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Friday, October 22, 2010

Comic Review 10/22/10

Issue Number: Volume 3 hardcover graphic novel
Publisher: Automatic Pictures Publishing
Creator: Frank Beddor
Writers: Frank Beddor & Liz Cavalier
Artist: Sami Makkonen
Letters: Tom B. Long
Cover Artist: Vance Kovacs
Price (USD): $24.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

Hatter Madigan is the royal bodyguard for the future queen of Wonderland,
Princess Alyss. Both he and Alyss were shot through an exit portal separately
and ended up on Earth in the year 1859. He has been searching the globe,
starting in Paris, ever since looking for his lost charge. In the last volume he
made his way to America, experience adventures during the Civil War and ended up
in a mad house in Washington, DC. In this newest chapter Madigan has escaped the
asylum and the war is winding down. But something new has clouded his quest. The
presence of the evil force, Black Imagination, is being used to infect some
Confederate soldiers. Their last ditch effort has them attacking the White
House. Hatter teams up with a couple of paranormal investigators to turn back
the attack and then go searching for the antidote to the Black Imagination. The
trail will lead them to a native American Shaman of the White Flower, a cross
country trip to the wonders of the continent, and finally to a hat shop in a
ghost town with an unexpected proprietor. The main plot is straightforward,
though it begins in the bedlam of the asylum where the remaining patients are
obsessed with play-acting stories of Wonderland. Once it gets rolling it moves
right along. There is a very interesting interlude as Madigan recovers from
injuries. He goes back in time to when he was a cadet bodyguard in awe of his
older brother Dalton. In defiance of his orders Madigan follows Dalton on a
mission through the looking glass to rescue the two princesses from the Diamond
Queen. It is a detailed adventure that adds to the overall picture of Madigan,
the Hatters and Wonderland. In the last chapter Madigan recalls how his brother
preceded him into the pool that transports people to Earth. The man he meets at
the hat store will provide his with a fresh start as his journey continues. This
is the third chapter of the story of Hatter M, which is the companion story to
the main title THE LOOKING GLASS WARS. You might think it would be difficult to
come into the story at this juncture but I did not find it that way. The
characters are obviously taken from the classic stories of Alice in Wonderland,
but they are not the cute Disney cartoons. The characters are fleshed out and
unique. There are some magical elements and Hatter wields some very high tech
weapons. This is a challenge for the artist to use just the right layouts and
coloring to convey the right emotion. Makkonen handles it well. His style
reminds me of Ben Templesmith. There is supplementary information in the back
that helps the reader better understand the life in Wonderland and the strangers
from there, now in a strange land. I think anyone will enjoy this adventure.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: One Magic Wish
Publisher: Marvel/Icon
Creator: Mark Millar and Leinil Yu
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Leinil Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the latest creator-owned new comic from the fertile mind of Mark Millar.
It is another take on the "superman" type all-powerful hero with a different
twist. As it begins we fell like we have come into it at the end as a woman is
informing a doctor on the other end of the phone line that Superior has been
destroyed. Actually what we are seeing is a movie in this world where Superior,
like our Superman, is merely a character from the comics. In the audience are
the main characters of this title - Simon Pooni who is stricken by MS and stuck
in a wheelchair and his best friend, Chris. The beginning serves to show a
little bit about the fictional Superior and a lot about the kid whose life has
changed so drastically that all but one true friend have drifted away and the
local bullies pick on him constantly. His life is about to change drastically
once again as he wakens one night to find a space monkey in his bedroom. After
transporting Simon into space Ormon, the monkey declares that Simon has been
chosen out of all the people on Earth to be the benefactor of the "Magic Wish".
Well Simon, almost subconsciously wish to be Superior and in the blink of an eye
that is who he becomes - his mind is now in the body of the indestructible hero
of the comic books. All will be explained in a week says Ormon and
Simon/Superior finds himself back in his bedroom a day later. What does he do
now? Who would believe him? Is there some need for such a hero to exist at this
time on Earth? And what about that monkey? Interesting questions for future
issues. I like the setup and Yu has done a fine job with the art. It is a
departure from KICK ASS and NEMESIS for Millar at this point but well worth
sticking around to see what develops next.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Matt Hawkins
Writer: Brad Inglesby
Artist: Thomas Nachlik
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Bagus Hutomo
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery

Here is another PILOT SEASON project from Top Cow wherein several new comics are
given one issue to catch the imagination of the readers. The one that is most
popular will return in a mini-series. Ryan Chambers is a research assistant at
the high tech company known as Longevity. He is dating fellow researcher Kate.
The company has developed a super drug that prolongs life - even repairs damaged
organs. People who were hopelessly ill are given a new lease on life. The comic
goes into detail on one such patient, Jack Bailey. He had terminal cancer and
was given six months to live. Then he heard about Longevity. He took the
treatments and began a new life feeling younger and healthier than ever. But you
know this is fiction and so there must be a catch. Our protagonist Ryan is from
an orphanage and lately has been hearing that others from the same orphanage
have died from accidents or even suicide. But that link will play into the plot
as soon the evidence of a group very much against the work at Longevity makes
itself known. Ryan happens on a man dead in the street who appears to be in his
sixties but his license says he was only 21. Finally a mystery man by the name
of Kane shows up and he will lead Ryan to some answers and even more questions
about what his own history is and what is really going on with Longevity. The
set up is pretty good with a standard type of science fiction/mystery theme of
all good things come with a price. If this one continues on I would follow it as
it is well written and the art is complimentary. The decision to continue the
story is up to the readers.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Out of Time
Title Arc: Aztlan
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Jim Shooter
Artist: Eduardo Francisco
Colors: Jose Villarruba
Letters: Blambot!
Cover Artist: Raymond Swanland (variant by Francisco)
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure/Science Fiction

My thoughts on Shooter's handling of the Dell characters lately have been a bit
mixed. SOLAR was slow beginning and Magnus was pretty decent. The latest entry,
TUROK, SON OF STONE, is the best one so far. You may know the basic plot of the
classic Turok story. He is a Native American somewhere out west who travels with
a younger companion, Andar. In the original they go into a cave searching for
water and emerge in a prehistoric land of dinosaurs. For this retelling Shooter
has scripted their first meeting as Turok rescuing the young Andar from a
vicious tribe about to sacrifice the boy and his father to their gods. Turok
manages to save the boy but not the father and now the two are on the run from
Maxtla and his warriors. Maxtla warns his people they must capture the boy to
appease the gods. As an unnatural storm approaches Turok and Andar make their
stand in a giant cave knowing their pursuers will follow. But the storm hits and
a vortex opens sucking the two and many of the other tribe through a portal into
the land of dinosaurs. As the chase continues anew strange creatures attack and
a new ally is found in another escaped slave who tells the story of the tribe
from Azcahpotzalco that chases them. The story moves along with more battles and
ends with an unexpected meeting in the forest of this strange land. I like the
straightforward script that handles all the exposition while moving things
forward. Turok is portrayed as a wise and practical person and true mentor to
his new friends. The art is pretty good making the whole effort top notch as a
first chapter. Maybe it is because this comic does not have to deal with super-
heroics or robots and high tech gadgets but instead basic human interaction
based on survival. I liked it more than the rest so far.

Back up story: Turok, Son of Stone
Originally appeared in TUROK, SON OF STONE #1, Dell Comics, December 1954
By Gaylord Dubois and Rex Mason

Like the other two titles Dark Horse reprints the first story the character
appeared in from the 50's. In the original version the pursuing tribe is not
here and Turok and Andar are already companions. Their adventure is more about
the two finding their way into the land from long ago and surviving among giant
beasts. Once again it is interesting to contrast the art from back then to the
styles today. The story holds up well for what it is and I am glad it was

Issue Number: 5 (of 6)
Title Story: Masquerade
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ryan Sook (Pere Perez pages 22-31)
Inker: Mick Gray
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher & Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Andy Kubert & Ryan Sook
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the penultimate issue of the mini-series that will begin the re-
introduction of Bruce Wayne into the present. For now he is wandering through
different time periods courtesy of Darkseid's Omega beams. As a reminder, the
first page has members of the JLA discussing the danger he poses should he
return to the present and what they plan to do about it. For now Bruce is stuck
in the time after his own parents were murdered and a younger Bruce Wayne is off
traveling somewhere. He awakens in a hospital recovering from a concussion and
still no knowledge of who he is. His fortune will change as an actress claiming
to be the best friend of Martha Wayne arrives with a proposition and a costume.
After he is released they meet and she tells him she plans to confront people
who really killed the Wayne's as their ghosts - she as Martha and he as Thomas
Wayne in a bat costume he once wore at a masquerade. Supporting characters in
this drama are Martha's parents. Her mother is convinced her daughter was killed
by Dr. Wayne and he faked his own death. But there is more here than meets the
eye. Bruce will find himself a tool for a large plot with a connection to the
Black Glove cult. If he escapes and time travels again it might spell doom for
the whole Earth. Yeah, like that would really happen. We know this will end okay
by the time the series is over and the new books featuring Bruce Wayne are
already being solicited. The adventure is in the journey and this chapter is a
thrilling tale, even if the world's greatest detective isn't at the top of his
game. It is an enjoyable story in both story and art. It all comes to a head the
next issue.


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
THIS WEEK will be the HATTER M: THE NATURE OF WONDER hard cover graphic novel!
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 unusual about the cover of SUPERBOY #1, the debut issue of this major
character in 1949?
For it's time it was unusual not to have the title character prominently
featured on the cover, especially the first issue. The winner by the dice is
Scott Devarney.

Here was your no prize question:
What act did Decca Recording Co. reject with this quote in 1962, "We don't like
their sound and guitar music is on the way out"?
Decca actually rejected the Beatles!

In one version of The Legion of Super Heroes, R. J. Brande was not human but
also he was a time traveler from the past. In what comic series did that
character originate?

Here is your no prize question:
Who invented the words: hurry, boredom, disgraceful, hostile, money's worth,
obscene, puke, perplex, on purpose, shooting star, and sneak?

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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