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KIDS CORNER REVIEWS FOR: DECEMBER 2006

"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."

WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
an IMAGE COMICS Special

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date: 122006

In 1900 L. Frank Baum wrote in his introduction to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that it ďwas written solely to please the children of todayĒ. He wrote those words in 1900. Now over 100 years later, the story still captivates and sparks the imagination, in both the novel and movie version of the classic tale. Now comes Image Comics adaptation of the tale. I think L. Frank Baum would be very pleased. Writer David Chauvel has done an admirable job of condensing the novel without compromising the integrity of Baumís creation. Everything is here: the tornado, the flying monkeys, the poppy field and especially the strong sense of home and family. Sometimes there is a temptation to try and modernize this material. Thankfully that temptation has been avoided here. The real gem here, though is Enrique Fernandezís art. It is highly stylized and perfect for the material. It has the feel of fine childrenís book art without looking pretentious. It is never cartoony or overly simplistic. In fact, itís quite gorgeous. Image really surprises with this adaptation. Itís hard to believe that the home of Spawn would also be publishing this book as well. While it may not be a substitute for reading the novel, Images adaptation is a classic in its own right and could very well lead a child to seek out the source material. For me, there is no better praise. Highly recommended.

MSRP: $9.99
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DCU INFINITE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
a DC COMICS Special

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date: 121306

Another week, another holiday special. This one is from the folks at DC, and frankly isnít a whole lot better than the recent Marvel offerings. Maybe I'm finally hitting my "old curmudgeon" stage, but as I read through this holiday special, I found myself thinking back to numerous holiday special issues of years gone by, and I wondered where things got so off-course. Maybe I'm getting prudish, but for a holiday issue, I never expected quite so much bloodshed, particularly in the Batwoman-solo tale. Perhaps I'm a little jaded, but I also found it noteworthy that each tale, barring the Superman/Batman and the Batwoman ones at the end, featured a character with a book that might benefit from a boost in readership right now (Green Lantern, Shadowpact, Supergirl, Trials of Shazam, and The Flash). And I'm not saying they're all drawing from the same well for inspiration, but there are no less than three stories dealing with father/child relationships.This isn't to say the DCU Holiday special isn't a good book, but perhaps it's a one for a different audience, one that didn't grow up with holiday annuals where there were no human sacrifices or thugs who get batarangs lodged in their skulls. Of all the tales, only the Shadowpact one seems to remember how things used to be, and it's the best story in this collection. Still, there are some things to like about the talented group of writers and artists they've brought on board. Ale Garza is a shoe-in to be the next Supergirl artist, and it is fun to see the old-school Superman and Batman go at it Golden-Age style in their story. Still, maybe itís time to put the holiday special to rest. Christmas and carnage do not go hand in hand. All in all I'd have to give this a Not Recommended.

MSRP: $4.99, Alternate Reality Price: $4.25 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
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MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL-2006
a MARVEL COMICS Special

Comic Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Release Date: 120606

Unlike last weeks digest holiday special from Marvel, which I found to be a particularly cynical little offering from the house of very few ideas, this comic sized offering is made up of all new material. Unfortunately, itís a real mixed bag. The book contains four sections. The first is a story that is set at a New Yearís Eve party at a organization bent on world domination. Some clever dialogue and decent art do little to help a story that seems weak. Itís actually part 2 of a story that began in last years holiday special. The bad news is that it doesnít finish here either. Youíll have to wait until next years special to find out what happens. Count me out. The second story is the best of the lot. How Finn Fang Foom Saved Christmas is a fun romp that brought a smile. Up next is A for Annihilus, which is an A to Z approach to the Fantastic Four. This piece has nothing to do with the holidays. Why itís included here is anybodies guess. My guess is that itís simply filler. The last section is an Official Handbook entry for Santa Claus. This seemed really long at 4 pages. Not a good sign. The best thing I can say about this book is that itís mediocre. Considering this is a holiday special, where are all of the Marvel heavy hitter characters? Only one main character makes a brief appearance. Iíll give you a hint who it is: big and green. Other tidbits include a cover gallery of previous holiday specials and some cutout Civil War tree ornaments (someone pinch me). Not a terrible book, but not essential. Only somewhat recommended.

MSRP: $3.99, Alternate Reality Price: $3.39 (That's 15% OFF, All This Week!)
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All Books/Characters pictured herein are © Copyright 2006 by their respective owners. No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated.

Reviews © 2006 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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