Search This Blog

Friday, May 4, 2012

Comic Reviews 5/4/12


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: Boom! Studios
Writer: Rich Johnston
Artist: Chris Haley
Colors: Space Goat Productions and Cirque Studios
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artists: Mark Stafford/Fred Hembeck
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Parody

For those of you who may not know Rich Johnston is an online comic book news and
gossipmonger that has been around for years. He has written a number of parody
comics on members of the Avengers this being the latest. Others have been on
Iron Man and Thor. This comic is a loose parody of the Captain America movie.
Some of the basic elements from the movie are there but it departs from it
liberally for entertainment purposes. It starts with Steve Rogers in the
recruitment office pleading his case to enlist and join the war effort. When
asked what he can do he joyfully beams, "I can sing. I can dance." Then he
explains he really wants to join the USO. Then we switch to basic training at
Band Camp and the famous dud grenade scene plays a part. After that he must go
through an audition for a radio reality show and then off to the
laboratory/kitchen of Professor Gordon who bears a striking resemblance to a
celebrity chef named Gordon. The transformation takes place and it's off to
Europe to entertain the troops. As you would expect the Nazi's captures some
troops and Cap eventually meets up with his nemesis, Red Lips. It ends, as you
would expect with Steve frozen in ice and found in the present where Johnston's
version of Nick Fury has some people for him to meet.  This is what you would
expect from a typical parody. Some of the jokes works well others are just flat.
But overall it is entertaining. Chris Haley is a decent artists and his style
fits the lighter fare of the subject matter. In all it is a fun comic and a
pleasant diversion.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Land of Jeeps!
Publisher: IDW
Creator: E.C. Segar
Writer: Roger Langridge
Artist: Bruce Ozella
Colors: Luke McDonnell
Letters: Bruce Ozella
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor/Cartoon Adaptation

For me the essential Popeye will always be the original cartoons. I have seen
most of them multiple times - almost as many as the Three Stooges shorts. The
animation style and particularly the voices stick in my mind. I guess it was so
unique it stood out. I always got a big kick out of Popeye mumbling to himself.
So, seeing this comic I was skeptical that it could have the same kind of charm
and humor. I also wanted to see if a classic character could be presented in a
way that was good enough to appeal to new readers and a new generation. The
first thing you see is that all the major characters are included in this first
issue. Olive, Wimpy, Eugene the Jeep, Bluto and the Sea Hag, a much later
addition to the cannon, are featured. It starts with a plot hatched by Olive
Oyl's brother Castor Oyl after he sees a newspaper article about a mysterious
animal spotted on a remote island. It appears from a sketch to be another jeep.
Now they previously thought Eugene was unique in creation and Castor's scheme is
to go to the island and capture another jeep so the two can breed and the family
will become rich from selling the offspring. So they convince kind-hearted
Popeye to take them to the island so Eugene can get a playmate. At the last
minute Wimpy jumps on board and the voyage is on. Along the way Bluto and his
henchman Glurk cross their paths on the open sea. It seems Bluto found out where
the island is and of course does not want Popeye and his friends beating him
there. So we have the typical conflict that is the hallmark of the Popeye
cartoons. It is handled well with the back and forth between the ships and then
hand-to-hand with an expected outcome. Later at the island the Sea Hag makes her
appearance and we learn the truth about the mysterious animal everyone has been
seeking. The art in this comic is spot on depicting all the famous characters.
It is also skillfully composed and executed. The dialogue is scripted well;
though it is not the same reading Popeye butcher the language with such words as
"generostiky" and "aminal" as it is hearing that famous voice. One
disappointment has to be the lack of a can of spinach during the fight scenes.
As a whole it is a fine effort and a comic I think that kids of all ages can

Issue Number: 3 (OF 4)
Title Story: Duel - part 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Richard Matheson
Adaptation: Chris Ryall
Artist: Rafa Garres
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Suspense/Mystery

This mini-series featured an original story in the first two issues done in
homage to the story featured in the last two issues, "Duel". Most people who are
familiar with it will associate the title DUEL with the cult favorite movie
starring Dennis Weaver as a traveling salesman being harassed on the highway by
a seemingly mad truck driver. This two-part story goes back to the original
source material, the novel by Richard Matheson, to bring the story to life in
comic form. Of course that means that the visual aspect will play a large part
in the translation. Rafa Garres has a style that I call somewhat surreal. It is
heavy in darker colors and shading. The smoke billowing from the pollution
belching tanker semi seems at times to take on a life of its own. It is as if he
is trying to convey the thought that this truck and its driver are otherworldly.
That is exactly what the story itself is trying to evoke. When our hero,
referred to only by his last name - Mann, passes the semi the first time he is
pondering his lot in life, the routine of life on the road. Fiddling with the
radio he is startled when the same truck passes him a bit too close in turn.
This is a single lane highway and following behind the truck, breathing in its
fumes is not an option for Mann. So Mann passes it again prompting a long honk
from the trucker and the game is on. It gets intense at times with the trucker
drifting over the centerline at any attempt by Mann to pass again. When he
finally waves his arm in a signal for Mann to pass it is only because there is
an oncoming car, which Mann barely misses in time. Is this guy out to kill Mann?
And if Mann manages to get ahead of the truck once more will he be able to
maintain a distance in front of the truck or will the semi crash him from
behind?  There are some tense moments and a suspenseful cliffhanger at the end
of the first half. This is not your typical comic but it does have a good script
and art. I think it is worth your time.

Title: AVX: VS
Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: Marvel
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Adam Kubert
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As the opening page explains this is a mini-series that fills in the blanks IN
issues of AVENGERS VS X-MEN. This series gives you more of the fight scenes
between major players so as not to crowd or expand the main story. For example
this first issue takes place in the middle of AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2. It is
telling you up front these are the battle scenes; look for the plot elsewhere. I
found that is not entirely true and will explain as we go along. The first issue
covers two battles with different creative teams on each one.

"The Invincible Iron Man vs. Magneto" by Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert and Morry

The first though you might have is why would a man in a suit of armor go up
against the Master of Magnetism? That is also Magneto's thought until he
realizes this battle suit is made from carbon nanotubes, whatever those are. So
Magneto first resorts to an indirect attack. It is like when Green Lantern's
ring would not affect anything yellow. That did not stop Hal Jordan from
throwing something at his yellow opponent. However the final outcome is
ultimately determined through the use of magnetism in a unique manner that I
found a bit far fetched, even for a fictional super hero comic. And it is in
this segment as Magneto realizes the scope of what is to come and makes a
comment on what will need to be done. He more or less states the obvious but it
is apart from the battle scene.

"The Thing vs. Namor The Sub-Mariner" by Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Wade
von Grawbadger and Jim Charalampidis

This battle is more of a fun conflict by the presence of The Thing. Namor seems
to have the upper hand in pure strength though the Thing can take a lot without
being shaken. When Namor forces the battle underwater it seems Ben may be out of
his element. His response soon belies that idea.

After each battle a winner, at least temporarily is declared as the winner moves
on to the next opponent. The artwork is superb in both cases. It is a fun series
for fans that want to get more out of this major event though it is truly not
needed to follow the main plot. I would recommend you check it out anyway. Half
the fun of major conflicts among well-known characters is to see how the fare in
their match ups.

Issue Number: 6 (of 6)
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn & Matt Fraction
Script: Chris Yost
Artist: Scot Eaton
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz & Guru eFx
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

It has been hinted and even boasted that this particular mini-series will change
the status of the Marvel Universe forever. At first it looked like that is
explained by the revelation early on that the main character Army Ranger SSG
Marcus Johnson, an African American, was actually Nick Fury's long lost son.
Granted that is a major revelation but it is not the knock out punch. There are
actually two things at the very end of the series that are what the hype was all
about. So much so that it recently made the print press as this final issue hit
the stands. If you did not read about it there, or in this issue, BE WARNED - I
am going to spoil the ending of this story so I can comment on it. Consider this

To recap the story Marcus is hunting for his mother's killers. He was in
S.H.I.E.L.D. custody after finding out Nick Fury is his father but escaped and
is at large. Now the person responsible, Orion of the terrorist organization
Leviathan, has kidnapped Fury hoping to use the Infinity Formula in his blood to
revive himself to full power. Johnson is believed to be dead but is actually
about to make an entrance. Of course the conflict of the main plot has to end
this issue so the outcome is never in doubt. Instead of Orion destroying
S.H.I.E.L.D. and gaining what he needs from Fury, Marcus gets his justice with a
little help from his friends, including his old army buddy, Cheese, who has
stood by his side the whole time. He also gets some scars and an eventually an
eye patch. At this point you can see where things are heading. In the closing
scenes Nick and Marcus have a heart to heart about why Nick kept their
relationship a secret all those years. He also proposes what Marcus might do
with the rest of his life. This leads up to the climax I hinted about in the
beginning. Actually I mentioned two things. First of all Marcus and his old pal
Cheese are now agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But they are going by their real names
now. Cheese is actually Agent Coulson, who up until now has only appeared in the
Marvel movies and recently on the Marvel Universe cartoons. This is his debut in
the regular Marvel Universe. And Marcus is using his name given at birth,
Nicholas Fury. His mother changed it, for explainable reasons long ago. And with
the eye patch, scars and mustache and goatee he looks remarkably like Samuel L.
Jackson. So what at first appeared to be a story of a secret son of Nick Fury
and their reuniting was really planned to be about creating a new black Nick
Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the mainstream. This will be the new status quo
- white Fury is out, black Fury is in. I am not sure this is a good thing just
so "Nick Fury" looks like the Nick Fury in the movies. Does it really matter to
the people who support Marvel by making them number one month after month and
year after year?  Would new readers brought in by the movies be really turned
off or confused by the classic Nick Fury? In the afterword Editor Tom Brennan
promises we will be seeing the new Fury soon. The Marvel Universe has changed
all right. For me it is not such a big deal worthy of coverage by the media but
that seems to be the norm these days.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Cartoon Adaptation/Super Hero

I mentioned in my review of MARVEL UNIVERSE THE AVENGERS based on the cartoon
that the Spider-Man cartoon was very different, heavy on the humor. If you don't
get Disney XD on your TV this is the place to see what it is all about. They
have named this version Ultimate Spider-Man but it not the Ultimate Spider-man
from the comics, well not entirely. It is Pete Parker and just as when the
Ultimate Peter was still alive there is a connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. Each issue
carries two main stories that compliment the stories being told in the cartoons.

"Ultimate Spider-Man" by "Man of Action" (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau
and Steve Seagle), Nuno Plati and Joe Caramagna

This story is a close adaptation of the beginning of the cartoon series as it
has Spider-Man facing off with the Shocker. The writers are top writers in the
world of TV cartoons. Unlike the cartoon this adaptation goes much further with
the site gags and asides to really play up the comedy angle. We get the spider-
eye view of the origin of Spider-Man, a tiny Spider-Man giving the editorial
exposition about Peter's history and the battle at hand, and even the angel and
the devil Spider-Men on his shoulders at one crucial decision point. Like the
classic Spidey stories Peter's everyday routine is interrupted by the bad guy
and a promise he made to Aunt May is in jeopardy. Things work out in the end
because this is the way things work in this version

"Ultimate Peter Parker" by Slott, Templeton, Quintana and Cowles

Another feature of the cartoon version of Peter is that he has been recruited by
Nick Fury (yeah, the black one) to train with S.H.I.E.L.D. But he still has to
go to school and so the new principal is none other than Agent Coulson. This
allows him to give Peter some cover when he has to sneak out on an urgent
mission. Today one such mission comes up and to cover for Peter Coulson has
brought in what is known in Marvel comics as an LMD or Life-Model-Decoy. Here
they call them Mandroids. It is a robot with all the looks and mannerisms of
Peter - even his memories. So the will take his place. The mission is for Peter
to shadow Nick Fury and foil a plot by Hydra to kill him. It turns out the there
is more to the mission than we first thought as it turns into a learning
experience for Peter. This story is told in a more traditional manner with none
of the offbeat visual elements in the cartoons or the first story.

Mixed in with these two stories are brief one-page features called Marvel Mash-
Ups. On TV they use old "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" episodes. Here they
use pages from old Spider-Man comics. The idea is to use the images from the old
versions with new dialogue by the current writers. It is all done for comic
effect and is clever filler in both cases.

So how does this measure up?  The production values are very good, as you would
expect on a high profile comic. This is clearly an all ages comic and is written
specifically for younger readers. There are plenty of Spidey comics for grown
ups so this one is a welcome change in my opinion.


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:
Early on, Todd McFarlane had guest creators work on SPAWN.  Most of these were
writers and Todd still did the art.  Which was the first non-Todd team to
actually write and pencil an issue of SPAWN?

The answer is Grant Morrison (writer) and Greg Cappullo (penciller), who did the
three part anti-Spawn story, which ran in Spawn #16-18. The winner by the dice
is Mauricio Carvalho.

Here was your no prize question:
What is considered the most successful entertainment event in history?

Since its debut on Broadway Jan. 26, 1988, The Phantom of the Opera has become
the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time and the most financially
successful theatrical show in history. It had been seen by over 130 million
people in 145 cities in 27 countries by 2011, the most successful entertainment
project in history.

From Milestone's BLOOD SYNDICATE - how far back in time could Flashback travel?

Here is your no prize question:
What is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust?

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