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Thursday, October 28, 2010

comic reviews -10/29/10

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Avatar
Writers: Mike Wolfer & John Russo
Artist: Thomas Aira
Colors: Digikore Studios
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE READERS - Comics on the Edge

With Halloween and the TV premiere of THE WALKING DEAD this weekend it was a
natural to pick up this new ongoing series from Avatar. My first impression was
the nice artwork. There are a couple scenes showing female pulchritude (look it
up) that reveal that Aira knows how to properly draw the human anatomy. There
are a lot of close up scenes of people talking illustrating the ability to vary
the characters and of course substantial blood and gore that are also handled
well. This genre is the type where you cannot predict which characters will
survive. The opening scene is a staple of American horror movies. Two teens are
naked in a car getting it on. A man walks by and at first the girl thinks it
might be one of those ghouls people are talking about. In this case it is a
young man heading to DC where a Vietnam War protest is going to happen. Then a
cop shows up to tell them to move along. The first victim of the comic is not
the young couple. The story also follows a young black man who is called into
riot control for the protest. His pregnant wife worries about him and his
chances of being sent to Vietnam. Some of his fellow guardsmen treat him as a
draft dodger, trying to avoid combat. The young drifter hitches a ride with
three teens heading to the protest. While a priest and nun ponder the fate of
the city if violence breaks out. Clearly the zombie threat is not well known at
this point but it soon will be. I found this to be a good start with minimal
violence at first to strengthen the characterization of the main players. This
makes it a more enjoyable story a bit above the rest.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: One Small Step for Man
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Stan Lee
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Javier Pina
Colors: Alfred Rockefeller
Letters: Ed "Duke" Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the first of a series of new comics from Boom! Created by the dean of
comic creators, Stan Lee. Different teams will be writing and drawing these new
comics, which I think is a good approach - using Stan as the inspiration of
ideas. In this case we have a young man, Stewart Trautmann, former marine
captain confined to a wheel chair from injuries sustained in the war in
Afghanistan. In one part we learn how it happened and how he feels about it.
Much of his story takes place on campus where he is a lecturer in astronomy. His
students treat him with respect but often he gets people running to help him
when he does not want or need it. He is well aware of his condition and what
most others think about it. But there is one girl who likes him and is not sure
how to approach him. The fact that Cornell takes time to flesh out the
characters makes the reader care about what happens to them. Of course this is
also a super hero story. In places within the main plot we see a warrior of some
sort in space. He wears an amazing suit of armor with some cool weapons built
into it. He is like Iron Man from another planet. He is out there in space
fighting enemy spacecraft when the battle turns against him and he begins a
meteoric plunge to Earth. Fate will have Stewart inherit the armor and a whole
new set of problems. The story can go many ways at this point. Will he become a
super hero? Will the aliens come looking for him? Will he even be able to shed
the armor and go back to the chair? It is a compelling story so far and should
stay interesting if the writing stays at this level. The art is decent as well.
Thumbs up on this one.

Issue Number: One-Shot
Title Story: Tattered Remnants
Publisher: DC
Creator: Robert Kanigher & Joe Kubert
Writer: Christos N. Gage
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Jesus Saiz
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Ragman has been around the DC Universe for some time now but unlike other heroes
he is not one that shows up very often. This one shot attracted me because I am
familiar with the character and I knew that Christos Gage would handle it in the
proper fashion. I was not disappointed. With a character such as this, with
limited exposure to today's readers, it is important that his story is explained
in detail. That is just what happens in this one-shot. Christos uses the
circumstance of Rory Reagan visiting a rabbi to discuss the lack of observance
of the Jewish faith in his family. He then reveals the family secret - like his
father before him his is now the being known as Ragman. He then goes into the
history of the Jews in ghettos of Prague in the 1500s. As in many times through
history they are persecuted, denied rights and even killed by those who fear
them unjustly. At one point a council of rabbis created a golem as protector but
when that failed they formed a suit of rags and a variation of the Golem spell
allowing it to be animated by a human. He became the defender of his people.
Through the ages the suit was passed from generation to generation. When he was
needed most he would appear. The last time Rory's father wore the suit was in
the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. He was a major factor in the length of the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising when his people resisted the Nazis. But in the end the Germans
abandoned the fight and instead set fire to the ghetto. This was Ragman's built
in weakness and he was not seen again in Europe. The family migrated to America
after the war and changed their name to Regan. They settled in Gotham and eked
out a living in a pawnshop in the Polish section. After the death of his father
at the hand of gangsters Rory stumbled onto the family secret and donned the
suit. But he was still plagued by the fact his father left his people and fled
to America. Finally the plot returns to the present and with the help of the
rabbi and the magic of the suit of rags, which I have not revealed yet, he
learns the difference between fear and shame. As I said, I was not disappointed
with the story. It is well told and has a moral in the end and perhaps an entr‚e
for the character to show up more often. The art is terrific throughout making
it a first rate production worthy of your attention.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Bryan Edward Hill
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill & Rob Levin
Artist: Phil Noto
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Supernatural

By now if you have been reading my reviews you know all about Top Cow's PILOT
SEASON efforts. Each comic gets a one-shot and the best one by reader votes will
be back in a mini-series. This one is a bit of a thriller with an element of the
supernatural thrown in. John is a hit man. As we look in on his latest job he
explains, or rationalizes, that he does not think of his victims as people but
money. As he looks at the man and woman in their car he realizes they were not
alone. The young boy in the back seat has a rather large gun pointed at him.
John misjudges the moment and gets a bullet in the brain. That is when the fun
begins. His descent to the Lake of Judgment is interrupted as he is yanked back
to the world by a female demon, Mandy. She explains to him that he has one
chance to stop his trip to Hell. All he has to do is kill the people she tells
him to kill. If he kills one in seven days he will live another seven days and
have another target to kill. That is the basic premise. Part of the story is how
she convinces him to go along and the rest is his first case. Mandy even preps
him for the first target. She also explains that he is still a man and could be
killed again. If that happens it will be straight to Hell. It is a compelling
story as we try to see into the mind of a man first with nothing or no one to
care about and then with nothing to lose but eternal damnation dangling in front
of him. The crafting of the hit on his first target is the most interesting part
of the story. It is well thought out. The art sustains the mood of the story and
is exceptional in the coloring. I would vote for this one to get a longer run.

Issue Number: 77
Title Story: Fright Night
Publisher: DC
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Ale Garza
Inker: Oliver Nome
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Swands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This title can be fun at times as the writers find new approaches to team up the
"World's Finest" heroes. But in some cases it turns out to be alternate versions
or, as in this case, other members of their hero families. I knew from the cover
this would be a fun issue to read. The team up this time is between Supergirl
and the new Robin, Damian Wayne. A mass murder in Metropolis shakes Supergirl,
especially when the beat cop declares since Superman went on tour she can't be
bothered with street stuff. So she decides to solve this mystery by enlisting
the world's greatest detective. Except Dick is off on Justice league business
and Red Robin - different team, same story. But Damian in his egotistical way
convinces he can do anything they can and so they team up and head for
Metropolis. The next scene is a hoot. They go to a costume party in costumes
that are pretty funny looking. The idea is to mingle with the college kids to
see if they can find any connection with the dead kids found earlier. They are
really not ready for the villain behind it all nor the effect he will have on
them. Of course it all ends well but the fun is in getting there. Williamson has
scripted great dialogue getting Damian's attitude just right. The somewhat
cartoon-like style of Garza fits in well with the lighter part of the story and
shifts gears when the action starts. It is a good package and fits in well under
this title.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Clayton Crain
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is another one of those comics that impresses you with the art right from
the beginning. Since Clayton Crain does it all it is a credit to his talent that
it can be so photo-realistic and still blend in some surreal characters. It is
probably due to this attention to detail in every aspect that his title is bi-
monthly. Well the title is CARNAGE but the character does not appear until the
last panel. So this first chapter is the introduction and lead in to the main
plot. While Tony Stark is attending a medical supply expo he listens to the
latest genius in the science of using the brain to manipulate machines. Tony
suspects there is something sinister behind the man but he is distracted by what
appears to be a six-armed Spider-Man swinging through the streets. He calls in
the real Spider-Man who gets to use his usual snappy banter on the way over
while balancing a bowl of Froot Loots. Meanwhile, as we saw in the opening scene
a sedan is chasing an armored vehicle through the streets and the faux Spider-
Man is after them both. When Spider-Man gets filled in on the other web slinger
he knows who it is and how dangerous things could get. It doesn't take long for
those fears to be realized. The doppelganger is trying to rescue a teammate in
the armored vehicle. There are others trying to stop him and our two Avengers
have their hands full with the local crowd that have suddenly gone mad and are
attacking everyone. Things will get more mysterious when we find out who was in
that van and where she is being taken. This is a good story that takes off
quickly and never lets go. The script builds the tension among the players and
we know there won't be a resolution for some time to come. It is a tight story
with many elements that will eventually all come together. This is not just
another spin-off team up but a great stand alone story. I think it is worth your
time and money.


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

Last week's trivia question: In 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?
He was the Durlan from L.E.G.I.O.N. who was first seen in INVASION.
We had a special prize this time - the hardcover graphic novel HATTER M: THE
NATURE OF WONDER. The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question: Who invented the words: hurry, boredom, disgraceful, hostile, money's worth, obscene, puke, perplex, on purpose, shooting star, and sneak?
These words came from the Bard, William Shakespeare.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: Iota, Donner, Blitzen, Starlight, Payback and one other were also known as.?

Here is your no prize question: There are four words in the English language, which show all of the vowels in alphabetical order. Can you name any of them?

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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