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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comic Reviews 8/5/11


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)
Publisher: Image
Writer: Sam Sarkar
Artist: Garrie Gastonny
Colors: Sakti Yuwono
Cover Artist: Bagus Hutomo
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror(?) Science Fiction

Gabriel Parker and Michael Page have spent most of their academic and
professional lives trying to unravel the mystery of the Oak Island Treasure Pit.
There are certain clues contained in ancient tablets that have led them to
another island, Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. With a small band of
explorers and some very high tech equipment they are about to explore another
pit that could produce findings buried deep below the sea of an enormous nature.
They are gambling everything they have that it will pay off. In the opening
chapter they decide to cut in Mr. Kirlov for the use of his state-of-the-art
undersea robot in a race to break through a chamber before an approaching storm
can halt their progress. The robot proves to be the key to progress and the
initial find of treasure chest boosts their hopes that all was not in vain. But
a closer assessment indicates that it is not enough to cover their costs to
date. Clues on a tablet they found indicates that this was not the main vault.
There are similarities in this "vault" and the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Going on
that lead and at some renewed risk they find another chamber – but what will its
secrets mean? The closing scene provides a clue as to something never before
known to man is contained in a large coffin-like box they have discovered. I
might add that the opening three pages of the comic are a big clue that really
do not make sense until you get to that last page. This is a good thriller that
takes it time setting the framework for the circumstances involved with the
major players and their relationship. The art is superbly done by the artist of
SUPERGOD. The promise of an even bigger mystery grabs you at the end giving
supernatural implications to what they have discovered. I'm hooked on this one
and look forward to what comes next.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Joe Hill
Writer: Jason Ciaramella
Artist: Zach Howard
Colors: Nelson Daniel
Letters: Shawn Lee
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Science Fiction

Jason Ciaramella picks up the story of Eric and the Cape where we left off after
the one-shot based on the short story by Joe Hill, writer of LOCKE & KEY. In
that story Eric gained the ability to fly from a childhood make believe super
hero cape. Rather than do something constructive with his otherwise loser life
he took revenge on the girlfriend who dropped him when she had had enough of
him. He basically took her up about twelve stories high and then dropped her,
killing her in a brutal manner. It was a rather abrupt ending and now we get the
story that comes after. The police investigating the story are once again
questioning Eric about the relationship he had with Angie. Through the course of
the questioning we realize, even without reading the first comic, that Eric took
revenge on her for turning to his brother Nick. The only forensic evidence the
cops have is some blue fibers they found on the body. This sets off Eric's radar
that they might be able to trace those fibers back to a certain cape he owns. So
now he must take action to stop that. How he does it is in line with his
behavior in the past and is too much of a spoiler to reveal here. But Eric is no
genius. Not only does he say some revealing things to Nick when he calls but he
is also not careful about who sees him when he gets home. We get the feeling
things will start to come apart for him at some point. In the meantime it is
like watching a train wreck, you just can't turn away. Stories where the bad guy
gets away are only appealing if they are told properly. I don't know if Eric can
manage it or if this sequel will have him brought to some form of justice. There
are other younger characters that are peripheral at this point but could play a
bigger part in the end. With the high level of writing and art on this story
I'll be waiting to see where it goes.

Title Story: Paint It Black
Publisher: Top Shelf & Knockabout Comics
Creator: Alan Moore
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Kevin O'Neill
Colors: Ben Dimagmaliw
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $9.95
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy/Horror

I hesitated to read and review this comic because it has complexities that a
simple review cannot cover. Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill layer their work with
all kinds of cultural references relevant to the decade of the setting, most of
which are British and unfamiliar to the average American reader. If you are more
curious about this aspect of the book an Internet search will provide more info.
A good start is at Newsarama

Mina Murray, Allan Quartermain and the gender changing Orlando are all that is
left of the LOEG as they depart from the Nautilus in 1969. They are in a far
different setting that the 1910 chapter of Century and the whole creative team
from writing to art, colors and lettering take advantage of the psychedelic
sixties in every way possible. Our three heroes are still up against Oliver
Haddo's plan to usher in an age of sinister evil through the birth of a
"moonchild" who could well be the antichrist. It is in this chapter we
apparently learn how it is that Haddo manages maintain his influence on his cult
following despite his apparent death. It starts with the death of a pop idol and
subsequent plans to hold an outdoor memorial in his honor. This is the late
Sixties so there are a lot of very colorful clothes and free sex and drugs
throughout. Mina and company are not aware how the idol's death ties into to it
all but are nonetheless lead to the same gathering where Mina will confront
their nemesis through the use of a psychedelic drug. O'Neill and Dimagmaliw
really let loose in this sequence as it leads to the climax if not a final
resolution. Yes this is only the second of three parts and how the main
characters interact in this chapter explores partly the fact that they are
living lives far longer than normal, which opens up changes in attitude about
life, love and relations. The story from the antagonists' side is fascinating in
itself involving black arts, human sacrifice and traveling on the astral plane.
This is the kind of work that can be read on its own for one level of enjoyment.
It also fits well into what came before, clarifying some things that were
mysteries before. And, it will bridge the gap for the final chapter set in 2009.
There is also a text piece in the back that is critical reading if you are to
get the full effect of the book and the series. It is a phenomenal piece, as you
would expect from Moore and company. It is well worth the money and the time.

Issue Number: one shot
Title Story: Enter Justice League Prime
Publisher: DC
Writer: Cary Bates
Artists: Gordon Purcell & Andy Smith
Inker: Jose Marzan & Andy Smith
Colors: Carlos Padilla
Letters: Wes Abbott
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Like the RETROACTIVE FLASH comic I reviewed last time this one is done in the
70's style. In a similar fashion the story starts out with what seems like an
odd situation that has Adam Strange in a mental hospital trying to explain his
history as a space traveling adventurer who has to warn the Justice League of an
impending attack by their old foe, Kanjar Ro. The only problem is he is somehow
on Earth Prime, our world dear readers, where super heroes only exit in comic
books. The story backtracks to show how Adam was going to visit the Justice
League from Rann but Kanjar Ro intercepted the beam and has found away to absorb
the energy of it. That initial action ended up with Ro beaming to Earth One and
Adam being shifted into the dimension of Earth Prime. The JLA learns of this
through their monitoring system and after confirming with Alanna on Rann they
leap into action. One group searches for Ro while Flash, Zatanna, Green Arrow
and Wonder Woman head to Earth Prime to rescue Adam. They find Adam but he has
lost his memory and believes he was always a normal guy and the heroes are just
comic book characters. To jog his memory the League needs help and so they call
on an acquaintance of Barry Allen on this Earth, Julius Schwartz the Editor of
DC Comics. Julius devises a plan to get Adam back to normal and then it will be
off to Earth One to save the day. This is a fun story involving real people in a
way that makes sense and helps resolve the plot. The eventual confrontation with
the villain is handled well and provides the action and the eventual victory.
The art team does its part to keep with the style of the fashions in the time.
The civilian garbs are spot on and even provide a couple of in jokes among the
team. Kudos for accomplishing the objective in good fashion.

Bonus story: Where on Earth Am I? From JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #123 (1975)
Story by Cary Bates & Elliot S. Maggin, art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin

Cary Bates may have used his story from this reprint as inspiration for the main
story. This one starts on Earth Prime as Schwartz is chiding Bates and Maggin
for not coming up with a good plot for the next JLA issue. As the two brainstorm
they take out the cosmic treadmill that Flash used to leave Earth Prime on a
previous visit. One thing leads to another and Cary gets accidentally sent to
Earth Two, home of the JSA. Along the journey his mind and body become affected
and soon he finds he has super power and a different attitude in this new
setting. In a desperate attempt to save Cary Elliot tries to duplicate the
transport but instead ends up on Earth One of the JLA. Before you know it we
will have both good guy teams unwittingly fighting each other as part of the
master plan of the now evil Cary Bates. The only downside of the story is that
it was continued into the next issue so fans that really want to know how it
ends will have to find JLA #124 from 1975.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: P.J. Holden
Colors: Rainer Petter
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I couldn't pass up this mash up of two of the better-known icons of the science
fiction films. It is set in the future at a time when Skynet has nearly
eliminated all the humans on Earth. We follow Lauren and a male companion as
they race to stay alive. They believe they be the last humans and in a desperate
move are breaking into a Skynet facility to find some way to shut it down. Only
Lauren makes it in and to her surprise it is a museum of sorts. It is full of
old robotics and weaponry. One pistol catches her eye and as she unlocks the
case to get it a Terminator catches up with her. At this point Robocop comes out
of some kind of suspended animation and saves the day. When more Terminators
arrive Murphy finds a way to even the odds. But seeing how Robocop may be more
machine than man will it be long before Skynet takes a different approach to
kill what it believes is the last human? The coming attractions indicate the
next issue will be set in the time of the T2 movie so more excitement is on the
way. I really enjoyed this story and was kind of shocked at the end of it. The
art is good enough to not distract but a finer finish would really make it stand
out. It is a good opening chapter with promise of more thrills to come.

Issue Number: 3 (of 4)
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Writers: John Mahoney & Filip Sablik
Artist: Thomas Nachlik
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Science Fiction

Occasionally I will pick up a random issue of a comic to see how it reads on its
own without knowledge of the series. This is a black and white comic with an
interesting cover so I picked it. I was pleased to see a few pictures and words
on the inside cover to bring us up to speed. Alec King is a small time thief who
gets hooked up with some bad people. He and his friend are hired to pull off an
assassination of a local politician but Alec freezes and his friend gets killed.
Alec got away and tried to kill himself. That is when he learns he can't die.
Next he got hit by a car and shot and still survived. So three times he "died"
but still survived. As the story opens he has been picked up by a woman he does
not know who begins by asking him why he tried to kill Robert Callahan. It
appears she knows Alec who has no clue who she is or why she rescued him. As the
story unfolds we learn that they have met – eight years ago at a fraternity
party. She never forgot him for what he did that night but this is more about
who he is and why he was in on the hit. It gets stranger when all this comes out
as Alec is recuperating at her house. What happens next moves the action in a
whole new direction. Well this comic accomplished the mission of being a very
readable mid chapter that easily explains what has come before and moves forward
with a lot of character exposition and key plot elements revealed. The art is
really stylish black and white done very well. The key element is not so much
that Alec can't die as that only enters into the action almost peripherally. He
is on the run from the people who hired him to kill a man and not only does the
woman who has a relation with the victim shelter him but he learns some shocking
truth about why he was hired. It is good stuff and I am dying to see how it


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:
Whose first published comic work appeared in Nightmare #20? (published by
Skywald in August of 1974 - it was a B&W horror mag).
The answer is John Byrne.
The winner is Keith Martin.

Here was your no prize question:
What is the world's fastest racquet sport?
Badminton is the fastest racquet sport in the world with shuttles reaching
speeds of up to 332 km/h (206 mph). Gregory Goding wins the no prize.

According to Gene Colan, what comic company was the FIRST to produce a comic
direct from pencils - his of course?

Her is your no prize question
Which Italian city is the birthplace of the modern pizza?

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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