Search This Blog

Friday, December 3, 2010

Comic Reviews 12/2/10

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Red Right Hand
Title Arc: Crown of Worms
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Eric Trautman
Artist: Wagner Reis
Colors: Inlight Studio
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Cover Artist: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

Vampirella is back! Now that Dynamite has the rights expect to see more of her
in the future. Well, in a manner of speaking. Certainly there is more to see on
the various covers issued for the debut issue - all appropriately sexy in the
tradition of the character. But longtime fans may be surprised to see very
little of her flesh between the covers. For this first chapter she is fully
clothed in shirt and slacks and a long trench coat. The lead in to the main plot
has her battling some street hoods in Seattle who have been harassing a homeless
man. When they ramp up the violence she responds in kind but restrains from
revealing her true nature. After whooping them good two cops arrive with their
own designs on our heroine. They are vampires and plan to feast, not knowing
whom they are up against. Once they realize she is not helpless prey it is too
late. She knows eventually the trail will lead her to Vlad Tepes, son of
Dracula, but the most she can learn is the location of a female who may know
where he is. She is Le Fanu and as Vampy searches the club where her kind lure
in the unsuspecting victims there are more battles before the climax meeting
with a very different antagonist. The story so far is tightly written with some
background as to her purpose, if not her origin. The art is very good with
appropriate use if coloring and shading that give it the right aura. But I still
want to get back to the traditional skimpy outfit we all know. At least the back
up feature gives us that.

Bonus story: Looking for Mr. Goodwin by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale
Letters by Richard Starkings & Wes Abbot, Colors by J.D. Smith
Originally published in VAMPIRELLA MONTHLY #18, August 1999.

This story was included in tribute to Archie Goodwin who is the inspiration for
the direction of this series. In the story Vampirella seeks out a writer to tell
her story, to make her a legend to live on. Her kind has been characterized by
the likes of Bram Stoker and Bela Legosi. She wants the world to know there is
more to it than that. And so she "convinces" Goodwin to tell her tale and the
rest is history. It is a nice story and a surprise it came from the likes of
Loeb and Sale over a decade ago. It is a real treat to round out a solid first

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Like Father
Publisher: Marvel
Script, Plot & Pencils: Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz
Finish Artist: Sal Bucema
Colors: Bruno Hang
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I never followed the adventures of Thunderstrike when he was around years ago. I
gave this title a chance to get me interested at this time. The story is about
Kevin Masterson, son of the original Thunderstrike. He is new to the Maria Stark
Academy and is already in trouble for starting a fight. As his parents are
brought in and promise he will not be a repeat offender we newcomers learn that
his stepfather is a famous retired athlete, which helps placate the father of
the other boy. Clearly Kevin has problems adjusting to his new family, new
school and resents the loss of his father and does not like the Avengers he was
involved with. So you can imagine his reaction when he is whisked away to meet
Steve Rogers in a mobile command center in the sky. The purpose is to give Kevin
what is legally his, his father's magic mace. But to Kevin's dismay the mace
does not react to his touch. Steve offers to take him into the Avengers Academy
should he manage to trigger the mace hoping he can turn him into a hero someday.
When a desperate situation later causes the mace to trigger it is a surprise to
Kevin, his mother and everyone else. What comes next is sure to be interesting.
While it does not take up the entire issue this is still a lot of plot covered
in a short period and a good set up for the future. The art team does a good
job, especially in the action in the second half of the story. The second major
plot that will intertwine with the main one is covered in the backup story.

Back up story: Only Human
Writer: Tom Defalco
Art: Todd Nauck
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Colors: Andres Mossa

The scene takes place in Valhalla. Hecara declares that the Thunderstrike is
reborn and one among them must journey to Midgard. When the Valkyrie Gruenhilda
questions her it is the Lady Sif who explains the debt of honor Asgard owes the
mortal Eric Masterson. And so we are given a recap of the history of Eric and
how he became a hero and later paid the ultimate price. It is definitely a good
piece to have in this new first issue, especially for those like me that need
the details. In the end it is Gruenhilda that is given the mission to travel to
Earth. I think that should be an interesting addition to the regular cast. The
recap does the job nicely with enough visuals to compliment the text. So far
this title shows promise.

Issue Number: 0
Title Story: Beyond a Shadow
Publisher: DC
Writers: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Artist (Kate Sequence): Amy Reeder
Inker: Richard Friend
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

BATWOMAN #1 debuts in February. Meanwhile this zero issue has Bruce Wayne
following her night and day to prove to himself that he knows she is really Kate
Kane. The art design is very alluring. There are parallel stories told in split
screen, top half/bottom half format though not always in rectangular fashion.
Half the page is Bruce narrating how he watches Kate while in various disguises
- visiting the cemetery, the library and other places including her nightlife.
The other half has her tracking down and fighting members of the Religion of
Crime led by an acolyte called Sister Shard. While he makes notes on further
research into their feud and the cult in particular he is watching her every
move, noting her techniques and training. This isn't a case of him trying to
catch her actually switching identities. It is about analyzing her moves,
attitudes and even confronting her to see the look in her eyes. He is not only
trying to confirm her identity he is assessing her usefulness as an ally. It is
a clever script that is painstaking step by step. The art as a result has to be
up to the task, and it is. The layouts change from page to page and still carry
two different stories by two different pencillers. It all fits together nicely.
This level of quality should carry the new series well next year. Be looking for

Issue Number: 89
Title Story: Bruised Egos
Publisher: DC
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Nicola Scott
Inker: Doug Hazelwood
Colors: Jason Wright
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Checking back in on the TEEN TITANS because I could not resist seeing how they
react to Damian Wayne, the new Robin. The main part of the story has Batman
(Dick) bringing Robin to Titans Tower proposing they take in Robin as a
teammate. Of course Damian charms them immediately with his sarcastic banter and
huge ego. As the rest nearly come to blows Dick and Cassie have a heart to heart
about Damian's need to learn how to trust people, how to count on them. He needs
to be in this team to do that. And so an uneasy relationship begins. It is not
too long before there is a situation to deal with involving a meta human using
his powers destructively at a tech expo. It is almost predictable how things
will go. Robin will jump right in to prove his superiority, mess thing up, have
to be shown how teamwork really works and then mess up again. There are some
character moments within the team and Raven stands out in dealing with the bad
guy this time. The scripting is pretty good and the art handles it all with some
decent layout and composition. It remains to be seen whether Robin will continue
as a member but for now this is a good start.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Stan Lee
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chad Hardin
Colors: Blond
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

First, it is always great to see my former Emag colleague Ed Dukeshire of
Digital Webbing doing work on a major title. It must be a big thrill working on
a Stan Lee creation. For a switch I would like to first comment on the visual
aspects of this new comic. Boom! Has been putting out some great products and
deservedly has grown to be a force in the market. Part of the reason is the
production values they put into each title. This comic has great visuals, which
come to life with the fantastic coloring by Blond. These guys make a great team.
The story involves three seemingly unrelated incidents carried out by what the
federal agent tasked to investigate them calls super-powered lunatics. Angstrom
controls electromagnetics and three times has attacked what appear to be random
citizens. Each was saved by the hero of the piece, the Traveler. The story
begins with one such rescue, which introduces that villain and our hero who is
dubbed Kronus by the lady he rescues based on a torn patch on his costume. As
Kronus rescues another potential victim we learn the bad guys he calls the
Split-Second Men each have a power related to one of the fundamental forces of
the Universe. Angstrom is electromagnetic, Splinter can decay matter and though
we have yet to see the third I am guessing his powers are speed or light based -
E=MC2 don't you know. Traveler's thing is that he can manipulate the flow of
time in a localized field. He may also be a time traveler as the Split-Second
Men are. There is a lot packed in the pages here with a lot more to discover in
the future. It ends with a surprising event, given that Kronus seems to know a
lot about the future and what happens may prove him wrong. Are the Split-Second
Men trying to change the past? I am interested enough to stay with this title.
Mark Waid is a favorite writer of mine and I trust him to give us a good story
as we move forward. Two thumbs up on this one.

Issue Number: 150
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
"Spidey & the Ringer" - David Lafuente & Justin Ponsor
"Carol Danvers & The Ultimates" - Sarah Pichelli & Justin Ponsor
"Spidey & Iron Man" - Joelle Jones, Sunny Gho & Sakti Yuwono
"Spidey & Captain America" - James McKelvie & Matthew Wilson
"Spidey & Thor" - Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Cory Petit
"Ultimate Spider-Man Super Special #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Various
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

You did not miss any issue of the current run. They added the numbering of the
two volumes to celebrate the 150th issue of the character. The first 42 pages
are a continuation of the ongoing story with the high school aged Peter Parker
dating Gwen Stacey and sharing his house with Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake
pretending to be his cousins. The recent damage to Spider-Man's reputation by a
chameleon imposter has pushed Carol Danvers, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., to the
point of having to do something about the mishaps Spidey seems to get into. It
opens with a confrontation with a new villain called the Ringer. Pete eventually
foils his diamond heist of about $11,000 with damage to the city estimated at
$2.7 million. She consults with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor as to their
impressions of the web-slinger. Each has his own perspective about his
intelligence and bravery. Cap wants him grounded, Tony wants him trained and
Thor praises him as a warrior. They arrive at these conclusions by relating
experiences they have had and hence different artists interpret each episode.
The story wraps with a consultation at the Parker home between Peter, Aunt May
and Carol Danvers that single a shift in the future of the Ultimate Spider-Man.
This will no doubt lead into the story beginning in February as highlighted in
the latest Previews just out. I have followed this title from its first volume
and it has progressed nicely with its own continuity. The assortment of artists
on this part does a good job, each in a unique style. The second half is a long
story strung together eventually with a theme based on a homework assignment
given to Peter's class. In it Spider-Man tries to stop Blade from chasing a you-
know-what not realizing who the bad guy really is. Then he finds Elektra on a
roof getting ready to assassinate a man and he stops her only to find out later
the man is a mass murderer. He begins to question his ability to judge what the
right thing to do is in any given situation. Seeking help from other heroes he
gets dressed down verbally by Daredevil and has a major awakening when he tries
to join the Fantastic Four - an interesting take on the historic meeting in the
original Spider-Man comic. This part of the story is a bit confusing as it is
not referenced as happening in the past and yet Mr. Fantastic is alive, Johnny
is not yet his friend and the four are all together in the Baxter Building. A
little better editing should have made it clearer. Regardless, it all comes
together in the end as Peter gives his presentation on the hero he most admires.
The last 20 pages before the presentation are splash pages by more than twenty
artists on several heroes or groups. It makes for a very special recognition of
the longevity of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. It is page for page worth the cover price
more so than any Marvel special I have read in a long time.


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 what Ultraverse title did the character that became Nightman first appear?
Johnny Domingo (shortened to Domino), first appeared in STRANGERS #1. The winner
by the dice is Stu Cathell. He wins the hard cover graphic novel HATTER M: FAR

Here was your no prize question: Whose famous last words were, "I'm tired. I'm going back to bed"?
The answer is George Reeves (Superman) - 1959. Christian Mock wins his place in
the no prize Hall of Fame for getting it first.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: In Y: THE LAST MAN Yorick has a Zippo lighter engraved " Communism". He explains it's from a book he once read, a comic book. To what comic book is he referring?
Here is your no prize question: "Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here" were the last words of whom?

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment