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Friday, July 18, 2014

Comic Reviews 7/19/14


REVIEWS

The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.


Title: SPIDER-MAN 2099
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Simone Bianchi
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero




Quite a while back Marvel did a whole series of comics set in the year 2099
featuring new characters with familiar names. One of the most popular of those
series was SPIDER-MAN 2099. Now Peter David is back on the series with the main
character trapped in the present with no way back. For those who are unfamiliar
with Miguel O'Hara, except for his recent appearances in the Spider-Man comics,
the editors have provided a brief backstory at the beginning of this issue.
Miguel was a young genetics genius employed by Alchemax in the far future. In
trying to replicate the spider powers of Peter Parker the experiment was turned
against him and it rewrote his DNA to make it 50% spider. (Hey this is comics
after all.) Gaining amazing powers he became the Spider-Man of 2099. The recent
temporal distortions in the Marvel Universe threatened the life of the head of
Alchemax, Tyler Stone who is secretly Miguel's father. Miguel has since
travelled back to the early days of the company, our present, to try to save the
life of his grandfather, Tiberius Stone. He is stranded here but he is not
alone. As part of his technical arsenal he has a holographic AI assistant called
Lyla who helps him navigate through the early 21st century. As I said Miguel has
already been around for a while as this story begins. He has a position at
Alchemax under the name Michael O'Mara so as not to show up in any future
databases under his real name. As the real action begins he is in a meeting with
Tiberius Stone trying to dissuade him from selling the Spider-Slayers to a
dictatorship nation. Also working at Alchemax is one Liz Allan, someone true
Spider-Man fans are familiar with. As this first episode indicates she is going
to play a key role in Miguel's future. Providing the action this issue is
another visitor from the future in an armored suit. He is and adjustor from an
agency in the year 2211. The agency is T.O.T.E.M., the Temporal Oversight Team
Eliminating Mistakes. They are that time's version of the time police and this
adjustor was sent back to this time to eliminate Miguel O'Hara. You see by 2211
time travel is limited only to agents of T.O.T.E.M. and they take it so
seriously that they go back further in time to find unauthorized travelers
through the ages. Since Miguel is not supposed to be here he must be destroyed.
Just to show us this guy means business we witness a couple of situations where
people in his way disintegrated once the adjustor researches there personal
history to determine if there termination will have any impact on the future.
Well, this guy has no problem finding our hero in his present identity at
Alchemax and it will be up to Miguel to find a way to avoid the whole mess. One
thing about the time traveler is that he reveals bits of information about
people before he makes his decision. That is how we know the lives of Miguel and
Liz will be intertwined. It is a solid first issue with really good art to
support the non-verbal part of the story. We get to know a little bit about
Miguel initially as he finds an apartment to settle in and interacts with a
neighbor he actually has already met as Spider-Man 2099 in this timeline. The
main plot is wrapped up in a unique fashion but Peter David leaves the threads
for future developments. You do not need to know any more than what is in this
issue to enjoy it and follow it to the end. I recommend you give it a try.


Title: GRAYSON
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Tim Seeley
Plot: Tim Seeley & Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Andrew Robinson
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Espionage




If you are like me and do not read all the various Batman titles out there you
might be missing the story of how Dick Grayson transitioned from having his
identity as Nightwing revealed to the world in FOREVER EVIL to being an
operative for an international spy agency called Spyral. I say "might" because I
am not sure if such a transition took place anywhere else. Be that as it may his
cover now is that he was killed in FOREVER EVIL (not entirely untrue though he
got better) and the organization he works for has some really cool technology so
they have identity protection implants that ensure his face cannot be captured
camera. So that takes care of anybody recognizing him. He works closely with
Helena Bertinelli and they are handled by the mysterious Mr. Minos whose face is
completely blotted out - like he is wearing a skin mask that does not reveal any
features - eyes, nose, and mouth are all solid skin it appears. It opens with a
mission to abduct a Russian on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He has a special
implant that give him some awesome powers and there are others out to get him as
well. There is a lot of action this first issue that really highlight the fact
that Dick Grayson is so highly trained he does not need the super hero garb to
be effective. The surprise for me in this debut issue was the appearance of
another familiar character that tries to intervene when Dick is escaping with
the Russian, Ninel. For some reason Midnighter of Storm Watch is also interested
in Ninel and through his superior capabilities quickly deduces that Dick is an
agent of Spyral. If you know anything about Midnighter you know he is not just a
Batman analog. He is possibly the most formidable character in hand to hand
combat in the DC Universe. Dick has got his hands full with this one. The other
reveal in this episode is that Dick secretly has a contact outside of Spyral so
all may not be as it seems. And as Midnighter alludes during the fight scenes
Spyral is known for some rather unethical things when it comes to beings with
enhanced abilities. In fact the final scene gives a big clue as to what Mr.
Minos is up to and just how much he knows. So there is intrigue within this
whole set up I was not expecting. It is plotted very well and the art is spot-on
as you would expect. There is a lot more to this comic than first meets the eye.
You might want to get it now before things heat up.

Title: DEATH VIGIL
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Stjepan Sejic
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge








The main character in this story is a dead man named Samuel Lewis. In fact the
very first thing we see is how he died, some twelve years ago. It is what
happens immediately following that sets up the story as it jumps to the present.
At his death Sam was recruited by the personification death, a white-haired
female called Bernadette the Reaper, to join her army called the Vigil. As a
soldier in Vigil he wields unique tools, as they all do, that are magical veil
rippers. His are a spade and a pick axe and goes by the title Digger. They fight
the forces of the occult that try to enter our realm. Often times this pits them
against necromancers who are very real attempting to open the gateways for the
eldritch forces. The larger part of this story involves one such necromancer who
has laid the groundwork to cast his master spell for long time and it will
involve killing his girlfriend and using her hatred at his betrayal as she nears
death to open the veil. It is all part of a larger plot to draw the forces of
Vigil to events like these and then the evil forces unleashed will theoretically
destroy the soldiers of Vigil and steal their veil rippers for a much larger
master plan. This whole sequence introduces us to the kinds of supernatural bad
guys involved as well as some of the main members of Death's Vigil. The most
interesting of them, and apparently the most powerful, besides Bernadette, is a
white raven called Hugin. Sejic has created an interesting mythology here. The
human element of the soldiers brings some needed characterization for emotional
content, both serious and humorous. He does it all in this book and his art is
quite good as it jumps from ordinary scenes to fantastical supernatural battles.
This is not my particular comic to read on a regular basis but I highly
recommend it for its structure and craft for any fan of the genre.

Title: NEW SUICIDE SQUAD
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Pure Insanity
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Jeremy Roberts
Colors: Blond
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Anti-hero



I guess after the fall out from FOREVER EVIL the Suicide Squad needed some
retooling. Amanda Waller is still running the team but now she reports to Victor
Sage. Sage has made some changes to things. New members Deathstroke,
Black Manta and Joker's Daughter have joined Harley Quinn and Deadshot on their first
mission as the newly named Task Force X. (hmm, I wonder if Marvel will sue them
for the use of the letter X?) This first mission is taking them to the Russian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. They have multiple goals, besides
destroying the ministry. Manta will be looking for a top secret project being
worked on here while Deathstroke is going to assassinate the CEO of the largest
Russian oil company. There is conflict all over this team, not the least of
which is Waller's animosity toward her new boss and his methods. She really
objects to bringing in new members without the bomb implants that control the
existing members and then sending them off so quickly without adequate
integration. Then there is the fact that Joker's Daughter is wearing Mr. J's
face, something Harley does not like at all. There is also natural distrust from
Deadshot over Deathstroke being in charge and keeping the killing assignment for
himself. They may be the best team to pull off such an outrageous covert
operation but can they work together? Sure they have the ruthlessness and
firepower to get the job done. On the other hand the Russians may have something
up their sleeve as well. I enjoyed this issue right from the start. A lot of it
is team dynamics, or lack thereof, on every level and the characterizations make
it very readable. I was not a reader of the old series so I am not sure if this
Sage guy is new to the group or just a character introduced to mix things up. He
does add things to the story that should prove interesting. The art is as good
as any major DC title. One small flaw in my copy was an incorrect assembly of
the issue that left two pages inserted loosely in the middle though they depict
a scene that is actually five pages earlier. Once I figured it out it made much
more sense. I also checked and very few issues came through this way an there
are plenty of correct copies available. This is a very readable story that is
different, as it has always been, from the standard "hero" books. Check it out.

Title: 100th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: SPIDER-MAN
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Great Power
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee & Ditko
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: In-Hyuk Lee
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





Unlike the 100th ANNIVERSARY FANTASTIC FOUR issue this story has a more youthful
Peter Parker facing off against the familiar Kingpin of Crime. Without
explicitly saying so this is some far future issue involving the symbiote suit,
which we are familiar with in its current iteration in the present. This future
suit has been technologically enhanced allowing the wearer to control nearly any
machine on the planet thanks to funding secretly provided by Wilson Fisk. For
the purposes of this special issue we are coming into the story at its
conclusion, part 8 of the arc. Peter and Eddie Brock have jostled for control of
the suit but have come to the realization that it is too dangerous for anyone to
have and have agreed to destroy it. Before they could they were overcome and as
they come to in Wilson Fisk's office the Kingpin shoots and kills Eddie. This is
explained in the opening text as Fisk reveals his plan all along was to make
sure the suit had no kinks in it before taking it on himself. With the world of
the future even more automated than now he can control anything and everything.
But first he has to kill Peter Parker. And so this entire issue becomes a
slugfest with Peter on the run as Wilson controls automated cars, helicopters
and anything else in range to throw at Peter who is desperately trying to put
together a plan to stop him. There is not a lot of dialogue by this point and
frankly the final confrontation does not seem very satisfying to me. It is as if
I am missing something I should know because for all the superiority Kingpin has
while wearing the suit the final defeat seems way too easy. I liked the art very
much, which is essential in a story with very little dialogue and lots of
action. Bottom line for me is that this is just not that special as an
anniversary issue.

Title: WORLD'S FINEST
Issue Number: 25
Title Story: Farewells
Publisher: DC
Creators: Huntress created by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton & Bob Layton
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Inkers: Joe Weeks & Art Thibert
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia & Michael Atiyeh
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero


The cover to this comic is a bit misleading. It shows Huntress and Power Girl
exiting a Boom Tube on Earth 2 as the heroes of that Earth, the New Batman,
Green Lantern and the Kryptonian are fighting the turned-evil Superman and some
parademons. Even the cover blurb says "Deadly Reunion on Earth 2!" But that
scene never happens. In fact the last panel only shows the two female heroines
exiting the tube as they finally return to their home dimension and nothing and
nobody else. For two years-worth of issues, more than five years their time,
these two have been on Earth Prime after crossing over at the point that Batman,
Superman and Wonder Woman were all apparently killed by the forces of Darkseid.
If you have been reading the EARTH 2 comic you know that Superman was not
destroyed but captured and turned to the Dark Side (pun intended.) This is
actually a transition issue as Helena and Kara prepare for their last day in
this dimension. They have finally found a way to get back to Earth 2. There are
technical preparations, Kara has made arrangements to pass on her considerable
business holdings and Helena wants to spend some quality time enjoy the
relatively peaceful life here before returning to a war torn world where they
are not even sure any heroes are left. What they don't know is that Desaad is
also trapped here and he plans to take the opportunity to get back to his master
on Earth 2. So rather than just fond farewells to old friends as they step into
the Boom Tube, the ladies will have a fight on their hands just trying to make
it through. So while the story is not what the cover hype says it is I still
enjoyed it. I do not follow WORLD'S FINEST but am a big fan of EARTH 2 and I
wanted to see the welcome introduction of these characters into that continuity.
Where it goes from here should be interesting and I will be following it in both
series from here on out. Now is your chance to join the fun.

                                    *****
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!!     WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:
In the STATIC comics, what school did Virgil and friends attend?

In the comics, Virgil attended Ernest Hemingway High School. The winner this
week is Jeremy Mower.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
What four costumed characters helped Swamp Thing in his quest in the afterlife
to rescue Abby who had been sent to Hell by Arcane?


Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Comic Reviews 7/11/14




REVIEWS

The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.


Title: 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: FANTASTIC FOUR
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Lee & Kirby
Writer: Jan Van Meter
Artist: Joanna Estep
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero






Normally in comics the 100th anniversary would be the publishing of issue#100.
Marvel has come up with a different concept and published a short series of
titles as if they are being published one hundred years after they started. Of
course we are talking comic book continuity time here so the characters are not
over a hundred years old, but they have aged. The first of the series is
FANTASTIC FOUR. As the issue begins we are already looking back fifteen years to
an event that was pivotal in the future of the team. In the "current" time of
the story the Fantastic Four consist of Trin (Fantasm) and Kirby (Slip)
Richards-Banner the daughter and son of Valeria Richards, Victoria Harkness
(Enchantress) and Lee Minh Cam, the Human Torch. They are out to investigate
catastrophic damage to an orbital colony of Neolunar, the new moon, when they
receive what appears to be a transmission from Reed Richards who disappeared
fifteen years ago with Johnny, Franklin and Victor Von Doom. They were all
presumed dead. Back then those four were trying to prevent a time crime but were
falsely accused of being the terrorists by the authorities that were closing in
on the event. After a fantastic explosion the four were gone, presumed to be
disintegrated. The Thing was left in a comma and Sue has been essentially under
house arrest for fifteen year. The second and third generation have carried on
the family business and now it seems they are about to learn the truth of what
really happened on that day long ago. This is a fun story and is much more than
I expected. It is cool to see the newer characters with different abilities and
their own dynamic. Valeria as an adult is a natural leader and the Banner twist
in her marriage and offspring is an added plus. The way the two plots intersect
is handled well and the larger picture - the reason behind the time event and
what happens at the end of this chapter is just getting interesting. But since
this is a one shot we will have to look elsewhere to see what develops. Luckily
the final panel promises to continue the story in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 100TH
ANNIVERSARY. The down side of this comic for me is the art. I find the line work
too crude and the coloring just passable. But I enjoyed the other aspects of it.

Title: ROCKET RACCOON
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: A Chasing Tale
Publisher: Marvel
Writer/Artist: Skottie Young
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover Artist: Skottie Young
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





With the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movie just a few weeks away Marvel is ramping
up the amount of related comics available on the racks. This week I look at two
of them. First up is a solo title about the talking raccoon who is not a raccoon
and does not want to be called one. This character tends to be the comic relief
of the group and Marvel chose Skottie Young who is no strange to comical stories
for Marvel to head it up. Rocket is the last of his species from another planet.
He is boisterous and quite the ladies' man. In fact when he is not out saving
the galaxy with the Guardians you might find him with his latest paramour. That
is the beginning of the main plot to this story as we find Rocket on a date at a
wrestling match on some foreign planet where one of the main contestants is his
old buddy Groot. As you can imagine his date is not all that impressed with the
choice and would rather spend quality time alone with our hero. Well, that is
not going to happen as the pair got caught on the kissing cam at the stadium and
suddenly the whole stadium is alerted that he is a wanted fugitive. The ensuing
action is all for fun as he gets involved in the match briefly and is chased all
over the city sewers all the while calling the Guardians for help. This is all
part of a bigger plot by an unexpected former acquaintance to get even. The fun
has just begun. I enjoyed this comic for what it is, a comic relief type story
with lots of dialog by Rocket that suits his character to a tee. Young has a
cartoonish quality to his art that suits the story and the finished product is a
quality effort by all. If you like the character you will enjoy it too. If you
are more interested in the hard-hitting stories in the main book you won't need
to pick up this one for fear of missing something important.


Title: LEGENDARY STAR-LORD
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





The other Guardians related comic out this week features the leader, Peter
Quill, in his own title. The start of the main plot has Peter in a hard spot. He
has been found by the evil Badoon at an orphanage on a distant planet. As an
added bonus for the bad guys he also has in his possession the fabulous Mandalay
Gem, left behind by the Spartax army when they left the planet. The Badoon plan
to turn over Peter to a certain Mr. Knife for a handsome bounty.  Most of the
action takes place on the Badoon ship with Peter in a cell. Although they have
to turn him in alive to collect their bounty the Badoon are not averse to
roughing him up on the way, and that will be their mistake. The comic has some
interesting asides throughout. One involves flashbacks to Peter as a child
shortly after his mother's death. Another is a conversation he has over a
communicator with Kitty Pride of the X-Men. While at first it seems like his
intention was to rob the orphanage of the gem in their custody we eventually see
his true nature shine as the story unfolds. There are little bits of humor here
and there that keep things natural for our hero and in the back of his mind is
always to the goal to hunt down Thanos. But there is a big surprise at the end
of the issue when it seems he has jumped out of the frying pan right into the
fire. And you won't believe who it is he meets for the first time on the final
page. This is a good story with fine art making it a worthy companion book to
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It helps us get to know Peter better and will fill in
some missing bits of his background we did not know. It is worth picking up for
that reason.

Title: DAREDEVIL
Issue Number: 0.1
Title Story: Road Warrior
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Chris Samnee & Javier Rodriguez
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero




This is indeed one of those point-one issues Marvel has grown fond of and since
this one is 0.1 it takes place before the first issue of the current series. To
bring you up to speed Matt Murdock has finally revealed his secret identity on
purpose and for that he has been disbarred from practicing law in New York. This
new series has him setting up new digs on the left coast and this story takes
place during his journey across country. Regular scribe Mark Waid is filling us
in on his adventures on his way to San Francisco. He is accompanied by fellow
lawyer Kirsten McDuffie when their plane is force to land in Milwaukee due to
bad weather. The gist of the plot involves Matt's heightened senses as the plane
endures the rough weather attempting to land. Matt of course has super hearing
and the heartbeats of all the passengers are like a symphony of sound he cannot
block out. But something is odd in the mix of all the passengers and as they are
deplaning he finally figures it out - one of the passengers has no heartbeat at
all. Naturally he cannot pass up investigating further and that will be
beginning of an adventure that leads him to track down the man only to discover
that the guy believes he is someone and something he is not. The plot thickens
as the trail leads to none other than the infamous Thinker.  It is a well-laid
out story that has plenty of action and a twist or two as Matt figures out a way
to foil the villain at the point where it seems he can't possibly do it. The
story held my interest all the way though there is a plot hole about Daredevil
having his plane downed by weather in a place close enough to find Thinker once
he has figured out the mystery behind the stranger on the plane. We know he did
not travel far from the area to find Thinker because in the end he is back with
Kirsten about to finish their trip by car. Still I enjoyed the story and it held
my interest the whole time. It even makes sense to have this as a point one
issue rather than starting the new series with this particular story. Those who
follow the series will definitely enjoy this one. If you would like to read a
good standalone Daredevil story then this is a good one to get.

Title: ROBOCOP
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Dead or Alive You're Coming with Me
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Suggested for Mature Readers




Boom has taken its latest Robocop series full circle by setting it in the world
of the original movie that started it all. Officers Murphy and Lewis are once
again patrol the mean streets of Detroit where Robocop is making a difference in
the war on crime. To emphasize the value Murphy has added to the force in his
Robocop persona we are treated to several pages of shoot-out action in which
Robocop single-handedly takes out a gun running operation. In fact this episode
is so violent it will cause a change in policy in the city that will directly
affect our two heroes. In a sub plot Lewis is studying for the detective's exam
but hasn't told Murphy yet. But the main plot involves a new initiative from the
mayor called "Get the Guns." From now on any gun that is not registered with
both the city and OCP gets confiscated. Lewis fears that the citizens will riot
if they try to confiscate all the guns but then her boss drops the bomb that she
and Murphy are in charge of the project. This will set up the main conflict
going forward, especially when they find out what we already know about the new
citizen liaison assigned to the project. While there is a lot of action in this
first issue this issue the main plot is only just beginning. But it is all
plotted purposely to properly pace the story. The art is spectacular and really
moves things while adding to the story. This is a real easy comic to get
involved with as it only requires basic knowledge from the movie without any tie
the various other Robocop series published in the past. If you like the
characters you will like this adventure with them.

Title: DKW: DITKO KIRBY WOOD
Issue Number: 1-shot
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Creator: Sergio Ponchione
Translated from Italian by Diego Ceresa w/Sergio Ponchione, Eric Reynolds and
Kristy Valenti
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Artistic Tribute






This comic is probably one of the most unusual on the racks right now because it
does not fall into any of the major genres. Instead it is a labor of love by a
well-known award winning comic creator and teacher from Italy. It is his tribute
to three of the greatest contributors to the US comic book industry - Steve
Ditko, Jack Kirby and Wally Wood. He approaches the effort with a framing
sequence that has an aspiring comic artist visit his studio to show off his work
and seek his advice. After browsing through the young man's portfolio he makes a
few suggestions but the major one is that he should study the works of the three
seminal figures in American comic book history. If he studies their work he will
understand their talent and find his own path to his dream. For the sake of the
structure at this point he has a rather magical transition into his first lesson
on Steve Ditko titled "The Mysterious Steve." He paints him as a man who has
been doing what he does the same way all his life. He is reclusive, never
married and takes no visitors, does no interviews. Although he has not prospered
monetarily from his greatest creation, Spider-Man, it is not about the money for
him. It is the productive achievement of doing his best, day after day, that is
his reward. Though it is a brief outline of the kind of man Ditko is the
highlight is a full-page spread Sergio does in the Ditko style featuring some of
characters he is famous for doing as his major contributions to comics. As I
said the framing sequence has a magical element to it. Before each segment the
letter of the creator appears in the air, enlarges, and opens up a gateway into
the narrative about that creator. In the case of Jack Kirby the K acts as a
window into a science fiction realm, and the title of the segment, "Planet
Kirby." It is a fictional place where Jack labors at his desk, the ever-present
cigar hanging from his lip, as he creates new fantastic beings and devises. He
is getting his latest shipment of supplies from the being whose perspective is
used to show the fantastic creations all around Kirby's habitat. They are
reminiscent of his body of work - monsters, super heroes, gods, alien beings and
futuristic cities. This is the place Kirby continues to toil with paper, pencil
and ink, even after his demise, while the fantastic machine converts all that he
draws into 3-D holograms to surround his new home. It is a place where he will
forever be king. Sergio takes a turn on the last segment about Wally Wood. This
is more of an essay on Wood's life with illustrations sparingly used to point
out the ups and downs of his career down to his struggles in later life and
eventually his tragic death. The illustrations are done in Wood's style showing
the breadth of his influence from science fiction, the Spirit's "Moon Saga" and
of course the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Overall it is a loving tribute and it is
informative drawing facts from other works that have documented these artists
over their careers. The teacher instructing the student is a good way to get
across the point he is making about each one and Sergio's own talent shines on
every page. This comic is not going to tell you everything you should know about
these three icons but it is a good introduction that references larger works to
seek out to get more details about them. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a
little more than I knew before. If you are at all interested in the story behind
the creations then this one is for you.

                                    *****
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!!     WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:
Can you name any one of three DC characters who won Olympic Gold medals
according to the "Guide to the DC Universe"? (Within continuity - no imaginary
stories, etc.)


Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning was one.  The other I was looking for were
Amazing Man I, and Gus Gray from the HAUNTED TANK crew. The winner by the dice
is Mike Dooley.

I forgot to mention that Mauricio Carvalho won the no-prize last week for
knowing the answer was George Bernard Shaw.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
In the STATIC comics, what school did Virgil and friends attend?


Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Comic Reviews 07/04/14


REVIEWS

The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.


Title: OUTCAST
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: A Darkness Surrounds Him
Publisher: Image
Creator: Robert Kirkman
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Paul Azaceta
Colors: Elizabeth Breitwiser
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge



The co-creator of THE WALKING DEAD has brought out a much-anticipated new series
this time dealing with demonic possession and exorcism. The print run on this
series is actually selling higher than current issues of WALKING DEAD, which I
am sure is fuelled in part by people speculating on a big payout down the road
since the early issues of the WALKING DEAD demand high prices. Be that as it may
there are plenty of copies available of issue #1 of this series at That's
Entertainment and I encourage to buy it for the story. WALKING DEAD is more
about the people that survive the zombie apocalypse and the things they go
through. The zombies are a back drop though they do provide some real horror but
it is often the human actions that can be more horrible. Now Kirkman looks at is
using possession in much the same fashion though the possibility of these events
actually happening have been documented pretty much through recorded history.
The central character of the piece is Kyle Barnes. It begins at a time in his
life where he is alone having lost family and relationships due to circumstances
revolving around the central theme. When he was a child his own mother was
possessed and went through an exorcism. He was raised by another family but his
sister has tried to keep close ties to Kyle, much to the displeasure of her
husband. He even lost his wife to possession and was branded as a wife beater as
a consequence. So he lives a lonely life shutting out the rest of the world
except for the constant intrusion of his sister trying to get him out of his
shell. All this is about to change when a local boy is possessed and the local
reverend who has some experience in these matters asks for Kyle's help in
driving out the demon. The actual exorcism scenes are reminiscent of those we
saw in the famous movie THE EXORCIST. At the conclusion of this first chapter it
seems like Kyle has found a new goal in his life. I enjoyed this first issue and
plan to stick with it to see how it develops. Kirkman always takes time to build
his characters and their interactions. Both Kyle and the Reverend Anderson are
sympathetic characters at this point. The script takes us through the joining of
these two for a worthy cause and also relates some of the incidents in Kyle's
past. It is a satisfying story up to this point. The art is top notch and when
needed brings out the horror of what is happening to innocent people. You may
choose to view this as unlikely as a zombie story or you may be a believer in
real evil present in the world that needs to be confronted. Either way you can
get into this story and enjoy it.

Title: HOW I MADE THE WORLD
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Monster
Publisher: How I Made the World Comics
Creators: Liz Plourde & Randy Michaels
Writer: Liz Plourde
Artist: Randy Michaels
Price (USD): $2.95 - Black & White
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Slice of Life
MATURE - Comics on the Edge





This comic title may sound familiar if you get our weekly newsletter or read
fliers posted in the stores. The creators are/will be doing signings at both
stores this month. The comic has been made possible by a grant from the Xeric
Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1992 by the co-creator of the
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Peter Laird. The fund was set up to support the
work of comic book creators who want to self-publish. Perhaps the nature of
these independent comics trend toward themes and genres that the major
publishers aren't willing to gamble will be a financial success. Now with the
help of Xeric award Plourde and Michaels have gotten their comic on the racks
and it is up to you the discriminating reader to decide if it is worth your
comic dollars. The story is somewhat autobiographical as it follows aspiring
writer Liz Plourde during her sophomore year at the fictional White Mountain
University, which means it is set in New Hampshire. The first impression is
always the cover and in this case it is a simulation of somewhat worn notebook
journal Liz keeps for her own amusement. It is a clever cover that catches your
eye right away and the inside front cover even has a simulated water stain to
add to the effect. This is a first person narrative that involves the daily and
weekly routine in Liz's life and her relation with her best friend Meredith
Parker. She has the typical frustrations of most college students and as the
story begins the latest is her inability to get into a particular poetry class
that fills up to fast for her to get in. But the plot will center round an art
class she is taking to fulfill a requirement for her major. It turns out the
teacher of Introductory Sculpture is a bit eccentric and probably a bit stoned
most of the time. As they get their midterm assignment it is an interesting
challenge for Liz to think out of the box. Her unique approach to the subject
will present her with a challenge seeing how she tends to skip a lot of classes.
She feels like the others are judging her and it is too much pressure. It is
Parker who suggests that since the studio is open 24/7 Liz should work on her
project at night when no one else is around. That will introduce her to another
art student, Carla, who also works alone at night in another part of the
building. The story involves these two main relationships Liz has and the title
involves a dream she has been having which factors into her motivations as well.
As I said this is not the typical comic you will find on the shelf. For the type
of comic it is though it is exceptional in plotting, execution and resolution.
Randy Michaels is a wonderful artist that has a firm grasp of how to tell the
story in black and white to bring out the emphasis that complements the script.
I thoroughly enjoyed this comic and found it worthy of the grant that got it the
exposure it deserves. I hope you will agree.

Title: SUPERMAN
Issue Number: 32
Title Story: Ulysses
Title Arc: The Men of Tomorrow
Publisher: DC
Creators: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero



I decided to sample this latest issue of SUPERMAN for a couple of reasons. First
it is not involved in the ongoing crossover event involving Doomsday so it can
be read on its own merits. Secondly it is the first issue drawn by John Romita
Jr. for DC after two decades or more with Marvel and other works. I say this
because it is a landmark for this fan favorite artist although his is not a
favorite of this fan. I have noted in the past that I find his composition and
layouts to be exceptional but his penciling, especially in the character faces
does not appeal to me all that much. This is a personal observation that others
may disagree on since all art is subjective. With Klaus Janson on inks, Geoff
Johns on the script and Laura Martin on colors DC has put an A-team on one of
its flagship titles. It begins with an origin story involving a secret project
far below Omaha, Nebraska. But this Nebraska is not on the Earth Prime world of
the current NEW 52 Superman. It is another one of those alternate Earths and
occurs twenty-five years ago. The scientists here have accidentally breached
another dimension and the building disaster is likely to destroy the entire
planet. A young couple working on Project Ulysses realizes this could be the end
for them but they may be able to save their son. In a parallel (no pun intended)
situation to Kal El's origin they send their son in a specially designed pod
through a dimensional gate to what they call dimension four. They have theorized
that the energies there could potentially empower their son. This is the set up
for what is to come later as the grown child, Ulysses, makes his appearance at a
crucial point in the present. The bulk of the issue involves Clark in his
current situation with Perry trying to get him to return to the Planet. It
touches on elements of the current continuity like the end of the invasion by
the Crime Syndicate and the elevation of Lex Luthor as a hero that saved the
world. We also spend time with Jimmy and Lois as Geoff uses his supporting
characters to move other plot points forward. But the main event is a major
threat that requires Superman's attention but also will mark the debut of a new
hero on the scene. This is a good jumping on point for this title as the
beginning of a new arc. There is not a lot of reliance on past plots to move
things forward and it has promise for an interesting story in the issues that
follow. I was very pleased with the finished product, even if I am not a big fan
of JRJR.

Title: ORIGINAL SIN
Issue Number: 3.1
Title Arc: Hulk VS. Iron Man
Publisher: Marvel
Story: Mark Waid & Kieron Gillen
Script: Mark Waid
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andrew Hennessey
Colors: Jason Kieth
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: J.G. Jones
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero



Sometimes it is difficult to follow Marvel's numbering logic. This is actually a
mini-series that ties in to ORIGINAL SIN. But instead of giving it its own title
and numbering they opted for the "point" numbering of the actual series. This is
going to explore in depth the Original Sin secrets of Bruce Banner and Tony
Stark. The story is of course framed by the event that exposed various secrets
of those in range of the blast. Whatever it was that Hulk saw so enraged him
that he took off immediately. As this issue begins we actually see the beginning
of the ending as Tony catches up with the Hulk in China and the two have a
raging battle. So what was it that set off the Hulk? As Tony narrates the story
that will eventually lead to this point we go back in time to a shared memory
between Tony and Bruce. It was the time they met the day prior to the gamma bomb
explosion that created the Hulk. Bruce was making his presentation to the
military and government officials that will approve the program going forward.
To his credit Bruce is using the research to further more peaceful and humane
uses of gamma radiation but of course General Ross and company are interested
the effectiveness of the bomb. But Tony's addition to the conversation casts
doubt on whether bomb will be all it could be. Even that is not the deep secret.
Again we are seeing things from Tony's point of view. That is not the only
shared memory that resulted from the Watcher's eye bomb. Tony realizes that he
is seeing things Bruce experienced way back then. But he also realizes that
Bruce must have seen things that Tony experienced from the same time period.
There is another big secret that Tony has kept all those years that is behind
the Hulk's rage. This is a fascinating story that will have implications in the
future, if Hulk doesn't kill Iron Man before it is over. The script is masterful
in hitting the high points as it bounces back and forth from the present to the
past. I think we all realize Hulk will not actually kill Iron Man but after this
story is over things will never be the same.

Title: FANTASTIC FOUR
Issue Number: 6
Title Arc: Original Sin
Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Lee & Kirby
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Karl Kesel
Colors: Jesus Aburtov & Veronica Gandini
Flashback Sequence: Dean Haspiel & Nolan Woodard
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero


Many of the regular Marvel titles are tying in to ORIGINAL SIN and this is the
beginning of that arc in FANTASTIC FOUR. The FF have been through some hard
times in the first five issues of this latest volume. They have been sued for
the destruction caused by creatures from Franklin Richard's world that escaped
the Baxter building. At the trial the whole litany of collateral damage over the
years was brought to light. They lost the case and as part of the ruling the
children of the Freedom Foundation were taken from the Richard's custody and
brought to an undisclosed S.H.I.E.L.D. location under the care of the original
Human Torch, Jim Hammond. Valeria is in Latveria with Doctor Doom. This is only
the beginning as the results of the Watcher's secrets when they are released
will also affect the team. As Ben decides to take some time by himself the other
three are returning to the Baxter Building to an Avengers welcoming committee.
But they are not there to sympathize but to lockdown the building at the orders
of the government. You can guess how well that will go over. The issue spends
two pages to catch up with the kids of the Freedom Foundation at their new digs
but the main point is the tie in to ORIGINAL SIN. As in the Hulk/Iron Man story
it will set two heroes against each other. We know the Thing was present when
the memory bomb exploded and in this story we find out the memory he gained was
not his own but that of Johnny Storm. What is nifty about this flashback to that
time years ago is the art is handled by Dean Haspiel and Nolan Woodard. It is a
throwback to the Kirby style and makes it all the more fun to read. Needless to
say with Ben remembering what happened in the lab one fatal day as Johnny
experienced it sparks will fly. In the present, before the flashback sequence,
Ben has already accused Johnny of lying all this time. About what? That is why
you have to read it for yourself. So half the issue is following the plots up to
this point while the other half begins conflict between Ben and Johnny. While it
seems the ongoing story is somewhat interrupted I am sure this was plotted to
happen well in advance of the reboot of the numbering as these event have to be.
It is a good enough story and issue to give a try to see if you should be
reading this latest version of Marvel's first family.

Title: SUPER SECRET CRISIS WAR!
Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Derek Charm
Letters: Tom B. Long
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero Cartoon Adaptation
ALL AGES







I like to sample the All Ages comics from time to time to vary my reading and
see how the younger readers are being served. This title from IDW caught my eye
just because the title is a parody of the major events of the past in both DC
and Marvel comics. But in this case it is a crossover of the comic book versions
of the major stars of the Cartoon Network. This six issue series features
characters from Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Dexter's Laboratory, the Powerpuff Girls
and Ed. Edd n' Eddy. Along the way between the issues will be one-shots starring
Johnny Bravo, Billy & Mandy, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Cow and
Chicken and the Kids Next Door. This first issue is all set up. Aku and his
League of Extraordinary Villains have a master plan to trap the heroes of Earth
by teleporting them to their lair. Eventually they will be used to conquer their
own world. The league is comprised of the villains that have faced our heroes.
As they set their plan in motion they send robots that the heroes have never
faced before to do battle. If the heroes defeat the robot they will prove to be
worthy and will be teleported to the prison tubes awaiting them. Because this is
a set up the plot moves rather quickly from one scene to the next. In each case
the heroes face one or more robots. In each case the heroes perform admirably
using their unique powers and skills but then they are teleported to their
tubes. In a comical turn the villains begin celebrating after successfully
capturing the heroes they wanted. But as their robot servants bring the festive
drinks there is an accident and in the resulting chaos another robot is sent out
randomly and unintentionally. This giant girl robot comes across Ed. Edd and
Eddy who have no special powers or weapons. Out of sheer luck they defeat the
robot and then they too get the teleportation treatment. Well this issue does
what it set out to do. It introduces all the characters and defines the plot
moving forward. There is decent dialogue filled with humor to delight readers of
all ages. The regular fans of these characters from either the cartoons or the
comics are sure to enjoy seeing their favorites in this team up format. Heck it
is a fun comic even if you have never read any of the regular issues.


                                    *****
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!!     WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!

If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:
Who won the Great Cow Race?

The winner was Rose, Grandma Ben, in BONE. The winner by the dice is
Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
Who has won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize?


No, it's not Al Gore. The Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" as best documentary
of 2006 was given to its executive producer/ director/ cinematographer Davis
Guggenheim, not to the former U.S. vice president who is listed in the doc's
credits merely as its star.

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London
School of Economics. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel
Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938), for his contributions to
literature and for his work on the film Pygmalion (adaptation of his play of the
same name), respectively. Shaw wanted to refuse his Nobel Prize outright because
he had no desire for public honors, but accepted it at his wife's behest: she
considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did reject the monetary award, requesting
it be used to finance translation of fellow playwright August Strindberg's works
from Swedish to English.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
Can you name any one of three DC characters who won Olympic Gold medals
according to the "Guide to the DC Universe"? (within continuity - no imaginary
stories, etc.)


Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Comic Reviews 6/27/14

REVIEWS

The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.


Title: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy
MATURE - Comics on the Edge





"Every 90 years or so, twelve gods incarnate in the bodies of the young. They
are charismatic and brilliant. They stand before crowds, speak in tongues, and
send them into rapture. They're rumored to perform secretive miracles. They save
people's lives, either metaphorically or literally. They are loved. They are
hated. They are brilliant. Within two years, they're dead." This is from the
writer Kieron Gillen describing this new series. I include it because it helps
in reading this first issue to know the basic premise, although some of it
becomes evident right away. Gillen has chosen the twelve from various pantheons
so their mythical identities might not be immediately apparent. One that is
though is Luci, a somewhat androgynous incarnation whose name is short for
Lucifer as she freely admits later with, "Hey you guessed my name," a clear
reference to "Sympathy for the Devil."  She makes friends with the lead
character Laura, a seventeen-year old who desperately wants to meet the latest
pop star Amaterasu. Laura attended her latest "concert" where everyone attending
is enraptured with Amaterasu's power, driven to orgasmic ecstasy and then passes
out. Seeing things from Laura's perspective we see the frenzy, the adoration.
Laura not only loves these gods become icons she wants to be one. Thanks to Luci
she gets into the inner circle as the star is giving an interview or as Luci
puts it "addressing the unbelievers." It is during the course of the interview
with the very skeptical reporter Cassandra, we learn that the fact they are
reincarnated gods is not hidden, in fact it is part of their PR. We also learn
that there are those who are willing to go beyond just public criticism. This
will bring the focus clearly on to Luci when she reacts to the more aggressive
antagonists. This is a fascinating concept that leans heavily on pop icons and
archetypes. There are "miracles" and there is plain old violence. Laura's
adventure is just beginning and already it has stepped up to a whole new level.
Gillen indicates that we will also get a look at past incarnations as well. That
brings interesting conjectures to the readers' minds. Who would the gods become
in the 1920's or the 1830's? McKelvie's art is terrific. He knows how to
expertly provide detailed visuals that advance the story by action and
expression without detracting or duplicating the story being told in the
dialogue. Wilson's coloring is the perfect complement to that art making this
one slick visual delight. I was hooked after a few pages and you will be too.
This is going to be a big hit.

Title: NOVA
Issue Number: 18
Title Story: Dia De Los Muertos
Title Arc: Original Sin
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: David Baldeon
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Albert Deschesne
Cover Artist: Paco Mendina
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you read the zero issue of ORIGINAL SIN you will know that it centered on
Nova making a visit to the Watcher, learning a lot about who he is and why he
does what he does. As he left the Watcher's home on the moon he was given a gift
of sorts. The Watcher told him that the father he thought was long dead is
actually still alive. This gave him hope that someday he would find his dad. In
this issue of his regular title he is about to find out what the rest of us have
known for a while now. This issue covers the circumstances by which he found the
Watcher had been killed and eventually brings Nova to the battle scene in New
York as the Avengers and others fought off the Mindless Ones and eventually
confronted Exterminatrix and the Orb. As we know from the main series the
Watcher's eye exploded and anyone in the area, including Nova, was given
knowledge of long hidden secrets. In Nova's case it has to do with his father
and it will shake his faith in the Nova Corp and his father in particular. This
is the way a tie-in to an event should be handled. The lead character of the
book has a logical reason for his actions that lead him to get involved in a key
event of the main series and as it ends his involvement will have future
consequences. He was not just involved peripherally so they could use the tie-in
to get the non-regular readers of this title to sample it. Keep in mind this is
a very young hero and his reactions to bad news and then later to betrayal is
going to affect him deeper than an older hero such as Logan or Iron Man. I think
it is handled well and the art is some of the best in the main stream Marvel
books. I am glad I took a look at this issue and now I am interested where it
will lead apart from the main event. I believe that is the whole idea.

Title: WINTER WORLD
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Butch Guice
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge





This series is a continuation of the adventures of two survivors in a future
Earth that has been frozen just about solid. Thus it is a barren, lifeless
wasteland where survival is the only imperative. You might think you would miss
something if you haven't read the original graphic novel. I haven't but I found
this issue very accessible because it does not rely on what went on before to
tell a new story now. It is about Scully and his fourteen-year-old charge Wynn
as they make their way across the frozen wasteland always in search for food,
supplies and shelter. They have an unlikely companion, Rah-Rah, a badger. At
this point in time they find themselves stranded as their Snow-cat has broken
down. They have no choice but to gather what essentials they can carry and keep
on heading west. It is during their conversation we learn that they are crossing
the Caribbean Sea. They never really talk about why things are this way - what
caused the world to plunge into such a deep freeze. This is not a story about
the whys of it all. The frozen world is just the setting for a story about
survival. So it is amazing when you look on the next page and see a war ship
frozen and abandoned. It has been there a long time and for now it is a place
where they can shelter and just maybe find some things that will keep them
alive. As the issue goes on we get to know this odd couple a little bit better
and just a little bit about why they are heading in this particular direction.
Of course anyone would expect that sooner or later we would get to see other
survivors in the course of their travels and indeed by the end of the issue that
is what happens. It also heightens the drama and ends with a bit of a
cliffhanger. So far I have been pleased with the story and the art. Chuck Dixon
is a long-time favorite of mine and he turns in a solid script with good
characters and action. Match that with the always solid art of Butch Guice and
you have a solid comic that is entertaining in both plot and art. This one is
worth your time if you like to read something other than super hero books.

Title: THOMAS ALSOP
Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Title Story: The Hand of the Island
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creators: Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt
Writer: Chris Miskiewicz
Artist: Palle Schmidt
Letters: Deron Bennett
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural





The key to this story is in the story title, "The Hand of the Island." The
island in question is Manhattan. While the story begins in modern day New York
it has its roots in colonial America in the late 1600's. The family of Richard
Alsop have settled and earned an honest living. But this is a time when
religious fervor often was misguided. Richard being a decent man spoke up
against the burning of women as witches and as a result a Native American Shaman
gave him a great gift. He passed along his powers to Richard Alsop. He gained an
innate understanding of the supernatural world. He also gained the power to
defend the island against the forces of evil. From that day on he and his
descendants would carry the burden of the Hand of the Island. About a third of
the book deals with this origin story and how Richard used this gift back in the
day. But mysteriously he also has a direct connect to the present day at one
point. As I said the story begins in the present or 2011 to be exact. Richard's
great, great grandson, Thomas, has indeed inherited the family legacy. But this
is the twenty-first century and while Thomas carries on his duties as protector
of the island he is a much different man than his ancestor. His off time is
spent in party mode. He has only recently embraced the guidance of his friends
and has become somewhat of a celebrity, a supernatural detective.  It is
connection to his ancestor that calls to him in a vision, something is amiss.
Soon he will be drawn in to the greatest test of his mettle and ability. This
story is well thought out and the structure of the script weaves the back story
to the present in good fashion. The main characters in both timelines are unique
characters with different morals and motivations but both have the same
underlying devotion to a sacred duty. If there is a criticism it is that Thomas
is a bit too much of a self-indulgent character as if the hero of the story must
be greatly flawed for us to like him. The art is passable though it takes a
while to get used to. There is a strong story carrying through it all that
captivates me and I think the next chapter will be even more interesting.


Title: SIR EDWARD GREY, WITCHFINDER: THE MYSTERIES OF UNLAND
Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mike Mignola
Writers: Kim Newman & Maura McHugh
Artist: Tyler Crook
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedesco
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural
MATURE - Comics on the Edge



Sir Edward Grey uncovers occult plots for Queen and country. So he is puzzled
that he has been asked to come to the coroner's lab for an autopsy that on the
surface appears to be a routine drowning. The victim was Arthur Neal of Lord
Chamberlain's office. He had recently been sent to Hallam to inspect Poole's
Elixir Works. The company has applied for the Royal seal of approval, an
endorsement that would mean a fortune for the company. Now Neal has shown up
drowned in the elixir itself. While this seems to be an act of murder it is
hardly the kind of case to take to an occult investigator. But since the queen
herself uses the product Sir Edward agrees to poke around Hallam to see if he
can shed any light on the crime. At first glance Hallam is a model community
with no crime to speak of until now. The founder and chief employer, Sir Horace
Hallam, has built up the town after the tragic loss of his first son in the
local marshes. He had some of the marshes filled in and built up the economy to
make Hallam a thriving community. Sir Edward is escorted by the town constable
who has his own theories about the murder of Mr. Neal. His fanciful plot
involves foreign spies hoping to torture Neal for unknown crown secrets. Since
the crime scene at the local hotel has already been cleaned Sir Edmond's only
clue is a note in in Neal's journal that merely says "Go to Unland," the name
the locals use for the local marshes. But it is what happens in his hotel room
that evening that convinces Edward there are supernatural forces at work here.
The premise of the story is straightforward and the protagonist is a clear-
headed man of science who also knows the ways of the occult. There are plenty of
characters and hints of things just a bit off that are clues of a deeper
mystery. The last several pages place the story firmly into the realm that Grey
is familiar with. The writing is exceptional building the characters while
moving the plot forward. Tyler Crook brings to life a variety of characters and
when the plot calls for action he gives the conflict the right emphasis. You do
not need exposure to any of the background of the lead character to get into
this story. It is a strong representation of the genre as it balances the human
and supernatural elements quite nicely.

Title: THE TWILIGHT ZONE ANNUAL 2014
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Rod Serling
Writer: Mark Rahner
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Roberto Castro & Adriano Lucas
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery/Horror/Science Fiction Anthology







The ongoing TWILIGHT ZONE series has been structured to tell longer stories
written by J. Michael Straczynski over multiple issues. This annual digresses
from that formula by presenting three separate and complete stories all written
by Mark Rahner and illustrated by different artists.

"Takers" is illustrated by Randy Valiente and colored by Lisa Moore. It is about
a US Senator intent on filibustering a bill. Galt Randall is a stereotypical
conservative whose crusade involves stopping the extension of welfare benefits
for the unemployed. His mantra is naturally that constant handouts take away the
responsibility of the recipients to help themselves. His opponents naturally
paint him as someone who would prefer the disadvantaged just go away and die.
After a long and tiresome speech he suddenly falls asleep at his desk and is
transported to a shanty town in the famous dustbowl era of Oklahoma. His ranting
about being a Senator who needs to get to Washington has these poor people
believing he is delusional. His initial speech that people need jobs not
handouts fall on deaf ears as these people know full well they need jobs but
there are none to be had. They barely exist with what they have and can get from
the government in the bread line. The only thing they have to look forward to is
the special feast held once a month to one lucky person chosen by lots. It is
here among the actual poor and unemployed that Galt will learn the true meaning
of need. It has a typical Twilight Zone twist in the end. The art is ok on this
one though the colors are a bit muted

The art on "Not Faire" is done by Jose Malaga and Marco Lesko. This is the story
of Renaissance player who struggles from the derision of his peers for his
obsession. Theobold can't even resist talking about the Faire to his students
either. When the taunts of one relentless co-worker is too much he pretty much
wishes it to stop and when he opens his eyes he finds himself in Merry Olde
England in the Elizabethan Era. He will find that role playing and actually
living the real thing are two different things. While he fancied himself a
competent knight of the times it is not good enough to fool those folk who know
a phony when they see one. His fate may be the stocks or even worse, an actual
duel with a real knight. But this is the Twilight Zone where anything can happen
and the twist on this one is not one you will likely guess. I liked the art much
better in this story and the plot has a lot more to it, including a fun finish.

"The Secret Over-Sharer" is drawn by Edu Menna and colored by Sandra Molina.
This is a timely tale about the overuse of social networks. May Cook is a
freelance journalist that writes for magazines. She is also an advocate for
living in the now. The story begins with a television interview as she talks
against the obsession people have with posting in social media. She claims it
has brought out our most narcissistic tendencies. People are constantly bragging
online. "Look at me! Look at what I'm doing, where I'm going, what I am
watching." It is almost as if nothing exists for us anymore unless we post about
it. Her attitude in this vein has hardened to the point that she even turns off
a potential romantic interest and antagonizes her best friend. When she decides
to withdraw from the posting herself and stops following other posts her life
begins to take an odd turn that will lead her to seek a doctor's help. She seems
to remember things that did not happen and others do not remember things she
knows did happen. Is she becoming mentally unstable or has she crossed over into
another dimension? There is no solid answer to that question though Rahner seems
to indicate a finite finish by the last panel. Again the art is adequate for an
anthology. As a whole the book presents three stories that are done in the mold
of the old TV series, each one with its own unique finish. It is up you to
decide if that is enough to spend the higher price for the volume.

                                    *****
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!!     WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:
What native "mystery hero" did Jimmy Olsen meet when he became the Beatle of
1000 BC?

Jimmy met Mighty Youth who was secretly Samson of Biblical fame. 
The Beatle tie in was about long hair! :) The winner by the dice is David McBarron.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
Who won the Great Cow Race?


Here is your no prize question:

Who has won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize?


Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Comic Reviews 6/20/14



REVIEWS

The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.


Title: INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Planet of the Humans
Publisher: DC
Creator: Jack Kirby
Story & Art: Keith Giffen & Dan Didio
Inker: Scott Koblish
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Giffen & Koblish
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero




DC is bringing back some of the first characters Jack Kirby introduced to the DC
Universe when he made the jump from Marvel. Giffen & Didio are the perfect pick
to bring these characters into the NEW 52 as they capture the essence of Kirby's
style in a true homage to the King. In the set up for what is to come four of
the best students from the New Genesis' Academy of Higher Conscience are sent to
Earth to study and aid in the advancement of humanity. They are Vykin Baldaur
who is the prime carrier and Mother Box Nest, his sister Serafina Baldaur, Mark
Moonrider and the enigmatic Beautiful Dreamer. Vykin is the reluctant member of
the group who was the only one who could activate the Mother Box to create a
boom tube. His plan is to get to Earth, bond the Mother Box to someone else and
get back before dinner. We get the feeling that won't happen. Greeting them as
they arrive in Venice Beach, California is their mentor, Big Bear. He has set
them up in a singles apartment complex but thanks to Mother Box the interior
accommodations are mostly like what they are used to on New Genesis. In a
fitting touch the household AI that maintains it all is named Kirby. The first
issue is mostly introduction to the characters and setting up their situation.
However, the final few pages present what will likely be their first challenge.
The New Gods, as we are well aware by now, are not the only beings that have
arrived to Earth via boom tubes. The closing pages introduce Mantis and his
minions to an agricultural paradise established in Sudan and they are not very
friendly. Though not all that much happens this first issue I really enjoyed it.
As I mentioned the artwork while distinct on its own evokes the magic of the
Kirby style. The writers have stayed true to the origins and nature of the
Forever People while putting their own spin on each one. I am anxious to see
things develop and how and when the other title character, Infinity Man, will
make his appearance. Kudos to DC for putting out this series and still keeping
it affordable at $3.

Title: ORIGINAL SINS
Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero









This anthology of stories is tied in with the event series ORGINAL SIN. Rather
than move the event forward it looks at other people and how they are involved
in the concept. This issue has three stories. One is really a promo for a comic
coming in October. Another is serialized in this title and the last is a stand-
alone story used for filler.

"Terminus" is a prelude to the DEATHLOK series. It is written by Nathan
Edmondson with art by Mike Perkins and Andy Troy. The tie-in here is Seth Horne,
an off duty agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was downtown when the Watcher's eye exploded
showing those present some secrets (see the main series for details.) In this
case Agent Horne was shown a secret about Henry Hayes. He now knows the details
that turned Henry into Deathlok and that he is a killer cyborg. In this story he
seeks Henry out to tell him he knows and that he is a fan of his work. How Henry
reacts to this information is the key to the plot and an introduction to what
you can expect when the series debuts in October. This is not a bad way to get
people interested in Deathlok. It has some flashes to his past as a clandestine
operative. It also suggests he is not entirely in control of his actions. I
might be interested in reading the first full issue when it comes out. The art
is pretty good as well.

"Hidden in Plain Sight" is a five-part story about the Young Avengers. It is
written by Ryan North with art by Ramon Villalobos and Jordan Gibson. I have not
been a follower of the Young Avengers though I have read a couple issues here
and there. The art on this story is very different from the regular series.
Ramon has a style similar to Mike Allred so the characters look very different
than what I am used to. The story begins as the heroes are fighting the villain
downtown. Chief among the bad guys is Exterminatrix, Marvel Boy's ex. Hulking
and Prodigy decide he needs to be told and when they can't contact him they
visit his home in space. He definitely wants to see how this came to be and soon
the three are breaching the S.H.I.E.L.D. perimeter around the battle zone in a
most unusual way. Since this story runs through the five issues it ends in a bit
of a cliffhanger as they confront a surprise villain. I like the way the plot
flowed and the only downside is not knowing the history between Noh-Varr and
Exterminatrix but that is not too significant to what is happening now. I am not
sure I would follow this story in its own title but included here as it is makes
it a good fit.

"Buried Memory" is a brief comical story about Lockjaw written by Stuart Moore
with art by Rick Geary and Ive Svorcina. As I said this story is just filler. In
fact there is no dialogue at all. It follows Lockjaw, the teleporting pet of the
Inhumans, as he seeks help from various heroes after he had an inspiration upon
awakening one day. No one seems to have time for him until he finds Iron Man who
explains, again without words, about the death of the Watcher. This seems to be
the catalyst for a final teleport and the end of the quest. It is just a silly
interlude the best part of which is the always terrific art of Rick Geary.

Title: FIGMENT
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Journey into Imagination
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy
ALL AGES - Disney Kingdoms




The latest Disney/Marvel comic springs from a character that goes back to the
opening of the Journey into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot in 1982. To quote
Wikipedia, "Dreamfinder, a jolly wizard-like scientist, teaches Figment how to
use his imagination. Figment is meant to be the literal embodiment of the phrase
"figment of the imagination". He is composed of various elements Dreamfinder
found in his travels including two tiny wings, large yellow eyes, the horns of a
steer (or dilemma, according to a 1983 appearance on the Today Show), a
crocodile's snout, and the childish delight found at a birthday party." The
wizards at Marvel along with the Disney Imagineers got together to spin a story
using the Dreamfinder and Figment in a real world situation. The "Dreamfinder"
in this case Blarion Mercurial a scientist working at the Academy Scientifica-
Lucidius. His latest experiment seems to have had a small problem resulting in a
partial destruction of his Integrated Mesmonic Convertor and a lot of black
smoke. Chairman Illocrant sees this as a lack of focus on the mission of the
Academy since the device is supposed to tap into the energy of the mind. The
Chairman has directed him to seek new sources of energy - usable energy. He
gives Blare an ultimatum to work on something more practical or he is finished.
But Blare cannot abandon his dream and so finally gets his machine working. When
it is time to test it he uses his own mind and to his amazement the childhood
"figment" of his imagination becomes real. While this is fantastic it does not
solve his immediate problem with the Chairman. By the end of the issue the
machine will do something else that will make his job security the least of
Blare's problems.  This is a pretty decent story that is scripted carefully to
set up the premise and provide the introduction of the two main characters. The
characterization of Figment, while relegated to the second half of the book, is
delightful and a god counterpoint to Blare. The theme behind the plot is the
power of the imagination. This first issue gives a brief glimpse of what is
possible. If the writers continue on this theme there are many roads to explore.
The art is pretty decent as you would expect in such a collaboration. This will
have a built in audience for those who remember the magic of the Disney
experience be they young or old. Anyone else can enjoy this tale as well.

Title: WILDFIRE
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Linda Sejic
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Linda Sejic
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction






I am such a fan of Matt Hawkins other series THINK TANK that I was waiting for
this series to arrive. In this title Matt explores the debate over genetically
modified organism. More specifically it is the genetic modification of plant
life to combat food shortages. The opening scene portends one possible
consequence of uncontrolled scientific experimentation. But the plot begins
three days earlier with a televised debate over the benefits and consequences of
genetic modification. On the pro side is Dr. Beth Silva, a private researcher in
genetically engineered food. Her work is funded by Biogenesis that has just
about cornered the market and patented thousands of genetic variations. On the
other side is Dr. Gerald Lerner who is the lead spokesman and founder of Green
Aware, an advocacy group for organic produce. His argument is that this is
science run amuck. Beth holds that they have stringent test procedures approved
by the Department of Agriculture and work hand in hand with the EPA to ensure
their produce is safe. He claims that the FDA and Biogenesis rely on each other
and so both are vested in things moving forward. He even suggests a conflict of
interest at the FDA, which is filled with former executives from the industry
they are regulating. She claims they will solve the increasing food shortage
problem while he claims GMOs cause cancer and may have long term effects on the
food chain and the environment. No one has a clear win in such a debate. It
brings up the concerns of both sides and by the time it is over Beth has put
herself in the hot seat by claiming they have found a way to accelerate plant
growth with only 5% of the nutrients and water to full term growth. In reality
the team has not yet reached that goal so she begins to press her group for
results. As we see in the lab the latest experiment on transgenic beansprout has
it sprout and grow to several inches tall in less than an hour only to
immediately wilt and die. Researcher Dan Miller is already disappointed in the
lack of success so when he hears of Beth's claim on TV he is outraged. Even more
so the next day when Beth announces they must hold a public demonstration of
their success or risk losing their funding and their jobs at the University. So
the plot is meant to pose the conflicting interests about this form of research
and its consequences versus benefits. As you might expect something will go
wrong at the demonstration that will be the basis for the conflict going
forward. While this is not high drama it is a fascinating subject. As in THINK
TANK Hawkins provides several text pages in the back going over the scientific
concepts and the reality of the current status. He provides links for the reader
to research more on their own. Some of this information may be a bit disturbing
as it points to things the general public may not be aware of as common
knowledge, especially the list of companies that are already using GMOs in their
products. Linda Sejic does a good job on the art for the most part though her
panels give the appearance of animation cels with often blurred backgrounds.
This is the kind of comic I enjoy aside from the usual super hero fare. Please
give it a try.


Title: THE EMPTY MAN
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator/Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror







Agent Jensen of the Centers for Disease Control and Agent Langford of the FBI
are part of a multi-agency task force investigating a series of crimes that seem
to be related to or caused by a disease of some kind. It has been dubbed the
Empty Man. The latest incident involved a man who went out of his mind while in
the shower and the end result was his death and that of his wife in a most
unusual way. The two children are currently missing, which is the team's
immediate concern. This is just the latest in a series of bizarre deaths that
began about five years ago. A woman fed her newborn to her dogs claiming the
baby whispered to her to do it. A businessman in LA jumped out of a high rise
after complaining he had been turned inside out. A woman in Seattle ran into
oncoming traffic after seeing her grandfather's face in a just cooked meatloaf.
This has been going on for five years with the added feature lately in many
cases that a scrawled note claimed "The Empty Man Made Me Do It." This first
issue follows Jensen and Langford as they come across a man who may know more
about the "disease" though what he tells them points to something far from
disease. Clearly the intent in this first issue is to begin things with lots of
unanswered questions while conveying the chief investigators have not gotten a
handle on the situation as of yet. There is a religious, even cult, element to
what is going on as you might suspect from the opening scene set in Atlanta five
years ago. While most of it has our protagonists stumbling around looking for
answers the final scene may be a revelation to them. Or maybe not. The problem
is the art. It is a unique style that has a lot of very loose pencil work that
the coloring does not help define. That last scene is probably supposed to be
revelatory but it is just too difficult to discern what it is that Jensen is
looking at. The combination of this particular art and a stumbling plot makes
this one not worth any more of my time. As I always realize many comics appeal
to different people in different ways so don't take my word for it.

Title: RED CITY
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Daniel Corey
Artist: Mark Dos Santos
Colors: Chris Fenoglio
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover Color: Steve Downer
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction





This story is set far in the future after the solar system had been fully
colonized. The planets are united under one central government with each planet
a separate State in the entity called the New Solar System. At one point Venus
and Neptune attempted to secede from the NSS but the resulting war united
everyone again. This is the backstory for the story of our hero Cal Talmage who
grew up as an orphan on Mars. He eventually joined the Central City PD and rose
to become an impressive homicide detective and also served in the unification
wars in the marines. But the bad boy part of him never was cured and he soon
found himself in a heap of trouble for running a black market operation on the
federal ship where he was in charge of security. He was sure he would be drummed
out and sent back to Earth but to his surprise a general who believes in him
wants him to run a special mission. It seems a new treaty is in the works
between Venus and Mercury. Mercury needs to trade with Venus to get out of a
crippling depression and plans to lift an embargo with the treaty. This will
take place on Mars. The problem is the daughter of the Mercurian ambassador has
gone missing. It will be Cal's job to find her and get her back to her father
before it jeopardizes the treaty signing. His superiors hope Cal can use his
contacts in Central city to locate Talia before it is too late. There is a lot
of old-fashioned detective work and plenty of offbeat characters in this story
filled with political intrigue. He follows a lead that has Talia mixed up with
the Venus ambassador's son and soon finds himself in a lot more trouble. This
story is a typical cop story set in a science fiction future. The dialogue is
pretty good and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is a bit confusing at
times as there is a lot of extraneous information presented, or so it seems at
first read. I really like the art which is finally colored and uses good
perspective and shadows. Corey manages to give us a few twists and surprises
keeping our interest all the way. It is not a great book but it is well-crafted
and promises more excitement along the way.

                                    *****
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!!     WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com and you could win the prize. The first six
correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
the winner. You should put your real name in your message so we know who you
are. Prizes must be claimed at our store within 30 days of winning. The prize
will be a $10 credit slip, which will be redeemable for merchandise at regular
retail or in-store ongoing specials only.  Only one prize per person will be
allowed per every 4 weeks. I will be the sole judge of the correct answer even
if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last week's trivia question:
In 1996 Adam Warlock returned to the Marvel Universe in what comic, (issue &
number)?

It was not the 1991 return in Silver Surfer, but the 1996 return in ULTRAVERSE
UNLIMITED #1.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
What native "mystery hero" did Jimmy Olsen meet when he became the Beatle of
1000 BC?


Folks, you never know who among the readers is knowledgeable about the question
so don't hesitate to send in an answer - even days after it appears.