Search This Blog

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reviews 8/5/10

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.
Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Title Story: "Bad Dogs Get the Pipe Wrench"
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creators: Steve Pugh & Warren Ellis
Writer: Steve Pugh
Artist: Steve Pugh
Letters: Steve Pugh
Cover Artist: Steve Pugh
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror

This is the second mini-series about Alice Hotwire, an exorcist for the Metro
Police. In this future world ghosts became a problem fifty years ago. They are
called "blue lights" and are mostly souls of the dead that have not crossed over
to the other side. Some of them are tangible enough to create real problems,
even exact revenge on the living. Newly dead are interned in ceramic coffins and
suppression towers keep the free-floating ones under containment. It is the ones
that aren't in control that need to be rounded up and dealt with. When the
patrol cops can't handle particularly difficult blue lights Detective Hot Wire
is called in, as she has some special abilities. We saw this in the first
series. Now she has been recuperating from a line of duty injury - growing back
an arm that was destroyed. Her partner, Peter Mobey, can't get her to respond to
his calls. She is holed up in her place reliving the past as we see in flashback
a bad girl out for fun all the time. A run in with a ghost while she was romping
on the freeway with her boyfriend explains part of her attitude toward ghosts
and explains the title of the story. After six months of self-destructive
behavior it has gotten to the point where she must decide to get back on the job
or be relieved of duty. Watching TV footage of how the regular cops handle a
very aggressive ghost is enough to make up her mind. This is not just an action
drama where the good guys chase the bad guys and catch them in the end. It goes
deeper into the personality of the main character as well as the attitudes of
the general public and the regular cops dealing with high tech solutions to a
supernatural problem. The theme seems to be that actions have consequences. Pugh
does a great job in telling the story in both script and art. These three-issue
arcs are ideal in telling individual stories. A bit of recap is provided at the
start to fill in the new reader. It is a superb effort worth your time.
Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creators & Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist: Paul Gulacy
Ink Assist: Charles Yoakum
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: John J. Hill
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I particularly like Paul Gulacy's art so I was pleased to see he was the one
chosen to translate this tale of Nazi Germany and time travel. The year is 2012
and an organization called the New World Order is brought in to a discovery
below the streets of Berlin. A team working in a subway tunnel went missing when
the floor collapsed under them. What the first team sent down discover is an
underground complex dating back to WWII. Aside from some rather large buildings
and bunkers the amazing discovery is a missile - technology really out of place
for that time period. As the NWO begins to assemble a Special Ops squad for a
special mission the missile is somehow activated and launched only to explode in
the air over Berlin. The resultant fallout causes casualties from a disease
previously unseen with the ability to spread across the world. This was a secret
doomsday weapon hinted at during the war but never discovered. The bunkers would
have housed the chosen among the master race who would have emerged after the
virus cleansed the world. The Ops team is brought together as we get brief looks
at their personalities and relationships. Some are cold-blooded agents and
others specialists in their fields. Their mission will be to use a previously
abandoned time-travel device, the Time Bomb, to go back before the missile took
off. They must fill in the proper authorities about the discovery and keep
everyone away from it. Unfortunately for the four operatives instead of going
back two days they go back 67 years near a German POW camp. Now they will have
to deal with the original site themselves and perhaps the previous time traveler
and inventor of the Time Bomb himself. Palmiotti and Gray provide a thriller of
a script and Gulacy does not disappoint. This promises to be an engrossing story
right to the very end. They take the time to flesh out the characters and
provide background on each. The mystery they face poses some interesting options
and dilemmas. This is a slick package off to a great start.
Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creators: Antoine Fuqua & Wesley Snipes
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Jeff Nentrup with Sara Biddle
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Francesco Mattina
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Quite often comic books from Radical have a very dark tone to them. I don't
think it is by editorial direction but rather the preference of the artists.
This aptly titled book is one of those types. The world is a dark place with
natural sunlight all but non-existent. There is famine and civil unrest
everywhere and even the artificial light of major cities like Solar City are not
immune to the horrors of the night. The powers that be assemble a team to find
the one individual who might provide hope to the masses for if Solar City falls
and the technology fails the world will truly be in the dark ages. The team that
is assembled are specialists - some military some criminal. If they don't end up
killing each other they may find Angel. She is the forbidden icon that provides
hope for the masses. Some believe she is dead but others say she can save the
world. Shortly after they leave on their mission to somewhere in Europe they are
faced with a decision that will reduce their numbers, making success that much
harder. This story is a bit more complex and harder to follow. The author seems
to want to show more about the individuals and their relations with one another
than to making the plot and objective a bit more clear to the readers. It is an
action story and when the setting is illuminated the art is much more pleasing
that the settings outdoors in the dark. I have mixed feelings about this and
will need to see more before deciding if it is heading in the right direction.
Issue Number: 4 (of 6)
Title Story: Dark Knight, Dark Rider
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Walden Wong
Colors: Tony Avina
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Andy Kubert & Cameron Stewart
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

By now everyone knows that Bruce Wayne did not really die in FINAL CRISIS but
was sent bouncing through time. In each era he left a mark as a form of Batman
of that era. Now he has made it to the Old West and is causing problems for some
rather ruthless cowboys. The opening scene shows them hanging a rancher,
brutalizing his wife and daughter and taking out the young son who tries to
defend them. It is all over a small box with a bat symbol on it. Their boss,
none other than Vandal Savage, has one goal, to get it open and is using an
Indian and a local doctor, Thomas Wayne, to "persuade" the daughter to reveal
the secret. The mysterious cowboy in black who wears a mask has plagued the
hired thugs with various injuries and may be coming to rescue the girl. In
response to that threat Savage has contracted Jonah Hex to kill the mystery man.
The story is all about the conflicts between the parties and within Thomas Wayne
himself. While the story itself is interesting and moves at a fast pace it does
little to provide any clue as to how or if Bruce will ever return to the
present. The clash with Hex provides the transition to the next chapter and the
moment in history Bruce will be off to next. He keeps moving forward in time but
will the foreboding of disaster as told in previous chapters occur if he makes
it to the present? We have to wait and see.
Issue Number: 0
Title Story: Zero to Sixty
Publisher: Aspen
Creator: Gale Anne Hurd
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Eric Battle
Colors: Jorge Fares
Letters: Josh Reed
Price (USD): $2.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Unhappy as I am with the whole "zero" issue mentality I decided to try this one
as I rarely read anything from Aspen. I see by the credits on the inside cover
there are 6 covers, two direct edition, one incentive and three San Diego Comic-
Con covers. These days it is all about collectability to raise the sales of new
books. It is also very short with only twelve story pages and three text pages
with character sketches. Since this is the prelude to the series the idea is to
build interest in readers for the main event. I am not sure this accomplishes
that goal. The sequence follows Griffin, a NYC SWAT officer who is in the middle
of a strange epidemic that has hit New York. The entire issue has him trying to
make his way across town to pick up his eight year old son. His ex wife is on
the phone beleaguering him about his responsibility. Oh yeah, he is also being
chased by a motorcycle cop who has been turned into a gargoyle looking beast
like many others in the city. Griffin knows the cop is no longer human and can
infect him too if he is not careful. So we get twelve pages of chases, escapes
and witty banter over the phone. There was a time when the zero issue told you
the story of what happened before issue #1. If not an origin story it would at
least set up details previously not revealed. This one just throws us into the
problem after it already exists without a clue as to who, what, when, where, or
why the plague is happening. The art is decent enough but I would have to see
issue number one before committing to the series. For now I would say skip this
one and try issue #1. You won't be missing anything.
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colors: Felix Serrano
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Marc Silvestri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I have reviewed the previous PILOT SEASON one-shots from Robert Kirkman and
liked them enough to visit his next offering. MURDERER, DEMONIC and STEALTH each
were unique concepts brought to print for the first time in a competition with
STELLAR and finally next up HARDCORE. Fans will pick the one they like best to
continue on in a new mini-series. Since these are truly concepts not meant to be
told in just a single issue they each read like the beginning of a larger story.
It is up to the fans to decide whish story continues. This story follows the
main character as she travels to distant worlds. She has tremendous abilities on
her own that are augmented by devices in her costume. Her current mission has
her seeking out specific plant abundant on this world. While seeking the flora
she is attacked by the fauna, which serves to show us her abilities not only to
defend herself but also to heal quickly. There is also a hint at the catch in
all these powers. That bears fruit as she reaches the settlers on another
planet, one of whom desperately needs her cure. Her interaction with these
people gets to the crux of the plot. She and a few like her have these
tremendous powers but have been shunned by humanity because of the deadly
effects they have on normal humans. She has resigned herself to a life roaming
the galaxy and helping others as a way of finding meaning in her plight. The
others like her have made another decision. I like the concept and the execution
of this introduction. Kirkman provides all the essential info, some of which he
leaves to Chang to reveal visually. The two work well together and the finishes
keep it professional. I am undecided on which PILOT SEASON book is the best so
far. They all have things about them I would like to see more of in another
series. Why not give it a try and help me decide?


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

Last week's trivia question:
Which character pioneered the Mother Box and the Boom Tube?

From the pages of MISTER MIRACLE it was Himon who was the resident genius. The
winner by the dice is Steven Berk.

Here was your no prize question:
What was the first National TV show that Elvis appeared on?

Although Elvis was on several television shows before he appeared on Stage Show
in January 1956, this was his national debut.

Which comic does Overstreet list as the first "poster format" comic?

Here is your no prize question:
What was the first movie for which the cost of obtaining rights to the
soundtrack outweighed the entire production costs?

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment