Current Reviews


Bongo Super-Heroes #7

Posted: Saturday, November 1, 2003
By: Ray Tate

"Risky Be the Rumpus Room"

Writer: Jesse Leon McCann
Artists: Abel Laxamana(p), Bob Smith(i), Rick Reese(c)

"The Secret Origin of Bug Boy"

Writer/Artist: Ty Templeton, Art Villanueva(c)

"A Shrimp in Time Pays Fine"

Writer: Chris Yambar
Artists: Mike DeCarlo(p), Ken Wheaton(i), Art Villanueva(c)

"The Grotesque Garage Sale of Gargamash"

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Hillary Barta, Nathan Kane(c)

Publisher: Bongo

Bongo was kind enough to send me an issue of Bongo Super-Heroes which I never have seen before on the racks or in Previews so I have to question how the heck this can be issue seven. The legend at the bottom of the page identifies the book as Bongo Presents Radioactive Man, but either way--the fake numbering or the instant name change--it's still a good joke and kicks off the tone of this brilliant satire of super-hero comic books.

"Risky Rumpus Room" shows the A-List heroes Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy leaping off to the rescue while the B-List heroes such as the Purple Badge of Courage stay at headquarters to try out their version of the Danger Room. The whole tale is brilliantly funny and addresses so many tiers of comedy.

The melodramatic thoughts of Captain Squid and Lure Lass beautifully poke fun at Stan Lee's romantic couple Cyclops/Marvel Girl. The butler betrayal hiding a bionic brain lovingly teases Doom Patrol's goofy leader of the Brotherhood of Evil. No, it's not as funny as Grant Morrison's "Kiss me, Monsieur Mallah. Kiss me." It's pretty damn close.

Slapstick strikes in the form of the Purple Badge of Courage. Violence just seems attracted to his bandage. It doesn't quit, and even when expected it makes the reader laugh out loud.

The artwork by Art Laxamana merges the kicking and screaming partners of Jack Kirby and Matt Groening. Without the weird heads and the four fingers, the heroes could be designed like traditional heroes. Of course, the Matt Groening style gives the reader permission to laugh when the Acme mallets come.

Ty Templeton in "The Secret Origin of Bug Boy" captures Matt Groening's crude, kindergarten styled artwork. Bug Boy is something that a child just might conceive of as a hero. Even his spacecraft looks charmingly simple.

Bug Boy's story however bears more complexity one expects from a Batman writer. The origin of Bug Boy offers sophisticated laughter in the form of metamorphosing tubers as well as evolved bugs that will "only live a few more hours anyway" and questionable marvelous mental powers vital in the talent for escape.

Chris Yambar's "A Shrimp in Time Pays Fine" reprinted from All Squid Comics number fifteen which of course never existed spotlights Captain Squid a Aquaman/Namor/Cyclops hybrid. We follow his adventures under the sea and watch as we discover that he is not quite so friendly with his "finny friends." Quite frankly, this is as depraved as The Futurma episode in which a tasty treat turns out to be the larval form of the Omicron Ceti people. I still have no idea how they managed to get that aired. The same goes for this story. I mean the whole concept is utterly sick and left me in tears.

Recently the earth experienced a nasty electromagnetic storm that would no doubt have thrown the crew of the original Enterprise around the set for days. I kind of knew that something cosmic was afoot. Chuck Dixon wrote a hilarious parody on Dr. Strange. Plasmo speaks in hyper alliterative jargon like all good mystics, and rather than live in a mansion with a weird window, he lives in the suburbs where garage sales are common. It's at this garage sale that he recognizes the Baster of Bastur. However, he is not the only bidder.

The spoof leads to funny flashbacks, even more gobbledy-gook dialogue followed by a take on Dormammu that completely negates his threat and succeeds in rudely prodding the reader for a laugh. All of this comedic melting pot is given extra depth through Hilary Barta's superb otherworldly backgrounds and dramatic shadows and shadings that have absolutely no place among the ridiculous world of Plasmo, the Alliterate Supreme.

Radioactive Man is a semi-serious homage to Superman. On the other hand, maybe I just don't get the book's jokes. Bongo Super-Heroes is a laugh out loud treat for anybody who has an affinity for super-hero comic books.

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