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Friday, December 10, 2010

Comic Reviews 12/10/10

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: Monsters of Rock
Publisher: DC
Writer: Adam Beechen
Artist: Kieron Dwyer
Colors: Ego
Letters: Swands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor/fantasy

I did not know what to expect from this comic. The cover indicates a heroic
figure possibly about to do battle with an off panel foe, beautifully rendered
by Wrightson though he did not receive a credit for it on the inside. What I
found inside was a more humor than epic battle and that was a good surprise. It
opens with the here clad in blue spandex and a long red cape wielding a sword
and standing in an alley waiting for the battle to come. Suddenly he is startled
by an aging hippy, Eddie Persky, who instantly recognizes our hero as Jim Rook
leader of a sixties rock band called The Electrics. Eddie instantly launches
into a monologue about attending the Electrics last gig in the East Village back
in 1969. The band was on a meteoric rise but Jim vanished after that night. The
humor of this comic lies in the dialogue between the two throughout the book.
Eddie is constantly ranting about the band, what happened to Jim, how he should
write about their chance meeting in a song for his next album (his last was in
1969!) Meanwhile Jim is fighting monsters, telling the oblivious Eddie he is in
grave danger and so on. When Jim steps through a portal to another dimension
Eddie follows without thinking and without stopping his chatter. The
surrealistic landscape and the large monsters have no impact on Eddie as he
keeps rambling. Jim is seeking the villain of this other dimension, Lord Meh,
who has captured his companions. Meh has decided to eradicate Jim and his group
in order to carry out his master plan to rule the realm. When the final
confrontation comes it is Eddie who proves to be the key to victory. It is
lighthearted romp that contrasts the two personalities and goals. The art is
very capable with dynamic coloring that finishes it well. It was a pleasant
surprise and a welcome diversion.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Alex Ross
Writer: Jai Nitz
Artist: Wilson Tortosa
Colors: Marlon Ilagan
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I was not sure if this title had any ties to the super hero universe created by
Ross and apparently it does not. It is the story of a combat rescue officer
named Wayne Russell. It starts in the middle, jumps back to the beginning and
finishes in the present. Does anybody tell linear stories anymore? The combat
rescue team is a very elite squad that is called in only on rescue missions.
They secure friendlies, move the wounded to the evacuation and kill any
unfriendlies on the way, as they keep moving. The action takes place in
Afghanistan just south of Kandahar. The trapped victims are Estonians disabled
when they hit an IED. The team makes a high altitude jump into the zone to start
their mission. Through the course of the action there are many casualties and
Russell himself is mortally wounded as the action takes him to an area where
some private security forces have been decimated beyond recognition. There is a
strange weapon on the ground. After being hit by a sniper his only hope is to
use the weapon against the attacker. When he does it transforms not only himself
but also his enemy into beings with control of sound. Their bodies take the
forms we see on the opening page, one is metal like a robot, and the other is
head to toe cloth. They hurl sonics at each other as they go at it hand to hand.
The narrative in this part is very interesting as Wayne recalls a time long ago
when he remembers his favorite record album and how it had impacted him at the
time. The relevance is drawing a parallel of the power of sound to the power of
a song. The last scene in the present brings it all together and sets up our
hero with something he did not expect. I enjoyed the story from the aspect that
the super powered fight seems secondary to the dialogue, the combat scenes flesh
out the character and his background while the ending leaves a bit of a mystery
as to what happened after the fight and what could happen next. The art is
compelling with lots of different angles of perspective and good coloring. While
this is an origin issue it does not get into the meat of what the hero does
next. But for a first issue it is a good start.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Are You for Hire?
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Jay David Ramos
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Doug Braithwaite & Sonia Oback
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I did not realize who was writing this comic when I picked it up. When I saw it
was Abnett and Lanning I figured it would be not just another rehash of an old
theme. The original Heroes for Hire were of course Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The
team name has seen several iterations in the past as retold for those who want
background in the second half of the book. The downside is the main story is
that much shorter. But it is jam-packed and sets up the series in a way I did
not expect. It starts with Sam Wilson, the Falcon, receiving and earpiece and
when he puts in on hears a voice identifying itself as Control. He recognizes
the voice but she cautions him to just call her Control, like Barbara Gordon is
only called Oracle on a comlink. She has one question for him, "Are you for hire
tonight?" This is how this new team that is not a team works. Control calls a
hero who has the right skills and/or is in the right place to accomplish the
current mission. If the cover is any indication she will call anyone from
Elektra to Ghostrider and even the Punisher if need be. This episode begins with
the Falcon Chasing a truck carrying illegal drugs. At the right moment Control
calls in the Black Widow to set up a roadblock. Gaining the trucks navigation
log will lead the next hero, Moon Knight to its destination where he learns the
hideous secret behind the dangerous new drugs on the streets and can "convince"
a henchman to tell him who is behind it all. Elektra is then tasked with the job
of "taking care" of the mastermind. But the story does not end there. If you
have not guessed by Falcon's near slip of the tongue at the beginning who
Control is, it is revealed after the mission is finished. But an even darker
secret is held for the last panel and it comes without warning. I don't want to
reveal where this is going but I will say it makes the series much more
interesting. I recommend this title highly as a good one to get into right now.
It could be a sleeper hit. Each different "hero" will spice things up with
varying attitudes and motivations to go along with Control. The art is very good
throughout. I am looking forward to a book-length episode next time.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: What if Tony Stark Had Become Doctor Doom?
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: David Michelinie & Bob Layton
Artist: Graham Nolan
Inker: Mark Pennington
Colors: Sotocolor
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Another story showing what would have happened if something were slightly
different in the Marvel Universe is always interesting to me. This one has
Victor Von Doom as a college roommate of Tony Stark instead of Reed Richards.
You can imagine the conflict of personalities between the playboy born of wealth
and the scholarship exchange student who has had to work for everything. As Doom
recognizes Tony's intelligence the relationship thaws until the fatal day he
takes Tony in his confidence to show him his secret experiment. He claims to be
on the verge of perfecting a machine that will give ordinary people the power of
telekinesis. He needs it to succeed to fund the rest of his college studies.
Tony agrees to help him but as you might guess Doom has a double cross in mind.
In fact it is really a mind transfer machine and he tricks Tony into swapping
bodies. Now he has the identity and wealth of Tony Stark while poor Tony must
assume the identity of Doom who has used school resources with authority and is
exiled back to Latveria with no memory of being Stark. Doom as Stark assumes
Tony's father's fortune at his death and begins a rise to even greater wealth.
But Tony as Doom has finally conquered his demons and resolved himself to be a
success on his own. He manages to build Doom Industries, which eventually rivals
Stark Industries for dominance in technical innovation. Victor as Tony decides
to use a prototype battle suit (Iron Man) to raid his rival's latest invention
but Tony as Doom sees it coming and dons some familiar looking armor meant to be
a rescue suit. The conflict was inevitable in a story such as this and the
resolution is satisfactory. I guess you either like What If or just ignore it.
This one is a decent story with decent art to carry it through.

Back up story: What if the Venom Symbiote Possessed Deadpool? (Part 1 of 4)
By Rick Remender, Shawn Moll, Mark Irwin, Chris Sotomayor & Clayton Cowles

Since this is only the first part look for three other WHAT IF? Comics with the
rest of the story. Most of the time I expect Deadpool stories to be a bit or a
lot silly. This one starts right off with an introduction by the Watcher of
Earth 615.9 known as Boy Watcher. The name comes from the fact he is drawn to
resemble Boy George. We look in on Deadpool of this Earth as he is summoned by
Galactus and given the task of killing The Beyonder. It seems the Beyonder
played a practical joke on Galactus by fusing MODOK's head to his butt. Now
Galactus is willing to give Deadpool the Continuity Cube in return for the deed.
Long story short he ends up meeting him, finding out he is a cool guy and starts
hanging out with Beyonder. Well Spidey in the black costume shows up angry at
Beyonder for putting him in the black suit because he can't get it off. By the
end of the story the transfer is made with Deadpool as Venom. This is really not
a spoiler because that is the title of the story. What happens from here on is
the gist of it all. It is all very silly and the running jokes are not that good
though some of the one-liners aren't bad. It is good enough filler.


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
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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 Y: THE LAST MAN Yorick has a Zippo lighter engraved "(expletive deleted) Communism". He explains it's from a book he once read, a comic book. To what comic book is he referring?
Jesse Custer had the same lighter in PREACHER. The winner by the dice is Tom

Here was your no prize question: "Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here" were the last words of whom?
Those were the words of Michel de Notre Dame (Nostradamus) - 1566.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: Who were the first two characters from DC and Marvel to meet?

Here is your no prize question: Who was the only 6-star General in US History?

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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