Search This Blog

Friday, January 6, 2012

Comic Reviews 1-6-2012


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-Shot
Publisher: DC
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The legal title of this comic is DC COMICS: ELSEWORLDS 80-PAGE GIANT. I guess because it is mostly a reprint of the released and then withdrawn comic of that
name. It was originally withdrawn because of one story by Kyle Baker had a panel
showing Superbaby in a microwave. Now that comic has been resurrected and filled
out to 100 pages. There are nine different stories that follow the Elseworld
format in that familiar characters are in stories from very different than
normal continuities. As a bonus there is a nine-page section by Mark Waid and Ty
Templeton that is a gallery of first-pages from various comics of the Silver age
as told in an Elseworld context. For example you get Clark Kent adopted by the
Booth family in a Superman story called "President Abraham (Brainiac) Lincoln
versus Clark Kent, Metallo!" There is also a Legion of Super Heroes page
featuring a potential member who was rejected in "The Revenge of Young
Darkseid." You get the idea - they are all done for fun. The opening story, "The
Reaching Hand" is by D. Curtis Johnson with art by Aaron Lopresti and Gloria
Vasquez and letters by Kurt Hathaway. It adds the most divergence from the norm
in that Bruce Wayne is a police detective investigating a series of murders. The
first is an inmate of Arkham, Ralph Dibney, who never recovered from his wife's
death and is now found apparently frightened to death in a cell locked from the
outside. Wayne and his partner, Harvey Dent, start having nightmares of a
maggot-covered hand reaching up from a bottomless darkness. The next day
forensic photographer James Olsen is found stuffed headfirst in a toilet.
Believe it or not the victims, and previous Jane Doe all have a connection which
plays out as the detectives find a solution in the end that has a typical - not
over yet mystery ending. One story featured on the cover stars the sons of the
supers - Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. It is written by Bob Haney, art by Kieron
Dwyer, colors by Rick Taylor and letters by Gaspar. It is a possible future when
the two sons are also crime fighters but one day Superboy Jr. decides that he
will never replace his father and so decides to quit the business. The story is
about a series of events that forces him back to helping Batman Jr. and
realizing he has worth of his own. The infamous Kyle Baker story is called
"Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter." It is all in fun as Letitia shows up as
a reluctant Ma Kent goes out for the first time in months with Pa. The Superbaby
is very mischievous and she spends the night chasing him around the farm and
elsewhere as he crashes through things, leaves a horse on a water tower, bites
through an electrical chord and yes, even crawls into the microwave when she is
not looking. Of course he is indestructible so the fun is in Letitia's terror at
seeing the perilous situations he puts himself into and her inability to stop
him. In "The Batman" by Paul Pope with assists by ted McKeever and Ken Lopez
Bruce Wayne is now Baruch Wane in 1939 Berlin and his friend is Komissar Garten
in the opening scene. He has a different origin with the same theme - swearing
to fight crime after witnessing the death of his parents. In this episode he
learns that the works of an Austrian Jew have been confiscated for his anti-Nazi
views. The Komissar is doing his duty to repress such works and of course Wane's
alter ego has a different opinion. There is even a different take of the world
of KINGDON COME in a story called "Dark Night of the Golden Kingdom as told by
T. Robert Peyer, Ariel Olivetti, Pat Garrahy and William Oakley. The mix is
heavy on humor and satire with one story having Lex Luther a media mogul who
rose to fame managing recording stars who are familiar super heroes. There is
even a feature with Batgirl and Black canary as teammates and roommates pursuing
Catwoman while dealing with the men in their lives. The whole experience is a
fun ride, which may be too far apart for some fans that are used to reading
Elseworld stories that are mostly serious. I found it to be well executed and
mostly an entertaining read.

Issue Number: 4
Title Story: Danger Squared
Publisher: DC
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

 This is another of the New 52 I had not yet sampled but rather than go back to
number one I decided to sample the latest issue because Superboy was featured on
the cover. I have read some of his new adventures and wanted to see how his
first meeting with the Teen Titans would be handled. From the blurb on the first
page I learned that Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Bunker, Skitter and joining this
issue Kid Flash and Solstice are being hunted by an enemy organization called
N.O.W.H.E.R.E. that wants to capture, corrupt or kill super powered teens.
Readers of SUPERBOY will know that he is a clone developed in a lab and surprise
- he is now an agent of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. targeting the Teen Titans. Much of the
action in this issue is between Superboy and Wonder Girl as he tries to capture
her in Times Square on New Year's Eve. To offset those scenes we contrast it
with scenes at the penthouse home of Red Robin as members are getting to know
each other better and share hopes, fears and the usual teen angst. Celine,
Skitter, confides to Miguel, Bunker, about her fears of losing her humanity to
her arachnid nature. Tim consoles her and promises to help cure her and then who
shows up but Kid Flash, Bart and Solstice, Kiran on the run and looking for
sanctuary. These are the two basic plots. As the new arrivals get to know the
rest Cassie is fighting Conner and making a mess of the area. I think the best
part of this comic is the art. What I mean is I do not care for the premise. DC
has mixed up the membership with some new faces but having Superboy as the
unwitting bad guy is just unimaginative. This almost seems like an attempt at
the persecuted mutants theme from the competition. And of course the team is now
very ethnically and sexual preference diverse though the latter is not brought
up in this issue. It is just not interesting enough to me to keep with it.
However it may be what you are looking for so give it a try.

Title: BRODY'S GHOST: The Midnight Train and Other Tales
Issue Number: 1-Shot
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mark Crilley
Colors: Mark Crilley & Dan Jackson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural

Brody is a teenager who sees a young female ghost. She pleads with him to help
her hunt down a dangerous killer. She also tells him he must undergo training
from the spirit of the centuries-old samurai to unlock his own supernatural.
This one-shot looks in on Brody in three separate short stories. The first is a
good introduction, as the spirits do not show up until the last panel. For all
we know this is a simple story of a girl who took a bad chance in riding the
train alone at night and is consequently attacked by muggers. Lucky for her
Brody was asleep at the end of the car when these thugs came aboard. The second
is a glimpse of the major plot as Brody is brought to one of the crime scenes of
the Penny Murderer by the ghost, Talia. By this point in his training Brody has
been able to have visions of living people's pasts and she hopes he can pick up
something from one of the crime scenes. That ability will give him a flash when
another person arrives at the scene. Could it be the killer? The final segment
shows one of his training sessions with the spirit of the samurai master. He has
grown impatient at the long time spent with no progress forcing the master to
illustrate just how much progress he has made. The three snippets are
interesting and Crilley is a very capable artist and storyteller. This would be
a very interesting comic series with a more linear sequence but each segment
stands pretty well on its own. I would very much like this turn into a series or
graphic novel. It has a lot of promise.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Town
Creator: Shannon Wheeler
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Independent strangeness

Most of the material in this comic is from 1993. Most people will probably
recognize the title character. He is a short pudgy guy with bug eyes, a dangling
cigarette and a huge cup of steaming coffee that covers the entire top of his
head. He also has on his chest TMCM in big letters. This is the strange creation
of Shannon Wheeler and the comics follow no set pattern. The opening strip is
call TMCM vs. TMCM - that is Too Much Coffee Man versus Too Much Copyright Man.
Our hero is being sued by a lawyer for copyright infringement. It starts as a
good introduction to the main character. He sits drinking his coffee. It makes
him feels so good he has another and another. The he goes to the bathroom. Then
he sits and contemplates his life. This is a very stream of consciousness style
strip until he gets the cease and desist letter. This is a bit of a tongue in
cheek swipe at some devious people who seek fame and fortune of the work of
others through legal loopholes. It is often funny and more often just silly but
strangely makes sense in the end. The second entry is about the making of mini-
comics as apparently Shannon is suffering for his art making mini-comics to sell
at the local store "Comics 'N' Junk". The clerk has some interesting suggestions
on becoming a success. The final major story diverges completely with no silly
odd-looking characters. Instead it is more of a slice of life type tale as Joel
is sitting in a diner and his friend, Trixie the waitress, sits as they discuss
life in general and Joel's love life in particular. One line that Trixie says
struck me as an interesting observation - "Somewhere between anticipation and
nostalgia we should have been happy." It is a comment on how the young are
always looking to the future for happiness while the older remember how great
the past was compared to their current situation. But the story is more about
Joel's dilemma. He wants to break up with Eve. He is not in love with her
anymore but can't stand to break her heart. He has tired of her quirks and she
loves him too much for him to be a jerk and force her to leave. This really has
nothing to do with Too Much Coffee Man. It is just a story, maybe even
semiautobiographical, that Shannon wants to tell and he does it well, complete
with a surprise ending. The balance of the book has one page strips featuring
TMCM. One is all about things you can't complain about - like having to go to
France for your high-paying job, or your girlfriend wanting to have sex all the
time. Another strip has our hero asking if we would rather work retail or have a
nail driven through our hand. There is a guest artist gallery showing other
versions of TMCM and a letters column from the nineties with some famous indie
contributors. There are even old ads for TMCM merchandise, which a superimposed
banner warning you would have to go back in time to order these items. It is a
most peculiar comic that has a limited appeal to the masses. But for those
always interested in offbeat independent work it is a delight.

Issue Number: 8
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Jim Henson
Writer/Artist: Roger Langride
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover Artist: Elisabetta Melaranci & Paolo Campinoti
Cover Paints: Gianluca Barone, Giuseppe Fontana, Silvano Scolari & Giorgio
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Comedy
ALL AGES - Magazine format

My first impression of this magazine is that it has really good production
values. You get 100 pages, including the covers, in large magazine format with
only a very few house ads through the entire mag. For only $6 that is a bargain
compared to some comic sized 100-pagers for $8. The art is terrific. All the
familiar characters as good as you can expect when translated to this medium.
And the content is as close as it gets to an actual episode of the late, great
MUPPET SHOW. There is one central plot running through the entire issue which
encompasses the on and off stage production of the show. It involves a map,
supposedly a treasure map, found in a very old box by Scooter. One of the rats
sees him find it and that starts a backstage frenzy that grows larger as the
issue goes along. A subplot has Animal the drummer wearing a suit and acting
very docile. It seems that Doctor Bunsen Honeydew has concocted a pill for
enhancing social aptitude and poor Animal is the test subject. This naturally
affects his drumming ability, as he is no longer a wild guy. There is also a
Kermit look alike wandering around up to no good. And a mysterious ninja tap
dancer sneaks his way into the show. With so many pages to fill we get treated
with a lot of the usual features from the TV show.  There is Fozzie Bear doing
his stand up, Pigs in Space, Muppet Labs of course, Swedish Chef, Mah Na Mah Na
trying to do a new hit with the familiar tune but using the words Machu Pichu,
Bears on Patrol, Veterinarian's Hospital, and lots of bits featuring the usual
cast - Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the rest. Even the old coots Statler and
Waldorf are up to the usual heckling. It is really a fun magazine that
entertains page after page. Fans of all ages will love it.


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:
Atlas, Thor, The Ring and Cupid belong to what super hero group?
They were members of the League of Super Groovey Crimefighters.
The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
What was the first product to have a bar code on it?

The first item sold after being scanned with a UPC barcode was a 10-pack of
Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum. The sale occurred at 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974 at
the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The gum is now on display at the
Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington D.C.

Who (by name) gave Ayden's bow to Arwyn?

Here is your no prize question:
In a modern deck of cards which king does not have a mustache?

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