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They Came From The '80's:
reviews by Mish'al Samman

Only one man on our staff has the courage to wade through this wave of nostalgia. That man, of course, is Mish'al Samman.

Why is he the one? Because he once lit his bike on fire in order to play Battle of the Planets.

Once a month, Mish'al breaks from his reverie to gather his thoughts and share them with you.

Battle of the Planets #6

After the destruction of the Terrapin, the skies over Central West have grown red, and the largest rainstorm in its history falls. Suddenly, smoke fills the air as people are rendered unconscious and brainwashed by none other than Spectra.

Now G-Force sits in limbo land awaiting their fate at the hands of the President. When the General gets a distressing phone call, Anderson is assured by the President that G-Force will be instated as a military branch with Mr. Anderson as the chief.

As this series moves along, it does extremely well with taking you out of the cliché of the typical 80's series. It's not the same people usually doing the same thing.

This one is one of the better '80's revivals, as 7-Zark-7 is no where to be found (Thank goodness), and its giving us a tad bit of insight as the characters are slowly but surely developing.

Refreshingly plot driven with many unknowns that are being fed to us bit-by-bit, this particular issue doesn't see much action with the team or anyone at all, basically it deals with more back story for the upcoming plotline, which this series tends to do every 3 issues or so. Woohoo!-Yah!-Interesting-Woohoo!-Yah!-Interesting…

No "Woohoo!" here, folks, must be in the next issue.


G.I.Joe #13

The Joe team have their injury list, but they're still kicking. Unfortunately, so are the Dreadnoks and Cobra units.

This new B.A.T. that Dr. Mindbender has created is turning out to be more of a handful than expected, and is obviously getting more aggressive. Mindbender is forced into the line of fire when Cobra Commander says the right thing to scare him enough. Mindbender of course now shares some vital information with the Dreadnoks, but it's probably a little too late.

All the while Firefly is atop watching the action below, and attempting to run the Joes in circles trying to actually find the B.A.T. Jinx catches up to him, and realizes he is a new variable to the situation.

This book has more interest in the Cobra characters than the Joe team, which works. At the beginning of the series, Hawk saw one Ninja, and made a point that he isn't going to recreate another Ninja Force, but ironically, the series can't seem to shake the need for that Asian art form to be a focal point. Firefly supposedly has trained with the still hard to pronounce (or maybe not with the Manga craze these days) Arashikaji Ninja clan, and Jinx and he have a history that presumably will be explained later.

A big plot twist is virtually demanded at this point, since we've been chasing this B.A.T for 2 or 3 issues already. The climax is unfortunately confusing and frustrating at first. While it takes you back to Washington, you'd have to read it a couple of times, and really look at the panels several times, to see who is who before you can come up with a idea of what just happened. It should be straightforward, but something must have gotten mixed up on the drawing board.


G.I. Joe Frontline #3

The Joes are starting this one off with a bang. In an operation to infiltrate Cobra Castle, Wild Bill flies chopper in the dead of the night with his signature shades still on, and Scarlet and Snake-Eyes are in an awestriker, ready for the signal. Cobra Commander, Dr. Mindbender, and Destro seem to be losing control of the situation so they have to get Billy, Baroness, and Storm Shadow out of the Mind Machine to help, but does it?

In this issue, you have to hand it to the creative team. This is what the old Marvel comics did at their best. Unbelievable story, unbelievable events, but one still finishes the issue with feelings of satisfaction that this was fun packed and eventful.

The classic Snake Eyes Storm Shadow Ninja techniques still pack that humor in the fact that someone has to explain to Cobra what he is doing… Again! Also, the coolness of Destro, and level-headedness in battle is classic, as he is the strategist. As for the Joes, they know the drill.

Now if only they can do away with the Mind-Thingie-Machine-Dohicky, #4 should be interesting.


Masters of the Universe #2

When we left off last issue Orko had gained a crystal that allowed him to wield magnificent power, and in doing so brings curiosity to Man-at-arms and He-Man. They go to Castle Grayskull to seek the Sorceress' wisdom. There she gives the answer she always gives: it is very dangerous and He-Man must go on a quest to resolve the matter.

In Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn still plots for power, and hires on Trapjaw and Tri-Klops to help dethrone Skeletor.

It's a little disappointing that they rush some aspects of the plot. As this Shard of Darkness makes its bearer get angry, and say things he doesn't mean, it might as well be a ring attached to a chain.

Taking the shard from Orko is all too easy, but when He-Man gets it, he doesn't gain power. Instead, he develops an occasional attitude problem towards his friends.

One would imagine Orko would have put up a fight giving up so much magic when he was just sulking about not being as powerful as before only one issue earlier. It's more interesting watching the bad guys in this issue, especially dialogue Tri-Klops makes with both Lyn and Trapjaw. Otherwise, it's going somewhere all too quickly.


Robotech #2

We are in 2005, and Rick is flying in the circus. During his performance Roy steals the show after he has come out of active duty, and the two brothers are reunited once again. But not for long.

Admiral Hayes approaches Roy for a special project, and they go at it with Roy's reasons for not going back into service. The Admiral finally get to him (as we should all know) and Roy has to break his promise to Rick. His love for flying lands Roy a test pilot job for a classified project, and Rick is not too happy about it.

It is sometimes hard to enjoy stories when you know what is going to happen next, but as a fan of Robotech, you really get more of a sense of how everyone you have come to know in the Macross series really fits in the grand scheme of things. One guess as to the secret project is… and one guess where he is going for this project. Interestingly woven into our current continuity, this series lacks nothing but a soundtrack album.


Thundercats #5 (of 5?)

Mumm-ra has resurrected yet another foe from the past: Grune, the Thundercat that would be king...if he defeats Lion-o. Jaga must leave Lion-o in the same fashion as Obi-Wan had to leave Luke. Before his faded blue glow dissipates completely, he warns the young ruler of Thundara that danger lies ahead with Grune, and that he must defend the throne.

A simple story really, that has more of a twist in the last two pages than it does in the rest. So far Lion-o is fighting short and easy battles that really go nowhere in the scheme of things until this issue. Once again an 80's phenomenon that was once a cartoon should probably have stayed as a cartoon.

As a final issue of a mini-series, this book throws you off even more, because it really doesn't play like a conclusion to anything except for Lion-o's final journey to become king, which it really isn't. This feels more like part one of two.


Transformers Armada #6

The book begins and ends with a statement you may also say when done: More More More! Unfortunately, it's not the greatness that's urging you to say it; it's that more can be done, but someone is holding back.

Megatron wants more power from the Mini-cons, and Leader-One is maxing out what Mini-con power he has for his master. The kids are being abandoned by the Autobots for their own safety, and more Mini-cons are being found by Megatron. While these Mini-cons send an emergency distress call out for help, Long Arm, Jolt, and Sparkplug head out for the rescue mission.

If the Mini-cons have a special emergency frequency, why haven't they used this before? Even ignoring that flaw, the series still doesn't do much in terms of excitement. This issue in particular is more focused on the Mini-cons than anything else. Megatron, Prime, and the others still hold the backstage, and the completely revamped looks for everyone except Prime is not settling in too much.


Transformers: The War Within #4

Megatron and Prime have fallen from a bridge somewhere in the center of Cybertron, and Prime appears to either have acid leakage, or just hearing voices talk to him. Is it possible to have a schizo robot?

The fight continues when Megatron re-enters the scene, and only one thing is on Megatron's mind… The Matrix.

Were finally getting the gist of what really is the Matrix, and what the power it holds is. Still impressing is the plot of this storyline, it's capturing so many aspects of Transformers that a fan can wish for: the struggle, the deception, the questions, and the imagination of how this war started out to be.

Flipping through the pages you will find not only great art, but some characters and concepts of designs that complement this great read, and the cliffhanger isn't all that shabby either. Once you get ahold of the Matrix, does it send you into a new reality or just fantasy?


Mish'al Samman

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