thefourthman had the pick for new comics shipping December 16th and he selected Walt Disney Comics & Stories by Riccardo Secchi and Stefano Turconi.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
All ages books can be a bit of a dicey proposition when it comes to the Review Group. We do have tendency to be more than a bit curmudgeony when it comes to these types of comics, but Mickey and the gang as superheroes has to be fun, right?
Review by Jess Nukem
I've read enough of this board to know that one of the more prolific teen Brit posters absolutely HATES talking animal comics. So I'm not surprised at this underhanded lutzing, it's what I expect out of this site. Go big or go home, or whatever.
However, if you were trying to prove the validity of talking animal comics, this was not the best example to showcase. Unfortunately, Boom! Comics are not reprinting Carl Barks stories so we're SOL. However, this comic was not the kiddy colorful train wreck I'd expected it to be.
The story is just another tired satire of cute, cuddly Disney characters acting as superheroes. Their leader is a non-Disney canon creation who will probably never be seen again after the conclusion of this pastiche. However, he does bear striking similarities to Professor X, showing that X-Men really do go places since the creative team of the comic is European.
The gags are your basic misunderstanding Three's Company style of situations with Donald and Daisy's alter egos fighting like cats and dogs while being each other's squeezes in their civilian lives. The irony is that they keep a secret identity so they don't know that they're really fighting with each other. If this wasn't Disney and that a lot suspension of disbelief was being begged, they might have noticed that their bickering was a little too familiar.
Goofy is just plain goofy and klutzy. Gladstone is too lucky and vain to function. I don't know who the other duck is, I can't remember his name but I never liked him that much. Scrooge is always the asskicker I remember him to be and as he should be. Mickey is just too bland.
And where the heck is Minnie, Pluto, and Clarabelle, the hottest bitch in Disney comics to be found in all of this? Clarabelle would make this comic so much better. Even a simple cameo would be sweet.
Anyway, the writing is a little clunky, but it was translated so you have to give it some leeway to the writer and blame it all on the translator. Because obviously, the artwork is totally capable and dare I say, well paced and with a smooth flow. Writer gets 7/10. Translator 6/10.
The artwork is fantastically cartoony. People pooh-pooh on cartoony artwork in comics, but in a talking animal comic, this guy is like a Joe Madueria. They still look Disney, but it's nicely modernized without too much deviation. I will post some panels later to show the strengths. However, some details are lacking and we're left with quite a few of panels without a background. I also had to a double take since the lettering and the art didn't mesh too well.
But my belief with all age comics, especially ones for children is that they should be able to follow a story without the words since a lot of kids really don't know how to read quite yet. Artwork needs to be clear and easy to follow. It's just basic storytelling. Artist gets 7/10.
But I have a soft spot for Disney comics and this beats Archie any day, especially that marriage train wreck that's going on right now.
So my overall rating is 7 out of 10.
Review by GHERU
This was some of the most fun I have had reading a comic in a while
The art was spot on for what I expected a Disney book to be. Story wise, this book would not only be fun for a 6 year old, but also a parent of a 6 year old to read. Some nice homage’s to the X-Men and Booster Gold. Of course the humor was simple and juvenile, it’s a kids book, and it read just like I think a cartoon of this would have been written if this had aired during the after-school years of Duck Tales and Darkwing Duck.
The amount of comic I got for 2.99 was outstanding, and I look forward to giving this book to my neighbor's kid and helping to get him into reading, and comic books.
A book like this, with an easy to understand plot that continues to the next issue but is not dependent on a previous one is exactly what can "hook" children on to comics. For me it was Rocky And Bullwinkle, and for my brother it was Ren & Stimpy
Story - 8
Art - 8
Value - 9 (not weighed equally)
Overall 8.2 (ish)
Review by amlah6
This comic wasn't really for me. It's written for kids and it reads like it. The Donald and Daisy stuff was cute, but that was the only portion of the comic that held my interest. Other than the major players (Mickey/Goofy/Donald/Daisy/Scrooge) I wasn't familiar with most of the cast so that made it a bit hard to get into and the length was also kind of a problem. For something like this I'd rather the comic be a short burst of fun, this felt like it was long just for the sake of being long.
Review by Chris
I'm sorry, but I can't review this with an unbiased point of view. I didn't think I'd like it going in, and... it sucked. Self-fulfilling prophecy or not. It clearly wasn't written for me, so maybe it's good for its intended audience, but I don't see it. For this same reason.
The art, however, was pretty good for what it was.
Review by john lewis hawk
Story-wise, that was really, really basic even for a kid's story. Having Mickey & Co. as superheroes was on the lame side and except for Donald and Daisy, none of the characters stood out.
Art-wise, it was better than I expected.
Review by thefourthman
"First off, let it be noted that the art team here does an extraordinary job. European comics are often noted for their art, but to have classic American characters recreated with such skill and still be instantly familiar feeling is a treat. Dalena and Gula should be commended for the feat. Chunky style is not void of fine line work and the colors are dynamic. It is stunning to see a kids' book that looks this accomplished. Maybe Marvel’s Oz series isn’t the pinnacle of all ages artwork.
The story is your normal superhero fare. There is a super team, the Disney Ultraheroes, facing off with a team of villains, the Sinister 7. There is a new member trying to prove himself and secret identities are a big concern. This issue even lets the classic comic trope of having superhero action be big news for media outlets creep into the panels.
If the writers did not inject the Disney stable of characters from Mickey to Peg-Leg Pete to Uncle Scrooge into the script there would be nothing to talk about here. That they do more than just interject the Disney faces into costumes shows the enduring love for Walt’s cartoons. The voices are pitch perfect and the humor right in line with the modus operandi of the mother company’s output - be it classic Goofy shorts or Darkwing Duck. It just feels right and that is a big thing. "
To read thefourthman's full review, go here: http://brokenfrontier.com/reviews/p/detail/walt-disneys-comics-stories-701
For adults story 4
A fun and delightful book. I am glad there is a bunch of hype surrounding Boom's revitalization of the Disney comics, it is well deserved and hopefully Disney and Boom can both profit from a long and healthy partnership.
Review by starlord
I ended up reading this twice. Second time I had to really adjust my thinking to remember that time in my very young life when these were the comics that I loved. I kind of got there, but it was a struggle.
Still, it was cute. Can't wait to give it to my 7 year old son to read. I'm interested to see what he thinks. I can't be fair to this book by looking at it through the eyes of a 43 year old man, so I'm rating this one by using that inner child that still lurks in all of us.
My Score: 7.75
Review by Jubilee
From the time I started reading the previously page, I knew this comic wasn't for me. Something about an ultra team getting rid of the ultrapods. Ultra this, Ultra that. I hate repetitive dialogue in comics, and this was a chore to get through. I originally stopped when the evil guy was like
"This is why you can't rely on criminals.
*a panel of him standing there
"Except me of course" The dialogue is just cringeworthy, and obviously aimed at kids. nothing wrong with that if you are a kid, but it's a chore to get through at this age. I see other people are mentioning the fact that they changed the review if they were a kid. I'm not to be doing that, I don't think it's fair on other books I havn't changed my aspect of reading for.
The cloverleaf fight sold it for me, it was just a bunch of random events which I guess would have been funnier if I was a kid. The art was sound enough though
Review by Punchy
Story - I reviewed an issue of Mickey Mouse & Friends for the front page recently, and found it an interesting and enjoyable romp, it took these classic characters and put them in a fantasy milieu, it was different from what I was expecting. This issue of WDC&S was also different from my expectations, but not necessarily in a good way. Like the other series put Mickey and Pals in a fantasy context, this puts them into a superhero one. Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and others now have superpowers, and are fighting super villains to save the world.
It's very standard stuff, anyone who has read any superhero comic ever will be familiar here, the only thing that sets this apart from anything else from Marvel or DC is that instead of hyper-muscled steroid freaks punching each other, its cartoon ducks. But then again, there is Howard. I just couldn't find anything here to hook me apart from the novelty of seeing Mickey Mouse as a superhero, it's a stretched out webcomic sketch really. From my limited knowledge of Disney Comics (they've never been particularly big in the UK, which is odd, since across Europe they are massive, this issue is an Italian translation) I expect quiet humour set in Duckburg or something, not mildly amusing superheroics. I want something different from Disney, and here it's just the same as 80% of mainstream comics. Now whether that's an indictment of Disney or Marvel and DC, that's up to you, but still, Disney should be playing to their own strengths and genres. Fittingly, my favourite scenes were the ones that involved Scrooge McDuck and the Beagle Boys, characters who are here no different than their classic selves.
The dialogue in this issue was pretty stilted at times, but it is a translation, so I can forgive that, they did their job well, this is a comic for kids and should be easy for them to follow.
It's not all bad, there are some interesting twists and ideas, I liked the character of Cloverleaf and how his luck powers worked, that was some genuinely funny stuff. And the Donald/Daisy relationship, with neither of them realizing the other was a superhero was clever. But apart from that, the villains were stock, the characterization was negligible and I was only mildly diverted from the snow outside. Not the best book.
I suppose this book would be a good way to get a young child into superhero comics, using characters they know, but they all know Batman or Spider-Man anyway, and you could just start them off on Marvel Adventures or Johnny DC. Boom! would do well to let Disney comics stand on their own, and not try to put them into other genres, as an adult reader, I want Carl Barks from Disney, not Jack Kirby. It may sound hypocritical for me to want these comics to be more classic, but it's not nostalgia, I have no nostalgia for these books, I didn't grow up with them, I just want more variety in comics, and this is just another superhero book now, when it could be something different.
Art - The artwork in this issue was probably the best part of it, it was expressive and European, but also fit in with the classic Disney style. It was loose at times, and that worked. I think what it reminded me the most of was Ben Caldwell's art in Wednesday Comics Wonder Woman, a strip which got some criticism, but I really enjoyed. Turconi is a very good artist, and I'd like to see him on some more traditional Disney style stories.
Best Line - 'What good is Midnight without a Midnight snack?' Wise words Fat Duck dude.
Review by Old Man
I love this series. In fact, it is one of my favorite series of all time. That pretty much assures this issue of a great review, right? Nope.
As I showed elsewhere on this site, http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=33702, I really love WDC&S. And part of what I liked was that it was an anthology title. There were always several stories in every issue, with the occasional continued story. This issue has only one story, and is but one part of many...10 parts, if I remember the solicitation properly.
Another part was that the art style was pretty much consistent other the years. One could certainly tell that there were different artists doing the work, but it was all pretty much of the house style.* This book isn't of that style, and I find that disturbing. To be fair, I also found it to be disturbing in some stories that Gemstone published during the last five years.
These are cartoon characters, but they don't work best when drawn to be cartoony.** It is the 'realism' of the art, if you see the point, that makes the universe more palatable. When every panel has outrageous drawings, no panel can stand out. When all the panels feel the same, the dynamics of the story are muted.
I'd have to give this a 6. It's professionally done, but nothing I'd continue to read. In fact, I had already stopped buying it with issue 699, the first that BOOM! published. I have many of the older issues, and have every issue since number 511, first published by Gladstone back in 1984. I'm sorry to break that run, but this has become just another average comic book. With so many books on the market these days, this had finally become unimportant to me.
* Most companies have a house style. It varies from time to time. Archie has had the most consistent style, that of Dan DeCarlo, but even that is changing.
** Not that this is overly cartoony, but still. Of similar vein, but something that completely offends me, is the tendency of morning radio 'humor', where one person says something that's not even mildly amusing, and the three co-hosts howl with laughter for 12.37 seconds. If everything is funny (which, in this case, isn't), it all becomes the same...background noise. Ever notice that most action movies have a slow moment or two just before the ultimate action? It eases the tension before heading again to the ultimate climactic moments.
Review by House of J
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I think BOOM! is one of the strongest publishers out there right now. Rather than be bought by Marvel or something, I'd like to see where they're at in 5 years if they continue to put out top-quality comics and take interesting chances like DADOES and publish fun books for kids using licensed properties kids like. (Of course, what happens when the current licensed Disney properties remains to be seen--I won't bore you with the rumors I've heard.)
Sooner or later I knew I was going to stumble upon a BOOM! offering I couldn't rave about. I've flipped through some of the other BOOM Kids! offerings from time to time, enough to help pin down what it is about WDC #701 I don't like. First off, the writing.
Or maybe I should say, probably the translation. The dialogue and humor felt flat to me. Honestly? I don't see a lot here that would make a kid laugh. As a book dealer, I know the importance of a good translation, which can make a certain edition sought after while burying others in obscurity due to a notoriously lousy translation. Although it might seem intuitively obvious that a kids comic would be vastly easier to translate than a longer more adult text, and they probably are, it's those little jokes and nuances of speech that can ruin an otherwise sound translation. A youthful reader would be unlikely to note the names in the credits and realize this is probably translated from eye-talian, originally published as part of the popular European Disney comics line. I would simply think, "Not funny." Of course, it may be a great translation of a dull script. One thing we know for sure kids, the fat duck eats too much and women worry about fat thighs!
Another problem I had was especially early in this issue I found some of the changes of scene from panel to panel slightly confusing, with no indicator of a scene-switch, and little in the cadence of the text to clue me in either. This isn't a problem later, when the switches are cued with a "Meanwhile" editorial box and the like. I find these useful--without them it's less like a comic and more like a cartoon, but they are effective to establishing the story beats on paper to me. They are part of my memory of reading as a child as well.
The artwork had it's good points and bad to me. This is Disney heavily influenced by a modern design style. It's not 100% to my taste, I miss the solid line work and backgrounds I remember from the days when I read Scrooge McDuck and friends years ago. But I recognize this is an extremely popular style peeking through here--although I am predisposed to view the panels lacking backgrounds as indicators of a rushed job or pennies pinched. The illustration of Uncle Scrooge and various on the inside back cover is the kind of style I like for this kind of comic.
It could be the result of the translation, but I really don't think there was a spark here to grab a kid's attention away from tv, dvds, video games, internets, etc. Disney's decades of solid branding and expert marketing have shown people are very loyal to these characters, though, one way or another.
Review by guitarsmashley
This wasn't a bad comic. Certainly not what some members are making it out to be. Is it a dumb comic? Yes. Is it trying to be something it isn't? Not at all. It's an unpretentious comic for children. I mean anyone who didn't get the, "Are you planning on luring a child into your car with this?" look as you were buying it with your copy of Captain America reborn. The art is Disney style so all the characters look like they're supposed to no big deal but the story is where this book shines. This comic isn't aimed at me but for the crowd it is aimed at would probably love it. For a 9 year old this would be a great first comic. It's with this consideration I give the score of 6.8
Review by 48THRiLLS
This was not a bad comic by any means but it is definitely not something I would have got on my own or continue reading here on after. I did snicker at a few things here and there but I was never been a big fan of Disney characters growing up so I was left feeling kinda eh. I do think it would probably be a fun comic to read to your kids but as a 32 year old guy I think I was not the target demographic for this so it makes it really hard to give a score to. I will say that Cloverleaf as a character is pretty genius. The art was fine, they looked exactly how they should. I don't think this is the type of book that is gonna wow you with amazing 2 page spreads and stuff.
That gives Walt Disney Comics & Stories #701 a group score of 5.85. That's probably better than it sounds.
For further discussion of this book or to witness the latest fourthman/Punchy nerd fight, join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=33607) found in the News Stand forum where you are also invited to post your own review.
Chris has the pick for December 23rd and he has selected Hellboy: The Bride of Hell One-Shot from Dark Horse Comics. Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to post your own review.
Hellboy: The Bride of Hell One-Shot
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Richard Corben
A year after their Eisner-nominated collaboration Hellboy: The Crooked Man, horror comics legends Corben and Mignola reunite!
A nineteen-year-old girl is kidnapped and Hellboy tracks her down to a remote clearing in France where she's about to be given to Asmodeus, in a strange tale of ghosts, demonic revenge, lost love, and King Solomon.
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