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Friday, March 11, 2011

Comic Reviews 3/11/11


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.

Title: AXE COP
Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Title Story: Bad Guy Earth
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Malachai Nicolle & Ethan Nicolle
Writer: Malachai Nicolle
Artist: Ethan Nicolle
Colors: Dirk Erik Schulz
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor/Science Fiction
All Ages

This is one of the most unusual comics I have ever seen. One reason for that is
that the writer, Malachai, is only six years old and his brother, Ethan, (30)
does all the art except for the coloring. AXE COP was a playtime creation of the
brothers that eventually became a web comic and then a one-shot published last
December. That success lead to this three-issue series as they got together and
played some more to get enough material for Ethan to weave into a somewhat
cohesive story. I say somewhat because the plot goes here and there unexpectedly
on almost every page. The opening scene, which really has nothing to do with the
rest of the plot, takes place in a restaurant as Axe Cop and his side kick
Dinosaur Soldier (yes, he's a real dinosaur) are in a booth when Axe Cop decides
he is thirsty. He spies a cup of water on the next table and takes a drink. The
next thing you know he is being scolded by a talking hammer at that table for
drinking the brains of his friend. It turns out Mr. Cup has water for brains and
Axe Cop drank most of it leaving Mr. Cup quite unintelligent. This is all from
the fertile mind of a six-year old. If you can think back to those days kids
that age play in a stream of consciousness way so be prepared for anything as
the story progresses. It turns out Axe Cop was walking down the street when he
spotted Axe Cop Academy. He went in, as the only student, learned fighting from
wall posters and read the "How to Be a Cop With an Axe" manual. As he left he
found the Axe Cop Police Station close by and so became the only Axe Cop at the
station. The real cops do not like him because he breaks all the real cop rules.
When they try to pull him over for speeding he uses a faint bomb to incapacitate
them and get away. He and Dinosaur Soldier noticed a new planet in the sky
growing ever larger and with their Axe Cop computer determined that the planet
was growing super duper fast and would soon squish the Earth. It would be up to
them to demolish the bad guy planet, if they can get past the cordon of real
cops and the army now surrounding Axe Cop Station. This all happens in the first
few pages. Equipped with their planet shocker gun, which is tiny but has a
really big button, they use the Axe Cop Cruiser's rockets to fly into space to
destroy the bad guy planet. From there is it is one thing after another with the
good guys and bad guys alike chasing after them. They make their way to the
invisible lab of Uni-Man and get to use ingenious inventions like the laser-
portal gun and even a machine that turns bad guys into good guys. The bad guys
want to get there hands on that devise to change it into a bad guy machine so
they can make the whole Earth into a bad guy planet. It is zany and
unpredictable making it fun for all ages. Ethan is an accomplished cartoonist
that not only puts these ideas to the page but also manages to weave unrelated
things together to make it work. Who knows what will happen next? I recommend
this comic for everyone. Adults will get a big kick out of the quirky fun and
kids will have their own imaginations inspired to perhaps create characters of
their own. Don't miss it!

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Mad Scientists Are a Girl's Worst Enemy
Publisher: Image
Creator: Kurtis J. Wiebe & Scott Kowalchuk
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Scott Kowalchuk
Colors: Justin Scott
Letters: Frank Zigarelli
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Keeping with the theme of zany comics the cover of this one jumps right out at
you with a giant gorilla enhanced by advanced technology on his head and chest
being repelled by four young heroes with a few nice toys of their own. These
forgotten children have been taken in by Dante, a mechanical engineering genius,
and given a purpose in life - to stop the spread of mad scientists. Chester is
the technology wiz; Doyle is the larger-than-life strong man, Rose handles
aerial assaults with her jet pack and assorted weapons while Ms. Crow is the
leader and martial arts expert. They run into the giant ape in Russia while
trying to shut down a nefarious research lab. That scene gets us familiar with
the team and how they function. Later we see them meet with Dante as they get
their next mission when Dante relates the story of his relation with Dr. Koi,
the made genius behind using animals with enhanced technology for bad purposes.
The set up is pretty good and the script has plenty of character development
along the way. It is not extraordinary among the comics out there but the craft
in both writing and art is better than most. It remains to be seen if it grows
into something a little more compelling.

Title: WULF
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Atlas Comics
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Nat Jones
Colors: Mai
Letters: Richard Emms
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Sword & Sorcery

Atlas has recently relaunched comics featuring characters from the comics of the
early seventies. Both GRIM GHOST and PHOENIX hit the stands last month and now
Steve Niles has taken up the writing chores on another core character, WULF.
WULF is set in the distant past when men waged war against each other and
supernatural opponents with sword and shield. As the story opens it appears that
the planet is in the beginnings of an extinction event. Meteors are crashing
everywhere wiping out hundreds of thousands who are powerless to avoid the
disaster. One superior warrior, Wulf, resigns himself to the fact that they all
may die soon but he will go down fighting and helping those in need. The other
major player here is Sanjon, a warrior who dabbles in mystic arts. His response
to the cataclysm is to pray to the dark gods offering himself body and soul if
they will open a door for escape. The sacrifice he makes is rather graphic in
intensity if not visually. His prayers are heard as he is transformed into
something entirely different just as Wulf happens on to the scene. The other
character is a cop in the present day named Lomax. He witnesses a strange event
and when he investigates he is drawn into the conflict by magical means. It is
an interesting set up with minimal time for character development but we get the
gist of the situation easily enough. The action should really ramp up next time
as we get a better feeling for what will come down the road. The artwork is dark
in tone but not so much that it blurs out detail. In fact the pencil, inks and
colors compliment each other well and present a nice product. This one will take
time to develop but it looks promising from this debut.

Title: 5 RONIN
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Way of the One
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Tomm Coker
Colors: Daniel Freeman
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: David Aja (Variant by John Cassaday)
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE

I was not really up for another version of Wolverine but I decided to give this
a try anyway. The setting is Japan in 1600. The battlefield is Sekigahara as the
clans of the east and the west clash. In the aftermath many former samurai are
left to wander the Shogunate as leaderless warriors - Ronin. Some search for
vengeance, some for honor. Among these Ronin a legend is born. It tells of a
Ronin who cannot die, or rather will not stay dead. The Ronin have a way of
communicating, leaving messages at temples to organize meetings. Our Wolverine
Ronin, the narrator of the story, arrives to what he thinks is a meeting only to
find he is alone. He knows something is wrong. Sure enough, another Ronin in
full armor attacks him. It seems this one has turned on his brother, perhaps on
all of them, and in quick order slays Wolverine. Of course this is not the
Wolverine of our time, he has no claws other than those fashioned from steel and
attached to gloves. But though he falls in this battle he is still the Ronin who
will not die. The healing factor remains part of this version. He lives again to
try to solve the mystery of the turncoat and the fate of the other Ronin. What
he finds will not be pleasant. While the art is pretty good I did not find
myself enthralled by the story. There are a couple of twists that make sense to
the plot but it just a familiar character transplanted into a different
situation. If you like the genre you may enjoy it. It is not my cup of tea.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Blame It On the Black Star
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Tan Eng Huat
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: June Chung
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Alex Garner
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Wendell Vaughn who was known as Quasar, Protector of the Universe, narrates the
story. He was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now he has come together with
others to form a new group of first responders to crises of Galactic
proportions. There is Ronan, the Kree Accuser, Kallark known as Gladiator the
Majestor of the Shi'ar and Commander of the Imperial Guard, Beta-Ray Bill the
enhanced Korbinite and the Silver Surfer. They are set to meet in the neutral
territory at the place known as Knowhere. But someone else is there to greet
them. It is a Space Knight and she takes them on one by one and handily defeats
them. After proving her point she introduces herself as Ikon. She is the
greatest living Space Knight sent to join this group called the Annihilators.
Her first impression is not a good one. She gets them to thinking about
themselves, whether a group of so powerful beings can function together when
their first emergency is detected. Those first scenes put a little drama into
the plot and the main plot is introduce as indeed a crisis worthy of their
mission. If you followed the previous series some of these characters will be
very familiar to you. If not the structure of the opening scene is a good
introduction. The villain introduced appears to be a worthy adversary. Whether
or not the conflict to come will maintain interest remains to be seen. The art
works well though the Silver Surfer looked a bit odd to me. It is good enough
to carry the plot. Where the plot goes will decide if it is worth staying with
the title.

The back up story "Timely Inc." is by Abnett & Lanning with art by Timothy Green
and Nathan Fairbairn and letters by Clayton Cowles. It follows two other
characters from the old Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. It
actually starts out on a more humorous note as RR finds himself schlepping the
mail at a large corporate office on Alpha Centauri. He is oppressed by his boss
and humiliated that his life has come to this. When his boss threatens to fire
him for having personal mail sent to the office Rocket goes to investigate. He
finds the package mysteriously addressed to him but when it opens out jumps a
clown intent on killing him. The battle that ensues is pretty funny as they
bounce around the place breaking lots of stuff. Rocket's only defenses are
office supplies, which make it funnier still. The plot is not all fun though.
After the situation is resolved Rocket decides to head into space to find his
old friend Groot. That will begin a story of more serious circumstances. I
actually liked this story more than the lead story. It is fun and dynamic in the
art department. As it turns from humorous to more somber it still kept my
interest and ends with a promise of a more interesting story. I don't think the
two stories together justify a $5 price. Maybe separate books would be better.

Issue Number: 2 (of 5)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creators: Matt Cirulnick & David Manpearl
Writers: M. Zachary Sherman & Matt Cirulnick
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Colors: Kyushik Shin
Letters: Rus Wooton
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Future Western
Suggested for Mature Readers

In a not too distant future the country has become as lawless as the old west.
The government returned to special Marshals to capture notorious criminals like
Jesse James, Billy the Kid and others. Yes in this world the names are familiar.
The most famous of the new breed of lawmen is Wyatt Earp. After the death of his
brother Virgil in a train robbery Wyatt decided to retire and his former partner
Doc Holliday convinces him to start his own small casino, the AOK, in Las Vegas.
Joining them are Kate, Doc's girlfriend and Wyatt's brother Morgan. But they
soon learn that to play in this town they will have to deal with local
billionaire Flynn and his private security force, the Pinkertons. Alan Pinkerton
pressures them to pay protection money, or else. Morgan eventually gets mixed up
with Jesse James, the modern day Robin Hood, going in on a heist in which he
gets captured by the Pinkertons but escapes. He is chased back to the AOK where
a gunfight ensues and the place is burned down leaving Morgan dead. During the
struggle Wyatt discovered that Alan Pinkerton is actually the man who killed his
other brother in the train robbery. In the second part of the story we flash
back a month to events leading up to the event. The guys take in a show at
Flynn's casino where Wyatt falls in love with the star performer, Josie. She is
in reality a captive of Flynn who wants her to become his next wife. He keeps a
tight rein on her but she spurns his advances. As fate would have it Jesse James
picks that night to rob the casino. After the robbery he later returns in secret
to see Josie, whom he has a history with. Before the end of the issue Josie will
have a showdown with Flynn and unexpected savior comes to her aid. It is turning
into a love triangle that can need to no good. I like the art on this book with
its varied layouts and attractive coloring. The plot is a bit involved with lots
of characters and the flashback kind of confuses the sequence of events. At this
point I am not sure where it will all lead and I am also not sure I care. So a
mixed review on this one. It has some good and some not so much.


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: The Beatles, Elvis, Kiss, and Devo all had cameos in the 4th issue of what Marvel magazine?

The magazine in question was the black & white HOWARD THE DUCK. The winner by
the dice is Erin O'Connor.

Here was your no prize question: Who was the first sports person to be on the box cover of the "Breakfast of Champions"?

The first sports celebrity to get his photo on a box of WHEATIES was baseball's
Lou Gehrig. David McBarron for the second week in a row got it first.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: From the Silver Age: Who was the black guy in EASY COMPANY?

Here is your no prize question: For us real old timers - On which television show did Tom Terrific and Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog make their debut?

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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