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Thursday, July 21, 2011

comic reviews 7/21/11

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 6)
Publisher: Radical Comics
Creator: Michael & John Schwartz
Writer: David Lapham (STRAY BULLETS)
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Colors: Kinsun Loh, Jerry Choo & Sansan Saw
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: AUGUST 3, 2011
Genre: Crime Drama
MATURE READERS - Comics on the Edge

This is an advanced copy review. DAMAGED will be featured at the San Diego Comic
Con and released the first week of August. It is the story of two brothers,
Frank and Henry Lincoln whose lives diverged after a violent event in their past
put them on different paths. Frank is a distinguished veteran of the San
Francisco PD having risen to the rank of Captain in charge of the Special Task
Force on Organized Crime. His brother Henry was also a cop but turned to a life
of a vigilante, enforcing justice in a way the police can't or won't. The
opening scene shows us just how Henry operates as he visits a bar in Oklahoma to
take care of some violent rapists and their friends who alibi them. Four weeks
later we watch a meeting in San Francisco being held by the Mayor and the police
Commander with a Lieutenant Jack Cassidy. They are forcing Frank Lincoln to
retire and want Cassidy to take his place. Whether it is justified or just a
political plan they claim it is a move to show the citizens they are serious
about fighting organized crime and Frank has let discipline and morale slip in
his unit. One incident by a subordinate recently is the excuse they needed to
force him out. With three weeks left on the job Frank seems resigned to let it
lay and go out quietly but a mass killing of a big crime family changes all
that. While Frank agrees to work with Cassidy he purposely points him toward a
false lead about multiple shooters, probably the Chinese despite what the sole
survivor tells them. Frank actually believes the eyewitness because his
examination of the scene gives him the realization of who is actually behind it
all. Lapham has set up the story nicely with enough characterization on the
major characters to get on with the major plot. Clearly Frank and Henry are at
odds on the meaning of justice. Now at the end of his career Frank seems
determined to stop something he failed to do decades ago. It is a good set up
and is about to explode into more. The art is very detailed with some of the
coloring a bit muted - not a bad thing considering the amount of gore in some
scenes. This will be a thrilling crime story that fans of the genre and Lapham
won't want to miss. Look for it the first week of August.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Learning To Fly
Publisher: Image
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Pitarra
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Sometimes time travel stories can get very confusing, especially if the events
depicted are not in the characters' chronological order. This story opens with a
squad of three time traveling warriors - their machines have the appearance of
jets. They are waging war across time. They are from the 23rd century and after
a hop into the age of dinosaurs they move forward to their target time centuries
later but still in their own relative past to Paris where they learn they are
too late to stop the enemy forces. As one vehicle is destroyed and another is
hit the scene shifts to the relative present in the 23rd century as sons of two
of those pilots are about to become cadets in the elite forces that fly the
Temporal Attack Craft. Dominic Dorn and Valin Redd both lost their fathers in
that first fatal mission we were watching - they never returned and are presumed
dead. It is now several years later. Now they both hope to succeed where their
fathers failed. Their story takes them up to the Ring, a man-made space station
that now forms an artificial ring around the Earth. The first class they attend
serves to introduce the reader to some of the theory behind the technology of
the TAC fighters ability to transport people through time. It is that bit of
knowledge that is useful to us as the issue ends going back to the ill-fated
mission where we see just how, where and more importantly "when" it ended. This
is a solid story that actually makes more sense after a second read. The exact
nature of the war and the enemy has not been made all that clear but the major
players are fleshed out, as is the secondary plot back in time. The art is
appropriate and reminds me of something out of HEAVY METAL. I enjoyed this one
and I think you will too.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: 12-Gauge Comics
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Chris Brunner
Colors: Rico Renzi
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Romance
Mature Readers

The lead character in this drama is Sonny Gibson. He is an ex-soldier and is
currently running drugs to Florida. The scene opens with him talking to his
boss, Rej, who is in Atlanta. Sonny is in a phone booth outside of a diner
somewhere in the south and explains he has to handle something before finishing
his business. As the story unfolds we find out that he was involved with one of
the waitresses in the past and got her pregnant. It seems he wants to make up
for his behavior in the past by giving her lots of money - which maybe we are
thinking came from the drug sale. However, things are not going to go too well
as two of the locals in the bar get a bit too amorous with the other waitress.
By the end of the chapter everything has turned violent and there is a tragic
consequence. Meanwhile Rej is having his own problems with Atlanta's finest and
that is surely going to lead to bigger problems for everyone. I like the story
so far. It is scripted well and moves forward logically with enough information
to get the big picture. The art is not as appealing though. It jumps around from
fine detail on some pages to very rough on others. It is not enough to ruin the
book but for me it is distracting in parts. I still give it a thumbs up as the
title has promise to be a thriller.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Carlos Pacheo
Inker: Cam Smith
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

When I first picked this up it was more out of duty as a reviewer to see how the
next big event will start. I have not read any of the prelude issues so I have
no idea if they have much if any bearing on the events in this first part of the
main story. I have read some of the hype about how this will lead to two X-Men
teams by the end with Wolverine and Cyclops leading separate factions. If you
did not know that and picked this comic up cold you would not conclude that was
going to be the case. The main plot revolves around a speech Scott will be
giving to a meeting of world leaders at an International Arms Control Conference
in Switzerland. He tasks Logan to come with him as his sole security force. In
his speech he pleads with the representatives to decommission their Sentinels
for the sake of their own humanity and the survival of the remaining mutants.
There is one player that arrives to disrupt the meeting. He is Quentin Quire, a
mutant with the ability to force people to reveal their darkest secrets. Before
Scott or Logan can react the various leaders are spilling the beans on
international airwaves about the crimes and atrocities they have committed on
their friends, families and citizens. Before you know it security forces unleash
Sentinels whose only directive is to subdue any male mutant. Naturally Scott and
Logan have to take them out allowing Quentin to make his escape. The
repercussions of the collapse of the conference soon results in many countries
activating and testing their Sentinels openly for the first time. In related
incidents we see what group is orchestrating the whole event. The leader and how
he got the power is too good to reveal in a review. So as far as this first
issue goes it is a good story, has a few lighter moments but certainly is racing
toward bigger things to come. As for it showing any "schism" between Slim and
our favorite Canadian - not so much. That must be coming later. The art is up to
snuff although I found Wolverine to appear a bit pudgy in several panels.
Whether the whole story will live up to the hype or the price tag remains to be

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: American Dreamers
Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve McNiven
Inker: Mark Morales
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

You may have noticed a lot of Captain America titles on the rack lately and with
the movie about to debut this month it is only appropriate that Steve Rogers is
back as Captain America. Of course that means they have to renumber the title
back to number one again, which I find comical since in the latest Marvel
Previews for September issues they took pains to chide DC for renumbering all
their books that month. But I digress. Steve, Sharon Carter, Nick Fury and Dum
Dum Dugan are attending the funeral of Margaret Carter in Paris. The occasion
serves to have Steve reflect on his "man out of time" nature as he is still so
young while this old colleague and paramour from WWII has finally passed away.
But the old friends can't reminisce for the whole issue and sure enough as they
leave the cemetery they are attacked. Long story short Steve recognizes the
attacker that got away as another agent from their war days. Naturally we get
some flashbacks to how that worked back in the day and how the other man known
as Codename: Bravo also loved Margaret Carter but she spurned him for Steve. The
story also involves a young boy who aided them on their mission against Baron
Zemo and the emerging organization known as Hydra. In the present that boy is an
old man who has just emerged from decades of being in a coma. He will become a
factor in the story as the group tries to determine why Bravo is attacking now
and what else is behind that attack. There is a fair amount of action in this
issue and the art is a good as ever. I will give Brubaker some leeway in getting
to the point of it all slowly. Though the big plan is not all revealed one
player in charge makes his debut on the last page. There is really no reason to
begin with a new number one creatively, it just makes sense commercially. It is
still a solid comic from a top-notch team.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andy Lanning
Colors: Justin Ponsor and Laura Martin
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I reviewed the final issue of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN wherein Peter Parker died.
This six-part mini-series follows up on that story, the impact it has on those
who knew him and by the end will reveal a new Ultimate Spider-Man that will star
in his own series. This first chapter begins with a series of scenes featuring
familiar characters as they ponder Peter's death. Gwen Stacy is in shock as she
read the front-page story in the Daily Bugle declaring Peter Parker as the
fallen hero. J. Jonah Jameson ponders and editorial he is writing revealing that
he knew Peter was Spider-Man. Johnny Storm vents his rage in the skies over
Manhattan. Kitty Pride shows her own way of coping. While at the scene of the
shooting on the bridge Mary Jane Watson seeks the truth at any cost. The second
half of the book is the beginning of the funeral. Tony Stark escorts aunt May
and Gwen. This is the tribute to a fallen hero in grand style, something May did
not expect. Even a little girl in the crowd is a surprise and a comfort. But we
have to get some drama in this story and that is provided by Steve Rogers in the
closing scene. It is a good start in two ways. It explores the emotions of those
affected by Peter's death while showing the gratitude of the ordinary people who
recognize his contribution. With the prospect of a new web slinger showing up by
the end it will be interesting to see the reactions of these same players. But
first we will have to get through the rest of the built up emotion and reactions
to the truth of how Peter died and how that will affect his loved ones. The
heroes involved witnessed it, next issue May and Gwen will find out. It should
be interesting.


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
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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 the Milestone Universe, What was Boogieman's real first name?

The answer is Martin. The winner by the dice roll is Sean Fowler.

Here was your no prize question:
Which athlete has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated the most times?

The answer is Michael Jordan. Sean Fowler got it first for a perfect score.

Who uttered this in her debut appearance?

No way am I going out with Martin Ingelhart!

Here is your no prize question:
What is the only breed of dog mentioned in the Old Testament?

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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