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Friday, April 1, 2011

comic reviews 4/1/11

My View
David LeBlanc

David LeBlanc was the Editor of the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine for
over ten years. He is a life-long fan of comics and moderated online comic book
forums long before the Internet became the place to be. David works part-time at
That's Entertainment, the Eisner-winning comic store in Worcester, MA.


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: SIGIL
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Ed Tadeo
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Jelena Djurdjevic
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

One of the things common to the original run of the Crossgen comics line was the
company logo - a sigil similar to the yin-yang symbol. Most of the characters in
the old run had this symbol on their body and as the stories developed we
learned they had powers of sorts and a deeper connection through the sigil. The
odd one was RUSE because the symbol did not play a major role in the stories.
Now Marvel has picked up and restarted the line with new interpretations. While
Ruse is close to the original SIGIL takes a brand new start. In this story
Samantha Rey is a young high school student with the sigil birthmark on her
chest. She is still dealing with the death of her mother a year ago and is
plagued by dreams of an older man in a mansion talking about trusting in the
sigil as he scans portraits on the walls of various warriors from different
times in history, all with the sigil somewhere on their uniforms. Her real
problem is a group of female bullies led by another student named Tamara. The
problem is a boy who likes Sam though she is not interested. It seems Tamara Has
her eye on Roberto and does not believe Sam is not encouraging his attentions.
This is heading to a confrontation, which will propel Sam into a different
world, a different time involving sailors she has seen in her daydreams. They
all seem to know her and claim the people responsible for her mother's death are
about to attack. It is the magic of the sigil, touched off by the physical and
emotional confrontation with Tamara that sent her to this place. There is a lot
of mystery involved. Carey has only scratched the surface in what is sure to be
an intriguing plot. The art is much cleaner in this one as opposed to RUSE
thanks to the ability of Leonard Kirk and the others. Like RUSE we have met some
interesting characters and the beginnings of a story that is sure to be worth
reading. So far Marvel has made a good start with the Crossgen evolution.

Title: FF
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Club
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee & Kirby
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Steve Epting
Inker: Epting & Rick Maygar
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the most anticipated comics is this new version of the Fantastic Four
since the main title ended its run (for now) last month. The story is set a
month after the loss of Johnny Storm. The FF in the title stands for the Future
Foundation, which is the evolution of what has become of the team. The
Foundation includes what is left of the Fantastic Four, the Richards children,
their grandfather, the mutant Leech, Alex Power of Power Pack, Bentley 23 - son
of the Wizard, Dragon Man, Artie Maddicks, Tong - former herald of the Mole Man,
the two co-heirs of the Ul-Uhari throne and three survivors from the Forever
City of the High Evolutionary. There is one other surprise player introduced at
the end of the issue and a new member of the core team of four joins as the last
wish of Johnny Storm - Spider-Man. Hickman takes his time introducing us to the
new dynamic as Peter arrives at the Baxter Building to begin his tenure with the
new Fantastic Four. Little touches here and there give the story some emotion -
Reed watches Johnny's recorded last will, Ben Grimm sulking on his own as he
blames himself for Johnny's death, even a dinner with all concerned when Peter
mistakenly tries to sit in the wrong place. One of the most interesting
additions is Nathaniel Richards, Reed's father who is a time traveler returned
home. He adds some insight into what direction things should go, even daring to
contradict his son in front of everyone by giving a different opinion from one
of the smartest men on Earth. The script is delightful bringing together this
variety of characters that are all unique on their own. The first emergency the
new FF has to deal with is a break in at P.A.V.L.O.V. to rescue a certain
prisoner. This plays into the final scene where Valeria and Nathaniel introduce
Reed to their newest recruit - it is a doozy! The art is fantastic (sorry,
couldn't resist) and the new uniforms, especially Spider-Man's, are a refreshing
change. This is a good starting point for new readers or those who have not
followed the group for a long time. It is sure to be an exciting ride in the
first year of its run. Give it a try.

Issue Number: 4 (of 4)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Roger Bonet with Jordi Tarragona
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The Ultimate version of the Fantastic Four is also down one man. It seems Reed
Richards is behind a series of attacks that have resulted in destruction and
death. After the series of events that finds Ben Grimm now a transformed
different kind of hero the three join forces with Spider-Man (still alive for
now) Bobby Drake the Iceman, Spider-Woman and Rick Jones to take the fight to
Reed somewhere in the Negative Zone. I have two observations on this title and
more about the Ultimate Universe. The big attraction for me with the Ultimate
titles has been the chance to see a whole array of stories with familiar
characters and some with the same names but very different attributes in stories
that take the lives and fates of many in different directions. Anything is
possible because it is not tied to the main Marvel continuity. So here we see
Reed gone over the edge, Sue and Ben becoming close and other characters have
died that are still around in the regular universe. The other thing is the title
- why Ultimate Doom? You would expect Dr. Doom to show up but he does not, and
it wasn't likely anyway. Who does show up are most of the Avengers, er,
Ultimates to join in the battle with Reed's minions in the Negative Zone. It is
a knock down, drag out finale with lots of action and more than one surprising
results. Will Reed survive to plague the world again? Will Peter get a swelled
head over compliments from an unlikely source? Will Ben and Sue get together?
Will Doctor Octopus go to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? What did Nick Fury just do and
how? I guess you will have to read it to find out.

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Scot Eaton
Inker: Mark Morales
Colors: Sunny Gho Of Ifs
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Marko Djurdjevic
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the lead-in to Marvel's big event of the year. The framing sequence has
Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull and Baron Zemo in an unlikely alliance
searching for a hidden lair in Egypt where the Red Skull kept a book bound in
the hide of dead Atlanteans. As they navigate through various booby traps we see
theirs is an alliance based on a debt Zemo owes to Sin. When they find it Sin
relates the tale of the Red Skull's greatest failure. The story goes back to
1942 as the Red Skull has been watching a ritual, including human sacrifice,
that should bring to Earth a weapon of great power. It brings something but it
does not land in Germany. The next day Captain America, Bucky and Namor arrive
at the scene of the carnage and soon they are tracking the Skull to Antarctica
where the thing of great power seems to have landed. This is the part of the
obligatory fight scene and even a giant snow creature shows up to make it more
interesting. In the end the Skull and a few men make their escape. But did they
get what they were seeking? Just what crashed here and why is Sin so interested?
While some of it is seen no secrets are revealed. For that you must read the
series itself, which kicks off in FEAR ITSELF #1. Some of the promo materials
online have shown some of what to expect. This promo is really the background so
we can understand what will be happening in the present. Trust Brubaker to give
an interesting plot that only gives little bits of information now and will
blossom into larger things later. As usual on these big events the artwork is
top shelf. You may not need to read this prelude to get into the main book but I
would suggest it anyway.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: One Nation Under Chaos
Publisher: Image
Writer: Micah S. Harris
Artist: Loston Wallace
Colors: Steve Downer
Letters: Nate Pride
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure/Comedy

This is kind of a take-off of Lara Croft or tries to be in a way. It just seems
that way from the title. Lorna is an agent of a secret organization only
identified as the Inner Circle. We see them as they discuss the latest mission -
three guys in red fez hats with lightning bolts on them another in a cowboy hat
and Verne her handler. There is a plot afoot to bring the country into utter
chaos through alignment of the stars over DC. A flaw in the design of the
capitol city will open a dimensional portal ushering in wanton destruction. She
must find the key in one of the monuments and bring it to a mating keyhole at
the Temple of Wisdom. But she also has to contend with her archrival Posh Meow
who has been her rival all through college and Lorna always came in second, in
debate, cheerleading and a beauty pageant. It turns out the flaw was put there
on purpose by enemies of the revolution. Elements of that movement exist today
so it is an ages old fight carried out by two females on opposite sides of the
issue. This is a pretty silly story with a somewhat involved plot and silly
attempts at humor. The art is adequate but the base material is not funny enough
to take seriously as intended humor.

There are also two back up stories:
"You Say Tomatoe, I Say Tomata, You Say Stigmatoe, I Say Stigmata" with art and
colors by Olli Hihnala is an even worse attempt at humor as Lorna tries to help
a girl with stigmatism become more socially outgoing. She arranges for a double
date because her boyfriend knows someone with a similar affliction. It is all a
misunderstanding that falls pretty flat, much like the art, which is a bit

"Doo-Buddy" is drawn by Michael Youngblood. He has a little but better handle on
the art. The story is one about Lorna and her friends having a run in with a
local legend Doo-buddy. They think they hit him on a lonely country road but
when they get out he is nowhere around. The legend says he died and was buried
but keeps coming back. Lorna has an idea how Doo-Buddy can help her escape her
waitress job. It is one of those stories with a twist ending, but it is not very

Overall, I would not recommend this comic for its entertainment value. It is
just not worth it.

Issue Number: 4 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Emma Rios
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Ben Oliver
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

This series has been following the fate of Norman Osborn after his fall from
power. He was secretly transferred to a secret maximum-security prison miles
underwater with other super villains too dangerous to ever be let out again. A
cult has been formed to help Norm escape. Meanwhile reporter Nora Winters
noticed Osborn's sudden disappearance from the prison system and an anonymous
source has actually brought her to the Special Containment Center to expose the
clandestine operation just when the prison break starts to occur. It doesn't
take long for the small group of prisoners that joined Norman as he was released
from his cell to create chaos throughout the facility and for Norman to gain
power over the inmate population. As they gain control he captures Nora and
learns of how she got there. He pieces together the fact that high government
officials are behind this place and the fact that Nora wants to expose it can be
used to wrangle what he wants. It is a plot against a plot with another plot
working against the other two. It is an intricate story with unexpected turns
and a shocking climax at the end. The art is not my favorite but it works to
move the story forward. SO far it has been an interesting series and promises a
bang up finish next 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:
Why did SAVAGE DRAGON have two alternate versions of issue 13, released 8 months

Jim Lee drew the original #13 as part of an "Image Switch-Off" promotion. Erik
Larsen did his own #13 because he wanted to have an uninterrupted run. The
winner by the dice roll is David "Kick Ass" Lizewski.

Here was your no prize question:
Which U.S. domestic airline was the first to serve alcohol in flight?

In 1949 Northwest Airlines was the first to serve alcohol.

What TWO things do Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and the Three Stooges all have in common?

Here is your no prize question:
Which famous singer set a college record in the high jump and came close to
breaking the U.S. Olympic high jump record of the time?

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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