Search This Blog

Friday, November 18, 2011

Comic Reviews 11/18/11


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
Framing Sequence: Behold the Watcher
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Javier Pulido
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist: Adam Kubert & Morry Hollowell/Nick Bradshaw & Marte Gracia
Price (USD): $5.99 List Price (reduced price at That's Entertainment $2.99!)
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This title is a preview of things to come in the Marvel Universe. The framing
sequence is a clever one. Two beings of unknown origins other than the fact they
call themselves the Unseen sneak into the Watchers abode on the moon while he is
in his fugue state. Once every three years he goes into a kind of trance for
forty-two minutes. It is during that time that he uploads his observations to
the collective and is oblivious to what is happening around him - a period of
time when he is not watching. The Unseen know this and have sent two operatives
to search his archives for something that will enable them to carry out their
nefarious plan. This theme will no doubt be continued somewhere in the future as
the plot is left open as the issue ends. During their presence there one of the
men taps into Watcher's wall of memories and alternate universes to witness
events that have been observed recently by the Watcher. It is those events that
we get to see in this issue. Here is a recap.

NOVA - "Harbinger" by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines and Morry

Nova has come to the planet Birj to warn Terrax, former herald of Galactus of an
approaching threat to the planet. Terrax attacks fearing it is a ploy to
distract him from an invasion of the Nova Corps. His stubborn belligerence will
have its consequences and we get to see just what Nova is talking about before
it is over. It is a big reveal!

AGE OF APOCALYPSE - "The Myth of Man" by David Lapham, Roberto de la Torre & Lee

Yes Marvel is revisiting the Age of Apocalypse. This tidbit looks in on Krakken
as he tells his young son how he defeated the Red Prophet during the war and was
the designer and manufacturer of machines that helped rid the world of the human
menace. In this segment we learn that not all the humans have been eliminated.
There are five that still fight for the human race. Their last names are mostly
familiar and this plotline promises to be very entertaining. The art is very
stylish in keeping with the dark future it explores. The prelude to the
storyline begins in UNCANNY X-FORCE #19.1 in January.

SCARLET SPIDER - "The Scarlet Thread" by Chris Yost, Ryan Stegman, Michael
Babinski & Marte Gracia

The SCARLET SPIDER goes on sale January 11. This is our first look (at least
mine) at the title character. He is Kaine. He is the imperfect clone of Peter
Parker. He was dying of cell degradation but something happened in New York that
changed all that. He was a monster, he did terrible things, but since his change
and new lease on life he just wants to run away and hide somewhere outside of
the country. From this sequence we see he has changed and his ultimate goal may
not be permanent after all. I am not sure why they decided to go with another
clone story but from this segment it looks interesting.

COLDMOON & DRAGONFIRE - "Yin & Yang" by Fred Van Lente, Salvadore Larroca &

As far as I know these are new characters being introduced and perhaps they are
going to have their own title next year. It starts with a set of twins, a boy
and a girl. Each was born with powers and isolated from each other and the world
since birth, each thinking the other died at birth. Dragonfire has the power of
molecular manipulation though it is strong it is erratic. Coldmoon has the power
as well and hers are weak but very precise. Their female guardian visits them in
her HAZMAT suit daily perpetuating the myth of the other sibling being dead. But
like some twins there is a special bond and when they both reach puberty the
attraction is so strong that it will not be denied. This chapter shows how they
discover each other and the truth about their existence. There journey to fight
the powers that did this to them will lead them to their first encounter with
the Avengers. It is a strong plot with good art. I'll be looking for this one.

DOCTOR STRANGE - "The Shaman of Greenwich Village" by Matt Fraction, Terry
Dodson, Rachel Dodson & Sonia Oback

This sequence leads into or maybe is a part of the new DEFENDERS title on sale
next month. The beginning slowly introduces a character that has been around
Greenwich Village for years. Many in the village know a man called Notebook Joe.
He supposedly is writing "The Complete History of Greenwich Village" in his
notebook everywhere he goes. When Stephen Strange visits his current benefactor,
a female that lets him crash at her place, he learns that Joe apparently never
sleeps. Loving a mystery Dr. Strange explores Joe's mind on the astral plane and
finds that instead Joe is in a constant state of sleep. It proves to be a
strange journey for the mystic and he even gets a glimpse of his own future. He
leaves us with a strange phrase, "the impossible is everywhere now" to ponder
until the DEFENDERS has its debut. It is very intriguing for reasons I have not

THE AVENGERS - "Age of Ultron" by Brian Michael Bendis, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary
& Paul Mounts

The final entry is a look into the future, something that surprises our
interlopers from the Unseen when they realize that fact. The beginning of the
story will be in AVENGERS #19 on sale in November and it is titled "The March
Toward Ultron." This segment is apparently from a later chapter as Ultrons are
flying over a partly demolished and partly rebuilt New York. Clint Barton,
Spider-man and Wolverine are under attack and this short bit serves to show how
desperate the situation has become. If you are an Avengers fan it is a good
tease of what is to come. And it may be enough for others to start following
that title right now.

Overall I give the book two thumbs up for giving us a lot of information on what
is to come and a special thanks to That's Entertainment for making it accessible
to readers at a reasonable price.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Avenging Spider-Man/Hulk
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Joe Madureira
Colors: Ferran Daniel
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Well, now we have another Spider-Man title on the racks. This one is the Spider-
Man team-up book with a different title. It will feature the web slinger with
various characters outside of his regular books. First up is Hulk. That would be
the red one, Thunderbolt Ross, who is a member of the Avengers and not the
incredible one who is off on his own after splitting from the Bruce Banner
persona. At the end of an Avengers battle with a group of A.I.M. agents Hulk is
tasked with (stuck actually) giving Spider-man a ride back to New York while the
others mop things up. In transit they learn of a major problem at the GW Bridge.
The NYC Marathon has begun but has been interrupted by an army of mole men who
apparently want to take the mayor, J Jonah Jameson, captive. The story has the
two Avengers grappling with a much bigger threat as Jameson is whisked away. The
story continues next time, if there is a next time for our two heroes.  The plot
is laid out well for a first issue. We begin with the team scenes and some
typical humor you would expect to get Spidey together with his partner for this
story. The New York is intertwined to reveal the threat from underground and the
eventual merging of the two plots in an all action sequence. There is a
revelation at the end as well as a cliffhanger that teases more action for the
next issue. The art is decent and the characters are handled appropriately in
character. If more Spidey and/or team-ups are your thing you can't go wrong with
this one. As an added bonus the issue includes a digital code that you can use
online to download the entire issue for free. How can you beat that?

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: Marvel
Story: Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn & Matt Fraction
Script: Chris Yost
Artist: Scot Eaton
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz & Guru eFX
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Super Hero

This is the story of Marcus Johnson. It has the SHATTERED HEROES theme dress on
the cover - a post FEAR ITSELF tie-in. But is this about a hero somehow affected
by that major event? Well it is, but not a hero that was a major player in those
events. Marcus Johnson is a soldier and during that time he was in the middle of
fighting his own battles in Afghanistan. The story provides some scenes of what
life is like on those front lines until Johnson gets the word that his mother is
dead. Four days later he is at his mother's funeral with two very familiar
people watching from the shadows. It is our first indication that his story is
much more than that of a typical soldier on leave. For the first time he sees
some of the damage done by a world gone mad with fear. But at his mother's house
he realizes her death is not what it seems and soon some goons and the villain
on the cover, Taskmaster, confront him. Why are they after him and are they
responsible for his mother's death? There are hints that Johnson is someone
special but we will have to stay with the title to find out why. The build up to
the climax is a good mix of action and intrigue. The final scene, and the cover,
gives a hint of what is to come. With very good art the whole thing comes
together nicely and is well worth the bargain price to give it a try.

Issue Number: 13
Title Story: .Batman Dies At Dawn
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Rick Burchett
Inker: Dan Davis
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have sampled this title in the past. Although the cover logo does not say so
the actual title indeed has the "ALL-NEW" label legally. I believe that was done
to tie it into the cartoon series, which had a bit of a revamp for its current
run on Cartoon Network. I picked up this issue because the cover showing various
versions of Robin and a blurb - "Calling All Robins", intrigued me! They are all
here - the original Dick Grayson as Nightwing leads Damian, Tim, Jason,
Stephanie and Carrie all plucked from their time when they were the current
Robin. It seems the actual time is when Stephanie or Tim is the current Robin as
Damian alludes to being in the past at one point. This all occurred through the
power of the Phantom Stranger. It seems Batman was fatally wounded and his only
hope is for all of his prot‚g‚s to work together as the Stranger's spell holding
him in stasis will only last a day. Nightwing proposes they take him to a
Lazarus pit in the caverns of a certain mountain. It will take all of them
working together to get past the League of Assassins and ultimately Ra's Al Ghul
if they hope to save their mentor. This is a fun story for the long time fans of
Batman and Robin. Newer or younger readers may not know them all but will still
delight in seeing the diversity of kids that have been or will be sidekicks to
the Caped Crusader. The art is in keeping with the TV series but is not overly
cartoonish. There is even a lighthearted scene at the very end as Phantom
Stranger and Madame Xanadu discuss an alternative they could have chosen. This
is great fun for all ages, as usual.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Alan McElroy
Writer: Alan McElroy
Artist: Michael Montenat
Colors: Phil Smith
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Eric Jones
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama

The PILOT SEASON titles keep on coming in the quest for one of them to get its
own mini-series. This one is the story of a soldier, Marcus Walsh. We know this
from a brief opening scene in Afghanistan. The story picks up a year later in
Los Angeles. Marcus was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously and wants the
world, and even his father to believe he is dead. The things he did during the
war have affected him that way. He lost himself out there as a highly trained
black ops soldier and now he chooses to lose himself or at least his true
identity. The only acknowledgement of his past is his visit to his own empty
grave. It is at the cemetery that he meets a young boy and his battered mother.
He decides that fate has given him another mission, one more honorable than
killing others in war. But the plot goes a lot deeper than putting the fear of
god into a bully. His surveillance of the batterer leads him into a much deeper
plot that will call for his particular skills in vigilante justice. I liked this
story for a few reasons. It starts with a more philosophical monologue about
soldiers and their lot in life and then gets into sub plots that lead into more
involved ones. The art is dynamic and colored well. It is a worthy entry into
the contest. It is getting harder to pick the best from all of the PILOT SEASON

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Story: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Script: Kent Dalian
Artists: Joelle Jones & Karl Kerschl
Colors: Ryan Hill & Tyson Hesse
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

This comic is based on a best-selling series of novels of the same name. This
mini-series takes place between chapters of the second novel, BETRAYED. The
authors have created their own vampire (they use the term vampyre) mythos. The
House of Night is a finishing school for young vampyres known as fledglings. The
goddess Nyx marks the young with a hollow crescent moon tattoo on their
forehead. They are then sent to the House of Night for training before they
become full vampyres. The lead character is Zoey Redbird who is special among
fledglings. She has a magical affinity to the five elements: air, fire, water,
earth and spirit. It seems earlier in her story she was recognized by the
goddess as being special by having her moon filled in and added to with tattoos
normally only adults get to wear. She was also appointed as leader of a sub
group, the Dark Daughters, something that really riles the deposed leader and
fellow fledgling Aphrodite. So part of the plot is Zoey's reluctance at being
cast not only as a fledgling but also as a very special one and then having to
cope with the resident bad girl's constant taunts. She does find solace in her
own group of friends. The mini series delves into the Fledgling Handbook and its
ritual stories about the five elements. So for newcomers to the works it is an
introduction to the world of the novels and all the mythos without relying
heavily on the plots in the novels to carry the weight. This issue concentrates
on the earth element as it ties into the Viking Priestess Freya. Her story is a
valuable lesson for the fledglings and Zoey in particular as Freya must find a
way to establish a House of Night in Norway so that the fledglings in that
country will no longer have to hide. This interlude is fascinating and stands on
its own. It also ties in well with Zoey's plight as she learns a valuable
lesson. Presumably future issues will also help her as she learns of the other
figures in vampyre history that tie into the other elements. At first I was not
so much interested in a bunch of teenagers with typical angst and conflicts just
in a different setting. But this title is more than that and the art is
spectacular as well. Fans of the novels will no doubt love it and others would
be well served to check it out.


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 SUPERBOY #50, three characters from the original KAMANDI series appeared.
Which ones?

They were Dr. Canus, Prince Tuftan, and Great Caesar. Of all the correct entries
the dice favored David Mc Barron.

Here was your no prize question:
Which famous Middle East Leader received the key to the city of Detroit in 1980?

Saddam Hussein! Saddam Hussein donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a
Detroit church and received a key to the city more than three decades ago, soon
after he became president of Iraq. Saddam's bond with Detroit started in 1979,
when the Rev. Jacob Yasso of Chaldean Sacred Heart congratulated Saddam on his
presidency. In return, Yasso said, his church received $250,000. A year later,
Yasso traveled with about two dozen people to Baghdad as a guest of the Iraqi
government, and they were invited to Saddam's palace. Yasso said he presented
Saddam with the key to the city, courtesy of then-Mayor Coleman Young. First on
the draw with the right answer was Gregory Goding.

Where did Defiant's "Warriors of Plasm" make their comic debut?

Here is your no prize question:
Who is credited with inventing the first true gasoline powered automobile?

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