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Instant Nostalgia: Old Comic Licenses Are New Again (reviews)

Ah, nostaglia.

A lot of the comic book business is about that very thing. What I am writing about today is a few titles that are reboots or reimagining of classic concepts or intellectual properties. A few of them I have no affection towards but were interesting to read nonetheless.

Gatchaman #0 falls into that category squarely. I had no idea what the hell a Gatchaman even was or why I should even care. Yet, I absolutely enjoyed this story, more for the creative team. The writers are Steve Orlando, Tommy Lee Edwards and Cullen Bunn and all three are separately great. Then they have Chris Samnee on art duties and he is one of my favorites. Put that all together and you have something that is actually worth reading, nostalgia or not.

And it is very interesting and enjoyable. I guess all of the characters from the anime are here and they have been retooled for this release. I enjoyed it and the story was pretty straightforward for the most part. But I had nothing to compare it to so maybe I’m not the audience for this. Either way, this issue shows the original team coming together to fight a threat. The back and forth between all of the characters is pretty well done overall. The artwork was very strong. I enjoyed it but I am not sure I was that interested in continuing it, unless it was a tad more compelling. The artwork is great though.

Next up, we have one property I really love in general and that is Flash Gordon.

This may be my favorite revival out of all of them. Writer Jeremy Adams has proven himself to be a very capable writer on such titles as The Flash and Green Lantern. His ability to blend past and present characters is pretty unique and strong. This makes him an ideal choice for Flash and his cast of characters. And he really does knock it off  the park.

All of the classic characters are there! Flash! Dale! Ming! Adams has such a great handle on them all too. It is an easy and solid read that reminded me of the past newspaper string while carving its own path. The issue is a basic set up but what a set up! I was so excited that I wanted the full storyline in my hands immediately. This one hit all my nostalgia buttons perfectly and I loved it.

What is great about Flash Gordon is the world building. Maybe Gatchaman will have that but it doesn’t seem close to what this Flash Gordon universe seems to have in mind. A bunch of different plot lines are laid out. It is very interesting and strong and I can’t wait to see how this series plays.

Then the art! Will Conrad is perfect for this title, hitting all the right notes perfectly. I loved this beginning and I cannot wait to see where it takes us.

World building is very important for these nostalgic titles. That is what seems to be missing in our next entry, Dick Tracy #1.

I love Dick Tracy. I love the Chester Gould comic strip. I even love the Warren Beatty film. The problem is, there hasn’t been a successful comic book adaptation of the property ever. I am hoping that this book does take off and we get more adventures of Dick Tracy, though I do have some minor quibbles.

The issue I have with all Dick Tracy comics is the same (and to be fair, it might just be my personal problem). The issue is that it is trying to serve too many masters. It is trying to give nods to the comic strip but also trying to be accessible enough to the people who just want the movie version. And then they try to modernize it and make it accessible. It is usually the same formula every couple of years and that formula usually lasts for four issues, enough for a trade paperback to come out. Then, years later, a new take appears.

But this one is better than most.

The whole thing is perfectly done actually. The writing is solid. A brutal murder attracts the attention of Dick Tracy. This Tracy is at the beginning of his career. I love how the characters are introduced and how there seems to (finally) have bigger ideas than just getting through a four issue series.

The artwork by Geraldo Borges is strong however, and I did like some of the storytelling he implemented. He is an underrated artist and I love his work here. He is perfectly suited for the character.

Growing up, I never could quite get into Jonny Quest. So, it was with reluctance that I stepped into this comic book. It wasn’t bad, and it seemingly has bigger ideas in mind than the norm. Joe Casey writes a decent script that reintroduces all of the classic characters and does a fairly solid job doing it, especially with such limited space.

The title shows us how Jonny gets set up for his adventures and I love how each and every character is introduced here. Jonny goes on world traveling adventures (sort of like an easier to digest Indiana Jones) and he gets involved in some pretty crazy adventures. That is all set up perfectly here.

The artwork by Sebastian Piriz is perfect and accessible for sure too. I liked it!

Lastly, Space Ghost #1. I have no affinity towards Space Ghost one way or the other. So this was a bit of fun for me. I read a series that DC did a few years ago and that seemed a bit dark for me and a bit much. This is a lot more interesting and the first issue is super action packed! It seems like the creative team have a direction in mind too and the world building is tremendous overall.

David Pepose is a good writer and he proves himself here again with a strong script that doesn’t let up. Through all of the action in this book, Pepose never forgets to include character moments.

Those moments of character soar throughout. You know who everyone is by the end of the first issue and everything is clear and concise. You know you are in the hands of pros.

Jonathan Lau does an incredible job drawing this and making something truly unique. This is one of those times that the nostalgia factor works in a new and exciting way. I commend the creative team for their approach here.

Overall, we are continually going to see nostalgia influenced properties continue to pop up in comic books. It’s all a part of the business whether we like it or not. It is interesting to see at times, especially when someone or a creative team are able to squeeze news life out of a property.

These books are accessible  to everyone. They are accessible to a new generation of kids. They
are accessible to the adults who remember them. That, in of itself is an accomplishment.

They are all interesting, and might be worth a look depending on how a person feels. Your mileage may vary.

Gatchaman #0 (FCBD)
Written by Steve Orlando, Tommy Lee Edwards and Cullen Bunn
Art by Chris Samnee
Published by Mad Cave Studios
Rating: B

Flash Gordon #0 (FCBD)
Written by Jeremy Adams
Art by Will Conrad
Published by Mad Cave Studios
Rating: A

Dick Tracy #1
Written by Michael Moreci and Alex Segura
Art by Geraldo Borges
Published by Mad Cave Studios
Rating: B+

Jonny Quest #0 (FCBD)
Written by Joe Casey
Art by Sebastian Piriz
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Rating: B

Space Ghost #1
Written by David Pepose
Art by Jonathan Lau
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Rating: A

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