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PS 238 #20

August 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Feburary 24, 2007

Quick Rating: Good

Zodon’s adventure through the timestream catches up with the present!

Writer: Aaron Williams
Art: Aaron Williams
Cover Art: Aaron Williams
Publisher: Dork Storm/Do-Gooder Press

Back in PS 238 #13, our hapless non-powered superhero kid Tyler got caught up in a time-travel adventure, trying to thwart the schemes of his classmate, the would-be supervillain named Zodon. This issue, the time-traveling catches up to Tyler, and he has to go through the adventure with his past self, all over again.

This issue is rather difficult to review. It’s a funny issue, as ever, full of great gags and portents of the future. The thing is, unless you’re intimately familiar with issue #13 (and I haven’t read that issue in many months), you’ll be terminally lost in trying to read the comic. Going over it, even having read the first issue, feels like reading one of those old “Choose Your Own Adventure” comics straight through instead of jumping around like you’re supposed to. All the pieces are there, but they feel totally out of order. Now to be fair, this is obviously exactly what Aaron Williams intended. In execution, though, it’s just a little tough to follow.

There’s a lot of good stuff here, though, especially Zodon’s solution to rescuing himself from his time-lost state. The last page in particular sets up a rather unexpected subplot, which feeds directly into the more emotional half of this title, the part that reminds us that while we are, in fact, dealing with superheroes, we’re also still dealing with children, and that these super-kids have the same issues and fears that regular kids do. It’s this stuff that really makes this a special comic book, and I’m quite anxious for next issue.

We follow up the main feature with Williams’s two back-ups. Nodwick makes its debut here after finishing off his own 36-issue run, and although it is now in a comic strip format rather than long-form, Williams apparently isn’t abandoning the ongoing stories, thank goodness. One of Nodwick’s henchmen buddies is being chased down by his employers, and Nodwick has been called upon to help. Then we have a few pages of Full Frontal Nerdity, in which our gaming geeks deal with the impact of various pop culture elements on their lives.

This is a fun issue, but the accessibility problem keeps it from being as good as this title usually is.

Rating: 7/10

PS 238 #49

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

April 1, 2011

Writer: Aaron Williams
Art:
Aaron Williams
Publisher:
Do-Gooder Press

The cast of our favorite superhero elementary school saga are all over the place. Moon Shadow and Argonaut are lost in space, drifting somewhere in the universe in a ship with a disabled navigation system. Back on Earth, Cecil Holmes is trying to find them, with a little help from the Revenant. Von Fogg, meanwhile, has cracked into an alternate dimension – one without superheroes to prevent his schemes for conquest – so it’s up to USA Patriot Act, Guardian Angel, 84, and two Zodons to try to stop him. And the second Atlas, meanwhile, continues to try – and fail – to adapt to human life.

It’s a credit to Aaron Williams as a writer that he can throw so many balls into the air and still make it feel like all of them are getting the screen time they deserve in this issue. The assorted stories go in and out of themselves and connect in careful, logical ways, and even though the characters are still universes apart by the time the issue ends, you get the feeling like Williams is planning to bring everything back together for a slam-bang conclusion in the next issue. (Not coincidentally, next up is issue 50…)

The Full Frontal Nerdity back-up this month delves into lots of different kinds of geek topics – superhero RPGs, movies, comics and so forth. I kind of wish Williams could fit more than just a few strips per issue. There are some really sharp jokes and insights in this series, and although you can read ‘em for free online, I kinda like having a collection to turn to when I want a fix.

Fine issue, and I heartily look forward to next month.

Rating: 8/10

PS 238 #45

August 30, 2010 Leave a comment

August 27, 2010

Title: Presenting: Atlas 2.0
Writer:
Aaron Williams
Art:
Aaron Williams
Publisher:
Do-Gooder Press

Continuing the usual brilliant work of Aaron Williams, this issue of PS 238 features Moonshadow and Argonaut on the run from the Argosian guards, and with Argonaut’s powers gone, they may need a little help. Back on Earth, the young Argosian who was stranded there after the invasion is recruited by the government to take on the mantle of Atlas, Argonaut’s father, who has returned to his home planet. The trouble is, the new Atlas isn’t quite the hero the first one was, so Julie is recruited to give him a crash course in being a superhero.

When this title is on, and it is, Williams can combine funny and exciting better than anybody working in comics right now. Atlas 2.0’s reactions to the tropes of heroism are really entertaining, and while some of them betray his alien heritage, others poke holes in the conventional logic of the superhero genre. We also get to see just how much Julie, or “84,” has grown as a character in the last few story arcs. She’s a much stronger person – emotionally – than she was before, and that’s that strength that makes her story work. Throw in a funny villain and the book hits all the marks it needs.

We also get, as usual a Full Frontal Nerdity back-up feature. This time, as the gang come down with a case of Gamer Flu, they hallucinate themselves into a Wizard of Oz parody. The high concept of this series may turn some people off (a bunch of gamers sitting at a table… gaming), but the execution makes it much more accessible than similarly-themed strips like Knights of the Dinner Table. Having Williams on the art doesn’t hurt either.

Rating: 8/10