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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Comic Reviews 2/19/12

My View                                     
David LeBlanc

David LeBlanc was the Editor of the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine for
over ten years. He is a life-long fan of comics and moderated online comic book
forums long before the Internet became the place to be. David works part-time at
That's Entertainment, the Eisner-winning comic store in Worcester, MA.


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: KaBOOM!
Creator: Pendleton Ward
Writer: Ryan North
Artists: Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Cartoon Adaptation - Humor/Fantasy
All Ages

This much anticipated comic is an adaptation of the very popular cartoon series
on Cartoon Network that has enthralled kids and adults alike. I've categorized
it as both humor and fantasy because the action takes place in a very different
world with lots of unique characters. The two main players are Finn the human
and Jake the dog. Jake is a magical dog with stretchy parts that often come into
play. They are friends with Princess Bubblegum, a human made of bubblegum that
rules the Candy Kingdom. Then there is BMO who appears to be a handheld game
system, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Ice King though they do not have much
involvement in this issue. I have only seen one segment of one show in this
series so I don't pretend to know a lot about these characters. Rather I look at
this from the perspective of a new reader to see what all the hoopla is about.
This episode involves Finn and Jake's archenemy, the Evil Lich. In the opening
scene we watch as a snail enters into a purple bag on the ground. When he
emerges he is followed out by a rather large skeletal being with horns, the Evil
Lich! It turns out the bag is a tesseract - a staple of science fiction that is
a container that is bigger on the inside than the outside, like Dr. Who's
Tardis. Now that he is out he plans to suck every single thing on the planet
into the bag to destroy Jake and Finn. As he begins his path of destruction Jake
and Finn are alerted by the noise and shaking and they soon spy Lich on his evil
rampage. Donning their anti-mind-control head bands they head off to confront
their enemy first with words in the form of battle burns, something they are as
fond of as fist bumping. Then they go into Jake suit mode wherein Jake stretches
around Finn to form a larger, muscular warrior to attack Lich. In the course of
the story they find it is not enough, as he not only sucks all of Candy Kingdom
into the bag but Jake and Finn as well. The guys find new friends inside but
their task will be difficult because the expanse inside the bag is vast and
everything going into it goes to a different place. Can even the Desert
Princess, the first person they meet, be of help or are they stuck forever? The
art in this lead story is very true to the cartoon so the fans will love it and
new readers will get the gist of the visual difference of this world. This is a
wacky kind of humor that is hard to categorize. Often it is just simple things
like the fist bumps and the battle burns that provide levity. The visuals of
things in this strange place also will make you smile - like the ironic name of
the Desert Princess who is composed of cake and cupcakes as Jake points out
makes her more like a Dessert Princess.  It is so different and imaginative that
you can't help but be drawn into the silliness.

Back up story: "My Cider the Mountain" by Aaron Renier
Unlike the first story the art in this one is more detailed in line and coloring
making it visually different from the cartoon. In the story Princess Bubblegum
is planning a birthday party for Cinnamon Bun. A cute little guy, I don't know
what he is, called Tree Trunks, brings cider for the party only to be told by
the Princess that she cancelled the order. It seems she has been getting some
mysterious cider from the sky. Sure enough some birds fly down each carrying a
bucket of cider in their talons. As Tree Trunks goes home to his house in the
woods a bit dejected he takes comfort in the fact that the woodland animals like
his cider. It is then he hears a noise and ends up following what appears to be
a mummy through the woods to an isolated spa. It is there he finds the birds
grabbing buckets of cider outside a window. He has found the source of the
mysterious cider!  The big reveal at the end is the twist to the story and lends
a couple of punch lines at the party. Like the first story it relies on a quirky
humor and interestingly strange creatures to drive the plot. In all this is a
fun comic that people are snatching up quickly. It is bound to be a hit. Now,
for those of you who have already read the comic did you see the added bonus
text at the bottom of some of the pages?  Often it is very faint and it is easy
to overlook if you concentrate only on what is in the panels. Go back and look
again, it adds another dimension to the fun.

Issue Number: 3
Title Story: Secrets
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Mike Raicht
Artist: Tony Parker
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Monster Science Fiction

The Godzilla titles from IDW have flourished over the months since the first
issue with all the variant covers including the one of Godzilla's foot smashing
down on our favorite comic store, That's Entertainment. I saw the latest issue
of one of these titles, GODZILLA LEGENDS, featuring Titanosaurus on the cover
and decided to see what it was all about. What I found was a more interesting
story than I expected. It begins as a young boy named Tristan is woken from
sleep by a voice in his head. Looking out his window he sees a young lady
calling herself Miki Saegusa standing out front. She is talking to him
telepathically. She knows he is also a telepath and has come to talk to Tristan
and his parents with a proposition. She tells them of an institute funded by the
United Nations just outside of Gresham, Oregon. They are gathering gifted
children from all over for special schooling at no charge to the families -
Xavier's School immediately comes to mind. Tristan is given the choice and
agrees to go. He is not only telepathic but can see bits of visions of the
future, things that seem to come to pass later. At orientation they meet
Headmaster Mugal who explains that Miki, using her gifts, was able to
communicate with Godzilla and help avert disaster. It is their hope that
students like those gathered here can communicate with other monsters and have
similar results. At first the tests seem to be probing Tristan's limits but the
effects on him later could lead to a disaster. As we see near the end there is a
deeper secret in this school and a sinister plot is being hatched. I enjoyed
this story very much. So as not to disappoint the reader Titanosaurus does
appear but it is only part of a much bigger picture. It seems like Miki and
Tristan will be the real heroes down the road but for now they are tools of
someone else. The art is well done adding the right effects for the variety of
scenes involved. This is much more than a monster-smashing story. I just might
go back to the first two issues to see what came before.

Issue Number: 529
Title Story: The Kingpin of Wakanda
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: David Liss
Artists: Shawn Martinbrough & Jefte Palo
Colors: Felix Serrano, Jesus Aburto & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As many know the Black Panther took over the previous Daredevil title continuing
its numbering, which is why this issue is 529. T'Challa is now the former Black
Panther, that title now being held by his sister Shuri. He is depowered and
living in Hell's Kitchen fighting the good fight in Daredevil's place. He is
allied with Luke Cage, The Falcon and Sofija against Wilson Fisk and his crime
empire. This is the final chapter of the series that wraps up T'Challa's tour of
duty in New York. The objective is near - they plan to cripple the Kingpin's
empire and keep him from gaining control of Wakanda and all its wealth. As the
action begins T'Challa, Luke and Falcon have broken into Fisk's headquarters in
a frontal assault and are skirmishing with his Ninjas. As a precaution Kingpin
instructs his trusted servant, Miyu, to erase the computer's financial database,
which is backed up elsewhere, while Typhoid Mary and Lady Bullseye will join the
battle against Luke and Falcon. Fisk wants to confront T'Challa himself. As part
of the master plan Sofija is across the street in a sniper's perch waiting for
the word from T'Challa to begin the end game. While Luke and Falcon are not
privy to all the details they fight on as true heroes trusting their leader to
know what he is doing. It is a tense action-filled battle that has more than one
surprise before it is all over. T'Challa has been playing this like a big chess
game and is about to checkmate the Kingpin. This is a satisfying story that can
be read on its own without confusion. There is a brief recap at the start and a
couple of interesting epilogues that lay the groundwork for the future exploits
of the King of Wakanda. The art is not the most appealing to me. I found the
coloring a bit dark and the in places the facial features get blurred by it.
Otherwise it is a solid closing chapter leaving Hell's Kitchen in the future
care of Daredevil in his own new series. We will have to look elsewhere for
T'Challa in the future.

Issue Number: 6
Title Story: The Hunt for Harley Quinn - part 1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Roam Glass
Artist: Clayton Henry
Inkers: Scott Hanna w/Clayton Henry
Colors: Val Staples & Hi-Fi
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villains

I sampled this New 52 title when it first came out and decided to see where it
is going on this new arc billed as the Hunt for Harley Quinn. The Suicide Squad
is of course a band of criminals on a tight leash doing the bidding of Amanda
Waller in the hope of reduced sentences or freedom. She controls them with
implants that can be exploded if they try to escape their duties. As we look in
on the latest group on the team it seems Harley has somehow escaped their fate
and they are hot on her trail in Gotham City. The team is led by Deadshot and
includes Savant, King Shark and the twins Light and Lime. They are well aware
that it will be difficult to capture their prey on her home turf without drawing
the attention of the Gotham PD or a certain Caped Crusader. The first hurdle is
an amazing array of goons all dressed like Harley that attack out of nowhere
when the Squad realizes the "Harley" they shot down is a man in disguise. There
is a lot of bloodshed in this battle, which reminds the reader that these guys
are not heroes and are not averse to killing. The other part of the plot follows
Harley in her quest involving the fate of the Joker. Some of you know by now in
the first issue of the new DETECTIVE COMICS Joker's face was skinned off of him
and is now being held at Gotham PD. Whether Joker is still alive is anyone's
guess. But Harley has a plan to find out. While her goons distract the Squad she
heads for Arkham Asylum to confront an old acquaintance. This serves to show us
some of Harley's origins in flashback, a highlight of this issue. I thought I
might get lost jumping back into this series now but it turns out this issue is
perfect to sample as this new arc begins. The script is masterful and executed
nicely. It dwells on some of the characters in the squad giving us insight into
the current dynamic and starts this in depth look at Harley Quinn as a bonus.
The art is superb with Henry, Hanna, and Staples all contributing to some very
nice visuals on every page. The ending is intriguing and may be a surprise to
some. In all it is a worthy addition to the line that deserves to continue. Why
should just the good guys have their own titles?

Issue Number: 1
Story: Robert Kirkman
Publisher: Image
Creator: Robert Kirkman
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Shawn Martinborough
Colors: Felix Serrano
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

All I needed to see was that this title was written by Robert Kirkman before I
decided to give it a try. I am always open to genres other than the normal super
hero stuff. This one follows Redmond, a master thief, living in the real world
with other interesting characters. Redmond has a big reputation and with that
comes bigger and bigger heists. The main plot reveals that he has been tasked
with a major job in Venice, the heist of the century. But it begins on another
job on a cruise ship where things do not seem to be going so well for a master
thief. He is captured and believed to have stolen something from a safe deposit
box owned by a passenger called the Countess. Soon her goons have him tied up
below deck and are beating him to find the missing item. When the Captain
protests the Countess arranges for a helicopter to fly them off his ship so they
can continue in her own country. This plot segues into an earlier time when
Redmond comes upon a female trying to jack his car. Through a series of events
she becomes his apprentice and in the present is heavily involved in his
operations. This whole first issue is set up to give us some knowledge of the
main players and their relationship. We know there is a big job being planned
and Redmond was fronted a half million dollars to do the prep work months ago.
The ending scene is a bit of a shocker but will no doubt lead to something big
next time. I like Kirkman's scripts. He has a flare for the dialogue depending
on the characters involved. This is highlighted in a scene between Redmond and
his apprentice. He also does not give too much away up front letting us enjoy
the situations as they change unexpectedly. The art is a good fit for this type
of story with just the right coloring to fit Martinbrough's unique style. If you
like crime drama and comics that read like a good novel this one is for you.

Title: DICKS
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Avatar
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: John McCrea
Colors: Digikore Studios
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

Whenever you see a comic by Garth Ennis you know it will be pushing the
boundaries and most likely be not for the younger crowd. When it is also being
published by AVATAR you can expect anything and most likely you will get it. I
knew this was a comic title of sorts but I found it unlike any humor comic I am
used to, even those others aimed at adults. The main characters are good buddies
Dougie and Ivor. Dougie is engaged and about to be married because he knocked up
his girlfriend and his future father-in-law demands he do the right thing. That
is what drives the main plot from the anticipation, the bachelor party, the
wedding day, the honeymoon and beyond. Along the way we get to know these guys
and some of their relatives and acquaintances. They visit Ivor's uncle who
suggests Dougie bump off the bride to be, or at least her father. He then forces
Ivor to take care of his pet snake. That leads to a bar scene where the snake
escapes and ends up in the pants of a local bully. Realizing the boys are behind
this the bully goes after them and the story just goes off on strange things
from that point on. The bachelor party is a wild scene and Dougie barely makes
it to the church the next day. Ivor pulls off a very embarrassing toast at the
reception and plans a super prank for the newlyweds. There are lots of swearing
and toilet humor throughout - but here is the thing. The script is all written
in heavy Irish dialect. Half the time I am trying to figure out just what normal
people are saying, never mind those with speech impediments like missing teeth.
It is not high literature and the plot is somewhat predictable - except for the
part where a ghost gets his revenge. It is wild and certainly not for everyone.
The art on the other hand is perfect for this comic. The characters have unique
cartoon qualities and the lettering fits right in. There are a number of back up
shorts that I found a bit more humorous as they focus on just two pages to get
to the punch line. Some of them are decent, a couple fall flat. And they also
include the more "adult" themes of the book. In fact the last page is just an
exercise in poor taste as they reveal what would happen if Avatar came out with
a bad idea for a super hero. I won't spoil that one for you. I can't say I would
recommend this to anyone and I don't think I would pick up another issue. The
guys do a good job in what they want to accomplish, it is just not my cup of


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:
Nuck and Futz were supposed to be characters in what comic book series until the
editors caught the joke?

Nuck and Futz were to be character names in YOUNG JUSTICE, until the
editors figured out the obscene spoonerism. The winner by the dice is Stu

Here was your no prize question:
Many songwriters considered it the ultimate compliment to be recorded by Frank
Sinatra. What was the only Beatle song he recorded?

The only Beatle song recorded by Frank Sinatra was "Something" by George.  He
not only called it one of the most beautiful love songs of the last 50 years,
but also said it was his favorite "Lennon and McCartney song." No doubt, George
got a laugh out of that. Our fearless leader Paul Howley wins another no prize
for getting it first.

The DC ONE MILLION stories took place in which century?

Here is your no prize question:
Who holds record for most Academy Awards for acting?

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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