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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
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for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monster X

"From Minoru Kawasaki, the 'Tim Burton of Japan,' comes the most ridiculous monster movie ever!"

Those aren't my words, my kaiju comrades. That comes from the back cover of Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit [Tokyo Shock; $19.99], an independent Japanese science fiction film that simply has to be seen, preferably in a room with experienced fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Guilala, last seen in 1967's The X From Outer Space, returns to Japan just as the G8 summit is getting underway. Japan's first attempt to stop the monster fails miserably, which seems to allow the other G8 members to declare a state of martial law during which each nation launches an attack on the critter. The caricatures of all these world leaders, including those from Japan, had me rolling my eyes in disbelief and laughing my darn fool head off. "So bad, it's great" is what I'm trying to convey here.

As the clumsy monster lumbers through the countryside and the occasional city, the citizens and the gags run wild. The American president seems to be an amalgam of Presidents Clinton and Bush the Lesser; he has the approval ratings concerns of the former and the dumb grin of the latter. The French leader seduces one of the cute Japanese translators. The Russian leader tries to kill the alien invader with polonium, referencing a certain deadly umbrella. When a plan fails and a new one is launched, a soldier hangs a new sign announcing the new plan outside the summit hall. And I can't even begin to describe the plucky reporters who dance a weird dance to summon an ancient Japanese god to defend them.

You either get this kind of movie and enjoy it for the absurd piece of work it is...or you don't. If do you get it, you'll have an absolute blast watching it.

Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit earns four out of five Tonys because it made me giggle like a child.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

Mr. Jigsaw

Since I reviewed Mr. Jigsaw #1 recently, I'm not doing a full-blown review of issues #2 and 3 [Redbud Studio Comics; $2.99 each] this time. But I wanted to let you know that the delightful adventures of the "Man of a Thousand Parts" as chronicled by writer Ron Fortier and artist Gary Kato continue in these issues.

All of the material in these two issues was originally written and drawn several years ago, but one of the stories in the second issue has never seen print before. The three stories in the third issue were done for a website and one of those appears here for the first time anyway.

Starting next issue, Fortier and Kato will be publishing new stories created specifically for this ongoing series. I'm really looking forward to them.

Mr. Jigsaw #2 and 3 earn an impressive four out of five Tonys apiece. For ordering information, e-mail Fortier at:

Tony Tony Tony Tony

G.I. Joe vs Cobra

If a shout of "Yo, Joe!" lifts your excitement into high gear, G.I. Joe Vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide by Pablo Hidalgo [Del Rey; $25] is a must-have. With lively text and meticulous detail, Hidalgo brings his readers the histories of the opposing organizations, as well as biographies of their major players and coverage of just about everything else you could want to know about the evil-busting Joes and their most deadly enemies.

The "G.I. Joe Universe" is a vast one, encompassing hundreds of sometimes contradictory comic books and cartoons. Though I've only been an occasional visitor to that universe, I was impressed by how well Hidalgo guided me through it. This latest visit was further enhanced by art from the entire history of G.I. Joe, from the earliest Marvel issues to the current adventures published by IDW. I enjoyed flipping through the book; to an avid G.I. Joe fan, it might be the equivalent of the Junior Woodchucks Handbook, the repository of all knowledge known to man.

G.I. Joe Vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide gets four Tonys and makes me want to dig out some of those old comic books.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

That's all for now. Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 09/22/2009 | 09/23/2009 | 09/24/2009 >>

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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