to join the team.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of cool stuff in this issue. Lady Blackhawk talking about her AARP card. Huntress getting drunk. Misfit being terrified — rightfully — of having to fight Oracle. The Question refusing to play Oracle’s games. Lady Blackhawk’s thoroughly adorable dimples. And Black Alice is always a lot of fun — it’ll be fun to see her next issue.

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Random Grab Bag

Whatta we got today? A little bit of everything — a dark and gloomy police procedural, a comedy book, and a straightforward superhero punchfest. Let’s get to ’em.


She-Hulk #23

Okay, first of all, look at Shulkie’s hand on that cover. Can you spread your fingers that far apart? I can’t. I’m not sure anyone can do it without getting their hands broken. I don’t think She-Hulk getting her hands broken is a part of the current storyline, so I’ll just chalk it up to lazy artwork.

Anyway, last issue, we had She-Hulk with a miniaturized Titania punching on her eardrum while a full-sized Absorbing Man punched on her face, plus we had Jennifer Walters with a broken neck but still walking around arresting perps. Wait, aren’t Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk the same person?!

Anyway, in this issue, Titania finally gets knocked out of Shulkie’s ear, but that doesn’t make it much easier for her to beat Absorbie. But we get to see him turn into everything from steel to Legos to a shark-human hybrid. And the broken-necked Jennifer Walters is revealed as a friendly Skrull named Jazinda. Wait, isn’t the Marvel Universe about to go to war with the Skrulls?!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Still not sure I’m down with the idea of She-Hulk as a bounty hunter, but the story has been pretty entertaining so far.


Groo: Hell on Earth #2

Groo, mighty barbarian warrior but a few crackers short of a Lunchable, has been made a general. Hey, he’s never been a general before! That means it’s time to go find other armies to fight. His own army is terrified of him — they think (quite rationally) that he’ll end up getting them killed. While Groo is marching around looking for an army to fight, the Sage is wandering to various villages trying to get them to stop polluting the air so the glaciers in the north don’t melt. Of course, the only people dumber than Groo are the other people in Groo’s world, so folks can always find new reasons for misunderstanding the Sage or increasing their smoke production — after all, Groo has an army, and everyone’s afraid he’ll attack!

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is actually my first “Groo” comic, so I can’t say I get all of the jokes. But the ones I get are good, and Sergio Aragones’ cartooning is, as always, wonderful and fun to read.


Powers #27

Deena Pilgrim, former cop, current carrier of the deadly Powers virus, leans on an underworld boss to get him to lean on the rest of the underworld to hunt down a serial killer. But when the crooks learn that Deena is herself one of the suspects, they don’t like that at all. Meanwhile, exiled hero Triphammer returns to the city to learn that his daughter is one of the killer’s victims.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but it’s a close thing. The problem is that not a lot happens here. Sure, it’s well-written and the dialogue pops, but there’s still not very much going on. Luckily, it should pick up some next issue.

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