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General Mills Presents: Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice #2 [Review]

generalmillspresents_batmanvsuperman0002Field Trip

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Federico Dallochio
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Cover Artists: Gary Frank and Rod Reis
Assistant Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Editor: Alex Antone
Art Director: Larry Berry
Cover Date: N/A (found in cereal boxes in March 2016)
Cover Price: Free

This second issue of the “cereal comics” was a good deal more enjoyable than the first for me, despite raising a couple questions in my mind. One: what’s up with Superman’s belt? Is it actually a belt, or some sort of punctuated attachment at the waist? Because it does not seem to go all the way around, but there’s a piece on front and a couple of hints of it, but it’s not actually a belt, but there’s SOMETHING there. Second, when was the last time a comic had Bruce Wayne fairly prominent without Batman or any of the rest of the Bat-family? (Leaving aside this ostensibly taking place in the “DC Cinematic Universe”). To say nothing of–as a 35-year-old adult–the ridiculousness of any other adult (particularly a CEO of a major company) having no problem with some random/unknown student straying from a tour group.

The story itself is pretty simple: a middle school (junior high) class visits Wayne Enterprises; one student breaks off from the group and (conveniently) stumbles across a gang of thieves stealing Kryptonian technology. They have a jamming device to block communication signals–including cell phones–so the student is unable to call 911. Before she can be discovered by the gang, she’s found by Bruce Wayne who followed her to make sure she didn’t get into anything dangerous. Superman shows up to deal with the thieves, and Bruce declines to step out and meet the hero at this time, while he and the student agree to hold the secret of each having been anywhere near this action.

OK, maybe that wasn’t as simple when summarized, but it read quickly. Despite my “issues” with Superman’s costume, the oddness of seeing Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wayne (and not Batman as Bruce Wayne walking amidst the citizenry in-action/on a case), and the irresponsibility of the adults, this was an entertaining enough read, and more enjoyable to me than the previous issue.

I was surprised to see Christos Gage as the writer…a name I’ve not been overly familiar with for quite awhile, but whose work I’ve definitely enjoyed in the past. While it might have colored my perspective going in, I did not actually give the credits any attention until after I read this (hence the surprise) but it does explain my enjoyment a bit. This is definitely a comic geared more for a younger reader (especially middle school age). Outside of this being a continuity-free one-off story that doesn’t “matter” anywhere else, it’s actually pretty good for what it is. I’d be curious at someone reading it without any “comics experience” and their notice (or not) of Bruce Wayne, and whether it would bother them to have him without a costumed Batman on-panel.

I’m not familiar with Dallochio‘s name or art…but the art worked well here for this story. It didn’t blow me away, but it gets everything across that it needs to, and in and of itself did not distract me from the story (just that mental tickle of curiosity about Superman’s belt, but that’s a fault of the costume design and not the specific artist, in my mind).

All in all, I liked this issue, and if you get it in a box of cereal or otherwise come across it without significant effort, it’s certainly worth reading, or at least passing along to a young reader in your life.

Avengers Academy #29 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Angel & Faith #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

G.I.Joe (IDW) #0 [Review]

“One Word”, “In or Out”, “Deep Cover”

Writers: Chuck Dixon, Larry Hama, Mike Costa and Christos N. Gage
Artists: Robert Atkins, Tom Feister, Antonio Fuso
Colorists: Andrew Crossley, Tom Feister, Chris Chuckry
Design & Lettering: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Andy Schmidt
Covers: Robert Atkins, Chris Sotomayer, Jonboy Meyers, Tom Smith, Scott Kester, Ben Templesmith

I have to admit–I nearly did not get this issue. Oh, I saw it there at the store, but I’m not thrilled with the sudden departure from Devil’s Due and that the franchise is being rebooted to a new beginning–I liked the rich history of the series! Additionally, I’ve never been fond of the high price tag the publisher puts on their books–I simply do not care about cardstock covers and high-quality glossy-paper pages. I want to read a story…and $4 for a standard-size single issue is above my threshold. BUT…for $1, I could pick this up to check stuff out.

I was prepared to dislike this. I’d forgotten that IDW had announced they were doing not one, not two, but THREE Joe titles. One core book, an origins book, and a book looking moreso at classic foe Cobra. This issue offers prologue sequences for all three.

“One Word” involves a routine mission and Duke questioning a prisoner, who gives him one single word for his trouble–a word that means nothing (yet) to these characters, but will mean a great deal to anyone who knows anything of the GI Joe series.

“In or Out” provides an interesting look at how Duke was recruited, which in itself adds a certain depth to his character as well as General Hawk that leaves me honestly interested in their relationship as well as what it means to the tone of the overall Joe team.

Finally, “Deep Cover” introduces us to a character that apparently is headed–as the story’s title suggests–into deep cover with an enemy organization, after being met by representatives of said organization who could have killed him, but wish to talk instead.

All three of these stories seem so brief as to not really have enough room to discuss writing, characterization, and all that. Much of my interpretation and expectation is based on what I know of the (recognizeable) characters from their Devil’s Due (and prior to DD, Marvel) incarnations.

I’m a bit mixed on the art. I think my favorite is Atkins on the first story. The others had a certain look to them that at the moment doesn’t quite say “GI Joe” to me. At the same time, Feister’s art does have a slight surreal quality about it which fits the sequence quite well–though I wonder how it’ll fit long-term for full-size issues and changes of scenery. Fuso’s art–while it doesn’t have that GI Joe feel to it–has a certain grittiness to it that actually fits the tone of the story–a story that doesn’t seem like it will necessarily even be anything resembling a “classic” Joe story but more of a modern take on a story type.

After reading this issue, these three previews–and the “back matter” character sketches with reasoning for costume updates, as well as a brief interview with the three writers–IDW’s done most of what it probably set out to do. After all, I’m interested. I’m intrigued. I want to follow these characters as they follow that one word to its obvious source, and see the fight struck. I want to see how the team came together, how the recruitment of Duke plays out and how similar the recruitment of other Joes is, and how that will affect the team dynamics. I’m also interested in the character going under cover to infiltrate this enemy organization, to see how it affects him as a character, and what it might mean for the rest of the team.

But this issue has two standard covers, as well as two retailer-incentive covers. The images provided for the covers of each debut issue of these three series show that clearly, there will be multiple variants for those as well…

The stories look to be interesting and worthwhile for long-time GI Joe fans as well as those interested in checking ’em out for the first time. However, I am one reader who will probably be kept away by the high cover price and annoyingly numerous variant covers. (Whatever happened to pinup pages in the back of an issue, or as Devil’s Due would do, put a second full-size image on the back cover).

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7/10

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