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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic Reviews 11/19/10

Title: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The High Road
Publisher: DC
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Cafu
Inker: Bit
Colors: Santiago Arcas
Letters: Swands
Cover Artist: Frank Quitely & Val Staples after Wally Wood/Darwyn Cooke-Variant
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS first appeared in 1965 and fortunately that DC has
recently collected first run and related titles in hardcover. Attempts at
revival have occurred over the years but now we have a major publisher giving it
a shot. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. is The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement
Reserves. They are charged with tackling threats most super heroes don't know
exist. The agency does this by giving certain of their agents' special abilities
but the catch is that the powers themselves will eventually kill them. At one
point in the story a new hire is given the explanation as to how these special
agents come to be. A super computer with human elements involved selects the
candidates from pretty much all the information stored in the world. This
opening issue serves to introduce some of those agents, or at least the current
versions of them. The story is told in somewhat disjointed fashion
chronologically. The basic plot is that one of the heroes, Raven, has been
captured by the bad guys known as Spider. Two super agents, Dynamo the super
strength guy and Lightning the speedster were sent with a team of field agents
to rescue him. As it turns out while our heroes are fighting the armored foot
soldiers of Spider outside the stronghold another undercover agent has managed
to work his way into the cell where he is being held. He manages to subdue the
guard and rouse Raven so that Raven can fly them both to their extraction point.
Unknown to all there will be more surprises awaiting them there. Much of the
issue is taken up with conversations behind the scenes at the agency. We get to
know key players for later chapters and some of the dangers facing not only the
heroes but also the rest of the group. For that reason it is not so much a
satisfying super hero story though there is plenty of action. The production
quality is high with superb art in every aspect. I am hoping going forward we
will get to know each major character in depth. The whole point to me seems to
be the question - why would anyone accept the powers knowing it will kill them?
For now I give this one a yes and will stick with it to see how it develops.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Marc Guggenheim, Tara Butters & Ryan Bodenheim
Writers: Marc Guggenheim & Tara Butters
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
Colors: Mark Englert
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As luck would have it another new team book debuted this week. This one has
characters like Jarhead the super soldier, Sabre the urban vigilante, Agni the
Indian god of fire and light, Zenith the world's greatest hero, Enos the
cybernetically enhanced space-chimp, Transom the super speedster, Nul and
Triumph a super heroine. The team has a virtual meeting in their underwater
headquarters with only Zenith actually present. The concern, if you can call it
that, is that for some reason crime is down all over the world. It has been
steadily declining for nine months as Enos explains but on became evident
recently as war, crime and every other form of human aggression have been
declining exponentially. Even Sabre's clash with some criminals after a crazy
chase and car crash did not result in a dead perp, as it often the case. The
other plot looks in on Oculus, a would be ruler of the world about three weeks
ago. He is in a super-villain safe haven in an alternate reality watching
Jarhead on a quest for Bin Laden. Oculus is then visited by his counterpart from
reality 2439-Gamma. That Oculus has a major revelation he learned from yet a
third Oculus who is never wrong. Not only did he correctly predict that Oculus
would return to his own world but that he would then do something that would
shock the world. As we see at the end of the issue that is exactly what happens.
Once again we have a lot of introductory material with a large cast of
characters. We learn a little about their relationship and the writers set the
mystery that needs to be solved going forward. The art is detailed and colored
well. This one is worth following as it has a lot of promise.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Bottle of the Planets
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Rick Burchett
Inker: Dan Davis
Colors: Wildstorm FX
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Every time a cartoon gets a new series we comic fans seem to get another
adaptation to enjoy. There is an all-new Batman: The Brave and the Bold series
and this issue kicks off the comic book version. Starting off Batman has a brief
team up with Black Canary as they tackle the Joker and his robots but the main
event will feature Batman and Superman as they travel to the bottled city of
Kandor. The Kandorans have asked Superman help them solve a string of thefts and
Clark wants Bruce to use his detective skills to lend a hand. Since there is not
much crime in the bottled city the locals are baffled as to how to handle it. It
is a simple premise involving members of the various guilds in Kryptonian
society that make up the ruling council. It turns out that the things that have
gone missing are all components of a missile designed by the infamous Jax-Ur. He
was banished to the Phantom Zone for blowing up one of Krypton's moons. They
realize the seriousness of the thefts and need to figure out who is doing it and
how. It is a fun mystery and of course Batman plays a key role in solving it.
The art has a cartoon quality to it but is more polished than most of this
genre. I recommend this comic for kids of all ages.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Bad Day
Title Arc: Shadowplague
Publisher: IDW
Writer: John Rogers
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Colors: Aburtov and Graphikslava
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Sword & Sorcery

This series had one of those pesky "zero" issues so you might want to seek it
out the get the complete story. However, this comic starts a decent story and is
not difficult to follow for lack of background. As explained in the opening text
Adric Fell is an adventurer who leads a team on adventures, presumably. They are
Kahl the Dwarf, Varis the Elf and Bree the female halfling. They just slew a
black dragon and a group of slavers to rescue the slaves. They received the help
of the tiefling warlock, Tish, who has decided to join their troop. As they are
resting in a tavern a large number of zombies attack through the floor and in
the ensuing battle some are killed. But in death they revert to mere men. The
group is hauled before the Lord Khal to answer to murder charges but luckily
their old friend the wizard Copernicus Jinx appears to shed light on the matter.
It seems Shadow is bleeding in from Shadowfell, a mirror image of our world.
This infected the assailants and before long the Lord's men are infected as
well. Our heroes will have their hands full escaping another attack and stopping
the infection by plugging the leak. It is not a bad set up and does not waste
time getting into the meat of the plot. The characters are dynamic and interact
well, often with lots of sarcastic humor. They are likable and the danger keeps
them on their toes. The art is above average making it a good package overall.
You don't have to be an avid gamer to enjoy a comic of this caliber.

Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Tim Seeley
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Seeing how we now have a new Ant-Man and a new Wasp it was natural to have them
to have them team up for an adventure. The new Wasp is of course Hank Pym who
took that identity in homage to his departed wife Janet Van Dyne. The new Ant-
Man is Eric O'Grady who is a bit of a womanizer. Eric is visited by the Black
Fox, world-renowned master thief but a friend nonetheless. He claims to have
information about an A.I.M. plot to steal something of value from Pym. Eric
plans to use the info to help endear him with Hank. While visiting him at the
Infinite Avengers Mansion he is put off by Hank and then tries to hit on female
members of Avengers Academy but ends up asleep on the couch from too much booze.
This is all a distraction as it turns out a female in a negligee who can walk
through people's dreams emerges from his head and manages to steal something
very important. It seems Pym has created a virtual Utopia where the remains of
Bill Foster's consciousness resides. Foster was the Goliath killed in the Civil
War. If A.I.M. can hack the technology they can corrupt Utopia and use it for
their own purposes. The reluctant Pym agrees to let Eric come along to correct
this error in trusting the Black Fox. This is a typical team up story with the
personality clash of the main characters a main feature. The scripting is clever
and entertaining and the art is very good. The pencils, inks and colors all
blend well making it a high quality product visually. I follow the Avengers
Academy team so it was an added bonus to see them used effectively in this
story. This is a worthwhile comic to pick up.

Issue Number: 6 (of 6)
Title Story: The All-over
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Lee Garbett & Pere Perez
Inker: Alejandro Sicat & Walden Wong
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Covers: Andy Kubert & Lee Garbett with Bill Sienkiewicz
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As I mentioned last week Bruce Wayne has already appeared in Gotham in last
week's issue of BATMAN AND ROBIN. This issue wraps up his time traveling
adventure and brings him back to the present without destroying it. After
visiting various time periods Bruce has found himself at the vanishing point
where all time will end. In one hour the local time will end and vanishing point
will vanish. A hyperfauna infestation from Apokolips has been following him at
each jump through time. He cannot escape it except by dying. The Bush Robots
here hold it at bay while they prepare Bruce for his last journey through time.
Arriving at Vanishing Point a bit too late are Superman and the rest who have
been looking for Bruce through time. But Bruce is already back in the present,
giving the Justice League there the problem of dealing with the effect the
hyperfauna will have on the world. It will take something daring to save both
Bruce and the rest of the world. Now that it is over I must admit I was not all
that engrossed by the story. The individual chapters had interesting subplots
that made each one decent but Morrison kind of muddles the plight of Bruce with
too many elements in a major plot stretched too long to get to the point. This
does not take away from the art team that put in a great effort visually. I look
forward more to what will develop in the future with the Batman titles because
this story did not give me the big bang one would expect from an "event" series.


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:
Who is Carolyn Kelley?

There could be thousands of Carolyn Kelleys, most notably the daughter of Walt
Kelly - an answer that pops up first in a Google search. The one we wanted was
also known as Carrie - the female Robin from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

The winner this time is Sean Fowler.

Here was your no prize question:
What is the longest word in the English language with no one letter to appear

Dermatoglyphics, misconjugatedly, and uncopyrightable, each fifteen letters
long, are the longest English words in which no letter appears more than once.
Sean Fowler is our expert on the language.

Chet Archer, Kit Draper and Bob Block belong to what team?

Here is your no prize question:
What is the most popular drink throughout the entire world?

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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