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Friday, May 20, 2011

Comic Reviews 5/20/11


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.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Chapter One
Publisher: DC
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Andy Kubert
Inker: Sandra Hope
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you have not been reading THE FLASH you missed the beginning of the story of
FLASHPOINT but that will not hinder you from understanding or enjoying this
title. Suffice it to say that Barry Allen had been warned by his doppelganger
from one of those 52 parallel Earths about a coming time disruption that would
be majorly disruptive to the timeline. He thought Bart being in our time was the
cause but it was not. Before anyone can stop it - it happens. This is the
moment, in the plot that is, where the story begins. After a few introductory
pages to set the mood we zoom in on Barry asleep at his desk in the police lab.
He doesn't know it but the world has changed. In a few moments he knows
something is wrong. His boss is talking about solving a murder that will prove
the truth about the city's greatest hero, Citizen Cold. When he tries to "run"
to a reported shootout he falls down some stairs and is picked up off the floor
by his own mother - problem is she should be dead. She has never heard of the
Flash or even the Justice League for that matter. So at this point it seems
Barry is the only one who knows that the world has changed drastically. Just how
drastically is shown in the next few pages as several heroes meet on a rooftop
in Gotham to try and come to an agreement about banding together to stop a world
tragedy caused by Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Some of the faces are familiar, some
of the costumes are familiar but things have changed. Among them is Abin Sur is
the Green Lantern of the sector. The six kids of the Marvel family and Tawny the
tiger join together to call on Captain Thunder. Others are there but it is too
cool to reveal them all. Meanwhile Barry races, in his mother's car, to find the
one man who might be willing and able to help him find out what happened and how
to fix it - the world's greatest detective! That proves to be a big surprise for
him as well. So far I love it. The change in everything Barry has ever known is
a huge hurtle if he wants to save the world. I can see why other mini-series
will explore just how different these and other characters are in this jumbled
up continuity. The art team does a great job, as you would expect. I may not be
reading all of the tie-ins but the main book by itself promises to be a fun

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Let The Games Begin
Publisher: Archie Comics
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Patrick Spaziante
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: John Workman
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Super Hero - Video game adaptation
All Ages

This Archie comic is racked with the mainstream titles. This first issue is an
origin issue of the title character. It opens in mid-adventure and then flashes
back to how it all began. Doctor light is about to have the grand unveiling of
his the latest development from Light Labs. His two robot children assistants,
Rock and Roll, are encouraging him to help get over a bit of stage fright. Light
Labs is going to introduce their line of Robot Masters. They are designed to
perform complex tasks, interact with people and direct the other robots in their
duties. Each has a specialty - forestry management, land reclamation, arctic
exploration, demolition/excavation, waste reduction and power management. Light
has reformed from building robots for military application and plans to use
these new models to advance humanity. His partner, Albert Wily, lost his
credentials for conducting unethical robotics experiments. He is upset he cannot
share in the glory in this advancement in AI technology. So he plans to sabotage
the Robot Masters and send them rampaging, thereby discrediting Dr. Light. Since
they set the new standard there is nothing or no one that can stand up to them.
Dr. Light will have to come up with something even better - Mega Man! Converting
Rock into this will not be easy or guaranteed to work. He will need super armor,
a mega blaster and a special chip to adapt to his foes. As the title says, let
the games begin. This is a fun title that appeals to the young but has enough
intelligent action and dialogue to interest the older audience. It is a basic
story that is well drawn and brilliantly colored. I am not familiar with the
video game but that is not a prerequisite to enjoy the story. It is off to a
good start.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Writers: Bryan Edward Hill & Rob Levin
Artist: Tony Shasteen
Colors: Dave McCaig & Lee Loughridge
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

Image has been putting out some interesting books lately with a variety of
creators exploring all different genres. This one is set in a large metropolis
where the protagonist, Ray Parker, hunts down bail jumpers. We get to see how
good he is as he chases his latest case into a restaurant kitchen to find him
holding a girl with a knife to her throat. That is the introduction to the main
character. He is later approached to take on a private job. It is simple enough
- get a girl who is a waitress and bring her to another address for her safety.
After he declines the job he is approached in his apartment by an agent of a
well-known but unseen gangster who wants him to find the same girl. Once the
hood leaves Ray decides that this is worth looking into. It seems like a crime
thriller all the way through, even near the end where he finds himself in
another fight that ends with a big surprise. I would not have figured this to be
a horror story except for the title. It is a decent story with the right flavor
of a hard-boiled detective who gets into something he did not expect. The art is
superb as well. This one is a decent find among all the stuff out there.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Return to Elsewhere
Publisher: Image
Creator: Jim Starlin
Letters: Ed "Duke" Dukeshire
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Jim Starlin's half human/half demon hero has been around for a long time. You
can catch up on his beginnings in a collected trade called BREED: THE BOOK OF
GENESIS. But that is not essential for you to read and enjoy this comic. Starlin
uses the rescue of a woman and her son to set up the exposition. After rescuing
the pair from attacking demons Breed brings them to an interdimensional world
where demons cannot follow, Elsewhere. There he explains his life in a quick
recap of what is covered in the collected trade. He tells of his mother's rape
by a demon and later in his life how that side of his genes emerged. Over time
with help he learned to control the demon half and use his strength and power to
fight against them. It was in Elsewhere, using the water from a special well
with mystical waters that had magical healing powers. But beyond that they could
be used to cast visions of his future. That is what led him to the woman. As the
story moves forward Starlin fills in a lot more detail than I have described.
The story is only beginning but Starlin gives the new reader plenty of
information to go with the plot so it makes sense. His mission has always been
to fight the demons and we should see lots of that action next issue. As always
his art is recognizably distinct and professional. I like how this first issue
takes the time to bring everyone up to speed before getting to deep into the
ultimate goal. I think you will too.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Ruins
Publisher: DC
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Carlos D'anda
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero - Video Game Prequel

This comic bridges the gap between the BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM and BATMAN: ARKHAM
CITY video games. The story picks up one year after the first video game. Former
Arkham warden and newly elected Mayor of Gotham City Quincy Sharp has decided to
close down the asylum. In its stead he, he established "Arkham City", the new
maximum-security home for thugs, gangsters and criminal masterminds. It is set
in a heavily fortified district of Gotham. Inmates are free to roam within the
walls as long as they do not try to escape. Sharp has also appointed Dr. Hugo
Strange to run it - a man who knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. The story opens with
the Joker hopped up on a super strength drug called Titan. Batman defeats him
once again and Joker is left to ponder the effects of the drug are having on him
long term - that he may have faced Batman for the last time. We also get glimpse
of Harley Quinn in a cell still devoted to her "puddin'". But the main plot is
about the new mayor. He is put on the spot on a TV interview but we know he is
being coached secretly by a voice coming through the ear bud he is wearing. Then
we follow Batman for the rest of the book as he is tracking down a brother and
sister criminal duo that have plans for the new city hall just finished. It
seems they too are being directed to action by some unseen mastermind. Who it is
and how wide his control is is the subject of the mystery. This is a decent
Batman story with a twisting plot and interesting characters including the cameo
by yet another of Batman's foes. The art is pretty good in supporting Dini's
story. It looks to be a worthwhile mini-series.

Issue Number: 2 (of 2)
Publisher: Marvel
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This second half of the AGE OF X tie-in takes place before that story begins and
can be read for its own sake. It takes a look at people outside the Fortress X
story and their part in the war between humankind and mutants. This second half
has two stories. The title allows other creators to play with the characters in
this very different universe.

Story: Avengers
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Khoi Pham
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colors: Sonia Oback

The Avengers are Captain America, Iron Man, Redback, the Hulk and Sue Storm.
They work for the government under the orders of General Frank Castle to hunt
down and capture fugitive mutants. They have pursued the few remaining mutants
to their final stronghold, Fortress X. They have come to realize that they are
not expected to capture the mutants but to exterminate them. As Banner stays
behind with General Castle Captain America leads his team to penetrate the
fortress with Sue providing a cloak with her powers. The story involves dialogue
between Sue and Cap about how far they need to go for the mission and where they
will draw the line when it becomes kill or be killed. As they make it through
the external guards a battle breaks out and Captain America makes his decision
that will trigger events and force decisions on his part and on Castle's part.
The whole story lays the foundation for how the mutants will choose to defend
the fortress. The timing of these events is before the main story takes place in
the AGE OF X crossover event. I felt it was good use of the characters bearing
in mind that they are not the same people we know from regular continuity. The
plot had purpose and redemption in the end for some. The art was up to speed
making it a good addition without taking away from the event books.

Story: Dazzler
Writer: Chuck Kim
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

This shorter story has Dazzler, Exonim and Gabriel trying to escape capture by
traveling through the sewers of Manhattan. Human soldiers led by the
government's top bounty hunter, Dr. Strange, soon set them upon. They put up a
brave struggle but one by one it seems they are no match for the Master of the
Mystic Arts. But there is more to the story and there is a satisfying ending.
While it is a decent read it is somewhat predictable once you turn to the last
two pages. Still it is a good use of Stephen Strange who really deserves title
billing, not Dazzler. On the down side the art is terrible. The characters are
flat and the coloring is dull. Even though it is filler Editor Daniel Ketchum
should have found another artist.


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 2003 - What organization owns the largest collection of comic books in the
United States, and probably the world? (6,000 titles, approximately one hundred
thousand pieces)
While the University of Michigan has a prodigious collection, it still does not
match the Library of Congress for number of individual titles. The winner by the
dice is Jason Pavao.

Here was your no prize question:
What famous American movie star's ashes are in an urn that also contains a small
gold whistle?
Sean Fowler got it first - it was Humphrey Bogart. His actress wife Lauren
Bacall had the whistle inscribed, "If you need anything, just whistle" - words
she spoke to him in their first film together, "To Have and Have Not".

According to DC, how many votes decided if Jason Todd, Robin II, lived or died?

Here is your no prize question:
The motto "In God We Trust" first appeared on U.S. currency in 1864. What was
the denomination of the coin?

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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