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THE CAT'S MEOW: What's Good on the Shelf This Week-Year 2 - Week 18 ___________________________________________________________________________
Reviews by John Norris, January 06, 2008

What better way to help ring in the new year than with an advanced review?

THE GOBLIN CHRONICLES #1 (All Ages)

Troy Dye & Tom Kelesides (w); Collin Fogel (p/i); Will Terrell (c); David Hedgecock (l); covers by Jack Lawrence and Fogel & Terrell

Publisher: Ape Entertainment

Format: three-issue miniseries

In this issue : This series follows the adventures of a young goblin and his three reluctant allies, on a quest to save their world from the clutches of the evil Dark Queen. What chance do four bickering brats have against an immensely powerful sorceress? Not much, but with a little trust, teamwork, and courage, anything is possible.   

Review: One of the books I reviewed for Free Comic Book Day 2007 ( http://www.comicsintheclassroom.net/oocats_meow2007_fcbd.htm ) was APE ENTERTAINMENT'S COMICS SPECTACULAR. One of the featured stories was “The Goblin Chronicles,” in which a young goblin is deemed an embarrassment by his dad because of his small size, despite the fact that he is very smart. I'm happy to report that the story is now a miniseries, and the charm has been left intact. We get some backstory on the Four Realms, and how it's been nothing but warfare for quite some time. Gorim is still the same adorable young goblin who would rather be reading and helping Tinker. But dad won't hear of that, so Gorim must learn to be a hunter. Along the way, he meets several interesting new characters and has exciting adventures, all gloriously brought to life by Fogel and Terrell. Dye has described the book as “Shrek meets Lord of the Rings,” which is an entirely apt description. It manages to be suitable for young readers while not alienating older ones. Even if you aren't into fantasy, I'd recommend giving the book a try.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #41: “The Anniversary Party” (All Ages)

Grace Randolph (w); Dario Brizuela (p/i); Heroic Age (c); Randy Gentile (l); cover by Zach Howard

Publisher: DC

Format: monthly series

Concept: Follow the adventures of the Justice League, based on the hit cartoon.

In this issue: The Joker is tired of waiting for Batman to show up, so he's taking the fight to the Watchtower! But just because Batman's not there, it doesn't mean it's unguarded! (from dccomics.com)

Review: The Joker loves to take it to Batman, and what better day to do that than on the anniversary of their first meeting! There's just one little problem—Batman's away. So what are Joker and Harley to do? Why, take it to the Justice League! The whole issue plays out like a screwball comedy, with Joker and Harley wreaking all kinds of havoc and alternately loving on and arguing with each other like the odd couple they are. It's such a fun story, in fact, that it's not until Elongated Man finds three League members defeated that we realize that the story isn't played entirely for laughs; Randolph manages to sneak in a little lesson about not underestimating people who don't have the abilities that you have. The wonderful artwork enhances the comic tone, and Batman's expression on the last page is FANTASTIC. It's pure fun from beginning to end.
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USAGI YOJIMBO #108: “Sparrows, chapter 4” (Teen/Young Adult) 

Written and illustrated by Stan Sakai; cover by Sakai & Tom Luth

Publisher: Dark Horse

Format: monthly series

Concept: The adventures of the rabbit samurai known as Usagi. 

In this issue: By placing a hefty reward on the killer of his son, Boss Bakuchi had hoped to find vengeance and prove his might. Little did he know the swordswoman Inazuma is now possessed by Jei the Black Soul, and the bounty hunters on her trail face otherworldly peril!

With each passing hour, these bounty hunters, including Gen and Stray Dog, get closer to Inazuma. But they are not the only ones in pursuit of her. As the rabbit ronin Usagi approaches, he must make a fateful choice: Inazuma once saved him, so Usagi owes her a debt of honor. Yet is that debt still owed now that she is possessed by a homicidal demon? (from darkhorse.com) 

Review: The raised price on Inazuma's head has brought bounty hunters to town by the dozens…including Usagi, Gen, Stray Dog and Isamu! But they are all going to have their work cut out for them. Even though Inazuma's body has lost a lot of blood, Jei won't go down easily. Meanwhile, Priest Senzo may have committed murder. Sakai weaves several plots here, leaving the reader eagerly awaiting a conclusion.

Look out for: a panel depicting decapitation

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COLLECTIONS

MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN, vol. 8: FORCES OF NATURE digest collects MA SPIDER-MAN #29-32.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #7 collects MA AVENGERS #7 and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #7.

To be reviewed in next week's column:

BATMAN STRIKES! #41

MARVEL ADVENTURES HULK #7

By thy side,

John “Figaro” Norris

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