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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Comic Reviews 12/9/11


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.

Title: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS
Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Title Story: Uprising
Publisher: DC
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Wes Craig
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artists: Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

What you need to know - T.H.U.N.D.E.R. is The Higher United Nations Defense
Enforcement Reserves. The team includes Dynamo who wears a belt that gives him
super strength, Lightning whose suit gives him super speed, Noman can move his
spirit to spare android bodies, Raven the newest recruit wears the suit with
wings and can fly and there is Menthor whose helmet allows him to mind control.
All of these members have given up their lives for the organization that tackles
threats most superheroes don't even know exist. But they have given up something
else. The equipment they wear to get these powers will eventually kill them,
except maybe Noman. Even though this is the second series from DC about these
heroes it is a perfect jump on point for new readers. The series is a retelling
from the classic Wally Wood stories and a couple versions since. So it is not a
new concept. The thing that makes it work is what the writer does with it. Nick
Spencer has a good handle on both aspects of the Thunder Agents. On one hand it
is an action series about people with super powers. The beginning and closing
scenes involve some of the Agents on a mission in Subterranea to keep the peace
during the religious holidays. The people tend to protest the president and
other elites. It shows off the powers a bit but also highlights the peril they
can be put in when things go unexpectedly too far. The other plot helps the new
readers by going into depth about the creator of the technology behind the power
suits. It is told in a dialogue between Toby Henston, who is Menthor and field
agent Colleen Franklin. They discuss some of the agents and the conversation
drifts to the story of Emil Jennings, how he became inspired when he finally got
the chance to use his talent to help change the world for the better and how
that changed over time. It gets into to depth about the power of the Menthor
helmet and its drawbacks. Both plots are interesting for different reasons.
While this issue spends more time on Menthor the action will shift next time to
the team as a whole. I like the art as well for its varied layouts and
perspectives and vibrant coloring. After waiting for the New 52 to make their
big debut the THUNDER AGENTS are back with a bang.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: Together We're Unstoppable
Publisher: Aspen Comics
Creator: Mark Roslan
Writer: Mark Roslan
Artist: Micah Kaneshiro
Letters: Josh Reed
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is a fascinating story that is an updated spin on FRANKENSTEIN. Gabriella
Adams is an expert in cellular regeneration. She is so good she has continued to
receive grants for her work. That is about to change as she is visited by Damon
Ludas, lead Director at Trinion Industries. It has been a year since the gulf
bio-bomb changed the future of the planet. People can't breathe properly outside
without respirators and they live in fear of developing mutations. It has taken
this long but the effects of the bomb are now approaching Virginia. State lines
have been barricaded to try to keep affected people from moving in. People are
desperate to get away from the oncoming problem and protecting those who are
currently safe from it. While other companies have been contracting to counter
the effects of the spreading scourge Damon and Trinion want to develop an
antidote that will help the human body repair itself. The enticement of
unlimited funding and enough compensation to pay off their bills, including the
husband Richard's medical bills is enough to convince Gabriella to sign up.
Being able to take her work to the point where a body will be able to repair
itself will also help her husband's health problem long term. You can see that
this is heading toward the same kind of scenario that such an innovation in the
wrong hands could be dangerous. It turns out that one unexpected effect is going
to take the forefront as the story moves into the next chapter. I like the story
for the characters and how they are handled. Gabriella and Richard are developed
well as a strong woman and supportive husband that have faith enough in each
other not to give up hope. Damon is the corporate character that seems to be on
the right side for the good of mankind, but there is enough here to make you
wonder if there is more than meets the eye. The art is pretty good though the
flesh tones could be improved. This is a solid comic so far.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Paul Grist
Colors: Bill Crabtree
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE

I could not resist this title just because of the title. How can you not be
curious about a super hero named Mudman? The story takes place in a seaside town
in England. It follows two teenage boys, Owen Craig and his pal Jack Newton.
They have typical teen adventures one of which is sneaking into an abandoned
house on the beach that they have dubbed the Scooby Doo house. One night Owen
finds his way to the attic and finds a strange costume in a hidden room in the
attic. Before he can check it out he hears footsteps and leaps to ground running
across an area of mud and sand posted as dangerous. Little does he realize that
treading in this area will change his life. He starts to see things, or so he
thinks, happening to his body. Washing his hands one morning his arms turn to
mud and then back again. Later in the day a minor hit by a car shows that this
was not a dream, as he ends up leaving mud on the car's hood. He has become
Mudman and his baptism into heroism will involve his father, who is a cop, and
further mysteries involving the old house and some bad guy goings on there. This
is a fun comic in the style of Spider-Man type heroes. The kid has the usual
teen problems like being bullied and suddenly he gains a power he is not sure
about. He is essentially thrown into a life or death situation and must step up
reluctantly to be a hero. The art is a unique style that shows off Grist's
talent as a cartoonist. It has just the right composition, detail and coloring
to carry off the visual part of the story. I was pleasantly surprised and
recommend this book to all.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Seraph: From the Dust
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Lance Briggs
Writer: Phil Hester & Lance Briggs
Artist: Jose Luis
Inker: Sandra Reber
Colors: David Acampo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural

The Pilot Season is winding down so this week I am looking at the last two
entries in the Top Cow contest. The winner will win a mini series next year.
Voting takes place among the readers on through the end of December.
First up is a story of a man who has entered the depths of despair. He has lost
it all and despite appealing to God he feels his has been abandoned. Desean
finally gives up and just before shooting himself in the head he whispers, "God
forgive me." This is not the end of his story. A female, whom we later learn is
an angel, enters the room as the shot has fired and through supernatural means
we see his spirit being pulled back to his body as it was rising toward the
light of the afterlife. He wakens as if from a dream and finds a tattoo of a
large cross across his back. He has been recruited to fight on the side of the
angels in the classic struggle against evil men and very real demons. He is now
drawn to the streets and finds a cause to pursue. A flier on the street tells of
a lost girl only nine years old. Her mother, as it turns out, was in the hooks
of a local gang leader called Napkin and when she turned desperate she allowed
her daughter Lexi go with him for a while but she never came back. Desean
decides to confront Nukky and find Lexi. It is at that first confrontation that
Desean finds out he now has certain powers and that Nukky is holding young girls
in slavery, feeding them dreams while using them for fun and profit. Nukky
reveals that he once had Desean's sister Kelly and she delighted in the dreams
until she was used up and discarded. The story goes much deeper as Desean meets
a real angel, wings and all, who explains that he is now a Seraph. As long as he
does God's will He will be on Desean's side. This lesson is hard to learn but
learn it he does when his anger gets the better of him. There is an interesting
aside as the female angel seen before, Grace, has a friendly meeting with her
counterpart over a cup of coffee. It is more for the reader's benefit as they
discuss their ongoing struggle, each confident in ultimate triumph in the ages-
long battle of good versus evil. The art is very good right down to the
coloring. There are some interesting visuals and good structure as the sub plot
plays out along the bottom panels of the page while the main action in the upper
two-thirds. While it is not really a new story it is handled capably and reads
well. While one major conflict is resolved there is much more to explore if this
one wins the contest.
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Dan Casey & Nick Nantell
Writer: Dan Casey
Artist: Thomas Nachlik
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

The final contestant in the contest is a science fiction thriller dealing with
interdimensional displacement. It opens with some masked men on the roof
opposite the National Bank of Switzerland. They check their weapons pull on
masks and then remarkably teleport into the gold depository. They overcome the
guards and place beacons on each pile of ingots, which then phase out of
existence. As they prep more beacons more guards appear and in the melee one of
the beacons is knocked off the pile and left behind as the thieves disappear
with the remainder of the gold. The protagonist of the story is Charles Witten.
He has just been thrown out of his offices in the science lab at Orange County
Community College for conducting unauthorized and probably unethical
experiments. When he arrives home he is met by government agents who want to
talk to him. It seems he was a child prodigy. He was heralded as a genius and
was the leading researcher in the practical application of string theory. Since
his wife's unfortunate death for which he was responsible, his life has spiraled
down. But the government wants his help in determining the left behind beacon
and how it works. The agency is a black operation, off the books, called the
Strategic Reconnaissance Interdimensional Network Group. They want to hire
Charles to help stop what they believe are interdimensional thieves that are
using devices Charles had worked on but never got to work completely. They have
the beacons to move objects and wear vests that allow them to move between
dimensions as well as from place to place within one dimension in a flash. This
is an interesting thriller that not only has the thefts but also a threat to
Charles himself. Now that he is involved in finding out how to track and stop
the thieves he is also a threat to them. He could possibly perfect his own work
for the good guys and pose a bigger threat. With a multitude of dimensions there
are different possible plots. One in particular is revealed at the last panel,

but we only get to see where that leads if the title wins the contest. There is
a little bit of weakness in script in places but the plot itself is good and
leads to a point leaving me wanting more. The team overall does a great job
visually to supplement the text. I am hoping this one wins, as I want to see
what happens next. But I also felt that way about some other entries. It won't
be easy to pick a winner. See if you agree.

Issue Number: 33
Title Arc: Regenesis
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: David Lopez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jason Pearson/Dale Keown & Jason Keith
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have not read an issue of the NEW MUTANTS for a while and as this is part of
the REGENESIS arc I decided to see what is up. It turns out that this issue is a
good jump on point for new readers as well as first time readers. This issue is
a set up for what is to come. If you are looking for action you won't find any
this time, except for a danger room sequence. The current members are Danielle
Moonstar the leader and ex-mutant, Sunspot, Magma, X-Man, Cypher and the techno-
organic alien Warlock. As explained briefly in the introduction the X-Men have
been split in two over the conflict between Cyclops and Wolverine as to the
future of the younger mutants. Half have decided to stay with Cyclops in Utopia
on the West Coast and the rest have relocated with Wolverine to Westchester New
York to start a new school for gifted children. The New Mutants have been caught
in the middle. Former members Shan, aka Karma and Sam 'Cannonball' Guthrie have
decided to go their own way. The rest are still undecided as we open the story.
Some of the story involves the resident counselor Mr. Grim as he helps some of
the students make their decision. There is a humorous aside in one scene as
Cypher, who has the ability to understand languages, has a discussion in
computer binary code with Warlock. It is half binary and half English so we
never really understand the conversation. Regardless it leads to the point where
Dani decides that though Wolverine wants to defend the children and Cyclops
wants to defend the species, both in their own way, there may be a third option
from sequestering yourself apart from Humankind. And so she puts her plan into
place with Cyclops's blessing. As I said this is not an action issue but it
helps us get reacquainted with the group and sets the foundation for the future.
It also teases the next story that is sure to interest fans of a certain mutant
character from the Age of Apocalypse - Blink. Pearson's cover did not attract me
all that much as it is a more cartoonish style but the interior art is spot on
in a more realistic fashion. It has solid pencil and ink work and is finished
admirably by Val Staples in his elegant coloring. I liked this issue a lot and
may just stick around to see what happens next. I am a Blink fan as well.


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:
Famous first words of which character?
"So it has happened at last! I must be true to my vow."

Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four was the right answer. The winner by the dice is
Gregory Goding.

Here was your no prize question:
What website created the term "Cyber Monday" during the 2005 holiday season?

The term "Cyber Monday" was invented by, part of the U.S. trade
association National Retail Federation. The term made its debut on November 28,
2005 in a press release entitled "'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One
of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year." According to Scott Silverman,
the head of, the term was coined based on research showing that 78% of
online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on the Monday after
Thanksgiving in 2004.

Who painted the covers for the Innovation series VAMPIRE LESTAT?

Here is your no prize question:
Who was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest?

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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