Archive for Reed Gunther

Urban Cowboy

Reed Gunther #4

President Grover Cleveland has received alarming reports of monster attacks all over the nation, so he calls out the fearsome Special Agent Mundy to take care of the situation. Meanwhile, adventuresome but somewhat dim cowboy Reed Gunther and his pet bear Sterling have just arrived in New York City, where Sterling is immediately mistaken for a monster, and that leads to a frantic chase, as Reed and Sterling try to both take in the big city sights and avoid getting shot by monster-hunters. And it all ends with Sterling in Mundy’s custody, and Reed with no guns, no where to stay, and no pants. Can Reed track down where Sterling and the monsters are being held? Can he get free from Agent Mundy? And does he still have a chance of finding Starla and the evil Mr. Picks?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Ye gods, this one was a lot of fun. Lots of very funny lines from Reed, lots of great shenanigans around the city, great depictions of 1880s NYC, excellent action, the grand comic reappearance of Grover Cleveland, and a bonus pinup by Stan Sakai!

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #17

This one’s a break from all the heavy, serious stories of the past several issues. Aliens are abducting cows all over the nearby countryside, and Billy is assigned to help investigate the story for WHIZ news. Mary tags along, and they soon discover that, despite the local farmers’ lame attempts to disguise their cows as human beings, the abductions continue. After changing into Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, the heroes confront the alien responsible and learn his surprising reason for his cow-napping spree.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very cute, very humorous, and very fun. This is what this comic should be about all the time.

The Avengers #2

The Avengers meet up with their newest member, Marvel Boy, an interdimensional Kree warrior named Noh-Varr, and ask them to build them a time machine so they can try to keep their future children from destroying the universe. What Noh-Varr builds is a time viewer that lets them see a number of different alternate futures, including the world of Spider-Girl, the Days of Future Past, and the Age of Apocalypse. They get to see their kids execute Kang the Conqueror, and then time apparently breaks. And before Marvel Boy can get to work on a new time machine, Wonder Man busts in, bellows some threats, knocks everyone around, and then vanishes. After that — hey, look! It’s Apocalypse and a brand new bunch of Horsemen!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve got some concerns about Wonder Man’s out-of-nowhere attack, but I’m also thinking this is either a mind-control situation, or a Wonder Man from the future. Other than that, the dialogue is okay — maybe a bit strained in places, especially when Spider-Man tries to wisecrack, the action is pretty good, and we’ve got some interesting conflicts being set up.

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Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Reed Gunther #3

Rough and tough (but not real smart) cowboy Reed Gunther and his bear Sterling are waiting on a train so they and Reed’s kinda-sorta gal-pal Starla can go after the dastardly Mr. Picks, who’s stolen a bunch of cave monsters so he can display them and make a fortune. But the train won’t let bears aboard, so Reed smuggles Sterling into an empty cattle car. While Reed and Starla travel in style, the old idol packed into the car with Sterling starts floating and glowing… and making monsters, including a steel-driving railroad zombie. Eventually, everyone makes it to Topeka, but can they keep Mr. Picks from finding out about idol’s other powers? All that plus pinups, a sketchbook, and a guest appearance by Grover Cleveland! Holy baloney, Grover Cleveland!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good all-ages Western fun from Shane and Chris Houghton. The artwork combines cartoonish, exaggerated characters with lots and lots of detail on everything else. Lots and lots of excellent humor, and the zombie is good and scary, too.


Batgirl #6

Stephanie got shot in the head last issue — well, grazed only, which is a good thing, ’cause it’d mean this series ended too early. At any rate, she escapes from the ambulance with Oracle’s help, spars with the always-attitudinal Robin, and gets ordered by Batman to stop pursuing the case of her kidnapped friend, Francisco Gracia. Of course, she ignores him. In fact, she and Robin start their own independent investigation, interviewing the kidnap victim’s girlfriend to find out that Francisco’s father has a bad gambling problem, and he’s made a deal to get the debt erased — Roulette, a slinky villain who runs a gladiatorial arena and casino, is going to take bets on three villains who are hoping to kill Batman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is turning into a really fun superhero comic. Great dialogue and humor, excellent action, metric tons of personality and smarts. It’s fun watching Stephanie try to fit her less-angsty personality into the mostly dysfunctional Bat-family. Favorite moments this issue: Stepanie and Damien’s interrogation of Francisco’s girlfriend, and the great dialogue between Dick Grayson and Babs Gordon.

Booster Gold #28

Booster smacks around the Royal Flush Gang, then gets called back into the timestream for another chronal crisis. In this case, it’s a mission he’d prefer to skip — he has to save the shuttle mission that ended with astronaut Hank Henshaw becoming the evil Cyborg Superman. Unfortunately, he’s not there to prevent the disaster — he’s supposed to make sure the shuttle goes into space as scheduled to make sure Henshaw’s position as a supervillain isn’t prevented. Meanwhile, Booster’s sister Michelle, on the run through time, realizes that she’s stuck in Coast City mere hours before the Cyborg Superman blows the city to cinders. Our second feature focuses on Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle. Concerned that his Scarab is acting up, he and his friends take a trip to Egypt to visit the pyramid where the original Blue Beetle found the Scarab in the ’40s. Unfortunately, his attempt to get the Scarab back to normal may actually be too successful…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of fun stuff here — the Royal Flush Gang makes for entertaining cannon fodder for Booster, and it’s kinda nice to get to see the Cyborg Superman again in all his inglorious glory. The backup Blue Beetle story might be even better, with one of the better cliffhangers I’ve seen in these second features.

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Tales of the Wild West


Reed Gunther and the Steak Snacking Snake!

Reed Gunther is a rough, tough, fast-talking cowboy who rides a bear named Sterling. What kind of cowboy rides a bear instead of a horse? He’s either the toughest cowboy in the Wild West, or his bear is unusually pleasant and vegetarian. Reed and Sterling are camping out on the range when Reed runs afoul of a woman rancher named Starla — he tried to spy on her while she was bathing in the river, and she didn’t take too kindly to that. Starla is soon distracted by Sterling, who she thinks is about to eat all her cows. And soon enough, they’re all severely distracted by the thing that’s really got Starla antsy — there’s a giant rattlesnake living in the river, and it’s been all she can do to keep it from eating her whole herd. Can the three of them figure out a way to stop the monster snake? And if they do, will the solution be worse than the original problem?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Shane and Chris Houghton have cooked up a very funny and accessible most-ages comic (“most ages” ’cause there’s a little killin’ here and there, and some young’uns could get upset). Reed and Sterling are very entertaining characters, and Starla makes a great action heroine. The dialogue is excellent, the action is exciting, and the artwork is the best kind of cartoony — fun and funny while also pushing the story onward and upward.


Reed Gunther in a Stalac-Tight Spot!

The second Reed Gunther adventure finds the cowpoke and his ursine sidekick venturing underground on a quest into a cursed cave to find gold. Unfortunately, the shady character who organized the expedition is looking for riches that have nothing to do with gold, and everything to do with capturing a few of the rampaging, underground, monsters in the cave to display in a circus. And worse than that, he doesn’t care what happens to Reed as long as he gets his monsters — and Sterling — for his show. Starla makes another appearance, rescuing the one person who could help save Reed and Sterling, but his idea of a solution doesn’t have much to do with saving anyone — more like “blowing up the caves and the whole town,” which isn’t really a good plan of action.

Verdict: Another thumbs up. Reed, Sterling, and Starla are still lots of fun, but even the supporting cast gets some great characterization, without being turned entirely into Western stereotypes. The action is even better here, with several outright cinematic moments, and the suspense, even for a mostly-kids’ comic, is first-rate.

Y’all go hunt these down.

EDIT: I got Sterling’s name wrong all the way through both reviews. How hyoomiliatin’.  :/

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