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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Suspended Animation Reviews For the Weeks of September 24th and October 9th: The Incredibles and Amazing High Adventure

            The Incredibles: City of Incredibles, published by Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 96 pages, magazine format, $5.99.

            Fun.  It’s what comics were all about when I was a kid.  Pure, unadulterated, action-oriented, and sometimes even laugh-out-loud fun.  It’s what I wish more of them were about today.  But, until such a day comes, I’ll be content with the occasional such offering, like Disney and Marvel’s The Incredibles: City of Incredibles.

            The story begins with the birth of Jack-Jack, the youngest member of the family.  Of course, in the world of this extra-normal group, the event is required to be anything but typical.  Before the little Incredible can be born, the family has a dust-up with a band of villains.  Bad guys get dispatched, and the crime-fighting brood welcomes their newest member.  But, what’s with that odd canister the Confederacy of Crime was after?  And, how might its contents affect Jack-Jack…?

            Mark Waid sets readers up with an intriguing prologue, then he and Landry Walker deliver a breakneck-paced, engrossing story which contains entertaining characters, an engaging plot, a twist or two, and a few laughs, just for good measure.  Without giving too much away, Jack-Jack’s power-transferal method is simple, yet hilariously in character.  Short of the movie itself, this is the best material employing these characters that I’ve seen.       
            Marcio Takara and Ramanda Kamarga handle the art chores, and churn out a visual feast which is true enough to the look of the movie, while portraying action, drama and comedy in superior form.  I very much enjoyed their villains’ character designs, (my personal favorites being Mr. Pixel and Centsus) and the storytelling was also top-notch.

            All-in-all, The Incredibles is a magazine-sized comic book that can be enjoyed by every member of the family.  Now that I’ve finally read and reviewed it, I plan on passing it on to my own kids.

            Find this recommended work at your local comics shop, or online retailers and auctions.  But, try your local comics shop first.

Review by Mark Allen

       Amazing High Adventure, published by Marvel Comics, 48 pages, cover price, $2.00.

            Back in the mid-eighties, Marvel Comics published a five-issue series that gathered some of the industry’s top talent.  Purveyors of superior sequential goodness such as Mike Baron, Steve Englehart, Mike Mignola, John and Marie Severin, Val Mayerik, Mark Wheatley, Al Williamson, Bill Mantlo, Steve Bissette and John Bolton collaborated on this project, appropriately entitled Amazing High Adventure

            This anthology series would probably be considered a major undertaking in comics today, and is certainly worthy of inclusion in anyone’s collection.  However, it almost never seems sought out or reviewed by anyone.  “Why is that”, you may ask?  In answer, let's look at some of the laudable characteristics of this series.

Diversity of subject material.  Stories from Napoleonic times, 19th-century American West, and the American Revolution share page-space with tales of early paleontology, modern-day Indonesia, Genghis Kahn's unification of Mongolia and others.

Diversity of art-styles.  I could just put a "see above" indicator here, but it's worth pointing out again that the cream of the artistic crop is represented within these pages. From the beautiful painted style of Bolton to the sketchy, yet quite detailed pencil/ink work of Alan Weiss, as well as the highly-expressive and moody work of Steve (Swamp Thing) Bissette, the series is an eye-popping cornucopia of wonderful art.  When you consider the differing techniques represented, nothing highlights the unique approach of each like sharing space in an anthology.  If you are fans of these artisans, my guess is that this series will remind you of why.

Price point.  Forget the $2.00 cover price.  These exceptional works can be picked out of dealers’ .50, or even .25 cent boxes, or acquired cheaply online.  In times like these, when everyone is pinching pennies, it’s always a joy to find entertaining fare for a pittance. 

      Amazing High Adventure is highly recommended for readers of all ages who love great stories, beautiful artwork and..., well..., high adventure.  Find it at your nearest comics shop, comic conventions, or online retailers and auctions.  But try your local comics shop first.

Review by Mark Allen

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