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Friday, October 28, 2011

Comic Reviews 10/28/11


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: ComiXpress, Inc.
Creator: Michael McMenemy
Story: Bully or Bullied. Which Would You Be?
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: Now On Sale
Genre: Science Fiction/Martial Arts

Those of you who attended the event at the store last week got a chance to get
to know more about this creator and his work than I do. I picked this up to see
what it is all about. I am not sure if black and white comics still are a tough
sell in today's market. At $3.50 some folks can't get past the desire to see it
all in full color. I have never had that problem. Michael's style is very
accomplished. He has sharp detail in the foreground images with good use of
shading while the background images tend to be less defined - drawing your
attention to where he wants it. Macu is the main character, an earthling in an
alien city working at a restaurant run by two other earthlings Shino and her
uncle Irfan. Many of the aliens in this city dislike earthlings making Macu, a
thin and pale person, a target for their bulling. Even Shino has dubbed him "The
Pale Dragon" behind his back. Irfan is more compassionate challenging Shino to
decide if he will continue to take the ridicule of others. While the story takes
it time getting there the answer comes very dramatically ending the issue with
some unanswered questions. I like the way McMenemy structured the story with
some things that first seem irrelevant coming to play later. His style grew on
me and takes some interesting diversions along the way. It is a fine first

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part 1
Title Arc: The Damocles Contract
Publisher: IDW
Creator: John Byrne
Writer/Artist: John Byrne
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Spy Thriller

John Byrne has taken a new subject for his latest work. This is a story about a
spy named Michael Swann on Her Majesty's Secret Service and it is set in the
Cold War era. He takes an interesting approach to start the story. The first
eleven pages have no dialogue or editorial text at all. The story is entirely
visual showing Swann on a mission in East Berlin. He accomplishes his goal and
then has to dash for freedom in several pages that include costume changes,
acrobatics and a car chase to the border checkpoint. It is the set up for the
reason he resigned. The real story picks up two years later as Swann picks up an
assignment to investigate the possible upcoming defection to the Soviets of a
British missile scientist. His cover is that of an addition to the security team
at the base. His subject is Rupert Kemp and by coincidence Swann has an
encounter with Kemp's daughter. The way this story is styled like a James Bond
novel you can bet Swann will be seeing more of her in the future. Actually it is
entertaining but ends too quickly. The first half is almost all action while the
second half takes its time methodically introducing the characters and setting
up a bit of a cliffhanger for next time. Byrne's art is very recognizable so
there are no surprises there and Pattison's coloring compliments it well. I
think I am going to enjoy this one.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist: Moritat
Colors: Gabriel Bautista
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Western

I have enjoyed Palmiotti and Gray's take on Jonah Hex in the past and I did not
expect any departure from the norm in this NEW 52 title. What is different is
the setting is Gotham City in the 1880s. The story is narrated by Doctor Amadeus
Arkham who has been called in by Detective Lofton of the Gotham PD to aid in the
investigation of a series of brutal murders of prostitutes by someone they have
dubbed the Gotham Butcher. Chief Cromwell has serious objections to this,
regarding Arkham as a quack. When he sees Lofton has also called in famed bounty
hunter Jonah Hex he really gets upset. He makes it clear their connection to the
police investigation will be confidential and Lofton's job will be on the line
if it results in bad publicity for the GPD. One curious aspect of each crime
scene is that the word fear is painted in blood there but each time in a
different language. The Doctor and Hex make an odd couple with Hex speaking
plainly and picking up on obvious clues while the Doctor gives a more clinical
explanation with added conjectures. The only clue they get from talking to the
working ladies is that the latest victim was seen getting into a coach with a
large man who was wearing a silver ring in the shape of a skull. When the next
victim turns up the bloody inscription has changed - warning Hex to leave town.
Part of the book has Arkham at home writing notes making an analysis of Hex -
his character and what may have lead him to be the way he is. It is a very
interesting interlude. But the zinger is when the two attend a charity event
with all the affluent men of Gotham attending, including Alan Wayne and Mayor
Cobblepot. It is there that they come to the realization that things are going
to get a lot more dangerous for the two reluctant partners. This is a wonderful
tale with an excellent script and very good artwork. To call it just a western
tale is not accurate because it is a clever mystery as well. This title could
have a long run if the quality remains on this level.

Title: KEY OF Z
Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Subway Seriez
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writers: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert
Artist: Aaron Kuder
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Cover Artist: Nathan Fox
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Zombie
MATURE READERS - Comics on the Edge

After the zombie apocalypse New York City two separate rival fiefdoms arose,
each with their own stronghold. Yankee Lavoe leads the people in Yankee Stadium
and Jackson Met and his survivors are holding Citi Field, former home field of
the Mets. It is spring of 2012 and we get a look at yet another group lead by a
far less power hungry leader helping survivors in Madison Square Garden. However
people are organized it is still a game of survival with zombies roaming the
streets. The Mets and Yankees have plans for gradually expanding and taking back
the city. We move forward to the summer of 2016. One of those working for Lavoe
is a young accountant named Eddie Alvarez. He has been charged with inventorying
supplies but when a shortage of foragers happens the boss Lavoe has no qualms
sending him out into the city for three days to bring back whatever of value he
can collect. He sees it as a test for Eddie to prove he is worth being in the
inner circle. Fortunately for Eddie he meets a loner who saves his life, Ewing.
Ewing is the real protagonist of the story. He lost his family to the plague and
now he is on his own to exact whatever revenge he can. As the two begin to
travel together Ewing decides to help Eddie on his mission - just before things
get really bad. I like the idea that survivors could band together and secure
large structures to keep back the undead. Logistically I am not sure how they
could manage to keep everyone fed for months or years but that is the premise we
are given. The art is very appealing with good realistic detail and coloring. So
far there is more stress on the people themselves rather than conflicts with
zombies. But the ending promises an interesting development in that regard. This
is a solid first issue.

Issue Number: 4
Publisher: Bongo Entertainment
Creator: Sergio Aragones
Colors: Tom Luth, Nathan Hamill & Nathan Kane
Letters: Karen Bates
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor

I hadn't looked at this comic yet and with the series up to number four I felt I
had to check it out. I have been a fan of Sergio's' having discovered him as
many did in the pages of MAD MAGAZINE. In later years I got a big kick out of
GROO THE WANDERER and other comics he did with writer Mark Evanier. In this
self-titled book he does the writing and art with assists on coloring and
lettering. There are plenty of the goofy gag one-page cartoons he is famous for
right up to the back cover - another trademark of his work. I would go so far as
to say that the little gags used for these are the most enjoyable part of the
book. Whether it is a garage mechanic distracted by a lady leading to a disaster
a snake charmer that brings the wrong basket to his usual spot where he
entertains tourists Sergio shows his mastery of humor in both subject and
execution in black and white. I thought the longer colored segments would be
longer humor stories but found that is not always the case. The first one is
entitled "The Wooden Son." It is a different take on the Pinocchio story. In
fact he claims it tells the tale of how Carlo Collopi listened to a story of a
bunch of villagers who tried to play a trick on an eccentric puppet maker by
substituting an orphan boy for his puppet he prayed would be turned into a real
boy. When it turned out they were happy together they did not have the heart to
tell him of their deed. But the story goes even further. It is a fascinating
story, especially if it is true. The other color segment is called "Los Titeres"
which is Spanish for marionettes. It is an autobiographical piece telling of
Sergio's life-long fascination with marionettes from early days to present. He
has a large collection from all over the world and everywhere he goes he seeks
out puppet shows. He winds up the segment with the story of how he and his
friends made their own marionette theater with the help of their parents and put
on shows for family and friends. It is a fun thing to read as it captures some
of the idealism of youth. While I was never into puppets like this I can think
of similar things I would get involved in with friends as kids. This may not be
appreciated by everyone who only pick up the title looking for cover to cover
laughs, which is the only flaw I see in this comic. I look it as a one man show
with a little bit of this and that thrown in as he see fit. He even has a couple
of visual puzzles for you to solve and a letters page with a couple of the
contributions coming from well-known celebrities from comics and television. I
hope it keeps up for a long time.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Jeffrey Moy
Inker: Philip Moy
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Cover Artist: Phil Jimenez
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Super Hero

Hearing this project was coming out and being a fan of both series I knew I
would be getting this title. I was more than curious as to how the writer would
bring together the cast of the original Star Trek series with the original
version of the Legion. Of course time travel would have to be involved and that
is not a problem for the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Star Trek cast is all the
original members - the seven major players. For the Legion there is Cosmic Boy,
Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy and Shadow Lass. But the story begins
with neither group. In a clever use of the opening monologue we are used to from
ST-TOS we think we are going to see Kirk and company first but what we see is a
different 23rd century in a parallel universe where Star Fleet is a conquering
force. Captain Tomorrow leads the battle group on their latest conquest - the
planet Durlan. In this battle their version of Shadow Lass is leading a group of
Talokians to subdue the shape-shifters. The heart of the Imperial Empire in this
universe is the planet Earth. We only get a glimpse of how this version may have
evolved into the starting place for a galactic empire. The gist of this first
issue is getting Kirk and his crew as well as the Legion to this Earth in the
23rd century. For the Enterprise crew it happens as the captain and his
officers, less Scotty, are beaming down to Earth for the graduation of the
latest class at Starfleet Academy. In the Legion's case they are heading home
through the time stream when they get caught in a vortex that forces them to
make an emergency landing. Yes, both groups end up in different places on this
alternate Earth. A crowd soon gathers and seeing a Durlan among the Legion they
react violently. The Enterprise crew has somehow beamed into a restricted area
and is soon set upon by Imperial forces declaring they are subject to immediate
execution. Both teams are in a tight spot and have not yet met each other. It is
a good set up for what is to come. There is more detail through the issue.
Roberson takes time to show us the characters interacting to give us the feel of
where we are in their perspective histories. The art is superb. The Moys' have
captured the likeness of the TV characters exactly and the Legion members
likenesses harkens back to the very start of their run in Adventure Comics. True
fans will get a big kick out this one. Everyone else will also enjoy a well-
crafted comic series.


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 special link is there between the Flash and Lex Luthor?
In this case there is a TV link. Michael Rosenbaum played Lex in "Smallville",
and did the voice of the Flash for the Justice League cartoons. The winner by
the dice roll is Jim Woodruff.

Here was your no prize question: What is the oldest fireworks brand in America?
Once again David McBarron wins the no prize for being the first to know the
answer is Black Cat.

THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: First words of a character - could be a tough one. Who said this in his comic book debut: "Say, who WERE the Masters of the Universe, anyway? And what were the secrets of Castle Greyskull?"

Here is your no prize question: Which is the oldest car manufacturer still making cars in the US?

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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