In Hedging Your Bets, Chris Sims attempt to get up to speed on Sonic the Hedgehog, the longest running uninterrupted American monthly comic on the stands, in the hopes of making it all the way to the finish line.
This week, we get started at Sonic #221, and folks... I have questions.
As far as opening lines go, "This is bad, right? Bebop and Rocksteady just traveled through time to who knows where!" is probably one of the more ominous starts that a comic has ever had. I mean, really, considering those two dudes can't even walk into a building without bringing the whole thing down around their heads, giving them access to the time stream can only be bad.
For the people in that universe, I mean. For those of us here in this dimension who are reading the comic, we're in for a treat as Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver, Sophie Campbell, Giannis Milonogiannis and Bill Crabtree chronicle the second stop on the destructive duo's trip through the time stream: A journey back to the distant past of the year 2000 (and another journey back to dinosaur times for a team-up with the demonic master of the Cretaceous, Savanti Romero! Check out a preview below!
If there's one thing that drives Bebop and Rocksteady more than anything else, it's that they are massive, unstoppable screwups. Those dudes can't even go into a building without bringing the whole thing down to its foundation and kicking off a gang war, so just imagine how much trouble they could get into if they had access to, say, the entire time stream.
This June, that's exactly what's happening. Over at the AV Club, IDW has announced Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything, in which the eternal misfits of the TMNT franchise find themselves bouncing around through time itself courtesy of writers Dustin Weaver and Ben Bates, with a cast of artists that includes Nick Pitarra, Sophie Campbell, Giannis Milonogiannis, and Ryan Browne. And if that wasn't enough, they're bringing a few old friends along for the ride, too!
IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic is exactly my jam. I wrote about it a few months back when I finally dived into the series, and the incredible mix of sci-fi, the supernatural, romance and, of course, teenage mutant ninja action has made it one of those comics where I almost don't want to keep reading because I know I'm going to run out and have to wait around until there's more.
This week, though, I finally got around to digging into City Fall, the big event that the series was building to since it started. I'd been saving that one for when I had some time to go through it, and I wasn't surprised at all to find out that it's great, full of well-crafted character-driven action that brought together everything that happened in the series up to that point. What did surprise me, though, is that I came away from it having actual feelings about Rocksteady and Bebop for the first time ever. Seriously.
Back when it first started up, I wrote a review of Archie's Mega Man comic where I called it "the smartest superhero comic on the stands," mostly because of the way that it took on some pretty serious ideas without detracting from the accessible, all-ages adventure that made it such a fun read. That bit in the first arc where Mega Man starts to withdraw from his family, becoming cold and, well, robotic because of the psychological toll of destroying other robots like himself is still one of my favorite scenes in comics from the past few years.
Forty issues later, I can still stand by that statement. Mega Man hasn't just continued building one of the most enjoyably action-packed stories around the bare-bones plot of "go right, shoot robots" that it got from the video games, it's also having conversations about ethics, forgiveness and what it means to love someone that nobody else in comics is coming close to. And it's great.
Listen, I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic a lot, but if there's one crucial flaw in the entire franchise, it's that it's not about superheroes. I mean, honestly, I like friendship and peppy songs as much as anyone, but how am I supposed to enjoy those things in comic book form if they do not also involve using phenomenal powers to concuss evildoers?
Fortunately for me, that problem has been neatly solved by writer Ted Anderson (also known as NPR's Chief Brony Correspondent), artist Ben Bates and colorist Heather Breckel, in the pages of next week's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Annual 2014. It seems there are now pony superheroes and, more importantly, thematic pony villains who are dressed as hot-rod mummies. Really.
Two heroes are down as Shredder advances his plot to take New York City in next week's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #23. Writers Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman's "City Fall" storyline kicked off last month, giving fans a taste of what kind of shocking transformation may be in store for one of the Green machines, and this month artist Mateus Santolouco (along with alternate cover artists Dan Duncan, Andy Kuhn, Ben Bates, Ross Campbell and Dave Wachter) turns up the tension as a team short on allies prepares to confront multiple foes.
While the full cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic have been up to Moon-based shenanigans over in their ongoing series, they're also galloping through solo adventures in the pages of the My Little Pony Micro-Series. It's been a series of one-shot adventures where Twilight Sparkle has dealt with an agoraphobic novelist, Rainbow Dash has slugged it out with weather goblins, and now, it's Pinkie Pie's turn.
There are places that are nice to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. There are also places that are... terrible to visit, terrible to live and completely miserable to be stranded in. For Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, their newfound Neutrino allies and the Fugitoid, Dimension X is totally that kind of place in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #18 - especially as General Krang and his army of craggy goons fire a seemingly ceaseless burst of red lasers at them, Cobra style...
When IDW supplied us with an early look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #17 by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Ben Bates, I confess I gave brief pause. I was stoked to see the relaunched comics debut of the previously 1987 animated series-centric Neutrinos, but wasn't sure how the characters would be incorporated into a series that's a bit more rooted in classic comics continuity...
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