Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Diego Barreto
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Cover Art: Matteo Scalera
Editor: Matt Gagnon & Shannon Watters
Publisher: Boom! Studios
The Plutonian’s rampage has come to this. The governments of the world, in an effort to stop him, have unleashed a radioactive cloud that could kill a third of the people on the planet, maybe more, and only Mallus knows how to stop it… a procedure that will take everything the Plutonian has. If this is the end for the fallen hero, is it possible he could somehow find redemption?
Despite the title of this series, this final issue really does drive home the point of the story. The Plutonian has fallen about as far as any comic book superhero ever has. In this issue, as it appears the only way to save the world will cost him his life, the question is raised: is that enough? After all, if it wasn’t for him the world would never have been in jeopardy in the first place? Mark Waid floats these questions out in front of us, but doesn’t supply us with any answers. Perhaps the best thing about this book – which was very good throughout its run – is the way the finale leaves things slightly open, the way the readers will be able to debate for some time whether or not Plutonian finds redemption in the last few pages.
And let’s talk about the last few pages for a moment. Without spoiling anything, Waid takes a very unexpected turn right at the end, spinning this story into the realm of metafiction, and showing that whatever very public issues Waid may have with the people currently running DC Comics, his love for the DC characters seems to continue unabated. It makes for a strangely sweet sentiment, right at the end, and it’s very welcome.
Diego Barreto finishes up this series in style – the tragic, final moments of our heroes and villains alike comes across with real power and drama, and the final panel is just magnificent. It’s a relatively simple image, but striking in its iconic nature, and something that will stay with the reader for a long time.
This finale really wasn’t what I expected, but that’s not at all a complaint. I really enjoyed the end of this series, and it’s nice to come across an ending that justifies the journey.
Title: Snowball’s Chance and other stories
Writers: Justin Thompson, Vicki Scott, Shane Houghton, Charles M. Schulz
Art: Justin Thompson, Vickie Scott, Paige Braddock, Bob Scott, Matt Whitlock, Charles M. Schulz
Colors: Paige Braddock, Alexis E. Fajardo, Lisa Moore
Cover Art: Vicki Scott
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: Boom! Studios/kaboom!
Lucy Van Pelt is planning the ultimate winter vendetta – a barrage of snowballs – and Charlie Brown turns up as the perfect victim. But Lucy’s plan is dependent on her ability to throw, and fans of Charlie Brown’s baseball team can tell you, that isn’t her strong suit.
Justin Thompson’s “Snowball’s Chance” is just the first story in this collection, but it’s not bad. For a moment, it feels as though he may be drifting a little too far away from the usual Peanuts formula (important in that it would betray the characters themselves), but he redeems himself in an entertaining way in the end. Vicki Scott’s “Avalanche” is next, a mostly-wordless story about Charlie Brown’s attempt to feed Snoopy. “Heart Attack,” meanwhile, is a charming little story about Charlie Brown’s effort to create a Valentine’s Day card worthy of the Little Red-Haired Girl… a quest that’s doomed to failure. Finally, we have “Umbrella Fella,” a story of the Van Pelt siblings and their efforts to stay dry on a particularly rainy day.
Combined with a few classic Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz himself, this book is finding its voice as a place for stories that, although short, are basically extended versions of the sort of thing Schulz himself would do in the newspaper strip. There’s no epic tales of the Peanuts gang traveling the world, no ill-fated attempts to make them superheroes, no long-term story arcs about Charlie Brown’s neverending quest for love. We get brief tales with funny climaxes and mini-climaxes throughout, for a mixture of original Peanuts material and new stuff that fits in with the classics rather well. While I do wish that there was a bit more unity among the stories – not that I want longer stories, I just wish there was some sort of connectivity that explains why these particular tales are grouped together – I think kaboom! has found its niche with the Peanuts crew, and I’m ready to simply enjoy the stories they bring to us.
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.
Irredeemable #10 (Boom! Studios)
By Mark Waid, Peter Krause & Dan Panosian
Gilgamos and Bette Noir finally have it out over the Plutonian’s fixation on her. It’s clear that something was going on — but what? And will they have a chance to discuss it before a demon from the past attacks? Charybdis (now calling himself Survivor) and Kaidan, meanwhile, are looking for someone important, but the Survivor’s own instabilities are bubbling to the surface. Oh, and Tony? He’s hooked up with an old friend. As this series progresses, it’s becoming obvious that the Plutonian’s insanity is only the most visible sign of what’s wrong here. Bette’s infidelity, the Survivor’s sense of entitlement, and even the nasty things that happened long before the Plutonian snapped are each coming to light, one at a time, making the whole world look like a much darker place than any of the superhero worlds that may have inspired it. Peter Krause‘s artwork continues to impress, blending the light and the dark beautifully, and the Dan Panosian cover (there are two others, but this is one one I got) is fantastic. The stolen moment between Tony and Bette is one thing, but the look she gives to the camera casts the entire image in a different light, making it clear that although she may be with the world’s most powerful hero, her mind is elsewhere. There’s something else going on. I’m very anxious to find out what that secret is.
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.