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Friday, August 20, 2010

Comic Reviews 8/20/10

My View
David LeBlanc

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.


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: MAGOG
Issue Number: 12
Title Story: Chapter 2
Title Arc: Blown to Kingdom Come
Publisher: DC
Creators: Mark Waid and Alex Ross
Writer/Artist: Scott Kolins
Colors: Hi-Fi Designs
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Although this story is the second chapter of the arc it reads very much like a beginning. Scott uses the plot devise of boyhood friends that meet again as adults in a very adept way. Magog of course is one of the bad guys from Waid and Ross’ KINGDOM COME, set in a possible future. The character has been introduced into current times with the foreboding that that possible future will now happen. The title of the story hints that theme as does the over-title on the cover, Kingdom Coming. But the story begins way before David Reid became Magog. The scene is one played out by many fan boys in their youth, yours truly included. David is pretending to be a Superman type hero and his best friend is a super soldier with an Omega Blaster. They argue over which one is the bad guy until another boy wants to join in as the Amazing Arachnid. That is when their fun turns into pick on the nerd. In a way it was their first team up. They planned to stay together through life but ten years later the death of David’s father disrupted that. Now we are in the present. Magog interrupts an armored man on a rooftop about to shoot something with his robot arm. Thankfully Scott realizes not every first meeting has to be an obligatory fight followed by explaining misunderstandings. They talk but before they can get to the reasons the two are attacked by some very strange characters. At this point I am thinking part one of the story may have something to do with these characters. The story leads on to what Magog’s new partner is involved in and builds to an unexpected climax that will be concluded in the JUSTICE SOCIETY SPECIAL in September. I liked the structure of the plot and the scripting. Scott Kolins does a very fine job all by himself in writing and art. I’ll be checking out that special for sure.

Title: X-MEN
Issue Number: 2
Title Story: Part 2
Title Arc: Curse of the Mutants
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adi Gravnov
Price (USD): $3.99
Genre: Super Hero

I’ve enjoyed this story arc so far. From the beginning in THE DEATH OF DRACULA (still on the racks if you missed it) it has been well laid out to get to this chapter. Last time we saw a vampire commit suicide by exposing himself to sunlight an exploding in the sunlight in a crowded plaza. This exposed many people to a vampire virus created just for the occasion. Among the crowd was their intended target, the depowered mutant Jubilee. The virus affects people gradually filling them with desire to seek out the vampire clan. As the mutant doctor examines the changes in Jubilee the team sets out to find the perps. At the end of part one they have discovered one of the lairs, filled with bodies drained of blood. Their mission is to bring one back alive but things turn to having Wolverine and Colossus surrounded members of the Claw clan, probably the most viscous of the vampires being more bat than human. Have no fear, Blade is here! With him he brings the revelation that yes the Lord of the Vampires is behind the attack and he must have a larger plan – but it is not Dracula! (again see the book mentioned above.) Once the X-Men figure a way to use Cerebus to map out vampires the direness of the situation becomes very clear. Only a Hail Mary pass of a plan could hope to stop the coming onslaught. What remains to be seen is how Jubilee will factor into the situation and whether their outrageous gamble will pay off. The art has been top shelf as well. The characters are true to traditional renditions but with a style unique to this team. It is most entertaining without having to crossover into other X-Books.

Issue Number: 1 (of 13)
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Michael Broussard
Inker: Rick Basaldua
Colors: Sunny Gho
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Too numerous to mention
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

What this series will do is bring the entire Top Cow Universe together for the first time. Some characters have been around longer than others, some are new with this series, but they all have something in common. They all are connected to a certain artifact. Think of the Witchblade, the Spear of Destiny as artifacts, two of the thirteen. The Curator, a familiar character to Witchblade readers explains to a newer character in this book that he is one of thirteen who wield certain artifacts. Each has their purpose in the world. But if they are all found and brought together then the world, the universe will come to an end. This first chapter introduces a defrocked priest, Tom Judge, who carries the Rapture, one of the most powerful artifacts. It has allowed him to return from hell and the Curator charges him with opposing whoever is trying to bring the thirteen artifacts together. It is clear from the start of the story that others know he is coming and are out to find him. Sara Pezzini runs into one ugly demon that has been killing priests looking for the One, Tom Judge. Meanwhile her sister Julie is looking after Sara’s daughter in the park. By the end of the story another of the thirteen will become apparent and the consequences will change Sara’s life forever. Marz has scripted a tight story with exposition enough to keep us entranced in the concepts while bringing enough action to advance the plot. The art brings it all together with some creative composition and really interesting new characters. As a bonus there is a two-page bio of the origin of Witchblade. I suspect there will be another character featured in each of the chapters. So far it is off to a good start and even new readers should find no problem following the story.

Title: LOCKE & KEY
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Sparrow
Title Arc: Keys to the Kingdom
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Colors: Jay Fotos
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE – Comics on the Edge

This is the first chapter of the fourth mini-series in the LOCKE & KEY saga. You should not be scared off if you have not sampled this title yet. In fact IDW has put out the Legacy Edition of the very first LOCKE & KEY comic with 8 extra pages of recap of the entire series to get you up to speed and it only costs $1.00. But you don’t have to get that right away because this issue is very easy to follow and pretty much stands alone without relying on the back-story. The focus is on Bode, the youngest of the Locke family. It is winter and he is being shunned by the cool kids because he is a bit weird. When he play acts things that have really happened they take it as quirkiness. Meanwhile his sister is seeing Zack who is secretly the enemy out to find the key to the black door. The older brother Tyler is still harboring guilt over the death of his father and lots of bad things that have happened in previous issue. But Bode is the one we follow the most. The main element to this entire series is a bunch of keys, each giving the user a different ability. One allows you to unlock someone’s head and take out memories or even put in a book which then becomes committed to memory. The first key found allowed Bode to leave his body as a spirit and fly around unseen by others. In this chapter Bode’s attention is drawn to a frozen bird bath by a friendly sparrow. There frozen in the ice is another key. Like some of the other keys, it works by unlocking a door and walking through it. This is the Animal key so Bode decides to test it figuring he will pass through the doorway and turn into a great beast of some sort. To his surprise he becomes a sparrow. This is key to the story as Zack follows after and turns into a wolf. The wolf and other vicious creatures soon threaten Tyler and his sister and Bode the sparrow will have to find a way to save them. This story has its moments of horror but is generally lighter than other chapters have been. It ends on a happy note and so is more delightful to read. Rodriguez is always up to giving his best for the visuals. If you though of trying out this title then this issue is the perfect one for it.

Issue Number: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Creator: Jeff Smith
Writer: Jeff Smith & Tom Sniegoski
Artist: Jeff Smith
Colors: Steve Hamaker
Price (USD): 114 pages, $10.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

Some of the material in this book was previously published in the comic book STUPID, STUPID RAT-TAILS. If you are a fan of Bone, one of the best-selling Independent comic series of all time, then you will want to add this to your collection. The volume consists of four tall tales, three of which are written by Tom Sniegoski. The first story, Smiley and the Bone Scouts is the framing sequence that ties it all together. It is set after the return to Boneville by the heroes of BONE. Smiley and his pal rat creature Bartleby take three Bone Scouts on a camping trip. The story has classic Bone humor and ends with Smiley telling tales around the campfire to the scouts. This leads into the first tall tale, The Powers That Be. Smiley tells the story about the time when the Bones were in the Valley living with Rose and Grandma Ben. Each had chores to share and one day it was Fone and Phoney’s turn to do laundry. They wander off and find a map, which convinces Phoney it is a treasure map. Reluctantly Fone follows him and after some peril they reach the spot. What a surprise they get. The other three tales involve the founder of Boneville, Big Johnson Bone (I don’t know if a double entendre is intended!) In the first he is born and has his first adventure with Old Man Winter and a bear. In the second he is fifteen and is out to retain the title of winner of the eating competition at the Bone County Festival. He has an unbroken string of wins but a new competitor will challenge he stomach as well as his heart. The last is the longest story coming in at 68 pages. It is the lost tale of Johnson’s adventures while he was wandering the lands before he found his fortune and founded the trading post that became the start of Boneville. With him were his trusted mule and a snarky monkey he won in a card game. It is a delightful story that has a twister picking them up and landing them in the Valley where they help some of the animals fend off the Rat Creatures. It also explains why Rat Creatures no longer have tales. In all it is an excellent volume for all to enjoy. Smiths’ art is top notch and Sniegoski has captured the essence of Smith’s imaginary world and the characters in it. Even if you never read BONE you will enjoy this one.

Issue Number: 0
Publisher: Radical Comics
Writer: David Hine
Artist: Wayne Nichols
Colors: Feigian Chong & Sansan Saw
Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt
Cover Artist: Francesco Mattina
Price (USD): $1.00
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Noir Mystery/Supernatural?
Mature Readers

This is an interesting story for a number of reasons. There is no expository text to explain where or when it takes place. It appears to be a large city like New York, perhaps in the future, but there are large canals navigated by water taxis. The technology looks like a mix of current with throwbacks to the last century. The main character has computers but the keyboard looks like an old typewriter. Let’s just call it an alternate reality for now. In this world Ryder is a Private Investigator. He gets a call from Katrina Petruska, a night club worker who just found her rich new boyfriend, Michael Hudson, dead on the floor with eleven holes drilled in his head, the drill in his hand and bottles of pills spilled near the body. She had Ryder’s card from Michael. The scenes move forward as Ryder goes to the scene. The cops clearly think this is a stupid attempt at staging a suicide. They think that a gold-digger with no future except hitching up might be dumb enough to think she could get away with it. She reveals there is more evidence and her story is that they filmed their romp and she left the room to clean up. She returned to a locked door and when she broke in she found Hudson. The whole thing has the noir look and feel to it. Ryder is the cool one with some tricks of his own. When he returns to his office the mystery deepens. This is a 16-page premier issue with no ads, no additional material and only a buck. It has me very interested already. The art is decent enough to make this a better than average offering. It is definitely worth a dollar to give it a try.


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 for getting the new trivia THIS WEEK will be the graphic novel ALADDIN from RADICAL COMICS. 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 12-issue comic book series also featured THE BLACK FLAME and DYNAMO JOE?
The 12-issue series was MARS from First comics. The winner by the dice roll is Stu Cathell. Stu wins the $10 credit.

Here was the no prize question:
Which was the last state to require every motorist to come to a complete stop at a stop sign?
Massachusetts – prior to changing the law it was legal to proceed through the sign if you stopped when the car in front of you stopped at the sign.

Jon Jackson Stevens was executed for the murder of which hero?

Here is a no prize question:
What is the oldest continually operating hospital in the US?

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.

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