Comic reviews: Super Friends #25, Super Hero Squad #3, the Essential DTWOF

Flickr photo by keri (CC BY)
Comics I’ve bought this week:

Super Friends #25
Written by: Sholly Fisch
Art by: Dario Brizuela

This issue sees the Super Friends, while taking part in the opening ceremonies of (what I assume to be) last month’s Vancouver Winter Olympics, get teleported into some alien arena, where they’re forced by intergalactic gamblers/gamesmen Rokk and Sorban (two minor adversaries who appeared in 1970s and 80s Superman comics) to take part in their Interplanetary Olympics, with the loser’s home planet threatened with destruction. Competing against the Super Friends are representatives of the planets Durla (home of shape-shifters), Daxam (a Krypton-like planet whose residents gain superpowers like Superman’s under a yellow sun, but have a weakness to lead), and Dryad (home of rock-like beings). Imagine Legion of Super-Heroes fans would get a kick out of seeing these worlds and their denizens show up (the Daxamites’ uniforms resemble Mon-El’s costume).

A cute issue, though I liked last month’s mad scientists’ convention better. Also seems a bit late if they were trying to time it to the Olympics last month.

The Super Hero Squad Show #3
Written by: Todd Dezago
Art by: Leonel Castetllani

In the lead story, the Super Hero Squad is forced to fight a jellyfish that’s grown to gigantic size thanks to a piece of a fractal lodged inside. Backup stories include Thor retelling (the Super Hero Squad-verse version of) his backstory to Iron Man, and Captain America and Falcon are forced to work together to rescue Falcon’s pet falcon.

This was my first issue of Super Hero Squad. While this comic had some amusing moments, I liked the TV cartoon the comic was spun off from better. The comic’s best parts were Thor’s teen years (a teenaged Loki with thick glasses, heh), and the inclusion of the time-honored tradition of cartoon characters trying to (and almost always succeeding in) fool someone with a cheesy disguise (in this case, Falcon and Reptil trying to fool Mole Man), which is always good for a laugh.

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For
Written and art by: Alison Bechdel

A hardcover compilation of most of the strips in the book’s 20+ year run, plus a new foreword. One of my favorite LGBT comic strips, I enjoy seeing the mix of both the characters’ lives and the current politics of the day portrayed, as well as the amusing background sight gags (the names of businesses such as the “Home Despot” home improvement store, or the newspapers’ headlines).

Also nice, of course, to see well-written non-heterosexual characters dealing with situations and storylines that mainstream comics and animation can’t or won’t touch. American animation near-exclusively treats gays and lesbians as either personae non gratae or only existing for the sake of an inane, dated or stereotypical portrayal or joke (sometimes of the sort even live-action TV wouldn’t make anymore). Comics, unsurprisingly, fare better than US animation at LGBT depictions, particularly non-mainstream comics (i.e. those not in daily newspapers or put out by Marvel or DC Comics).

At this point, I’m mostly reading the newest strips that hadn’t yet been reprinted in book form, though I will get around to reading the older strips as well (and seeing how much has changed, both in real life and for the characters).

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