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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Title: DRIVER FOR THE DEAD
Issue Number: 2(of 3)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creator & Writer: John Heffernan
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Paints: Kinsun Lo & Jerry Choo
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Manco
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural




This mini-series started with an interesting premise. In New Orleans Alabaster
Graves is the most trusted transporter of dangerous bodies to their final
resting place. Sometimes that even requires he makes sure they are dead - as in
vampires and other supernatural beings. The legendary voodoo priest Mose Freeman
died during an exorcism. With Mose's great granddaughter, Marissa, riding
shotgun he has been charged with getting the body to the family crypt. Unknown
to Graves an evil necromancer named Fallow wants to get his hands on the body.
Fallow can siphon psychic energy from those with power by cutting off their body
parts and attaching them to himself. This issue spends a lot of time
illustrating that fact, in gruesome fashion, as he goes after a man with second
sight, a woman who can touch from a distance and a man with a tongue of power
that can bend people to his will. Mose's heart will be his ultimate prize as he
was a priest of great power. We also get a look at Grave's past and the reason
he got into this business. By the end Graves is injured but saved from capture
by an old woman who explains the dire consequences ahead. The only way to stop
Fallow is to go in search of the legendary Loup Garoux and obtain the only
weapon that will kill Fallow. The series has really ramped up the action this
issue with lots of exposition to go with it. We are now fully informed about the
main characters and their motivations. We are on the edge of our seat wondering
if Graves can possibly prevail if it isn't already too late. At first I was put
off by the darkness of painted art but I have come to appreciate the detail of
the pencils and the darkness where it is needed to set the mood. This is really
a well-executed project. It is a thriller that engages the reader and never lets
go. I can't wait for the finale!

Title: LADY DEATH PREMIERE
Publisher: Boundless Comics/Avatar Press
Creator: Brian Pulido
Writer: Brian Pulido & Mike Wolfer
Artist: Marcelo Mueller
Colors: Digikore Studios
Price (USD): FREE
Release Date: NOW AVAILABLE
Genre: Fantasy/Supernatural

You may have passed this one up on the rack if you did not want to spend money
on another series starring Lady Death. But it is FREE so check it out. The
series itself will start in December from the Boundless imprint of Avatar
Comics. In November they will issue collected edition reprints of past series.
This premiere issue serves as a teaser of what to expect in the new ongoing. At
only 12 pages it consists of battle scenes of an invasion of Lady Death's domain
by a witch of sorts wearing a mask of her likeness and calling herself Death
Queen. We see she has considerable power and an army of evil characters that are
beginning to storm the castle. As Lady Death rides to meet her foe a trusted
lieutenant falls and she faces the Death Queen herself. The end result may or
may not be the prequel or part of the new series - that is left for conjecture.
So far it seems to be typical sword and sorcery action. Mueller does some
terrific work on the interiors and of course there are various covers - most
only available at conventions. For the price it is worth picking up to see if
you would be interested.

Title: STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES
Issue Number: WAR ONE-SHOT (Featuring Mademoiselle Marie)
Title Story: Vivre Libre Ou Mourir!
Publisher: DC
Writer: Billy Tucci
Artist: Justiano and Tom Derenick
Inker: Andrew Mangum
Colors: Tom Chu
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Brian Bolland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: War Comic



Continuing DC's weekly war story comic offerings is this entry set in occupied
France during WWII. Marie is a Special Operations Executive that has just
parachuted behind enemy lines to meet with the French resistance. She meets
Alain Morange and his group. At the safe house he explains that with the money
she has brought they plan to buy a thousand machine guns and rifles to rally a
force to liberate France. They will meet Galtier, a banker with access to a
hidden stock of government arms, in Vichy. There are difficulties with
deceptions, betrayals and Nazi's as their mission unfolds. But Mademoiselle
Marie is pretty resourceful herself. The treacherous Milice collaborators and
the Gestapo may not be a match for this operative. This is another fine one-shot
that upholds the tradition of the classic DC series STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES.
The plot is tight with a few twists and turns and a decent resolution. The art
is superb from the cover, by my favorite Brian Bolland, to the very end. DC has
done it again.

Title: THE TERMINATOR 1984
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Zack Whedon
Artist: Andy Macdonald
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction



I did not know what to expect when I first saw this one but with 1984 in the
title I knew it would be tied in to the early history of the TERMINATOR and it
is. The events take place during and immediately following the original
TERMINATOR movie. Some scenes will be familiar to those who are fans of that
classic. Others are different views and behind the scenes - things not shown in
the movie. We know that Kyle Reese was sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor
from the Terminator from the future. Its mission was to ensure her son John, the
leader of the Earth resistance, was never born. What Zack adds to the story is
another character, Ben. Ben was Kyle's friend in the future. When Ben lost his
lover to a terminator attack he decided to follow Kyle on his mission and help
protect him. Some of the scenes give us a different perspective of our world as
seen from a man who has known only war and famine at the hands of the machines.
As he proceeds to locate Reece the events of the movie unfold. We also meet some
people who are also aware of the time travelers and want Reese for their own
purposes. Ben arrives at the factory where the first terminator met his fate
just as Reese is taken away in a body bag in a black van. Following his instinct
he tails the van and makes an amazing discovery. All may not be lost but he is
going to need help. This story fits seamlessly into the first movie using what
has been established to set the scene for a new adventure. Having Ben seek out
Sarah Connor to give her some shocking news sets the stage for the next issue.
The script is engaging and does not belabor what we already know about the
history. Rather it takes a step sideways to show us what we don't know and takes
time to introduce new important characters. The art is decent as well, making
this a very enjoyable and thrilling first issue.

Title: QUEEN SONJA
Issue Number: 10
Title Story: The Red Queen (part 5)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Robert E. Howard
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Jackson Herbert
Colors: Adrianio Lucas
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Sword & Sorcery



I haven't been reading this comic nor have I read many Sonja stories in the
past. I decided to pick up an issue of this series to see how it reads. It turns
out that this issue is the concluding episode of a five-part story. Despite
that, and little introductory material, I found it very readable. A lot of that
has to do with the art in the capable hands of Jackson Herbert and Adriano
Lucas. Sonja is a beautiful woman with considerable assets but also a warrior of
considerable skill. While she is always drawn to show off her female form it is
important not to just have her depicted as a bimbo - like many super heroine
characters often are. Herbert strikes that balance without forgetting the other
characters who are much more interesting as relates to the larger story. At this
part of the story a few characters loyal to Queen Sonja believe that Lord Ariok
and his sister, guests in her castle, are a danger to their queen and they sneak
into his room to assassinate him. Ariok is wounded but manages to kill his
attackers. He then convinces his sister they cannot trust Sonja and must flee.
Learning they have gone Sonja is outraged that her people would take such action
and rushes out to find Ariok and Alethia to make amends. As she goes we learn
the kingdom is in the midst of a famine, something that no doubt factored into
the story earlier. In the end we learn the true nature of Ariok and Alethia.
While reading the story from the beginning would have been more rewarding it
stills is easy to follow. The impact of the ending is just as strong just
reading this one chapter. This appears to be a worthy adaptation of the Howard
character as it relies on characterization and strong production values.

Title: SECRET WARRIORS
Issue Number: 20
Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Mirko Colak
Colors: Imaginary Friends Studio
Letters: Dave Lamphear
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero





This series began as the former SHIELD leader banded a new group of undiscovered
young superhumans to fight wars he felt needed to be fought without the
constraints of government hovering over them. As I read the recap in the front I
see this series has come a long way in just twenty issues. Fury has his original
Secret Warriors but also formed two other teams. The Grey team, led by his son
Mikel, set out to neutralize the Soviet espionage operation known as Leviathan.
Former SHIELD operative Alexander Pierce whose mission is to destroy Hydra leads
the Black team. In past issues things have escalated. Leviathan attacked and
destroyed the Hydra base known as the Crown. The two are in an all out war and
Fury wants to strike them both to end it once and for all. The opening scene
shows just how serious the war is as several blocks in downtown Seattle are
destroyed by Leviathan to obliterate a Hydra recruitment center. Fury relates to
his team similar incidents in China, Paris and London with thousands of civilian
casualties. Fury wants to deal a killing blow by destroying Gehenna; a Hydra
stronghold in New Zealand while the Grey and Black teams hit the two remaining
Leviathan strongholds. In order to take out Gehenna Fury will take his team into
orbit over New Zealand and Eden will transport them to the base to set a
devastating bomb and get out quickly. It is the only way to breach the defenses.
What could possibly go wrong? Heh, heh! I am not sure if there have been
indications in the past but one of the team's members has a deep secret
revealed, maybe for the first time in this issue. It will have major
ramifications. The story may seem a bit too much narrative and not enough action
in the first half. That serves the new reader well as the pace picks up to a
stunning ending. On balance it is a pretty decent way to get caught up with this
team post Dark Reign.

*****
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: COMING HOME FROM A SHOW, HIS PARENTS WERE GUNNED DOWN BY A THIEF. HE VOWED REVENGE ON CRIMINALS, SO HE STUDIED TO BECOME A DETECTIVE, AND BUILT UP HIS BODY. HE WEARS A BLUE CAPE... But, he's a MARVEL hero. Who is he?

The character in question is The Shroud. The winner by the dice is Christian
Mock.

Here is your no prize question: What is the smallest sovereign entity in the world?

The actual smallest sovereign entity (not necessarily a country) in the world is
the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M). It is located in the city
of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts and, as of 2001, had a
population of 80 -- 20 less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity
under international law, just as the Vatican is.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: What was the title of the religious themed hero comic published by Marvel and Nelson Publishing in 1993?

Here is your no prize question: On what show did the Beatles make their TV debut?

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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