Mending Fences (Bone #17) ★★✬☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Mending Fences
Series: Bone #17
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 22
Words: 1K

Gran’ma Ben reveals that Thorne is a lost princess, that the Lord of the Locusts is her deadly enemy and that war is now inevitable. We also learn that the Lord of the Locusts is just an underling to some invisible spirits who live in a deserted cave. Yeah, that is EXACTLY what I want to find out when I read a comic.

When I read the One Volume way back when, the turn into an epic fantasy storyline took me by surprise. Here, with the change in direction taking so long, I’m almost ready to close my eyes and take a nap while Smith drives us around that curve.

★★✬☆☆

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13 ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 47
Words: 2K

So, this is not written OR drawn by Eastman or Laird. Some guy I’ve never heard of is heading the helm. Don’t have a good feeling about this.

Space President Queen Chick ambushes Space President Peasant Chick, who crashes to Earth and is rescued by the boys. Space Elections are apparently decided by combat. So everybody fights and President Peasant defeats President Queen by branding her with what appears to be a weiner (seriously, I kid you not). President Peasant promises justice and fairness for everyone and the local Space Spaceship takes her back to rule her planet. The end.

This was pretty bad. The story was about what I’d expect FROM a fifth grader and the artwork, well, it was on par with the number 2 pencil drawings I’ve seen so far. I’m going to give this series until #15 to improve and if it doesn’t (and I’m not very hopeful) then I’ll be cutting my losses and trying to find some other comic to read.

Once again, if anyone has any ideas for comics for me to try out, shoot me a comment please.

★★☆☆☆

Groo and the Tale of King Sage (Groo the Wanderer #13) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot, by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Groo and the Tale of King Sage
Series: Groo the Wanderer #13
Author: Sergio Aragones
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 24
Words: 2K

The Sage, introduced in Groo #7, becomes the King of a small but prosperous country. Groo stumbles across said country and asks to be made a general of the armies. For some reason, the Sage can’t say no to Groo and thus makes him a general. To mitigate Groo’s “groo’ness”, he sends him off to guard the northernmost pass of the country. Along the way, Groo makes everyone become a farmer and thus brings discontent to the whole country. The Sage is deposed and beats Groo about the head to show his displeasure.

This was an amusing little story. AND IT ONLY COST 75¢. In comparison, Bone #16 cost $3, four times as much. And Aragones gives us not only an amusing story with a start, a middle and an end, but it is also in color. Now maybe the paper material itself was pulp and Bone was high quality paper? But let me tell you, if I had $3 in 1986, well, really, I’d probably spent it at the dollar bin at Bradley’s (a now bankrupt and defunct department store) buying star wars figurines, BUT if I were to spend it on comics, I’d choose 4 months of Groo over one month of Bone every single time. Even right now, I would choose the same exact thing, ie, star wars figures, then if you forced me, Groo comics, hahahaha 😀

I am also finding the ads just as fun as the stories. In this comic, there is an ad for Captain America: The Broadway Musical. I kid you not. And here’s the proof:

Now, that is even better than the ad for the Jetson’s I saw in the previous Groo comic! I did a google search and sure enough, Marvel did try to get Captain American onto the stage and they failed. I hope you all join me in thanks for that failure. Nobody needs to see Cap tippity tappitying around. It did make me wonder though, what kind of parent would just send in their kids info to some complete stranger they saw in a comic book? And what kind of little girl is reading Groo? Probably not one who sings and dances is my guess 🙂

★★★✬☆

Eye of the Storm (Bone #16) ★★☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Eye of the Storm
Series: Bone #16
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 22
Words: 1K

We get 22 pages of Gran’ma Ben, Thorn and Fone Bone running in the dark and rain away from a huge swarm of rat creatures and Gran’ma Ben being all angry about the red dragon. Fone hollers out for the dragon’s help, it comes and chases the rat creatures away, disappears and Gran’ma reveals that the dragon doesn’t always come and that’s why she is so angry at it. The issue ends with a big text “Next: Gran’ma’s Story”.

Gotta admit, if I had paid the cover price of $3 and this was all I had gotten, I’d have screamed bloody murder, called Smith some foul and uncomplimentary names and quit Bone and begin an Anti-Jeff Smith crusade to destroy him for taking my hard earned money and giving me nothing but this. I do not know how this comic survived, I really don’t! Smith is milking this like it’s a pregnant holstein cow (the black and white ones you always see in movies or cartoons giving milk) and he’s doing it shamelessly. I was actually tempted to just stop myself right now in a show of solidarity with my imaginary self. But of course I didn’t pay $3 for this and I am going to keep reading. But knowing that the next couple of issues will be prequel stuff about Gran’ma Ben means that not only has the forward motion of the plot (which we really haven’t had any of for quite a few issues it seems) stopped, but now we’re going backwards. Sigh.

That being said, while I really do try to keep the author out of the story in how I rate or review things, my opinion of Smith is about at its lowest so far. What he gave me could have been done in about 5 pages and the story line advanced a bit more. When I started reading this individual issue by individual issue I was wondering why there were so many (I believe there are 55 issues) and now I know.

I realize you might be wondering why I don’t just dnf this or read them all at once and call it a day. The truth is that I couldn’t afford comics until my later teen years and thus never had the experience of reading something on a monthly basis. That experience is what I am trying to capture by reading this series this way. While it is voluntary on my part, back in the day it wasn’t voluntary and I want to know what that was like, frustrations and all. So that is why. Whether it makes sense to you or not 🙂

★★☆☆☆

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12 ★✬☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 39
Words: 2K

Everyone in the group is out having a picnic when some random student stumbles across them. He escaped from ‘hardcore survivalists who made him build them an atom bomb” so they could cleanse America. Said student is then shot by the leader, one Skonk, from 600 yards away using what appears to be an M16 machine gun. Casey and April take the super genius student to a hospital while Splinter and the boys take on the Good Ol’ Boys with names like Jess, Bubba and Skonk. Who want to set off a nuclear bomb (in case you’d forgotten). Donatello removes the plutonium from the bomb without any safety gear and suffers no harm and Kronk remote detonates it thinking it is still a nuclear bomb. In the middle of the woods. In their “bunker”, which is nothing more than a ramshackle old cottage with a dilapidated garage.

This had me rolling my eyes so hard. I was all prepared to show some righteous review anger but man, this was so bad that I ended up just laughing at it. 600 yards is about 900ft, or 600 meters. You don’t shot ANYTHING through the woods that far. It is mainly in urban environments or treeless areas that that is even possible. And you certainly don’t do it with an M16. Sniper rifles are precision tools with wicked long barrels and you pretty much carry them in a case, not dangling over your shoulder on a strap like a man purse. Then you have the “genius” student who builds an a-bomb. I am not even sure where to start in dissecting how stupid that is. Those plans are highly classified and no mere student is going to have the know-how to do any such thing. And then Donatello “simply” removing the plutonium. Awwwwwwwww come on! Seriously? That’s where I simply gave up and just laughed my head off. Next, you have Skonk setting off what he thinks is the a-bomb. In the middle of the woods, with no viable target and no plans for what comes next. That’s not hardcore, that’s just stupid, hahahahaa.

And here’s a picture of the deadly A-bomb. In the garage. Up on saw horses. How can you not laugh at that?

This was a prime example of how to tell a bad story within a framework of the readers already suspending their belief (mutant turtles that are ninjas, for goodness sake). I couldn’t suspend my belief because I happen to know a little bit about guns, about militias and about nuclear bombs. How things were presented simply don’t work the way it was shown. What it shows is that the author knew as much about those things as I do about alien triceratop warriors. Guns, militias and bombs were as real to the author as alien dinosaurs, so he just makes up whatever crap he feels like and runs with it. That’s exactly what bad story telling does. If the authors had talked to even 2 hunters, they could have corrected all of their ideas about guns. If they’d gone to the library and read up on militias (this was done in ‘86 I think?) they’d know that militia groups have to be organized and skilled to survive and are not just cults with guns. If while they were at the library they’d read up on nuclear weapons, they’d know about radiation poisoning or how almost impossible it is to obtain fissionable material. But nope, they sat in their little room and made crap up.

I had no idea going into this issue that I’d be going off on a rant like this. But come on, what else am I supposed to do? Just let it slide?

This was also the issue where Eastman and Laird decided to kind of split and each would do an alternate issue, thus allowing them to focus on other comic ideas they had. I’m going to just keep on listing both their names in my reviews and even when guest authors come in, simply ignore that. Keeping track of the whims of the Artistic Type is more than I want to deal with when reading a bleeding comic book.

I’ve also realized that several of the covers I have for these issues are the complete spread, encompassing the front cover and the back, which forms a complete whole. Instead of chopping them up like I have been doing and making the “usual” sized cover, I’m going to be using the full version. So the first part of the review will have all the data under the cover instead of beside it like is normal. And this review is now approaching 900 words, so it is beyond time to quit before I lose myself here.

★✬☆☆☆

Asterix in Switzerland (Asterix #16) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix in Switzerland
Series: Asterix #16
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K

The governor of Gaul is short changing the books and so Caesar sends an accountant to find out what’s what. The governor poisons the accountant who then asks Getafix for help. The only cure is a small flower found in the mountains of Helvetia (Switzerland), so of course off Asterix and Obelix go.

Goscinny and Uderzo (the artists) have a great time skewering the Swiss for being neat freaks who eat nothing but cheese fondues. It was quite amusing. While the pirates aren’t given any actual panel time, they are mentioned by the romans and appear to have ended up sinking their own ship, haahahahaa.

I might have pointed this out before, but several times there are a mix of panel sizes and it’s not obvious which direction you are supposed to read them in, so the authors kindly inserted big black arrows to show where you were supposed to go next. Why can’t American comics do that? It was super helpful and done in such a way that the arrows didn’t detract from the panels at all. It was done with skill. Today’s artists could take a lesson, and should.

I am giving this 3stars instead of 3.5 though, because at the beginning of the story the Chief fires his shield bearers and uses Asterix and Obelix and it’s strictly used to make a lot of bad puns and word plays. If that’s your kind of thing, then you’ll probably laugh your head off. I just groaned.

★★★☆☆

Groo Meets the Thespians (Groo the Wanderer #12) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot, by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Groo Meets the Thespians
Series: Groo the Wanderer #12
Author: Sergio Aragones
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 23
Words: 2K

Groo ends up with a group of actors without realizing they are actors and saves the evil king in the play. This sends the audiences into stitches and Groo becomes famous. After many, many, many attempts, the actors finally get across to Groo that it is all fake and he’s just supposed to stand there as a guard and not do anything.

So what happens next?

They go to a kingdom ruled by an evil king, where two of the actors have been hired to kill the king. Groo thinks it is all acting and even when the evil king says he’ll give Groo one third of his kingdom, he just stands by. So the actors kill the king, the two noblemen who hired them then turn on the actors to cover up their part in the plan and Groo turns on everybody when he realizes it was real and he could have been rich, rich, rich. I had to laugh even while wondering how someone this dumb could survive on his own 😀

There was also an ad for some cartoons. Maaaaan, that brought back some memories.

While we didn’t watch tv on Saturday (that was part of how we kept the Sabbath) and our tv during the week was strictly limited, the times I’d go over to a friends house (usually my friend Jimmy) I’d binge. Or, binge as much a kid could who had too much energy and needed to get outside and moving 😀 I do remember the Jetsons though. Poor George getting yelled at all the time by his boss and I can remember even having a crush on Judy, the teenage daughter. Ahhh, those were the days. The halcyon golden age of childrens television. Then Barney and the Teletubbies came along and ruined everything.

★★★✬☆

Double or Nothing (Bone #15) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Double or Nothing
Series: Bone #15
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 26
Words: 1K

Gran’ma Ben overhears Thorn and Fone talking about their dreams and after scaring the crap out of them, runs off into the woods without explaining anything. They track her down and just as Fone is about to get something from Gran’ma, they realize they’re surrounded by rat creatures. And instead of following through, we immediately switch over to Group Two, which consists of Phoney, Smiley and Lucius the bar owner.

Phoney and Lucius make another bet about how to run the tavern and Lucius gives Phoney a month to prove his claims. I have to admit, it made zero sense to me. Lucius OWNS Phoney and Smiley for several months already due to the cow race fiasco, so what does he gain by gambling again? I suspect Lucius is a prime candidate for Gamblers Anonymous and is the exact kind of person Phoney preys upon with his totally messed up plans.

Reading this story one issue at a time instead of all at once via the One Volume Bone edition is a completely different experience. I know I keep saying this, but forcing myself to just read one issue a month, like how it was released (in some cases, the issues were delayed, so it was even longer between releases) makes me wonder how this survived long enough to get the story told. I am champing at the bit to read more and I can see myself losing interest if Smith just keeps dolling out the info in such small amounts. It is rather frustrating, even knowing the story is already complete and I don’t have to worry about him just stopping the story.

★★★☆☆

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #11 ★★✬☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #11
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 41
Words: 2K

So after the last issue where Shredder is shown to be alive and attacks the group and they barely escape, this issue is all from April’s perspective and takes the form of her writing in her journal while the group recovers at an old farmhouse that belonged to Casey’s grandmother.

April has nightmares about losing everything, each of the boys is hurt and trying to recover in their own way and through the winter they all do their separate activities, with varying degrees of success. Finally Splinter gets involved and starts them on the healing path as a group.

April journaling was definitely something I can identify with. The act of writing (not typing mind you, but writing, not that that was readily available in 1987 in abandoned farmhouses in new england!) can be therapeutic and can act as a release valve. For me, there are lots of things I think and feel that I can’t say to others, for a variety of reasons. But they are still inside of me, churning around and bubbling like a cauldron. Writing those thoughts down allows me to stop thinking about them and prevents them from festering in my mind and becoming something worse. It is also a calming exercise as I am totally focused on the act of writing and can ignore the world around me for that time. Obviously, that is me bringing my own thoughts on journaling to the comic, but from what April writes and how she writes, it seems like she uses it the same way.

I downgraded this a full star though because near the end Splinter and the boys are having a kum bai ya moment and it is so full of 80’s Eastern Mysticism Cant that I literally rolled my eyes. Thankfully, the issue does end with spring coming and everyone getting back on track to be the group they were meant to. So I’ll keep on reading 🙂

★★✬☆☆

Asterix and the Roman Agent (Asterix #15) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix and the Roman Agent
Series: Asterix #15
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K

Julius Caesar is sick of the Gaulish village that keeps defying but has no idea how to deal with it. One of his friends suggests that they try to split up the unity of the village by using an acquaintance. This roman agent divides and conquers wherever he goes and even the Gauls fall prey to his machinations. As do the Romans and even the Pirates! Thankfully Getafix, Asterix and Obelix figure out what is going on and put a stop to it. A huge battle ensues, thus making the Gauls happy and they live happily ever after!

Wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I was impressed with how the creators used green speech bubbles to show when people were talking under the influence of the roman agent. There was also a panel where they totally reference themselves (last panel on the bottom right) and it just made me grin.

Overall, another solid entry in the Asterix series.

★★★✬☆