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Friday, November 7, 2014

Comic Reviews 11/7/14

David LeBlanc was the Editor of the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine for
over ten years. He is a life-long fan of comics and moderated online comic book
forums long before the Internet became the place to be. David works part-time at
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, the Eisner-winning comic store in Worcester, MA.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are happening at That's Entertainment and the company
newsletter which hosts this column and sponsors the trivia contest. As a result
this will be the last column of reviews, at least for the foreseeable future. It
has been fun sharing my thoughts on the hobby we all share and the good, the bad
and the ugly among the offerings on the shelves. I hope they have been some help
to the readers who bother to check out this column in deciding what to at least
pick off the shelf and maybe buy. I am grateful for the few among you who took
the time to either Email your comments or mention the column to me at the store
on your Saturday visits. I will still be there each week from 10 to 2 on
Saturday so do not hesitate to ask me in person about comics I think are worth
reading. As far as the trivia contest goes there is one more contest at the end
of this column. The prize will be awarded as usual in the form of a $10 credit
if anyone gets the correct answer by Friday November 14. Correct answers to the
no prize will all get a no prize immediately. If you don't get either question
right and want to know the answers send me an email and I will fill you in.
Thanks for taking the time to read the reviews and, if you will, do me a favor.
Give a kid a comic!

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: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED ANNUAL
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part 1
Title Arc: The Infinitus Saga
Publisher: DC
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Neil Edwards
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Dezi Sienty & Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Andrew Robinson
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero



Big company Annuals are generally of three types these days. They can be
standalone issues with one or more stories about the main characters. They can
be one of several other annuals tied together with a central theme or event arc.
Or they can be a chapter in the ongoing continuity of the regular series. This
is the latter type so regular readers of JLU will want to pick this one up to
stay current. New readers won't be lost though because this issue is the first
issue of a new arc and it guest stars the Legion of Super Heroes. This version
of the League is only six issues old (1-5 plus a zero issue) that has now
established the lineup. They are led by J'onn J'onz, the Martian Manhunter. The
field team leader is Green Arrow. Others in the roster include Star Girl, Super
Girl, Animal Man, Adam Strange and his lady Alanna Strange and newcomer created
for the series the Canadian hero Equinox who is a magic based elemental. What
you need to know about the first arc is that the League got involved with the
people of Rann who were breeding an alien with multiple DNA components. They
shut down the project but the child was born and has since shown rapid aging. He
is Ultra and has tremendous potential power. The Manhunter took him under his
wing using his telepathy to keep Ultra from acting out in his youth. They are
back on Earth with Equinox and Alanna Strange. Adam is stranded on Rann due to a
problem with the zeta beam and the rest are in space looking for Hawkman who
died in battle. They received a transmission from his old Justice League
transmitter. As the story begins Mon El of the Legion of Super Heroes appears on
Earth and tells J'onn and the others that to save the future Ultra must die. We
have the obligatory hero fighting hero scene until Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl and
Saturn Girl also show up and cooler heads prevail. At this point we get the
narrative as to what eventually Ultra will become and the devastating effect he
will have in the future. Brainiac proposes they work together to stop these
future events from happening, at least until the rest of the legionnaires
arrive. To complicate things Adam and Alanna are periodically trading places
between Earth and Rann due to that malfunction. Meanwhile the away team is
following leads to find Hawkman's body. Through the course of their adventure we
get more insight into the team dynamic. There is a conflict between Super Girl
and Green Arrow over his leadership of the team, which she seems to ignore when
she feels like it. Also Animal Man emerges as the comic relief in the story as
he ponders how to refer to his teammates with nicknames other than their hero
names. But they see plenty of action all manipulated by the mastermind behind
everything that has been going on, the alien terrorist Byth. This story leaves
us a couple of cliff hangers that lead directly into issue 6 of the ongoing
title. It is easy to follow for new readers who get a little extra story to get
familiar with the group. The art is very well done, that is sometimes hard for
an artist with so many characters and locations to deal with. This series has
been growing on me since it started and the inclusion of the Legion of Super
Heroes is welcome by this long time fan. You can do worse than this if you want
to try another title you have not been following.

Title: MARVEL 75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: James Robinson, Bruce Timm, Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, Tom Defalco
and Len Wein
Artists: Chris Samnee, Jordie Bellaire, Dave Stewart, Michael Gaydos, Matt
Hollingsworth, Stan Goldberg, Scott Hanna, Paul Gulacy, Rain Beredo and others.
Letters: Cory Petit, Ferran DelGado, Joe Caramagna, Clayton Cowles & Manny
Mederos
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero


This is a really cool comic for any devote marvel fan and all comic fans in
general. Not only does it have some tribute stories from well-known and
respected creators but the filer material is lots of fun as well. There are five
stories in all that are worth the cover price alone.

"Anniversary" by James Robinson is a riff on the old question "Where were you
when..." In this case Ben Urich of the Daily Bugle asks, "Where were you when the
Fantastic Four first came to be?" While bits of his essay are sprinkled through
the panels the art itself answers the question by showing other key figures of
the Marvel Universe in their daily lives at that time. Don Blake in his office
with Jane, Tony Stark in a casino, Bruce Banner and Betty on a picnic in a
dessert, peter Parker showing Uncle Ben some pictures he took of Aunt May,
Captain America is floating in a block of ice and so on. Every now and then
there is a panel of the FF as they rocket into space, get bombarded with cosmic
rays, land and begin to show the effects and so on. It is a real nifty piece
that brings back a lot of memories in a unique way.

"Captain America Foils the Traitors Revenge" by Stan Lee with art by Bruce Timm
and colored by Dave Stewart is a unique piece. It was originally a story Stan
wrote in 1941 - his very first story for Marvel. Originally it was a two-page
text story that ran in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3. For the anniversary Stan
turned it into a script for Bruce to adapt to a full comic story. It is of
course set during the war at the camp where Steve and Bucky are stationed. The
plot has a man being dishonorably discharged for lying. When he returns at night
with some thugs to get revenge on the colonel it is up to Cap and Bucky to save
the day. It is classic Cap and Timm gives it the right look for a golden age
story.

"Alias" by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos returns them to their famous
creation that was the first Marvel MAX comic. The protagonist is of course
Jessica Jones. At this point in her life she and Luke Cage are raising their
baby and she is semi-retired from the detective work. However, a very old woman
compels her to help her find a man she met her decades ago when the original
Human Torch made his debut. He was a fireman who saved her in the aftermath of
that episode and she has failed for years to find him. The crux of the story is
the unique way in which Jessica accomplishes the mission and the touching scene
at the end. It is great to see these creators back on what was a ground breaking
series at the time. It is worth your while to seek out the back issues or trades
of ALIAS.

"That Parker Boy" is written by Tom Defalco. It is a somewhat typical Spider-man
story from his early days. It sets up peter as too busy being Spider-man to
spend time with his friends as promised. Try as he may something always comes up
to take him away. While he ends up getting the bad guys he may lose his friends.
It is a story that harkens back to the simple but relevant stories of an earlier
time. The art is a bit cartoonish but it is executed superbly.

"Walkabout" is a Wolverine story told by none other than Len Wein. A "walkabout"
is a term used by the Australian aborigines to describe wandering through the
outback to see what nature presents. In Logan's case the dreamtime presents him
with visions of The Hulk, the professor and the X-Men, a giant lizard and even
memories of the Weapon X project. They are all visions but the final scene
brings someone very real, someone he can really sink his claws into. This is a
very different story than the rest and the art is some of the best in the book
done by the great Paul Gulacy. Marvel would have been remiss not to include
Wolverine in its tribute comic.

I mentioned the filler material. What it consists of is several mock covers of
"Marvel Comics We Never Made" written by Bendis and drawn by various artists.
There is a fake Squirrel Girl comic showing her marriage to a Raccoon, a MAX
version of Power Pack, The Portland Avengers with some really funny characters
and more. I think my favorite is LITIGIOUS TALES starring Groot, Attorney at
law. It is all in good fun and rounds out the issue nicely.


Title: AXIS REVOLUTIONS
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Axis Tie-In
Publisher: Marvel
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Ken Lashley & Paul Mounts
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Super Hero







This tie has two stories exploring the effects of the AXIS event on various
characters.

"With Great Hate" is by Dennis Hopeless with art by Ken Lashley. So as a result
of the events in AXIS normal people, and not so normal people, have been turned
into opposites of their normal personality.  Normally peaceful people are now
filled with rage about anything and anybody. Spider-Man is spending his time
trying to keeping people from smashing things and hurting other people. Then he
meets a young boy who is convinced that all this violence about minor things is
justified. So Spidey decides to convince the kid that no one deserves a beating
regardless of the circumstances. He shows the kid one example after another
until he hits on something that resonates with him. But running through the
whole thing is the reader wondering why Peter parker has not been affected like
everyone else. The answer is compelling. It is a moralistic story that is ably
drawn and colored.

"Hoary Hosts of Hate" is written by Simon Spurrier with art by Tan Eng Huat and
Craig Yeung. This one has a comic element to it. As I said most people have been
filled with hate by now and not immune is Doctor Strange. However, he is able to
restrain his emotion. He has not gotten to the point of physical violence but he
spouts a lot of rage while working desperately with his assistant Wong to solve
the problem because the noise from all the violence is giving him a headache. He
decides to seek out an individual that help him with the task - a professor who
is a rational humanist, a dying woman who lost everything but blames no one and
is content, the innocence of young children not old enough to know hate and so
on. Everything he tries is a dead end until he realizes the one person who has
not exhibited any hate has been revealed to him all along, or so he thinks. 
This is really a delightful tale. Seeing Dr. Strange so out of character like
this is very funny as is the crazy incantation filled dialogue. Frankly it is
the better story of the two.

If you like to get tie-in comic to major events than this is not a bad one. But
you really don't need it to follow the main story.


Title: AXIS: CARNAGE
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Axis Tie-In
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Rick Spears
Artist: German Peralta
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Super Villain (?)


This tie-in follows Carnage in his new state of mind following the Axis effect.
He was one of the most violent and blood thirsty characters until that happened.
What was once a serial killer symbiote-suited bad guy now is someone who wants
to be a hero. So as we begin the series we get the narrative from his point of
view. Being bad was simple - there were no rules and he was good at killing
people. Now he knows he has been changed and he wants to be a hero. That means
he has to follow classic good guy rules. The prime directive is of course no
killing. Of course it is going to take him a little time and practice to get it
right. When he happens on what appears to be a mugging he gets a little over-
enthused in putting down the bad guy and ends up doing some serious bodily harm.
But there is a larger story in the main plot as a new super villain arises
called the Sineater who is killing people and then absorbing the essence of
their tainted souls - supposedly eating their sins. He begins with a local TV
anchorman and then goes after his female co-anchor. That is where Carnage comes
in to save the day. The trouble is trying to figure out if being saved from a
homicidal maniac with supernatural powers is better than being saved by Carnage.
While the story seems somewhat comical on the surface it is really a fascinating
story with a very different take on what it takes to be a hero. I actually
enjoyed this one and I am not a fan of this type of character.  IF I can find
value in it maybe you can too.

                                    *****
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 what comic feature did the cats Stan and Ollie hang out?

"Innocent Bystander" by Gary Sassaman, a stand-alone and then later a feature in
GEEKSVILLE, was the answer. The winner is Erin O'Connor.

Here is your no prize question:
What is the name of the Baltimore Ravens mascot?

An appropriate question for Halloween!  The answer is the bird was named after
the famed poet (Edgar Allen) POE.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
The creator of the systolic blood pressure test used in an attempt to detect
deception, which became one component of the modern polygraph, also created a
comic book super hero. Who was it?


Here is you no prize question:
What town changed its name in 2005 to get free TV?

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, October 31, 2014

Comic Reviews - 10/31/14


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.

Our reviews turn to the darker side of comics as Halloween is upon us once
again. Some involve super heroes and villains while others are more for mature
horror comics fans.

Title: DEATHSTROKE
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Gods of War
Publisher: DC
Creators: Deathstroke created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain




Deathstroke has been around the DC Universe for a long time. In the NEW 52 he
has a prominent role in the FUTURES END weekly series. But that is set 5 years
from now. This comic catches up with Deathstroke in the present. Slade Wilson is
basically a mercenary/assassin who is the best at what he does. (Yeah I borrowed
that line from Marvel!) Like a certain Canuck he also has a fantastic healing
ability making him nearly unstoppable.  This is a good starting issue because
you start clean with a brief introduction to Slade, his middle man Tiggs who
sets up his jobs and some of his methods of operation. His latest job will take
him to Russia. Another thing you need to know about Slade is that he has
contacts all over the world. Some of them are of like mind when it comes to the
kind of work he does and are willing to work with him for their cut or other
reasons. One such comrade is Angelica who knows everything about Moscow and what
goes on there. She will help him find the man he needs to kill and get Slade out
quickly. That is the plan anyway. But that wouldn't be much of a story if it was
so easy. Sure enough someone knows Slade is in town and sets a trap that he does
not see coming. That is only the beginning of lots of action, near mortal wounds
and a foe who himself seems unkillable. But the real crux of the story is the
person Slade will turn to as a last resort. Their interaction is just the
opening glimpse at a mystery that will start with the shocking ending and lead
to a secret past.  While a guy who goes around killing people for a living is
not someone to root for I can still get into the whole concept that this is what
he does and sometimes it is not just the good guys who want to take him down.
Tony provides a solid script and terrific pencils. The rest of the team polishes
it off in fine fashion. This is a teen+ book for the violence and some gore. It
is good action and adventure that I found very entertaining.

Title: ARKHAM MANOR
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: A Home for the Criminally Insane
Publisher: DC
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





There is a notation at the start of this comic that events take place after
BATMAN ETERNAL #30. Frankly with so many Batman titles out there I don't know
how anyone can keep his continuity straight. But I digress... Not being a reader
of BATMAN ETERNAL this story does not mess up anything for me. What it does is
rapidly bring me up to speed on current (or maybe soon to be) continuity as far
as Batman goes. So if you are not caught up on all your B.E. issues you should
probably read through #30 or at least skip this review as it may contain
spoilers. With that out of the way here is the new status quo in Gotham.
Somewhere in one or more of the Bat-books Arkham Asylum fell - it was destroyed.
At first the criminally insane were kept in a stadium. The citizens and
politicians are up in arms over the situation. Then the mayor arrives at a
solution. The city takes over Wayne Manor by eminent domain and refits it to
become the new asylum, Arkham Manor. Bruce does not like it but he has resigned
himself to the fact that it is a reasonable solution for the city and for the
patients who need the care. He even rationalizes that he has become too
emotionally attached to the house. So the cave has been permanently sealed off
and with the few personal possessions they chose to keep Bruce and Alfred now
live in an apartment. Well if it was just a new way of doing business the book
wouldn't be called Arkham Manor. Bruce is not entirely free from the Manor yet.
It seems there has already been a murder and Batman has been notified - only
this time he will go in the front door. This is an interesting twist on things.
Part of the storytelling technique involves the images Bruce has walking through
the Manor. He sees old scenes from his life there at various ages. But of course
his mind is on the task at hand mostly. There is more of a mystery with yet
another body and a strange new inmate with an interesting connection to it all,
if you catch the hint in the last panel. Appears to be an adjustment to the new
dynamic and then right into a new case for the world's greatest detective. On
the other side of the creative team I was not too impressed with the art. It is
passible but the characters at times are raggedly drawn as if in caricature. I
always try to point out that this is a personal assessment as to what appeals to
my eye. Others may like it more. Overall it is a decent beginning with promise.
Where it goes long term as a story and as a series will be the true judge of its
worth.

Title: GONERS
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Jacob Semahn & Jorge Corona
Writer: Jacob Semahn
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge





This is a story of a family who through the ages has stood as the first line of
defense against the evil things of the supernatural. They are the Latimer
family. The latest generation have turned it into a profitable business complete
with their own TV crew for live reality shots. This story is how it begins to
fall apart. The father and mother, Raleigh and Evelyn Latimer are at the latest
siting, the governor's mansion in King's Bluff, MA. While they are fighting the
Brotherhood of Anubis inside the local media is gathered outside and gets the
story as it literally spills out the upstairs window. Evelyn clings for life
hanging off what is left of the balcony on live TV as her son and daughter watch
on the local station from home. Then the unthinkable happens - as Raleigh starts
to pull her up he is run through from behind by a rather large sword. It is a
fatal blow and Evelyn falls to her death as he loses his grip. Seventeen year
old Zoe and twelve year old Josiah have just witnessed the death of their
parents but that is not the immediate concern. With the help of the family
retainer, Frank, they barely escape an attack of demons on their own house. The
local police detective sees no coincidence here and soon he and Frank are trying
to figure out who is behind it all. They had better work quickly because even
the police station isn't safe from attack now that the Latimers are dead. This
is an average tale in the genre in my opinion. It is really appealing for the
art in my opinion. It shows good use of panel composition, and coloring in
particular. We have a somewhat typical plot where the newly orphaned kids are
likely to prove to be as invaluable to solving the mystery and defeating the bad
guys as the cops are. Still that does not make it bad, just average. You be the
judge.

Title: COLDER: THE BAD SEED
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Color Assistance: Eduardo Ferreyra
Letters: Nate Piekos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge



This story is also set in Massachusetts, this time in Boston. The lead character
is Declan Thomas who has a unique ability. Somehow he can ease the suffering of
the mentally ill just be touching them. A local homeless man babbling
incoherently is suddenly lucid, patients in the hospital that are seeing
monsters and demons are cured and anxious to go home. A side effect of this
talent is that each time he does it his body temperature drops, causing him to
constantly monitor his temperature. It also makes for some humorous banter with
his live-in girlfriend regarding fair warning before becoming amorous. So after
a few pages of seeing Declan do his thing we get the picture. This is not the
first series about the character but it is fair to say that this mini-series is
easy to follow without knowledge of any of the past history. The antagonist this
time around is a very strange looking man who apparently has fingers for teeth.
In fact in the first sequence he appears in he is watching various people on the
street as they have their phone conversations, or walk their dog, or flip the
bird to someone. He takes into account every person and every action and then
proceeds to walk through them cutting off their fingers and collecting them.
What is this all about? On the one hand we have a nice guy doing the right thing
in a normal serious relationship and on the other a seemingly psychotic maniac
slicing fingers off in broad daylight and getting away with it. The bulk of the
comic is focused on Declan and the various encounters with the people he is
trying to help. Ferreyra does a great job showing us the hallucinations the
mentally ill are having before Declan touches them. In fact the art throughout
the comic is terrific in setting the mood and depicting horror in various forms.
These two main characters will intersect eventually. The bad guy's name is
Swivel and he has definite plans for Declan. What they are and why will unfold
as the story goes forward. This one grows on you as you turn each page from the
appeal of Declan, his girlfriend and their circle of friends to the horror of
Swivel and his actions. This one could easily get you hooked if you give it a
try.

Title: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Drew Rausch
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy/Horror - Movie sequel







Full disclosure, I only saw the movie EDWARD SCISSORHANDS once when it came out
in 1990. I have not seen it since. After reading this sequel, set decades later,
I was a bit at a loss for the meaning behind what I had read, and did not
understand parts of it. Others who are fans of the movie and have seen it more
recently would naturally have a different experience. In a nutshell, and it is
really not explained in this comic, Edward is an artificial person whose
inventor gave him scissors for hands and then died before he could give him real
hands. He lived as a recluse until discovered by a family who took him in and
tried to integrate him into their life and society. He was mostly shunned by
others, or used by them for their own ends resulting in more misunderstandings
and tragedy in his life. He fell in love with the daughter, Kim, who had a
jealous boyfriend. That triangle eventually led to the boyfriend's death and
Edward once again alone in his castle on the hill. Kim protected his secret by
telling the others that Edward had died so that the world would not bother him
anymore. One of the key elements of the original story is told in flashback in
later years as Kim explained the story of Edward to her granddaughter. She
explains that the snow in the town is really coming from Edward as he sculpts
angelic statues of Kim out of ice high on the hill. That theme is carried
forward into this sequel in the opening scene as Edward once again carves his
tribute to his now dead love decades later. Meg, the granddaughter in the story,
is grown now and is about to see for herself if Edward is still alive.
Meanwhile, because he is an artificial person, Edward has not aged at all and
has been content reading the daily newspapers as his only contact with the
outside world. He has also had plenty of time to explore the huge mansion and
has found a secret about his inventor. He had made an earlier unfinished attempt
at creating a person, in the form of a young lad. Exploring the castle he finds
that prototype and begins the process of trying to connect to his younger
"brother." So there are two plots going on here. Meg has always been curious
about her grandmother's story though her mother refuses to talk about it. Meg
will find something that will give her the nerve to explore further, whether or
not her mother approves. Rausch contrasts the two plots skillfully by showing
the Edward sequences mostly indoors in black and white and a single or a few
bright colored objects on most pages. The Meg sequences are done in full color
and with much more light. As I said researching the basic plot of the movie put
more perspective on the plot of this comic though in retrospect it is really not
a bad effort. The art is certainly worthy of a look and the story has some
promise. It is not something I would heartily embrace but it is worth a look.

Title: AXIS: HOBGOBLIN
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero (?)






Right up front this comic comes with a warning to read AXIS #3 if you want to
know how Hobgoblin got to the point he is at as this story began. This is a tie
in the follows AXIS #3 so if you would rather get the bigger picture read that
first. Otherwise there be spoilers here. So Roderick Kingsley is the Hobgoblin,
a fashion mogul billionaire turned super villain. Among other things in the past
he created a business that lease out the likenesses of underused super villains.
But now he has flipped and is doing the same for people who want to be heroes.
Of course it is not an altruistic venture. It is a solid business model that is
making him lots of money. A good part of the story is taken up with Roderick
giving his spiel to the willing crowd. It's all about brands and franchising and
buying in to the next phase. Frankly this comic is like watching an infomercial
or a how to get rich speaker. But all is not going to be easy for Hobgoblin very
soon. You see the Goblin King is still around and still a villain hunting for
Hobgoblin. But after repeated failure by his minions he suddenly realizes who
the one person is that can bring his enemy down. This is not what I expected and
frankly I was kind of bored with the first two thirds of the book. It is
interesting what Roderick is doing but can it carry a larger story? The element
of the Goblin King at the end adds to the plot and the person he has in mind
could be a great catalyst for a more interesting story. But I am not invested in
these characters and do not really care what happens. I will say the art is very
impressive. The detail and finished work including some really good coloring
make it a very nice visual piece. If you are into it you will enjoy it.

                                    *****
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:
Famous first words of which character?

"Before I leave for the evening, sir, I thought you might like some freshly
brewed coffee"


Most guessed Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler but it was Jarvis, of the Avenger's
mansion, that uttered those words in his debut.

Here was your no prize question:
Who appeared on the cover of TV Guide the most times?


The first ever TV Guide was graced by none other than Lucille Ball (whose image
was largely overwhelmed by that of her child). She went on to achieve the most
covers ever in TV Guide history, showing up a whopping 39 times. No matter what
the era, hers was always a face that would sell. Why? Well because if you ever
uttered the phrase "I Love Lucy," you weren't alone.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:

In what comic feature did the cats Stan and Ollie hang out?


Here is your no prize question:

What is the name of the Baltimore Ravens mascot?


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, October 24, 2014

Comic Reviews 10/24/14


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 TWILIGHT ZONE SPECIAL: LOST TALES
Issue Number: One-Shot
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Rod Serling
Writer: Mark Rahner
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artists: Roberto Castro with Valentina Pinto
Price (USD): $7.99 (48 pages)
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Unexplained






This volume is a group of three stand-alone stories by Mark Rahner with various
artists.

"Hangnail on a Monkey's Paw: is illustrated by Randy Valiente and colored by
Viviane Xouza. This is a tale of revenge that is sought through the magic of a
monkey's paw. But we all know that magic always come with a price. Khalid is an
innocent who during one of the various conflicts in the Mideast or perhaps
Afghanistan was abducted and tortured at a CIA black site. Now he is out to get
the man he views ultimately responsible, former Vice President Butler. Butler is
an aging man who probably has little time left to live anyway. But Khalid has a
plan to abduct him and bring him to the Netherlands to stand trial for war
crimes. His way around Butler's fragile state is to use the monkey's paw to wish
Butler will never die. He manages to grab Butler while he is alone and the plan
is to get him to a cargo ship to secretly get him out of the country. He see
this as fulfilling justice and karma. But the plan goes a little astray and in
the end Khalid will be served a measure of karma as well. Though it is a simple
story it moves along nicely and the ending is unexpected, as a good Twilight
zone story should be. The art is pretty decent with the right touches to
emphasize emotion in the characters and action when it is needed.

"Cold Calculation" is illustrated by Edu Menna with greytones by Sandra Molina.
The ending of this one is not unpredictable if you are a fan of the old TV
series. It begins on a space ship. The crew is on a desperate mission to find a
new home since going back is not an option, they are nearly out of fuel. If they
can find a suitable planet they have the means to terraform it to their needs.
They left a planet that was slowly freezing over. As they approach what appears
to be a mostly viable planet with good atmosphere and water to sustain them. The
only hitch is this one is too cold as well. They have the technology to boost
the temperature of the planet to suit their needs. As they begin to prepare the
equipment the science officer relays that there are some life forms on the
planet - nothing advanced. Raising the temperature will mean some will die but
that is acceptable to the captain. Not such to the navigator. Thus begins a
moral argument right out of Star Trek. Does the survival of their own species
waiting to hear word the ship has found a new home outweigh the fate of some of
the indigenous life? This becomes a heated argument with a pointless outcome
when they get a closer look at the planet and its inhabitants. There is really a
double twist to the ending part of which you could easily guess. It is an
entertaining story and the art is very appealing.

"It's All in How You Frame It" us illustrated by Rod Rodolfo with color by Marco
Lesko. It is the story of Bobby Scott, a rising mogul in the high tech industry.
He has already made millions, constructing a new skyscraper headquarters but is
also a bit of a loner. The story hinges around a new prototype set of glasses
that he hopes will be his next big success. He is the first to try them out and
to his surprise he sees more than expected. When he looks at the assistant who
worked on it he can see an aura around her. To test it further he wanders around
the city a little. Each person has a uniquely colored aura. When he witnesses a
man dying he can actually see his spirit leaving his body. He realizes he can
see people's souls and begins to judge them in work and public interaction based
on what he sees. Needless to say this is not going to end well for Bobby. I like
the premise and I think the plot moves along logically with a twist ending that
is also very logical. The art is fine and the coloring is the key aspect of this
story.  The entire volume was enjoyable.

Title: ORIGINAL SIN ANNUAL
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Silent War of Woodrow McCord
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Enis Cisic
Colors: Chris Chuckry
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos & Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero






One of the main concepts out of the ORIGINAL SIN series is the idea of the "man
on the Wall." He is the person burdened with the safety of the planet - charged
with stopping all threats before they get to Earth. Kill before they kill us.
The revelation that Nick Fury has been that man for a long time was a big part
of the story and now Bucky Barnes has taken his place. This annual answers the
question about who came before Nick Fury in the job. The framing sequence begins
in 1958 as Fury and Howard Stark have witnessed the death of Woodrow McCord
after thwarting the attempted invasion by the Tribellians. Sometime later Fury
agrees to take on the job under one condition, that he learns more about the man
he is replacing.  And so this story becomes the story of Woodrow McCord. It
starts in backwoods USA as the young Woodrow is nearly captured by the alien
Entari who have already captured his brother and mother. He is only saved at the
last minute by the current Man on the Wall, Stafford. Given the time frame
Stafford's story goes back to the turn of the century when he was part of a
group of Men on the Wall. They were strictly defensive, stopped threats as they
appeared. Now he is alone and he takes in McCord as his apprentice. It is all in
preparation for a change in tactics. Stafford's plan is to take the fight to
space - move the wall as it were. This will be McCord's baptism of fire and the
experience will harden him to become what he needs to be. It is an interesting
story if somewhat predictable. As far as it being necessary reading I would say
you could pass it up and not miss much. However, if you are enthralled by the
whole concept than this will fill in the gaps nicely.

Title: DEADPOOL'S ART OF WAR
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Scott Koblish
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Humor






I like to pick up a Deadpool comic every now and then for shear entertainment. I
like the character and the stories usually have a good mix of humor and
adventure. Quite often they take liberties with facts, time frame or set
continuity but you have to expect that when the lead character is off his
rocker. Case in point is the opening sequence where Deadpool actually kills the
famous General Sun Tzu Wu, author of the centuries old ART OF WAR. How this is
possible should not be pondered or you will get brain freeze. Anyway, now
Deadpool has the original manuscripts and a grand plan to make millions by
applying them to business practices and publishing "how to" books based on its
principles. Of course the publisher points out the book has been a best-seller
for centuries and unless he has a new angle on it she's not interested. His
pitch is the whole world is at war and the only way for anyone to survive is to
read Deadpool's book. Of course the world is not at war, but the day is young.
So first he has to come up with a plan to send the world spiraling into war. He
finally hits on the idea of using the gods because they always make a mess of
the world. What better god to do that than Loki? The funniest sequence of the
book is Deadpool researching Loki these days and finding a youngster and then a
woman, an obvious swipe at other books featuring the character. Before the book
is over he will be working with the classic Loki starting the war he wants.  As
I said the stories are improbable and a bit silly but they are very
entertaining. With Peter David on the script the dialogue is all it should be.
The art is unique and changes a bit in style depending on the circumstance. But
that works well given the material. This is only the first chapter but it shows
a lot of promise to be a fun romp. It is what I was looking for. If you want the
diversion from the usual fare look no further than this title.

Title: FACE VALUE COMICS
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Sky's the Limit
Publisher: Autism at Face Value
Creators: David and Angela Kot
Artist: Sky Owens
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Steampunk/Autism Awareness
ALL AGES




As noted above this comic is dedicated to autism awareness. The company behind
it, Autism at Face Value, studies facial expressions as one way to improve
nonverbal communications. They help children with autism to spot emotional
expression using art. By recognizing emotion through facial expressions and body
language they will better cope with others around them. The comic also hopefully
help demystify Autism Spectrum Disorder to the public. The first few pages of
the book help introduce us to the world of 2072. At some point in the near
future world leaders banded together, formed peace agreements, found new fuels
and medicines and strove to end suffering. Steam powered technologies became
available to masses and world hunger was reduced through vegetarian diets. (?)
Extra-terrestrial visitors came and were welcomed. Many peace loving species
came to share the new utopia. When the Earth was attacked by hostile aliens the
winged space birds, the Shimmer, fought alongside the Earth hero the Zephyr.
Meanwhile the governments encouraged the citizens to maintain their typical
lives. And so we tune in on a middle school where the typical children are
anything but ordinary. As the teacher runs down the attendance we meet one such
class. The main character is Michael Eckman. He is an autistic boy who also has
mechanical sleeves to aid his weak arms. He also has a bio-droid aide with him,
Tess. She helps him cope with situations and others around him to understand
Michael and themselves. She is also our narrator and provides editorial lessons
and guidance to seek more information online. The classroom has a mix of
characters. The shy brute Frank, the outwardly intelligent and compassionate
Cass, the boisterous alien Duchenne, the constantly angry Eduardo and the
seeming self-absorbed and smug girl in the wheel chair Claudia are all part of
the story. There is a theme running through the book pointing to words to live
by - feel safe, feel wanted and you'll feel successful. To set up and adventure
for this group Claudia informs them that an airship has crashed near her house.
She suggest they explore it and others chime in they could write a report for
extra credit, and take pictures. But it is Michael who emerges as their leader
who forms a simple plan, assigns duties and warns the others to stay in a group
and think about extra credit. Along the way we get to know more about the
characters. While the trip does not turn out to be an amazing adventure it
points to a much more involved story coming in the next chapter. But one of the
outcomes of the whole day is that Michael feels wanted, the others accept him
for who he is, and not how others label him. He remembered the lesson his
parents taught him and he does indeed feel successful. It is a feel good story
that jumps around a bit but moves forward in a good pace. The alien war and the
super hero Zephyr are in the background now but may play a part in the future,
considering one of the classmates communicates with the Shimmer in her head. The
art is spectacular with great definition, detail and superb coloring. Since the
proceeds go to such a worthy cause I recommend you give it a try.

Title: SLEEPY HOLLOW
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror - TV Adaptation






I am not a fan of the TV show this comic is based on. I watched the first couple
episodes and decided not to continue. Basically, Ichabod Crane, the character
from the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow", has been transported to the present. He has
been befriended by a local police detective Abbie and together they fight
supernatural forces that seem to be cropping up all over this little New York
town. This particular story involves an ancient burial ground for witches. But
we don't learn that until late in the story. It starts with a blind old woman
who molds pottery. One day the kiln flares up and suddenly she can see again.
Elsewhere in a park a young girl Hannah lays on the grass reading a book when
her brother chases his radio controlled car into the street right into the path
of an oncoming truck. Suddenly Hannah jumps up and runs and with one hand stops
the truck making it flip over the both of them in a large crash. There is a hint
of what cause this sudden power but Abbie won't discover that until later. When
she and Crane go to investigate Hannah goes into a rage when the EMTs want to
check her and her brother. Only a shock from a tazer is able to subdue her and
return her to normal and that gives the clue that something was controlling her.
The detective work on the mystery is a mix of Hannah's internet searches and
Crane's poring over ancient tomes along with his eidetic memory. They figure out
what is behind all this and where the next incident may occur. It is a race
against time to thwart a larger tragedy and end the incidents altogether. It is
a worthwhile story as far as the plot goes. Subtle clues are given to the reader
to expect part of it and when the mystery is unveiled the action takes over.
Naturally it is Crane's clever use of a trick he learned from Ben Franklin that
saves the day. The characters are fun to follow. Bennett plays of Crane's man
out of time condition to add humor from time to time in a non-intrusive fashion.
Thus it is a horror book but not heavy handed like some. The art team does a
decent job bringing it all together so this one gets a favorable rating.

Back-up story: "Movie Night" by Noelle Stevenson

To add a lighter tale as filler Noelle Stevenson tells a tale of what movie
night is with Crane and Abbie. He continually wants to watch the Christmas movie
ELF while Abbie insists on a different genre for a change, a slasher film called
"Arken-Saw Massacre IV". A turn of events will make her reassess her choice. It
is only two pages put tells a complete story on a light note while sticking to
the main theme of the two fighting supernatural forces.

Title: THE OCTOBER FACTION
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creators: Steve Niles & Damien Worm
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Damien Worm
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge






When you want to get into more traditional dark horror stories you can count on
Steve Niles to deliver one. But he usually works his way up to the real scary
stuff. The lead character is a professor who teaches a class about monsters
promising the class that by the end they will know the answers to if monsters
exist and why. In reality Frederick is a retired monster hunter. He does not
have to work but enjoys it. The story begins with a visit from his old partner
who is in town on an assignment. It affords us the chance to learn of
Frederick's past adventures as the two reminisce about old times. But his friend
also has to tell Frederick that he saw his wife with another man. Frederick is
not surprised and reveals they barely see each other anymore. All this is just
background for now. The real plot involves two high school kids, a boy and his
sister with secret ties to the supernatural. Geoff is bullied for perhaps being
gay by the class jock jerk Phil. But Geoff quickly turns the tables by telling
Phil he knows he lied about the accident that killed his three friends and cost
him a college scholarship. How he knows gives us a hint that Geoff has a unique
talent. His sister, Vivian, is likewise gifted. When the local in crowd girls
taunt her rather than give it back she just sees into the future at how
overweight and ugly they will become. There is a reason why these two a shunned
by the self-important crowd. They both live in an old house that from the
outside looks like a stereotypical haunted house. They are Frederick's kids.
They have a big secret they are hiding that will no doubt play into the gist of
the comic very soon. As I said Niles works up the real scary stuff slowly. This
first issue establishes the fact that vampires and other supernatural beings
actually exist, something that the main character fought very successfully in
the past. Is it because of his past profession or in spite of it that his kids
are dabbling in things they shouldn't?  We will find out eventually but for now
the table is set for more thrilling things to come. Damien Worm has a very moody
painted style that works well in this genre. While parts of it are dark he uses
shadow and light very effectively to convey the mood called for in the script.
This one has promise to be an entertaining story if you are a fan of the genre.

                                    *****
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 card game are Aunt May and Uncle Ben playing when the intruder shows up in
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN?

The coffee table has what is clearly a deck of cards in mid game and a cribbage
board used for keeping score in that wonderful old card game. Gary Katzoff is
the winner by the dice.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
Famous first words of which character?

"Before I leave for the evening, sir, I thought you might like some freshly
brewed coffee"

Here is your no prize question:

Who appeared on the cover of TV Guide the most times?


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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Comic Reviews 10/20/14

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: WYTCHES
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Clem Robins
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge





This opening issue has two plots that are tied together by a similar occurrence.
The first and shortest takes place in 1919. A woman is trapped inside what
appears to be a hollow tree. She is injure on one ear and her nose looks like it
has been sliced off. She is calling to her young son to help get her out. She is
frantic saying, "They're coming." All Timothy wants to know is why she is in
there. She has an answer that does not explain much but it does help Timothy
decide what to do. The other plot is set in the present. Perhaps in the same
town as the earlier one. A teenage girl, Sail, is heading off to her first day
of school. The discussion with her dad starts off with a whimsical game they
play using imaginary characters to tell a story but eventually she gets around
to her fear for that day. What if the other kids already know about her?  There
is a secret from her past that only she and her family know the full details
about. That incident is revealed later in the book. Sail had been tormented by a
by a bully for a long time. As she is confronted in the woods things escalate
but Sail has unexpected help. As a result of what happened she has a reputation
that has followed her and her family even to a new town. The supernatural
element is involved in both plots but the reasons behind it all are still
clouded in mystery. Strange things are going on already - like the deer that
wandered into their house somehow. Snyder has begun his story with
characterization of the main players and lots of questions about what is going
on around them and why. It has something to do with a pledge in both cases and
of course there is the title of the book that hints at more. The art is
captivating and when the plot calls for it downright jarring. It is intriguing
enough to keep following for now. Knowing Snyder there is a big payoff coming.

Title: CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Something Wicked
Title Arc: The Crucible
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Robert Hack
Letters: Jack Morelli
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural Fantasy
Teen +





If you have followed AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE you know the whole zombie plague
began as a result of Sabrina the teenage witch helping out Jughead by bringing
his beloved dog back from the dead. She was punished for that but this story
takes place much earlier than that. In fact it is Sabrina's origin story, at
least in this particular continuity. It begins she was only a year old. She was
the product of a forbidden marriage. Her father was a warlock and her mother a
human. It was time for the witches to take the daughter and raise her. It was
always inevitable and so was the ruination of the marriage, though not in a
normal way. Sabrina was raised by her father and his two sisters Aunts Zelda and
Hilda. When she was six he disappeared and so her aunts took over entirely. They
got Sabrina her own familiar, Salem the talking cat. As time went on the other
kids her age began to tease her when they found out she was a half breed and so
they all moved to Greendale, to another coven where Sabrina could have a fresh
start. These are the familiar characters from the familiar TV show, even cousin
Ambrose shows up. Sabrina makes new friends, even has her first crush. But this
is not a situation comedy. It is more light than dark but there are parts at the
beginning and end that remind us that this is not the normal Archie Universe.
Anything can happen and since this is basically a book about witches those
things could get wicked and scary. The last two pages remind us of that. As if
to draw a counterpoint to that ending we have a backup story by George Gladir
and Archie Comics legend Dan DeCarlo. It is a lighter look at the more classis
Sabrina, a sort of primer on her life in Greendale. She hides the fact that she
is a witch and creates a lot of mischief. It is a good filler piece and the art
is traditional Archie look. The art in the main story is not. It has lesser
defined lines relying on the painted colors for definition. It is not the most
attractive style in my opinion. If they wanted a sharp contrast from the
traditional Archie style they found it. It is not distracting from the story but
it is not as appealing as the art in most comics I read. Overall the book is a
solid and the plot carries through nicely. It should be an interesting take on a
familiar character in an alternate setting.

Title: WAR STORIES
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Castles in the Sky
Publisher: Avatar
Creator: Garth Ennis
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Matt Martin
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Kurt Hathaway
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: War Adventure
MATURE - Comics on the Edge




I generally enjoy most stories written by Garth Ennis. I find his war stories
particularly well done. When he gets away from the fantasy aspects of horror and
science fiction his ability to create realistic characters in true life settings
comes to the forefront. I was pleased to see this series starting because I knew
it would be worthwhile. A quick look at the art both on the cover and inside
shows that the folks at Avatar continue to maintain some of the best production
values in the industry. Matt Martin is a fine artist in every aspect. His
characters, attention to detail and flow from panel to panel makes a great story
come to life and Digikore keeps it grounded with spot on coloring. The first
issue is part one of a three issue arc. The story follows Sergeant Leonard
Wetmore from his journey across America to the ship in New York waiting to take
him to England and his first assignment of the war - as a gunner on a B-17
Flying Fortress. Garth goes into great detail about the ship, its specs and
history. He also eventually gets to a mission briefing and other details on how
the Army Air Corp is conducting their effort in this part of WWII. But this
story is also about characters and Leonard gets to see some of the countryside
before his first mission. Here he will meet a young boy and his widowed mom just
outside the base. It is clear this is not just thrown in for color. The boy has
a chip on his shoulder because his dad was killed in Sicily and he idolizes the
British soldiers. Because of that he also hates Yanks. The mother is grateful
for Leonard's effort to befriend the boy and it seems this sub plot will
continue to develop. I was expecting by the end to see the first action that
Leonard's plane and crew would get in to but Ennis threw a curve toward the end
of the issue. It is just another aspect of the reality of war and I won't spoil
it. This is a top notch comic that stands out and above other war comics in my
opinion. It is more about the people and the things they have to deal with day
to day more than the stress of battle, at least so far. I am enjoying it and you
will too.

Title: EVIL ERNIE
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Suicide King
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writers: Tim Seeley and Steve Seeley
Artist: Rafael Lanhellas
Colors: Mike Stefan
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge




I picked this one up on a whim, never having read an Evil Ernie comic. There is
a brief paragraph at the start to introduce the characters to new readers. Evil
Ernie was a man named Ernest Fairchild who died to save the world from the
vampire goddess named Purgatori. At some point he also assisted his beloved
Mistress Hel in her attempt to bring about Ragnarok, thus betraying his master
Lucifer.  Now he is back in Hell under constant torture for his transgression.
That is not much to go on considering the story starts very differently in the
real world as a good looking female comes into a remote bar in South Carolina
and proceeds to literally tear apart the few men hanging out there. She tells
one thug before he dies to give her regards to Mistress Hel. Her name is Carrion
Jane. As this issue develops we will see she is just one of a number of agents
of Mistress Hel slaughtering people on her behalf. They have lovely names like
Mr. Sloth, Wicked Walter, Skin & Bone and Deathlore. What her end game will be
is unclear. Meanwhile back in Hell Ernie is busy as Lucifer's assassin taking
care of two minor demons who are plotting to pick up the pieces after Hel
overthrows the Master. Lucifer offers Ernie a chance to be redeemed in his
master's eyes and get revenge by fighting against Hel and her new minions on
Earth. That is the basis of the plot. The first issue introduces these
characters as well as a female human Ernie will meet and take as his unwilling
ally when he once again returns to the world of the living to begin his task.
The most interesting aspect of Evil Ernie is this button that he wears - an evil
talking Smiley button. It is sort of a comic relief part of the story, at least
for me. This is not a bad book as far as the genre goes. The plot is clear on
who the bad guys are - basically they are all bad. So let's say who is on whose
side. Things are set in motion to begin a war. You get the feeling Evil Ernie
must be a real bad-ass if he is going up against five agents of Hel with only a
female human and a crazy button on his side. The art is impressive as well. It
has good flow, varied panel size and arrangement, and it is colored perfectly to
fit the various settings. I will not say I am a big fan of this type of story
but I found this comic well executed. Those who are into it will not be
disappointed.

Title: ROCHE LIMIT
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Vic Malhotra
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction






The title of the comic is also the name of a space colony that was the dream of
billionaire Langford Skaargred. He spent his life and fortune to get it done. He
envisioned it as a tent post in a grander plan. It was supposed to be an example
of what man can accomplish and point the way to further exploration. It is on
the planet Dispater, a dwarf planet with surface area the size of India. It has
an abundance of water underground but there is also a unique mineral that men in
their wisdom found a way to refine into a hallucinogenic drug called Recall. The
planet sits on the cusp of an energy anomaly in the Andromeda galaxy. The
anomaly behaves like a black hole without the crippling gravitational effects.
It consumes light and energy, but its gravity is not so dense that it collapses
everything in its radius as a black hole does. And it does not prevent light
from escaping. This is the setting for the story and the first scene involves
the anomaly being used in what appears to be a nefarious manner. Whether it
plays a bigger part in the ongoing story remains to be seen. For now the main
plot revolves around characters on Dispater. Sonya Torin has been searching for
her sister Bekkah in the various bars and cheap hotels with little luck. She has
drawn the attention of certain people who would rather she not find her. Bekkah
appears to be one of three girl's missing from Gracie's and the owner will stop
at nothing to get them back. Meanwhile the people trying to stop Soyna from
finding her sister seem to be on the other side. Lucky for Sonya that Alex is in
the bar when Mr. Moscow's men make their move. He manages to save her in an
unorthodox fashion and is willing to help her find her sister. So at first blush
this appears to be more of a noir type story than a science fiction one. All of
the major characters save for Sonya are tainted more or less with crime and
underground activities. There is only a hint at the end that what is behind
Bekkah's disappearance is more diabolical than an underworld rivalry. The
characters are defined well but the bits and pieces of other plots and plans are
a bit vague as to their meaning in the big picture. The visual aspect of the
book is good enough to get the job done. I am not entirely sold on this title.
The structure is using the crime plot to advance things toward revelations much
further down the road. It may be worth an issue or two to see where it is going.

Title: BIRTHRIGHT
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Joshua Williamson & Andrei Bressan
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrei Bressan
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy





The first third of this comic seems to be a tragic story of a family falling
apart. On his birthday young Mikey was playing ball with his dad in the park.
Mikey chased the ball into the woods and never came out. Soon the police are
called in and it is clear Mikey vanished. The following months are hard on
everyone. Theories range from kidnapping to accusations that the father somehow
killed his son. After a year only Mikey's brother has not given up hope. Aaron
the father however has been drinking heavily and has just been served with a
divorce petition from his wife who has already moved out. It is on that day that
Detective Brooks brings the family to the police station for a major break in
the case. They are interviewing a man they found wandering in the forest dressed
like a warrior from the Lord of the Rings. He has a fantastic story to tell and
the most amazing part of it is that he is actually the missing Mikey all grown
up. He tells how he somehow passed into another dimension where the world was
like a grand fantasy tale, complete with dragons, ogres, and an evil force of
nature called God King Lore. Lucky for Mikey he is found by the good guys and
eventually is told that his coming was told in prophecy. That he will be the one
to defeat Lore. His story ends many years later, time passes more quickly in
this land, when he fulfills the prophecy and defeats Lore. Now he is back
because a league of war criminals have escaped to Earth and he must hunt them
down before the infest Earth with Lore's bloody legacy. Apparently he is who he
says he is. The fingerprints match and the DNA test is forthcoming. Imagine how
you would react if a loved one disappeared for a year and then reappeared some
twenty years older? The father knew immediately this must be his son. The mother
and brother are more skeptical. It is an amazing story. I can see going forward
this can be structured with parallel plots. One in the present day will deal
with the implications of the family dynamic as well as those escaped criminals.
The other plot could follow Mikey as he begins his training as a boy destined to
be a hero. That could be interesting. However, there is another plot element I
have not revealed that could change everything and give the book a whole new
twist to it. I enjoyed this story right from the start and though the revelation
and explanation of what had happened to Mikey was handled well. Then the last
two pages threw me for a loop - not what I expected. This one has a lot of
promise story-wise. It has very nice art with terrific coloring. This one could
be another sleeper hit if handled correctly.

                                    *****
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 was the first comic title in which Superboy (Kon-el), Robin (Tim Drake),
and Impulse (Bart Allen) all worked together?

Not YOUNG JUSTICE, or SECRET: GIRL FRENZY, or even JUSTICE LEAGUE: WORLD
WITHOUT GROWNUPS was the answer.  Superboy, Robin and Impulse first appeared
together at the end of UNLIMITED ACCESS #3.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
What card game are Aunt May and Uncle Ben playing when the intruder shows up in
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN?


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, October 10, 2014

Comic Reviews 10/10/14


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: GOTHAM ACADEMY
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Publisher: DC
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Colors: Geyser with Dave McCaig
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Teen Drama






Lots of first issues this week. One of the more interesting ones is this title
set in an exclusive school in Gotham. The lead character is a second year
student named Olive Silverlock here on a Wayne Foundation scholarship making her
somewhat of a target for the richer kids. As the story progresses we pick up
little bits of her history. She alludes to something that happened over the
summer that troubles her. Her immediate problem is she has been assigned as a
"nanny" to a first year student - sort of a big sister guide to acquaint
newcomers. The problem is "Maps" Mizoguchi is the sister of her ex-boyfriend,
which makes it awkward for Olive - not so much for Maps who is clueless. We get
the impression that Olive has changed - impressions from her narrative and
interaction with others. Even her roommate remarks that she liked Olive a lot
better last year. Maps on the other hand is just a ball of fire overly excited
about the whole experience and eager to explore the grounds, especially the
North Hall, recently declared off limits and structurally unsound. Maps has
heard the rumors of a ghost at the academy and views life here much like a grand
video or role-playing game. In an effort to do better with Maps, Olive suggests
they skip the welcoming assembly, with keynote speaker Bruce Wayne, and explore
the belfry of the chapel where the assembly is being held. Let's just say it is
not the smartest move considering what comes next. And there just might be
something real about that supposed ghost haunting the academy. That sub plot is
only beginning to develop. This is a pretty decent first issue. The art is very
pleasing though the coloring could be a bit brighter in places. The characters
have unique traits both visually and personally. There is a lot of development
getting us used to the main players and a bit of mystery waiting to come to the
front. There are even heroics involved though the closest we get to seeing any
super heroes is the bat-signal in the night sky. In all it likes like a fun book
with a lot of promise if you are not a strict capes and tights fan. It is worth
the affordable price.

Title: THE FLASH: SEASON ZERO
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Freak Show - The Strongman Cometh
Publisher: DC
Story: Andrew Kreisberg
Writers: Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak
Artist: Phil Hester
Inker: Eric Gapstur
Colors: Kelsey Shannon
Letters: Deron Bennett
Variant Cover Artist: Francis Manapul
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero - TV Adaptation


The other reasonably priced debut comic this time around is based on the new
FLASH TV show starting this week. This comic is set in the same continuity but
it reads well enough so you do not have to watch the show to know the players.
In this version of his origin Barry Allen a particle accelerator exploded during
a bad thunderstorm. It released unknown substances into a storm cloud and Barry
was struck by a lightning bolt from that cloud. It put him into a nine-month
coma while changing his DNA big time. When he awoke he was at S.T.A.R. labs, the
people responsible for the accelerator. Scientist Harrison Wells and his
assistants Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow are helping Barry adjust to his new
ability. So like ARROW the hero has a team in on his secret identity. Like past
versions of the Flash Barry is a member of the Central City PD Crime Lab. He has
a crush on Iris West who is currently dating another cop, Eddie Thawne. If you
look close in one panel you get a close look at Eddie's badge number (a no prize
to anyone who can identify the significance of Badge 714!) But I digress... Barry
has an admirer of his own but he is clueless about it. This issue slides right
into the story with enough detail on what happened and who the main players are
and still gives us a major plot about some villains who are about to create
havoc in Central City. Flash gets to show off his action against his first foe,
a circus strong man pulling a bank robbery. It does not end well for Flash but
provides a plot device to show another aspect of his super speed. As the main
plot develops we learn the bank robbery was not for money but for a certain key
and by the end of the issue a female snake charmer will prove to be far more
dangerous to the citizens of the city than the strongman was. I read this before
seeing the first episode of THE FLASH and was quite entertained. It has all the
basics to introduce the characters and the premise going forward. It will be
interesting to see Barry develop his powers as things move forward. The art is a
lot of angles which may not be appealing to some but the dynamics are all there
to tell the story. This one is worth a look.

Title: BUCKY BARNES: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Transgmigration of Bucky Barnes
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Maro Rudy
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





Marvel keeps finding new things to do with Bucky Barnes. THE WINTER SOLDIER was
launched not that long ago and now it starts again, with a new first issue of
course. His new directions spins out of the ORIGINAL SIN event. Part of what was
revealed in that series was that Nick Fury had been guarding Earth from a
satellite headquarters. He was the "Man on the Wall" eliminating known threats
by murdering them before they murdered us. At the wrap of that series Bucky was
chosen to take his place. He has set up shop in the orbiting secret satellite
and has taken on a partner, Daisy Johnson, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director now on the
run. The structure of the issue is broken into several segments, not necessarily
in chronological sequence. One is on a far off planet with Bucky in chains about
to be killed by an alien race. Another has him recruiting Daisy both on the
satellite and at a space station orbiting Mars. In a third he is tracking down
an interstellar drug smuggler who happens to be currently in the Marianas Trench
with the help of Prince Namor. There are also a couple of unrelated scenes that
have no context with the rest of the book or any of the characters that I can
tell. Parts of the book make sense and are even entertaining. The rest of it
could mean a lot or very little, eventually. I really dislike it when writers
try to be too clever by throwing in a scene or two like this that will only make
sense several issues down the road. But that is not my main problem with this
title. That would be the art. This style is very unique in that the panels are
jumbled all over. On some pages they are concentric circles, others wrapped
around a central illustration or just a series of very small rectangle on the
bottom quarter of a large illustration. I am being overly simplified in my
description here. It is as if he is trying to find new ways to splash things all
over the page. This is not fine art, it is a comic book. It is an
ACTION/ADVENTURE story that relies on sequential art. I'd rather not try to
figure out what the sequence is supposed to be. And frankly the characters are
not clearly defined in most cases. The whole thing is very muddled. It is just
not appealing to me. I don't find the overall concept compelling enough to stick
with this one.

Title: THOR
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: If He Be Worthy
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman & Frank Martin
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero




Marvel seems bent on changing a lot of their major characters these days. We had
a Superior Spiderman for a long time, Captain America is a whole other person
now and Tony Stark is on the verge of a big change as well. Don't get me started
on the latest news about the Fantastic Four. Oh and Wolverine is going to die.
Anyway, the latest change is happening in one of their other long running
comics. The change hinges on a whisper really. During the ORIGINAL SIN series
Nick Fury whispered something into Thor's ear while they were on the moon. From
that moment on Thor has been unable to lift Mjolnir. He has become unworthy. The
implications of this are puzzling fans all across the Marvel fanverse. Even Odin
is puzzled at how this could be when he learns of it. How could a few spoken
words rob Thor of the symbol of his power and the tool he uses to fly? I imagine
eventually we will find out. But at the present he has spent days, maybe weeks,
struggling to gain what he has lost to no avail. Now if you have not been
reading the series that preceded this relaunch, as I haven't, there are other
changes that have taken place among the Norse gods. Odin was gone for a long
time and his wife Freyja has taken over Asgardia as its monarch, the All-Mother.
Now Odin is back but it seems like there will be conflict over who's in charge.
In a sub plot it seems frost giants have invaded Earth and all involved - Odin,
Freyja and Thor - will have choices to make about that. There is a lot going on
here and then there is that cover illustration and the thing that has gotten
everyone's attention. There will be a female Thor. The last two pages illustrate
this quite plainly as the mystery woman in armor and a mask, alone on the
surface of the moon, speaks a simple sentence and lifts the hammer. She is
worthy. What happens next is anyone's guess. This is a pretty good start to a
new chapter. Many fans are not happy about this turn of events. But if you look
at the history of long running characters almost all of them went through
changes that does not please everyone. What counts in the end is the quality of
the writing and art. That is always first and foremost in this medium. This book
has both. Jason Aaron has given this title a new following and continues to
bring strong characterization with interesting plots to all his work. The art is
clean and beautifully colored. This is sure to be a winner and bring in more
fans who are curious about what is developing. It is worth it for you to see for
yourself.

Title: GUARDIANS 3000
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Colors: Edgar Del Gado
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





A lot of readers may not be aware of the original Guardians but that won't
hamper them in jumping right into this series. All you need to know is on the
credits page. The lineup is Vance Astro, Martinex, Charlie-27 and Starhawk. The
story is set in 3014. They are fighting invading Badoon and other deadly threats
to the galaxy. The plot of this story uses and old standby of science fiction -
a time loop. Starhawk is the mystical precog of the Guardians and has sensed
that the Guardians and their allies are fighting a war that never ends, that
somehow time is starting over again and again. She also sensed something special
in the human female Geena Drake in a way still unexplained. It is for that
reason the Guardians have rescued her from a Badoon prison and brought her to
the Hideaway Parliament. It is a safe place hidden in fold space and can only be
found with a dimension key. Here the alliance of the last free cultures are free
to meet and plan their war against the Brotherhood. This space station is
supposed to be unfindable and unreachable but somehow the Badoon attack. This is
where the story begins as the issue starts. We find the Guardians in mid battle
fending off the attackers and trying to find a way out while keeping Geena safe.
How did the Brotherhood find them? Is someone in the Alliance a traitor? More
importantly if they win or lose are they doomed to replay these events over and
over? As I said it is an often used plot devise. What makes the story are the
characters and how well they are integrated into the plot. In this case that is
not a problem. Neither is the art. It is a bit unique in the character
depictions but then most of the characters, except for Geena are pretty unique
in themselves. It is a good debut issue in that it gives us a close look at the
main characters as well as the dynamic of the team. There is plenty of action
and a bit of mystery and some light touches of humor. It is a good start.

Title: GREEN LANTERN/NEW GODS: GODHEAD
Issue Number: One-Shot
Title Story: Genesis
Title Arc: Act 1
Publisher: DC
Story: Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule & Cullen Bunn
Script: Jensen & Jordan
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Suozuka, Chriscross & Pete
Woods
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero


Doesn't it seem like every major event in a comic book universe is hype to have
long term consequences - things will never be the same? Well this crossover
event in the Green Lantern books is promising the same thing. One thing it will
certainly have big effects on the GL line. The fact that it also involves
Kirby's Fourth World characters hints that it will give more depth and
prominence of those characters in the NEW 52. This book end beginning one-shot
sets the stage in rapid fashion for what looks like it will be a major conflict
between the various Lantern Corps and the New Gods. It begins with things that
are familiar to long time DC readers but may not be to newer readers. The very
first panel is a classic scene used in GL stories prior to the NEW 52 version.
It is a depiction of the creation of the multiverse - a hand in the void of
space issuing forth all life, matter and multiple universe from its palm. Among
all the worlds created in that initial spark was the planet of the Old Gods. And
so we are given a quick history of the Kirby DC characters through the fall of
the old gods to the rise of the New Gods and the eventual conflict between those
of New Genesis and those of Apokolips. The evil Darkseid is of course ever-
searching for the anti-life equation to force all of creation under his boot.
The only hope for the New Gods to eventually prevail over this is to find the
life equation. Their quest eventually lead them to the boundary of creation, the
Source Wall. They gain knowledge from the beings that have become part of the
wall, for many have tried to breach it and find what is beyond, but all have
failed - except one. Through some cryptic words from the being in the wall High
Father and Metron learn that the wall has been breached by the unification of
seven ring bearers. As Metron explains the existence of the seven different
Lantern Corps High Father wrongly concluded that they joined the forces of their
rings to breach the wall and gain the power of the life equation. What Green
lantern fans know is that it was actually Kyle, the White Lantern that made the
trip through the wall and back. So desperate is High Father to gain the life
equation he quickly forms his own plan. He will send out his minions - Orion,
Metron and the rest to get a ring of power from each one of the seven, by force
if need be. He will build a device to combine the power of the seven rings and
that will give him the power of the life equation.  You can already guess what
some of the consequences will be. Even plans with good intentions can lead to
disaster.  This is certainly an interesting beginning to the arc. The unnerving
part of it all is the change in character with this version of High Father from
earlier versions. In the past he was more a peaceful person depicted more like a
shepherd. Here he is in armor and is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat
the ancient evil they have been battling forever. There is one scene toward the
end that depicts a rather cavalier attitude towards the collateral damage caused
by his erroneous assumptions. That may be off-putting to older fans of the pre-
NEW 52 character. This promises to be a grand epic battle pitting the two major
space-based forces in the DC Universe. It may even spill into other books as
they approach the Earth War part of their development elsewhere in DC titles.
The art certainly supports the epic scope of the story, including a four-page
spread depicting the Source Wall. This one is sure to delight GL fans and true
DC fans as it progresses forward.

                                    *****
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:
We all know Steve Ditko was the first penciller in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
Who was the second?


The question was not who succeeded Ditko in the title, just who was the second
to pencil "IN" ASM.  That was Jack Kirby in a back up story in #8, featuring his
Fantastic Four!

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:

What was the first comic title in which Superboy (Kon-el), Robin (Tim Drake),
and Impulse (Bart Allen) all worked together?

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.