Search This Blog

Friday, June 22, 2012

comic review 6/22/12

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 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Jimmy Cheung
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have been anxious to read this comic for a couple of reasons. It is actually the first Marvel comic to breach the barrier between the "Ultimate" Universe and the regular Marvel (so called 616) Universe. I am also a fan of the entire Ultimate Universe and am interested to see the reaction and interaction between the two very popular Spider-Men. For such a meeting to take place one of these guys has to travel across the dimensional barrier. As you will learn it is the original Peter Parker who ends up in a world not his own about half way through the comic. The first half is the setup for how this will take place and the second half is mostly his reaction when he realizes he is not in Kansas anymore. The how involves Mysterio who apparently knows more about the Ultimate Universe than you would first expect. Most of the action in the first act is formula and expected. I am more interested in what Peter will think about this other Universe. People know he "was" Spider-Man before his death. How will he react to the number of heroes and villains that are dead in this world?  How will other heroes who knew the Ultimate Peter react if they meet him? What about the different versions of his family and friends? And of course the confrontation with Miles Morales on the last panel is stunning to both of them. Except for that last bit none of this has happened yet, none of it may. I think it would be more interesting than any effort that will be made to get Peter home. I found the art good enough though nothing stunning. So far it is a good start and I anticipate the next issue will hold a lot of meat to it.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Mean Goodbye
Publisher: DC
Creators: Moore & Gibbons
Writers: Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Conner
Artist: Amanda Conner
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature Readers

Unlike the first title in the series, MINUTEMEN, the bulk of this issue takes place in 1966, long after the original Silk Spectre stopped crime-fighting and is raising her daughter Laurel who is in high school. The focus of the story is on Laurel and the complex mess her life is in, beyond the normal teenage angst. Her mother Sally has set a high standard for Laurel. She forces her to train constantly, denying her any interaction with kids her age except during the school day. Some of the other kids make her life harder treating her like trash based on her mother's history. Laurel has turned into a superb athlete and there is a budding romance between her and the handsome young man named Greg. Much like her his father is training him, not as a crime-fighter but to be a macho guy so he can be the best he can be when he marches him down to the Marine recruiting office when he turns eighteen. Having this in common, over domineering parents, will only bring them closer. Of course Sally has made it almost impossible for Laurel to encourage Greg with her strict rules on socializing. Sally even goes as far as surprise attacks at night to be sure Laurel can defend herself against a would-be rapist. We all know where that motivation comes from. So this first chapter is all about the breaking point in their relationship and what Laurel does about it. Perhaps by the end of the mini-series she will actually become Silk Spectre II. That remains to be seen. The plotting is very good; including some well placed imagery in the first three pages. Amanda Conner is the perfect artist for this series. She captures a lot of the essence of the characters and the inherent theme of strong independent women. I am not disappointed about any of the book and am impressed with all of it. I think you will be too.

Issue Number: 1 (of 3)
Title Story: Kamchatka
Title Arc: Landfall
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Kristian Donaldson
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist: Wood & Donaldson
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure

I've classified this as science fiction because it takes place in a world twelve months after "The Crash." The Ninth Wave marine conservationist force is led by the captain of its main ship the Kapital, Callum Israel. Their mission has changed from pro-conservation goals (anti-whaling, anti oil shipping and the like) to one that has them searching the world for answers to the cause of the Crash. Lately they have been hunting for their sister ship, The Massive that is apparently lost and adrift amid the chaos. At times the narrative reflects on the Crash itself. It began in January of 2003 with a massive storm in the Cook Islands that defied usual conventions. Entire landmasses vanished and loss of life was near total. Huge storms at sea along major Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes resulted in hundred of billions of dollars in damage and losses. Underwater landslides off the coast of California damaged several oil platforms, an event that repeated itself in other parts of the world. Masses of Blue Fin tuna washed ashore in Mauritania, wind farms in the East China Sea went still causing loss of power to millions in China. The geography and climate around the world has changed drastically. Many seaports are under hundreds of feet of water, crops are failing, and people are starving. On the human side the plot centers around Callum, his second in command Mary and his long time friend Mag. There are some conflicts among them as to courses of action to take. They are not alone in the waters as this chapter points out when they encounter pirates in smaller boats. All the time they search for traces of The Massive. Often they seem to get a radar signature in the distance only to have it fade quickly. So we have character development of the main players against the backdrop of a decimated world with unknown dangers lurking anywhere. The bigger question is what happened and why. The lesser one is can one ship off the coast of Kamchatka in the Bearing Sea have any hope of solving the riddle or finding their lost comrades. This appears to be a long journey to answers and is moving at a deliberate pace. The art is very good and some added text in the back helps fill in some of the blanks. I am not excited about the story so far but it seems intriguing and worth following for now.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Ken Garing
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is a story in the far future and is set on a planetoid that was once a mining operation of the colonial government but has been abandoned along with all the old factories and AI robots when opposing alien forces, the Ono Mao, entered the region. The plot follows a space smuggler named Silas. In a narrative we learn of his past and the most recent incident involving his crew's attempt to salvage what they could from an Ono Mao research vessel in distress. They found experimental weapons but before they could leave they came under attack from a military ship and only Silas was able to escape in his boarding shuttle after an emergency warp. He thought he was lucky when he emerged from warp near a planet but getting closer was fatal as the strange electromagnetic planetary radiation disabled his systems and pulled his craft into a crash on the planet. The story then revolves around what he finds there and the possibility that he may never be able to leave. Most of this first chapter introduces us to the environment and dangers in this area of the planet, fills us in on Silas' history and sets up his encounter with other humans on the planet in future issues. I like the art, which has varied layouts and composition. Garing is not only a good storyteller but also an accomplished artist. If you are into space opera this is a worthy comic to try.

Title: KISS
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part 1
Title Arc: Dressed to Kill
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Jamal Igle
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror/Fantasy

I have not read anything about this new title from IDW but was intrigued by the cover showing the members of Kiss, the rock group, in suits with details indicating they are in the late 1920's. Indeed the story is set in 1929 Chicago. It is a time of prohibition and mob rule in major cities. The introductory pages have Wicked Lester enjoying some recreation at a speakeasy as his boys bring him someone they suspect is a rat in the organization. How he dispatches this enemy clues us in on the fact that this story has elements of the supernatural. This may follow from earlier comic stories involving the band that I never read. There is one called the Elder, a cosmic force for justice and order. His goodness is under siege by the ultimate purveyor of chaos and destruction, the Destroyer. The Destroyer has entered our universe to spread his stain using human agents like Wicked Lester that he has empowered. As the gang plans to locate and kill the Treasury Agent who sent the informant we meet the other players in the game. As they confront him two cops in a diner nearby rush to his aid and they all see first hand the extent of Lester's power. It is these three and the informant who are soon transformed into avatars for the Elder through magic talismans. They gain their new appearance, face paint and all and along with it powers of their own. Each one has unique ability and soon the informant fills them in on the bigger picture. The text in the back explains that this is the theme of the book and will contain stories in two-issue arcs showing Kiss across different eras, presumably in the struggle against the Destroyer as agents of the Elder. It will go back in time to the Dark Ages and forward to the present as they move along. There will also be different artists on the various arcs. This first set is handled well by the current team. I imagine the hope is that hard-core Kiss fans will buy it just because of the band based on the success of previous Kiss comics. I found the story sufficient to hole my interest regardless of the characterization. Taking the stage images of a popular band and using that as the basis for heroes in a war among supernatural beings is nothing special. It remains to be seen if plain old comic fans will be interested enough to make it a hit.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Snyder & Alburquerque
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

I read a few issue of the ongoing AMERICAN VAMPIRE at the start and saw this mini-series as an opportunity to once again sample Scott Snyder's interpretation of the Vampire legend. This particular story is set in 1954 and begins in London. A young man has arranged to meet a British agent named Hobbes at a street café. What this story is really about is a long held secret involving the London Tower Bridge. Built in the 1880's it has a secret base built into the north piling. The purpose of the agents involved with its existence was to track down a high value target and then contain him in this location. It seems our young visitor at first is at Hobbes' mercy, surrounded by other agents nearby willing to publicly assassinate him at Hobbes' direction. But he is only there to inform Hobbes that his base is about to be breached. The result of that attack leads Hobbes to Paris to meet with a former agent of his, the best ever. She is a young lady that is half American Vampire. She left fifteen years ago along with a vampire baby that she used an experimental serum on to turn human again. They had an understanding she would be left alone but that recent event has changed everything. You might guess from the title just whom that high value target was and why Hobbes will need to take extraordinary measures now. The plotting of the script is nicely handled, as was my earlier assessment of Snyder's work. He gives us a lot in the pages without clutter. Sometimes there is just hints at things but there is no confusion as to where things are going. These characters may have appeared in earlier issues of AMERICAN VAMPIRE but that is not critical. Everything is easy to follow and the art supports the story in good fashion. If you have been thinking of sampling this popular title this may bee a good issue to begin with.


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:
There have been a few comic series about super hero sidekicks, one even had that title. Can you name the first comic starring sidekicks?
People had to go way back, past the TEEN TITANS first appearance to the summer of 1941 and the YOUNG ALLIES for the answer. The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
Where is the oldest private military academy in the USA?

The oldest is Norwich University in Northfield, VT. It is also home to the birthplace of one of the oldest Greek fraternities in the country, Theta Chi Fraternity.

Can you tell the TITLE from this abbreviation? ->  PTPOPW

Here is your no prize question:
What did Nathaniel Briggs invent?

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