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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Comic Reviews 6/1/12


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: Dark Horse
Creator: Matt Kindt
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Mature - Comics on the Edge

The first thing that strikes you when you open this comic is the very different art style. The line work is simple and detailed at the same time. It is finished with painted colors giving the overall look a unique appeal. Unlike the slick and often photo-realistic mainstream comics it has more of a flat finish that I find appealing. The story starts in an unnerving fashion. A man and a woman standing on a balcony suddenly attack each other - he attempting to strangle her and she scratching at his face. Within two pages they both plunge over the rail and fall several stories to the hard cobblestone street below. While on that street a man throws a Molotov cocktail into a bookstore as a man passing by shoots another through the head only to have his own throat slit by a woman who comes from behind.  What is going on?  Part of the explanation is on the inside covers in a short story called "The Second Floor." It is about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. It was then that the secret organization called MIND MGT was thought to have begun. A man named Leopold Lojka had mind-managing abilities that he could use to make his subjects believe that he could "bless" objects with a mystical protective power. As the story goes he gave a special umbrella to the Archduke and an attempted bombing of his car failed. Later he forgot the umbrella after a speech and the Black Hand was successful in their second attempt. The main story is introduced by flashing back two years to a plane in flight. Suddenly everyone on board, except for a seven-year-old boy, forgot who he or she was or what they can do. The pilots forgot how to fly the plane. Couples flying together did not know each other or even how they got on the plane. It did not end in disaster but two years later everyone but has still not fully recovered their memory and one passenger, Henry Lyme, got on the plane but was unaccounted for when it landed. It is here we meet Meru who is working on an unsolved-true-crime book and plans to interview the passengers to track down Henry Lyme. The trail eventually takes her to Mexico. She is near the end of her finances and is only getting deeper into another mystery that will take her to Zanzibar and a lot of danger. This is a very complex plot with little hints here and there that are no doubt relevant but meant to be observed and catalogued for later. It is fascinating and even richer in rereading. Wherever this is going it is going to be a tangled journey and worth the trip.

Title: HERO COMICS 2012
Publisher: IDW
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover Artist: J. Scott Campbell/Nei Ruffino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Anthology/Charity Fundraiser

The Hero Initiative ( is a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. You can help this fine effort set up by other comic creators by donating directly if you are so inclined. The least you can do is buy this comic, which is largely funded through donated printing costs by Trivision Company and donated design and lettering work from Comicraft. Some of the internal comic work has been donated while some of it is by creators who are compensated by Hero Initiative because they need the work. Entries include:

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ready Set Go!" by Kevin Eastman

"Hero in Action: Angels!" by Tom Zuiko & Gerry Acerno

"Four Fine Days During the Zombie/Robot War" by Chris Ryall & Ashley Wood

"Hero in Action: Bottle of Wine" by Russ Heath & Darwyn Cooke

"The Red Star: Another Al'istaan" by Christian Gossett & Brennan Wagner

"Hero in Action: Even a Hero Needs a Hero" by Alan Kupperberg, Tom Ziuko, & Jack Morelli

"Elephantmen: Ebony Dreams" by Dave Sim and Richard Starkings

"Hero in Action: One More Time" by Robert Washington & Chris Ivy

The "Hero in Action" sequences are told by the creators who have had first-hand experience with the help provided by The Hero Initiative. Their stories range from Zuiko's struggle with kidney failure and the enormous help THI was during and afterward to Russ Heath's financial problems that limited even what he could afford for food. Kupperberg takes a more analogous approach telling his tale as if he were a superhero beset by villains of over-demanding employers, ill health, and financial woes only to be saved at the last minute by Hero Initiative, a real life superhero. Robert Washington, writer of NINJACK, STATIC, and EXTREME JUSTICE takes a direct approach with a brief commentary on the ups and downs of a free lance career with the hope that we the readers will support organizations like Hero Initiative so people like him can live in dignity by earning a living. The other stories are more traditional fare with a variety of themes to help make the book more than just an appeal for funds. Eastman has Michael in a race against time on a bet from Raphael. It is a fun romp. Even more fun is the Zombie/Robot War segment with four brief stories involving the participants, always with a comical twist. "The Red Star" is a commentary on war and very analogous to a certain conflict winding down now in Afghanistan. The Western Alliance is about to retreat, awaiting only for their transport while the indigents surround them rather than just let them leave. It has a decent resolution. Sim's Elephantmen piece is just wonderful to scan due to its elegant simplicity. The entire volume has something for everyone. It has entertaining as well as sobering moments. It is for a worthy cause so please consider it the next time you are shopping for comics.

Issue Number: 1 (ongoing series)
Title Story: Forty Stories of Sheer Terror
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Toho Co., Ltd.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Simon Gane
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Monster

The secret to a lasting series of this genre is telling interesting stories of the people involved in a world suddenly under attack by monsters. The first issue of this ongoing series focuses on two men who know each other but right now are a world apart. Irving "Urv" Jassim is in Mexico City getting married to the man he loves when giant spiders attack and ruin his plan. We see by his actions that he is a man of action who left a life of violence only to have his dreams crushed. The other man is Boxer, professional soldier formerly with British Special Forces. He is a hard-boiled survivor of impossible situations. Now he is a bodyguard for a teenager in a high rise in Washington, DC. She is the daughter of a Japanese billionaire in town to discuss bankrolling the rebuilding of DC (see previous GODZILLA mini-series for details I guess.) They are on the penthouse floor of a new, supposedly giant-monster-proof tower. But is anything really Godzilla-proof? The bulk of the story is a frantic effort to escape the building as the monster attacks. By the end of the story he will be contacting Urv with a request. I actually enjoyed this issue quite a bit. The art has a distinct appeal by itself but really shines from the coloring of Ronda Pattison. The story got me involved and routing for the good guys. I know the title character is a monster but he is more a supporting character, a catalyst for things that happen and motivator of action. It has thrilling and even comical moments but is still action adventure well done. I recommend you give it a try.

Issue Number: 1(of 3)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Peter Hogan & Steve Parkhouse
Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Steve Parkhouse
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

I reviewed the "zero" issue of this title, which was actually a reprint of the segments previously published in DARK HORSE PRESENTS. It is about an alien who crash landed on Earth. He sent a message to get rescued and hoping it is heard has been living in a small town called Patience disguised as a semi-retired doctor in a remote area on a lake. His solitude was disrupted when the town doctor was murdered. The police chief and the mayor convinced him to fill in while they wait for a replacement doctor and not wanting to draw suspicion he agreed. That issue mostly set up the story so we could get into the plot more deeply this issue. Harry the alien has moved into the doctor's guesthouse and has been seeing patients when needed. The night nurse Asta and he have a long chat, including mention of a problem she is now having with blurry vision. Did I mention Harry could mask his alien appearance from most people? This issue also gets into the investigation with a hint that it may be related to an earlier death that was not ruled a homicide. By the end of the chapter the chief has someone in custody in what appears to the chief an airtight case. But Harry meets the perp to treat him for minor cuts and can tell with his alien senses that he is telling the truth when he claims innocence. A bombshell at the end may prove Harry right and bring more chaos to the peace of this small community. So far there are no blatant clues that I could see that point to the actual killer or motive. But here are some minor ones and I've got my eye on one particular character as a suspect. It is good that everything is not obvious right away. Part of the fun is knowing that perhaps Harry's power to obscure his true identity will fail with at least one person, he already said it could happen, at the most inopportune time in the story. This is an enjoyable story complimented with really good art. This will be a good mystery to follow until it wraps up in just two more issues.

Issue Number: 1 (vol. 2)
Title Story: Demon Star
Title Arc: Batman Incorporated: Leviathan
Publisher: DC
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I tired of Batman long ago from over-exposure. Now I confine myself to brief runs by favorite creators because I am not going to invest in multiple titles and offshoots when a larger "event" requires it. I checked out BATMAN INCORPORATED when it started and also read the Leviathan special that was really the last two issues in one volume right before the launch of the New 52. Now that the second wave has started BATMAN INCORPORATED has become a New 52 title and picks up where it left off, Batman and Robin are apparently the same characters they have always been. This continues the struggle between Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul over the fate of their son, Damian. As the action begins with Batman and Robin fighting a bunch of goons wearing goat masks in a meat packing facility the narrative is coming from another person with the self-claimed moniker of Goatboy. Leviathan has offered a half billion dollars to anyone who can kill the Boy Wonder. So there are two perspectives on the story. First we have Dynamic Duo doing what they do best and slowly discovering clues about the organization trying to take over the Gotham underworld. Then we have the point of view of the would-be assassin who is a cab driver looking to make a big score for the sake of his family. The face of the Leviathan organization in Gotham is a robed and hooded man that only shows a rotting skull through his garb. But he also has two man-bat types that enforce his will ruthlessly. Where the story leads is a classic ending that I suspect is another ploy but won't spoil it for you. Since this title was all about a worldwide organization set up by the Caped Crusader Morrison did not leave some of the other characters out of this first issue. In a meeting below a cover store in San Francisco we witness a meeting of several characters, all presumed dead. They have their own leader and a plan for the future. I would say if you have not read BATMAN INCORPORATED before you should at least pick up the LEVIATHAN special still available for more detail on what has gone before. However, this issue reads pretty well from the shocking declaration on the first page, a month after the setting of the main plot, to the final panel that realistically seems like it could be the reason for that declaration. However this continues to unfold it has a good start and will be worth following. The art is spectacular. I particularly like the way Burnham and Fairbairn portray Robin after the bloody battle in the meat packing plant - ever defiant with hands on hips as he delivers a line that cracked me up. That one panel would make a great poster. So I give this one thumbs up for now and will be checking in to see if the momentum is sustained going forward.

Issue Number: 9
Title Story: Daddy's Little Girl
Title Arc: DC Universe Presents: Savage
Publisher: DC
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Ryan Sook
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Villain

You have to look close at the title to realize you did not miss the first eight issues of a title about Vandal Savage. The title is DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS. The first several issues where about the Challengers of the Unknown and now we switch to DC's favorite immortal villain. The story revolves around a serial killer the FBI is after. His M.O. is so much like another that it can only be a copycat. In hope that the prisoner in Belle Reve can shed some light on the case the first two agents end up with nothing but a beating. You see Savage is insulted that they believe anyone could truly imitate him - that he is that predictable and unoriginal. So the Assistant Director in Charge sends in the only other agent that might have some luck. As the story unfolds we learn why, she is Savage's daughter, Kassidy Sage. The bulk of the issue is the interview between the two and it happens to coincide with a lockdown due to an escaped prisoner. That is no coincidence to the plot as we learn later. So most of the issue we see father and daughter on opposite sides of a glass wall. She prying and prodding for leads, for a direction while he seizes the moment ever so subtly to discuss their relationship, or lack thereof to test and distract her. You can almost guess where it is going right up to an interlude involving that escaped prisoner. Afterward Savage makes his proposal. The script is at a level I was expecting from James Robinson and was not disappointed. It has bits of scenes involving the actual killer and his latest victim to keep us aware of the seriousness of the situation that led to negotiations with one of the most dangerous inmates in the country. The dialogue between father and daughter has moments of tension and revelation and is more interesting than you would think without having read it. In the end I think Robinson and the art team did a great job to get the ball rolling. This should be a fascinating arc to follow. Don't overlook DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS on the racks. It is a hidden gem in the New 52.


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:
Gerald Grice killed Blair Royce.
Who killed Gerald Grice?

If you recognized these names from WATCHMEN you know the answer is Rorschach. The winner this time is Mike Dooley.

Here was your no prize question:
Which president signed the law making it legal to brew beer in the home?

Home brewing of beer having alcohol content higher than 0.5% remained illegal until 1978 when Congress passed a bill repealing Federal restrictions and excise taxes on the home brewing of small amounts of beer and wine. Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, signed the bill, H.R. 1337, into law in October 1978; however, the bill left individual states free to pass their own laws limiting production. Gregory Goding got it first.

The Guardians divided the universe into how many hundreds of sectors?

Here is your no prize question:
Who was president of Columbia University before he became President of the United States?

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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