***“Blatant Insubordination” is a regular column published at Primary Ignition by Rob Siebert, editor and Fanboy Wonder. The views expressed here are his, and do not reflect those of the staff of Primary Ignition.***
Ah, Free Comic Book Day. The one day per year when publishers offer fans a platter of tiny free samples, just like those old ladies in the super market. Are they all that tasty in the grand scheme of things? Usually not. But hey, they’re free! When gasoline is $4 per gallon, who are we to turn down free stuff?
Sadly, my local retailer put a cap on the number of free comics customers could take out of the store this year. It makes sense from a retailer standpoint, but that doesn’t lessen the immense sucktitude of the situation. I actually wanted to see what Darkwing Duck was up to! Atomic Robo & Friends looked interesting too. But alas, I was restricted to six titles. So I went with my gut, and pulled the following books. And you might be surprised at who the show-stealer turned out to be…
This issue is simply a reprint of Green Lantern #30, which happens to be the second chapter in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern: Secret Origin story arc. It’s supposed to wet casual fans’ appetites for the Green Lantern movie, but as a fan, I was disappointed. In years prior, DC has used Free Comic Book Day to give us prologues to events like Blackest Night and War of the Supermen. This year, we just got a reprint of an issue that’s a few years old.
Okay, okay, in all fairness, they DID give us a few pages from the first issue of Flashpoint, which comes out this Wednesday. The art from Andy Kubert looks lovely, but we really don’t see much. We get a small glimpse of Barry Allen’s time displacement, and a small glimpse of the events that are about to take place. But over all, the blogs we’ve been seeing at DCComics.com have been more effective teasers.
Sorry DC, but this one’s going straight to the recycling bin.
Now THIS is how you do Free Comic Book Day!
When The Mandrill uses his powerful pheromones to take control of Spider-Woman, she and Spider-Man end up fighting on Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, Madame Web and Shang-Chi look on. Spidey drenches himself in perfume to counteract the pheromones, and he and SW hit a double-knock out punch on Mandrill for the win. Then we get a scene where Shang-Chi is teaching Spidey how to fight, to offset the fact that he recently lost his spider sense. After awhile, Shang-Chi tells Spidey he must for his own style of martial arts: The Way of the Spider! We close the issue with a glimpse at what’s coming up in The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as a few pages from Fear Itself #1.
This issue was a great balance of entertaining story and enticing preview. Spidey also got some smile-worthy one-liners, including one of the title page where he breaks the fourth wall and opens up with “Howdy cheapskates!”
Way to bring it Spidey & Co.
A Captain America/Thor team up? Well THAT’s not convenient at all…
Marvel’s all-ages selection this year offers us a glimpse at Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger books. Thanks to some meddling from Loki, our hammer-wielding hero ends up in Camelot alongside King Arthur and Captain America. They end up fighting a Cerberus-ish four-headed dragon, and of course, Loki gets in trouble. This is billed as the first meeting in this world between Thor and Cap, so in this particular continuity, this story has some significance.
We also get a look at the comic book spinoff of Earth’s Mightiest Hero’s: The Avengers, as the team faces off against Ultimo.
This issue wasn’t necessarily a highlight, but it was enjoyable for what it was. It piqued my curiosity for Langridge and Samnee’s Thor title, so in that respect, it did it’s job.
This issue is about as close to the original cartoon as you can get. Jose Coba’s art looks pretty close to the show’s animation style, and the characters are exactly as you remember them. The story takes our oblivious inspector, his niece Penny and their anthropomorphic dog Brain aboard the Orient Express, hoping to protect a brilliant professor before he falls into the clutches of Dr. Claw. Naturally, the train is filled with Dr. Claw’s henchmen, who Gadget must thwart in his trademark bumbling manner.
My favorite moment in this issue was the appearance of Chief Quimby for the standard “this message will self destruct” running gag, in which Quimby always ends up injured (Why do I put up with that man?”). He also uses his trademark line: “I’m always on duty!” In retrospect, I have no idea why that catchphrase worked, but it did.
All in all, about as good a piece of cartoon nostalgia as you can find. All that was missing was the theme song.
If you’re a fan of either show, chances are you’ll be satisfied with this issue. In my experience, both of these titles reflect their respective animated shows very well, and this issue is no exception.
The Young Justice portion of the issue sees the team (pre-Arrowette) take on Psycho Pirate, who exploits their insecurities when they attempt to foil a plutonium heist. They also run into Atomic Skull before the adventure ends. Short, but fairly sweet.
The superior story comes from Sholly Fisch and Rich Burchett with “Let Me Tell You About Bruce Wayne…” We get a bunch of socialites at a party talking about Bruce Wayne’s alleged flakiness, selfishness and incompetence, all the while Batman and The Flash (Barry Allen) are fighting Heat Wave and Firefly. In the end, Alfred shows up at the party and provides the party-goers with a bit of clarity.
The Brave and the Bold wins the issue with it’s squeaky clean approach, but Young Justice was nothing to slouch at by any means.
YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! EPIC WIN!!! EPIC WIN!!!!
Interestingly enough, this title comes to us from Bluewater Productions, the folks responsible for those biography comics you see on the stands. They’ve profiled politicians, actors and actresses, musicians, etc. But NOW…now they’ve really hit their stride.
“In my day, good guys didn’t sell short their convictions for a chance at power or fame…The cause was to protect the innocent and restore hope to the people. Some of us have not lost our sense of justice. There are still those of us who have not forgotten what it means to be a hero. I have not forgotten. Yes…I am Adam West!”
I love it!
If you’ve ever seen the TV movie Back to the Batcave: The Mis-Adventures of Adam and Burt, this title is a lot like that, but without the flashback scenes. Present day Adam West laments about how heroes don’t act like heroes anymore, how stories have no heart, sense of justice or character. Suddenly, West finds himself in possession of a mysterious medallion, which makes him young again. The issue closes with him in a car fancy car, wearing a tuxedo. Apparently, this issue leads us into July’s The Mis-Adventures of Adam West #1.
I LOVE the idea of a book like this. It’s a great idea for an “old hero comes back to teach the new generation a few things” story. With any luck, this book will be Batman (the ’60s TV show, obviously) meets The Dark Knight sort of book.
Sign me up folks!
Front page image from megomuseum.com.