Action Lab Action Station

Princeless #4 by Jeremy Whitley & M. Goodwin

So the end of the first arc is finally here, but the story is just beginning. After proving that they can do comedy as well as provide a deeper message the team of Whitley & Goodwin prove they can also do action as Adrienne & Belodonia face down the King’s guard. While most of the book is taken up with resolving last issue’s story & kicking off the adventure proper for our two heroines the book manages a smooth gear change at the end to hook the reader’s interest for the next arc. We finally get to see some more of Adrienne’s mother, a character who had spent most of the previous issues in the background. While her moment in the spotlight is brief it does carry some weight & I for one look forward to learning more of this character in coming issues.  Not to be outdone by Whitley’s writing however Goodwin charges through the gate delivering her best performance yet in terms of pencils & colours. Princeless has always been a pretty book to look at but this issue sees Goodwin delivering the quiet  more emotional moments with the same grace & precision she has for the louder & faster ones. Overall this is great stuff & if you haven’t read Princeless yet then you really should change that. While this is obviously not the best jumping on point, the trade that’s due out in a couple of months is & comes highly recommended by such luminaries as me. You can preorder it here.

Space Time Condominium by Dave Dwonch.

The first season of the show that was is finally here collected together for the very first time so you can relive all the classic moments from this cancelled Canadian sitcom all over again. On first reading STC it’s kind of hard to know where the story begins & the joke ends, but in realities its best not to think about it or it’ll hurt your head, much like it hurts Griffin Griffin’s head as he tries to figure out what’s going on when he takes up the opportunity to live rent free in a condo with himself, himself & some other versions of himself, all from parallel universes! STC is a book that’s so Meta were it an actual show it would almost certainly warrant a commentary track by Troy & Abed. Credit where it’s due though Dave Dwonch does a fine job of selling the book as a complete package. From the contents page as a DVD menu to the interviews with the stars of the show that bookend the story that even if the humour isn’t entirely up your street, it’s hard not to respect the sheer effort that has gone into making STC seem so real that you end up searching for the  series on Amazon. Of course Meta might not be your thing, but even so the chances are you’ll be too busy laughing at Space Time Condo to care.

Exo-1 & the Rock Solid Steelbots by Shawn Prior, Adam Besenyodi & Daniel Logan.

Back in the days of old when I had more hair on my head than I did the rest of my body  I was given the gift of a TV to put in my bedroom which meant I could get up early & watch Saturday morning cartoons without disturbing my parents. The TV was black & white & as such so are many of my memories of Saturday Morning TV. I share this little trip down memory lane with you because Exo-1 is a story that feels like it could have been a Saturday morning cartoon & the fact that it was in B&W felt somewhat appropriate. That said, like when I was a child, I wasn’t going to complain, but I was secretly wishing it was in colour. Exo-1 tells the story of Peter Rians, a media mogul who inherits a set of bracelets from the ghost of his grandfather. Instead of having to figure out which of his suits the bracelets would go best with Peter finds that the bracelets solve this problem by attaching themselves to anyone who happens to be passing by & then bestowing super suits of their own, as well as powers & access to a set of giant robots. Exo-1 sets off at a remarkably solid trot & doesn’t let up till the end, throwing everything it has at the reader on every page. The writing & artwork serve the story well enough though they tend to get a little confusing in places as you try to keep track of who is who & why they are doing what. If anything Exo-1 could probably have done with a couple of fewer ideas to allow the rest some space to breathe. Nonetheless, it will awaken fond memories for anyone who enjoyed Voltron, Power Rangers or anything of that ilk & while others may simply look upon it with some confusion those of us that do enjoy such things will probably start humming some form of imaginary theme music to it in their head as they read.

Globworld #2 & #3– By Jeremy Whitley & Chad Cicconi (#2), & Kevin Freeman & Andrew Charipar (#3).

Action Lab’s child friendly licensed property carries on for these 2 issues in much the same way as it has the last 2 (which is no bad thing). Issue 2 sees the premier of Hugh Macglue’s new movie taking place (Imagine a Glob version of Jason Statham in a kilt & you’re on your way). Everyone is there & eager to get a glimpse of the star, but there are some nasty Blobs about who don’t want everyone to enjoy the party. Meanwhile issue 3 sees Professor Floob revealing a secret from the past when he is invited to help make the best Bacon Marshmallow surprise ever.  In the back up story (which ties into both main stories very nicely) Monty B Banana’s is still on the bullying case & starting to put the pieces together. What’s perhaps most impressive about Glob World is that the creative teams manage to weave all the separate plots together while still making the book completely understandable for children. Throughout all this the artwork is incredibly consistent while each individual artist stands out as recognisable from his counterpart.  This is a great book if you want something to read with a young child & even if you can’t work out what’s going on the chances are they’ll love it so much they’ll glart.

Monsters Are Just Like Us by Super Ugly.

Not so much a comic as it is a picture book (& a remarkably attractive one for a book written by a person named Super Ugly), Monsters is certainly the most unique (& memorable) package in amongst this month’s AL books dealing with, as the title implies, the fact that monsters are just like us. On first reading it’s difficult to know if the book is aimed at children or adults. On a second reading you think it’s possibly both. On a third reading you realise it’s probably worth buying two copies, just in case…