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Longbox Junk One Shots (Part 2)

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Longbox Junk - One-Shots (Part 2)

567 views • 31 weeks ago • (1) Comment

Welcome to Longbox Junk, where the comics are cheap and nobody asked me to review them!

 After spending several months grinding through all sixty issues of Marc Spector: Moon Knight, I've decided to cleanse my palate a bit by returning to my favorite kind of comic. . .One shots!  Tight little packages of comic book goodness where the creative team is tasked with giving the reader a complete story in one and only one issue.   

With a single issue to work with, the creative team has nowhere to hide.  It's easy to fail, but when the team is up to the task, the results can be some of the best stories to be found in comics.  

In PART ONE , I was pleasantly surprised to find a handful of decent little stories, without a single stinker among them and a couple of them even being real nuggets of Longbox Junk gold.  How will this batch fare?  Let's find out!

ONE SHOTS (Part 2)

INDIANA JONES AND

THE SHRINE OF THE SEA DEVIL

Dark Horse (1994)

Cover: Gary Gianni
 
Shrine of the Sea Devil
Reprinted from Dark Horse Comics (1992), Issues 3-6
 
SCRIPT: Gary Gianni
PENCILS: Gary Gianni
 
THE COVER:
 
Indiana Jones is all about action and adventure, and this wonderful painted cover delivers exactly that! Indy clinging to wreckage with a sinking ship in the background and being menaced by a giant tentacle? THIS is the kind of cover that makes me want to get right inside and see what it's about, so let's do it!
 
THE STORY:
 
1935. . .The South Pacific. Indiana Jones recovers a map leading to the legendary "Shrine of The Sea Devil".  Unaware that the crew of the ship he has hired is plotting mutiny based on rumors of a rich treasure to be found, Jones and his colleague, Professor Casper, steam toward the undersea location marked on the map.
 
Anchoring off the coast of an active volcanic island, Indiana Jones suits up to dive into the shark-infested waters.  While Jones explores the mysterious underwater ruins, the crew make their move!  A fight breaks out as they take over the ship.  
 
Unknown to either Jones or the mutinous crew above, Jones' exploration has awakened a gigantic squid.  It nearly kills Indiana Jones before turning its attention to the ship above.  Frantic crewmen desperately fight the creature's huge tentacles before the ringleader of the mutineers uses explosives in the ship's hold to drive off the giant monster. . .but in the process, he also sinks the ship!
 
Indiana Jones survives both the squid's attack and the sinking of the ship.  At the end, he is rescued by a passing plane piloted by none other than Amelia Earhart.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
I'm a huge fan of the Indiana Jones movies.  I'll even take a beating trying to defend Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull!  But I'm not very familiar with the comic adventures of Indy.  This is actually the first comic beyond Marvel's straightforward adaptation of Temple of Doom featuring Indiana Jones that I've read.
 
Unfortunately, my first impression of comic book Indy isn't as high as I'd like it to be.
 
It's not that the story is BAD.  It's not bad.  It's okay.  But I expect more than okay from a story featuring a character that literally personifies action and adventure.  This story really just wasn't very exciting at all.  I'd say that it was more interesting than anything.  Once again, not bad, but I wanted more.
 
As far as the art goes, I'm a fan of Gary Gianni and his gritty, sketchy, realistic style.  I REALLY like his painted cover. . .I think this might be the first time I've seen any of his painted work.  The interior art is a touch sketchier than I'm used to from Gianni, though.  It's nicely done, but looks just a little rushed in places.
 

Overall, this wasn't a BAD story, it's just that I was expecting a little more than what I got.  It's too bad that the first comic I've read featuring one of my favorite characters' adventures outside the movies was just "okay".
 
NEXT!
 

KID COLT 

Marvel (2009)

COVER: Luke Ross
 
Kill The Kid!
Physical collection of Kid Colt (vol. 2 - 2009) digital comic Issues 1 - 5
 
SCRIPT: Tom DeFalco
PENCILS: Rick Burchett
 
THE COVER:
 
A very nice action shot of the title character!  I love the sense of motion and the feeling of a moment frozen in time the artist gives us here.  What more can I say? It's simply a great western comic cover!
 
THE STORY:
 
After helping a man during an unfairly-matched gunfight, Everett Hawkmore discovers that he's accidentally fallen in with the wanted criminal known as Kid Colt.  Hawkmore rides with Colt as he tries to clear his name by finding a witness to the gun battle where Kid Colt killed six men in self defense, but was labeled a murderer.
 
The vengeful Sheriff McGreeley, brother of one of the men killed by Colt, hires a notorious bounty hunter named Sherman Wilks to bring Colt in for a hanging.  During a confrontation with Colt and the Bounty hunter, a gang of brutal scavengers attack, forcing Kid Colt and Wilks to join forces to fight them off.
 
After the dust has cleared, Kid Colt gives Wilks his side of the story (re-telling the origin of Kid Colt), but Wilks is a man of his word and is still determined to bring Kid Colt in despite him saving his life.  It comes down to a quick-draw gunfight, with Kid Colt being the one to walk away alive.  
 
In the end, Hawkmore disguises himself as Wilks and uses Wilk's body to collect the bounty on Kid Colt, then rides out with Colt to accompany him as he continues to try and clear his name.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
Okay. . .not a bad little story!  It's got action, adventure, likeable characters, and a couple of twists and turns along the way.  Not much more that I could ask for in a good western tale.  It's not a deep story.  At heart it's actually a pretty simple narrative.  But sometimes all I want in a comic is just a decent story that keeps me engaged without making me strain my brain too much.  This comic does exactly that.  There's not many western comics out there these days, so it's nice to find a good one.
 
As far as the art goes, I thought Rick Burchett's art from Impact's Black Hood (a severely-underrated nugget of Longbox Junk) was the best part of that series, but his cartoony and sort of exaggerated style isn't really a great match for a western story.  There's nothing wrong with the art and it tells the story nicely, but in my humble opinion something darker and grittier (like the cover) would have worked better.
 

 
Overall, this one shot gives the reader a solid western story with lots of action and adventure.  It's not a GREAT story, but it's a GOOD story.  Sometimes you just want a good story.  If you're a fan of western comics, then this is one to keep your eye out for in the bargain bins because there's not many newer ones out there.  
 
NEXT!
 

TACO BELL / FANTASTIC FOUR

Marvel (2011)

COVER: Steve McNiven
Originally from Marvel Knights 4 (2004) Issue 1
 
Wolf at the Door / A Day In the Life of the Fantastic Four
 
SCRIPT:  Paul Tobin (main) & Colleen Coover
PENCILS: Craig Rousseau (main) & Colleen Coover
 
THE COVER:
 
A stunning portrait of Marvel's First Family with sharp details, a fluid sense of motion, and outstanding colors.  The characters almost seem to leap right off the page! Such a great cover.  Too bad McNiven didn't do the interiors.
 
THE STORY:
 
The Fantastic Four leap into action when a giant robot runs amok in New York City, draining power and causing massive blackouts.  
 
As Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, and The Thing battle the rampaging robot, Sue Storm follows the trail of destruction back to its creator. . .The Wizard.  It turns out that the robot was never built for evil purposes, but somehow malfunctioned with an ever-growing hunger for energy.
 
As the battle continues in the streets of New York City, the robot senses a powerful energy source and sends a probe to investigate.  The energy source is none other than the Silver Surfer!  Following the probe back to Earth, the Surfer uses his Power Cosmic to overload and shut down the out-of-control robot.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
So this one's a bit of an odd bird.  From a bit of research, I've found that it's a giveaway comic (hence the Taco Bell logo on the cover) and its "value" varies wildly (as in from $2.00 to $95.00!) enough for me to not really know exactly HOW much this strange little thing is "worth".  I bought mine for a dollar, so I guess I got a good deal.
 
But enough about that.  The comic itself is pretty thin, coming in at twelve pages long.  The story is just on the good side of okay.  It's obviously written for a younger audience, but it's not bad for what it is.  I liked that they didn't use Doctor Doom as the obvious villain choice, and the guest-starring role of Silver Surfer was also an interesting choice.
 
The art is light and a bit sketchy, but tells the story nicely.  The scenes with Silver Surfer were actually very well done and probably the most enjoyable part of the comic. . .which is interesting since this is supposed to be a Fantastic Four comic.
 
There's also a one-page "gag" story showing the individual members of the Fantastic Four fighting crime around the world, then gathering at the dinner table and talking about their day like it was nothing special.  It's a nice little addition that I got a small chuckle out of.
 
 
Overall, this is a decent little Fantastic Four story.  Not the best I've read. . .not the worst.  It's written for a younger audience, but is perfectly readable for adults as well.  It's actually more of a Silver Surfer story than anything else.  I'm not even a Fantastic Four fan and I found it pretty enjoyable.  
 
AND FINALLY. . .
 

STAR WARS: PURGE

THE HIDDEN BLADE

Dark Horse (2010)

COVER: Chris Scalf
 
The Hidden Blade
 
SCRIPT:  Haden Blackman
PENCILS: Chris Scalf
 
THE COVER:
 
If you're a Star Wars fan, you don't need ME to tell you how great this cover is!  A dark, menacing portrait of the villain everyone loves to hate, set off perfectly by the brilliant glow of Vader's red lightsaber.  It's a simple cover, but the artist really captured the essence of Darth Vader here!
 
THE STORY:
 
Set shortly after the events of Revenge of The Sith and in the aftermath of the Jedi Purge of Order 66, Darth Vader has been tasked by the Emperor to oversee the defense of a vital factory producing armored AT-AT walkers needed to continue the Emperor's brutal takeover of the Old Republic.
 
While fighting off repeated attacks by rebellious natives, Vader learns that they are led by a Jedi.  He leaves the base he was ordered to protect and goes on the hunt, first tracking down the Jedi's Padawan and defeating him, then barely winning a battle against a gigantic native creature before finally confronting the hidden Jedi.
 
After a short and vicious battle, Vader defeats the Jedi and returns to the base to find it destroyed in his absence.  He realizes the Jedi revealed himself on purpose to distract Vader and make him neglect command of the base's defense.  The Emperor arrives and is disappointed by Vader's failure.  He leaves his apprentice in the ruins of the factory to meditate on his mistake.
 
The End.
 
THE REVIEW:
 
This short tale of Vader's early days as the Emperor's enforcer was a great read!  It had all the action I want from a Star Wars story, and the ending with the mighty Vader brought low by a simple trick of misdirection aimed squarely at his obsession with hunting the remaining Jedi was surprising and clever.  I was expecting Vader to come out on top in a Darth Vader comic, but having him defeated in such a small and easy way was really interesting!
 
As far as the art goes, I really enjoyed the moody, painted artwork!  It has a mysterious and hazy quality, with muted tones that are set off by occasional slashes of bright color to great effect.  Every panel on every page invites the eye to linger an extra moment.
 
Overall, this is a great read for Star Wars fans!  The story of Vader's defeat by a simple trick is engaging and interesting, and the moody painted art is a feast for the eyes.  This is definitely one to keep your eye out for in the bargain bin.  It's a certified nugget of Longbox Junk gold!
 

CONCLUSION

 
There you have it. . .another little handful of Longbox Junk one-shots.  All in all, not a bad bunch.  Not quite as good as the first batch, but still not bad.  The clear winner here for me was the Star Wars: Purge Darth Vader comic.  At the bottom of the bunch I'd have to say would be the Fantastic Four comic. . .just because it's such a slim story.  Once again, I'm pleased that there aren't any actual BAD one-shots in the bunch.  All of these are worth keeping an eye out for while Longbox Junkin' through the bargain bins.
 
Up Next. . .
 
It's been a while since I did a Longbox Junk Retro Review.
 
How about a little trip in the paper time machine back to 1966 for a look at Gold Key's G-8 and His Battle Aces?  It's Hun-Punchin' action and espionage in the trenches of World War I battlefields!
 
Be there or be square.
  • 30 weeks ago by Wesofoz2's avatar Wesofoz2
  • Nice, I've been going through some long boxes myself. Have quite a bit of duds, but have been pleasantly surprised by some of the 2099 titles I've found from the early 90's. I may seek more of them out.
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