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Friday, October 21, 2011

Comic Reviews 10/21/11

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 (second printing)
Title Story: The Clone
Publisher: DC
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: R.B. Silva
Inker: Rob Lean
Colors: The Hories
Letters: Carlos Mangual
Cover Artist: Eric Conete with Guy Major
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Carrying forward the idea that Superboy is a clone this title gives him another
origin. They never really come out and say whom the human contributor to his
genes is though there are hints in one speech by the female scientist now in
charge dismissing that it might be a "deeply pathological, meglomaniacal
narcissist." Hmm. We almost find out when Superboy suddenly comes to life as it
appears to the technicians and the man about to blurt the truth to Caitlin is
unfortunately killed in an accident. A couple of the supporting characters are
interesting to me. The aforementioned female scientist is a red head named
Caitlin - could it be "that" Caitlin from GEN-13? And another woman she works
with is Rose Wilson! The organization is known as N.O.W.H.E.R.E. that created
Superboy and are keeping him in isolation immersed in a virtual reality to try
to learn the secrets of his background. Caitlin can't understand why he dreams
of growing up in a small town in Kansas - heh, heh. I am not familiar with this
organization but I believe it has connections with Teen Titans though I have not
been following that title for a long time. Unknown to the powers that be there
is a mole in the organization that is communicating to someone on the outside -
someone with connections to a certain general. The most interesting part of the
story so far has been Superboy's thoughts - seeing what is happening from his
point of view. He knows he is a prisoner and has not fully realized his
potential. He is learning and observing - biding his time. The opportunity may
be coming as the issue closes and indeed there is a tie to Teen Titans in the
offing. It was an entertaining first issue. I enjoyed the fresh start without
the Conner Kent baggage from past continuity. The art is very good though it is
odd to see a bald Superboy in the first sequence. I think I will stick with this
one for a while to see where it goes.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Metamorphosis
Publisher: DC
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: IG Guara
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Tyler Kirkham, Sal Regla & Nate Eyring
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Catching up with another first issue of one of the New 52 I wondered how much if
anything they changed about the Jaime version of Blue Beetle. The look is pretty
much the same. The issue actually begins with a prologue that shows where the
Blue Beetle scarab came from initially and how it got to Earth. There is a race
of beings that conquer worlds through the use of these scarabs. One inhabitant
is chosen and once the scarab attaches to it that being becomes the destroyer of
that world losing his own identity and becoming one with the scarab and its
power. He decimates the military resistance until the world can be cocooned for
the Hivemasters to savor at their leisure. Next we follow one such scarab sent
out through hyperspace to find its way to our solar system. After an encounter
with the then Green Lantern it crashes to Earth in Central America long ago. Did
the encounter with GL alter it enough so that it will not be a threat when it
eventually takes on a host? That question may be answered by the end of the
book. For now we flash forward to El Paso, Texas where the fated host is in the
local high school Jamie is a friend with Paco and Brenda so it seems the major
players are here again. Brenda's rich aunt is the mysterious rich relative that
seems to have a lot of strong arm help around. She is really after the scarab as
an artifact of fame - not knowing what it really is. Through a happenstance
Jamie and Paco collide with her super powered operatives trying to obtain the
scarab for her from some other heavy-duty super bad guys. The result is we get
to see the transformation for the first time - in this version. All the
groundwork is laid with a little more forward info in this version than we had
in the last. The dialogue is smooth and the action moves right along. The art is
impressive as well. It may not be as big a hit as the other new titles but it is
interesting right from the start.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Deal
Publisher: Image
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Brent Peeples
Inker: Matthew Waite
Colors: Mirka Andolfo with Benny Fuentes
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

Quite often I am pleasantly surprised by a new Image comic I picked up just to
give some variety to my reading and reviewing lineup. With this title it was
even more of a delight. The premise is about alien visitors to the planet the
people have come to call the Great. In August of 1991 seven structures rose from
the ground - one on each of the continents. After observing and absorbing the
native cultures the vistors crafted bodies to make themselves appealing to the
humans - even leave them in awe. That is the effect they had when they emerged
from their structures. They did good. They cured cancer, settled ancient wars,
built great cities even new capitals for each continent - things humans with
their failings could never do. But when they demanded that they wanted
centralized control of all Earth's weapons the people became afraid. One by one
the Greats ended up dead. Now the Earth is faced with an invasion of millions of
ships. The human sponsors of the six overt Great have found their way to the
seventh in recluse in Antarctica. He is their only hope for survival. But after
what they have done to his brothers and sisters it will be a strained
conversation. Actually this story is mainly about that conversation. Most of
what I have revealed is told in flashback to bring us up to date as the humans
meet the Last of the Great for the first time. He is a most interesting
character who shows a range of emotions from compassion to contempt to anger as
he relates all the history of his kind and more to these humans. But what will
he do next? The ending is a real grabber and I am hooked. I only picked this
title for review purposes but I will be picking it up for the long run. It is
the kind of feeling I had when I read the first issue of IRREDEEMABLE. In this
case I think this title may have been overlooked and it will get some word of
mouth buzz. Buy it or order it and see what I mean.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Morgan Davis Foehl
Writer: Morgan Davis Foehl
Artist: Dennis Calero
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is another PILOT SEASON one-shot hoping to become a mini-series. The
setting is a city in a dystopian future. This enclosed city has just passed
eleven years without any violent crime. They are protected from without and
through electronic implants from violence from within. It is a city of refuge.
Yet even after eleven years there are some who still have to cope with those
they lost. So the subplot follows some people who meet in a support group.
Because this is a controlled city the population is also controlled. People who
wish to have children must submit to a selection process and hope to get picked
off the queue. The main character is a lieutenant in Security Operations.
Because they need to be able to handle any situation that may come up the people
in law enforcement get a special drug at the beginning of their shift that
neutralizes the implanted Secura chip for twelve hours. They alone know what it
is like to not be inhibited by the implant, at least while on duty. After many
years the population has begun to grow weary of some of the control on their
lives. They have come to doubt that there are no long-term side effects from the
implants. There are even (non-violent) demonstrations against the system. When a
man takes someone very important as a hostage Lieutenant Jackson can't help but
wonder if somehow a "dose" of what he takes for the job made it on the black
market. But that is not nearly as frightening as what he finds later that
evening. While a lot of this type of science fiction can be much the same this
one has more background and character interaction for a first issue. The basic
way such a society can work is if everyone follows the rules. This is about how
some people find ways to break the rules. The art is good enough, with the
coloring adding much to the basic pencils. It is above average, which explains
how it made it to be a Pilot Season contestant.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Publisher: DC/VERTIGO
Cover Artists: Rafael Grampa or Michael William Kaluta
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery/Horror/Science Fiction

This one-shot anthology has a splendid assortment of tales that all have the
"unexpected" theme either in plot or ending. It is one of the best anthologies
in content and execution I have seen in a long time. Unlike STRANGE TALES each
story is very readable and entertaining for any reader. Here is a quick run

"The Great Karlini" by Dave Gibbons is the story of a magician escape artist who
learns that deception is harder to master than escape. He narrates his story
from his escape from the ghetto in WWII, to a fortuitous meeting on the ship to
America and a rise to fame as a celebrated escape artist. He meets his fate in
an unexpected fashion - at least for him.

"Dogs" by G. Willow Wilson and Robbi Rodriguez is a visually funny tale about
what would happen if the dogs had enough and rebelled against their masters.

"Look Alive" by Alex Grecian and Jill Thompson has a unique art style
appropriate for the subject. It is about a female zombie who manages to look
normal with makeup and careful difficult control over her walk. We see how well
that works for her.

"The Land" by Josh Dysart and Farel Dalrymple takes place in Texas. It is about
a Mexican ranch hand that finds the boss' son dead in the wood near a river.
Things turn badly for him and he knows he will be blamed for the death and so
must run. It has elements of real or made up lore and an unexpected ending.

"A Most Delicate Monster" by Jeffrey Rotter and Lelio Bonaccorso tells the story
of man tinkering with evolution by using fossil DNA to clone Neanderthals for
study. While they are contained they surprise the scientists in some ways. But
when is taken out for a field trip among civilized men there will be an even
bigger surprise.

"Family First" Mat Johnson and David Lapham is a post apocalyptic story with a
brother and sister surviving on what meat they can find. When someone approaches
from a distance their skill to hide and then attack unexpectedly will make the
difference to them and those they call "the family." The revelation at the end
is a kicker.

"Alone" by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rashan Ekedal is by the writer of LAST OF THE
GREAT reviewed above. It is the story of a couple having relation problems when
she finds out he is chatting online with an old high school flame. He goes out
to run an errand for her and has a fatal accident. But the story does not end
there as he finds himself back at the house. It is a ghost story with a
different twist.

"Americana" by Brian Wood and Emily Carroll follows the life of a woman from the
age of six in 2012 to the age of 94 in 2100. It is another story of a seeming
end of the world. The men go off to the wars; five of them, while the girl and
her mom head off inland to start a new life where survival is easier. It is her
story as a daughter, then a mother and eventually a grandmother. It is a
satisfying story and nicely rendered.

"Blink.Le Prelude A La Mort" by Selwyn Hinds and Denys Cowan is a prelude to
another comic coming soon from Vertigo called VOODOO CHILD. It is about a female
in New Orleans and about the city and its culture. It is about voodoo and
supernatural beings from a link that goes back to the end of the Civil War. It
is not as self-contained as the other story though I like the art.

Issue Number: 1 (of 12)
Title Story: Birthday
Publisher: DC
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Cully Hammer
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Tony Harris - variant by Cully Hammer
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

James Robinson returns to the sometimes hero sometimes villain from the STARMAN
series. This is not a NEW 52 but a 12-issue maxi-series. Robinson begins with
four major scenes. The first is a conversation between Shade and Mikaal, the
alien and current Starman who has settled in Opal city. At one point it drifts
to the possibility of lasting love among people of their profession. That of
course is a segue into the scene between Shade and his lover, Hope O'Dare. He
dismisses his current attitude to the fact it is October - the month of his
making. She insists he has changed and what he needs is an adventure. In a
completely unrelated scene a private detective is being chased by Belgian
assassins with enhanced powers from drugs and exo-suits. Why they are after him
and who sent them will be something Shade should be told. The final scene ends
in a shocker as another well-known assassin in the DC Universe surprises Shade
as he ponders Hope's suggestion as he walks alone at night. It is just the
beginning and Robinson has given us a mystery, bonding moments between friends
and lovers and a couple of intense action sequences. Cully Hammer does a great
job with his pencils and layouts and the coloring finishes it off nicely. So far
it is getting very 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
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:
What do Captain Comet, Animal Man, and the Atomic Knights have in common?
They all debuted in the same title and had STRANGE ADVENTURES there.
The winner by the dice roll is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
In what country do New Year's Eve celebrants throw old dishes at the homes of
their friends?
Denmark. Old dishes are saved throughout the year to throw at the front doors of
friends' homes on New Year's Eve. Danes save old dishes throughout the entire
year to carry out this odd holiday tradition. Many broken dishes show that you
have many friends. David McBarron wins the no prize plaque!

What special link is there between the Flash and Lex Luthor?

Here is your no prize question:
What is the oldest fireworks brand in America?

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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