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Friday, June 24, 2011

comic reviews 6/26/11

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.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Missing In Action
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Roger Stern
Artist: Philippe Briones
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Jimenez & Brown
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: Now On Sale
Genre: Super Hero

I got this one on impulse, just because of the title. I did not know what to
expect. Right from the start it was not what I expected. It begins in the Arctic
many years ago as some Inuits find a man frozen in ice. We can see he is a
soldier and before they can move it too far the body and ice block disappear in
a flash. More interesting than that is the man watching it all from afar. He is
named Tath Ki and he is an interdimensional traveler. He is concerned that Steve
Rogers' body has been removed from this particular universe. As he explains to
Uatu, the Watcher, this has happened in multiple universes and at an increasing
rate. Because Rogers is such a pivotal being in the history of Earth the
disappearances will have a ripple effect vastly altering reality in every
universe. One more disappearance convinces him to put a plan in play. Flash to
April 1941 as Captain America is prepping for his next mission. In a flash he
disappears. Next we see Bucky Barnes in the present putting down some fascist
terrorists. Ki appears and leads him through a door that is really a gateway to
another reality. It turns out he is assembling his own Captain America Corp. We
see Steve from the forties, Bucky, American Agent, the American Dream (Shannon
Carter) and from the future United Americas Commander A. Each is the Captain
America of their time and they will need to work together to help stop the
altering of all reality or even ultimate destruction - piece of cake! I like the
premise and the characters together as a team. As they set out into the altered
present to see just how much has changed they find a very different world.
Unauthorized masked people are subject to arrest as they soon see. They work
well as a team but they soon meet something bigger than life. This one is off to
a good start. The art is good enough to carry the story and there is some
friction among the characters but not enough to weigh things down in drama. It
looks to be a fun action series with some twists along the way. I like it more
than the typical Capt versus Nazis type story. I think you will too.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Creator: Trevor Pryce
Writer: David Ziebart
Artist: Dan Glasl
Inker: Amber Gant
Colors: Adam Guzowski
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure

The story begins in London in 1850. Ne'r-do-well Foster Broussard is about to be
hanged in the public square for a long list of crimes just short of murder. When
given his right to last words he appeals to the queen that he can get more gold
than in all of the Tower of London. So his journey to the USA begins. Not only
does he have plans to find the gold but he also has a plan to get away from his
appointed overseer that is very clever. The main plot follows Foster and his
partners to the Gold Rush time in California. While they are plotting their
strategy it seems Foster can't keep from getting involved with other people and
getting into much more trouble. Then there is a separate plot up in the
mountains where the mines are. Native Americans are used for cheap labor but on
older female is trying to warn the white owners that the land is cursed and doom
is coming. This has some elements of a good story but I do not feel it is
executed properly. Nothing really grabbed me enough to make me want to see more.
There are scene changes that are not smooth. I think in a different sequence the
two plots would make more sense. The art is good enough though some characters
are too similar to tell apart. I appreciate the effort but it is not worth it
for me.

Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Title Story: The Show Must Go On
Publisher: DC
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Cover Artist: Cliff Chiang & Jared Fletcher
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Like all the FLASHPOINT books things are somewhat jumbled from what we are used
to. The cover pretty much tells you that the setting is a traveling circus. In
this case they are in what is left of Europe going from country to country and
avoid Atlanteans or Amazons. The Flying Graysons are all alive and headline with
Boston Brand as Deadman. The Graysons are a loving family dedicated to their
work and the extended family of the circus. Deadman on the other had is more
egotistical. He won't lend a hand to others so as not to damage his hands or
tear his costume. There is another among the troop that will be very pivotal to
the plot. He is Fate and yes he wears the helmet in the sideshow where he is a
mystic for the rubes. But in reality he sees more than they know. There is a
point when Boston grabs his arm and has a vision himself. But at the climax of
the issue it is reality that may be making that vision come true. With only
three issues to get to the point Krul has managed to introduce the players and
the situation, provide the feeling of the group dynamic and lay down the plot
that will explode next issue. The art is terrific as well. I think the main
thing I have found out about these tie ins is not to judge them by first
impressions of the name or the cover. This one is a gem.

Issue Number: 1(of 3)
Title Story: Hot Blooded
Publisher: DC
Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Rodney Buchemi
Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colors: Artur Fujita
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Miguel Sepulveda & Jose Villarubia
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

In another timeline you would expect such a title to be about an organization of
master criminals with a secret hideout where they plot ways to take out the
heroes and perhaps eventually rule the world. Well, you've got the villains but
the secret hideout is really a prison for them with Amazo as a super guard who
can subdue any metas that arrive so that they can be fitted with colors that
suppress their powers. The population is divided into the metas and the regulars
who are just normal men without their gadgets. The prison is submerged in a
swamp in North Carolina and only rises to accept new prisoners. The main plot
follows one new prisoner - Heatwave. The issue opens with him killing half of
the Firestorm team right after they convert to civilian form. It is his mad
desire to attain real "fire" power by becoming part of Firestorm himself. He is
eventually captured by the greatest US superhero in the FLASHPOINT world, Cyborg
and sent off to prison to await execution. But even there he proves to be too
dangerous to other criminals and so he is shipped off to the Doom facility. By
the end of the book we see how resourceful Heatwave is in maintaining dominance
among the others and hatching a devious plot to escape that involves a super
powered being. How the plot is set in motion at the end of the issue is just too
ingenious to give away. This is a thriller that really gets into the psyche of
the super villain as he narrates his story. Whether he will actually escape and
what happens then is anyone's guess. The art is very good as it has been in all
of these event tie-ins. This one explores yet another aspect in this world where
time has changed everything. This is another one worth your time.

Issue Number: 1(of 3)
Title Story: The Arrangement
Publisher: DC
Creator: William Moulton Marston
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Scott Clark
Inker: Dave Beaty
Colors: Neal Ruffino
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Ed Benes w/Pete Pantazis
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

We have learned from the main book and other tie-ins to FLASHPOINT that the war
between Atlantis and Themyscira started with the assassination of Queen
Hippolyta and later the murder of Mera. This title finally shows how those
events developed. It starts fourteen years ago in this altered timeline where
both Themyscira and Atlantis are unrevealed to the outside world and thought to
be myths. Princess Diana lives on the island but against the wishes of her
bodyguard decides to take a sailboat out to explore what is beyond the clouding
mists that hide her home. As she begins to see the machinations of man on the
sea and in the air she is attacked by a giant sea monster and is rescued by
Aquaman. She is nursed back to health from her injuries in Atlantis and returned
to her people where members of both royal families see the possibility of
joining forces to aid mankind - to prevent them from destroying their own world.
To seal the deal Arthur and Diana have decided to forge the union of the
dynasties through marriage. But there are elements in both houses that do not
want to see this happen either through mistrust or trying to maintain the purity
of their race. And so as the big day arrives the two civilizations reveal
themselves to the world at large and thousands of dignitaries from around the
world are invited to Themyscira to witness the royal wedding. Before it can be
accomplished Hippolyta is assassinated and an Atlantean is framed for the deed.
Who that is, his fate, and the people behind it all I will leave for you to
discover. If you are into the whole FLASHPOINT war then you will want to get
this series as well as EMPEROR AQUAMAN to get the full story. Abnett and Lanning
do a great job in laying it all out and the art team does a great job bringing
it to life. You will want to get this one.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Layouts: Alex Ross
Artists: Jack Herbert and Alex Ross
Colors: Vinicius Andrade
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Science Fiction

The "zero" issue of this series is worth getting if you want to get the
background information on some of the fantastic characters that begin to appear
in this issue. However, it probably won't bring too much knowledge that will
explain the plot, which explodes with multiple characters in this first issue of
the series. The premise is that Pioneer 10 was sent off into deep space with a
plaque on it depicting two humans as men would hope to become - super hero type
larger than life characters (unlike the depiction on the real Pioneer 10, which
was the basic human male and female forms.) The human view in the story comes
from two lifelong friends who are now in college at Ericsson University in
Minnesota. Kirby is the boy who studies hard for a career in science. His female
friend Bobbi is popular, smart and more like a sister to him. The first few
pages get us more familiar with the two as Busiek uses the devise of having
Kirby talk to the reader to fill them in. As they argue about whether to study
or hit the bars on a Friday night something happens that will change everything.
Two giant figures appear over the skies of Minneapolis lighting up the night
sky. Everyone rushes to see what is clearly a visit of extraterrestrial origins.
After a long time they only utter the words, "show us" and then disappear
through a gateway in the sky above them. But this is not the only event. Soon
reports emerge of a super soldier known as Silver Star fighting the Taliban, an
ancient civilization with perfectly preserved beings in chambers is found under
Chicago, a new continent is discovered and then disappears in the sea off Japan,
and even sightings of Bigfoot occur. In less overt fashion other beings clearly
not from around here make their way to Earth in Wyoming and Montana. Some appear
to be hunting the others. Finally Kirby and Bobbi unlock a mystery in an ancient
text that results in an amazing transformation. Kirby has already concluded that
the two mystery visitors at the start are likenesses of the sketches on that
plaque on Pioneer 10. Are the aliens trying to look like us? What about all
these other characters and happenings? Busiek is setting up a variety of
characters and many possible plots. Where it goes from here will be exciting.
The art is a delight to see. Ross and Herbert have taken the Jack Kirby designs
and done them justice in this all-new work. While there is much to be explained
before the meat of the plot is revealed the first chapter makes it enticing
enough to stay with for a while.


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:
Which creator was instrumental in eventually getting compensation and renewed
creator credit for Siegel & Schuster from DC?

Neal Adams and Jerry Robinson were both involved with the movement. The winner
by the dice is David Mc Barron.

Here is your no prize question:
What is the only state with no National Park Service Park, monument or other

Delaware is the only state with no site run by the National Park Service. Mr.
McBarron hit a double this week.

From whom did Frank Miller admit he swiped the basis for the character Elektra?

Here is your no prize question:
In what city was the first stock exchange in the United States established?

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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