Search This Blog

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comic Reviews 10/14/11


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
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Joshua Hale Fialkov
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Rashan Ekedal
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Bagus Hutomo
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery

Imagine waking up in a domed community and being told you were the hope of
mankind. Ten people have this experience as they hear an announcement that they
were chosen for genetic diversity and communal living. The Artificial Life
Support and Containment unit, or ALSAC, is designed to protect them from the
radiation and biological toxins that have "most likely" all but destroyed the
world. It is completely impenetrable. Would you question the veracity of it all?
Is it keeping the threats out or the people in - or both? This is the premise of
the first in the latest series of Pilot Season one-shots from Top Cow. The
readers will choose their favorite one shot to debut over the next few weeks and
that title will continue its story in a mini-series. The pre-recorded
information over loudspeakers and an interactive channel on the TVs is designed
to inform them of the situation outside and instruct them on action items they
need to accomplish. The dome will open when they have grown their numbers and
conditions are right to begin repopulating the world. At first they have no
memory and there are only six that have come out on the street to figure out
where they are. As they explore the discovery of a seventh is very disturbing
and one character has a revelation that seems to be a vision of the future. This
story is interesting to me. There is enough revelation to set the hook and
enough mystery to stimulate continued interest. The art is decent with distinct
characters and a real enough setting. You can either accept the stated
explanation as real or question if something else is going on. It is good
science fiction that has promise. I have enjoyed most of the Pilot Season titles
in the past and this one is no exception.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: Hello, Hero, Are You For Hire?
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Kyle Hotz
Inker: Bob Almond
Colors: Jay David Ramos & Veronica Gandini
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: David Yardin
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I haven't been following the whole Spider-Island event but I do read HEROES FOR
HIRE so I picked up this one to see how the characters tie in to the major
story. Heroes for Hire is a clandestine organization run by the former detective
Misty Knight - code named Control. She runs a group of heroes as mercenaries -
that is they get paid either for personal or charitable reasons to fight larger
criminal threats to New York. Paladin is the only permanent hire who seems to be
enamored with Misty. Other heroes that have been "hired" as needed include
Elektra, Spider-Man, Falcon, Gargoyle, Black Cat, Silver Sable and the Shroud.
To tie this into the Spider Island saga Mayor Jameson has asked Control to have
her team help quarantine the Spider problem to Manhattan and then help control
some hot spots. In the course of this chapter they run up against ordinary
citizens with Spider-Man powers as well as heroes and villains infected as well.
In a major battle they run up against transformed agents of A.I.M. and get help
from some of the Avengers. By the end Misty will have to deal with one of her
own people changing. Can the rest last much longer without being infected? While
this comic may not have major impact on the larger story it is an enjoyable read
for fans of HEROES FOR HIRE. The art team does a good job and the plot further
explores the relationship between Misty and Paladin that is sure to be continued
in the ongoing title. For those reasons it is a worthwhile comic to pick up. For
those just getting all the SPIDER-ISLAND tie-ins it adds to the scope of the
problem the city is facing.

Title: AVENGERS 1959
Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer/Artist: Howard Chaykin
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I was not all that interested in following the further exploits of Nick Fury and
the band of adventurers he assembled during WWII called the Avengers. They are
Bloodstone, Kraven the Hunter, Namora, Sabretooth, Silver Sable and Dominic
Fortune. But I am a sucker for first issues and with Howard Chaykin running the
show I decided to sample it. The story begins in New York in the fall of 1959.
The group is gathering to celebrate their collaboration and go their separate
ways. But in Latveria the Blonde Phantom, Louise Mason, is hunting down the Nazi
Dieter Skul. She is tasked with identifying and neutralizing war criminals and
uncover who or what is behind their resurgence. Scenes shift to Fury getting
attacked on the streets of New York by a paid assassin to a covert meeting in
Wakanda by a US State Department envoy that clearly has other motives. In the
96th Street Boat Basin the tryst between Namora and Kraven is interrupted by the
emergence of a submarine crushing their boat. All these instances have one thing
in common; the bad guys have the symbol of a skull on them somehow. The other
members have similar life-threatening experiences and the ending brings out a
new character that could be a new ally for Nick and his friends. Chaykin has
laid the groundwork for an involved plot that will unfold nicely going forward.
It seems an unlikely alliance of characters but it works in this story. One
online pundit has suggested the new character may be someone connected to
another group known as The Avengers - that remains to be seen. This is a solid
story with lots of action and mystery. It is worth it after all.

Title: HAWK & DOVE
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: First Strikes
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Colors: Matt Yackey
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE (second printing)
Genre: Super Hero

If you missed any of the sold out first issues of the New 52 from DC the second
printings are making the shelves this month. I decided to look at a couple I
skipped the first time around. For the record, Rob Liefeld is not my favorite
artist, far from it. He has improved some over the years but his style does not
appeal to me and that is a personal thing. Hawk and Dove has gone through
changes over the years. Hawk, Hank Hall, is the avatar of War. He has enhanced
vision, agility, strength, body density and a healing factor. Dove, Dawn
Granger, is the avatar of peace. She has enhanced intelligence, compassion,
strength, flight and a danger sense. While they are partners in fighting various
bad guys Hank is always alluding to his dead brother, Don Hall the former Dove,
being a better partner. The scene begins in Washington on a plane the two have
taken over and discovered the payload was zombie-looking monsters. As they
resolve that situation with some difficulty a member of the Special Crimes Unit
of the DC Police approaches them. He reveals the man behind the army of men and
Zombies is Alexander Quirk a scientist with political motivations. Other parts
of the issue explore the strained relation between Hank and Dawn who were chosen
by the gods of war and peace to be given their special abilities if they work
together. Meanwhile Dawn is involved with Boston Brand, Deadman in his latest
incarnation. In a recap we see how Hank and his brother became the original Hawk
and Dove ending with Don's death during the worst "Crisis" man has faced. So we
see some past continuity has been preserved for this duo that have an uneasy
partnership, at least in Hank's point of view. Part of the reason is that Dawn
never told Hank why she was chosen or her experiences that lead up to the day
she showed up as the new Dove. With all that out of the way the plot will
continue on with the whole zombie army thing. This is clearly a background issue
to familiarize the new readers with the characters and their dynamic. It will
take a couple more issue to decide if it will be worth staying with for longer.
I really don't care for the big chip on Hank's shoulder and as I said the art is
not my cup of tea. You may feel differently.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Joseph Rock
Publisher: DC
Writer: Ivan Brandon
Artist: Tom Derenick
Colors: Matt Wilson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Viktor Kalvachev
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE (second printing)
Genre: War

Another second print first issue I decided to look at proved to be more
enjoyable than I had thought it would. This is DC's war comic and as the title
suggests it will have more than one main character. It is a rare $4 comic for DC
but for that you get a larger comic with the addition of a second story. The
first features a new Sgt. Rock set in modern times rather than WWII. At the
start he is a corporal in the army. The script in this first installment serves
to show us the kind of character he is - one dedicated to fighting the good
fight and getting passed over for promotion due to several instances of
insubordination that also resulted in victory for him and his men. We learn this
as a general and a sergeant named Torisi are interviewing him. General Schiff
knew Joe Rock's grandfather, Frank Rock and has high regard for his service.
Clearly Joe is his own man and his anti-bureaucratic attitude does not bother
Sgt. Torisi who defends Rock and brings him on a new mission. The story shifts
to a secret mission to rescue a senator who disappeared while on a peace mission
and is believed to be held by insurgents. This serves to get us into the
battlefield and lots of action and a major turning point in Rock's career. There
is one element of the story that takes it out of the realm of a normal war story
and lands it into the DC Universe of super powered humans. There is someone out
there who seems to have Superman-like powers and is also secretly fighting the
bad guys. I say secretly because we only see him in shadow and flying too fast
to distinguish any features. I am guessing it is Apollo from the Stormwatch
comic but that is just a guess. I wasn't expecting this and it was really cool.
This looks like a better than average story that could get very interesting. It
alone is worth the price of the book. But there is more.

Back up story: "Navy Seals: Human Shields" - part 1 of 3
By Jonathan Vankin, Phil Winslade, Thomas Chu & Rob Leigh

As the titles suggest the heroes here are a group of Seals on a covert operation
in a field of operation that officially has no "boots on the ground." They have
just acquired a high value target, a major ammo dump, and called in an air
strike when it hits the fan. A sniper tags one of them and two members go after
the shooter once they get into the building. What they find when they get to the
sniper perch is not what you might expect. This story is shorter than the first
and spends some time introducing the characters and a bit of their background.
It wastes no time though getting into the action part and showing the tactics
used in their situation. It is a more straightforward soldier story with a twist
that will make the next chapter interesting. It is a good back up for a decent

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: "Nothing Wasted"
Publisher: Image
Writers: Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Artist: Attila Futaki
Letters: Fonografiks
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE (second printing)
Genre: Horror

I believe this story is up to the third issue but I saw the second printing of
the first issue and decided there must be something to it to go back to print.
The story begins at a time when Elvis is just starting to create a stir with his
swinging hips. A grandfather is watching this on TV when his grandson comes in
with a note from a mysterious stranger claiming to be a friend of the
grandfather. This disturbs Jack as he begins thinking back about the secret
about his "severed" arm - a secret he has kept even from his wife. At this point
we go back to the beginning and follow two young boys on different paths. The
young Jack Garron is an accomplished violinist. He is living in Jamestown, NY
with his adoptive mother but has decided to secretly strike out into the world
seeking adventure riding the rails and playing for coins in cities across the
country. This action seems without major motivation at first, as his home life
is a loving one. We learn later why he made this decision and the kind of
hardship he will face right off the bat. It is 1916 and while war rages in
Europe Jack is about to see horror of a different kind. What shape that horror
may take is partially revealed in the story of the other boy about Jack's age.
He has been living at a home for boys in Matteson, Illinois until now. We look
in as a Mister Porter has arranged to have Frederick take on an apprenticeship
with General Electric. The nuns are thrilled that a bright boy such as Frederick
will have an opportunity to make them proud. Of course Mister Porter is not
entirely what he seems. We will see that he will fulfill the horror element of
this story. How and when he might meet Jack is for a later chapter. I really
enjoyed this first issue as it slowly built the two main plots. On one hand we
have a seemingly basic story of a runaway out to make a name for himself while
on the other what at first could be a bright future for another boy slowly turns
to a foreboding one. The art is excellent. It has the right shading and coloring
over detailed pencils to invoke the feel of the times a hundred years ago. It is
all well executed and better than most non-hero comics on the racks.


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:
In which city can you find MONARCHS, GENERALS, MAMMOTHS and METEORS?
These are all sports teams in Metropolis. The winner by the dice roll is Mike

Here is your no prize question:
What was the first .COM domain name ever registered back in 1985?

I made a mistake in the date and have corrected it.
The first .com domain name that was ever registered was, on the
15th of March 1985 by the now defunct Massachusetts-based computer manufacturer
Symbolics. Symbolics was founded by former employees of the MIT AI Lab and their
associates for the purpose of building Lisp machines (computers that ran the
Lisp programming language) and related software. Lisp machines were considered
the first commercially available computer workstations, though the word
"workstation" had yet to be coined at the time. David McBarron rightly
questioned the date and it was 1985 not 1965. He wins a special place in the no
prize hall of fame.

What do Captain Comet, Animal Man, and the Atomic Knights have in common?

No prize question
In what country do New Year's Eve celebrants throw old dishes at the homes of their friends?

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment