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KIDS CORNER REVIEWS FOR: MARCH 2007

"COMICBOOK MAN"
"Parents, we get dozen's of kid friendly titles in every week. Which ones are gem's and which ones aren't? That's what the reviews below are for. Every week our crack review staff picks through that weeks kids releases and reviews the titles you may be interested."

KIDZ CORNER COMIC REVIEW:
WALT DISNEY'S COMICS & STORIES #679

a GEMSTONE ongoing series
Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date:
032807

Thatís not a misprint; 679 issues and counting. Thereís something to be said about that kind of longevity in this disposable age. I think it also says something about the timeless appeal of the Disney characters. Generations come and go but these characters still thrive. This issue of the perennial favorite contains seven short stories. The lead story has an Easter theme in keeping with the time of the year we find ourselves in. Donald Duck and his nephews are prepping for the annual Easter Parade and seem to have misplaced the basket of brightly colored eggs. The other stories contained in this issue are equally easy going and irresistible. All seven stories are credited to different writers and artists but they are all virtually the same in story tone and visual appeal. This is to be expected I suppose. We canít suddenly have a story drawn by Mike Mignola that looks like Mickey and his pals have joined the B.P.R.D. This is a book that parents can plop into the kids laps and not have to think twice about questionable content. At $7.50 an issue, it may be a tad overpriced but the enjoyment value for a youngster here is priceless. Recommended.

MSRP: $7.50, Alternate Reality Price: $6.37 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
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KIDZ CORNER COMIC REVIEW:
DISNEY JR VOL.3 LION KING GN
a DISNEY PRESS ongoing graphic novel series

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date:
032107

The Lion King is Disneyís second highest grossing animated feature worldwide, after the Pixar feature Finding Nemo and third overall, with Shrek 2 being the biggest grossing of all time. The other two films being CGI animated makes the Lion King tops in the traditional animation realm and rightfully so. Released in 1994 the story has an intimate yet epic sensibility that still holds up remarkably well some 13 years later. This comic adaptation does a fair job in bringing the story to the comic page. The young lion cub Simba learns life lessons while growing up to become king of the jungle. Along the way, he befriends Timon and Pumbaa, the comic relief. To this reviewer, the Lion King is the last of Disneyís animated films that can be counted among the pantheon of the studios finest achievements. On the surface, the story is simplistic. But within its framework are all the elements of classic childrenís literature: birth, friendship, love and even loss. The graphic novel, while using a great deal of storytelling shorthand, does an admirable job of bringing the tale to a new generation. The art does what it needs to do, and that is to ape the style of the animated feature film. While an argument can be made that in this age of the DVD, there is very little point to a graphic novel adaptation of a 13 year old movie, this book is a perfect introduction to reading for any child that loves the film and wants to recapture it in a different way. Recommended.

MSRP: $3.99
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KIDZ CORNER COMIC REVIEW:
HARDY BOYS VOL 8 BOARD TO DEATH GN
a PAPERCUTS ongoing graphic novel series

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date:
031407

I can understand the need to update an old concept. Sometimes itís needed when the original concept was so hackneyed (Battlestar Galactica) that any kind of tinkering would only be an improvement. But in most cases, itís done to make it more palatable to a young audience. Such is the case with Papercutz Publishing and their new version of the book series that ran from 1927 through 1979 under the pen name of Franklin W. Dixon. However, writer Scott Lobdell has overloaded the story with so many youth pleasing elements, that the book feels more like a laundry list of pop- culture. Kidís love Pirates of the Caribbean so letís have the boys take part in a faux version of the amusement park ride. Kidís love to skateboard. So the Hardy boys infiltrate a skateboarding contest to find a killer. Thereís also a pop music star named Pinkshade that is involved. All of these ingredients make for a tedious read. None of it gels into anything cohesive. It all feels calculated to appeal to the preteen crowd. Some of it is down right silly. For instance, of the skateboarding team has a mentor/teacher named Mr. Moto who is described as a master trainer from the Orient. Funny, but I donít remember hearing anything about the ancient Chinese art of skateboarding. Silly, sloppily written and instantly forgettable. Not Recommended.

MSRP: $7.95
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SHAZAM AND THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL #2
a DC COMICS mini-series

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date:
030707

In Jeff Smithís previous well-known series, the terrific Bone, He has shown us his ability to shift effortlessly between a variety of emotions. Smith again shows us his emotional versatility in Shazam #2 by shifting between moments of gentle humor and great pathos with an easy grace and style and never once faltering. Smith takes what could be considered an outdated mythos and applies some intriguing twists to them. For instance, portraying Billy Batson and Captain Marvel as separate entities that swap places every time Billy uses the magic word, creates a fascinating dynamic and an interesting spin to the concept that the Captain is the guardian to those that canít defend themselves. And by making Mary Marvel Billyís long lost sister and, like him, a homeless child, Smith is able to render some truly touching and tender moments between the two. This is especially true during a scene on a pier about halfway through the issue. Smith shows us his rather sophisticated abilities as a writer. Not to mention his deft and somewhat sweet touch as an artist. When Mary gains some of the Captainís powers, Smith has a great deal of fun showing us the young girlís unbound joy at discovering her new abilities. One of the most difficult things to express is exuberance and Smith nails it here. This book is a rarity in the current cynical climate of the comic industry. A book made for any age that has intelligence and tons of heart. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

MSRP: $5.99, Alternate Reality Price: $5.09 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
If you're in Grade School are you a Good Grades Club member? If not join today and get in-store discounts on all your purchases foe each of the "A's" & "B's" on your report card!
"Comic books are Reader-Breeders. Kids love them and while they aren't looking they're also learning how to read!"

All Books/Characters pictured herein are © Copyright 2007 by their respective owners. No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

Reviews © 2007 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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