In round 4 of this year’s Free Comic Book Day Battle of the Books, it’s time to check out a long-time fan favourite with an international reputation for fair play and outstanding athleticism… and one about Cristiano Ronaldo being a superhero! But which hero managed to achieve their goal and save the (Free Comic Book) day?
New stories! First off, the Tick and Arthur accept a dinner invitation from an obsessed fan who claims to own the world’s biggest collection of Tick memorabilia. But is there more to The Tick Collector than meets the eye, and can his “world’s greatest meatloaf” really win a Nobel prize and create world peace like the Tick imagines? Meanwhile, The Tick and Arthur also engage in some cosplaying for Free Comic Book Day, Arthur has a bad experience while doing the laundry, and the Tick has a crazy adventure and gets to commune with nature – literally – in Borneo.
SPOON! Yes, The Tick returns for its ninth Free Comic Book Day, and their eighth time offering original stories. It’s become something of a tradition by now, and it’s good to see NEC Press enjoying themselves with it and taking full advantage of the situation. In fact, it’s fair to say that they seem to have a better handle of FCBD than most publishers. More than that, once again the stories are laugh-out-loud funny and some of the jokes are classics. However, this isn’t quite the finest work they’ve put out over the years, but for fans it should be more than enough.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Striker Force 7:
What could have turned one of the world’s most famous football players, Cristiano Ronaldo, into a superhero who rides around in a flying car? The answer is obvious: he gets recruited by an international peacekeeping agency, joining a team of technologically-equipped agents (and a human/shark hypbrid) because of his incredible footballing ability. But on his first day on the job, his cover is blown and he’s pushed to the limit when he’s attacked by supervillains at the grand opening of a new football stadium…
Coming across like a hybrid of Iron Man and SupaStrikas, this is a mixed bag but may appeal to Ronaldo’s fans – in particular, the younger ones. Yes, there are plenty of plot holes and a lack of sufficient explanations for most of the things that happen, but it works according to its own internal logic and writer Merrill Hagan manages to keep the plot moving forward smoothly. This may not be the most original of comic books, and cynics will find lots to pull apart, but it’s light-hearted enough and a throwback to Ben 10’s glory days.
While The Tick is the clear winner of the two, both comics will have their fans… even if they aren’t necessarily the first choices for some readers. It’s interesting that both took full advantage of the Free Comic Book Day concept to push their respective brands, while still being entertaining enough to make readers feel like they’re being treated to something special. Other companies could learn a thing or two from them. Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Striker Force 7 needs to do a little more original work and character development, while The Tick needs to be careful to not rest on its laurels, but both did more than enough this year.