Wall-E #1 (Boom! Kids)
By J. Torres & Morgan Luthi
This is really the second issue of Wall-E, and like the zero issue, this Christmas-themed tale follows a pre-movie Wall-E as he roams a mostly dead Earth. As we saw in the film, Wall-E is collecting the objects he finds most fascinating, and that includes a curiously colored light bulb… if only he can figure out how to turn it on. The mostly wordless nature of this series really works well to hammer home the emotion here. This is a terribly lonely story, one that reflects the sweet, simple main character perfectly. The last panel is one of the sweetest, most simple expressions of the season I’ve seen in any comic I’ve read this year. The cover artist, for some reason, isn’t credited herein, but whether it’s Luthi or someone else, this cover is a real masterwork. If you loved the Wall-E movie, this issue is highly recommended.
Wizards of Mickey #1 (Boom! Kids)
By Stefano Ambrosio, Alessandro & Lorenzo Pastrovicchio, Saida Temofonte & Magic Eye Studios
Spinning off from the storyline in Mickey Mouse and Friends, this fantasy series casts Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as aspiring sorcerers in a far-off fantasy land. Our heroes are enrolled in a tournament in an attempt to gain powerful magic stones — Diamagics — that Mickey needs to rescue his master from the powerful Phantom Blot. This issue, they find themselves in battle with their friends, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Clarabell Cow, otherwise known as Diamond Moon. While Mickey needs power to rescue Nereus, Minnie needs a specific Diamagic for her own worthwhile purposes, leaving Mickey to make a choice. We also find out more about the Blot’s plan this issue. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of this storyline, but as it progressed over the four issues of Mickey’s title, it started to grow on me. Here we get a chance to dig deeper into the magic world Ambrosio and his art team have created for this book. It’s certainly not the same as the usual “Disney Universe,” but as a kind of side-continuity, it stands on its own pretty well. The characters are still themselves, but there’s a certain freedom here to mix things up that I like. The art is a nice mix of fantasy and comedy, and overall, I think this is a title that could have legs.
Donald Duck and Friends #349 (Boom! Kids)
Fausto Vitaliano, Marco Bosco, Vitale Mangiatordi, Marco Mazzarello, Saida Temofonte, Stefania Bronzoni & Magic Eye Studios
Secret Agent Double Duck’s next assignment sends him undercover as a waiter for a fancy party. The host is the secret head of a criminal empire, and Donald is just the man to hunt him down. What he didn’t know, however, is that Gladstone, Daisy, and Uncle Scrooge will all be in attendance, and Donald Duck’s pride may just screw up Double Duck’s mission. This is a nice little story here. Seeing Donald’s natural personality come into conflict with his new duties as a super-spy makes for some nice comedic moments, and the second story (a continuation of the first) injects more laughs into the book. Donald breaks the fourth wall here a few times, talking directly to the audience, but that’s never really a problem. It happens when it’s funny, and it doesn’t disrupt the flow. Good issue.
Quick Rating: Great
Title: Family Matters Part Three
Powerless, Mr. Incredible watches his family go into battle without him!
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Marcio Takara
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Jose Macasocol, Jr.
Editor: Paul Morrissey
Cover Art: Marcio Takara
Publisher: Boom! Kids
A monster attack at the mall sends Helen, Violet, and Dash into action, while a powerless Bob sits and home with the baby. As he watches his family fight on television, Bob stumbles on a clue that just may unlock the problem of his power loss.
The hook here is really fantastic. Mark Waid has put together a story that really suits these characters, and the subplot collides with the main story perfectly here. Everything that’s been bubbling up, including the use of the new characters, comes together. It’s hard to say too much without spoiling it, but things work just as they should here.
Getting away from the plot, Waid also has to be commended for the emotional punch we get from this issue. A big part of the story consists of Bob sitting at home, tortured over how he’s lost his powers. Again, though, he throws us the curveball. Most superhero stories would feature the powerless hero worrying about his family, in battle without him. Bob doesn’t go down that route, though. Instead, he watches and roots for them, which isn’t something I can ever remember seeing in a comic before. Sure, he wishes he was there, and he tries to contact the family with advise, but you don’t get the feeling that he doesn’t trust them. He’s got faith in his family. He just wants to be with them. It’s such a great take on the character, and it really makes the series.
Marcio Takara’s art is, also, very good. Waid writes some good, emotional moments, but Takara is the one who has to sell them through the poses, the posture, the faces, the mood. He nails it on every panel. You can look at Mr. Incredible and tell exactly how he feels in any given panel. There aren’t nearly enough artists working right now who have that kind of skill.
One issue left, I’m loving this book.
Toy Story #0 (Boom! Kids)
Jesse Blaze Snyder, Nathan Watson & Brent Schoonover
The ongoing Toy Story comic kicks off with “The Return of Buzz Lightyear Part One.” A new gift appears in Andy’s room in August for no reason — there’s no holiday, no birthday, no reason to give him a present. Grandmas just do that sometimes. But Grandmas also sometimes give their grandson a toy he already has. Andy’s mom promises they can return the toy and get a new one, but unbeknownst to the humans, the toy has broken free from his packaging and is fighting his counterpart in Andy’s room for the right to stay. I was a little let down by some of the issues of the first Toy Story miniseries, but this zero issue knocks it out of the park. We get a funny story, and maybe more importantly, a totally original story that could only be applied to these characters. This isn’t a take or a riff off either movie, it’s something smart and something new. Mickey Clausen colors Nathan Watson‘s line art, and he does a great job differentiating between the duplicate character, making the original a little duller, a little less vibrant. This was a real suprise for me, and it was really good to boot.
Cars: The Rookie #2 (Boom! Kids)
By Alan J. Porter & Albert Carreres
The origins of racer Lightning McQueen continue as his friend and driver, Mack, takes over the narrative. McQueen arrives at the Piston Cup racing series eager to jump into the fray, but without a sponsor, he’s out of luck. McQueen has his sights set on Dinoco, but they’ve already got a racing car. It looks like McQueen’s only chance may be to lower himself to working for the Rust-eze people. In the Cars movie, we saw McQueen as something of a self-centered jerk who learned what it really meant to have people to care about. We still get that this issue. His attitude towards Rust-eze is very much in keeping with who he is at the beginning of the movie. The end of the issue, however, shows that even this early McQueen wasn’t totally self-absorbed. It’s a nice angle that plays well with McQueen’s eventual transformation. The first two issues of this book have been a lot of fun, and I look forward to the rest.
Monsters, Inc.: Laugh Factory #1 (Boom! Kids)
By Paul Benjamin & Amy Mebberson
I’ve been really anticipating this comic. Monsters, Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar movies, and has a world of unlimited potential for exploration, so I wanted to see what could be done with them. I’m pretty happy with the results here. Set some time after the end of the movie, Mike has become Monsters, Inc. Number One “Amuser,” while Sully has settled in to an office job running the company. As the office work begins to overwhelm Sully, and he starts neglecting his friends, Mike decides to help by bringing in Boo for a visit. Benjamin‘s characterization of the monsters is spot-on, with even the drastic changes in Sully feeling natural and logical in the course of the story. We even pick up on a few running gags from the movie. Like the Toy Story series, it appears this one will be a series of one-off stories instead of an ongoing storyline, but as long as all four stories are entertaining like this one, that will be just fine.