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Friday, September 23, 2011

comic reviews 9/22/11

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
Title Story: Born to Kill
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I followed the original run of this title from the beginning. I enjoyed the
interaction between Dick Grayson and Damian as they forged a partnership. Damian
is purposely an abrasive character that added a new dimension to the character
of Robin. Now he is working with his father, Bruce Wayne. As we see from this
first chapter it is a different dynamic. As Bruce puts it at one point, "you are
not my partner, you are my son." As always, Damian impulsively tries to do
things his own way without thinking of all the consequences. Bruce is quick to
point out the flaws in his thinking and the expectations he has from his son and
his Robin. So far it works well and is good reading. Tomasi takes the occasion
of this relaunch to change a long-standing tradition with Bruce, commemorating
the anniversary of his parents' death. He has decided it is time to stop
remembering how they died but instead remember how they lived. In a well-written
scene they visit the alley but this time from the sewer below. Bruce uses a
fitting memento of that fated night to let the memory of the pain drift out of
sight. But it is not all a stroll down memory lane as the get the call to the
scene of a high-tech robbery going on. It is that confrontation that forces
Batman to put Robin in his place. And there is a particularly brutal villain in
town that will provide some intense action in the issues to come. I think this
is a good kick off and a good jump on point for those new readers joining in on
the new DC Universe. The execution is terrific in every aspect. The art is clean
and the coloring accents it well. This one is worth picking up.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Leaching
Title Arc: Hydrology
Publisher: DC
Writers: J.H. Williams & W. Haden
Artist: J.H. Williams
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As in BATMAN AND ROBIN there are family issues being dealt with in this premiere
of the new volume of BATWOMAN. She is still Kate Kane and is still a lesbian.
That aspect of her life is touched on as she runs into Detective Sawyer at the
precinct while visiting the picture on the wall in memory of Renee Montoya. With
that out of the way there are three main plots to the story. One is a series of
killings and kidnappings of children at the hands of what appears to be a female
ghost. She is an urban legend but the crimes are very real. Batwoman has first
hand experience with the Weeping Woman in the opening scene. Then there is the
beginning of training of Bette, her niece and formerly Flamebird of the Teen
Titans. To Kate she is still in need of training and while they patrol together
Kate points out her mistakes, calling her a plebe not taking the job seriously
enough. The session ends with a surprise visit from Kate's father enabling
Williams to fill us in on their estranged relationship. Finally, we have a two-
page scene at the New York headquarters of the Department of Extranormal
Operations. The director is assigning agent Chase to a new case in Gotham
involving both Colonel Kane and the mysterious Batwoman. It all is groundwork
for things moving forward. The guys keep all the plots going at a steady pace
with everything making sense and nothing superfluous. William's art is as good
as ever with Stewart doing a great job on the colors. The characters are
interesting and we even get cameos from the commissioner and another caped
crusader. Great first issue right out of the box.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Kicked in the Teeth
Publisher: DC
Writer: Adam Glass
Artists: Federico Dallocchio & Ransom Getty & Scott Hanna
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villains

The premise of the Suicide Squad hasn't changed through the relaunch. Lifers in
Belle Reeve prison are given the chance to see daylight and breath fresh air if
they volunteer to join Task Force X, what the guards call the Suicide Squad.
They are given intensive training and injected with micro bombs, which can be
exploded at, will if they try to welsh on their duties. The line up has some
familiar faces from the DC villain list. We start with Deadshot, El Diablo,
Harley Quinn (with a more sexy look these days), Voltaic, King Shark, and
Savant. One of them won't be on the team by the end of the issue. Through a plot
devise we get a closer look at the recent background of some of these players as
well as a flashback to their first mission, which did not end well for the team.
It is all orchestrated to get to the point of the last panel when the next
assignment is revealed, and it is a doozy. I do not want to reveal any more as
it is scripted to throw the reader off as to what is really going on. I think
old fans of the Squad will enjoy it. It has always been a premise that has a
harder edge to it - having hardened criminals as the major characters who are
themselves willing to do anything to complete their mission and maybe someday
earn their freedom. This chapter has some graphic torturing involved and the art
team handles it with ease. Every panel is well thought-out and finished well
with the capable Val Staples giving it the right coloring to suit the mood. This
one should be a hit. One caveat to dedicated fans - you may not like the new
look given to Amanda Waller!

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Back to Basic
Publisher: DC
Creator: Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Art Thibert
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Simon Bisley
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

Here is what you need to know about Deathstroke as you jump into his story in
the rebooted DC Universe. He is a metahumans mercenary who goes after the
toughest targets. He has enhanced speed, strength, higher brain functions and is
a master strategist. He is ruthless and calculating. The first few pages show
that graphically. So it is odd that he would be willing to work with a bunch of
kids when his agent, Christoph, tells him they are his backup team. The plan is
to board a jet while it is flying. It will contain a German scientist supposedly
on his way to deliver nuclear secrets to Iran. He is a known arms trader with
international connections. The three young associates are trying to gain a name
for themselves. April is the ammo expert, Quinn handles communications and
Hughes is the pilot and sharpshooter. The fun in the first part of the story is
the banter between the all-business Deathstroke and the over anxious newbee kid
mercenaries. The fun in the second part is the actual mission itself, some
interesting revelations and the conclusion that reinforces the fact that
Deathstroke is a cold and calculating as ever. Saying anymore would be giving
too much away. I like this story because it really plays with you. Not only is
the situation in the target plane a lot different than we expect but also the
expectation of where the series is heading is totally wrong. It is a clever plot
that is translated well in the art making this a decent first issue.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Monster Town, USA
Title Arc: War of the Monsters
Publisher: DC
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Colors: Jose Villarubia
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist: J.G. Jones w/Hi-Fi
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Monster/Horror

I did not follow the Frankenstein character in the FLASHPOINT mini-series so
this is a first look for me. It starts out interestingly enough like a scene out
of a horror movie. A boy and his grandfather are fishing at a peaceful lake in
Washington State. After some introductory panels the boy's dog runs off and when
the old man investigates he is confronted by some huge monsters and joins the
dog's fate. This is the set up for the main plot. Bone Lake, Washington is being
overrun by monsters that seem to be multiplying and spreading. The Super Human
Advanced Defense Executive, S.H.A.D.E., has surrounded the town to contain the
situation and sent in their top agent, the Bride of Frankenstein, to find the
source of the invasion. They have since lost contact with her and now
Frankenstein has been summoned to get briefed and head up a task force to
retrieve her and continue the mission. His troops include a werewolf, an
amphibian lady, a mummy, and a vampire. The difference is that these are for the
most part members of the organization that volunteered to be genetically
enhanced into this transformation. These are the Creature Commandoes. The boss
is someone whom Frankenstein refers to as "father" but he changes bodies every
few decades and has recently taken the form of a little girl. It would be funny
if it was being played for humor but this is seriously the premise of the comic.
By the way, nearly everyone who uses Frankenstein as a character because he is
in the public domain gets it wrong. The creature is not Frankenstein; he is
Frankenstein's monster. His creator was Frankenstein. The only cool thing about
this book is that the SHADE headquarters is in the Ant Farm, which is a three-
inch indestructible globe that houses an entire city through the use of
teleportation and shrink technology designed by their science liaison Dr. Ray
Palmer. So this is the first appearance in the new DCU of Ray Palmer. Whether or
not he is also the Atom at this point is not revealed. He is here to make sure
SHADE does nothing untoward with his technology. As for the attack on the
monster invasion and all that ensues - ho, hum. It really is a ridiculous
premise to me and I find it comical that DC would put out a comic with these
characters as agents of a high tech secret organization. It seems a waste of Ray
Palmer at the very least. Maybe I am wrong and the majority of comic fans will
love a book about battling monsters working for the good guys. I'll pass.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Pronounced Dead
Publisher: DC
Creators: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Colors: Santi Arcas
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Ivan Reis, Joe Prodo & Rod Reis
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Of the new 52 this is one title I have been waiting to read. I was a fan of the
series when it ran before. In case you don't already know Mitch Shelley can't
die or rather he doesn't stay dead. Like Xombi he has nanites in his blood that
repair any damage done and essentially bring him back to life. The twist is that
he is reborn each time with a different ability. One time it might be flight and
the next might be telekinesis. It is not a controlled thing so he has to find
out what his ability is each time. This first issue starts off appropriately in
a morgue with our hero on a slab as the day shift is ending. Fortunately no one
witnesses the sudden jolt that marks his resurrection. He soon learns he has
control over magnetism. He also has a compulsion to take a flight to Portland,
Oregon. This is part of his character. There is always something drawing him
somewhere. There is something he feels he has to do. The original creators are
on the book and they haven't skipped a beat in making Mitch a compelling
character. We see him pondering his life and the people around him helping new
readers to better understand what his life is like when he has to keep coming
back for some purpose. They have added some interesting antagonists this time
around. It seems there are angels and demons out to claim his soul once and for
all. They appear as humans with large teardrop tattoos on their faces but can
change into their true nature when needed. The first run in Mitch has with one
of them does not end well. It is all build up as the plot moves into the next
issue. But before it does we find out there are a couple of familiar females
also looking for Mitch. They will be very familiar to fans of the previous
series. The art is very good for this demanding script. Everyone does a great
job bringing it all to life, no pun intended. This is certainly worth your time
and deserves to succeed.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Present Tense
Title Arc: Run From Tomorrow
Publisher: DC
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Pete Woods
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you've read my past reviews you know I am a fan of the Legion of Super Heroes
in all its incarnations. This title compliments the main title by taking a group
of Legionnaires into our time to stop something that will affect here future
world. The team consists of Dawnstar, Timberwolf, Tellus, Gates, Yera the
Chameleon girl, Tyroc, and Wildfire. They are following Alastor who has also
come back to our time to try to wipe out the human race with a deadly pathogen.
The first issue introduces the main characters and some of the difficulties they
have operating in our time. For example the pollutants in the air affect
Dawnstar's tracking abilities. The group has their work cut out for them and
with Tyroc as the leader the work well together. In alternate scenes we follow
Alastor and his initial contact with humans. The premise is good enough to begin
with an ending that will leave them down two members and the fate of Alastor
hanging out there. They are abandoned in our time as the story closes for now.
It is not the slam-bang beginning I was hoping for but I will keep following it
to see it develop more. I do not care as much for the art on this one. While it
has good composition and layout the finishes are not clean. It is a different
look that takes some getting used to. It is not bad - just not as appealing as I
like. Give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The new Ultimate Spider-Man made his debut in ULTIMATE FALLOUT. In his own first
issue he does not appear in costume. It is the origin story and it begins about
a year ago. If you are unfamiliar with the Ultimate Universe this will be an
easy place to begin reading. The whole Ultimate experience began with the
previous first issue starring Peter Parker, now deceased. The beginning of the
new one starts as it did before in the labs of Norman Osborn. Norman is telling
his latest hire why he was chosen and hired away at great expense. Norman
relates how an irradiated spider from his experiments had bitten Peter Parker
and gave him the proportionate strength and ability of a spider. He wants to
recreate that episode but the data and spider are gone. He hopes his new hire
can work from a sample of Peter's blood. So it is not a stretch to see one of
the new spiders gets loose and of course it will be the magic spider that will
bite Miles Morales, unknown to Norman. How the spider eventually ends up in
Miles' vicinity is a subplot that involves Miles' uncle. That subplot will also
prove interesting in the future. Miles is with his parents attending a lottery
drawing for three spots in a charter school, the Brooklyn Visions Academy. A
glimpse of our hero's character emerges as rather that elation at getting picked
he is saddened by the looks on those who did not make it. There is a question
whether his parents can even afford the school and the strained relation between
his father and his uncle does not help. All that drama is secondary to Miles
after he gets the bite. This is only the beginning but the tease panel reveals
an interesting new power Peter Parker did not have. Aside from all the
controversy of a half-black half-Hispanic Spider-Man has raised this is a solid
beginning. The art is very good, as you would expect. Bendis is getting back to
the premise of a young boy transformed through a quirk of fate into something
that will change his life. Whether we get to the point of a "great power/great
responsibility" moment this time remains to be seen. For now it is an
entertaining comic.


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 killed Leanna Creel?

That was Riptide, the victim in Alan Moore's JUDGEMENT DAY.
The killer was Marcus Langston, Sentinel. David Lizewski wins by the dice roll.

Here was your no prize question:
How many laps does it take to win the Indianapolis 500?

The answer is 200. David Mc Barron got it first.

"Bah! Everywhere it is the same! I live in a world too small for me!"

What character said that in his first time in a comic book?
Here is your no prize question:

James Naismith invented what popular game in 1891?

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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