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Back Issues from Your Local Comic Book Shop No. 3

Batman with the Ninja Turtles? That, 'Back to the Future', and More...

You can find some great stories just flipping through the back issues at your favorite place to buy comics. Though, people seem to be more interested in the cosmetic side of things. The nicer it looks, the more expensive it's going to be. I play the guilty card, though. If it looks like trash, I'm going to find it harder to read.

Any case, I did find some nice looking comics to read. They say not to judge a book by it's cover. But isn't that the fun of comics? Don't find yourself fooled, though. Many a times, the cover is drawn by someone other than the artist of the actual book.

'Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles': Part 5 of 6 (DC/IDW)

June '16

Script- James Tynion IV

Art & Cover- Freddie E. Williams II

Batman Created by Bob Kane & Bill Finger

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Created by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird

"The Shredder is building an army to burn Gotham City to the ground." 

Here's a sentence I thought I'd never hear. Both Batman and Ninja Turtles have crossed over with other comic book heroes over the years, but never did I think they'd cross over with each other. I been wanting to read this for a while now. And now, not only will there be three volumes of this, but I also hear there's going to be an animated feature. I better catch up.

One of the first things I noticed from this book was the art. I rather like the style. I enjoy the loose sketch-style pencils of Freddie Williams. Also, I like the design of the Turtles. I'm pretty picky when it comes to their look. While I dig the stories of this new run with IDW, I'm not a huge fan of their design. As a long-time "Toitles" fan, with a lot of designs to look at over the years, I have a lot to choose from. But I think I can place this up there with the original, Mirage Studios and Image Comics designs.

Shredder and Ra's Al Ghul team up. Again, something I thought I'd never see, but indeed tickles me. And while they're doing their thing, Penguin seems to be helping the good guys out. And among those good guys is good ol' Casey Jones. Put "in a weird cave with a dinosaur," from the mouth of Casey on that list of crazy crossovers.

'Fantastic Four' No. 3 (Legacy No. 648) (Marvel) "Family Reunion"

Jan '19

Writer- Dan Slott

Artists- Sara Pichelli & Nico Leon

Cover Artist- Esad Ribic

Fantastic Four returns after hiatus. What better way to get the band back together, than to get the entire band back together? This issue is a who's who of anyone whoever claimed to be a member of the Fantastic Four. And when I say "claim," I mean, like how Iceman claims to be a member. Human Torch tells him that he never remembers him joining the team. Iceman points to an adventure with Namor, in which a sub-note says it hasn't been told yet. Torch immediately dismisses this, "that doesn't count."

Mr. Fantastic has brought them together for more than just a "family reunion." There's an all-powerful villain that needs defeated. With the surplus of superheroes, including Hulks and Wolverines, Reed and Sue's son, Franklin, seems to be their only hope. Spider-Man tries to give him a pep-talk, "You've got the greatest power of anyone here.... and with that must also come the greatest responsibility....." I chuckled when The Thing picked Spidey up by the neck, "Nope! Not happening." Ben Grimm sets Peter to the side and turns to his nephew. "C'Mon, Frank! Say it with me! It's Clobberin' Time!" Thus, using two famous catchphrases, saying sometimes Thing's simple method is more effective.

'New Gods' No. 24 (DC) "A Matter of Survival"

Mar '91

Writer- Mark Evanier

Penciller- Steve Erwin

Guest-Starring Forever People, both Created by Jack Kirby

Remember that time when DC made a cinematic universe that centered around Jack Kirby's New Gods? Me neither. I suppose if they actually went through with director Zack Snyder's initial plans, I might not have found this comic in the fifty-cent bin. It almost makes you weigh them out on each hand: Jack Kirby on the big screen? Or cheap comic?

Unfortunately, this comic was rather cheap. This issue was a crossover with another Kirby-creation, the Forever People. But this was neither drawn nor written by the King of comics. Though, it is in his style of art. I'm not too familiar with either property. So as I read on, I also found the character's names cheap—names like Big Bear and Beautiful Dreamer.

The story was from a very environmentalist standpoint. The heroes are trying to talk to this CEO whose corporation is harmful to the environment. To tell you the truth, I kind of got lost there. I was more interested in what Darkseid and Desaad were doing behind the scenes. But I guess those were characters that I actually knew about.

'Spawn' No. 10 (Image/Malibu)

May '93

Story- Dave Sim

Art- Todd McFarlane

Dedicated to Don Heck

Flipping through, my eye was caught by this goofy guy on the cover. I knew Cerebus from the times he's crossed over with TMNT. This indie character helped inspire Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in creating their famous franchise. And by the tone of this story, it looks like he inspired Todd McFarlane in creating Spawn.

McFarlane, and many other Marvel artists, left the major company to start Image Comics. Their beef was that Marvel controlled the rights to anything that was created under their umbrella. Did you know that McFarlane created Venom? Or perhaps that Rob Liefeld, another Image co-founder, created both Deadpool and Cable? Cerebus creator, Dave Sim, paved the way for indies back in the Eighties. If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have Spawn or the Ninja Turtles. So not only did Sim lend his character, he also lent his typewriter to help McFarlane tell this quite political story.

The narrator (who insists he's not Spawn, but looks an awful lot like Spawn—is even addressed to as Spawn) discusses a line of men. They're hooded, hands bound, and helpless. Across from them are prison bars. "They are heroes. Champions. Watchmen. Avengers. Defenders. Men of Steel. Women of Tomorrow. Gods of Thunder. Crusaders," says not-Spawn. Through the bars are the gauntlets of Spider-Man, Juggernaut, Batman, Hulk, Wolverine, Doc Ock, and so on. Cerebus tells Not-Spawn that the hooded men are the creators who sold their characters.

At the end, they remind you that "Spawn is a trademark and copyright of Todd McFarlane, and Cerebus is a trademark and copyright of Dave Sim—Forever."

In the letters column of the previous issue, readers criticized McFarlane for his jabs at Marvel. They pointed to the not-so-subtle insults he would draw in Spawn's pages. Every time, the once-Venom creator stood his ground. It was as if he purposely chose those letters to set up this next issue.

'Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train' No. 1 (IDW) "Welcome to the World of Tomorrow: Part One"

December '17

Story by Bob Gale & John Barber

Script by John Barber

Art by Megan Levens

Cover (Cover A: Regular Cover) by Megan Levens & Charlie Kirchoff

Just like the Ninja Turtles, there's been a plethora of looks to choose from. And the look for this take on Back to the Future probably wouldn't be in my top choices. While the art was a thumbs-down, I did like the story, however.

Doc takes his family on vacation to a paradox-safe time-travel park. This Lone Pine Adventure Center promises visitors can "Travel through time and never leave home." I like that the name of this place is a nod to the mall Marty and Doc test the DeLorean in the movie. Notice how at the start of the movie, it's called Twin Pines Mall. And then by the end, once Marty has changed time, it's called Lone Pine Mall.

Those who only watched the movies won't know of the shenanigans Doc's sons can get themselves into. But if you've watched the animated series, you won't bat an eye to the chaos they cause in this. They start off in a Steampunk world inspired by the sons' namesake. Then by the time they're chased into the lobby of the Adventure Center, Jules and Verne have cyberpunk, gladiator, barbarian, and I think even dinosaur robots after them. As they run through the door after door of each world, I'm reminded of the doors Roland and company travel through in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Take a deep sigh that this wasn't the actual time stream.

Clara asks the why the concern of changing something that's still the future to her. I like how Doc breaks it down. While it may be the future for her, it could still be someone's past. 1955 is the year most of the first movie takes place. It's six decades advanced for her. For him, it's his present day. But for Marty, it's years before he was even conceived. Every moment of the so-called future is someone's present and someone else's past. He calls it a "delicate equilibrium."

After their misadventure, and thankfully not inducing any paradoxes, they travel to 1986. Though they may not have created any paradoxes, there might have been one created in my head. They meet up with Marty and Jennifer. This brings us to the very scene at the end of the third movie. Doc and Clara are on the train, and they introduce the boys. Doc's inner monologue says it felt like years since he last saw Marty. But it also feels like yesterday. Evidently, everything that happened in these IDW comics was sandwiched between the two scenes of the movie. 

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