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#37 1/27/10 #8

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) PLANET HULK DVD LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED #0 GREEN LANTERN #50 DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED #1 SECRET WARS II OMNIBUS Retro Review: ALIEN 3 #1-3 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents KARAKURIDOJI ULTIMO dot.comics presents… CHEAP SHOTS!


Distributor: Lionsgate & Marvel Entertainment Reviewer: Irish Rican

While PLANET HULK may certainly be covered over in Harry's DVD section I thought to do a quick write-up for the @$$hole readers interested in how the comic translated. I'm going to cover a bit of the story so if you haven't read PLANET HULK and are going to be viewing the DVD for the first time you may want to skip on ahead.
Firstly I'm not a fan of the Marvel direct-to-DVD films. They certainly come off subpar to their DC Universe counterparts in story, animation quality, and voice acting. Put GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT up against DOCTOR STRANGE and the DC flick will nearly always win that vote.
Secondly I'm a huge fan of PLANET HULK. If you haven't read the story and are still reading this, a big treat for yourself would be to go out and purchase the graphic novel. Greg Pak's tale of the Hulk on a gladiator world is not only one of the best Hulk tales ever told but perhaps one of the finest Marvel has put out in their sixty-plus years of publishing.
I was certainly surprised when I read that PLANET HULK would be the next Lionsgate direct-to-DVD release. The thought on my mind is, "How bad will they mess it up?" Will the violence play out in the release? Would the Silver Savage (aka The Silver Surfer) be in the film since the rights to the character are over at Fox?
The answers are simple: PLANET HULK is an incredible DVD release - one that Lionsgate finally can be applauded over. The animation itself looks like it continues to improve on some of the shoddier releases like IRON MAN, ULTIMATE AVENGERS, and DOCTOR STRANGE. While no major voice talent is in the movie it perhaps helps to not deter from the storyline.
The story remains intact: Hulk is sent out into space by the Illuminati and lands on Sakaar where he's forced to participate in arena death games. Hulk's entourage remains intact from the story and Miek, Elloe Kaifi, and Korg are here to fight off whoever may want to kill them.
The Silver Savage is NOT in the film. He is wisely replaced by Beta Ray Bill who also is introduced with a bit of back story of how he wound up on the planet. I love seeing Beta Ray Bill up on the animated screen and he is one hell of a replacement for the Silver Surfer.
PLANET HULK also does not cover the entire storyline. The film finishes once Hulk has helped kill the Emperor and is seen with Cieara as the new Emperor of the land. No death of Cieara or annihilation of Sakaar here - though it would have made a great way to hype up a sequel story. Hopefully PLANET HULK sells well enough to invoke some sort of sequel, though the Marvel Universe is directly hindered by so many properties not being under Marvel's umbrella.
The changes are completely minor and the PLANET HULK release finally sees a must-own DVD from the Marvel DVD Universe. It's a great retelling of the story and one that deems watching over and over again.
Ryan 'Irish Rican' McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read here.


Written and Illustrated by: Nick Percival Published by: Radical Comics Reviewed by: superhero

The first thing I have to call out on this book is the art. Man, that is some bea-utiful painted artwork. Creator Nick Percival has really got the goods. LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED really is visually fantastic. I don’t think I’ve see artwork this remarkable outside of a European graphic novel. It’s really that good. I’m impressed. Pretty much out of the gate, from cover to back page Nick Percival has presented a painted world of grimy glory. LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED is worth picking up for the artwork alone. This is the work of a real pro.
But as we all know art is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to graphic storytelling. Not to worry. Percival adds to the quality of LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED by providing an interesting narrative to back up his stunning artwork. The story itself is pretty standard stuff for comicdom: A lone drifter with a chip on his shoulder walking the land righting wrongs. There’s really not much new about that…but the world that Percival is able to flesh out with both his writing and artwork is a fantastic place of fairy tale characters gone wrong in some mad apocalyptic wasteland. It’s basically MAD MAX meets FABLES. Actually that might be a bit too simplistic a comparison, as it seems as if Percival has crafted something uniquely bizarre with LEGENDS. This is something new, something fresh and most of all…something unique. To offer it up as just a copy of something else is to do it a disservice. Trust me when I say that in the pages of LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED Radical Comics has given me a glimpse of a new and freakish world that I’ll be excited to visit again.
The best thing about LEGENDS: THE ENCHANTED however is the price. At a measly one dollar, LEGENDS is more than worth its weight in gold. Sure, this first issue is just a primer for a hardcover graphic novel coming out in March, but it’s still a great deal for a book that’s brimming with quality like this one is.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at


Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Doug Mahnke Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

“Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche…”
Yes, that garbled Manfred Mann bastardization of the less famous Bruce Springsteen song finally makes sense after thirty years. GREEN LANTERN #50 did indeed wrap this douche in glorious blinding light.
It’s been awhile since we gave our latest book report on BLACKEST NIGHT in the @$$hole clubhouse. Why? Speaking for this reviewer, I’ve been locked in a perpetual state of malaise with this event. Up until the reveal of the New Guardians, BLACKEST NIGHT has simply been an emotional mind-fuck perpetrated by a cast of undead B-listers.
Finally after months of build-up there are some real stakes at hand. Naturally, I don’t believe for a second that the likes of Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor will be forever relegated to sitting on a cosmic throne protecting a battery for eternity, but characters like Barry Allen’s Flash and The Atom, who have been perpetually looking for a place to belong since the CRISIS avalanche started, could very well find their home trying to fill the tiny robes once occupied by the Blue Bastards, the Guardians of the Galaxy.
I’ve said it before and I will say it until the universe is once again bathed in light: this is CRISIS (assuming there are some ever lasting effects).
So, what drove me out of my self-imposed state of BLACKEST NIGHT silence?
Each and every panel of this book was an absolute thrill. Start with the return of the mountain-o-corpse, The Spectre. Battles just seem more interesting when there is a mountain of trouble filling the panel. For all of you that complain about Green Lantern boxing gloves and the concept of the green constructs, let’s see if you’re balking when you see Hal Jordan shatter The Spectre’s jaw into a thousand pieces. Brilliant.
This isn’t all an attempt to take down the Morose Gray Giant; the sideline battles are filled with Johns doing what he does best, leveraging past history to build an emotional connection to every construct of ass kickery. The moment when Mera is confronted by Aqua-corpse trying to pull at her heart strings using their little dead baby as a prop and she blasts them to oblivion with a crimson tidal-wave was spectacular. Likewise the interchanges between Sinestro and Hal Jordan truly highlighted the reverence these two have for one another, while still showcasing the loathing.
There were only two moments that ripped me out of the action. One can be rectified and the other is now sadly part of canon. Once the heroes realize that the only force capable of stopping The Spectre is our old friend Parallax, Jordan summons the batteries that were used to spilt and contain the Parallax essence so he can once again unite with the cosmic force of evil. Since it looks like both the GREEN LANTERN book that established this divisionary penitentiary and Harry Potter came out at almost the exact same time, I won’t accuse anyone of plagiarism. All I could keep thinking though was Horcrux, Horcrux, Horcrux. Bygones…I’ll let this one slide. However, what I can not condone, abide or even tolerate is turning Lex Luthor into Gollum. I let Larfleeze’s homage to Middle Earth speak slide because he was invented for the series. New character, new rules, and truly what embodies greed more in our modern conscience than Gollum — with the exception of, say, Donald Trump. Personally I would rather read Larfleeze speaking like Gollum versus scrunching his face and hocking Oreos. Lex Luthor, though — no sir. I am sure that one of the most brilliant minds in the universe can articulate more than a hissed “S’mine.” Not all Lanterns are alike, even those of like colors. Johns remembered this during the interchanges between the yellow ring wielding Scarecrow and Sinestro; now we just need to remember the rules for all ring colors.
For the last page alone, with Hal Jordan all fully Parallaxed out, I will say that Johns and Mahnke deserve a blow job while eating ice cream. Considering that Johns held to his promise of keeping BLACKEST NIGHT contained and more importantly an event that makes sense, I bestow unto you sir a night locked in a room with all of Tiger Woods’ mistresses where you shall be pleasured until your skull caves in. I have not been a part of a dead man’s party that was this exciting since Oingo Boingo played for Rodney Dangerfield in BACK TO SCHOOL.
Optimous is lonely and needs friends. Even virtual ones will fill the gaping hole, join him on Facebook or he will cry like a newborn kitten.


Story & Art: Daniel Crosier Inks: Peter Palmiotti Publisher: Bluewater Comics Also can be purchased here. Reviewer: Ambush Bug

I’ve been keeping an eye on artist Daniel Crosier for a while now. Ever since his debut at Bluewater with BARTHOLOMEW WITH THE SCISSORS, he’s been one of those distinct artistic talents that, once you see his work, it sticks with you. Crosier is best known as “that wood-burning guy” who instead of your standard pencils and inks burns his comics into wood and then photographs them for print. A lengthy and technical process, I’m sure, but one that results in a truly unique art experience when witnessed.
DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED is a good old fashioned horror tale. And with Crosier both behind the words and art here, it’s a great example of how Crosier’s art can be effective, especially when dealing with the horror genre. Most of this issue is set up, as we are introduced to a set of characters that work in and around a mine in Brazil. Mummified bodies of some miners are discovered, yet these miners were fresh as a daisy the day before. Something in the dark mine mummified these men, something not known.
What works with DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED is the foreboding sense of dread that permeates every panel. Crosier isn’t afraid to make his panels dark. He’s got a great sense of pacing too. There are a few scenes where a character is staring into darkness that are paced perfectly and make the hairs on your neck stand on end.
The cool thing about this story is that it isn’t a zombie story or a vampire story. It’s one of those uncategorizably awesome stories of an evil in the darkness. I couldn’t help but think of the deft use of blacks in John Carpenter’s PRINCE OF DARKNESS as I read this one. You may not see the terror, but there is no question that it’s there. Now that’s real horror.
This first issue has me hooked and I’ll be sure to check out future issues. I want to know what kind of monster is in that cave. Crosier has a real gift for amplifying the horror in even an ordinary looking scene. Sure you need a gripping story for a good horror comic, but the difference between good horror and great horror can be distinguished by the art. DISTORTIONS UNLIMITED is great horror.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over eight years and one of the original @$$holes. Check out his comic book shorts from Cream City Comics’ MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 on his ComicSpace page. Bug was interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics and here and here about his comic from Bluewater Comics, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2. Look for more comics from Bug in 2010, including ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS DEATHSPORT, and the just announced vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (and check out Jazma Online’s new interview with Bug about NANNY & HANK here). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #16: WITCHFINDER GENERAL on sale February 24, 2010. Fanboy Radio recently interviewed Bug about it here.


Written by: A whole bunch of 80's Marvel talent Art by: See above Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Irish Rican

The SECRET WARS II OMNIBUS isn't something that is a brand new release from Marvel; the massive 1150 paged book actually hit shelves last May. With a hundred dollar price tag it is surely one of the Omnibus editions that fanboys will say, "Why the hell would I buy that when I can get the crappy issues in any quarter bin...if I actually wanted to buy it...which I don't."
I have several Omnibus editions lining my shelves and even I'll admit that I was shaky about the SECRET WARS II volume. The massive crossover from the eighties is still not looked fondly upon by fans who still remember The Beyonder walking around New York with a white jumpsuit and his killer perm.
The shame of all that is once you delve into this omnibus you realize of how well the story actually is told especially when you see it as a whole. The book reprints the 45 chapters of SECRET WARS II that crossed over into nearly every book that Marvel was putting out at the time. I never bothered reading every single SECRET WARS II book; before reading this omnibus I probably read six issues beyond the main mini-series.
For those who have no clue what SECRET WARS II is, the story was a monumental crossover under the helm of then Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter. It told the story of the antagonist of the SECRET WARS, the Beyonder, and how he takes physical form on Earth. Once there he is almost like a child, trying to figure out the world where he once kidnapped all the heroes and villains from. His presence is immediately detected by Professor X who disseminates that information to all of his colleagues, but that information doesn't do much. The Beyonder is a near omnipotent creature and as he learns more it could spell doom for the universe.
Well, except, twenty years later we know it didn't. Retaking this ride after so long was what really had my breath taken. Some of the best names from the eighties were here to tell their stories in the Marvel books like Christopher Priest, John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald, Tom DeFalco, Archie Goodwin, Walter Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Romita Jr., Mark Bright - the list goes on and on.
Getting over the stigma of “SECRET WARS II was crap!' is perhaps the big hurdle. After doing so myself I was completely drawn into the tale of the Beyonder and how it not only affected the story in the individual titles but how those stories really came together. It's perfect for the Omnibus format. My collection includes titles like NEW X-MEN or ALIAS, a great way to get a complete run of a book in an oversized edition. Collecting all of these SECRET WARS II tie-ins is really one of the best uses of the format; the only other one that may come close is the excellent WOLVERINE OMNIBUS that collects a ton of Wolverine stories for many different sources. With all the tie-ins presented in order with the SECRET WARS II mini-series you truly get a great reading experience as it meant to be read perhaps for the first time.
The price tag surely isn't for everybody but that 100 bucks does translate well in the binding, amount of pages, and the reproduction of the stories - it's really what the Omnibus line does best. Most detractors will probably not care about what I say, but those who were thinking about picking up the SECRET WARS II OMNIBUS to give it a try will surely not be disappointed.

ALIEN 3 #1 - #3

Writer: Steven Grant Artist: Christopher Taylor Inker: Rick Magyar Publisher: Dark Horse Reviewer: William

I love bargain shopping at my local Half-Price Books, especially when it comes to their clearance bin of comics. Lo and behold it was quite a surprise to see this set amongst those comics, and I quickly grabbed the set in order to review them here.
First off let’s get this off out in the open already. Whether “Alien 3” remains a great entry into the Alien franchise is still a much debated topic amongst ALIEN fans. There are those who maintain it’s a sloppy insult to all the build-up James Cameron did on ALIENS, and there are those who maintain it’s an original and underappreciated work done by a young David Fincher. I’m on the side that it’s a well-placed entry within the ALIEN franchise. It moved into yet another original realm within the Alien universe, and in my opinion added back that much needed fear that only ONE Alien can cause amongst a group of trapped individuals, something that was unfortunately lost when Cameron made his ALIENS into cannon fodder.
In any case what’s to be reviewed here is the comic, and I liked this series because it added some interesting ideas beyond the original movie. I know some of this stuff is already within the special edition movie, but there’s some interesting ideas nonetheless. One is the notion that Newt was actually impregnated by the face-hugger first, but that the baby Queen physically moved itself out of a drowning Newt and into the unconscious Ripley before the ship crash landed. Also there is that sorely missing scene where the prisoners actually captured the Alien in that containment field first, and an insane Golic later lets it loose. Why this wasn’t kept within the movie is beyond me, as the idea of a man becoming this mesmerized by an Alien would’ve presented yet another original angle here. Some great imagery, such as an enraged Alien rising out of the flames within the corridor, would’ve looked iconic.
The writing by Steven Grant is not much to brag about. It’s not very hard to take something written off of a screenplay and simply translate it to a comic. Much of the dialogue is kept the same, although clipped here and there. The artwork by Christopher Taylor is unfortunately the worst part. His drawings are simple and crude, and he makes each prisoner look exactly the same. I’m not kidding when there’s one panel of two prisoners discussing amongst one another, and they look exactly like clones. It doesn’t help that Taylor makes them look nothing like their movie counterpart either.
In any case I would nonetheless recommend this series for any ALIEN 3 fan out there, if nothing else to finish their collection of ALIEN 3 memorabilia. It was a good experience to go back into the ALIEN 3 world in this manner, and I’m sure if you look hard enough you’re certain to find this series within the clearance bin of your local thrift bookstore too.


Original Concept by Stan Lee Story and art by Hiroyuki Takei Released by Viz Media Reviewer: Scott Green

While super hero comics were a middle school obsession for me, it's been a very long time since I read them with any regularity. It wasn't so much that manga replaced Marvel and DC as it was that I stopped following the medium around the time I hit high school, and when I came back, manga was my primary interest. I don't dislike the genre. For the most part, it just disinterests me.
On the other hand, while I used to read as many Marvel comics as I could get my hands on, I was never much of a fan of Stan Lee, the creator (or co-creator) of many of its best known characters (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange). Consummate self-promoters have never been high in my book, and few self promoters are as consummate as Stan Lee. Marketing is one thing, but hype people trumpeting themselves and their product puts me on edge. Being on guard against exaggeration and mythmaking has long colored my regard for Lee. This wariness about the uncertain boundaries between claims and fact applies to KARAKURIDOJI ULTIMO.
Stan Lee appears in the manga itself in a nice boost to the brand.
He's only credited with concept work, but an interview in the book's appendix implies a closer involvement. That said, Lee suggests a comic collector's approach to the material that is at odds with the appeal of manga...
"Do you have a message for SHONEN JUMP readers?"
"Oh, absolutely. Save your money and go out there and buy as many copies of ULTIMO as you possibly can. Don't just buy one because they're gonna be worth a lot of money in the future."
Regardless of your level of enthusiasm for Lee, be aware ULTIMO reads a lot more like a Hiroyuki Takei manga than SPIDER-MAN or RAVAGE 2009. I do think that Stan Lee's Marvel work featured some good ideas for connection to his comic reading audience and humanizing his characters. Maybe some of what worked in Ultimo was his doing, but, for better or worse, apart from his name on the cover and his visage in the interior, you probably wouldn't be able to guess that he was involved.
Stan Lee is currently attached to two manga properties. There's HEROMAN, with art by Tamon Ooda, serialized in Square Enix's SHONEN GANGAN (home of Soul Eater), and scheduled to become an anime from BONES (Full Metal Alchemist, the Cowboy Bebop movie). The story of orphan Joey who uses a giant robot to save his cheerleader friend is cartoonishly American. And, there's KARAKURIDOJI ULTIMO, with art by Shaman King's Hiroyuki Takei, serialized in JUMP SQ.II (and SHONEN JUMP in the US). And, this one is surprisingly Japanese.
KARAKURIDOJI ULTIMO opens in 12th Century Japan, at the tail end of the Heian era.
There's a concept of “culturally odorless” pop work. Something like Pokemon or Hello Kitty, which can be localized in such a way that its cultural origins are nearly undetectable. This is opposed to work that is metaphorically "natto," resembling smelly, sticky bean paste.
Those stories you've seen of dueling samurai...mostly set in the Tokugawa shogunate (1603 until 1868). Those stories of chaos and armies clashing...mostly Sengoku period (15th century to 17th century). Pop media based on Heian (794 to 1185) tends to get a bit courtly. The era does generate some pop interest via its onmyji mystics, but, essentially, it was largely pre-samurai. As such, ULTIMO isn't just Japanese, it's Japanese rooted in a context most North Americans don't see much of.
Outside the capital, Kyoto, Yamato and his group of anti-nobility bandits attack an elderly foreigner in a spider ornamented kimono. This Stan Lee double, Dunstan, is hauling a cart with two coffin-like boxes labeled "Ultimo" and "Vice." These are Karakuridoji. "They are ultimate mechanical boys. Five senses reach into five dimensions and four limbs extend into four dimensions. That adds up to the power of nine dimensions. I have created them. They are equal to each other. Nothing like them has ever existed. If you wake them, you will die."
They are ultimate good and evil. In order to discover the ultimate strength, Dunstan created these clockwork children to embody these abstract ideas, set to manifest their conflict. Over the years, Ultimo and Vice will choose different masters and battle towards truths: "which will win, good or evil? What influence will the result have over humanity?"
Upon waking up, Vice transforms into an imposing, bladed form and validates Dunstan's warning by assaulting Yamato's bandits. Ultimo is initially reluctant to aid Yamato, proclaiming that the renegade has done nothing too evil, but is a little too violent to serve. But, as Yamato draws his sword and dives in to defend his comrades from the overwhelming opposition of Vice, Ultimo makes up his mind...
The manga then cuts to the 21st century. Yamato is a down on his luck student. There were a young boy and girl among Heian Yamato's bandits. This pair, or at least the girl, resemble modern Yamato's peers. Takei employs an exaggerated approach to character designs with sharp lines and emphasized distinctions. In this case, Yamato's panel dominating, dangerous anti-hero type is starkly set against half-sized, large headed, childish classmates.
Yamato goes to pawn his schoolbag to buy a present for Makoto Sayama's (the girl from his class and his bandit mob) birthday party. In the antique shop, Ultimo spots Yamato from within a glass case...breaking out and proclaiming "Nine centuries, Yamato-san! Ultimo missed you very much!"
Presumably, this is setting the field for a Pokemon, or more precisely, Zatch Bell battle of surrogates. The story of Heian Yamato has evidently not concluded , and what conflict ignites between modern Ultimo and Vice, along with their human partners is going tie into left over conflicts from Yamato's Heian anti-establishment campaign.
Hiroyuki Takei does big in his battles. Shaman Warrior had its titanic spirits adopting fantastic shapes to dust it up. His new manga has to offer at least as much. Vice takes on a demonic, dragon form. The arms of both mechanical children extend into blades many times longer than the boys' heights...the better to bisect thrown buses with. With Takei's harsh lines, it can be a bit too loud, but the energy is undeniable.
The operating principle for Marvel characters in the Stan Lee era was that they were underdogs prompted to becomes super-heroes...the blind lawyer, the dweeb bitten by the radioactive spider, the skinny scientist who turns into the rampaging ogre, the mutant outcasts...bolstered by the bright four color illustrations and stories of inter-dimensional travels, there was something counter-culture about Stan Lee's work.
Shaman King looked to disenfranchised peoples such as Japanese Ainu for its cast and set up a story of outsiders trying to fix the world...bolstered by characters with names like Lyserg Diethel (as in LSD), and marijuana imagery, there was something counter-culture about Hiroyuki Takei's work.
The collaboration between Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei doesn't disappoint in this respect. Anger at authority and the notion that power corrupts is certainly nothing new. However, the grey area inhabited by Yamato and his outlaw comrades has some intriguing potential as the pivot point in a battle between good and evil. You have an almost Zoroastrian battle between pure good and evil, and people in the middle who don't conform to abstract ideas. Yamato's propensity towards violence, some of which is theoretically heroic, some of which is frowned upon, is interesting grist for this discussion as are the contrasting roles of the reincarnated. Yamato is given a more mundane role in society in the 21st century, but the script is flipped a bit more significantly for other members of the Heian cast.
Good versus evil is a bit for the kiddies, but ULTIMO did more with its philosophical conceit than I thought it would. Even if this isn't the next chapter in the story of commerce between American and Japanese art, ULTIMO does manage to be an engaging shonen adventure with some interesting notions at work. I thought that I would be dismissing Stan Lee's foray into manga as a weak attempt to leap onto a popular medium, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing how ULTIMO develops.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over eight years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column every week on AICN.

A Look at Ape Entertainment’s Webseries By Vroom Socko

Today’s look at comics coming from the world wide web is all about the various reads currently available at Ape Entertainment. Founded by Messrs David Hedgecock, Brent Erwin and Mike Hall, APE has plenty of print-based publications under its belt. I can’t speak to those titles, but their web presence is impressive to say the least. Six original-to-the-web titles, plus a host of previews, gives APE a solid presence online. In the interest of brevity, we’re going to look at three of these comics.
First up is the U.F.O. anthology. As of this writing, there are two complete stories up, and a third one almost completed. The as yet unfinished story, Life is Funny, (by Chris Beckett and Jason Copland,) is pretty damn harrowing so far. By comparison, Anything For You, (by Elton Pruitt and Brandon Palas,) is a bit more lightweight, although the ending is good for a chuckle. I also liked the old-school feel of Anthony Peruzzo’s colors. But it’s Angst, (by Raphael Moran and Atul Bakshi,) that really won me over. This ode to INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is a lot of fun, is drawn to perfection, and has an outstanding ending worthy of THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
So in all it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but all anthologies eventually are. So far though, this is less of a mixed bag than others. I’m especially interested in seeing more art from Bakshi and Copland, and I can’t wait to see how much creepier these stories can get.
Of course, not all aliens are creepy. Some are friendly. And some are just incompetent. Take the lead characters in LITTLE GREEN MEN, for example. Written and drawn by David Jay P. Fosgitt, the title characters are a trio of invaders sent to conquer the planet Earth. Unfortunately, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, these would-be warriors find their vessel mistaken for a baby’s teething ring upon arrival.
This one is straight humor, and very broad humor at that. How broad? The titular green men are modeled on the Three Stooges. That should tell you enough right there. Personally, I’m more of a Marx Brothers kind of guy, so this particular comic probably isn’t one I’m going to be revisiting in the future. Still, I do like the artwork, and the comedy is good for what it is. So if you’re the sort of person who likes the Stooges, (Larry, not Iggy,) give this comic a whirl.
Now, if we’re going to talk about homage in the comics at this site, then we’re going to have to talk about the gorilla in the room, specifically GO-GO GORILLA. This title, from David Hedgecock and Dustin Evans, is a blatant, blatant homage to one of the great funny animal comics of the 80’s. Go-Go is a member of a team called the Jungle Crew, you see. But there’s a cover for the book illustrated by Scott Shaw!, so that’s alright then. And there really is a deficit of good anthropomorphic animal superheroes nowadays. One section of the comic has the Jungle Crew fighting a city stomping, giant two-headed chinchilla. Let me say that again: A GIANT, TWO-HEADED CHINCHILLA! How cool is that?
So in our random sample of APE ENTERTAINMENT and their online comics, we have one solid anthology, one humor comic that’s not bad, but not for me, and one flying superhero primate. And that’s not to mention the various other comics at their site. Click the link above and take a look. See which one is your favorite.
Vroom Socko, Aaron Button to his friends, spends his free time walking around the city of Portland, Oregon. When not out walking, he’s either online reading comics or out rooting for the Timbers. Debate ranges on which he’s more passionate about.


I think I’ve finally figured out the “trick” to Grant Morrison’s BATMAN. The secret is in the mix, is what I’m getting. You take some sort of high action piece, be it Manbat Ninjas, or a new Batmobile shooting rockets at Mr. Toad or, in this issue, a high paced running sequence involving Squire. Then you go ahead and involve some sort of bullshit sounding person or thing, which may or may not be real because, fuck it, the Silver Age was a crazy ass fucking time (in this case it’s Old King Coal’s Train and Smooth Eddie English). And then you mix in some cryptic mumbo-jumbo from either a shadowy figure or an ominous cliffhanger (in the case of this particular issue, it’s a twofer in both those regards).Finally, add in some fisticuffs, a few jokey jokes (with or without pop culture reference), some character moments, and some fantastic art - because Grant fucking Morrison always gets the pimp ass artists – and you have yourself an issue. Depending on the artist you’ll either get the issue on the overall being hailed as “Transcendent!!” (Quitely issues pretty much) to “Best Batman run evars!!” (for everything else) or even all the way down to “That was pretty fun. Next.” (for those being honest with themselves). As you might have surmised, I lean more towards that last part. This was neat. I love Cameron Stewart. Bruce Wayne should stay dead for at least another year or two. Bring on the next one! Cheers… - Humphrey Lee


Though this issue reads like a done-in-one, it’s actually the first of a new miniseries featuring the @$$-kicking Puritan. Scott Allie once again channels Robert E. Howard and makes the crusty hero cool even when he’s not on the page. Artist Mario Guevara’s dark pencils and inks are simply amazing and utterly haunting. The sequence taking place in the woods in this issue is about as creepy as it gets. Can’t wait to read the rest of this fantastic miniseries. - Bug

FANTASTIC FOUR #575 Marvel Comics

I have decided what I really like about this FF run of Jonathan Hickman and (mostly) Dale Eaglesham, is how fucking nonchalant it is about what’s going on. First arc? Fuck yeah there’s hundreds of Reed Richards from hundreds of alternate realities trying to right the universe’s problems. Why wouldn’t there be? Last issue, Franklin Richards from the future comes back to give a warning of bad shit to come. That happened. And this issue, there’s a fucking Galactus corpse under the ground, Thing does The Monkey (literally) and a subterranean city created by the High Evolutionary rises to the surface. Ho-fucking-hum. I love this stuff because it never bothers to try and present itself as anything more than it is. It’s top shelf sci-fi and revels in exactly what it is. It never jumps back to grandiosely yell “TA-DA!!!”…it just casually gives a slight bow and says “And for my next trick…”. Fantastic concepts, fantastic character interaction, fantastic art, and fantastic execution. Fantastic Four indeed. - Humphrey Lee


OK, you know the deal here. Dead rise and screw with the living and can’t be destroyed until they can by one form of light or another. Though the plot of most of these BLACKEST NIGHT tie ins are interchangeable, this one stands out because of Johns’ deft use of character. And when it comes to an underappreciated and surprisingly underdeveloped character like the Atom, this was a welcome treat to read. Yeah, I know Johns is busy with Hal and Barry, but after reading this issue, it’d be cool if Johns was able to squeeze in some room for an ATOM series. Though the character had been around for a while, he’s been somewhat forgettable through the years. This taste of what a Johns’ ATOM book could be was pretty damn satisfying, retread BN plot and all. - Bug

ROBOCOP #1 Dynamite Entertainment

Why the hell I have such an affinity for a movie that came out when I was freaking six, I have no bloody clue. But I do and I bought this for it (and because I dug CL@$$WAR) and, well, I kind of dug it. There’s some truly fun stuff in here: there’s an army of ED-209’s, a new head of OCP who is a total See You Next Tuesday that throws a big wrench in the already tumultuous situation involving the DPD, and there’s, well, Robocop. There was probably too much talky-talk in this issue – it definitely slowed things down too much in some areas – but it was probably a necessity given that this book needs to establish itself in the canon properly. The action bits feel right, but I think sometimes the art combined with the coloring job makes things seem a little…fake. Basically I mean some things tend to look over-exaggerated, or somewhat muddled, or sometimes it looks more like objects/persons are transposed on top of each other instead of drawn as a solid piece. But anyways, it has most of the right feel, including the 80’s style “In your face” satire, and the look is solid, but a little off. At the least, this has earned a couple more issues to pass permanent judgment on. Considering how this could have turned out, I’d almost say that’s a win of its own right. - Humphrey Lee


OK, honestly, could Marvel have fucked this up any more? I still can’t believe how bad they screwed up the return of Steve Rogers. Sure there are apologists who say they knew Steve was going to be back and that there’s no need for hubbub about this much delayed miniseries, but with the argument that “we all knew Steve would be back so who cares about the delay”, why read any comic at all since we know there’ll be another issue? That argument totally tosses out the relevance of the story itself. But that’s not the point. The simple fact is that this series shouldn’t have even existed. I don’t mean it wasn’t necessary. I just think that the last year of Brubaker’s CAPTAIN AMERICA has read like nothing but fluff and filler. It would have been a much more effective read if it just would have happened in the main title and not some spin-off miniseries that was plagued by delays and then to add insult to injury, a sixth issue is added to a five part miniseries. So while Steve Rogers has been popping up all over the Marvel U (in IRON MAN, SEIGE, NEW AVENGERS, and even his own title), it wasn’t until last week that get got the final issue of the miniseries that shouldn’t have been. Is the issue itself worth a damn? The answer is…meh. This issue was so astonishingly not-give-a-shit-worthy it was kind of sad. The reason? Due to Steve’s appearances all over the Marvel U occurring weeks prior to the release of this issue, we knew what was going to happen. Any dire consequences Steve was in in this issue didn’t matter. We know he survives. Everyone else in the Marvel U except the folks behind this lackluster miniseries have moved on to something better. Steve Rogers’ assassination was a media stunt that resulted in some pretty amazing comics (especially from Brubaker in his first two years on the CAP title). His return was a mucked up, anti-climactic mess of the highest order. What could have been a celebration of the greatest hero Marvel has to offer turned out to be something you’re bound to forget about a day after reading it. Here’s hoping now that Cap is back, we’ll be treated with some better coordinated stories that don’t shoot themselves in the foot like this one did. Congrats for finishing this miniseries guys! But don’t break your arms patting yourselves on the backs because the best thing about it is that it’s over. - Bug


Oddly enough, even though I am actually grateful for the reprieve from the Jack this book was founded on, I have found my attention for this title waning a bit since the focus has fallen on his altruistic offspring. Then again, I think the FABLES universe itself might be overestimating its staying power, but that’s for another place. Thing is, while I enjoy the character of Jack Frost more - he’s a lot less douchey and more tolerable - but dammit, Jack just got himself into so much more fun. Better hijinks and had the better supporting characters. Watching this Jack swashbuckle is just not as fun as watching Jack Proper scheme (and bang representations of mostly every comic book nerd’s dreams). Maybe, hopefully, J. Frost will find himself involved in these kinds of shenanigans soon enough, but played to the strengths and naivety of the character, because I am more than fine with not seeing Jack Horner for at least another arc or two. At least the Babe the Blue Ox segment is still pretty amusing, though somewhat wearing of its novelty as well. - Humphrey Lee

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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