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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Friday, March 31, 2006

Essential Godzilla 1

I receive hundreds of review items each and every month, but it was a special treat to open up a box from Marvel Comics and find ESSENTIAL GODZILLA [$19.99], which collects the entire 24-issue run of the comic-book series by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe. It's been years since I've read these stories and, once I get some work off my desk and on its way to various clients, I'm gonna curl up in my big old comic-book chair and enjoy them again.

Godzilla has been my favorite monster for as long as I've had a favorite monster. Even before I went to work for Marvel in 1972, I pitched a Godzilla series to Roy Thomas. By the time I moved to New York to work for the company, Marvel was negotiating to get the rights to do a Godzilla comic book. Alas, those negotiations fell through and, by the time subsequent negotiations had been completed successfully, I had moved on to DC Comics and one of the shortest editorial runs in the history of comics. Sigh.

There are big things coming for Godzilla fans this year with virtually every Godzilla movie being released on DVD and in their original versions. Just as you can expect a near-future review of ESSENTIAL GODZILLA here, you can also expect reviews of those DVD treasures when I get them.

The GIANT MONSTERS theme is part of our regular TOT rotation. GODZILLA, of course, is the king of the monsters. Look for him to be a frequent guest here.



These are the last of my DCU reviews of issues which hit the comics shops the week of February 22. As you'll see, none of them are closely or at all connected to IC.

One more thing before I make with my critiques. Watch out for the SPOILERS in the VIGILANTE #6 review.

Legion of Super-Heroes 15

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #15 [$2.99], while an enjoyable comic book on many levels, sort of screams "fill-in issue" to me. Guest writer Stuart Moore has good fun with DCU continuity via characters telling Legion stories around the future equivalent of a campfire, stories which insert different versions of the Legion into a series of key moments in DCU history. Artists Pat Olliffe (pencils) and Ken Lashley (inks) are called on to draw dozens of super-heroes in these tales, which adds to the fun. Backing up the lead is another of Mark Waid's letters columns in comics form and, like the others he has done, this one is very funny. Even so, I couldn't make all the fun add up to a score of more than three Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

Maybe it's because I'm depressed that this book is getting a title change to SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES next month. I'd hate to see Supergirl, any Supergirl, even the original Kara, crowd the other Legionnaires out of this gem of a series.

Solo 9

Scott Hampton is the featured creator of SOLO #9 [$4.99] and he did not disappoint this long-time fan of his work. Written with John Hitchcock, his "Batman: 1947" is a heartwarming period piece. "Another Success Story," a solo effort, is a delightfully dark comedy set in the comics industry. "The Road to Samarra," again written by the artist, is a wonderfully disquieting tale. The least of this spotlight's stories is "The Monsters," which is fun to look at, but too familiar to even work as a spoof.

The best story? That would be the haunting "Dear James," an adaptation of a letter Hampton found stuffed between the seats of a passenger train in 1982.

Hampton is a terrific writer and artist, whose art and writing are always worth your time and money. SOLO #9 earns the full five out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Vigilante 6

VIGILANTE #6 [$2.99] concludes the mini-series with Dr. Justin Powell kind of sort of coming to terms with his other personality and his girlfriend being surprisingly okay with it. As much as I have enjoyed this Bruce Jones thriller, he wasn't able to sell that notion to me...even though it does leave the door open for another VIGILANTE series down the line.

With the usual kudos to Ben Oliver for his art, VIGILANTE #6 gets three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

Warlord 1

WARLORD #1 [$2.99], which cover-promises the beginning of "a bold new era of sword-and-sorcery excitement," didn't do it for me. All writer Bruce Jones and artist Bart Sears have really done here is retell Travis Morgan's premiere story sans the rough-and-tumble energy of creator/writer/artist Mike Grell's work. Their version struck me as labored, and that's as far away from "exciting" as I can imagin. I'd much rather have seen a SHOWCASE PRESENTS volume of the original series.

WARLORD #1 gets a puny one out of five Tonys.


Look for more DCU/IC reviews next week.



Every Monday - but usually sooner than Monday - I post several new TONY POLLS questions for your voting entertainment. This week, the questions are on the V FOR VENDETTA movie and the direct-to-DVD ULTIMATE AVENGERS. These poll questions will remain active until sometime on Monday. You can vote on them at:

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 03/30/2006 | 03/31/2006 | 04/03/2006 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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