Tag Archives: big thunder mountain railroad

Reviews: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #5

btmr005To be Disneyfied is often treated as an insult.  It is a term used to denote taking something serious and making it into something whimsical and lighthearted.  While the term is common in popular culture as a slang insult, it should also be noted that Disney is not necessarily stuck in the 1930s and 1950s.  It remains a company that appears somewhat wholesome, but it is also a company that still manages to come up with new ideas all the time, and an appreciation of how far the company has come can be seen in a series like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Whereas at one time the only female role for a Disney character was as princess in distress, the modern company at least seems interested in fitting in with the changes underway in popular culture.  Thus while series protagonist Abigail Bullion fits a broad definition of princess (the daughter of an industrialist), her actions do not.

Thus far in this series she has been identified as an intrepid explorer, horse stuntswoman and even train robber, and this is very much of a departure from the regular in terms of how Disney has historically handled its heroines.  With the threat posed by the Big Thunder Mountain Mine, both in physical terms and economic ones, the character has been forced into situations which are not similar for Disney characters, especially its princesses.  In this final issue as Abbey and Chandler are led back into town by Willikers, they learn of the impending cave-in of the mine, and rush off to help.

What follows is not as much out of the box as might have been hinted at earlier in this series.  The ending is fulfilling but also perhaps too wholesome.  While there were some signs that things would be really different here, it ended up close enough to the Disney script to be recognizable to what has come before.  It still represents a step forward for the company, just not as big a step as it might have accomplished, turning Abbey into something a bit more than what she ended up.  The finale was still fun and worthwhile, but ended up lacking that little bit extra to make it special, a good ending to a series which could have been great.

 Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker and Guillermo Mogorron
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Read

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Midnighter #3 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A fun and trippy start of a series that mixes the fun of rock and roll with ghosts. This is Spinal Tap meets Ghostbusters, and it works in an awesome way. By the end of the first issue, you won’t be sure what is supernatural and what is drug induced, and that’s half the fun.

Bower Boys Our Fathers HC (Dark Horse Comics) – The webcomic is collected in print. The series focuses on Tammany Hall and Union busting, but it’s so much more, it’s about the relationships we have with our fathers. The fantastic story is backed up by beautiful artwork.

The Bunker #13 (Oni Press) – The time bending series continues its fantastic ways. In this issue we get some more info on what the deal with Heidi is including where she’s been the last three months, and more importantly who she’s been with.

Midnighter #3 (DC Comics) – Punching corporations! Seriously, this series is violent fun, that shows the struggle of a man designed to hurt attempting to figure out who he is. Steve Orlando is killing it (and a lot of people) in this series.

Nailbiter #15 (Image Comics) – One of my favorite series that has a few folks attempting to discover why a small town has produced so many serial killers. We’re getting closer and closer to finally getting an answer… I think and hope.

 

Alex

Top Pick: The Fox #5 (Archie Comics) – I picked issue #1 up on a whim, and this series has fast become one of my favourites. I love the fun, almost cynically innocent take on the superhero genre, and I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on the final chapter of the opening arc.

Detective Comics #43 (DC Comics) – I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying Mecha-Batman, and while I expect the original to return eventually, I’m enjoying this while it lasts.

We Stand On Guard #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue of this comic took me by surprise when it came out last month. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, and whether it is the underdog nature of the story or the Great White North setting, this is a series I’m looking forward too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #5 (Marvel) – This all ages comic has not been on many people’s reading list, bust it proves that some minds at Disney are still interested in creativity.

Morning Glories #47 (Image Comics) – The standout series continues by weaving in new plots to the old. Every answer continues to create five new questions.

Groot #3 (Marvel) – This series has only run two issues thus far but has been unexpectedly amazing. The story is simple enough, but executed flawlessly.

Ms. Marvel #17 (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s stand-out series gets the Secret Wars treatment. It is nearing the end before Marvel relaunches and it remains to be seen how that will affect this series.

Red Skull #2 (Marvel) – It is the Suicide Squad of the Secret Wars as Red Skull takes on the role of Deadshot.

 

Elana

Top Pick: The Humans #7 (Image Comics) – Apesploitstion biker madness continues! I love this series so much I have a lenghthy personal essay about it coming out this week. This month’s issue features even more sex and violence and drugs and rock and roll and vengeance and period accurate hair and the color orange and oh my god the lettering! The lettering!!! All the important things in art, really.

Top Pick: The Wicked + The Divine #13 (Image Comics) – At last an issue about the mysterious goddess Tara jokingly called “goddess of who knows what” because there are so many deities with that name that it’s unclear who she’s supposed to be. I’m not sure which real world pop stars the character was inspired by. Beyoncé?

One thing is for sure, the new art by Tula Lotay is stunning!

Kaptara #4 (Image Comics) – This charming sword and sorcery in space comic won my heart. It’s saturated in lurid colors and riffs on He-Man but it doesn’t get in the way of being a very human story about a scientist who really needs a hug. And a date. Do you know any nice single men for Keith to date? I worry that Manton the warrior may take a while to come around.

Midnighter #3 (DC Comics) – Last issue our hero started to square off with the corporate powers that be. I’m really looking forward to a comic that tackles Monsanto. At least that’s where I think this is heading. Also, Midnighter punched a steak through a killer’s head. A dinner steak.

This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – What if Led Zeppelin really did sell their souls to the devil? It’s a brand new series from the ever funny and inventive and very British Paul Cornell (art by Tony Parker). I simultaneously love over-indulgent boomer rock and I also find it hilarious and worth deflating. This comic seems to be doing the same– both reveling and lovingly mocking the 70s rock pretentious and conventions. But with the actual Devil.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Green Lantern #43 (DC Comics) – I’ve really been enjoying this Hal on the run as a bounty hunter storyline and now that they’ve thrown Black Hand back in the mix, it should only get even better. Proof that he doesn’t need the most powerful weapon in the universe to still be a bad ass, this title is still providing bright days!

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3 (Marvel Comics) – Back in black and the marriage still intact? Let’s see if the removal of Spidey’s bright colors bring the foot out of the grave on this one. I really want to like this Mr. Slott, don’t disappoint me please. I’ve waited a long time for this.

JLA: Gods and Monsters: Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics) – Having seen the movie, Wonder Woman was my favorite part. I hope they delve even deeper into her loss and betrayal. I really enjoy the twist on the New Genesis vs. Apokolips War. Should be a good one! Plus that boom tube sword is just epic. DC make a replica now!

TMNT: Color Classics Series 3 #8 (IDW Publishing) – Turtles, Shredder, April, Eastman, Laird. Isn’t that enough right there?

 

Paul

Top Pick: Age of Apocalypse #2 (Marvel) – Fabian Nicieza and Gerardo Sandoval took me right back into the Age of Apocalypse that I remember from so long ago; great story and fantastic art make this one of my favourite Secret Wars books, and I’m looking forward to seeing Magneto give Apocalypse’s forces the smack down!

Civil War #2 (Marvel) – Steve Rogers and Tony Stark; opposing sides in this world of Civil War have been pushed further apart after an assassination attempt has left a proponent for peace dead at their feet. I really enjoyed the first issue of this book, and I’m excited to see if the two sides come together…or tear each other apart.

Siege #2 (Marvel) – I really loved this story of the SHIELD, the wall that separates Battleworld from the zombies and robots that would destroy the planet. Not to mention Abigail Brand is calling the shots, so that alone has me hooked.

Spider-Island #2 (Marvel) – The Spider Queen has turned almost everyone in this area of Battleworld into human/spider hybrids…including the heroes…and they all serve her. Flash Thompson is one of the few not affected, and with his resistance force, has managed to help some former colleagues break from the Spider Queen’s control…but will what he’s turned them into be a help or a hindrance? This was a fun first issue and I’m excited to see how Venom’s newly freed friends help him out.

Review: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #4

btmr004aThe expansion of Disney and Marvel into the fictionalization of Disney theme park rides might seem like a strange undertaking, but it has worked effectively in this series.  It tells the story of Abigail Bullion and her sometimes corrupt, sometimes naive father, who also happens to be the owner of the Big Thunder Mountain gold mine.  As Abigail is introduced to this world she learns of the adventure associated with it, but also of the injustices which seem to take place there.  The workers are mistreated and the mountain itself seems ready to make a stand of its own.

In the previous issue Abigail became a full-fledged train robber as she understood just how bad it was for the workers in the town.  The stolen gold was going towards the provision of goods that were otherwise unobtainable, and she realized that her father was misguided at best in his endeavor.  This issue follows directly on those developments, but goes about it in a less engaging way, as the various character and plot elements seem to diverge as Abigail is involved in another train heist, and as her associates go about their own pursuits.  Equally her father is ready to open the mine again, despite his hesitation to do so, which allows him to be framed less as the villain and more as an unsuspecting dupe.

Thus far this has been one of the most entertaining titles to come out of Marvel in a long while despite being off almost everyone’s radar.  As it stands though this penultimate issue misfires almost as much as it succeeds, with a clunkier story telling than the previous issues.  Small details like Abbey, who otherwise just arrived to this world, becoming a master markswoman capable of shooting the hats off of people riding on top of trains seem silly in comparison to the rest of the story.  The fun ride thus far will mean that this is a must read for those that have bothered to expand their reading list a bit beyond the ordinary, but with this mediocre issue it seems like the finale will determine the overall quality of this series.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker and Guillermo Mogorron
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

black-canary-1-promo-121636Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Prez #1 (DC Comics) – A teenager is elected President by Twitter in this future send-up of the state of politics. Working in politics I found myself laughing, and cringing at how accurate the series was, especially in its more satirical moments. It hit close to home, which is a good thing. A fantastic send-up perfectly timed for the 2016 Presidential race.

The Kitchen #8 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – I’ve loved this series since the start. It’s a take on the mob genre, except set in the 70s, and it’s the women in charge. The last few issues have had twists and turns of double crosses and all sorts of deals. This final issue of the miniseries is going to be explosive and entertaining.

Letter 44 #17 (Oni Press) – It’s WWIII people!!! Writer Charles Soule has gone all out in this series focused on a President dealing with first contact with aliens, and the crew that’s doing so. The story has been amazing and when I think I have things down, the series throws a curve.

Princeless: Be Yourself #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – It’s a new volume of the fantastic series that has a young princess saving herself, as well as her sisters. Destroying tropes, pointing out the idiocy of some accepted things in entertainment, and doing it while entertaining too!

Southern Bastards #9 (Image Comics) – One of the best (if not the best) comic on the market right now. The writing, the art, all of it is beyond amazing. It’s the homecoming game, but there’s also been a murder. It’s never too late to hop on and check out this Southern noir series.

 

Chris

Top Pick: Ei8ht # 5 (Dark Horse Comics) – Travelers lost in time, check. Selfless heroism, check. A merciless opposing force, check. This time travel thriller has its bases covered. The art style consisting essentially of black and white shading with contrasting color to provide surface texture may drive away those interested in other titles with bright colors and intense detail. However they would be missing out  on an intriguing tale of time travel where the character connection across time and place are more than meets the eye.

Archie vs. Predator #3 of 4 (Dark Horse Comics) – Even without reading the previous two issues this comic immediately called out to me as a must read. I have to admit that my love for Predator and comic mash-ups is to blame for that. Right away I could see this is not the Archie I was expecting. This issue has it all classic Archie humor,  blood and gore, and a captivating storyline complete with satirical introspective of those stuck in a horrific movie like situations.

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (IDW Publishing) – The beginning of a 4 part series where our heroes are unknowingly transported to an alternate dimension when the will of a God is thwarted. To return home they must work with their counterparts from this dimension who luckily just so happen to have experience with this sort of adventure. Reference Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters. This issue lays the ground work for what I expect to be yet another great series from the Burnham, Schoeing and Delgado team over at IDW.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Casey & April #1 (IDW Publishing) – Love TMNT but tired of the Turtles then this comic is for you. Take all the turtle powered action and replace it with a teenage love story between Casey and April. While this reviewer is not regretting the time spent reading this issue, it did not rouse much more than a fleeting interest in the series. This issue is a definite pass in my book.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Prez #1 (DC Comics) –  DC is committed to trying something new, and while that hasn’t necessarily worked so far, this new #1 looks like an intriguing updates on the short-lived series from 1973, as a teenage twitter sensation becomes the next President of the United States.  Hopefully it is equal parts social commentary and Bartgirling.

Alex + Ada #15 (Image Comics) –  The finale to this engaging series is here and we get to find out the final fate of the unlikely lovers.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #4 (Marvel/Disney) –  Did you ever watch a Disney movie and think to yourself that it is pretty entertaining despite the G rating?  That same feeling permeates this series.

Doomed #1 (DC Comics) – Another DC #1, this series looks at a person that can change into Doomsday.  Part of the problem of the appeal of Superman stories is that they lack the street level outlook that some readers like (with the present Truth storyline only sort of helping that.)  Maybe this series is DC’s way of finally shaking up its Superman mythos.

Grimm Fairy Tales 10th Anniversary Special #2 Red Riding Hood (Zenescope) –  Zenescope’s least celebrated superhero, Britney Waters, gets another chance to shine here.  Just when will they give her an ongoing series?

 

Elana

Top Pick: Black Canary #1 (DC Comics) – Spinning off of the hip, young Batgirl series is a new series featuring one of the all time best characters in comics. It’s about time she gets a solo series. The book’s premise is that our super powered vocalist becomes the singer of a rock band, goes on tour and fights bad guys on the road. The awesome rock and roll outfits get my approval.

Wu’s art is hip as hell– the line at her booth at Special Edition was enormous.  Fletcher star is rising fast (see hits like Gotham Academy & Batgirl for starters). This is a creative, modern duo writing for an inclusive audience. The future of super hero comics. So I was pleasantly surprised to read in an interview with Fletcher that some of the legacy of the great Silver Age social issues comics series Green Lantern/Green Arrow is continued in this book. Here’s to a new generation’s “hard traveling heroes“.

Ms. Marvel #16 (Marvel) – The multiverse at stake so who will take care of Jersey City? Kamala is breaking my heart with this cover. Who needs a hug!?

Runaways #1 (Marvel) – Noelle Stevenson’s series Nimona is a runaway hit on the Internet that appeals to a younger and often female Fanbase. This is her big two debut. Her work on Lumber Janes is going to win an Eisner. Having her write a Runaways story about kids with super powers sounds like a match made in heaven. And boy do I miss these kids.

Secret Six #3 (DC Comics) – I need to know what the hell is happening! Gail’s original Secret Six series is kind of the best thing ever. The new series had a good premise but it’s been a rough go. I will keep giving this a series chance. I still have faith!

Thors #1 (Marvel) – Because unlike the Highlander there CAN’T be only one. Most excited for of course our female Thor and Storm. Cute detective story premise seals the deal.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Thors #1 (Marvel) – Jason Aaron has been on fire lately and if he’s that good with one God of Thunder, I’m dying to see what he does with a whole roster! In brightest day, in blackest.. oh wait. Nope just pumped for this book! Go Thors!

Justice League of America #1 (DC Comics) – It’s by Bryan Hitch, the man who brought us the cinematic epic which was The Ultimates, I’d like him to take the true Ultimate team in comic books, let him cut loose and see what he can do.

Old Man Logan #2 (Marvel) – Wolverine is dead. Long live a more cranky, aged and badass version of Wolverine. Dystopian futures always bring me a semblance of hope. All I can say is, yes.. and SNIKT!!

Robin: Son of Batman #1 (DC Comics) – First off it’s got Damien Wayne, A Giant Pet Man-Bat, it’s written and drawn by Patrick Gleason. Umm did I mention a Giant Pet Man-Bat??

Wonder Woman #41 (DC Comics) – So far the Finch’s take on the Iconic Amazon have intrigued me. While I don’t think they are at the top of what they could do, I’d like to see what they have further in store. This book has been a guilty pleasure of mine and my gf Ms. B too. Plus, I hope to get some reasoning behind Diana’s new costume.

 

Pharoah

To Pick: Ms. Marvel #16 (Marvel) -This is my top pick of the week just because this character has been nothing but fun since she entered the universe, and it looks like Secret Wars, has come to Jersey City, definitely curious to see how Kamala Khan will be tested!!!

Astronauts In Trouble #1 (Image Comics) – As a company, Image is basically the Jerry Bruckheimer of the comics world, producing blockbuster after blockbuster, and with Charlie (Walking Dead) on this, it definitely has high hopes.

Black Canary #1 (DC Comics) – Brenden Fletcher (BATGIRL) and Annie Wu (HAWKEYE) bring this character to the forefront, after her much needed exposure on the show, Arrow, she finally gets her own shot in this DC reboot.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – After watching the newest Mad Max movie, it definitely has one curious about that whole universe and this comic aims to explore the origin of The Furiosa and it definitely has cred, as it is written by mad Max creator, George Miller himself.

Ghostbusters: Get Real #1 (IDW Publishing) – this sounds so cool, as the film versions and cartoon versions become part of the same world in what can only be interesting chaos

Review: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #3

btmr001The third issue of this series takes a bit of a turn not only from what we expect to find from the story line but also from what we expect to find from something bearing the Disney name.  Thus far this series has been an entirely entertaining story about a young girl named Abigail, cast in the princess/anti-princess role which is common enough at Disney, as she has to settle into the midst of her father’s gold mining operation in the Old West.  The casting of Abigail as the series lead is maybe a bit of a stretch for Disney, but then so too are her princess credentials.  She is from a time in history when villains were often known as industrialists, and thus her noble status comes from the power of the dollar as opposed to a hereditary status.

Although previously introduced, it is apparent that her father is far more of a villain than it might seem.  Although he runs what appears to be a successful gold mine, he seems eager to extract every penny’s worth of the mine that is possible.  This leads to bare attention paid to his workers in what makes a comparison to a good comparison to the likes of Henry Frick.  This might be a setup for some kind of last minute switch or revelation, but this issue is so heavy on the social commentary that it is hard to believe that it is coming from such a large corporation.  Amidst all of this commentary there is also a a decent amount of action as Abigail and her cohorts are forced into various situations requiring some resolution be it a runaway horse or a flash flood.

It is likely that many have stayed away from this series because of what they might expect from it, and rightfully that is an injustice.  It does bear the name Disney and it does feature a young heroine, but there is not so much of the Disney formula apparent here.  While it is definitely rated G, it fills its pages with strong writing, and surprisingly stronger commentary, all surrounded by well written characters.   Those looking for something a bit more edgy in comics have probably overlooked this series, but those looking on for quality need not look much farther.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Felix Ruiz
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Fight Club 2 #1 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Fight Club 2 #1 (Dark Horse)Fight Club is both a fantastic book and movie. When I heard a sequel was being made as a comic, I was initially apprehensive, even with it being written by Chuck Palahniuk. But, after the first issue, I’m beyond all in. The first issue is absolutely amazing, both in story and art.

Captain Canuck 2015 #1 (Chapter House Publishing) – I grew up mostly in Buffalo, right along the Canadian border. And due to that, I’ve known about Captain Canuck for a while. A new updated version? Hells yes!

Fubar: Mother Russia #2 (Alterna Comics) – The Fubar series of comics gives us a zombie twist on history. The latest volume puts us in Russia during World War II, where a zombie outbreak is causing the Russians some issues.

Material #1 (Image Comics) – A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed. An actress receives an offer that can revive her career. A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement. A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs. Ales Kot‘s latest sounds fascinating.

You Don’t Say (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf)Nate Powell‘s latest release from Top Shelf. All you need to know is it’s Nate Powell. That should be enough for you to pick this one up.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Surface Tension #1 (Titan Comics) – This new series puts a twist on the zombie/post-apocalyptic genre by taking a look at the world’s oceans and the environmental impact of our actions there.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #3 (Marvel/Disney) – This Disney adaptation is doing what the best adaptations do – remind nothing of the original material (in this case a theme park ride) while capturing the same spirit.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #3 (Archie Comics) – Archie’s darker comics have been pretty fun so far.  Sabrina is not getting as much attention but she returns here for some more dark tales of sorcery.

He-Man Eternity War #6 (DC Comics) – Fantasy and Sci-Fi meet here and produce the best in the genre at the moment.  Those with inhibitions about He-Man should let go of the past and hop in for a wild ride.

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1 (Marvel) – There has hardly been a misstep in Marvel’s relaunch and rebranding of the Inhumans.  It continues here with a big development.

 

“Big Daddy Cool” Johnny Dellarocca

Top Pick: Convergence: Shazam #2 (DC Comics) – It’s Steampunk vs. Dieselpunk! Plus the creative team of Parker and Shaner is an unbeatable combination.

Captain Midnight #23 (Dark Horse) – One of the best monthly series out there, and it looks like it’s coming to an explosive end with issue 24!

King Flash Gordon #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) – If all of the Dynamite King titles this has been the best. The creative team of Acker and Blacker has done a great job of continuing the amazing work of Parker and Shaner and have preserved the pace and fun of what went before. This has become one of favorite monthly titles.

Where Monsters Dwell #1 (Marvel) – As a Dieselpunk fan it really doesn’t get any better that flying ace The Phantom Eagle taking on monsters and dinosaurs! Sign me up!

Review: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #2

bigthunder002When turning its rides into works of fiction, Disney usually gets a free pass in the initial steps of the story.  This is because the creative minds behind the adaptations are usually adept enough at capturing what makes the ride so fun to begin with, even without the roller coaster effects.  If one remembers the opening scenes of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, they will remember the wealth of visual reminders about the rich environment in which they are populated.  The same can be said for the first issue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Instead of playing pirates, it instead looks at another iconic realm of childhood fantasy, the Old West.  As Disney is occasionally known to do, it cast a female lead character in place of the male protagonist better known to the same period, and it paid off with a different angle told to a familiar enough story.

This second issue follows Abigail after she has been trapped in the mine’s rumblings.  As with the first issue there are again a few things that are out of place with the story, such as the ease by which she causes a fissure in a humongous rock, but this is a story that is not meant for the analysis of the minor details.  It is an avenue to fun, and it carries on with it as she manages to find her way back to the surface with the aid of the masked man, only to find out that her savior is also a thief, having made off with the load of gold on the eponymous railroad.  She chases the train down with the help of her faithful horse, but it leads her into another unexpected conflict.

After escaping from the fertile ground caused from a mixing of the Old West with the Disney property, the series still proves that it has a lot of heart, even if the story falls off a little bit.  This is not an edgy comic, but it also doesn’t try to be, instead going for a family level of fun.  If the latter is indeed its goal though, it really does succeed, and doesn’t let up.  Those that are used to comics for other genres and attitudes might find this series a bit trying, but for those that like the medium as a whole for all that it has to offer, they are likely to find a title to love here.  It is innocent and fun, but executed pretty well, and deserves more praise than just being a good children’s title.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Tithe01_CoverAWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Nutmeg #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – There’s been such a fresh amount of releases of comics that break the mold of the traditional comic recently. This new series is another example of that focusing on some high school girls and their revival. Yup, it’s that simple, yet so welcome.

Archie vs. Predator #1 (Archie) – The first issue is great, mixing in classic Predator moments with a style that’s all Archie. So subversive. So much fun.

Bloodshot Reborn #1 (Valiant) – The Valiant left a very different Bloodshot out there at the end. This series picks up from there with a new status-quo and one I’m fascinated to see.

The Fox #1 (Archie/Dark Circle) – Archie’s going dark and mature with their new line of superhero comics. So far so good, and this first issue has very lofty expectations from me.

Letter 44 #15 (Oni Press) – It’s been six months since the last issue, and all hell has broken loose.

Edward

Top Pick: The Tithe #1 (Image Comics) – Comics are all the much better when they mix interesting concepts with social commentary.  Such seems the case here with a group that robs from mega-churches and gives the money to the poor.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #2 (Marvel/Disney) – This is not just a Disney ride.  Instead it gives a different take on the Western genre, while staying true enough to the roots of the story.

Ms. Marvel #14 (Marvel) – Those getting caught up in the Batgirling of all comics forget that Marvel did it here first without the fanfare.  This standout series delivers more of what has given it such acclaim.

Thor #7 (Marvel) –  This “Love It or Hate It” title should just be just the former.  Since the introduction of the new Thor there has hardly been a misstep.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Wonderland #34 (Zenescope) – Erica J. Heflin’s run on Wonderland has been great so far, and this story arc promises more to come for Zenescope’s most complex superhero.

A Short History of Turning Disney Rides Into Fiction

Tower_of_Terror_VideoCoverOne of the common criticisms of modern media is that people have run out of ideas, and that everything that we see is a repetition of something that came before. While this is a contentious enough claim based partially in an over-analysis of tropes and truisms, it is true that those looking to create popular culture stories for movies have looked elsewhere for inspiration in recent years. There have been movies based on blogs for instance, which is a form of media copying another.

In terms of media, many people don’t consider theme park rides to be a form of media, but under certain circumstances they can be. Of courses roller coasters are not really a form of media, but some rides are. After all at Disney World and Disney Land many of the rides consist of a moving vessel which undergoes some mild thrills in the form of chutes or slides, and a story of sorts being told through the depiction of various themes.  In short it serves as a sort of moving theater without a real plot, and is thus is kind of its own form of media (or at least a weird version of theater).

Country_bearsWith the crossover of almost all forms of media from on into another, it thus stands to reason that eventually that someone at Disney would get the idea to base some stories on their own rides, which doubled as extra incentive to take children to the theme parks (if they actually needed more incentive). Surprisingly though, with one notable exception, the transfer to other forms of media has been pretty mediocre, yet recent developments with Disney and Marvel might indicate the path forward for these ventures.

The first movie in this short history of Disney attractions is the Tower of Terror, released in 1997. Featuring Disney staple Steve Guttenberg and pre-Spider-Man Kirsten Dunst, this is the only film of this kind that was released directly to television. It is also notable for its use of the actual ride as a set for the filming as opposed to the other movies which have relied on different settings. This features a fairly typical ghost story and was filmed for a younger audience as it originally appeared on the Wonderful World of Disney.

The second movie in the sequence is the Country Bears, a film based on the ride/show Country Bear Jamboree. This film was released in 2002 and mixed animatronics with real life actors to tell the story of one of the youngest of the Country Bears who discovers his true destiny after being raised by human parents. This was another Disney movie aimed at a younger crowd as it contained rehearsed dance numbers by children and a silly enough premise. Not surprisingly the film grossed back less than half of its budget in ticket sales.

piratesOut of two mediocre films that were either failures or forgettable came Disney’s greatest success. Although it might have seemed absurd at the time, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a film which ventured well past what was offered in the ride. Although the plot was perhaps a little basic in certain respects, it was equally a movie that was full of a lot of elements that make a movie exciting. Special effects provided a realistic enough supernatural element, but the movie is tied mostly to the over-the-top role played by Johnny Depp, which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for best actor. Additionally the movie helped to make stars out of its other two leads, Oralndo Bloom and Keira Knightley, who while already known well enough in Hollywood, had not yet been considered to be proper A-list actors. The 2003 film was followed by sequels in 2006, 2007 and 2011 with another sequel expected in 2017, with the latter to each featuring one half of the married couple of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.  It is by far the most successful of the Disney rides turned into movies, with gross ticket sales surpassing $3.5 billion.

haunted mansionAfter the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, some thought that Disney might be entering into a period of success for these adaptations, but the follow-up to its big hit was another poorly received movie as the Haunted Mansion failed to gain critical success, even if its box office draw was not as bad as the others. Starring Eddie Murphy in a story that was once again loosely based on the ride, many criticized it for now being scary enough, or funny enough considering that Eddie Murphy was involved. Despite its lackluster final product interest rests in retelling the story by Guillermo del Toro, who might be able to realize a stronger concept considering some of his previous works.

In a bit of a twist, the next movie in the Disney catalog, is not one based on a ride specifically, but rather an entire section of the park, known as Tomorrowland. Although it is still unreleased, it holds a great deal of promise, telling a broader story as Pirates of the Caribbean did, and it doesn’t hurt either that big names like George Clooney and Brad Bird are associated. While there are also rumours of a movie based on “It’s a Small World” (which would presumably be somewhat Carmen Sandiego-like), this is maybe not the way forward for Disney films.

big thunderSince 2009 Disney has owned Marvel Comics, and while speculated on what that might mean for the future of Marvel, it has mostly remained unchanged in terms of the Marvel universe of superheroes. What is in interesting possibility though is the new miniseries Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After the hit-and-miss (though mostly miss) run of fiction based on rides, this is a chance for Disney to test ideas in a safer market without investing millions of dollars into an idea that might make back less than half of the money invested.  If this is the case, Marvel could also act as an incubator for movie ideas which Disney thinks might fail on the big screen, and this could be a place to see if they could succeed and to fine tune the idea before putting it into production.  Thus maybe if there is to be a “It’s a Small World” movie, it might show up at Marvel first.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic day yesterday! What’d everyone get? If you’re still undecided check out all the links to numerous reviews below.

Around the Tubes

GamePolitics – Report: YouTube finally taking game streaming seriously – Maybe we’ll start streaming?

Kotaku – Please Stop Putting Stan Lee’s Name on Things – Amen.

iO9 – 9 Batman Knock-Offs That Utterly Miss The Point Of Batman – Have any to add to the list?

The Huffington Post – Charlie Hebdo To Receive PEN Award – Congrats!

Bleeding Cool – ‘It’s About Ethics In Comic Book Publishing’ – All conflicts should be disclosed at all time, and free items should be disclosed as well.

The Outhousers – Interview: Erik Larsen Goes In-Depth on CostumeGate, Costume Design, and the State of Comics – Great interview.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Amazing X-Men #18

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CBR – The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5

Comic Vine – Batman and Robin #40

Comic Vine – Batman Eternal #51

Comic Vine – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1

Comic Vine – The Black Hood #2

The Outhousers – Chew #47

Bleeding Cool – Curb Stomp #2

Comic Vine – Daredevil #14

Comic Vine – Darth Vader #3

Comic Vine – Deadpool #44

Comic Vine – The Flash #40

ICv2 – The G-Man Super Journal: Awesome Origins HC

Comic Vine – Gotham Academy #6

Bleeding Cool – Gotham Academy #6

Comic Vine – Gotham by Midnight #5

The Outhousers: Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #3

The Beat – Hit: 1957 #1

Talking Comics – Hit: 1957 #1

CBR – Jem and the Holograms #1

Comic Vine – Jem and the Holograms #1

CBR – Miami Vice Remix #1

CBR – The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1

Comicsgirl – Part-Time Princesses

The Beat – Past Aways #1

Bleeding Cool – Providence #1

Comic Vine – Rumble #4

Comic Vine – Wytches #5

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