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Friday, May 6, 2011

Comic Reviews 5/6/11

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: 900
Main Story: Reign of Doomsday
Title Arc: The Black Ring
Publisher: DC
Creator: Siegel & Shuster
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Pete Woods
Colors: Brad Anderson & Jesus Merino with Blond
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: David Finch or Adam Hughes or LEX ROSS
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This comic has stirred up a lot of attention online and in the news media - but
not so much for it being a landmark number for any comic or even for the main
story. The buzz is around one of the added features that make this a 96-page
celebration - more on that later. The main story brings to a wrap the story
featuring Lex Luthor who has been the lead in this comic ever since Superman
took off on his walking tour of America. But of course you cannot have a super
duper anniversary issue without the man that put the title on the map. What
prompted his return was the return of Doomsday as seen in STEEL, OUTSIDERS, JLA,
SUPERMAN/BATMAN ANNUAL and SUPERBOY. In each on of those stories Doomsday
fought, defeated and vanished with the four men involved in the "Reign of
Superman" story and Supergirl. As the chapter begins Big Blue is back in
Metropolis and starts to head off to find Doomsday but is quickly transported
thousands of light years into space by Luthor who has gained near infinite power
and plans to take his final revenge on the Man of Steel. Meanwhile the
Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, Steel, Superboy and Supergirl are captives in a
cloaked space ship in the debris field of the remains of New Krypton. The ship
seems to be an endless series of tunnels that loop back on themselves with no
visible exit. To top that off Doomsday attacks them and can adapt to their
powers. The Superman Luthor plot is classic Superman stuff as Kal struggles to
overcome unimaginable power but Luthor's ego appears to be the one thing he
can't control. In the other plot the others struggle to survive and are soon led
by the Cyborg Superman to a room where the bigger plot, to be continued in
future issues, is revealed. In all it is a good story and not having read any of
the Luthor issues of ACTION COMICS did not take away from understanding the main
plot and its resolution.

Additional stories:
"Life Support" - Damon Lindelof, Ryan Sook & John J. Hill

This is a delightful story follows a brilliant young man going on a job
interview. What little we see of the city he is in makes it seem somewhat
futuristic but we are more focused on the job and why he is being offered a
ridiculous amount of money to design a life support system for a ship only big
enough to carry an infant. It is well written and drawn and of course midway
through you will realize where he is and who his potential employer is. Well

"Autobiography" - Paul Dini, RB Silva, Rob Lean, Java Tartaglia & John J. Hill

This 3-page brief is a dialogue between Superman and an alien from a long
deceased civilization. He has been to many places in the galaxy, even helping
other species until their worlds perished. He relates one such tale and the two
relate on how alike they are. It is an interesting story with interesting art.

"Friday Night in the 21st Century" - Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson &
John J. Hill

This is another short story in which Lois plans a surprise for Clark involving
an invite to his "friends" for dinner. You can guess from the title that they
are from a long ways away.

"The Incident" - David S. Goyer, Miguel Sepulveda, Paul Mounts & Rob Leigh

This is the story that created the entire hubbub and made this issue an instant
sell out. In it Superman is asked to meet the president's National Security
Advisor at Camp David. Superman spent twenty-four hours standing in a square in
Tehran between a crowd of protestors and government troops. He did not say or do
anything - just stood in solidarity with the people who are being repressed.
Naturally after he left the Iranian government protested, calling it an act of
war. The NSA chief wants to know why he would create an international incident.
It is at this point that Superman declares that he has decided to look at the
bigger picture, that he is tired of his actions being construed as instruments
of U.S. policy. He will go to the United Nations the next day and renounce his
U.S. citizenship because "truth, justice and the American way... it's not enough
anymore." There is more to the script and in fairness it is a balanced view that
goes more into his motivation and a small ray of hope in the consequences of his
visit to Iran. But the media latched on to the citizenship thing and the blogs
are having a field day about it. I'll bet Siegel and Shuster never would have
thought their creation would cause this kind of commotion.

"Only Human" - Richard Donner & Derek Hoffman

This one is different in composition. The format is that of a script accompanied
by storyboards. It is an effective way of telling the story. Lois interviews a
former superstar athlete, Cliff Carter, who is now the spokesperson for
Supertech, a high tech firm with suspected ties to Intergang. He is promoting a
prototype super suit that will put the abilities of super strength, speed and
flying into the hands of the masses. Cliff is so bold he proposes a race against
Superman to prove how superior the suit is. While Lois claims Superman would
never agree to such a race Clark chimes in that he just might. You see where
this is going? Superman shows up and agrees to a flying race. But it is not just
about proving who is better and by the end we see why it was a good decision. I
enjoyed the story and the change in format. It was a pleasant surprise.

"The Evolution of the Man of Tomorrow" - Brian Stelfreeze

The issue closes out with a two-page spread showing the evolution of Superman in
6 drawings of him from left to right. In the first he is the original Clark Kent
about to change costume, in the next he has his shirt off but the shield and
face are more toward the silver age version. And so the transition continues
through the long-haired version from not that long ago to a current version
holding a large American flag. Hmm... this one must have been drawn before that
other story made him more politically correct. In any case it is a nice visual
and a fitting end to a grand celebration of 900 issues.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Andy Hartnell
Artist: Chris Bolson
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Marshall Dillom
Cover Artist: J. Scott Campbell
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Adventure/Supernatural
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This opening chapter concentrates initially on the organization known as Danger
Girl. It is a secret group of adventurers that solve problems, save the world,
that kind of thing. The narration is by one of the group, Abbey Chase who is
seen on the cover. She was a renowned thief before joining the organization and
has a hefty price on her head. As the story opens she has allied herself with
her enemies, some South African mercenaries, who need her help. One of them was
kidnapped by Moroccans when he tried to buy an ancient book of evil. Abbey has
an amulet that is supposed to counter the dark powers of the book. She plans to
trade it for the captured brother. Abbey is moving in with the mercenaries by
helicopter and has ground support from four people from Danger Girl on the
ground. They also have military assets available that owe them favors. There is
a lot of shoot-em-up action as Abbey and the Merc locate the prisoner
eventually. But there is a double cross as the true motivation of the head merc
is revealed. The power of the book is revealed as well when one page is
translated and the only clue as to where the book is now is one page of it with
the drawing of a man who looks strangely like Bruce Campbell. This is a fun
adventure if you are into it. The art is pretty good in all aspects and the plot
moves forward at a rapid pace and a bit of humor. It is not a bad read for the
first issue.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Plot: Steve Niles, Missy Suicide and Brea Grant
Script: Brea Grant
Artist: David Hahn
Inker: Cameron Stewart
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Cameron Stewart
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Adventure
MATURE - Comics on the Edge - Nudity

The nudity is female topless shots in the story and in supplemental gallery
pages. There is also a page in the back of photos of actual Suicide Girls three
of which are topless. I guess that is part of what they are about as well as
tattoos. You can check out the actual website for more info about this cultural
phenomenon at on the web. For the purposes of a comic story the
Suicide Girls come from a long line of fighting women through the ages that help
women in peril. This story opens in this fictional world where an organization
known as Way*of*Life has it tentacles deep into the government and they control
the prison system among other things. It is clear those individuals who oppose
anything too much, who don't conform, get sent away for rehabilitation and
usually are never heard from again. One such female called Frank is in a prison
after searching for a long time for her friend, Xena. They had both protested
the prison system and investigated Way*of*Life to the point when Xenia vanished
after emailing Frank that she had discovered the big secret. Now Frank is locked
up and planning still when unexpected help arrives from a group of females many
considered a myth - the Suicide Girls. They propose to break her out and if she
joins them they will help her find Xenia and bring the bad guys to justice - of
their own making. It is a decent set up with some action and another secret
among the group. The art is very appealing and the brief nudity in the story in
one panel is pertinent to the character - as opposed to the back matter which
apparently is there to entice those so inclined to check out the web site and
become a "member" for more revealing photos. Still I enjoyed the story and you
might too.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Long War
Publisher: Boom!
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colors: Juan Manuel Tumburus
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Karl Richardson & Carlos Magno
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: $3.99
Genre: Science Fiction

This series is set long before the first Planet of the Apes Movie (actually
based on a novel) and long after the world was laid waste by nuclear war. The
human population is decreasing and the apes are rulers. But it is not yet at the
point where humans are unable to speak and kept in cages. It is 2680 A.D. in a
typical city state called Mak. Apes and men live in the city but the apes are
clearly in charge. The relative harmony is about to be disrupted as a human in
ninja disguise swings into a courtyard where the Lawgiver is teaching children
about the time when the ape Caesar ordered all of man's weapons sealed away
bringing about the harmony they enjoy. The attacker proceeds to kill the
Lawgiver with an assault rifle and then escapes. Thus begins a tense situation
between the two main characters - Council Voice Alaya, the Lawgiver's
granddaughter, and Sullivan, the female mayor in Southtown where the humans
live. Sullivan grew up with Alaya and looked up to the Lawgiver as her own
grandfather. The fear among the apes is that men are now making forbidden
weapons. The gorillas begin a systematic search of Southtown for a hidden gun
factory while Sullivan is summoned to Alaya for an ultimatum. While the series
is somewhat formulaic - there must of course be conflict between man and ape -
it is still a plot that intrigues us. Apes are on the rise while man has fallen
greatly. Yet they still live in peace together and have for a long time. It
remains to be seen if that peace has been shattered for all time. The art on
this book is very detailed and colored splendidly. So far it looks like a good
book to stick with.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Goran Parlov with Dalibor Talajic
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover Artist: Bryan Hitch & Paul Mounts
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

This is a vampire story of a different sort. The framing sequence a member of
the Klaw sect approaches Lord Dracula for permission to execute a deserter,
Raizo Kodo. What he really wants is more information about his prey and Dracula
tells his story that begins in Japan in 1585. Two brothers are approaching the
camp of Jakkaru, an enemy warlord who strikes at night with amazing atrocity. He
has defeated the armies of five warlords already. Raizo leads his brother Ryuhei
on their mission to cut off the head of the snake before he strikes against
them. Their plan is to enter the enemy camp as peasants bringing food to the
kitchens. Their plan gets them into Jakkaru's tent and the two engage him in
swordplay. The fight proceeds and seemingly ends when Ryuhei manages to stab
Jakkaru through the chest. But to their amazement he soon grabs Ryuhei and bites
him in the neck. Raizo grabs by chance a wooden practice sword and runs Jakkaru
through and thus kills the vampire but the damage to his brother is done. The
two manage to escape but the consequences of their mission will show up later
after they have already returned home. They may have killed one enemy but
unwittingly brought another into their village. Before long Raizo will have to
make a hard choice that will change his life forever. What he does and how he
himself is turned into a vampire is the thrust of the story. I found myself
becoming more enthralled by the story as it moved along. It is somewhat
predictable except for the critical moment when Raizo makes a choice at the last
minute, a minute too late. The plot tries to show us a different side of a
vampire who is driven not only by the bloodlust but also by a code of honor he
never lost. It is a good story with strong artwork backing it up. It is a lot
more than I expected.

Graphic Novel Number: 1 - Fish to Fry
Hard Cover, 32 pp., 6-1/2 X 9"
Publisher: Papercutz
Creator: Jim Davis
Letters: Janice Chiang
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: May 24
Genre: Cartoon Adaptation
All Ages

If you are a Garfield fan then this is something to add to your enjoyment of the
famous feline. It is not however a collection of strips but new original stories
based on the new Cartoon Network animated series "The Garfield Show." What you
get are three complete stories featuring those familiar characters. The art is
unique for readers of normal comic books. It is a 3D style - almost like someone
took individual pictures of a stop action animated feature. It is brightly
colored and captures the essence of the characters.

"Family Portrait" is written by Peter Berts. Jon gives his girlfriend a framed
photograph of himself, Odie and Garfield as one of her birthday gifts. When she
remarks it must have taken hours to get the pose right he says it was a piece of
cake. But we can see what Garfield is thinking and get the true story. It goes
from Jon trying to use the timer on his own camera with page after page of
disastrous results. He finally has to resort to another strategy and in the end
the picture is priceless.

"Nice to Nermal" is written by Mark Evanier. When Nermal the cat shows up to
spend the day Garfield literally kicks her out. While he is distracted Jon
accidentally throws his stuffed bear Pooky in the trash. Naturally Pooky finds
it and lets Garfield know if he wants it back he has to be nice to her all day.
It is a painful day for our hero and the worst humiliation comes after he gets
Pooky back!

"Fish to Fry" is written by Baptiste Heidrich & Julien Monthiel. It is the
shortest story in the volume and involves Jon agreeing to look after Liz's fish
while she is away. Of course Garfield hears this and begins dreaming about a
fish buffet. In it he tries to eat one fish after another but has disastrous
results until he is finally brought to Fish Court to stand trial. Will his dream
be enough to stop him from eating the real thing?

While the target audience is 6-14 year olds this is something for kids of any
age. The humor is along the lines of the comic strip though I think Davis has a
bit more sarcasm in his work usually - easier to do in a 4-panel strip. These
stories are more fanciful fun with familiar characters. Kids will love how they
move along visually as the 3D effect works well. I must admit I am more of a fan
of Odie so I hope the series will highlight him more once in a while. It is a
good size at a reasonable price for a hardcover so look for it at the end of May
in comic and book stores everywhere.


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: Who battled THE LUMP in "The Battle of the Id!"?
Didn't Jack Kirby come up with some great splash pages? This one was from
MISTER MIRACLE, when Scott Free had to fight a battle in the mind. The winner by
the dice is James Woodruff.

Here was your no prize question: What U.S. city is the largest in land area in the contiguous 48 states?
No one got this one but the answer is Jacksonville, Florida, which covers 758
square miles.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the source for the chapter tiles in MAGE: THE HERO DEFINED?
Here is your no prize question: What US city is the largest in land area in all the 50 states?

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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