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

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for Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wolverine: Prodigal Son

"The Del Rey Manga Team" try to work the referees in its introduction to Wolverine: Prodigal Son Volume 1 [Del Rey; $12.99], a new manga by Antony Johnston with art by Wilson Tortosa. They proclaim this new take on Logan is as "ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT" as the revamping of the X-Men in the 1970s.

In reality...not so much.

New takes on super-heroes are commonplace in these days of Ultimate Spider-Man, All Star Superman, and similar titles. While Johnston and Tortosa have re-imagined Logan as an amnesiac teenager found by a secluded martial arts school, the character possess most of the attributes of the original and of the typical hot-tempered loner/warrior found in countless manga series. The supporting characters and villains are just as familiar: the wise mentor, the spunky girlfriend, the rival, the mysterious doctor, the ruthless villainess, and so on. Indeed, even Tortosa's art is indistinguishable from other manga of this type.

Nothing new here.

Johnston's writing is professional but uninspired. The story does flow well, though no scene stands out as particularly engaging or surprising. For the most part, Tortosa's storytelling is good with some lapses is clarity; again, typical of other manga series like this one. It's not that this initial volume is bad. It's just not sufficiently good enough for me to recommended it. Not when there's no shortage of better Wolverine comics and non-Wolverine manga series. It's journeyman at best.

Wolverine: Prodigal Son Volume 1 earns but one out of a possible five Tonys. Move along. Nothing to see here.




Strange Tales 89

Every Friday, runs a "TGIF" section wherein past and present Marvel creators are asked a question. A couple of months back, they asked creators and editors for opinions on their favorite monsters of the Marvel Universe. Examples include: Wendigo, Fin Fang Foom (and the other members of the Fin Fang Four), Groot, etc. Anyone is fair game.

Here is my response...
As anyone who read my short-lived "It, the Living Colossus" series already knows, I loved the old Marvel monsters just as much as I loved the Marvel super-hero comics that followed them. All thanks to Cleveland's own Ghoulardi, the wildly brilliant TV monster movie host who was my ticket to giant monsters from Godzilla to Them!

My favorite Marvel kaiju tale - "kaiju" is basically Japanese for "giant monster" - is "Fin Fang Foom." Penciled by Jack Kirby, inked by Dick Ayers, likely plotted and scripted by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, it's *the* classic Marvel monster adventure.

A quiet scholar, falsely branded as a coward, rouses the ancient beast and uses him to foil a Red Chinese invasion of Taiwan. What a story! A giant monster smashing everything in its path, a Cold War backdrop, and a "geek" hero. It was both of its time and ahead of its time.

When it came time for me to pick one Marvel monster comic for inclusion in my 1000 Comic Books You Must Read - arriving at bookstores in November - it had to be this one.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 06/10/2009 | 06/11/2009 | 06/12/2009 >>

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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