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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comic Reviews 2/25/11


The comics reviewed are chosen by David not by That's Entertainment management
or staff. The opinions expressed are his alone. If you have an opposing view you
are welcome to respond to David directly by Email at the address above.

We have a bunch of #1 issues this week so let's get on with it.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Burning Earth
Title Arc: Formic Wars
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Orson Scott Card
Plot: Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Script: Aaron Johnston
Artist: Giancarlo Caracuzzo
Colors: Jim Charalampidis
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Salvador Larroca & Aron Lusen/variant by Bryan Hitch & Paul Mounts
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This series of mini-series will be the prequel to ENDER'S GAME. If you have not
read those comics I recommend you pick up the back issues or collected trades.
It tells the story of a very young man named Ender Wiggins who is recruited into
military service as part of a long range plan to find an ultimate leader who
will be able to defeat the Formics, an alien race that had previously attacked
Earth, when they inevitably return to invade again. What is not told in that
epic story is the story of that first invasion and how the people of Earth
managed to survive it. That is what FORMIC WARS is about. It is a time in the
future when man has spread out into space and part of what he does is mine
asteroids for minerals. The story opens as a Juke Corporation mining vessel
listens in on activity by a Venezuelan team that have found a rock that could
produce a lot of profit. The more powerful corporate ship bumps the Venezuelan
ship damaging it and killing a miner. The smaller ship can only get away to try
to survive. Meanwhile back on their headquarters on the moon the Juke CEO
unveils a new mining drone while a lowly auditor with the Lunar Trade Department
is told by her boss to ignore irregularities in Juke finances if she wants to
keep her job. And a young soldier in New Zealand is given a chance to join an
elite unit if he can survive the test. All these segments serve to introduce the
characters that begin the story long before the first attack happens. But that
broken Venezuelan mining ship may be the point of first contact. The plot is
necessarily slow to start as Card creates the arena in which events will unfold.
So far the people we have seen are interesting characters, both good and bad. He
spends a lot of time with the miners, as they no doubt will have pivotal roles
later. The art is decent as it has been in the other "Ender's Game" comics. Give
it time to build before deciding one way or the other on this one.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Haunted
Publisher: DC
Writer: Art Baltazar & Franco
Artist: Mike Norton
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): 2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Cartoon Adaptation

Recently Alan Gordon ran a contest for readers to pick their favorite comic-
based cartoon. Right now I watch two on a regular basis. Marvel's "Avengers
Earth's Mightiest Heroes" on Disney XD and DC's "Young Justice" on the Cartoon
Network. This comic is based on the latter. It follows a version of Teen Titans
that is a mix of characters that would not be possible in regular DC continuity.
You have a young Wally West and Dick Grayson as were in the original team but
then there is Kaldur'ahm as the current Aqualad, M'gann M'orzz known as Miss
Martian and Superboy that is similar to the current Conner Kent but on the
cartoon show he was rescued from Cadmus Labs by the other teens on their first
mission. Like the TV show they are under the guidance of the Justice League and
meet in Mount Justice the first home of the JLA. This gives the show the
opportunity to feature adult heroes in cameo roles most notably J'onn J'onzz,
Red Tornado and Batman (Bruce Wayne.) Speedy is not on the team having already
gone solo as Red Arrow but another archer joins the team after a few episodes. I
was hoping the comic would not just repeat episodes already broadcast so I was
pleased to see this story is a new one. It takes place shortly after the team is
formed and features Miss Martian and Superboy who are settling in as the only
members who will be living in Mount Justice. Since Superboy has spent most of
his life in a large test tube he has trouble adjusting to this new life. His
idea of what a cozy room would be is peculiar to M'gann for example. When he is
left on his own something strange happens. Someone else is there - a real
surprise I won't spoil for long time fans of the original Justice League of
America. Not only that but a surprise villain shows up to make the cliffhanger
ending a treat. This comic is true to its source material in content and
characterization. The writers keep the teens as they are in the TV show and tell
a fun story that is not dumbed down. It is truly a comic for all ages. Like
Batman Beyond, another favorite DC based cartoon, we get solid super hero
stories that everyone can enjoy.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Devolution
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Wil Quintana
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Pagulayan, Miki & D'Auria
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Just how many series and mini-series has the Silver Surfer had? I really don't
know but he is the kind of character that inspires each generation of comic
creators to try and tackle. I decided to see how the latest offering measures
up. It seems like it would not be a Silver Surfer story without rehashing his
origin and the angst he has to bear. He is doomed to a lifetime of helping
Galactus find worlds to devour to maintain the balance in the cosmos that
billions of others might live. But as always he returns to Earth busy with its
monsters, gods, heroes and villains. He happens on a young couple on a beach and
the feelings he can sense are too much a reminder of what he gave up. When they
are attacked by men in armor he cannot turn away. The fracas that ensues is not
unnoticed as agents from the OAS arrive to make contact. But unfortunately for
the Surfer someone else, the High Evolutionary, is interested in him as well.
The final scenes wherein the Evolutionary makes his play are the best in the
chapter. Initially I found the beginning tedious and the rest was standard fare
with more mystery to solve later. The art is okay but a bit too strained in
parts to give that aura of cosmic power associated with the character. I give it
an average grade with the promise of something more based on the climax. Your
opinion may be different.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: From the Ashes
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee and Kirby
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkon
Artist: Nuno Plati
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This comic is apparently one of several being published as spin offs of the X-
MEN FIRST CLASS series. Coming in March will be other one-shots on Cyclops,
Angel and Iceman. Of course a movie by the same name is scheduled but has not
gotten the hype and multiple comics that Thor and Captain America have gotten.
In the early days of the original X-Men Scott and Warren were rivals for the
affection of Jean Grey. In this issue she has had enough of their arguing over
her and blows her top. The professor can't even get through to her as he
cautions her that she has unresolved issues she needs to overcome or else
someone will get hurt. In a huff she leaves for home only to interpret the
affections of her parents as more people in need. She escapes to the local mall
where she hung out as a youth. The ghosts of her past begin to haunt her as she
runs into familiar faces and sees the young children with dreams of greatness
now settling for mediocrity. She cannot get one friend in particular out of her
head - her best friend Annie whom she left behind and now Jean feels the guilt
as Annie was later hit by a car. The manifestations of these ghosts are of
course from her mind and with the help of the professor she learns a lesson to
help her be a better person. While this is not a spectacular story it was good
reading all the same and in the end Jean finds a larger purpose for her powers
and her life. I am not a big fan of the art style in this one though it gets the
job done. I am sure it is a good addendum to the X-MEN FIRST CLASS series.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: 1: War Journal
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Adriano Batista
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Vigilante Crime
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

When I see a book by Garth Ennis I expect foul language or intense fighting with
gore or both. So imagine my surprise to see this comic begins with the diary of
a suburban housewife. She talks about shopping and the husband taking care of
the kids and feeling bad about not buying the eco-friendly cleaner. Then she
mentions reading Guns and Ammo in the nail bar and pondering the merits of .38
and .45 ammo over 9mm. That is when I sighed in relief - Ennis had not totally
snapped. Actually that is kind of how this plot is developed. The first several
pages has Jennifer going through everyday life - dinner with the family, helping
the kids with homework, and taking the second car to the shop for brakes. She
even stands up for the clerk at the auto shop who is obviously being harassed by
her boss. Then everything shifts gears. We learn she has built a secret closet
in the basement with an arsenal of firepower. She dons a wig and loaded for war
heads off to the waterfront to take down a stolen car ring she has been casing
for some time. She is a hard-core vigilante and does not spare the bullets,
grenades or any other weapon. She is a ruthless killer and signs her work on the
wall with their blood. But there is more to her than someone fighting the good
fight to save the city. She has a plan and her targets are not random. I like
the way the plot was developed to get to the point at the end realizing my
opinion about Jennifer was being purposely changed at each stage. The violence
when it comes is extreme as I expected it would be. The art is suitable for the
subject matter at every level. There is some solid plotting here that will
develop over the next issues and I look forward to them.

Issue Number: 1 (In 3D)
Publisher: Image
Writer: Brian Haberlin
Artist: Philip Tan
3D Effects: Brain Haberlin
Colors: Kristen Severson
Letters: Francis Takenaga
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I picked this one up for the novelty of the 3D effects. After all there are so
few that are ever published. But there has to be more to it than the free red
and blue lens glasses to make it worth five bucks. Strangely enough I was
unimpressed with the 3D on this one. I know the methods used to get the effect
are all the same but for some reason I had a hard time adjusting the glasses to
get it just right. It's probably my aging eyes. After a while I figured it out
and found that 3D is not such a big deal as I remembered, at least in a comic.
But the good news is that I enjoyed the story. In a world much like our own a
super powered hero named Captain Wonder has been protecting the world from
natural and man made disasters for twenty-five years. There is unparalleled
peace and prosperity in the world. But Captain Wonder has been missing for two
months. We have come so dependent on him everyone is on pins and needles that no
big problem will arise before he returns. But where is he? That is the crux of
the plot. We actually follow a young boy named Billy as he goes through a normal
day with his buddy. It seems a girl who is a bit older following him and
checking off a list of his attributes. Her list has size at the top followed by
honesty, intelligence, bravery and curiosity. She is actually setting up little
tests to see if Billy is an appropriate candidate to become the next Captain
Wonder. It turns out the young girl was the most recent Captain Wonder. The hero
is actually a super robot run by a human on the inside but since she went
through a growth spurt she can no longer fit and so the search began about two
months ago. Now Billy is the closest they have come to the optimal candidate.
But a satellite falling out of orbit and heading for Los Angeles presents an
immediate problem. So without training and no other alternative Billy is put in
the suit while the others in charge attempt to talk him through it. His first
trial by fire and his first meeting with another hero wrap up the action for
now. It is a good story with an interesting twist that got me interested and
wanting more. I couldn't care less about the 3D aspect of it all and in fact I
hope the next issue is in regular format. I could really get into it.


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 2001 FOX sued Marvel to stop production of what TV show?

The show in question was MUTANT-X. The winner by the dice is Stu Cathell.

Here was your no prize question:
'If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.' is the motto of which

Tom Courchaine goes into the Hall of Fame for knowing that we are talking about

In Valiant Universe terms, Harbingers are people with special powers.
Who was the first Harbinger to appear in a Valiant VH1 comic book?

Here is your no prize question:
In 1999 BMI listed the "Top 100 Songs of the Century"- the most played songs on
American radio and TV. John Lennon and Paul Simon were the two performers to
record more original recordings on the list than The Drifters, Elton John, Roy
Orbison and this act. Can you name the six-man band whose recordings tied for
the third most songs on the list?

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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