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Friday, July 1, 2011

Comic Reviews 7/1/11

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 3)
Title Story: Shades of Gray
Publisher: DC
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Javi Fernandez
Colors: The Hories
Letters: John J. Hill
Cover Artist: Kevin Nowlan
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the attractions of this FLASHPOINT tie-in is that the character is new,
created for the event. We first saw him in FLASHPOINT #1 at a meeting called by
America's top hero Cyborg to form an alliance aimed at stopping the war between
Aquaman and Wonder Woman. But as we see from this book he is no hero. The first
few pages detail his birth in the Punjab State of India. It is a difficult birth
and the father is horrified as the baby starts to emerge with a gray rock-like
head. Eventually he is born and the mother does not survive. The father cannot
stand the sight of the baby and rejects it. He was sent off to an orphanage and
later was the sole survivor of a catastrophic event that wiped out a city of
hundreds of thousands. He was still a baby and yet he was found in the middle of
a three-mile-wide sinkhole unharmed. He is indestructible. He is named Michael
Desai but is more often called The Outsider. Today he is a multi-billionaire
with a vast complex that has the most sophisticated technology possibly in the
world. We see a bit of a crossover from here of his meeting with Cyborg and the
others. He was present at that meeting in the form of a holographic projection.
He is all for joining with the others to stop the war, for his own purposes. At
the same time his minions are working on tracking down one known as Blackout,
also present at the Cyborg meeting via hologram. Blackout is the most powerful
source of electricity on the planet and The Outsider want to use him to light up
India. He is Blackout's worst enemy. As the meeting results in failure the
Outsider has not time to plan his next move because Rising Star of Japan and Mr.
and Mrs. Terrific attack his temple. Outsider is ruthless in his business
dealing and now we get to see him in action in a fight to the finish. It is not
only the fact that he is invulnerable that makes him deadly. His technology is
amazing and is showcased in the fight. His personality is fleshed out through
the course of the book. At the end of the issue his reaction to the outcome of
the battle make Luthor look like an amateur. This is indeed a unique comic that
really can be read on its own without any of the other FLASHPOINT books. Even
the art makes it stand out as something out of the norm. If you don't care
anything about the event itself you might want to get this one. I have a strong
feeling the character may at some point show up in the DC Universe after the

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Stealing Coins
Publisher: Image
Creator: David Hahn
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Cover Artist: David Hahn & Ryan Hill
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Romance

You may have noticed I like to review lost of first issues. Often that means
they are a mix of different genres from the mainstream capes and tights, to
horror, comedy, crime drama and others. I took a chance on this one because the
art on the cover was appealing and the interior is black and white. The story is
about Kit Bradley, her roommate Donna Swift and Kit's on again off again
boyfriend Dwayne. Kit is starting school and finally not living with her dad.
Their relationship is typical. While he helps her out some she is on her own and
comes to visit regularly even if it means suffering her brother's company as
well. But the main plot is about Kit and Dwayne. It is a classic theme. Kit
wants to break away from Dwayne because he drags her into illegal schemes. He
latest is a house break in he is planning to steal some gold coins. She does not
want to go back to those ways especially now that she is on an art scholarship
and on her own. There is a sub plot or two as well. Kit and Donna are looking
for a third roommate to share the costs and the one they have found may come
with her own baggage. The kicker in the end is Donna's latest date. It turns out
that he and Kit know each other - but how is left for another issue. David Hahn
is a good artist so I have no issue with the art. He also scripts the story well
and brings things together in smooth transitions and logical sequence. The
subject material is not for everyone but it is straightforward storytelling with
good characters. It took a while for things like STRANGERS IN PARADISE to gain
an audience. I am not saying this title is at that level but people who like the
genre will enjoy it.

Title: RAGE
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: After the Impact
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Inker: Pierluigi Baldassini
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Glen Fabry
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I have read a number of comics based on video games. Most of them are not
something I would stay with after one issue. This comic says on the cover it is
from the creators of DOOM and QUAKE, which means nothing to this, non-gamer but
the ad on the back says the game, which is not yet released, has some awards and
a good review from G4TV.COM. Anyway I went for this first issue to see if it has
a decent story and not just a lot of action scenes. The fact is the inside cover
gives the back-story so it is worth reading. In 2029 it became clear an asteroid
would hit the Earth and cause apocalyptic devastation. World governments created
cryo arks, individual pods for people to be buried in suspended animation that
would be released after the destruction subsided. But a band of military
leaders, calling themselves The Twelve Visionaries assumed control of the
project and spared only scientists and engineering experts forcing them into
cryo arks for their own plans. The Twelve entered their own pods in 2037 and
waited to reemerge before the others after the disaster. 58 years later the
story begins as a female scientist, Doctor Elizabeth Cadence, emerges from her
ark and is rescued from a band of Wastelanders by the military authorities now
in charge. Taken back to their city she learns of the current status of
humanity. Some of the survivors not in arks have been infected by something that
scrambled their DNA. They are monstrous mutants. The Authority, as the military
in charge is called, has been trying to find as many of the arks as they can to
get the people they need to cure this mutation. But as we learn the scientists
are unwilling participants in the operation but have no choice if they want to
survive themselves. But are the leaders and the mysterious sole-surviving
Visionary looking to cure the mutants or control them? It is an interesting
premise though hardly unique. The art is pretty decent and the female
protagonist seems to be a strong character up against hard odds with few options
but to cooperate. It is a good start that may have promise if taken in the right
direction. I was not disappointed with this issue.

Issue Number: 160
Title Story: Part 5
Title Arc: Death of Spider-Man
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andy Lanning with Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE

This is one of those comics that has been hyped a while, was given full media
coverage and even gives the ending away in the title. If you still don't believe
it or could possibly not know the ending then don't read this review. First I
must say that the so-called crossover in the story arc with the AVENGERS vs. THE
ULTIMATES was not necessary. In fact it was more a cameo appearance by Peter in
a few panels, which is really not a crossover. But I digress.
The build up to this climax has been thrilling and well paced. The Green Goblin
has escaped with Kraven, the Vulture and Electro are heading to Queens after
Norman killed Doctor Octopus. In the battle between the Ultimates and Avengers
Spider-Man saved Captain America from being shot but took the bullet himself.
Though he is badly wounded he can still function and heads Osborn's group to his
own house. There he finds that Iceman has stopped Osborn and Bobby is also down.
But the Goblin is not finished and Peter swings into action to get Aunt May away
from the danger. As the battle heats up the Human Torch joins in, no pun
intended, and even Mary Jane lends a hand. Without getting into too much detail
the additional fighting further harms Peter. In the end he dies knowing that he
saved Aunt May and perhaps the others, from the wrath of the Green Goblin. I
thought the story was very readable. I think the concept of killing off this
alternate version of one of Marvel's premier heroes in a heroic fashion is a
good use of the Ultimate premise. It is shocking to see it is Spider-Man and the
aftermath will be dealt with in yet another mini-series before the premiere of a
new person in the costume. Bagley and the rest have done a great job all the way
through. I have read ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN from the very first issue and enjoyed
it so much that I am sad to see Peter go. I am very interested to see what comes
next - which is the point in serial storytelling. This on was done right.


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

Frank admitted he took the idea from Will Eisner. The winner by the coin toss is
Gregory Goding.

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

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in the United
States, founded in 1790. This was 2 years before a New York exchange was set up.

Marvel released two comics in March 1963 both, which featured the first
Marvel character crossovers from other books. Can you name the issue titles and

Here is your no prize question:
What artist was struck in the face with a mallet by an envious rival,
disfiguring him for life?

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.

1 comment:

  1. Ooooohh...I know that answer.

    Also, nice call on USM 160. When I came back to comics, the Ultimate line was just starting and made a nice reentry for me. I dropped all the other titles but kept this one until the end.

    That being said, I am pretty sure I will not be getting this one when it restarts with a new Spidey....