Monday, April 30, 2012

Comics Review: RICHIE RICH GEMS #47 (Ape Entertainment, 2012)

"Aliens and robots" are the focus in the latest issue of RR GEMS, but for longstanding Harvey fans, at least, the true novelty unearthed here has very little to do with "little green men" or "buckets of bolts." Ernie Colon and Sid Jacobson's latest new offering, "Aliens Have Landed!", with its contrived scenario of a group of larcenous Hungarian illegals posing as green-skinned invaders ("aliens," get it?  Get it?), would rank as nothing more than a run-of-the-mill, slightly illogical quickie were it not for a shocking throwaway revelation.  Something immediately seems to be up when Reggie's Dad, Reginald Van Dough, appears in several early panels as an apparently subordinate business associate of Mr. Rich.  This is strange, inasmuch as the business affairs of the elder Rich and senior Van Dough very rarely intersected in the "classic" comics.  The cruel truth soon emerges; in pleading with Richie to satisfy the aliens' demands for cash, Reggie admits that the Van Doughs can't help with the payout "since the recession killed our business and my Dad has to work for yours!".  I believe that "stunned silence" is an appropriate response here.  The revelation is especially shocking in light of the fact that, since Reggie's mother Vanessa is Mrs. Rich's sister, the Van Dough family should presumably be wealthy independent of any business ventures on Reginald Van Dough's part.  Please don't tell me that Reginald VD blew his family's fortune on dubious business ventures!  I could believe that of John Larroquette's Laurence Van Dough in the live-action Richie Rich movie, but not of the fellow who deserved some sort of "Job Memorial Medal" for enduring his son's pranks and tantrums for so long.  Does this mean that Reggie and his sister Penny -- who was just recently "formally reintroduced" to a 21st century audience in RR GEMS #46 -- will be forced to *gulp!* take  part-time jobs in future "neo-classic" stories?  The possibilities are intriguing, to say the least.  I just wish that Ernie and Sid had shed a bit more light on what exactly happened here.  Given Sid's track record as both writer and editor, of course, there's always the distinct possibility that the next new story will simply return us to the status quo ante

"Classic" RICHIE tales featuring space aliens very, VERY rarely worked, so I'm glad that Ape saw fit to give us Dom Sileo's "Stowaways to Zod" as the issue's featured reprint.  In that tale, would-be "crooked genius" I.Q. Braynee (villains with such obvious names very rarely wind up delivering the goods that their monikers promise) and his thieving band are merely playing at space-invading.  (Say, wait a sec... wasn't that the theme of Ernie and Sid's new story as well??  Well, in this case, I'd rather endure a semi-do-over than read a full-length piece of extraterrestrial foolishness on the order of Ben Brown's two-page "The Woolies."  Creating a highly dubious alien race for the sake of a lame last-panel gag... please.)  Interestingly, the main "robot"-themed reprint herein, Ernie Colon's "Servo," also deals in fakery, with Mr. Rich (and, by proxy, Richie) pulling Cadbury's chain by introducing him to a supposed "perfect servant robot" that just may have designs on Cadbury's job.  Anyone familiar with the RICH RESCUE material released to date (and who isn't -- we've spent so much time together already, in various forms and venues) will not be surprised to learn that the obligatory RESCUE reprint used here is Tom DeFalco and Armando Zanker's "Ma Ma My iRona."  In that one, you may recall, Reggie won the services of iRona for one day by bidding one million dollars.  I guess the Van Doughs have yet to feel the recession's bite in the RICH RESCUE world.  As to when said world will resume operations...?

1 comment:

Joe Torcivia said...

Take heart, Chris!

Mr. Van Dough can always do whatever it was that Flintheart Glomgold did after the (still infamous and horrible after all these years) “Scrooge’s Quest” to regain his fortune and be “good as new” by the next time we see him!

Even *I* must hand it to Sid and Ernie for still plugging away! They MUST be the only “Silver Age team” still working together this far into the 21st Century! Hoo-ray for them!