Search This Blog

Friday, April 6, 2012

Comic Reviews 4/6/12


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: IDW
Title Story: The Jester and the Magic Scepter
Writer: Denton J. Tipton
Artist: Blair Shedd
Colors: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Cover Artist: Eric Shanower
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

I've noticed some new OZ based books from IDW but had not sampled them. When I
saw this first issue of a new series I decided to take the plunge. The story
here is set in the Land of Oz and the time is after Dorothy has already returned
to Kansas leaving the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man in their new positions of
authority. This is labeled a prequel because shortly after Dorothy returned to
Kansas she was transported back to Oz. This story will tell what happened in Oz
while she was gone and what made her return necessary. As we all know from the
classic movie, if not the book itself, Dorothy and her friends defeated the
Wicked Witch and brought her broom back to Oz at the request of the Wizard. But
what has happened since then at the witch's castle?  What are all those flying
monkeys up to? Well they are pretty much acting like monkeys now until the heir
to the property, the witch's brother the Jester, makes an unorthodox entrance to
proclaim himself their new master. He of course has a master plan as well. He
plans to gain his sister's power through the use of her broomstick and spell
book and then he can begin his conquest of Oz. The story spends a fair amount of
time split between the Jester and the trio in Emerald City. The guys are
clueless as to what is about to happen and who is behind it. We get to see just
what the Jester can do after he captures the mayor of Munchkin Land. This
promises to be a fun comic that can be enjoyed by all. The art is delightful and
the script is well crafted. There is a fair amount of humor sprinkled about the
pages to keep things from getting too dark. Since it only relies on your
knowledge of the original story it is a perfect place to jump on to see how IDW
handles this material. I think it is worth your time.

Issue Number: 7
Title Arc: Vulcan's Vengeance
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Joe Phillips
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I sampled the first issue of this ongoing series a while back. It features the
cast from the latest movie and is set in the time after the events of the movie.
We have the characters of the original series but they are now in an altered
timeline. In the movie a man named Nero was responsible for the destruction of
Vulcan. Spock had come back from the far future and now is stranded in the time
when he was first assigned to the Enterprise. He, his younger counterpart, and
the few Vulcans that were off planet at the time are now the only survivors of
the Vulcan race. The first arc had the Enterprise crew dealing with a problem
that was first seen on the original television series. This issue begins a new
arc and as you can guess from the title deals more directly with the aftermath
of the movie. The Enterprise is called to duty after a subspace relay has gone
offline. These relays are used to transmit communications among the fleet and
the loss of one creates a dead zone where transmissions will take much longer to
reach other ships or Starfleet. The disabling of the relay is part of a master
plan involving Romulans. Agents have stolen the blueprints of Nero's ship, the
Narada, from the Klingons. It is clear whichever race can reverse engineer the
technology of that ship from the future will have a major advantage over its
enemies. But that is not all they are after. As we saw in the movie Vulcan was
destroyed by something called Red Matter. Unknown to Starfleet someone has been
mining the remains of Vulcan, now just little bits of matter floating in space,
to retrieve whatever remains of the Red Matter. If the Romulans get their hands
on enough of it they will have the ultimate weapon. Remnants of Nero's crew have
survived and as the Enterprise approaches they are nearing their goal. The
choice Kirk is left with at the end of the chapter is whether to pursue the
captured Vulcan vessel now commandeered by Nero's men into the Neutral Zone or
to go light years out of the way to be able to communicate with Starfleet for
instructions. I think you know what Kirk will decide. But the kicker is the
Vulcan "hostage" on the captured ship. Wait until you see who it is. I enjoyed
this story very much. The artists' rendition of the characters are pretty good
likenesses of the actors from the movie. It is a solid plot and has some action
and intrigue as well. If you want to check out this new ongoing series this
issue is the right place to start.

Issue Number: 9 (FINAL ISSUE)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Rob Williams
Artists: Lee Garbett & Emanuela Lupacchino
Inker: Guillermo Ortega
Colors: Rob Schwager
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Blankas
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Anti-hero

I have not been following the exploits of Ghost Rider lately and figured I would
see if this comic would explain what has been going on during its short run and
maybe give a hint as to what is next. Fortunately there is a pretty good recap
text at the beginning to bring us up to speed. Ghost Rider is known as the
Spirit of Vengeance. It has existed to cull the sinful and bring retribution to
the guilty. The spirit does this while bonded to a human host. In the past that
host was stunt rider Johnny Blaze. Recently the spirit was passed on from Johnny
to a young girl named Alejandra. She had been raised by a man named Adam who
sought to use the Spirit as a weapon to free humanity from sin. Blaze helped
free her from Adam's control but as Ghost Rider she had fried the souls of an
entire village in South America. The son of Mephisto, Blackheart, offered to
restore those souls if she would join him in bringing Hell to Earth. Of course
devils lie and once he betrayed her she has a new mission - to drag those souls
out of hell herself. As the final chapter opens she is on her quest. Realizing
she will need even more power than she already has to stage a frontal assault on
Hell she learns that Adam is still alive. He is THE Adam, the first man, and
since her motives are in line with what he had planned all along he helps her
become the most powerful Ghost Rider ever. But if she is successful and Hell
ceases to exist, what will become of the rest of creation? That is the dilemma
discussed by the now normal Johnny Blaze and Doctor Strange. Strange plans to
track her down and stop her, calling in the Avengers if need be but Blaze has
plans of his own. The rest of the book involves Alejandra's attack on Hell and
her battle with Mephisto culminating in the events that will seal her fate and
that of Johnny Blaze. I must admit this story is easy to get into and
interesting, even for a casual fan of the character. It has a rich background
that is understandable and though the title is ending sooner than intended the
creators wrap up this part of Ghost Rider's legacy nicely leaving threads for
future stories that are sure to come elsewhere. The art team does a super job as
well indicating their dedication to the effort. I was pleasantly surprised with
this comic.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: I.N.J. Culbard
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This mini-series is set in London in 1910, but a very different London than
ours. The lead character is Chief Inspector George Suttle of Scotland Yard. He
is what they call a Murder Detective; in fact he is the only one. In this
version of England things have changed quite drastically. You see, George is a
vampire. But vampires are more civilized now. They take a cure, which sates
their bloodlust and with proper sunscreen and clothing can function in the
sunlight. They are no longer a threat to society. They even have their fangs
filed down periodically to appear more normal. The real threat to the living is
zombies. The best the living and the willing vampires can do is keep them fenced
in and contained in areas called Zone B. Even those who are bitten by a zombie
can be saved if they are given the cure soon enough. This is demonstrated when a
zombie somehow manages to break into Suttle's home early in the morning killing
the cook and infecting one of the maids. After destroying the zombie and calling
the local Bobbies Suttle takes her to the clinic for the cure as it is time for
his own monthly treatment. These sequences serve to introduce us to the
situation we find the city in - referred to the Deadwardian Age. In the
background we learn of protests concerning the Zone B policy, which may play
into the story later. But the main plot appears to revolve around a naked body
found near Parliament. It is a puzzle that will carry the plot forward. The man
was a vampire but if he was murdered there are not any signs of how he could
have been murdered. The usual vampire lore holds true here. To kill a vampire
you must impale the heart, cut off the head or incinerate the body. So how was
this vampire killed?  It is a fascinating plot and the script makes it
interesting all the way through. I really like Culbard's art. It is clean and
distinct and colored admirably. As an aside there is no splash page or creator
credits except on the cover, which is more unusual in a Vertigo book where the
creators hold the copyrights. Probably an oversight. This is a good series that
is visually pleasing and easy to read. I recommend it.

Issue Number: 7
Title Story: The Final Curtain
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Plot: Paul Jenkins & David Finch
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend
Colors: Jeremy Cox
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is another one of the New 52 I had not yet sampled and it turns out this
issue is the end of a story arc involving Bane. It opens up right in the middle
of a battle between Batman and Bane. It seems Bane is more amped up than ever. A
new Venom derivative makes him smarter and infinitely stronger than ever. Batman
would never survive a toe-to-toe battle so he must find a weakness and exploit
it. The action takes place in and around a lighthouse on the shore where Poison
Ivy, now a member of the Birds of Prey, is being held captive. As he releases
her from her tube during a lull in the battle we learn Batman has a small sample
of what might be an antidote to Venom. Ivy explains that Batman must get Bane to
swallow it if it is to work. It is an interesting dilemma - he has to get up
close and personal to the man who once broke his back in order to defeat him. In
a sub plot the Flash had been infected with a toxin by Bane and has been running
at supersonic speed for a day to attempt to destroy the toxin with his hyper
metabolism. Superman is along to monitor his progress and this has left Batman
on his own. If Flash can rid himself of the poison he may have enough time to
help Batman at the last minute. It turns out this was a perfect issue to sample.
It is the wrap up of the story and the past detail is not needed to see how we
got to this point. There is another character, a female called the White Rabbit.
She has a special connection to another woman named Jai, someone that Bruce has
been seeing. It is this connection between the two females that will prove very
interesting for the Caped Crusader in the future. As I said the story flows
nicely with no confusion for new readers. The art is spectacular in every aspect
as well. It appears this first arc is a decent way to read a Batman story of top
quality before all the titles get involved in a major crossover story involving
most of the Batman related titles.

Issue Number: 0
Title Story: Prologue
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jason Aaron
Artist: Frank Cho
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Variant Cover Artist: Stephanie Hans
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the prelude to the much-hyped crossover in the Marvel Universe. While we
don't get into the conflict itself this issue we are introduced to the two main
characters it revolves around - Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch and Hope
Summers the so-called Mutant Messiah. Marvel has assigned a top-notch art team
in Cho and Keith. The visual scope and finishes are terrific from beginning to
end. The book is divided into two stories with Bendis writing the Scarlet Witch
story and Aaron on the Hope story. I pointed out long ago that Wanda was finally
coming back from exile in the pages of THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE. The question of
how different heroes felt about her after the whole M-Day thing was explored in
that series ending with her on her own rather than taken away either by the
Avengers or the X-Men. In this prologue she decides to take on MODOK and A.I.M.
as they attempt to assassinate a former A.I.M. scientist who is on his way to
the Pentagon to reveal all. Wanda wants to get back into the hero gig and prove
to herself she still can do some good. The timely intervention by Ms. Marvel and
Spider-Woman wraps things up. At Ms. Marvel's insistence the three head back to
Avengers mansion where Wanda will learn just what her status is with certain
team members. In the Hope story the setting is the left coast in and near
Utopia, the home of most of the world's surviving mutants. It starts with the
sequence that has been the backup in nearly every Marvel comic for the last
month. Hope has been sneaking out at night to go into San Francisco. She is
going on patrol to catch bad guys. Thing is she has been more than catching
them. Cyclops confronts her about the perps being severely beaten and how her
destiny is for a much higher purpose - blah, blah, blah. The previously unseen
segment follows her on one such mission. Well, this tale sets up that whole
conflict - Scott wants to protect her to ensure the fate of all mutants but she
knows her role will be determined by what is on the way to Earth right now - the
Phoenix Force. Will she save them all or destroy the world?  That is the
question. So with this short prologue to the series we are still left wondering
if the major conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men will be about Wanda,
Hope or both. We won't have to wait long as the first (er.. number 1) issue will
be on the racks before you get a chance to read this review!


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:
Legion is the son of Charles Xavier. 
In what title did he make his first appearance?

David Heller, aka LEGION (Xavier and Gabrielle Heller's love child), first
appeared in NEW MUTANTS. The winner this time is Mike Dooley.

Here was your no prize question:
What president delivered the first presidential address on radio?

Despite his reputation as a quiet and even reclusive politician, Calvin Coolidge
made use of the new medium of radio and made radio history several times while
President. On Dec. 6, 1923, the first presidential address was broadcast on the
radio. President Calvin Coolidge delivered what is now known as the State of the
Union address to a joint session of Congress. Gregory Goding wins the no prize.

In what best-selling comic series did the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Chaim
Rosenzweig appear?

Here is your no prize question:
Tom Hanks' "Bosom Buddy" Peter Scolari had a cameo as a celebrity in a film
written and directed by Hanks. Can you name the movie?

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