Sunday, March 7, 2010

Comics Reviews: DISNEY'S HERO SQUAD #2 and WIZARDS OF MICKEY #2 (Boom! Kids, February 2010)

I'm probably encouraging slovenly "sack thinking" by bundling together reviews of each of these comics for the second issue in a row, but the issues' high points and flaws are pretty much identical to those seen in last month's "collector's editions." We do seem to get a "turning point" of sorts in WIZARDS OF MICKEY, but the "moment of truth" is snatched back almost as quickly as we progress into the next phase of the story line.

For much of its Ultraheroes-themed length, HERO SQUAD #2 seems like a rehash of the battles of issue #1: Fethry "The Red Bat" and The Phantom Blot continue their tiff over Ultrapod-5, while John D. "Roller Dollar" Rockerduck strains to get some sort of reaction out of a slumbering Iron Gus (even resorting to cybertronic solicitors and collection agents!) as he hunts for Pod-6. Writer Giorgio Salati's characterization of the shape-shifting Blot -- that of a supercilious wordsmith and lint-picker -- is the highlight of the affair and one of the funnier takes on The Blot that I've seen to date. Example: as The Blot attempts to escape with Pod-5, he hectors Fethry for still calling himself "The Red Bat" even though he's wearing the Ultraheroes' standard-issue blue costume. The 12-page installment ends with the Ultraheroes holding the short end of the lollipop, though a battle in the sewers between Duck Avenger and The Blot looms. DA and The Blot are styled "the two team champions" -- though a couple of the Ultra's (especially Super Daisy, despite her recent warming-up to Donald's heroic i.d.) might debate the former point -- so I'm figuring that the end of the Ultramachine story arc may finally be upon us. The fact that the first HERO SQUAD reprint book, SAVE THE WORLD, is being solicited for next week also suggests that we're getting close to some sort of "end." But where is Mickey, and will the Beagle Boys ever let Scrooge escape from prison? So many subplots, so little time... The conclusion of "The Thief of Zanzipar" from SUPER GOOF #1 rounds out the issue, and my guess is that we'll be getting the origin of Duck Avenger next, unless Boom! decides to devote the entire length of #3 to wrapping up the Ultramachine saga.

WIZARDS OF MICKEY #2 has a fair amount going for it. The artwork, by Marco Mazzarello and Vitale Mangiatordi, is some of the series' best -- and, in the wrap-up to part #5, both "The Lord of Deception" and Mickey's erstwhile master, Nereus, appear to meet a "final fate" of sorts. Unfortunately, one of these characters is apparently slated for another one of those "we were only kiddin', folks!" comebacks that DC and Marvel fans know so well. Sigh. At least "Team Diamond Moon" (Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle) make their comeback at the beginning of part #6, "Witches at the Palace" (sounds like a sequel to Wicked to me), as they join "Wizards of Mickey" in the "Great Flower City" of Arborea for the next stage of the sorcery tournament. A new threat soon emerges in the person(s) of "Team Jinx," a trio of evil female magicks that features Magica De Spell (about time the writers went there, don't you think?). The next battle, the biggest one yet, will feature "team captains" only. Mickey (who's now received the official blessing of his "dearly departed" master to go for the tournament title) and Princess Minnie (who's still trying to bring her stone subjects back to life) are locks for the honor, but the squabbling "Team Jinx" may have a spot of trouble picking a champion...

3 comments:

Aaron said...

Hi Chris,

Glad you liked the Phantom Blot's dialogue...just wanted to let you know it wasn't present in the original Italian script, but a decision to punch up this version of the character up by Christopher Burns and myself. Disney liked the idea, and from the initial feedback we've received it seems to have pleased fans as well.

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris:

As for the Blot’s hectoring of Feathry… You, of all people, must know “He’s mean, Mean, MEAN! Know what I mean?”

Joe.

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

I do acknowledge the ULTRAHEROES Blot's resemblance to the DUCKTALES Blot, but the former is very much his own character as well -- more of a Felix Unger type than an over-the-top ranter. In my column for THFT! I referred to him as a "shape-shifting metrosexual"!

Chris