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Friday, February 11, 2011

Comic Reviews 2/11/11

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Legendary
Publisher: DC
Writer: Marv Wolfman & Tony Bedard
Artist: Howard Porter & Livesay and Adriana Melo & Norman Lee
Colors: Carrie Stracham
Letters: Wes Abbott
Cover Artist: Ed Benes & Randy Mayer and Ryan Sook
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Video Game Adaptation

DC has been previewing this comic in the back of their other comics in January.
It is based on the new online game they just made active. I can't speak for the
quality of the game; you'll have to venture on your own. This review is about
the comic set in a different DC reality and it involves Luthor and some very bad
choices. In this reality he has made a pact with Brainiac. It happened several
years ago when a probe the size of a flea invaded one of Luthor's labs in the
Antarctic and started downloading data. When Luthor arrives Brainiac
communicates through it. He convinces Luthor he is only there to eliminate their
mutual enemy, Superman, under the guise that without Superman around other
metahumans would be working for Luthor. He will eliminate Superman with Luthor's
help. Luthor sets up manufacturing plants around the world to make enforcer
robots. Luthor is promised the world once Superman is gone. In the opening scene
Luthor gets to deal the deathblow himself. But as you might suspect he is
immediately double-crossed. With the entire world in peril, and an army of
exobytes seeking out all the metahumans for collection Luthor needs to use all
his wits and secret lairs to form a plan to fight back. The interesting thing
about this story is that an alliance will have to be made between heroes and
villains. Since it is not regular continuity some on both sides of the law will
die. Some beside Superman already have. The first chapter ends as Luthor calls
together some of the remaining metas to formulate a plan to save the world. On
the face of it this reads like a decent Elseworld story. Seeing things from
Luthor's point of view is interesting as he swings from hate for his enemies to
fear to the ultimate planner. The art is adequate though not anything special in
my view. But for the price it is a good first issue.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: No Man's Land
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Stephen King
Script: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artist: Mike Perkins
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover Artist: Tomm Coker with Laura Martin
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

Story-wise we are now two months after the "Captain Trips" virus killed off 99%
of the population. The survivors are in two factions - dark and light. The dark
have congregated in Las Vegas after heeding the supernatural call of Randall
Flagg. He rules with absolute authority and executes those who do not follow his
rules. The others saw an old lady, Mother Abigail, in their dreams and have
begun to resettle Boulder, Colorado. They know Flagg is planning something but
they do not know what that is. So the ruling committee decides to send three
spies into the belly of the beast. The beginning of this arc takes place back in
Boulder. While the bond between Stu Redman and Fran Goldsmith has grown other
relations also blossom. Larry and Lucy have gotten close as well. After the
committee meeting they return home to find Nadine waiting. She makes a desperate
plea for Larry to come with her. She would give him what she denied before. It
is a turning point for Larry - a time for him to decide what kind of man he
wants to be. It is also a turning point for Harold who is now on the burial
committee to clear the bodies from the town. He has resigned himself to the fact
that Fran is with Stu now. He as even become an asset to the community. But what
he finds waiting for him at his home will change his life forever. The story is
moving along at a deliberate pace touching on all the detail that captures more
of the essence of the novel than the TV series could. The art has really given
personality to all the characters and Laura Martin does a great job with the
coloring. I was drawn to the first issue out of curiosity and stayed with it
when I found it compelling reading in script and art. This is one of the best
comic series out there right now. It is worth reading from the beginning in the
collected trades already out.

Issue Number: 500.1
Title Story: What It Was Like, What Happened, and What it's Like Now
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Marvel is coming out with a series of "point one" (.1) issues as jump on points
for new readers. I had anticipated it would be an extended recap of the
character's recent history to help understand the comic moving forward. In the
case of IRON MAN it goes back to the very beginning in an interesting way. On
the first page Tony narrates his story to the reader by explaining what it is
like to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. This goes to the point where he
takes the rostrum and says, "My name is Tony and I'm an alcoholic." From that
point on he is telling his life story. Like many alcoholics do he starts from
his childhood and his first drink at fifteen. His history of drinking became
connected with his desire for females. Most readers know Tony had a drinking
problem and was always a ladies man. The interesting part comes as he talks of
life experiences involving his alter ego. He never actually mentions he is
talking about his experiences as Iron Man from the forging of the first suit of
armor through various enemies along the way. The script is very clever so that
the words could be interpreted as meaning business rivals while the pictures for
the comic readers show what he is really talking about. He eventually became an
Avenger. He had found what he loved - that wasn't drinking. He tells of failed
relationships, overindulgence and eventually the loss of his wealth, his friends
and his meaning. Naturally, since he is at an AA meeting, he tells of his
redemption when he stopped drinking. As I said the art tells the real story and
touches on key point like the death of Captain America and eventually his brush
with death at the hands of Norman Osborn. This is one of the best self-contained
Iron Man stories I have read in a while. In the end he is moving forward without
looking back or looking down. He is rebuilding his life and his relationships in
a more meaningful manner. Larocca and D'Armata superbly handle the art. Since it
is only $2.99 it is worth your time and money.

Title: DAOMU
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image Comics
Creator: Kennedy Xu & Ken Chou
Writer: Kennedy Xu
Script: Colin Johnson
Artist: Ken Chou
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Cover Artist: Ken Chou
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror/Supernatural
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

This comic is based on a best selling novel series in China. The word DAOMU
literally means 'tomb robber'. It began in 2007 and the series has over 20
million fans. Kennedy Xu has inspired a whole genre of fiction in China where he
is regarded as their Stephen King. The prelude to the comic story tells how in
1974 an elaborate tomb system was discovered and was soon found to extend all
over the world. They link to an older, more mystical time. There is also a
secret society of tomb robbers. Prominent families and clans have spent
centuries protecting the secrets of these systems and often reaped great
rewards. There are two types of tomb robbers. The ones from the north respect
the dead and take only what they need to continue their efforts of protecting
the system. The ones from the south seek only personal wealth. The take what
they want and destroy the rest. Then there is the Daomu who exist in a world
slightly removed from our own. They maintain the balance between man and nature.
They operate from the shadows as protectors. In the present the Daomu have been
corrupted and their legacy has been left without an heir. This is all in the
text piece on the first page to get the reader acquainted with the background.
The story is about Sean Wu. He has returned to China having left ten years ago
with his mother vowing never to return. When his father showed up in Detroit two
months ago he though maybe he was there to make amends for what he had done. But
his father was killed before much could be said. In flashback we return to the
meeting with his father in Detroit at a roadhouse. Before they can get into any
serious talk a man, or what appears to be a man appears on the street outside
and guns down the father. With his dying words he hands Sean a key and instructs
him to go back to China and do something - that he and his mother are in grave
danger. A female is there with them and she returns fire on the assailant with
surprising results. Now Sean is determined by what he saw to fulfill his
father's wishes. The final pages have him returning to the homestead after the
funeral. Those scenes lead to a cliffhanging climax that does not even begin to
explain what is going on or what the future holds for Sean. As a first issue
this one had some interesting moments. The mysterious attacker is clearly
supernatural in nature but the reason for it all is not explained. If not for
the opening text page we would not have a clue that this is all tied to tomb
robbers of any type. It seems they are trying to be true to the novels rather
than write an original comic so the pacing is deliberate. The art is good. I am
just not sold on the concept without reading another issue or two.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mike Mignola
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Artist: John Severin
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover Artist: Mike Mignola
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

"From the pages of HELLBOY", which I don't read so I treat this as someone's
first comic - does it entertain on it's own? Well, yes it does. First you have
the art by the one and only John Severin. His rich detail backed by the fine
coloring of Dave Stewart give you the visual delight not seen in a lot of
comics. The script tells a tale of Sir Edward Grey as he arrives in a small town
in Utah in 1880. As he wanders down the main street toward the local hotel he
notices the remains of a burnt out church. Hearing something from within he goes
in to fine a Native American lady reciting the Lord's Prayer. He also finds some
strange writing under the ash on the floor. Most of the action takes place in a
bar when he finds that the locals are not too keen about strangers asking
questions. He is looking for a man and without even saying who it is the others
get all nervous to the point where one picks a fight which turns into a shoot
out and then an all out effort to kill Sir Grey. Just as he get's a reprieve and
leaves the saloon a man is waiting for him with another horse urging him to ride
before the locals regroup. There is clearly a secret in this town that everyone
is trying to hide. It has to do with the burnt out church and what caused it to
get that way. The other man is a mystery for now but there are other things that
need to be explained. It is scripted to get us enthralled leaving enough for
next time as the climax ends thing son a high note. I found it entertaining with
no prior knowledge needed to enjoy the story. For a first comic it is fine.

Issue Number: 3 (of 3)
Title Story: "Everyone Gets a Medal"
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creator: Steve Pugh and Warren Ellis
Writer/Artist: Steve Pugh
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is the final chapter of this arc. Detective Exorcist Hotwire protects the
city from Blue Light Ghosts. For some reason long ago the dead stopped departing
and now drift into cities around the world. They have managed to keep them out
of the good neighborhoods with suppressor towers and the newly dead are trapped
in ceramic tombs. Hotwire takes care of the rest that wander the city often
seeking revenge on the living. In this arc a dead soldier has been resurrected
by some kind of exotic technology. He is carry the body of a girl he
accidentally killed and he has managed to amass an army of ghosts that are
approaching the city. Complicating the situation is a group of mercenaries, Bear
Claw, who want the contract to protect the city from the blue-lights. The have a
prototype weapon they are itching to use on this major threat to seal the deal.
Hotwire and her partner have their own plan with a unique devise of their own.
The plan is for Hotwire to parachute into the hot zone, and electronically tag
the target allowing her partner to trigger the device from hovercraft high
above. Each group is aware of the other and won't let anything stop their own
efforts. They are bound to clash and that could mean disaster for the city. This
is a fast moving story with a few unexpected turns in the plot. The scripting
makes the characters likeable, and even the mercenaries can be seen as not
necessarily bad guys, just dedicated to their purpose. In the end Hotwire finds
a way to do the right thing, get what she wants and yes, as the title suggests,
everyone gets a medal. Pugh is an amazing talent. He does all the work on this
book. I found his art a visual delight. It is rich in detail and dynamically
colored. This is another high quality product from Radical.


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:
From A to Z: AA and Zharan Pel are/were members of what team?

As certified by Brent Clark Roger's GUIDE TO THE DC UNIVERSE, the answer is The
Green Lantern Corp. The winner by the dice roll is Mike Dooley.

Here was your no prize question:
Where was the first enclosed downtown mall in the US located?

The first enclosed mall called Southdale opened in Edina, Minnesota (near
Minneapolis) in 1956.

On what date was the first FREE COMIC BOOK DAY held?

Here is your no prize question:
Which is the only US state capitol that does not have a McDonald's within the
city limits?

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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