Archive

Archive for the ‘Valiant Comics’ Category

Somebody’s First Comic Book: Magnus Robot Fighter (1991 Series) #1

April 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: Protector (Steel Nation Part One)

CREDITS:

Writer: Jim Shooter
Pencils:
Art Nichols
Inks:
Bob Layton & Kathryn Bolinger
Colors:
Janet Jackson
Letters:
Jade
Editor:
Don Perlin
Publisher:
Valiant Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: I’ve never heard of the character, but based on the cover, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this is a comic book about someone named “Magnus” who “fights” “robots.” Let’s open up the book and… hey, whaddaya know? I was right.

IMPRESSIONS: Snark aside, this story is actually very good. We open up with the introduction of Magnus and his mentor, a 410-year-old robot called 1-A. 1-A was evidently one of the first robots in this sci-fi universe to gain free will. He also realized quickly that other freewill robots were inevitable, and many of them wouldn’t be as nice as he was, so he found a kid named Magnus and trained him in some sort of sci-fi kung-fu that lets him beat the crap out of robots.

That part is a little funky, I admit, but once you get past that you get into a really interesting, thoughtful science fiction story. Early on, Magnus ponders the question of whether the robots he’s making it his mission to destroy are actually alive, something 1-A vehemently denies (an odd position, since he’s technically one of them). Despite what Robo-Yoda says, though, Magnus unconvinced. As he goes through the rest of the book attempting to thwart a robot army with the help of his semi-telepathic girlfriend Leeja, the story cycles between an old-fashioned sci-fi action movie and a different sort of philosophical conversation on the nature of awareness and life. It’s surprisingly deep.

The book doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, but there are definitely questions left unresolved. I’d be interested in reading more to see what those resolutions are.

GRADE: A

Advertisements

Somebody’s First Comic Book: Harbinger #18

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: Friends and Enemies

CREDITS:

Writer: Maurice Fontenot
Pencils:
Howard Simpson
Inks:
Gonzalo Mayo
Colors:
Maria Beccari & Eric Lusk
Letters:
Joe Albelo
Editor:
Mark Moretti
Cover Art:
Howard Simpson & Maria Beccari
Publisher:
Valiant Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: I’ve never heard of this one. From the cover, it seems we’re meeting “Screen” this issue, who I assume is a supervillain with the power to prevent insects from getting into the house.

IMPRESSIONS: A few girls in an arcade run into a kid they know who turns out to have superpowers. They chase after him, and it turns out they’ve got superpowers too. Then they meet “Screen,” who evidently can project some sort of force-field, they all call themselves “Harbingers,” and they go home to talk about having superpowers and watch the Clinton inauguration.

To say this book was perplexing is being kind. There’s this whole subplot with another kid who lives with them going to see the doctor and something else with this old man, Harada, who seems to be the big villain of the piece, but it’s never made exactly clear what makes him the bad guy or why these heroes seem to be in hiding. Screen himself apparently isn’t the villain he appears to be from the cover, and the fight scene inside is really brief and definitely not what we were led to expect. Even the artwork is a bit misleading – after fighting them, Screen shouts out, “They’re just kids!” From the art, though, I thought he was about the same age as the rest of them. The only reason the teleporting kid from the arcade, Scout, is clearly portrayed as younger is because he’s about half as tall as everybody else.

This definitely feels like a book that suffers from unfamiliarity. I couldn’t tell who anyone was or why they were doing anything, although I suppose seeing your arch-enemy at a presidential inauguration would be kind of surprising, when you get right down to it.

GRADE: D+

Super Mario Bros. (1990 Series) #2

June 23, 2011 Leave a comment

June 11, 2011

Magic Carpet Madness: John Walker, John Costanza, P. Zorito, Jade, The Gradiations
Museum of Plumbing:
John Walker, Gina Going, Jacqueline Roettcher, Jade, Karen Merbaum
The Kingdom Enquirer:
Bill Vallely, Mark McClellan, John Costanza, P. Zorito, Pat Brosseau, Andrea Brooks, The Gradiations
Koopa’s High School Yearbook:
Bill Vallely, Mark McClellan, Kelly Jarvis, Rich Maurizio, Ken Lopez, Karen Merbaum
Publisher:
Valiant Comics

Here’s a blast from the past for you. I recently stumbled across this classic in the cheap box at a comic convention. It’s easy to forget that there was a time these old Super Mario Bros. comics were hot collectibles, because they were in fact the first comics published by the once-hot Valiant Comics. Now you can get ‘em in a quarter bin, along with most other Valiant books, except those other Valiant titles would usually be much more worth your reading time.

At the beginning we see the first thing I hate about early Valiant – the way they lump all the credits together off to the side without actually telling us who did what. But past that, “Magic Carpet Madness” is a weak story. The king tracks mud through the palace, which leads to scrubbing the carpets, which leads to unearthing a flying carpet, which somehow turns Princess Toadstool into a punk rocker. I am not making this up.

“Museum of Plumbing” is a bit better. It’s a one-page gag featuring Luigi showing off… well, the Museum of Plumbing, which leads to a cheesy last-panel punchline, but at least it’s a joke that makes sense.

“The Kingdom Enquirer” is the best story in the book, which isn’t necessarily to say that it’s good, just better than the others. Toad decides he’s going to start up a palace newspaper, but his attempts at journalism quickly devolve into putting together a trashy gossip rag. The conclusion here is actually clever, and it’s that which raises this story up above the rest of them.

The comic ends with another one-pager “Koopa’s High School Yearbook,” which is just four panels in a yearbook format and a few gags thrown in. I’ll say this for the comic – the artwork is quite good. It’s very cartoonish and lively, and suits the Mario cartoons of the era. But it’s a good thing Valiant EIC Jim Shooter had the foresight to license the Gold Key heroes to start his own superhero universe, or else Valiant today would be even more of a footnote than it is.

Rating: 5/10

Somebody’s First Comic Book: Eternal Warrior #25

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: The Root of the Problem Part 2

CREDITS:
Writer:
Mike Baron
Art:
Mike Vosburg
Colors:
Stu Suchit
Letters
: Mary Kolvek
Editor
: Maurice Fontenot
Publisher:
Valiant Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: None. Cover looks sort of medieval. Could it be some sort of a period adventure comic?

IMPRESSIONS: Okay, this book gets confusing right off the bat. Granted, it says “Part 2.” I haven’t read Part 1. But the first caption box is someone talking in an outrageously stereotypical German accent that’s almost hard to read. The next couple of pages show us that this is a modern-day therapist talking to this “Mr. Armstrong” about some adventure that happened to him back during the Crusades. Evidently, in this time period he stole an invitation to see some “Goddess” of the Knights Templar, they got down and dirty, and the Knights have had it in for him ever since.

I really don’t know what to make of this comic book. The “Eternal Warrior” – I’m assuming this is the guy who appears on the cover and on the first page, Armstrong’s brother Gilad – hardly appears in the book at all. It’s all about Armstrong being something of a man-whore. The book also appears to be going for a more comedic tone. Fair enough, but the cover and title really don’t feel like I’m picking up a comedy when I pick it up. The whole book feels like it’s struggling for an identity.

The brothers, I take it, are immortal, and I get the impression here that this story exists mainly to explain the antipathy between Armstrong and some recurring villains that he’s faced. It may be wonderful in context, but as a first-time reader, I’m left thoroughly confused.

GRADE: D+