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Lions, Tigers, and Bears, vol. 2 #4 (ADVANCE)

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Lions, Tigers, and Bears, vol. 2 #4 (ADVANCE)

Credits

  • Words: Mike Bullock
  • Art: Paul Gutierrez
  • Inks: Paul Gutierrez
  • Colors: Bob Pedroza
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2007

The forces of evil have the upper hand and Joey’s imagination is down for the count. Can the stuffed animals save the day?

It has been a long and rocky road to the conclusion of volume 2 of Lions, Tigers, and Bears but the end is finally here. Was it all worth the wait and can writer Mike Bullock pull a spectacular finish out of his hat?

When last we left the Stuffed Animal Kingdom, Valthraxx had control of the throne through King Bear’s evil brother. As the Stuffed Animals rally outside the castle they face an army of Beasties. Failure cannot be an option though, for the lives of King Bear and all the kidnapped children are relying on the animal heroes. With Joey unconscious, though, who can step up to help the forces of good?

After some understandable but regrettable delays the second mini-series in this line wraps up. To be honest, I myself had to go back and re-read the previous three issues to refresh the story in my mind. Once done, however, the story actually flows well together as a whole. Despite the all-ages nature of the story, Bullock does not shrink from including some tragic elements. As with life, victory is often tinged with sadness. There are also some unexpected and very nice twists to the tale that may seem to come out of left field when the issue is read alone but hold up when #4 is read together with the rest of the series. There is also a nice bit of character work as little Courtney must come to terms with the battle between good and evil.

Artist Paul "Gutz" Gutierrez, who took over the art duties from Jack Lawrence, finishes the story out and it is nice to see that his recent health problems have not affected his style. The art is brilliantly cartoony and animated in every sense of the word. The characters constantly feel in motion and, when combined with the brilliant color work, look ready to jump off the page and right into your lap.

While Lions, Tigers, and Bears wraps to a lovely finish the door is left open a crack for more to come and it can only be hoped that readers will see that more. There are few titles that can truly appeal to "children of all ages" but this is one of them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is the perfect title for parents to sit down and read together with their children. It is equally enjoyable for adults without any kids in their lives. The blend of fantasy and real world consequences make this an extremely smart story – one that never talks down to its audience. For something with heart, soul, warmth, comedy, and drama you just can’t go wrong with Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

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