Flash Gordon: The Invasion of the Red Sword ends here. I’ve found the latest mini-series from Ardden Entertainment more frustrating than the first but it’s had just enough moments to make me pick up the final issue which finds Flash Gordon uniting the various factions of Mongo to drive the Earth soldiers known as the Red Sword off of Mongo and back to Earth.
Once again the comic relies far too much on paragraphs of exposition and dialogue, especially from Flash and Zarkov. The actual battle only takes place on a few scatter panels between character discussions of the situation and flashbacks to Zarkov’s past and his connection with the leader of the Red Sword.
It’s not a great conclusion, but it does wrap up the main story as well as lay the foundation for the next mini-series which looks to have more of Ming and Queen Azura. Hit-and-Miss.
[Ardden Entertainment, $3.99]
- Title: Covert Affairs – What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
- tv.com: link
While keeping up appearances at her Smithsonian cover Annie (Piper Perabo) is approached by an agent (Tony Curran) of MI6, who, not knowing who Annie really works for, tries to recruit her to work for the British Government. Annie takes an immediate shine to Kenneth (Curran) and, with Joan’s (Kari Matchett) approval, gets her first taste of life as a double-agent.
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Captain America, Sharon Carter, Moon Knight, and Black Widow go undercover in the East European city of Symkaria to uncover the source of what they believe to be the black market sale of Super Soldier Serum to the Shadow Council. What they uncover, however, is far more interesting.
It turns out the mysterious weapon being sold isn’t a drug at all, but magical properties of ancient creatures which can possess and enhance a person’s abilities, strength, and skill.
Intriguing story by writer Warren Ellis, and I like the twist when the team finds something they weren’t expecting. There’s also a nice scene between Black Widow and Agent 13 about whether they can trust the word of a guy who believes he’s empowered by an Egyptian god when he tells them the soldiers are possessed.
Warren Ellis is proving to be a good match for this book. I’ve only been disappointed with one of the issues since he took on the title, and I’m looking forward to see what else he might have in store for this team. Worth a look.
The rabbit ronin’s wanderings lead him to cross paths with a quartet of ice runners who he finds under attack by a gang of bandits.
After lending his help Usagi Yojimbo learns the from the remaining ice runners that they are carrying ice from the frozen mountains (in the middle of summer) for their Lord Ito who will present the ice as his gift to Lord Hijiki who will be visiting the province the following day.
Not only is the honor of the their lord at stake, but the Lord Ito has made a wager with Lord Motooka on his clan’s ability to deliver the ice, and, as Usagi knows far too well, Motooka doesn’t mind playing dirty.
Usagi offers his assistance to the remaining runners. Although he isn’t able to save their lives when they are attacked again, he is able to deliver the ice and save their clan’s honor.
Another great tale by artist and writer Stan Sakai. Worth a look.
[Dark Horse, $3.50]
Now that the Annihilators and Avengers have stopped beating the snot out of each other and taken down the base of the Universal Church of Truth on Earth they’re faced with a new problem. The Magnus has been reborn, his essence has been implanted in a group of human children and grows more powerful every second.
The two team’s quibbling on moral grounds about what to do with the children leads to even great problems when the Magnus imprints himself on 30% of the U.S. population and an army of Templeships show up to collect their deities.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot get the short end of the stick again, only earning a total of five pages here which sees the pair jumping through various simulations run by Mojo. (The ads for Rocket Raccoon and Groot action figures are a nice touch. Maybe someone at Marvel should actually get on that.)
With only one issue left it looks like both stories (even if the second isn’t being given as many pages as I’d like) look set to go out with a bang. Worth a look.
- Title: The Smurfs
- IMDB: link
The Smurfs were a staple of my Saturday morning cartoons growing up. For those unfamiliar, Smurfs are small blue magical creatures named after their most prominent characteristic (giving us characters like Handy Smurf, Jokey Smurf, Poet Smurf, Sneezy Smurf, and the like). They live in mushroom houses, feed on Smurfberries, and spend most of their time singing and hiding from an evil wizard who wants to destroy them.
Fleeing from the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) a handful of Smurfs find themselves pulled through a magical portal into our world. Now Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters), Smurfette (Katy Perry), Grouchy (George Lopez), Brainy (Fred Armisen), Gutsy (Alan Cumming), and Clumsy (Anton Yelchin) find themselves in New York. To find their way home they enlist the help of a stressed out marketer (Neil Patrick Harris) with an egomaniacal boss (Sofía Vergara) and a pregnant wife (Jayma Mays).
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Thanks to a super EMP whammy Central City in a total blackout, every electronic device including cars and planes are non-functional, and so its up to the Flash to save 3.5 million people from the dark.
As the Flash races around the city the clones of Manuel close in on the original and Iris West‘s trip to Iron Heights prison, now in dark lockdown, gets the intrepid female reporter far closer to one of the Flash’s Rogues than she ever wanted.
Once again Francis Manapul gives us a strong story to go along with some absolutely beautiful art. There are also a couple of fun moments here including Barry on horseback and some early narration explaining how the Flash learned how to use his speed in various ways (and why he never drinks coffee).
Fans of the Golden Age should also pay attention to the mention Keystone City, especially now that we know some form of an Earth-2 Justice Society of America is scheduled as part of DC’s New 52. Best of the week.
- Title: Leverage – The Experimental Job
- tv.com: link
The team is hired to investigate a psychology student (Jonathan Keltz) who is running sleep deprivation studies on former soldiers suffering from shell-shock including a homeless man whose daughter (Meredith Adelaide) is sure the experiment is what caused her father’s death.
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In Shame Michael Fassbender stars as a sex addict whose unique lifestyle is interrupted by the unannounced arrival of his equally screwed up sister (Carey Mulligan) who decides to stay on his couch for an indefinite period of time. Nicole Beharie, Alex Manette, Hannah Ware, Elizabeth Masucci, James Badge Dale, and Anna Rose Hopkins also star. The NC-17 rated film opens in theaters in select cities on Friday.
It’s a new week so it must be time to talk about comics! Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls. Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we offer you this quick list of all kinds of comic book goodness set to hit comic shops and bookstores this week from all your favorite publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.
This week includes Angel & Faith, Archie, Avengelyne, Avengers Origins: Thor, Fables, FF, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Hack/Slash, Irredeemable, Queen Sonja, Savage Dragon, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Trek, Super Dinosaur, Tiny Titans, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Uncanny X-Men, The Walking Dead Weekly, X-Men Legacy, the first issues of Atlas Unified, Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Uncharted, and the final issues of Herc, Jack Avarice is the Courier, Red Skull, and Samurai’s Blood.
Enjoy issue #156
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