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THE CAT'S MEOW: What's Good on the Shelf This Week- #200 ____________________________________________________________________
Reviews by John Norris, January 13, 2011

Hello there, faithful readers! Christmas and New Year's have come and gone, and I hope both were awesome for you. I can't think of another way to ring in the New Year than by celebrating a milestone, and I hope you'll join me. What are we celebrating, you ask? The 200 th CAT 'S MEOW column!! Every time I write a new one of these things, I find it hard to believe that I've gotten this far, but here we are!! As I was thinking of a way to make this column more special than usual, the answer came to me in the form of a robot. Read on to find out what I mean.


ATOMIC ROBO vol. 1: ATOMIC ROBO AND THE FIGHTIN' SCIENTISTS OF TESLADYNE (Teen/Young Adult)

Brian Clevinger (w); Scott Wegener (p/i); Ronda Pattison (c); Jeff Powell (l); cover by Wegener

Publisher: Red 5 Comics

Format: trade paperback

Concept: The title follows the larger-than-life exploits of ATOMIC ROBO , an automatic intelligence created by famed inventor Nikola Tesla in 1923. ROBO finds himself entangled in some of the 20th century's most important events – from the Second World War, space race and civil rights movement, to the defense of Earth against all manner of catastrophes.

Review: I had heard lots of great reviews about it. CitC's own Scott Tingley described it as “PG roboty goodness.” I bought this trade and finally finished reading it today. And now that I have, I have just one question:

Why, oh WHY, for the love of comics, was I not reading this sooner?

I have no good answer for that question. But you can believe the situation has been addressed.

Simply put, ATOMIC ROBO is pure joy. It's exhilarating and funny, with a hint of sadness and a lot of warmth. Clevinger and Wegener have created a real winner. Robo himself is just a WONDERFUL character. He tosses off wisecracks as easily as he swats giant insects with a Buick. He's also, despite the lack of facial features, the most expressive robot since the Iron Giant, thanks to his eyes. What I really love about him, though, is that while he has never been human (and has no desire to be), he truly cares about the people he works with. That's where the warmth and sadness come in. There's a scene in which he receives, and later responds to, a letter (with photo) from someone whose just-deceased grandfather once fought alongside Robo in combat. How Robo responds to that letter speaks VOLUMES about his character. There is some language (though not much) such as “damn” and “holy hell” which would cause me to say that this isn't for small children. But for ages 10 and up, it's highly recommended.

SUPER FRIENDS #28: “Riddle Me This!” (All Ages)

Sholly Fisch (w); Dario Brizuela (p/i); Heroic Age (c); Swands (l); cover by J. Bone

Publisher: DC

Format: monthly series

Concept: Introducing SUPER FRIENDS - a brand-new series for younger readers to meet the heroes of the DC Universe, based on the hot toy line from Mattel! Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Aquaman are here to save the day - and be your friends, too!

In this issue: Riddle me this, Super Friends! What do you get when all the puzzle villains find themselves put together? Trouble - and lots of it! (from dckids.kidswb.com)

Review: If there's one thing the Riddler can't resist, it's a puzzle. So when an ancient tablet with a strange inscription is found, he and his group of villains are up to the challenge! But so are the Super Friends, which means it's a battle of smarts and strategy to figure out the inscription and find the promised “wonder” before the other group does. But is the tablet even real? This is a fun issue that will keep you guessing to the end. Activities include the Riddler's “Riddle-Dee-Dee” and “Shape Up,” in which you can create your own tangrams.

 

SUPER HERO SQUAD #6: “The Savage Land Adventure!/Good Vibrations!” (All Ages)

Todd Dezago (w); Leonel Castellani/Marcelo Dichiara (p/i); Sotocolor (c); Dave Sharpe (l); cover by Castellani & Sotocolor

Publisher: Marvel

Format: monthly series

Concept: Join the Marvel Super Hero Squaddies in all-new adventures.

In this issue: "The Savage Land Adventure!"--featuring Speedball! When a Fractal turns a Paleontologist into a Dinosaur (Stegron!), Speedball joins the Squaddies in the Savage Land to stop him from commanding the Dinosaur's to take over the World! Also, Ka-Zar! PLUS --Dr. Doom sends Klaw out to use his mastery of all sound and vibration to track down missing Fractals--but the Squaddies found a sound of their own to combat their villainy in "Good Vibrations!" (from marvel.com)

Review: Professor Stegron can change into a dinosaur named…Stegron. He can also control other dinosaurs, which means that Reptil will be involuntarily escorting him to the Savage Land , where he'll get the dinosaurs to help him take the planet back. Fortunately, Speedball knows how to throw a lasso and relay a message. I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the dinosaurs in this story. Castellani and Sotocolor make them look wonderful, and their thoughts and words are just hilarious! As a musician myself, I enjoyed “Good Vibrations” immensely. It's fitting that Thor prefers hair metal, Falcon prefers hip-hop, and Iron Man prefers Black Sabbath. The final panel, in which Klaw joins the Squaddies Band, sums up what I've always felt: There are pleasant and unpleasant sounds (and sound frequencies), but ultimately, music can be used to unite people and make the world a better place.

 

TINY TITANS #29 (All Ages)

Written by Art Baltazar & Franco; art & cover by Baltazar

Publisher: DC

Format: monthly series

Concept: It's all your favorite Titans, in their cutest possible form!

In this issue: It's Supergirl's turn to toddler-sit the tiny Tiny Titans! Can she handle this crisis of infinite toddlers - or will she burst into tears?

Review: Even for a kid with super powers, babysitting is a real adventure, especially when the toddlers have super powers themselves! Can Supergirl handle this all by herself? Fortunately, the toddlers enlist the services of some other Titans, whether they like it or not! The comedy and warmth that come from these pages continues to make this book a joy to read.

By thy side,

John “Figaro” Norris

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Note: The age ratings and opinions featured in these reviews are those of reviewer, John Norris, and may not be shared by the administrator of this web site.



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