Search This Blog

Friday, June 29, 2012

comic reviews 6/29/12


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 (of 6)
Title Story: Smile
Publisher: DC
Creator: Moore and Gibbons
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: JG Jones
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Clem Robins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature Readers

This latest episode of one of the characters from WATCHMEN takes place in the early 1960s. It of course is about Eddie Blake, The Comedian. At this point in time he is very close to President Kennedy and his family. He even plays touch football with the brothers in their leisure time. You may recall from the movie that in one of the opening scenes of the movie Eddie is depicted as the shooter on the grassy knoll on that fatal day in Dallas. This chapter directly contradicts that assertion. If anything he is shown as a loyal friend by his words and actions. Instead we see him taking part in the untimely death of another famous person of that era, apparently at the request of Jackie Kennedy. In the flow of the story we learn just how close he is to the president and how his reputation as a crime fighter with a somewhat nefarious past has made him useful to the government on certain jobs that need to be done. Of course he does not always follow the game plan set out, which Azzarello shows clearly in the plotting. This first issue takes us right up to the day of Jack's assassination showing us what Eddie was up to when he heard the news. Throughout the story the Comedian sticks to character and his reaction in the end is no exception. What then will follow after this?  Will this event shape him and change him into something else? That is at least the inference I make but will remain to be seen. Jones does a great job on the art with pretty good renditions of familiar people in the story. So far I am enjoying where things are headed.

Back up story - "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair" part 3 "The Devil in the Deep" by Len Wein, John Higgins and Sal Cipriano. The third chapter of this tale of horror on the high seas takes a pretty bad turn for the British junior officer who rebelled at the cruelty of his captain. It seems he will be paying a much higher price than anyone expected when it all falls apart. It is interesting to see just how much can be told in just two pages. The narrative and art blend well together. It is getting better and worth the wait for the next chapter in the pages of NITE OWL.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: First Contact! First Carnage!
Publisher: IDW
Writer: John Layman
Artist: John McCrea
Colors: Andrew Elder
Letters: John Layman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

IDW in conjunction with Topps is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the original MARS ATTACKS series with this new comic that for now explores other aspects of that invasion from 1962. For Topps part they are issuing collectible card packs with the 55 originals reprinted, 10 lost cards inspired by the original art by Wally Wood, 15 new universe cards by series artist John McCrea and even special chase cards. If that weren't enough IDW is issuing a 57 comic box set for $200. It has all 55 variant covers, each with art from one of the classic cards, the retailer incentive cover and a cover only available with the box set. If you are a completist this is for you. It all began in the summer of 1962. Prior to the Martian invasion a scout ship hit an Earth orbiter and crash-landed and the lone Martian survivor was capture by a couple of locals in the American heartland. They decided they could make money by selling this freak, whom we learn is named Zar, to a freak show in the County Fair. The manager who agrees to the purchase is a cruel master and of course is only able to communicate with the alien through violence. Little does he know that there are others looking for their lost comrade and his actions will soon spark the first skirmish in the interplanetary war. While it is a bit of a stretch that events would unfold this way we go along with the suspension of disbelief and the stereotyping of these country bumpkins. This is all a set up to show a typical government cover-up and the story of Zar who will later play a key role in the major conflict. The set up is to establish a new continuity for the invasion in the present rather than 50 years ago. The artwork is pretty good and the plot is somewhat comical but entertaining. I liked it for what it is and it should be a fun book moving forward.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature Readers

This title is a monthly anthology spotlighting stories from independent creators on their own work. Beyond the actual stories you also get commentary by the creators, an interview with Neil Gaiman, convention photos and even a feature on two sisters who are costume designers really into Cosplay. There is a lot here for only four bucks. The main reason to buy it though is for the stories.

Story Title: American Muscle
Story: Steve Niles
Art: Kevin Mellon

This one is set in an apocalyptic future. Seven young adventurers decided to leaved their walled city in three automobiles to see what the rest of the country had become. Global disease left much of the population sick, insane or dead. So these brave souls ventured out and in the opening are racing across barren land when one car loses its brakes and the others have to use unorthodox means to stop it before disaster. This action is portrayed to have some visuals while the narrative rambles on about how the world got this way. They were heading to Los Angeles and what they find is not pretty. But what will happen next might prove deadly. It is not a bad plot but wastes a lot of time with the runaway car bit this leaving little for plot development before it ends. The art is decent enough though nothing special. I guess I expected a bit more from Steve Niles in this introductory chapter and will have to see what comes next before judging its worth.

Story Title: Trigger Girl 6
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art: Phil Noto

For me this story is the better of the two in this first issue. It is a fascinating story of human assassins apparently grown from embryos with innate training in their art. This is not clear because we see one such killer, Subject 6, emerge from a cocoon floating in liquid. Was she grown this way or just incubated as an adult? She emerges and gets dressed and immediately arms up and enters a bean-shaped capsule that is shot into the air. It is clearly a very high tech transport with no evident means of propulsion. Her mission becomes clear when she approaches an Army jet transporting a US Senator. I do not want to spoil how she goes about acquiring and then eliminating her target. I will say it pushes the boundaries of what is possible but we could guess that based on the technology we have seen to this point. It is clear from the dialogue of those on board the jet and its chase planes that they know what a Trigger Girl is and the danger she presents. But the unanswered questions are the most intriguing. Who is behind it all? Who are they targeting and why? How is it possible for a human to do what she can do? Jimmy and Justin give us things to think about and Phil Noto gives us some terrific art that fleshes it out. I definitely want to see more of this story.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Mary Shelley
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Bernie Wrightson
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

When I saw Bernie Wrightson's name on this one I new at least the art would be good and I was not disappointed. Wrightson is a master of black and white illustration so you can always depend on any of his work. This is not an adaptation of the famous classic but a sequel. It is told in two segments. The first is told in the monster's present. He is one of the main attractions in the freak show part of a traveling circus and carnival. He has found a home among others who have been rejected by society - a family of sorts. But he wonders what he could tell them of his past as we drift into the past in a flashback. He is in a mountain in the winter. He has come here to die and yet he is haunted by the ghost of his creator, Victor Frankenstein. Frank, as the carnies call him now, has accepted his fate and the deeds he has done in the past. The vision reminds him that he will never be forgiven for the deaths he has caused. He will seek solace in ending his artificial life if not from freezing in the show then perhaps in the lava of the active volcano nearby, always haunted by Victor's accusations. This is an interesting story. The monster is no longer the newborn that can barely speak. He has grown to this point where he can communicate well, if only with a ghost. And of course this will not be his end because we know it is a flashback. I feel the main story will be in the present and this chapter certainly ends too soon. The issue includes an interview between Bernie Wrightson and Steve Niles on their first exposure to Frankenstein from the various movies over the years.  It also has a six-page excerpt from Mary Shelley's work. I am hoping for more story pages in the future so the main story can move forward.

Issue Number: 44
Title Story: Out of Season, part 1 of 3
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colors: Val Staples, Guru eFX & Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: John Tyler Christopher
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I saw this issue was the start of a three-issue arc and featured some of the Defenders on the cover so I decided to check it out. The New Mutants are mostly the original team with Dani Moonstar, Sunspot, Magma, Warlock, Cypher and the telekinetic X-Man. After the X-Men schism the New Mutants sided with Cyclops and have moved into San Francisco to help improve relations by living among humans. But the action opens in Queensport, Maine as the team is trying to stop a group of goblins leftover from the Inferno incursion from creating havoc. This is where they meet the Silver Surfer, Iron Fist and Doctor Strange whose timely appearance solves the problem. But that is coincidental to why these three Defenders show up. They came to see the New Mutants on another matter. It seems the New Mutants are the focus of a disturbance in the force. Er, to put it in Marvel terms a ripple in the cohesive binding structure of the metaverse or as Surfer puts it a change in the fundamental energies of the cosmos. Both magic and space/time are being affected. Strange wants them to do something about it and the urgency becomes evident when Bobby temporarily goes berserk, as if possessed. What he reveals after the Defenders leave will lead the team to Westchester to visit Karma. As we will see the effects will become more serious and happen more frequently as the story progresses. The plot is straightforward as is usually the case with Abnett and Lanning and includes characterizations and asides along the way. The art is fairly decent as well. I like the idea that this is a new arc and aside from references to early things and relations it is easy to get into and understand. It is a typical formula super hero plot that is entertaining for what it is.

Issue Number: 39
Title Story: Spider Who?
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inker: John Lucas
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Lee Garbett, Karl Kesel & Wil Quintana
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I was surprised to see an "annual" priced at only four dollars but sure enough this has 40 story pages for the price. It is also interesting to note that this is annual #39. After so many comics rebooting to a new number one and several titles with more than a couple Annual #1 issues it is good to see a continuation of numbering for a change. Anyway, this annual is a self-contained story, which makes it appealing and even a better value, as you do not have to invest in other issues or annuals of other titles to get the whole story. We get right into the main plot, as Peter is involved with an experiment gone wrong at Horizon Labs where he works with other young geniuses to come up with new stuff. His co-worker Grady has this idea about freezing objects in time but the inevitable problem occurs and Peter is suddenly in the future, but it apparently an altered future. No one has ever heard of Spider-man, Mary Jane is an accomplished actress starring in an Iron Man spin-off, RESCUE, Norm Osborne is a respected scientist working on a cancer cure and Jonah Jameson is the President! Peter tries to make contact at Horizon Labs but finds no one has ever heard of him. He is beginning to think that this is how the world would be if he never was around - never became Spider-Man. But that is not his only problem. Soon the ground begins to tremble, as if there is an earthquake in New York and in a flash he finds himself back in high school with all his old friends. What is cool about this part is that Garbett and Lucas pay homage to Ditko by aping his style from those early issues. It turns out that Peter is flashing through time. Sometimes it is his own past and he is a part of it, other times it is an altered future. Each time there is this tremor and it won't be long before the Avengers take notice. Will they believe his story that in his own time he is a member and friends with all of them? Can they even do anything to stop it all? The story is not just this dilemma that needs solving. He also meets Uncle Ben, still alive in this future and by the end of the book there is a really satisfying wrap up to their interaction. This is a really enjoyable annual for both story and art. If you just want to read a Spider-Man story for a change this one is worth your money.


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

Sometimes the questions are a bit obscure - that is why it is called trivia. The answer this time is PETE THE P'OD POSTAL WORKER. I stumped the class on this one.

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

Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire received the first United States issued patent for a washing machine in 1797. Because of the great Patent Office fire, no description of the device exists, and it is not known what kind of washing device Briggs invented.

Teresa, Gianna, and Maria are also known as . . .?

Here is your no prize question:
What is Pope Benedict's favorite soft drink?

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