Monday, March 31, 2014
Benny Breakiron is a loveable little boy with the superhuman powers whose only weakness is getting a cold. He returns in BENNY BREAKIRON IN THE TWELVE TRIALS OF BENNY BREAKIRON. In this story, Benny's elderly friend Monsieur Dussiflard discovers that a kind deed he and his friends did years ago might make them billionaires. However, someone discovers Dussiflard's secret and sets out to harm him and his friends. Dussiflard and Benny set out to warn his friends and along the way Benny completes twelve amazing tasks. I've only read the first BENNY BREAKIRON story, but I enjoyed BENNY BREAKIRON AND THE TWELVE TRIALS OF BENNY BREAKIRON even more. I look forward to reading even more adventures about Benny Breakiron.
It's difficult to believe that Charles Schulz passed away in 2000. However, Schulz drew nearly 18,000 "Peanuts" strips in his life and "Peanuts" continues to carry on after his death. CHARLIE BROWN AND FRIENDS is a collection of "Peanuts" strips that mostly focuses on Charlie Brown. These strips have been published at least twice before in newspapers: they were published once when Schulz was alive and they were republished again after his death. There are dates listed next to the comics, but these dates refer to the second newspaper printings and not the original newspaper printings. I'm a huge fan of Charlie Brown and the "Peanuts" and I love seeing new books out that are being marketed towards younger people. Schulz always did that when he was alive and I'm glad that it continues.
At the end of the book there is a how to list of some activities kids can do: making a Charlie Brown mask, making a kite, making a flip book, and making puppy chow. There are also some facts about Charles Schulz as well as a short history of the Charles M. Schulz Museum as well as some questions for reflections. There's also a list of places to go for further information. Lastly, along the side margins of CHARLIE BROWN AND FRIENDS there is a flip book.
Overall, CHARLIE BROWN AND FRIENDS is not a complete collection or treasury. Instead, it's a collection of "Peanuts" comics mostly having to do with Charlie Brown and is aimed at children.
LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL is a Superman story that's really not about Superman. Instead, it's a tale about Lex Luthor, Superman's arch nemesis. At face value it seems strange that Superman's greatest foe isn't another alien or a human with super abilities. Most of the time when Luthor fights Superman, he doesn't even face him: Luthor uses others to do his dirty work and is a master of covering his trail. Instead, Superman's greatest foe is a man who believes just as strongly in the American Way as Superman does. Luthor also believes in man's ability to rise above himself. However, Luthor believes that he knows best and in his mind Superman must be stopped at all costs because he isn't human.
LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL is a five-part series that illustrates a plan by Luthor to bring Superman down. The plan is multi-layered and isn't completely revealed until the final few pages of the story. The story does offer a picture of Luthor that isn't always seen in the comics: a man who has risen above his circumstances to the highest echelons a human being can achieve, a man who really does believe humanity can succeed and excel on its own without help from a supernaturally gifted alien, and a man who desperately longs to be loved. Yet, although the story touches upon those aspects of Luthor's character, it never really delves into them. The reader is left understanding why he wants to get rid of Superman, but that's about it. There's no explanation of where Luthor came from or why he does some of the things he does.
Most of the story is like that, too. Superman and Batman have a fight, but we aren't given any explanation why Batman wants to fight Superman: they never really hated each other like that in the comics and the few times they did fight, Batman never tried to kill Superman. Until the end of the story, there's no real explanation of where Hope came from either. Even then, the explanation that is given is quite short and leaves more questions than answers.
Besides the lack of answers, I also didn't like the way that Superman is portrayed in this story. There is one shot of Clark Kent, but other than that, every time Superman is shown his eyes are either closed or they are glowing red. Superman's eyes only glow red when he uses his heat vision.
The illustrations are really well done. It's just a shame the story isn't as strong as the illustrations are.
Overall, although LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL attempts to provide an inside look into Lex Luthor, it really doesn't reveal anything new about Luthor.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Based upon the sketch from ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS, MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN is a series of comics that works as a sort-of sequel to the motion picture, MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN. This trade paperback brings together issues #1-4 of the new comic book MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN. There's some educational content and the puns are flying as Peabody and Sherman visit prehistoric times; have a "date" with the Mayans and their calendar; see the Teatro Novissimo opera house in Venice, Italy; take a ride with Blackbeard the pirate; get Archimedes to take a bath in ancient Greece; throw some apples at Isaac Newton; help invent gunpowder in China; inspire Shakespeare to write; and help Cyrano de Bergerac in matters of love. In addition, there are two tales of "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" from issues #3 & #4 of the classic Golden Key comic book BULLWINKLE AND ROCKY. Overall, MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN is a fun and entertaining book. Highly recommended for fans of "Mr. Peabody and Sherman", both old and new.
Ariol, the little blue donkey, is back in ARIOL #2: THUNDER HORSE. In this collection of Ariol stories we get to know Ariol's best friend, Ramono (a pig) slightly better, we meet a few more of Ariol's classmates, and we get to meet Ariol's fraternal grandparents. The stories in this collection are:
"Stickers" – There's only one stick Ariol is missing from his Thunder Horse Sticker Collection and he's determined to get it on a visit to Begossian's Bookstore. While there an adult tries to convince the children they will never find the missing sticker because it was never made.
"Chocolate Eclairs" – Ariol learns how to make his mistakes in school help him spend some time with his secret crush, Petula.
"Vaccine Reaction" – Ariol has to get vaccination shots.
"Karate" – Ariol gets in an argument with Timberwolf about who's dad is better than who.
"We're Going to Have Fun" – Ariol's teacher is going to be gone for two weeks so his class is divided into two groups with two other teachers.
"Hide and Break" – Ariol's mom leaves Ariol and Ramono alone for a few minutes at Ariol's apartment while she runs a short errand.
"Ariol's Secrets" – Ariol thinks his parents are keeping a secret file on him when he finds a file in his dad's drawer with his name on it and some black and white pictures.
"Ariol Plants a Tree" – Ariol's class visits a forest to plant a tree.
"Summer Vacation" – Ariol tries to get Ramono to come with him on summer vacation to his grandparent's house.
"In the Train" – Ariol and Ramono ride the train by themselves to Ariol's grandparent's.
"Oh! The Sea!" – Ariol and Ramono arrive and are picked up by his grandpa.
"A Good Book" – Ariol's mom leaves Ariol in the care of Mr. Begossian at his store while his mom runs some errands.
"Ariol" is a fun and down-to-earth little comic. ARIOL #2: THUNDER HORSE is a comic book collection that both kids and adults will enjoy.