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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Comic Reviews 9/12/14


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.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Valiant
Writer: Jen Van Meter
Artist: Roberto de la Torre
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artist: Travel Foreman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Occult

Valiant has released its latest revival of a past title with one that has a
strong female lead, Doctor Mirage. As in the original series Shan Mirage is on
her own after the untimely death of her husband Hwen. Shan has many skills in
mystic arts, one being the ability to communicate with the dead. Sadly though
the one person she has not been able to contact is her husband. If this series
is anything true to the original that will eventually change, but nothing
guarantees that fact. The opening scene serves up sort of a therapeutic session
for both Shan and her newest clients. Not only does Shan needs to be working
mentally and economically but also the people that have come to see her have all
felt a loss similar to hers. She can help them find closure by passing along
messages from their loved ones. But the main plot involves another client her
manager has found. Shan is not anxious to take on a big job in her state of mind
but the knowing financially she can't turn it down she agrees to at least meet
the client. He is billionaire Linton March and though he is a widower contacting
his dead wife is not what he desires. At the close of WWII he was with Army
Intelligence and became part of a team tasked with recruiting Nazi occultists
similar to the program that recruited scientists to work for the US rather than
the communists. They not only recruited people but collected significant magical
and paranormal objects. On one mission the team was caught by surprise and
though Linton survived he is burdened with a supernatural shackle on one wrist
and needs help to remove it. As Shan soon finds out he is actually bound
mystically to a creature who is in chains in a special room. Though Shan knows
there are others better equipped to help Linton a psychic conversation with the
captive convinces her that this task might help her to find Hwen, if she
survives the experience. This title has started off strong. There is good
characterization of the main characters and a sense of the danger and importance
of the task at hand. The art is captivating in its simplicity and complexity at
the same time. The coloring compliments the line work perfectly. The ending is a
classic splash page that portends what is to come in the place where the living
do not belong. The team has hit the high points set out by the plot and promise
a thrilling adventure. Well done.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: Crossroads
Publisher: DC
Creator: Superman created by Siegel & Shuster
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artists: Pascal Alixe and Dave McCaig
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Carlos Mangual
Cover Artist: Lee Weeks & Dave McCaig
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This month DC has moved all their regular NEW 52 titles into the time of FUTURES
END, the weekly series set five years in the future. It would help a little if
you have been reading that series because you would have bits of information
about the particular character of the tie-in title and his or her place in the
future. So far from what I have read of these tie-in titles I suggest reading
them first before reading that week's issue of FUTURES END. But don't put off
reading them before the next week's FUTURES END. In the case of Superman we know
from the weekly that there has been a different man dressed in the familiar
uniform of the man of steel with a big difference, he also wears a helmet to
hide his face. Prior to this issue of ACTION we learned who it was behind the
mask - SPOILER ALERT - it is not Clark Kent/Kal El. So what has the real steel
deal been up to five years in the future? This issue of ACTION starts to reveal
it and this week's issue of FUTURES END, the one with Constantine on the cover,
reveals even more. Whatever happened between now and the future has affected
Clark in a profound way. As we start the issue he is in a barren pasture in
Ethiopia trying as hard as he can to grow food to aid the starving all around.
Even the irrigation drip he has managed to obtain may not be enough for this
used up top soil. Actually the scenes with Clark are peripheral to the main
story. Instead we are shown scenes of various people in different places in the
world. Each are at a crossroad in their life. Each are given an opportunity to
realize their potential and make a change. Some chose to better their lives,
others failed. What happens to them involves a creature, perhaps magical in
nature, who looks like a Superman made of sand. He visits each one and imparts
one super power one each of them. A girl about to step off a tall building can
suddenly fly. A young man who is being beaten by the bookies he owes suddenly
gains super strength. A young boy who has had to watch his abusive father beat
his mother suddenly has invulnerability. In each case it is a test and the sand
Superman is part of it all. He also learns a lesson that he puts to good use by
the end of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by this story and not at all
disappointed that it did not have more to do with Clark. His story is moving
forward in FUTURES END and no doubt in SUPERMAN: FUTURES END when it comes out.
I was disappointed with the art though. It is not bad on the individual
characters but there is very little detail in the backgrounds to give it more
definition. Overall it is a good issue, though you can skip it and not miss
anything about the big picture of the FUTURES END arc.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Publisher: DC
Writers: Jeff Lemire 
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This story is set in the FUTURES END world five years in the future. In fact it
takes place before THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1. If you know about the weekly
series you know that one of the big bangs at the very start of the series was
the death of Oliver Queen. So this issue leads up to that event, even depicts
it. That is really not a spoiler given the circumstances. And I will add that
after you read this comic go to THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #18 to see how the
events in this issue evolved into the maxi-series. As this issue begins we are
still five years into the future and in Seattle a new Green Arrow, Emiko Queen -
half-sister of Oliver and daughter of Asian archer Shado. At this time she has
taken over the Emerald Archer's mantle with the help of Naomi Singh who uses the
code name Dart. This has been going on for weeks but Oliver shows up at the
Arrow Cave to fill Emiko in on his master plan. But not quite yet. He needs her
to continue on in his place and if he should fail at what he is about to do. He
gives her an object that must get to Lois Lane if that happens and instructs her
not to follow him. The main plot is that Oliver has discovered the secret of
Cadmus Island. One of the underlying drivers of the plot of FUTURES END is that
after the Earth War millions of refugees from Earth 2 have been trying to
integrate into their new world. The secret is that a number of heroes from Earth
2 are being held on Cadmus Island, being experimented on and cut apart. Ollie
means to go and rescue those heroes and expose Cadmus. But to do that he has to
recruit others to join him. So where does he start? He goes to a group of people
that are not all that friendly with him, The Outsiders. He needs to convince
Shado, Katana, the Axe, the Fist and Magus to join this quest. If they do he
will forego being the hero of Seattle and join them in the Outsiders. He has to
be convincing because one of these players is crucial to the first step in his
big plan. As I said this story also depicts the death of Oliver Queen. It is
what happens right after that that is the crux of the story and the bridge to
the main FUTURES END story. If you've read FUTURES END #18 you know what I mean.
If not you will really enjoy the culmination of this story. I highly recommend
this one.

Title: EX-CON
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Beginning to See the Light
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Duanne Swierczynski
Artist: Keith Burns
Colors: Aikau Oliva
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Tim Bradstreet
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This is the story of Cody Pomeray. He is a bit of a neer-do-well who just
happens to have a special talent. When he looks at people he sees an aura around
them. It is something the doctor he saw as a child calls color Synesthesia. Each
aura had a color and he learned orange meant weak, red meant lust, yellow was a
lie, dark grey meant fear and green was always greed. He used the most of this
gift through his life, always on the edge of danger. He could read people and
use them to his advantage and avoid being used. Until his luck ran out. He ended
up in jail doing five years and it would have ended with his death much earlier
had he not been protected by a boss, Barnaby Creed, known as the Pope. Barnaby
has a proposition. He will see to it that no harm comes to Cody while he is in
prison in return for a favor when he is released after his stint. Knowing the
alternative is certain death Cody accepts but he is disturbed by one thing. He
cannot see the Pope's aura. Now since this title is called Ex-Con the story
continues after he is freed and there is a limo waiting for him outside the
prison. It seems the Pope is going to collect on his favor right away. But the
surprising thing for Cody is who it is that on the outside that will be giving
him his instructions. I have mixed feeling about this one. I like the idea of
the special talent and the characterization of Cody and his femme fatale are
spot on. The basic plot is setting up the bigger story. You get the feeling Cody
could be getting deeper into trouble because what he is being asked to do seems
too simple. On the other hand I am not thrilled by the art. Keith Burns' has a
unique style that has some appeal but not consistently. The biggest flaw is the
coloring. For a story based on someone being able to see colored auras Oliva
needs to use brighter, sharper color distinctions and does not. So a mixed
review on this one.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Title Story: The High Window
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Peter Milligan & Leandro Fernandez
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colors: Cris Peter
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Celia Calle
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

The "names" in the title refer to the names of those who had Kevin Walker
killed. The opening scene shows his untimely death staged to look like a
suicide, complete with a note he is forced to write before he is tossed out a
51st story window. The main emphasis of the plot is how his wife handles the
news and subsequent events. It seems the people responsible work at the Wall
Street firm he was employed at. Katya does not believe he would commit suicide,
even the composition of the note in his own handwriting is not consistent with
his personality. The perpetrators have been thorough, even doctoring his medical
profile to make it look like he was depressed. There is an added factor to the
mix. Kevin's son by his first wife is in a special school. He is a young boy
with unusual math skills but also has selective mutism. He hasn't spoken since
his dad's last visit. Now she has to inform him of Kevin's death and hope she
can break through his unspeaking shield. The real story begins when she receives
a recording on a phone. Since this was prepared in the event of his death it is
no surprise that Kevin tells her to not pursue the matter, for her and Philip's
safety. She must not trust the police or his colleague Marco and she must find
the "key." It is somewhat cryptic and when Marco arrives to console her she
knows what she must do. This is a thriller that will intrigue you right from the
start. The players on the bad side are deliciously ruthless and the strong
female lead is well-defined without being one-dimensional. We can already see
that this will be a complex process for Katya to find the names of those
directly responsible. By the end of the first issue she has one to start with on
her quest. We have the feeling it is going to be a great adventure. The art is
equal to the writing. The layouts, lines and colors are executed perfectly to
add the emotion and mood not in the scripted words. This will be worth investing
in for eight issues.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: A Star is Born
Publisher: Image
Writer/Artist: Ryan Browne
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Chris Crank & Ryan Browne
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
MATURE READERS ONLY - Comics on the Edge

First I must admit I only picked this one up because of the title. Second, it is
worth noting that this is another Image comic truly standing on its own merits.
There are no ads at all. From front cover to back cover it is entirely the work
of the creators. Having said that I will also say it is one of the most bizarre
comics I have ever read. It starts like a somewhat typical space opera, in plot
anyway. But right from the first page you know it is going to be an irreverent
romp. We look in on a ship traveling in the Crab Nebula and naturally the crew
are crabs - well at least their heads are crabs. That is except for the captain
who is a tiger and his name is Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger.  Evidently
that is what he does all the time no matter what else he is doing. His father is
the king of Crabulon and his name is, you guessed it, King Tiger Eating a
Cheeseburger. This scene is set two years ago. It ends in tragedy as the ship is
rammed by what appears to be a crude home-made rocket and both ships are
destroyed. So where did this other ship come from? If you thought crab headed
people and cheeseburger eating tigers were silly wait until you meet the astro-
farmers. Their leader, the Lord Astro-Farmer, had a vision of the Great Space
God who told him to leave this world and join him in Golden Moon Heaven. So
naturally he got a bunch of his fellow farmers and formed the astro farmers.
They built rockets ships from silos and will defy NASA's admonition not to
venture into space. Lord Astro-Farmer is pretty confident they will succeed and
he has his love by his side. She is the lovely Hennifer - the combination of a
ditsy babe he found on the street with the head of his true love, his chicken.
Yeah, need I say it doesn't get any better. There is one more group of
characters involved in this convoluted plot. They are the Power Person Five who
work for NASA and will try to stop the Astro-Farmers from going into space. They
are a super hero group whose leader is their former star warrior who now has the
head of a rhino. Without going into details about the rest of them suffice it to
say there is a big confrontation between the Astro-Farmers and the Power Person
Five before too long. And we have not heard the last from King Tiger Eating a
Cheeseburger. There is a basic plot underlying this whole thing if you filter
through all the inane characters and improbable situations they have been
through. Just because you have a plot that could work does not mean you can
dress it up with silly characters that swear a lot, have sex with chickens and
are all basically insane. I can see a segment of comic readers that might enjoy
this craziness. The curious, such as myself probably won't see the entertainment
value of such an effort. It is up to you to decide how you feel.


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at 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:
The story began in Avengers, continued in Fantastic Four and then jumped to the
first issue of a new comic.  Name this title that debuted in Feb 1986.

The return of Jean Grey and the original X-Men was the story that launched X-
FACTOR. The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
Who were the first singing brothers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of

The Everly Brothers were American country-influenced rock and roll singers,
known for steel-string guitar playing and close harmony singing. The duo,
consisting of Isaac Donald "Don" Everly and Phillip "Phil" Everly, were elected
in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first group of inductees in 1986.

What Issue #1 comic, about a dog and cat, was polybagged to preserve a unique
"smelly" gimmick?

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, September 5, 2014

Comic Reviews 9/5/14


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.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Steve Cummings
Colors: John Rauch & Jim Zub
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Japanese Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This is the story of Rori Lane. Her mother is Japanese and her father is Irish
and after her parents split up she stayed in Ireland to finish her schooling.
But that didn't work out so now she is coming to Japan to live with her mother.
But she is not an ordinary girl as we soon see. Emerging from the subway she is
at a loss as to which way to go to her neighborhood. Just as she is about to ask
a stranger for directions she has a flash and can see a red line on the ground
showing the way, just like those commercials on TV. So clearly she has some kind
of gift. Earlier in the issue she is thinking about the trip home and comments
that, "Every route has a pattern. I just have to connect the dots." Evidently if
she thinks about where she has to go her mind will provide a visual aid as to
the best way to take. This gift will come in handy later. This real plot is
about Japanese monsters known as Kappa. Traditionally they are the size of a
small human and appear as humanized turtles with shells and beak. In most of the
folklore they are brutal monsters. The fact that in this story they also use
swords opens things up to obvious jokes about ninja turtles, but thankfully we
are spared. When Rori is wandering the city on her first day home she runs into
a trio of guys hanging out on the streets and it appears they have bad
intentions. Fortunately for Rori another girl appears and exposes these boys as
Kappa, or as she calls them Turtle-heads. It will take Ayane's excellent martial
arts skills and Rori's new found talent working together to get them both out of
trouble. So Rori's first day back in Japan has turned into a real adventure. Who
is the mysterious Ayane and why did she appear when she did? If these Kappa can
masquerade as ordinary people is anywhere safe?  And what about all those cats
that were following Rori right before the fateful encounter? So far this has
been a delightful story with interesting characters. The script is structured to
develop Rori's character, her relationship with her mom and just hint at what
Ayane is all about. She is clearly one of the good guys but is a bit quirky and
has what appear to be fangs. There will be a lot to explore moving forward. The
art is very appealing and is colored brilliantly. This really could be another
sleeper hit from Image. I suggest you give it a look.

Title: POP
Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Eyes Without a Face
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Jason Copland
Colors: Pete Toms
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Imagine you are perhaps a middle-aged man who has decided to make a big change.
Working at a meager living selling old records and even older comic books is
only an excuse to hide from the lies you have been telling yourself. But today
is the day you will change all that. You lock up the store for the night and
just as you turn to go a girl runs straight into your arms pleading for help.
She is dressed only in panties and a tube top and before she can explain her
problem she passes out. This is the fix Coop finds himself in. He can't take her
to the cops because frankly he is a bit high from pot. Coop's life is going to
change alright, but not the way he expected. The girl is Elle Ray and she has
escaped from certain fame. The other half of the plot is about a very secret
organization that literally grows celebrities. In a clandestine lab they grow
people who become the next Mariah or Britney or even that Canadian freakazoid
(more about him later.) Well it seems Elle was one of these test tube humans but
she broke out of the womb early and ran away. Naturally she represents a large
investment to those in charge and they will be using every resource at their
disposal to get her back. Some of them are technological, like the bioimplant
that can be remotely activated to track her down. If that fails they have human
resources that will be more forceful. Just how forceful is demonstrated by the
male and female enforcers who pay a visit to international megastar Dustin
Beaver. Seems Dustin recently announced his retirement at the ripe age of
nineteen. Spike and his girl are going to show him the error of his ways. There
is a lot going on here. There is a lot of back and forth between the scenes of
Coop and Elle trying to cope with the situation they are in and the behind the
scenes machinations of the evil organization. Some things are explicit and some
are more subtle. There are a couple of pages with multiple panels that seem far
removed from anything else in the book. The main plots are easy to follow and
filled with action and excitement. I am liking where this is going. The visual
aspects fit together in a rough style that has so much variety involved from the
demands of the script. There is a lot of energy in this book that is very

Issue Number: 34
Title Story: The Girl Who Fell to Earth
Title Arc: Superman Doomed [Last Sun]
Publisher: DC
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Karl Moline
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artists: Cameron Stewart with Nathan Fairbairn
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The last time I checked in on Supergirl she was getting involved with the Red
Lanterns and now she is back on Earth. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to
follow this issue seeing how it was part of the larger Superman Doomed arc and
the third part of the Last Son portion. They both wrap up in SUPERMAN: DOOMED
that will follow next. But fortunately this story is more about Supergirl
herself and her actions with the people around her as the events of the larger
story are happening nearby. We learn bits and pieces of that larger story as the
issue moves along. At the start Supergirl literally falls to Earth and crashes
into an apartment building where she is cared for by a young man in a wheel
chair until she awakens. Their eventual conversation takes up the first half of
the book and through it we learn the high points of her latest exploits
confronting the now deformed Superman with the Red Lanterns. Meanwhile her new
friend, Michael, tells her of strange things happening on Earth - people going
in comas and Superman turning into a monster, even fighting his own friends. But
tragically there has been collateral damage, and it continues. Michael's own
parents are missing somewhere in Metropolis and he has not heard from them for
two days. Needless to say Supergirl is back and a lot of people need her help.
She may not be able to stop what is happening to her cousin but she can help
those in danger if she can recharge through the green cloud covering the city. I
liked this story because it was a more personal story about two people relating
to each other supporting each other through some hard times. It is about the
return of a hero and the steps she must take to gain acceptance at a time when
there is lots of mistrust in her kind. And then, just when it seems things are
going well we get another punch, a mysterious twist of events and then a major
revelation at the end promises more excitement next time. It was a good balance
and ended on a thrilling note.

Issue Number: 13
Title Story: Marked Soul
Title Arc: Mark of the Phantasm
Publisher: DC
Writers: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artists: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Craig Rousseau & Thony Silas
Colors: Nick Filardi & Guy Major
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover Artist: Matteo Scalera & Moreno Dinisio
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I picked up this issue of BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE because I had read it had some
major revelations about the main characters. Even if you don't read this title
on a regular basis you will be able to follow this story and realize its impact.
It is set up with three plots. The short one happened a year ago their time. It
is a scene that has the Dee Dees robbing a chemical plant. Batman and his semi-
partner Vigilante try to stop them but they make an escape when Vigilante is
injured by a chemical and Terry comes to his aid. The key element in this part
is the radio conversation between Bruce and Terry over allowing Vigilante to tag
along. The second plot is in the now, a year later. Vigilante, whose real name
has much significance in the Batman Universe is attacked in his base by The
Phantasm, a vigilante who hunts killers. So right away we know Vigilante is the
target for a past crime, which Phantasm reveals but I won't. Luckily Terry is
close by when Vigilante hits the panic button and Batman saves him though
Phantasm escapes. But Terry is exposed to the fear gas and when he spots a
framed photograph he forces Vigilante to explain. When he does Terry attacks
him. He has a good reason to and the fear gas pushes his anger too far. Not only
does he learn who the Vigilante really is but also learns why he was targeted as
a killer. This is the second major reveal, but again I won't spoil it. Based on
the identity of Vigilante, who manages to escape Terry's wrath, Terry has harsh
words with Bruce about what he knew when and then seeks out Dick Grayson for a
heart to heart. This brings up the third plot. It revolves around event that
happened "then" which was some years ago when Tim was Robin and was exposed to
heavy doses of Joker Toxin. In this continuity it was at that time Barbara quit
being Batgirl, Dick returned from Bludhaven and they rekindled a relationship.
However shortly thereafter that relationship, and the one between Bruce and
Dick, is shattered by another startling revelation. But you know I won't reveal
that one either. This issue is jam-packed with lots of interesting character
development and explanations of things that have been hidden since the
beginning. It is a good jump on point and a good read. The art is, as always,
consistent with the TV show. I say give it a try.

Issue Number: 23
Title Story: Let's Get Well
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Augustin Alessio/Emma Rios
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have not been following this title so I took a chance that the latest issue
would be accessible. Fortunately it is a bit of a transition chapter and there
is a brief synopsis in the front to get up to speed. A lot has happened with
these characters that are a combination of Avengers and X-Men. With Wasp and the
Scarlett Witch we have Havok, Rogue, Sunfire and Banshee returning home.
Evidently they have spent years trapped on Planet X. They have now returned
after defeating Kang with the help of Immortus. Wasp is married to Havok and
they had a daughter who is lost somewhere or some when in time. Steve Rogers
appears to be much older as he greets them, I imagine to tie in to the
continuity in his title. Havok's face has been burned and disfigured. Sunfire
body was destroyed and he is now just a shell of cosmic fire. Something is wrong
with Banshee and it is not explained fully in this issue. He evidently is
staying in a stasis tube. And Wonder Man is trapped inside Rogue's Psyche. So
this issue is reuniting old friends and everyone coping with the changes to
everyone else. Rogue is having the hardest time of it and is really stressed out
with Simon being inside her brain. Wanda's attempt to cure her leads to more
problems and a wild chase to get Rogue back under control. Meanwhile Alex and
Janet have to cope with the possibility of never finding their daughter. Add to
that Havok's unique power makes it impossible to fix his face through normal
surgery so he may be disfigured for life. The final scene of the issue is a
lead-in to the next big event, AXIS, as Immortus appears to Janet and Alex with
words of hope for their daughter but also a dire warning about sinister plot
moving forward that will mean disaster on a global level. Who is behind it all
is revealed so if you don't know by now I will leave it for you to discover. As
I said this is a transition issue so it is pretty easy to follow. It is also a
good jump on point to those who want to know all there is to know about AXIS
right from the beginning. Little plot seeds like this are being included in a
number of titles right now, and I believe this is the first. However I was not
impressed with the art. The characters faces seemed all wrong - Wanda and Janet
are too young and Logan's face is all wrong. It just does not appeal to me on
that aspect though the dynamics are fine. I am not fond of Remender's writing
though I know this is a popular title. To each his own.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Artist (Main cover): Devin Roth
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor - Cartoon Adaptation
Teen +

This is the latest comic from Dynamite of a licensed TV property. If you have
watched the show you know Bob and his family are the five main characters.
Rather than give us one or two adventures of the family we get five separate
entries (some with very long titles) involving each member of the Belcher
family. Here is a summary:

"Tina's Erotic Friend Fiction Presents: My So-called Life as a Horse", written
by Mike Olsen with art by Brad Rader and Derek Schroeder
Older daughter Tina tells a fictional tale in which she imagines herself as a
horse leading an otherwise normal life as a member of the family. That is until
she gets message from her friends in the Equestranauts. Yes it is a super hero
team of horses each with their own unique super power. Their arch rival Xander
has acquired the Electric Leash of Doom and the team needs Tina as their secret
weapon. It is actually a decent story and fun for all ages.

"Burger of the Day Ideas" by Jeff Drake with art by Tony Gennaro
This is Bob's entry and is just a pages of jotted down ideas for the names of
burgers using TV catch phrases or hits of the 80's. They are all kind of silly
and one is even illustrated. The "I Pity the Cool Ranch Burger" is a typical
burger with Cool Ranch Doritos stuck on the top bun to form a Mr. T Mohawk.

"Louise's Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities: Picture Day" by Rachel
Hastings, Frank Forte, Paige Garrison and Tyler Garrison
Younger daughter Louise, she the one always wearing a hat with rabbit ears,
appears to have an overactive imagination. It is picture day at school and she
notices that all the kids who have had them taken have blank stares and can only
say, "You must have your picture taken." She is convinced the photographer is an
alien trying to take over the world. How much of this is real and how much

"Letters from Linda: Dear "Apparently You're Parenting" Magazine" by Jeff Drake
& Tony Gennaro
Mother Linda decided to writ into her favorite parenting magazine to offer her
thoughts about a new column about wine. Rather than the typical what wine goes
with what food column she thinks it would be good to talk about how much wine
goes with what activity like clothes shopping, kids bedtime stories or TV
dramas. It is somewhat predictable but I chuckled.

"Gene Belcher Presents: The Boy in the Burger, The Musical" by Justin Hook,
Bernard Derriman, Paige & Tyler Garrison
Son Gene presents a story told as if it were a musical. All the dialogue rhymes.
He is doing his duty for the family business parading around in a burger suit in
front of the store. But it is the hottest day of the year, blamed on the Solar
Vortex and he eventually passes out. When he awakens he is told he is now fused
to the suit. How will he live a life in a burger suit? Is there a silver lining
in the burger bun?

The common thread in all of this is silliness. I couldn't take a steady diet of
it but once in a while it is a pleasant diversion.


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at 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:
If a girl came up to you saying "I'm Dr. Strange's daughter", you would say "Hi
..." -- which name?

Doctor Strange's daughter Is Carla.
Not the Sorcerer Supreme we know and love, but a villain called Dr. Strange from
Tales of Suspense #41 seen in The Essential Iron Man.

Here was your no prize question:
Who is the only person to receive two Nobel prizes in science in two different

In 1898, Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre, discovered radium. She spent the
remainder of her life performing radiation research and studying radiation
therapy. Her constant exposure to radiation led to her contracting leukemia and
she died in 1934. Curie is the first and only person to receive two Nobel prizes
in science in two different fields: chemistry and physics. She was also the
first female professor at the University of Paris. Jeffery Matthews wins the no-
prize this time.

The story began in Avengers, continued in Fantastic Four and then jumped to the
first issue of a new comic.  Name this title that debuted in Feb 1986.

Here is your no prize question:

Who were the first singing brothers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of

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, August 29, 2014

Comic Reviews 8/29/14


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.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: House of Heroes
Publisher: DC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado
Colors: Nei Ruffino
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is a much anticipated comic book from one of comic's favorite creators. It
will consist of two bookends, this being the first, telling a story that
involves the entire DC Multiverse, the fifty two universes as outlined on the
cover border. In fact if you look closely at that trade dress you will note that
several of the numbered Earths are in white, indicating their importance in this
particular issue because characters from those Earths are involved. In between
will be six one-shot issues each taking place on an alternate Earth and drawn by
different artists. It is our first wider introduction to the Multiverse since
the New 52 was launched. Like many of Morrison's work there are layers of story
on top of others and this is no exception. The main plot through it all is about
something that endangers the entire Multiverse - what DC normally calls a
"Crisis". The central character is Nix Uotan, the last of the Monitors. As
Superjudge, Nix Uotan has vowed to protect the Multiverse from his stronghold in
the Orrery, also called the Multiversity. He becomes aware of just such a major
threat through a comic book and along with his talking monkey sidekick, Mr.
Stubbs, he travels to Earth-7 to begin his investigation. He finds a devastated
world with only one super hero left standing, Thunderer. He is barely holding
out against the gigantic egg-shaped being with one eye and bat-like wings
floating above him. It identifies itself as one of the Gentry. It seems like
wiping out all life and turning the laws of physics on end in this place was
planned with one objective - to lure Uotan into making a swap, himself for
Thunderer. Being the kind of hero that he is Uotan agrees to the terms and
instructs Thunderer to go back with Mr. Stubbs and then assemble heroes from all
the remaining Earths and return to save them all. The balance of the book has
Thunderer doing just that. By the middle of the book he has assembled heroes
from various worlds. In one case we get a closer look at the world one comes
from. The Superman of Earth-23 is a black man whose secret identity is President
of the United States. There are a few scenes of him in his normal routine
including a scene with the Justice League of that Earth. And speaking of Justice
League, when Superman arrives in Multiversity he is greeted by Captain Carrot.
We also find Dino-Cop from Earth-41 who looks strangely like the Savage Dragon,
complete with the police uniform. The room is filled with alternate world heroes
- a Flash, a Green lantern, a Wonder Woman (girl really), and even Aquawoman.
Probably the most interesting part of the story is the encounter some of them
have on Earth-8, which is clearly a Marvel Universe analogue with Lord Havok
(Dr. Doom), Behemoth (Hulk - Dr. David Dibble), a Mr. Fantastic and even the 
Retaliators (Avengers). This is most interesting. If you have been reading
AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS you know that they recently met and alternate Earth
Justice League. But all of this, well not the Marvel characters, was what you
expect in a story exploring the 52 worlds of the Multiverse. The tie-in with the
comic book I mentioned is also one of those multi-layered plot elements that has
to be read and interpreted by the reader. Frankly I am more interested in the
one-shot stories in the upcoming issues that will tell a longer story on one of
the other worlds in each issue. But this is a good framing issue that ends with
a twist that appears to be more about how the other bookend will begin than any
of the intervening one-shots. The art throughout is very fine. This is the kind
of comic you can read more than once and get more out of it each time. It really
lives up to the hype.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Valiant
Writer: James Asmus
Story: James Asmus and Fred Van Lente
Artist: Kano
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Humor

If you know these Valiant characters at all you probably think this is a logical
team-up to produce. After all both teams have a similar makeup. One partner is a
party animal while the other partner is more serious about life and their
purpose. But any good team up needs a good purpose and so we begin at some point
in the past, apparently the 1960's. Armstrong at this point is wandering about
the U.S. living the life on the rails with hobos. The key plot element is that a
"King of the Hobos" Toothless Rufus entrusts him with a map of the country
showing where certain hobo treasures are located. If you are familiar with the
hobo legends you know they have their own code of symbols meant communicate
amongst themselves secretly. The map was actually tattooed on another hobo's
rear end and when he died was peeled off to pass down to others. So yeah, it is
called the ass map. Well over time part of it was ripped off and passed from
person to person while Armstrong retained the other half. So that brings us to
the present and the reason why the two Valiant duos will cross paths. The plot
introduces the big agro-business corporation called Mondostano. They are
involved in genetically engineered organisms. They are portrayed as the
stereotypical evil corporation, taking over small farmers who are "caught" with
produce that contains their patented modified genes in them. Like most of the
bad guys in both regular titles their operatives are caricatures and in the case
of the muscle literally larger than life. During one such takeover Jia Storm and
her heavy Mr. Meat come across the missing half of the ass map and she realizes
her superiors will want to see it. One thing leads to another and eventually
Mondostano hires Quantum and Woody, who are now public heroes for hire, to find
what kind of treasure is hidden in each location based on the map and try to
find the other half. The first problem is trying to figure out what all those
strange symbols mean. It won't be long before Archer and Armstrong are on the
same trail with their half of the map.  So the plot is set up to eventually have
these guys cross paths. Much of it is rather silly and even too coincidental to
be believable but for the sake of the comic I let that pass. The fun of this
comic is more in the dialogue and actions of the characters. Both Armstrong and
Woody are constant frustrations to their partners. Half the time both teams are
running away from angry people or getting mixed up with strange villains or
people who appear harmlessly nuts but are really hiding an evil nature. This is
not meant to be taken seriously as a super hero comic. It is all in fun and it
will amuse anyone who gives it a try. As a bonus the "board game" variant cover
to the miniseries are one inter-locking picture of a board game. There are
player tokens and game cards at the back of each issue to cut out so you can
eventually play the world's first board game played on comic book covers - or so
they say. I guess they hope you buy two copies - one to keep and one to cut up.
One copy is sufficient to get your money's worth in my opinion.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Wild Party
Publisher: Image
Creators: Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Noir
Mature - Comics on the Edge

Fans of Ed Brubaker's crime dramas will not have to be nudged to buy this comic.
If you have never tried one this is a good one to pick up. Brubaker and Phillips
blend together so well that whatever the story is that they are telling comes
across fluidly. Every panel accentuates and moves the plot without just showing
what is already being told. Additionally, Sean Phillips has a clean detailed
style and he uses the coloring and shading to optimum advantage. This drama is
set in Hollywood in the fall of 1948. The main character is Charlie Parish, a
screenwriter with a broken marriage and a small drinking problem. His friend,
Gil Mason, is a washed up writer with a huge drinking problem. Charlie help Gil
stay out of trouble and when he is lucid Gil helps Charlie with his writing. The
crime that is central to the story is the death of up and coming starlet Valeria
Sommers, the co-star of the movie Charlie is working on. It all begins when
Charlie awakens in the bathtub of one of those small bungalows the studio keeps
to stash contract players so they can be near the set. His first thought is,
"How did I get here?" Slowly he begins to remember bits and pieces about the
night before - the wild party, the fight between some studio big shots and a
black celebrity and later walking away from the party - but not much else. He
chalked it up to a drunken blackout. That all changes when he makes it to the
living room and finds Valeria strangled to death on the floor. The rest of the
cast is very interesting. There is the womanizer star, the publicity girl for
the studio and the studio's head of security. Each are inserted into the plot in
the proper place to build the story in the right manner. Charlie realizes he
can't tell anyone where he spent the night and so he lets others discover the
body and break the news. The fact that the death is quickly being portrayed as a
suicide makes him more nervous still. This is a tense drama that gets even more
so by the end of the issue. If you are like me you are already forming theories
by then as to who killed Valeria. Is it one of the five main characters we've
met, even maybe Charlie?  Could it be someone else to be revealed later?  All I
know is this is a top notch thriller from the best in the business. You really
should check it out.

Issue Number: 2
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialko
Artist: Gabo
Letters: Crank!
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy
Mature - Comics on the Edge

Often times I will pick up a comic that is not a first issue to see how well the
creators transition the story for new readers. This series is on its second
issue and the bizarre cover drew me in to it. What I found on the inside was not
what I expected, although it ties directly into the cover illustration. To their
credit Fialkov and the editor give a quick synopsis of the story so far on the
inside cover. The story is about Jude who is having a hard time believing where
he is. He remembers seeing a girl on the bus each day but is afraid to talk to
her. That changed when he gets the courage and as they touch he has a vision of
her tragic past and then the girl disappears in a flash of light. Imagine his
surprise when the man who helps him to his feet is none other than Ernest
Hemingway who tells Jude he is in purgatory, one especially set aside for
suicides. As the second issue begins Hemingway is further explaining that
everyone here died from suicide and the compulsion is still with them. Sure
enough as they walk across a bridge several people are climbing on the rail to
jump over the side. When Jude tries to grab one of them he once again
experiences that persons past - in this case a young boy who could no longer
take the constant bullying at school and ended his life in a leap. When
Hemingway asks Jude how he committed suicide Jude can't remember, in fact he
does not think he did. This is what sets him apart from everyone else in
purgatory. He has no compulsion to commit suicide and is the only one who can
see people's past with a touch. He needs to figure out why he is here and
Hemingway agrees to help. The journey will lead them to experiment with touching
another soul and that leads to an attack from ghost-like monsters that provide
Jude visions of a truly unnatural plane of existence filled with creatures and
scenes you might see in some medieval painting of hell. The other element to
this story is what is going on behind the scenes. There are men in some kind of
control room watching what is going on and they are not pleased. Jude and
Hemingway must be dealt with and soon.  Needless to say we are not told
everything we need to know at this point and the mystery of it all is
delightful. We are seeing it from two points of view but it is still puzzling
that someone controls what goes on in purgatory in this manner - if that is
really where we are. This one issue succeeds in providing the new reader with
enough information to jump on the story and it moves forward with lots of new
ground being covered. Gabo is an excellent illustrator that excels with bringing
to life anything Joshua can thing up with excellent detail and vibrant coloring.
I was pleased with this comic and would recommend you give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Michael Uslan
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
Colors: Marco Lesko
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Pulp Heroes

I am not a big fan of the pulp heroes but I like to sample the titles Dynamite
puts out now and then. This story not only brings together three of these
classic men of mystery - The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger - but also
appears to be the origin story of The Avenger. This story evidently explores the
secret link that The Shadow and Doc Savage have that led to the birth of the
Avenger. It starts in the present as Doc Savage is ready to demonstrate his
latest technological breakthrough in his hideout in the Himalayas. Deep in this
former missile silo he has built a super collider to create a Universal Quantum
Machine that will smash subatomic particles together at the speed of light and
create a time wormhole. While the experiment is a success it is a bit out of
control and the cyclonic vortex begins to extend high into the atmosphere.
Unfortunately a passing jumbo jet is sucked into the event horizon and as you
would expect Doc Savage decides he must save them. In an "only could happen in
the comics" moment he flies up in his P-39 Airacobra so he can jump to the wing
of the bigger plane, get inside and save the day. There is so much wrong with
this entire sequence, according to the laws of physics that you really have to
suspend your disbelief for the sake of the story. Anyway, this is the plot
device that take the story back to 1939 where that time's Doc Savage is being
funded by Richard Benson, the man who will eventually become The Avenger. Back
then Savage is involved with the beginnings of the work on the atomic bomb. The
opening scene has an interesting discussion between Savage, Einstein, Fermi and
none other than HG Wells. Meanwhile Benson and his family are meeting in New
York to journey to Nepal as well. Oh, and Howard Hughes has a part to play in
this drama as well. You can imagine the commotion a jumbo jet from our time
would cause when it suddenly appears in the New York airspace and demands
clearance for landing. It is something right out of the Twilight Zone. Aside
from the action/adventure part of the plot there are also sinister forces at
work setting plans in motion at the same time. They will have profound effects
on Benson and the others as well. This is a pretty involved story with layers of
plot just starting to be set up for further exploration. The main story is
interesting and even comical at times. The art is up to the high quality
standards I have always seen from Dynamite. The Shadow also makes a brief
appearance but for now is mostly, well, in the shadows. I am sure it will all
come together nicely by the end of the arc. It is entertaining reading worth the

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Gothamazon
Publisher: DC
Creator of Wonder Woman - William Moulton Marston
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver and Marcelo Di Chiara
Colors: Brian Miller
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

DC has started another solo title for its powerhouse female Wonder Woman. I
believe this is a way to have some stories told without being tied down to the
ongoing arcs in the main book. So it seems in this first issue anyway. This is a
$3.99 book so I would expect value for the money. Ethan Van Sciver certainly
delivers on that front on the lead story. I first saw his work when he was doing
a creator owned comic. I remarked then that he should forget about writing his
own comics and just draw. If you ever read CYBERFROG you know what I am talking
about. Many years later he has excelled at both Marvel and DC. He always turns
in detailed dynamic work that is an asset to any comic. Miller's colors are a
perfect fit for his work. With Gail Simone on the story I expected better than
average as well. The basic plot has the Bat-Team unable to take on a team up of
Gotham's baddest villains. Who can possibly handle Joker, The Riddler, Two Face,
Poison Ivy, Man-Bat, Penguin and Mr. Freeze all at once?  Oracle is given the
task to call in a substitute that is not only good enough but also bad enough to
do what it takes. She of course chooses Wonder Woman. Without getting into too
much detail she of course saves the day eventually with a little help from her
amazon sisters, a lucky flip of the coin and a couple of unlikely allies. It is
not a bad story but I did not think there was much to it. In fact the premise
bothered me right from the start. We see the Batmobile roaring down the street
with Robin and Nightwing on motorcycles on either side of it and then a big
explosion. The aftermath of that is why Oracle needs to call in help but it is
never explained what happened to the Bat-guys. The fact that Oracle is involved
means that this is not the NEW 52 continuity, and that is cool. I just felt this
was an average story that needed more punch.

Backup Story: "Defender of Truth" by Amanda Deibert, Cat Staggs and John Rauch
I had the opposite reaction to this short second story. To me the art was
unappealing. The lines and ink are less defined and the color is dull. The story
was more interesting with Diana alerted to an attack on the National Cathedral.
It turns out that Circe was luring her out and plans to put her through the
paces. Circe is not a fair fighter and uses innocents transformed into mythical
centaurs to attack Diana. This is a good back and forth battle until Wonder
Woman finally gets the upper hand. Then just when you think it is over there is
more as Wonder Woman takes the time to teach a few young boys who have been
watching a valuable lesson. As I said, this is the opposite of the first story -
better story, poorer art. I hope all the issues aren't this uneven. Wonder Woman
can be a great lead with the correct writer and artists.


If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at 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 what Justice League related title did the WONDER TWINS, Zan and Jayna, enter
DC continuity?

It was not SUPER FRIENDS as that was not in continuity but EXTREME JUSTICE #9.
The winner by the dice is David McBarron.

Here was your no prize question:
Which fast food chain has the most stores worldwide with a total of 42,298?

Subway is kind enough to keep a store counter on its website, and they currently
claim 42,298 restaurants in 101 countries. That's a lot of sub sandwiches!
McDonald's, the world's second-biggest fast-food chain, currently counts around
34,700 restaurants worldwide. Subway, which started in 1965 as a sandwich shop
in Bridgeport, Connecticut, doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. The Wall
Street Journal reported in March 2011 that the Subway sandwich restaurant chain
pulled ahead of McDonald's Corporation in terms of number of stores open
globally. David McBarron knows his fast food and wins the no prize.

If a girl came up to you saying "I'm Dr. Strange's daughter", you would say "Hi
..." -- which name?

Here is your no prize question:
Who is the only person to receive two Nobel prizes in science in two different

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, August 22, 2014

Comic Reviews 8/22/14


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.

Issue Number: 32
Title Arc: Edge of Spider-Verse
Publisher: Marvel
Plot: Dan Slott
Script: Christos Gage
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: John Dell
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you don't follow comic book pre-publicity as I do you probably thought that
the title SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN was finished because Peter Parker got his body
back and the title reverted to its original name. However, the next big Spider-
Man event is just beginning and to kick it off Slott went back to a previous
issue of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, specifically issue #19. In that issue Horizon Labs
was lost in a temporal implosion and Otto-Spider-Man disappeared for 24 hours.
This story explains what happened to him and how it ties in to the new story
arc. We see the events recreated here and follow Otto-Spider as he drifts
through time and space and ends up in the world of Spider-Man 2099. Now in this
time Spider-Man is a wanted man so he has to dodge the authorities while looking
for the advanced technology in this future Earth to build a devise to send
himself back to the present. As fortune would have it Spider-Man 2099's brother,
Gabriel O'Hara recognizes the similarity to Peter Parker's uniform and manages
to convince Otto to come with him to avoid capture. Of course Gabriel thinks
this is really Peter and Otto has already purged Peter's memories from his own
mind so he does not know Peter had already met Gabriel in a past adventure.
Convincing Gabriel he can get Miguel back from the past they go to Miguel's
apartment where Otto can begin his search for what he needs using the computers
there. His targets are Stark/Fujikawa and Alchemax corporations who had worked
on temporal or dimensional travel in the past. Once he gets it all together and
gets the computer interface downloaded to his uniform's tech he begins the trip
to get back home. But he finds out it is a hit-or-miss proposition at best. He
finds he is going have to make multiple hops in time and space to make it back.
The most startling thing he finds is that in each alternate reality the counter-
part Spider-Man has been slain in some fashion. Sometimes it happened in battle
with villains or aliens and other times it is an oppressive government or so it
seems. However, as the computer points out, each one had common fatal wounds and
that cannot be coincidental. He eventually discovers how and why these Spider-
Men are being tracked down and slaughtered. He realizes that the foe is too
powerful to take on alone and so he devises a plan to build an army that can
eventually defeat this foe or every Spider-Man across the dimensions will suffer
the same fate. There is a lot of detail I have not covered that you will
discover when you read this special story. If you are a regular Spider-Man
reader you will want to get it. It is a solid set-up for the event beginning to
unfold and it promises to be a good one.

Backup story: "The Spider Sanction" by Christos Gage, Adam Kubert & Brian Beredo
This second piece follows the main premise in the lead and shows yet another
world where the Spider-man is a bit more ruthless that the Peter Parker we are
familiar with. He is still a hero but his view of having to do whatever it takes
is more in line with the morals of Wolverine than Uncle Ben. He will become
another soldier in Otto's army if Otto-Spider can convince him to come along.

As a package I really enjoyed this comic. The art is top-notch as always with
two terrific writers in synch on the big picture they are painting. By all means
buy this book.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: No More Trouble
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Jae Lee
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This story is about Rory Fletcher. He has just found out he has cancer, an
inoperable brain tumor giving him only two months to live. It starts off with
things you might find typical in such a case. He confides in his best friend,
makes the dreaded call to his mother to tell her the news and even is
propositioned by a female friend who wants to help him make the most of the time
he has left, if you catch my meaning. He is basically a good guy coping with the
inevitable. But that all changes when he learns about an experimental, very
secret program called Treatment Q. His best friend Raz had help to hack into the
research and proposes that he can duplicate the promising results that occurred
before the program was shut down and classified as top secret. Deciding the
reported shocking and unpredictable side effects can't be worse than death the
two proceed. Thus begins a strange journey that touches on both the good and bad
side of Rory. Yes, as you might guess, he gains abilities that are side effects.
At first they are uncontrollable and they also includes hallucinations from dark
memories of the past. But the desired effect, the shrinking of the tumor, is
also happening. The whole thing is a blessing and a curse resulting in a
downward moral spiral as Rory becomes more adept with his abilities. It seems
like his inner demons are coming forward and he may not be able to control them.
It is an interesting premise. Despite the title of the book this is not a super
hero story. It is an exploration of Rory having to face the man he really is.
Where it goes from here is going to be interesting. Milligan is giving us more
than just a science fiction adventure here. As things progress he keeps adding
layers to the story that are both frightening and amazing. The illustration and
coloring help to move things along by supplementing the scripted words. This is
worthy of the hype it has been getting and deserves a chance to succeed.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Artist: Dos Santos
Colors: Brad Simpson
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

What if you were just an average Joe and one day the Superman-like super hero of
the world came to you and proclaimed that you would be his successor? That is
the situation Mark McDonnell finds himself in one day as he is fulfilling his
father's wishes by spreading his ashes somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. As I
said Mark is an average Joe so seeing Imperial fly down to meet him in the
middle of nowhere really freaks him out. Once the shock is over and Mark finds
that small talk is not Imperial's way of conversing the hero spells it out for
him. Imperial has scanned the population of the world to find one worthy to be
the next protector of mankind and Mark is it. Mark is both awestruck and
bewildered. He is a big fan of Imperial, has all the comics and action figures.
But Mark is also getting married soon and is more concerned with all the
preparations going on in the next ten days than becoming a super hero. This
comic is played very much for the humor of situation. Mark tends to babble a
lot, even his thoughts jump from one silly notion to another. Imperial is
willing to give him a day to get ready for the odyssey to come as he leaves Mark
to return to his fiancĂ©e. So what would you do?  Would you tell anyone what
happened, even the person you loved the most? Would you try to forget about the
whole experience and continue with your life? Maybe Mark believes he can just
forget about the whole thing. But Imperial is the most serious person on the
planet so we know Mark is going to have to deal with it very soon. This is an
interesting concept and the humor inserted is very appropriate for this take on
the reluctant hero story. The cliff hanger ending is probably the only real
serious part of the whole story so far. The art is very acceptable with
outstanding coloring to set each shift of scene and mood. One interesting side
note to this comic is the design. The story begins on the inside front cover and
ends on the inside back cover. There are no ads or text pages. The credits and
indicia are all on the back cover. You are getting the maximum amount of value
for the $3 with this one. There is a lot to learn about the whole situation but
that does not detract from the story in this first issue. This appears like it
will be a fun comic to follow. Try it and see if you agree.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story:
Publisher: Image
Creator: Paolo Leandri
Writer: Adam McGovern
Artist/Letters: Paolo Leandri
Colors: Dominic Regan
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

The first thing you notice about this comic is the Kirbyesque nature of the art.
I was always a fan of the King and it is nice to see someone mimic his style so
well as homage to his influence on the industry. The subject of the series deals
with magic and the supernatural. There is a noble demon named Plenilunio who is
contending for control of the mythical Soule Key with his antagonists Hellena
and Hotspot. Hanging in the balance is the fate of his lover Lidia. She is
entranced in a waking sleep and he seeks the soul key to free her. The trail has
led him to the library of an old man and a certain book that has a map to its
location. But his foes are not far behind and soon Hellena and her pet demon
Lotus crash the scene. Meanwhile Hot Spot is being sent on a separate mission by
the underboss of the underworld in charge of them. This is truly a unique comic,
and not just for the art. While you get the gist of the plot there is a lot
unsaid or hinted at that give you lots to ponder. The dialogue harkens back to
comics of long ago as well. The story has action, humor, and horror in a
pleasant mix that you won't find elsewhere. Unlike the trend these days toward
R-rated horror comics this is an all ages type comic with something for everyone
and nothing to offend anyone. The plot and style may not have the mass appeal it
had back in the 60's but it is very well done and lots of fans will appreciate
it. Even younger folks who are not that familiar with the early silver age of
comics can enjoy this classic style, especially when it is as well done as this
one. There are a couple of endorsements on the back cover from major comic book
creators that should tell you this work is worth checking out.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier & Robert E. Howard
Writers: Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier
Artists: Sergio Aragones & Tom Yeates
Colors: Tom Luth
Letters: Richard Starkings
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor

Well, this comic is not what I expected. Actually with a title like that I did
not know what to expect. You would guess that at some point the classic
barbarian hero will somehow join in battle with the classic cartoon barbarian.
How we get there is the gist of the plot. It begins with what might be a typical
scene for Conan. A scantily clad miss is beset by an ugly beast in a high tower.
But somehow the beast changes his appearance to a skeleton and then a large
wolf. Lucky for her Conan is on the case. What is nice about this sequence is
the art of Tom Yeates who renders everything in the style we are accustomed to
seeing for such a story. That makes it all the more jarring when in one panel
Conan and the maiden are riding in a forest drawn in a realistic style and in
the next Sergio's typical peasants are peaking up from one corner in their more
flat cartoonish renderings. The next panel is full on Sergio art as the trio
compares a true hero riding away to the hero they have - one they sometimes fear
more than what he tries to protect them from. Their hero is of course Groo. Okay
so far, but then you turn the page and we are in a current day big city with
Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier discussing plot points of a possible Groo/Conan
crossover, something Sergio is not keen on doing. So we've gone from high
adventure to cartoon land to creators breaking the wall by inserting themselves
into the comic. This part is longer than the rest because it sets up the
circumstance for the actual plotting of the crossover. Through an unfortunate
series of events Sergio is knocked out and taken to the hospital and after the
misguided medical system sees him get a couple shots too many he really goes off
the deep end thinking he himself is Conan. This provides a Segway into a full on
Groo story. The plot here mirrors the plot in the real world segment in that the
average citizens are standing in the way of a construction project and the local
authorities need to step in. In the current day sequence a developer wants to
take over and demolish Sergio and Mark's favorite comic store. The Groo story is
as funny as they always are with the terrific detailed art that is Sergio's
signature. There is so much in each panel that even the backgrounds are worth
looking at carefully. The final scene is the setup for the eventual
confrontation between our two heroes and it mixes nicely the two art styles in
the same panels. This is well done artistically though the scripting jumps
around a lot. It will be worth checking out to see if you agree.

Title: HEXED
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Empty Garden
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Michael Alan Nelson
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Dan Mora
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Ed "The Duke" Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Emma Rios/Dan Mora
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural
Mature - Comics on the edge

Evidently this is not the first appearance of the main character but it is my
first taste. She is Luci Jennifer Inacio Das Neves, most people call her
Lucifer. She is a supernatural thief for hire. She steals mystical objects so
the real nasty characters won't get their hands on them. She works for Val
Brisendine her mentor and mother figure. The other unique figure on her side is
known as the Harlot also known as the keeper of Secrets. Harlot is probably the
most interesting character and Lucifer is her designated heir. But her
appearance here is late in the story and is used as a bridge to a rather
startling cliffhanger climax to the issue. The main plot is about a painting,
more specifically the frame of a painting that Lucifer is about to steal when
she encounters a bunch of thugs dressed like ninjas with the same idea. The
chief rivals for these artifacts Lucifer is trying to keep safe is Madame
Cymbaline. To complicate things Cymbaline's brother Yves has his own ideas about
the use of these powerful objects and will use them to steal his sister's power.
Before the conflict in this issue is over two different innocent humans will be
in dire danger and Lucifer will unwittingly release Yves from his years of
magical imprisonment. Now she has to clean up her mess and the only way set
things right is to retrieve a soul from the SHADE, where on the dead reside.
This is a fascinating story with a few twists and lots of intrigue. The dialogue
is very lucid and gets the story told with a touch of humor here and there
without getting bogged with unnecessary detail that does not advance the plot.
The character art is fascinating and it actually overpowers a lot of the minimal
background work. While it may sound like it from my descriptions this is not the
typical supernatural/horror story I usually find boring very quickly. I enjoyed
this book and look forward to seeing what comes next.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist/Letters/Cover: I.N.J. Culbard
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Sword & Sorcery/Horror/Science Fiction?
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This starts out as if it is a period piece about a mercenary army in Europe in
the year 1333. By the end it appears to be about an alien or perhaps a
supernatural invasion. Captain Hawkherst is not a godless man but he does not
pray to Him feeling in the past his prayers have never been answered. Indeed his
troop are soldiers for hire. They roam the land waiting for the next war to
erupt so that they may back the right side - the one that will be most likely to
pay up when the job is done. They are between conflicts right now making camp
for the night when everything is about to change. The plot involves the
appearance of strange lights in the sky and before long the camp is attacked by
unearthly beasts who not only kill several of the soldiers but also critically
wound Captain Hawkherst. His second, Lucifer Galvin, realizes they must seek
shelter and a defensible position when some of the dead get up and start to be a
threat. They eventually will seek refuge in a monastery but are they jumping
from the frying pan into the fire?  It is a clever story with a twist or two I
was not expecting. There is something very odd about the monks. One in
particular keeps repeating over and over "They're here!"  Does he refer to the
soldiers or the invaders? The rest of the monks do not speak, apparently they
are a silent order. It is more than I expected. There is a mystery as well as
conflict of very unequal sides. How it all ends or why it is even happening is
anyone's guess. Abnett provides a good script that moves things along at a
decent pace. Culbard is a good artist whose style compliments the story nicely.
I enjoyed this story and find myself wondering, what next?

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The King of the Six
Publisher: IDW
Creators: John Wagner & Brian Bolland
Writer: Matt Smith
Artist: Carl Critchlow
Letters: Shawn Lee
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Those familiar with JUDGE DREDD know that in this dystopian future world the law
enforcement authority has a division of judges that have psychic powers. The one
member of that division that has been the focus of past stories has been
Cassandra Anderson. She often gets precognitive visions of impending crimes and
disasters, has a sort of spider-sense when danger is present and can even read
lingering memories of the recently deceased. I do not recall an origin story
though there probably was one in the past. This issue begins with a two-page
recap of the circumstance of her birth though that story seems to have no
bearing on her abilities or the current plot. That plot begins in her present as
she awakens after a strong precog dream of an explosion at the Mega City Museum
of Modern History. Although she is off duty she calls it in and then can't
resist going there herself to try and stop what might happen. Sure enough before
long a group with their own psychic use a mind blast to knock out the customers
and judges on site while they attempt to rob a map, one of the original surveys
of the Cursed Earth area of the US collated and drawn up in the years following
the atomic war. Something in that wasteland is worth going after in such a
dramatic manner. The trail to the escaped perps will lead Anderson to the area
known as the Alabama Morass. She will team up with a counterpart from Texas City
to search that vast swampland for the bad guys. This story diverges from the
usual urban crime stories in the far future. There is a bit of exposition as
Anderson begins working with Judge Degroot whose gift is psychogeography. She
can detect changes in the environment as influenced by the psyche of the people
inhabiting it. She can detect change, fear and distress, a skill useful in
finding people. The two make a good team and of course we are left with a
cliffhanger as to their future existence. Chritchlow's art is decent though it
relies heavily on characters in the foreground too much. In all it is a worthy
addition to the JUDGE DREDD mythos.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dave Wachter
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Monster Science Fiction

There have been Godzilla series and mini-series for a long time now and I have
not been reading them. Then I spotted this new first issue and read a little but
of the advanced information on it so I decided to give it a try. Unlike a lot of
the monster movies of the genre this story is set some time in the future in the
aftermath of a great war between the monsters that roamed the Earth. For a long
time it was monster against monster and when they were done they turned their
attention to mankind. When it was finished the monsters retreated into the sea,
air and earth. What they left behind was the world of men in rubble. Now it is
twenty years since the monsters vanished. The war has become almost a legend.
Those who lived through it refer to it as the way it was. The younger have only
known tents and wood shacks on the outskirts of cities in rubble. Most believe
the monsters are myths. The one particular such conclave we are witness to has
an old man, referred to as grandfather. He fears for the day when the monsters
return, for he knows in his heart they will. He even tries to dissuade his
grandsons from going out on the scouting patrol this particular day - a plot
devise that usually means things will go wrong. As the younger man begin their
trek they discuss things giving us an insight into the younger point of view.
The scenery as they move along is a mix of broken abandoned buildings, sometimes
littered with a downed jet fighter and everything overgrown with years of vines
and other vegetation. As always they look for anything that can be useful in any
way be it food, hardware, clothing or even toys. What they do not expect is
finding the carcass of a very large bear, half-eaten. What killed it? How long
ago? Are they in danger even now? This first issue is structured to bring new
readers up to speed with the new status quo. It accomplishes that rather nicely
not only with narrative and dialogue but with some very detailed art. However
the coloring is rather bland with too many earth tones. Once the monsters
appear, and they do finally show up, the action becomes intense for the humans
and not all of them survive. Well, I was right about grandfather's foreboding.
So moving forward, now that the monsters are back, we need to know what forms
they will take and if the humans can survive yet another monster war. The ones
that do appear are pretty cool, if you like that stuff and the big guy makes it
by the last page. If you have been curious about this line of comics this would
be a good issue to sample.


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correct answers will be assigned a number and a roll of the dice will determine
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if more than one answer could be correct. Submit only one answer per Email
please but guess as often as you like.

Last blog's trivia question:
What wrestler did SPIDER-MAN defeat in Amazing Fantasy 15?

It was Crusher Hogan! The winner by the dice is Erin O'Connor.

In what Justice League related title did the WONDER TWINS, Zan and Jayna, enter
DC continuity?

Here is your no prize question:
Which fast food chain has the most stores worldwide with a total of 42,298?

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.