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Friday, January 27, 2012

Comic Reviews 1/27/12


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: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Title Story: The Savage Home
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Roberto Castro
Colors: Alex Guimaraes
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $1.00
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure

This comic purports to be a more true adaptation of the source material. From
what I have seen in the first issue I think that may be true but then I never
read the ERB novels about Tarzan. What you do get is the story of the heir to
the title Lord Greystoke from the time he was still in the womb. Mutineers have
stranded the Lord and Lady on the shores of the Belgian Congo in the late 1800s.
She is pregnant with their baby. With little hope that they will be rescued soon
John Greystoke sets out to build shelter and provide the best he can. Soon the
local tribe takes notice. This area is their last safe haven from Belgian
occupiers. Their plan is to make peace with the new inhabitants but soon meet a
fate they had not planned on. This is a classic story of one of the greatest
heroes of pulp fiction. The first issue takes us to the point of the baby being
taken in by a giant ape as we witness the fate of his parents. For only a dollar
it is still action packed and visually exciting. The art team does a great job
depicting the characters, especially the apes. Nelson has captured the essence
of the story in his script, much of which has no dialogue. Not a single panel is
wasted as even for the first two pages we get a glimpse of the future hero many
years later. This is a great introduction to this classic for fans and newcomers
alike and well worth the low price of entry. If the series maintains this
quality it will be a winner.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Concepts and characters by Jack Kirby
Writers: Robert Rodi & Alex Ross
Artist: Fritz Casas
Colors: Salvatore Aiala
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Alex Ross - variant by Jack Herbert
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mythology

I have been reading the KIRBY GENESIS titles with mixed impressions. The main
title has been interesting with too many characters to keep track of for one
series. The other two titles are more concise but not really captivating. Still,
I decided to give this first issue a try. After reading the first issue I must
admit it is far different than what I expected from the Alex Ross cover. This
title is grounded in Norse mythology. There is no Thor character but Heimdall
and Balduur are up front in the story. The lead character is Sigurd. It is long
after the time of the "Great Shattering." Deadly fell mists that now are
starting to lift have surrounded the inhabitants of Valhalla. Balduur summons
the council of Aesir. He reports that scouts have seen strange summits, bizarre
buildings and beasts through the thinning shroud. Though Sigurd and his comrades
ache for adventure they heed their leader's warning that they bide their time
for now. However that counsel will be shattered by the sudden appearance of a
princess of Pardesu in a ghostly form - a mystic projection. She has come to beg
for help. Dragons have desolated her realm and she has taken this desperate
measure seeking help from without. Sigurd finds out the dragon supreme is Nagar
and at once offers his aid for he is Dragonsbane who slew the great dragon
Fafnir. Soon Honir joins the three warriors and they follow the spirit of
Tahmina through the thinning mists on their noble quest. Their journey will take
them to other lands and even in the mists they see people familiar to KIRBY
GENESIS readers but are not distracted by the sights. Their journey will lead
them through Egypt and an encounter in the dessert night with a strange man, a
spy perhaps. They have far to go and they may not get there as they meet another
famous character, this time from Greek mythology. Has their journey ended before
they get to their destination? I liked the way this story has begun. The
intersection of various mythological reams is a good premise and could provide
some interesting plot twists. The cover indicates these characters may end up in
modern times in America but for the time being this is more interesting. The
characters have the right amount of bravado and ego that you would expect. The
art is nicely done as well. There is enough mystery to keep the reader
interested and it ends with a good cliffhanger. So far this title is the best of
the bunch.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: The Eternal Beast
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Fumi Nakamura from his novel "Ura-Enma"
Writer: Ian Edginton
Artist: Vincec Villagrasa
Inker & Colors: Jose Luis Rio
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Long Vo
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Japanese Supernatural

This story is set in a rebellious time in Japan's history. The domain is
becoming westernized and many have seized the opportunity to throw off the
feudal reign of the Shogunate. It is 1864. The lead character, Amane Ichinose,
is the last of his family who have been samurai for generations. He eventually
found himself recruited to spy on the rebellious Shinsegumi by his employer, a
Shogun official. However he was found out and after a fight he was mortally
wounded and left to die in the street. He was found by a tattooed man whom he
begged that he would do anything not to die. When he awoke days later he hears
the old man's story of how he too wished for something at any price and so he
allowed a demon to enter him and became the greatest tattoo artist alive.
Remarkably Amane's wounds are healed as he learns that the old man took him at
his word and gave him a special tattoo to allow a demon to enter Amane making
him almost impossible to kill. But he is an easy target right now so he takes on
a different appearance and becomes the old man's apprentice. For a year and a
half he learns the mysteries of the Oni now inhabiting his soul. This will serve
him well as he eventually will have to be on his own and confront the dangers in
the land. If found this story good reading, if a bit wordy. Still the dialogue
rings true and the characters grow through time. The ending of this chapter is a
bit of a let down but overall it is a good start. The art holds up well as both
the real and surreal are ably depicted. If you like the sword and sorcery type
genre of the samurai this is worth your time.

Issue Number: 21
Publisher: Image
Creator: Rob Liefeld
Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Simon Roy
Colors: Richard Ballermann
Letters: Ed Brisson
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I have never been a fan of Liefeld's art and even less of his story telling.
What intrigued me about this title is that it is a character that once had his
own title, which I never read, and this series picks up again years later with
issue #21. It is heralded on the cover as a bold new era for Extreme, Liefeld's
imprint. So it is a chance for me to once again be the objective reviewer
hopefully judging whether others like me who never have read a PROPHET comic
book should bother to start here. In a word - no. The premise, and I have no
idea if this follows from issue #20, is that in the distant future Earth is
inhabited by alien settlers that feed off the devolved ape men the humans have
become. The title character, John Prophet, emerges from a cryonic chamber on a
mission to restart the human empire. Sheesh! There is really not much appealing
about this comic. Thankfully other hands are at the helm of the art team and
while it is competent the people and creatures are not very appealing to look
at. The lead character has an almost Neanderthal look to him. The aliens and
other creatures are all a mish mash of multiple limbs, mouths, teeth and
tongues. Somehow John has a contact to meet in what is called Jell City and yes
it looks like a giant mound of Jell-O. The whole episode has John being
attacked, killing various beasts and even mating with a rather ugly alien whose
head looks like a part of the female anatomy. He learns of his goal to help
restart things and in the very end we see he is possibly not the only
intelligent human left on the planet. Visually it is a mess and the plot
meanders here and there throughout. In my opinion you should not bother with
this comic.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Title Story: The Golden Game
Title Arc: Crown and Anchor
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Based on the TV show "The Avengers"
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Ian Gibson
Letters: Ellie De Ville
Cover Artist: Ian Gibson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure

For trademark reasons they could not call this comic THE AVENGERS even though
that is the name of the old TV show. Those of us old enough to remember that
series will no doubt be curious if this comic lives up to those memories. It
starts out in a pub as two operatives discuss the possibility of a mole in the
organization. When one of them ends up tied to an anchor at the bottom of the
bay Steed is called in to investigate the murder. "Mother" warns him that there
is a mole in the department and to trust no one. But of course there is one
person he can always trust, Mrs. Peel. Soon they are on their way to pay a
visit, pick up clues and solve the mystery. The dead man, Foggy, was an expert
at devising war game stratagems and was kept on after retirement. His house is a
marvel of various oversized game pieces from chess, dominoes and the like. His
green house is even in the shape of a bottle with a small ship in the center. It
is here that they find a clue that will lead them to a noted advice columnist
where the mystery will deepen further. I enjoy Gibson's art, as it is a somewhat
unique style. I have seen in a number of comics from England over the years. He
does pretty well with the likenesses of the main characters but it is the
composition and detail of the entire book that appeals to me. Morrison has
started off with many things unexplained allowing us to follow along with the
Avengers, if I may call them that, as they slowly peel (no pun intended) back
the layers hiding what is underneath. You do not have to be familiar with the
characters to enjoy the show. I'd say it is off to a good start.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Gene Roddenberry - based on STAR TREK the Original Series
Cover Artist: Joe Corroney
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This volume has four (mostly) self-contained stories by various creators based
on characters and concepts for STAR TREK: TOS. I say mostly because it appears
there is more to tell in a couple of them. Sure enough the inside back cover has
details on collected volumes hitting on the themes in this comic as well as
others in the IDW line. Here is what to expect in this issue.

"Alien Spotlight: Romulans"
Written & drawn BY John Byrne, colors by Leonard O'Grady, letters by Neil

This one features a familiar Romulan Commander as he is being assigned to a new
ship. It is the latest in the fleet and features new technology that will
outclass anything in Starfleet. The Praetor handpicked him and his introduction
to the ship's power potential power is demonstrated by the destruction of the
Commander's old ship. The story is more about the Commander and his apprehension
about what his mission will be. We know he is thinking along the right path when
we learn the Praetor's intentions and who is in league with him behind the
scenes. It is also about the Commander's wife and son who play a role in the
overall drama. But the story is incomplete. Perhaps it will be continued in
another chapter if there is an issue #2?

"Alien Spotlight: Tribbles"
Written by Stuart Moore, art by Mike Hawthorne, colors by Mike Hawthorne & James
Brown, letters by Richard Starkings.

This story, on the other hand, is self-contained and a delight to read. A small
freighter carrying Dilithium crystals and grain has been hijacked by Klingons.
It crashes on a small planet on the outer galactic rim where the crew of three
manages to escape on foot with the Klingons in pursuit. To everyone's surprise
the planet is inhabited with Tribbles, cute little balls of fur we met in one
episode of the original TV show. They like humans and hate Klingons and aid the
crew initially. The plot revolves around how the crew will get back their ship
and in the end it is the Tribbles who provide the needed help. It is a clever
story with a lighter side, as you would expect. It is not rushed and the art is
pretty good as well. It is my favorite of the volume.

"Captain's Log: Sulu"
Written by Scott and David Tipton, art by Federica Manfredi, colors by Andrea
Priorini with Chiara Cinabro, Letters by Neil Uyetake.

This story takes place after Sulu has become Captain of the Excelsior. He has
been given a diplomatic mission. A race he encountered while still on the crew
of the Enterprise, the Tholians, has taken offense at the existence of a
Federation colony near their territory. Starfleet has managed to arrange a
meeting with the Tholians to renew their non-aggression pact and want Sulu to be
their spokesman. However, along the way the Excelsior must answer a distress
call from another ship and will arrive late to the summit. This could stop
negotiations before they start, as the Tholians will not tolerate such an
affront. It will be up to Sulu to rescue his comrades and somehow make peace
with the Tholians before they take drastic measures. It is a straightforward
plot with a good set up, mid point and final resolution. I like the art for the
most part but the coloring seemed a bit off on the flesh tones. Still it is a
decent self-contained story as well.

"Mission's End #1"
Written by Ty Templeton, art by Stephen Molnar, colors by John Hunt, letters by
Neil Uyetake.

I see from reading the blurb on the collection version of this story that it is
a "lost" tale of the final mission of the original Enterprise and her crew. I
think the emphasis there is on crew as Gary Mitchell is along for this one with
Kirk, Uhura, Spock and the others. The Enterprise is participating in a First
Contact meeting with a race of aliens that have evolved on what appears to be a
giant moon-sized space station abandoned eons ago by those who built it. These
insects are now rather large and are dominated by the spider like beings. The
crew is accompanied the female Captain Cassady who has been covertly observing
the beings for six months. The story is crafted in a much-expected manner for a
Star Trek episode with some clever plot devises along the way to move things
forward. Eventually they make contact and begin to learn more about the culture
- some of which is disturbing. But the kicker to the story, and the plot thread
left dangling for the collected volume, is the fact that this "space station" is
still functioning with lights and environment. What Spock discovers about that
is pretty revealing.

In all it is a worthy collection that samples some of the varied elements of the
Star Trek mythos. If you have not read any of IDW's STAR TEK titles this might
be a good one to try.


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 was the full title of Neil Gaiman's first series for TEKNO COMIX?
The title was "Neil Gaiman's Mr. Hero The Newmatic Man." Everyone knew but only
one can win. The dice chose Mauricio Carvalho.

Here was your no prize question:
Which U.S. state East of the Mississippi is the largest in area?

Georgia with 57,906 square miles is the largest. I believe Florida is second
with 53,927 square miles.

What was the back-up feature for the first SUPERGIRL comic book series?

Here is your no prize question:
Which U.S. President was never elected to the office of President or Vice

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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