Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: Batman '66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel #6

The final issue picks up with the Cybernaughts, who look like Marmaduke Ffogg's crime school cuties, attacking our heroes. Miss Gough also apparently throws her two cohorts, Ffogg and Mr Freeze, under the bus as the Cybernaughts attack them also. There is a little more flirting between Robin and Mrs Peel. Batman makes a reference to The Shadow, and helps Freeze, whose suit is damaged by one of the Cybernaughts. The heroes, with Ffogg and Freeze, escape only to find even more Cybernaughts waiting for them. Then the plot twist (SPOILER ALERT): the computer program controlling the Cybernaughts is actually the digitized brain waves of its creator, the disembodied head of  Professor Armstrong.  Miss Gough is actually his daughter... but it turns out she's really a Cybernaught herself.  Upon learning she really isn't human, she electrocutes herself, short circuiting the brain wave computer.   Batman and Robin then get to meet the Queen before returning home.

Written by Ian Edginton, the first 2/3 of this issue, like the previous issue, seems repetitive, further illustrating how a 4 issue miniseries would be much more appropriate than padding it to 6 issues. Then the last 1/3 crams in all these plot twist and revelations. Matthew Dow Smith again turns in amazing art.  Overall the final issue earns a B-.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review: Batman '66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel #5

This issue picks up right where the previous one left off, with our heroes about to be ambushed by the Cybernaughts. They are quickly thwarted as Robin and Mrs Peel use tanks of coolant to freeze the robots. The heroes then arrive at Ffogg Hall, only for Batman and Peel to fall into a death trap by Lord Ffogg, and Robin and Steed to fall into a similar predicament by Mr Freeze.  With the help of the utility belt, Batman and Peel get out of the soup and capture Ffogg, while Robin uses his batarang to force Freeze into pulling himself and Steed out of the cold, and Steed's umbrella blocks Freeze's freeze gun. With both villains captured, Batman attempts to radio Inspector Gordon, but Michaela jams the frequency, and locks the heroes in with four more Cybernaughts, this time exact doubles of Ffogg's crime school academy wenches. Ian Edginton's script gets a bit repetitive with this issue, as its another go around of Cybernaughts trapping the heroes, escape and repeat. As with the other Batman '66 miniseries, I think it would be better suited as 4 issues rather than 6, as at a certain point in all the miniseries, it starts to feel padded. At least this last time, the Cybernaughts are made to look like Ffogg's villainous school girls, which is a nice change of pace. Matthew Dow Smith once again turns in excellent art. This issue earns a C+.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Three Stooges Curse of Frankenstooge

The Three Stooges #4, or The Three Stooges: Curse of Frankenstooge #1 (same comic, two titles, don't ask) opens with the PSA advising kids not to imitate the Stooges on the inside front cover (it was the final panel in the previous issue). The first story, "Scaredy Stooge", written by S.A. Check with art by Bill Galvan. The plot has the boys as videographers who have taken a gig at what appears to be a haunted house. From there we get parodies and references to contemporary horror franchises like Child's Play and Scream, but the highlight of the story is the shocking last page cameo by.... spoiler alert.... Shemp! The art in this story is a bit more cartoonish, somewhat reminiscent of The Three Robonic Stooges. Anyone remember that cartoon? Next up is the title story, written by Christopher Hill with art by the Fraim Brothers. The boys never did do a parody of Universal's Frankenstein movies, but this story shows us what it could have been like.  Moe is the mad scientist, Curly is his hunchback assistant, and Larry is the manservant of Moe's blonde betrothed (no kidding) who gets turned into the monster. This story has an epic look and feel to it.  Next up are some coloring pages (I'd like to see more of Mark Wheatley's art in this series, as he really nailed the Boys' likenesses), and a Halloween themed reprint from issue 24 of the Stooges' Gold Key series, with Joe DeRita as the third Stooge. As usual the reprint has a decent script but crude art.  The issue ends with a nice text piece on the Fraim Brothers.  This issue earns a B+.   One more note, also out this week is a free Comic Fest Halloween Hullabaloo issue.  It has one new story, "Trick or Eat" written by James Kuhoric with art by Adrian Ropp.  The Boys decide to dress up and go Trick or Treating to get free candy.  It's a brief 4 page story, and the art is in a very modern animated style.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review: Three Stooges Red, White & Stooge

The Three Stooges #3, aka The Three Stooges: Red, White and Stooge #1, features two stories instead of three like the previous issues, but that is to its advantage.  The title story is longer, and better for it. Written by S.A. Check, this time he gets a solid balance between classic Stooges and a modern interpretation, where his previous scripts tread too much on the lackluster Farrelly Brothers movie. Due to the longer length, there is more of a plot than previous issues. Senator Ted Snedly (a nod to Stooges creator Ted Healy?) is running for president but needs a running mate.  He sees the Stooges at a parade saving a young girl.  He latches onto the boys in hopes his poll numbers will go up, but due to the boys, er, best efforts, including this series' first major pie fight, the polls go in the opposite direction.  Snedly drops out, and the Stooges fill in the political vacuum to emerge as a force not seen since Donald Trump.  Brendon and Brian Fraim's art is excellent as usual.  The second story, "Beach Boo-Boobs", is a reprint from issue 44 of the Stooges' Gold Key series, with Joe DeRita as the third Stooge. As with the reprints from the previous issues, it has a good story featuring the boys taking jobs as lifeguards, but crude artwork. The last panel is a PSA warning kids not to imitate the Stooges' slapstick. This issue earns an A.

Review: Batman '66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel #4

This issue opens with Batman and Mrs Peel via Batplane, and Robin and Steed via Batcopter, in hot pursuit of Michaela Gough and Lord Ffogg via airship.  Peel deduces Batman is really Bruce Wayne, and Michaela sends her flying Cybernaughts into a dogfight with our heroes in a spectacular action sequence.  Robin reconfigures the tracking device to short circuit the Cybernaughts.  Michaela contacts Mr Freeze to help set a trap. Bruce and Dick, incognito via false mustaches and a toothpick, arrive in London to meet Steed and Peel with Inspector Gordon (Commissioner Gordon's cousin) at the Tower of London.  We are introduced to Michaela's unseen and mysterious father, as she and Freeze set a trap involving the White Star diamond. At the Tower of London, our heroes are ambushed by the Cybernaughts, posing as Beefeaters, with Michaela and Freeze electronically communicating with them through the Cybernaughts. Matthew Dow Smith once again turns in a stellar job on art, and Ian Edginton continues with a quality script, the highlight being the airborne dogfight, although the plot really isn't advanced in this issue. This issue earns a B.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Three Stooges Stooge-a-palooza

The Three Stooges #2, which is really The Three Stooges: Stooge-a-palooza #1 because this is a series of all number ones instead of a consecutively numbered series, is the second issue of this volume even though it is a number one and if you understand that, then point to the right.  Even my comic book store is thoroughly confused thinking these are all variant covers to a single issue, which is why I'm a month or so behind in getting these comics. The issue's first story is "Stooge in a Box" written by S.A. Check with art by Brendon and Brian Fraim. As with Check's story in the last issue, it seems to be in the mold of the Farrelly Brothers movie, setting the Stooges in contemporary times and situations.  The boys land jobs at a burger joint and create chaos. There are a few good gags, but overall I prefer the Stooges to be in a more timeless and unspecified era.  The art is very good, but unlike the Fraims' work in the last issue, which had a tone reminiscent of the two-reelers, their art in the context of the script has a contemporary tone. After a fake Fruit Pie ad, the next story, by the same team, is "Night of the Living Stooge". It has the boys having jobs as mall cops (and they happen to be living in the mall as well). A funny gag has Larry looking like Richard Simmons, but overall this too has a modern trendy feel, with the boys encountering zombies.  Then there is a two-page spread which seems to be a fake movie poster. Up next is a reprint from Dell Four Color #1170, "Boobs in the Woods" written by Jerry Belson with art by Sparky Moore, and featuring Joe DeRita as the third Stooge.  As with the reprint from last issue, the script is good, and has more plot than either of the two new stories, but has weaker artwork.  It seems to be loosely based on the two-reeler "Idiots Deluxe", where the boys go camping and encounter bears, rangers, and geysers. The issue closes with a text article on the annual Stooges convention in Philadelphia. This issue earns a B-, a slight step down from last issue.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Batman '66 meets Steed and Mrs Peel #3

The third issue picks up at the Batcave as the double Dynamic Duos are invaded by the Cybernaughts, who followed them to the Batcave via a homing transmitter in a fountain pen planted on Steed. The foursome fight off the robots, with Batman permanently ending the conflict by using the Batcave's atomic pile to create an electromagnetic pulse. The heroes then use the homing transmitter planted on Steed to trace it back to the nefarious newbie calling all the shots. Predictably, it turns out to be Michaela Gough, who with the help of Lord Marmaduke Ffogg, escapes when Ffogg fills the lair with African Death Bees. Mrs Peel leads the Dynamic Duo and Steed in a ritual dance, that "speaks" to the bees, allowing them to get to safety. Ian Edginton's script continues to capture the flavor of both shows well, and injects absurdist moments, like the dance escape from the bees, and a cutaway to Aunt Harriet in the Wayne Manor living room during the Cybernaught fight down in the Batcave causing the living room floor to rumble, and also a seemingly budding mutual fondness between they Boy Wonder and the older, widowed Mrs Peel. Matthew Dow Smith's art continues to be the measuring stick for the Batman 66 franchise, and it's high point.  This issue earns an A-.