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Friday, November 26, 2010

Issue Number: Volume 1
Publisher: Automatic Pictures Inc.
Creator: Frank Beddor
Writers: Frank Beddor & Liz Cavalier
Guest Writers: Stephen Jarret & Shaun Manning
Artist: Ben Templesmith & Sami Makkonen
Letters: Jason Hanley & Tom B. Long
Cover Artist: Vincent Proce
Price (USD): $29.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

I recently reviewed Volume three of this series. Automatic Pictures has now
released a second edition of the first volume with two added chapters included.
I admit I have been reading this story out of sequence and this is my first look
at the beginning of the saga that chronicles Hatter Madigan's quest to find
Princess Alyss of Wonderland. The supplementary text provides the reader with
background information. Hatter M was the bodyguard for Queen Genevieve who was
overthrown by her sister Redd in the preceding trilogy THE LOOKING GLASS WARS.
It was her dying wish that Madigan leave Wonderland and take Alyss somewhere
safe. They escaped by jumping into the Pool of Tears, a portal to other worlds
from which no one returns. During the transition they are separated. Alyss ends
up in England and eventually tells her story to Lewis Carroll. She told her
tales of Wonderland, the land where all imagination begins, hoping that if it
were published eventually it would come to the attention of Madigan making it
easy for him to locate her. Carroll however turned it all around making her
Alice Liddell of Earth who traveled to Wonderland. Meanwhile, Hatter M ended up
in 1859 France. He began a journey from 1859 to 1872 searching for his lost
charge. This series of books, which the publishers term a Geographic Novel, is
ostensibly taken from his journal. There is extensive additional material
credited to the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel highlighting artifacts,
letters, news stories and even photos that give credence to the story actually
taking place in the late 19th century.

It is interesting to see Hatter's immediate reaction to this strange new world
where the sights and sounds are so different from the land of imagination. One
thing that drives him is the visible glow of White Imagination, which all
Wonderlanders are able to optically register. But he also can see the Dark
Imagination, which is also flowing into our world from Wonderland as a force for
evil in his adversaries. His first experiences in France show us how disoriented
he must be, to the point of attacking kites being flown in a park. Now Hatter M
is a master of the blade. Not only is he an excellent swordsman but also he is
equipped with a supply of blades that emanate from a special vest all of his
profession wear. His signature top hat itself is a weapon, bonded to his will
that turns into a disk of spinning blades when he throws it. Throughout the tale
we see him use the weapons against the dark forces. His attack on the kites has
him labeled as a monster. After he momentarily loses his hat he is overpowered
by gendarmes and taken before a magistrate based mostly on over-hyped gossip. He
makes his escape. It is after this that he takes in a performance by a young
female violinist in a dark theater. Due to he glow of imagination he suspects
she is Alyss and begins a quest to follow the troop and rescue her. What he
encounters is a master plot by some people who abduct young children and use a
magical machine to siphon off their imagination. He makes friends with a female
journalist and together they seek to expose the people behind this nefarious
plot while Madigan still believes the young girl could be his Alyss. It is a
very detailed plot with lots of twists and turns leading up to a resolution of
sorts, but not what Hatter M was hoping. Templesmith is the perfect artist for
this type of story. His use of limited color and shading sets the tone in every
scene just right. The additional two chapters are short stories about his
journey. "Dublin" by Stephen Jarret has him teaming up with a young Bram Stoker
to stop the legendary Spring Heeled Jack who is a vampire preying on young
children. In "Siberia" by Shaun Manning he is in a prison and gets a visit from
Magda Pushkin, the journalist he met in the main story. These stories along with
the supplementary material give additional depth to the overall picture of our
hero and his journey that is just beginning. It is worth the reader's time to
read the entire volume cover to cover. It is a fascinating complex story with
traditional themes that will delight your own imagination.

Issue Number: 2 (of 3)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creators: Antoine Fuqua & Wesley Snipes
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Paints: Kinsun Loh, Jerry Choo & Sansan Saw
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Francesco "Matt" Mattina
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is a tale of a dystopian future where sunlight is safety and darkness is
certain death. The fate of so many is so desperate that riots have broken out
across the world. The military has gathered a group of specialists and known
criminals to search for a person they feel will bring hope back to the people -
a female known only as Angel. They navigate through the air by the talent of a
Bedouin named Omar. In the first chapter Trooper Jones caught a viral strain and
the ship's doctor decided to abandon her on the surface and carry on the
mission. Omar, a femme fatale Ana and the gang brawler Monclare disagree and
journey outside into the coming darkness to get aid for Jones. However, when the
darkness descended Jones committed suicide and the three are left alone in the
dark. Surprisingly as this chapter begins the ship reappears as Colonel Brood
has decided he needs as many of the crew he can keep to complete the mission.
And so the story continues as the ship makes its way to Archipelago City where a
search party hopes to find clues to locate Angel. They find aggressive locals
and an old statue of Angel giving them hope they are on the right path. After a
near deadly attack they locate a child in form that is really very old,
generations in age. It reveals a unique ability and gives them a lead to follow.
There are mysteries and clues to the past of the main players as the journey
moves forward to Birdland City. When they arrive they find they are expected and
the climax may change some minds as to the nature of Angel. But will it alter
Brood's mind one he has read the sealed orders he can now read? This is one of
those stories that go at its own pace. There is more to these characters than we
first imagined and the writer fleshes them out even more as we go along. With
the final chapter we may get to see how it all comes together by the actions
each may take. This is more of a character study at this point that is very well
crafted. The art, as you might guess from the title, is purposely dark but only
for effect when the crew is Earthside. The pencils are very detailed and the
paints highlight the talent involved. It is not a shoot 'em up adventure though
there is some of that when needed. I am anxious to see how the arc wraps up next

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Mr. Unknown Is Dead
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Michel LaCombe
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: John J. Hill
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

At the end of the last issue of BATMAN AND ROBIN Bruce Wayne announced to the
world that he had been secretly funding Batman's needs for years, in honor of
his dead parents. Now he will take the good fight even further by an enterprise
known as Batman Incorporated. The plan is to set up and international
organization of crime fighters. The first story will take that mission to Japan
where, as the title suggests, a Japanese hero has been killed by Lord Death Man
and his minions. Bruce is traveling to Japan with Selina/Catwoman where he hopes
to train a Japanese Batman. We see from the opening scene he is too late but the
trail to Mr. Unknown's killer may lead him to another candidate. I enjoyed the
recent Batman/Catwoman one-shot and this story seems almost an extension of
their new alliance. Morrison is starting a long-term theme with this being the
first of hopefully many allies Bruce will make around the world. He may well be
setting us up for a much more involved event months, even years down the road.
For now the premise and execution of the first chapter is a good start. Rather
than rush the establish a global organization and gloss over how it came to be
he is showing us step by step with characters we will get to know in detail. Mr.
Unknown's successor will be motivated just as Bruce was so long ago. Adding
Selena to the mix provides another element to the story and some lighter
moments. I give it thumbs up as a good beginning.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Creator: George R. R. Martin
Writer: George R. R. Martin
Artist: Stefano Martino
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Stefano Martino/Rebecca Wrigley
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

The beginning of this story is like something out of Terminator. A bolt of
lightning strikes the middle of a busy road and leaves standing a female in
tattered clothes with a metallic gauntlet on one arm. It warns her of an
approaching truck and she pulls out a weapon that tears apart the truck but
leaves her unconscious. This brings her to a hospital under heavy guard. When
she awakens the doctor tending her convinces the guards that she must stay for
observation. As he slowly gains her trust she tries to explain she is from
another Earth but he does not catch on. Yes this is a tale of parallel worlds.
She has come to our Earth and is being chased by powerful forces, some of which
are not entirely human. They serve a master who remains in the shadows to us. He
wants the devise, the weapon and the girl returned. Meanwhile the human
authorities take her and her devices in custody to study, recognizing the
technology is nothing from this Earth. Doctor Thomas tracks her down and tries
to help communicate with her but things get desperate as she realizes the
Darklord and his manhounds are tracking her. It will become a chase and no doubt
lead to doorways and other worlds at some point. This is a really slick product
with terrific art and high production value. The theme reminds me somewhat of
the TV show SLIDERS with the catalyst for plots being the ability to travel to
alternate Earths. In fact, this idea was the basis for a TV pilot that very
nearly became a series on ABC in 1992-93. So far this one has a lot of promise
as a comic book.

Title: R.P.M.
Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: 12 Gauge Comics
Writers: Mick Foley & Shane Riches
Artist: Jose Holder
Colors: Michael Wiggam
Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Adventure

Revere is a courier for hire. He is also an expert at hitting things with
projectiles. This talent comes in handy be it ricocheting a beer bottle into a
windshield of the car chasing him or winning bets with his mechanic. His driving
skills and his absolute discretion land him jobs with the government as well as
private clients because he always delivers. His newest job has him delivering a
synthetic diamond larger than the Hope diamond for Forever Inc. They need to get
it get authenticated in the belief it cannot be distinguished from a natural
diamond. He will be accompanied by the female Mackenzie and her head of security
but it must be on his terms. If they are able to fabricate diamonds this good it
will destabilize the world market and there are many who want to stop them or
just steal the gem. The story evolves around his preparation for the journey
from New England to Miami and the steps he takes to ensure they follow his
instructions. Naturally you know there will be trouble along the way and we are
not disappointed right up to the climax cliffhanger. The art on this one is kind
of rough on the pencils but the coloring and composition make it work. It is a
thriller that is just starting to ramp up. I would give it a try.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Artist: Emma Rios
Back up story: Warren Ellis & Jamie McKelvie
Colors: Jose Villarrubia & Matt Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Ben Oliver - Variant by John Romita & Marcos Martin
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

Norman Osborn tried to take over the world. He failed. Now he is in the maximum-
security prison known as The Raft where he can ponder his fate and plan his
future. Through the course of the issue we do not see him all that much, but
when we do he is very creepy. We also get to see a lot of Norah Jones of
Frontline. She has been assigned to do a follow up on Osborn for Ben Urich so
she huddles with Peter Parker on the reason she may not want to. We get to see
more of her as she begins only to learn some shocking news. This is a really
dense comic with lots of information to absorb. There is another prison
facility, privately run, in an undisclosed location. We first get to see it when
a priest visits a special circular room with five cells. An overhead view
introduces us to some really unsavory characters. We get the idea they are too
dangerous even for The Raft. It all plays into Norman Osborn's immediate future
and the people behind the scenes that will affect it. No characters seem to be
in minor roles here. The priest has a couple of interesting secrets. Norah will
no doubt get in way too deep. It is the kind of comic to read slowly and then
read again to get even more out of it. It is excellent scripting and the art is
superb. If you really liked the way Norm was used in the recent past you'll love
this book. The back up story explores the life of one of those unsavory inmates
in the secret prison, June Covington. Here expertise in biology and genetics and
the deadly way she used that knowledge has gained her the sobriquet of The Toxic
Doxie. Warren Ellis details her personality and motivation in an entertaining
fashion. This addition to the issue makes it worth price more so than most $4


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 hard cover graphic novel HATTER M: FAR FROM WONDER
reviewed above. 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

Last week's trivia question:
Chet Archer, Kit Draper and Bob Block belong to what team?

They are of course the original "Channel Seven News Team" appearing in
Astronauts in Trouble from AIT: SPACE 1959.

Among those in the know was the winner by the dice, Gregory Goding.

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

Water is essential for life and is not a drink of choice; nearly everybody
drinks water. The most popular drink of choice is coffee. Over four hundred
billion cups of coffee are consumed every year.

In what Ultraverse title did the character that became Nightman first appear?

Here is your no prize question: Whose famous last words were, "I'm tired. I'm going back to bed"?

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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