Archive for War that Time Forgot

A Crash of Thunder


Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1

Huzzah, a new all-ages book! Sometimes it seems like all-ages books are the best comics Marvel and DC are producing. In this case, it’s a spinoff from last year’s “Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil” by Jeff Smith, this time written and drawn by Mike Kunkel, best known for his impossibly adorable “Herobear and the Kid” series.

We get a great introduction to our characters — orphaned kid Billy Batson, who can turn into the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel; his sister Mary, who can turn into the World’s Fastest and Most Hyperactive Sister, Mary Marvel; the wizard Shazam, who gives the kids their powers; moody pre-teen Theo Adam, who can’t remember the magic word that will turn him into the World’s Mightiest Villain, Black Adam.

Hijinx galore ensue. Cap and Mary save a circus train, but just barely. Billy changes into Captain Marvel so he can masquerade as his own father so the two orphans can stay in school, and Cap gets a sabotaged wrecking ball under control.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is really a big winner. The art is just awesome, and the writing is lots of fun, too. The high point is probably Captain Marvel dressed in a suit, sweet-talking his own principal, and trying to get Mary in trouble by claiming she’s a troublemaker. The circus train is also fun. I don’t care if you’re a kid or an adult — you should go read this.


Blue Beetle #28

El Paso is being terrorized by a giant green dog-monster, and no one knows where it came from. Well, except for Peacemaker and Dani Garrett, who’ve figured out that Dr. Mephistopheles, a one-time foe of the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, is responsible. When Jaime finally runs into the monster, the battle doesn’t really go the way anyone expected.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I gotta admit that I’m glad that, even with John Rogers no longer writing the book, the foundation he laid down is still letting writers create great stories with these characters.


The War that Time Forgot #3

More time-lost soldiers vs. dinosaurs. That’s really about it.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This is a case study on why you shouldn’t pad your miniseries out too much — there’s obviously not enough story here to fill 12 issues, so everything is dragging down so they can stretch out the plot. The only interesting characters left are Enemy Ace and G.I. Robot, and they don’t get much face-time at all…

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Gog Be Praised


Justice Society of America #16

The one, true Gog has risen from the jungle — a couple hundred feet tall, purple skin, glowing eyes, and he barely even notices the Justice Society staring up at him in shock. When he finally deigns to speak to the JSA’ers, he tells them he’s a god from the Third World — not Earth’s more poverty-stricken nations, but the world that preceded the Fourth World of the New Gods. He says he was cast down to earth millennia ago for refusing to participate in a war and has spent all these centuries in stasis. Now, he says with a nearly-constant but very creepy smile, he wants to do good. And he does end up traveling to a nearby village and healing everyone there of a plague. But Damage isn’t buying Gog’s act, and when he calls Gog out, Gog works a miracle for him. Meanwhile, Black Adam has his powers back, and he’s on the trail of his lost bride Isis.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of cool stuff here — Gog can’t hear Mr. Terrific’s voice because Terrific is an atheist; Citizen Steel, even thousands of miles from the kids in his family, ends up getting surrounded by adoring kids in the African village, which is a nice little wink toward what seems to be one of his major personality traits; we also get some exceptional Alex Ross artwork scattered here and there. But the star of the show is definitely Gog. Sure, we all know he’ll wind up being a villain. No one that tall with a smile that creepy could possibly be a good guy. But I love the way they’re setting him up.


The War that Time Forgot #2

More dinosaur fun with our group of timelost soldiers. Turns out there are two distinct groups of warriors on the island — one with a bunch of modern soldiers (if “modern” includes characters from the Revolutionary War) with a more barbaric group opposing them from the ancient world. The old-timers, including a couple of Greeks, a Roman centurion, and a Viking prince, capture Col. Jape, the base commander, and take him to their colosseum to fight a raptor. First, they take him before their ruler — holy cow, it’s the G.I. Robot! Kewl! Elsewhere, the modern soldiers meet a woman from the future, capture a Japanese Zero pilot, and go hunting for Jape, who is in the midst of getting a lesson in how to fight an angry dinosaur from one of the Greek warriors.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Dude! The G.I. Robot!

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Thunder Lizards and War Machines


The War that Time Forgot #1

A little background on this one. Way back in 1960’s “Star Spangled War Stories,” Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru came up with a new formula of stories for the venerable old war comic — namely, they decided to pit WWII-era American soldiers against Triassic-era dinosaurs. All the action would take place on a mysterious island in the middle of the Pacific, where the soldiers would end up, often in the midst of a plane crash or shipwreck. Once there, they had to fight their way through hordes of angry sauropods until they were rescued or made their escape.

In this new version, we follow Lt. Carson, a P-40 pilot who winds up stranded on the time-lost island. And he’s not the only person there — some of his fellow castaways include old DC characters like Firehair, Tomahawk, and Enemy Ace! After we get the introductions out of the way, there’s a great deal of fighting against prehistoric monsters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Dinosaurs! But can they keep this going over 12 whole issues?


George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards: The Hard Call #2

Alex tries to adjust to the fact that he’s become an electrically powered ace, and that his family hates him because he survived the Wild Card Virus, and his little brother didn’t. Alex’s friend Simon has also become an ace, with the ability to teleport between mirrors, and Kira, the girl Alex had loved from afar, is now a joker with a caterpillar-like body. Meanwhile, Croyd Crenson is trying to discover who killed his nurse friend, but has to keep away from the cops and the Jokertown Clinic’s orderlies. He and Alex have a heart-to-heart on the clinic’s roof while Mike is considering suicide. And the mystery here is deepening — Kira has vanished, under possibly violent circumstances. And why does Mr. Fallon, the clinic’s “transition counselor,” seem so creepy?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m still a big fan of the “Wild Cards” series, and this feels like a return to the series’ classic form.

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