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Friday, July 13, 2012

Comic Reviews 7/13/12


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: Hard Cover Graphic novel
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Inker: Jonathan Sibal
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $22.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the second graphic novel set in an alternate DC Universe called Earth One. I am not sure what Earth the regular New 52 comics are in is called, except EARTH 2, which has its own name. Anyway, SUPERMAN EARTH ONE was very well received and this one should be too. We have the top-notch team of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank to begin with. I have always enjoyed Frank's pencils and the finishes by Sibal and Anderson bring out the best in his work. Since this is another version of Batman things are a bit different. The circumstances of the murder of Bruce's parents have been tweaked just slightly but that event is still the motivation driving Bruce to create his alter ego. Bruce is convinced that corrupt police and politicians are behind his parent's death. Thus begins his mad crusade. Even Alfred, who is portrayed as a stronger character cannot hold him back. There are other familiar characters that caught up in the web of intrigue in this very different Gotham. Detective Gordon who originally investigated the murder has acquiesced to the power structure that is too corrupt to fight. Though he maintains his personal integrity he has compromised some of his professional ethics for the sake of his family. His new partner is Harvey Bullock, a new transfer to Gotham whose last claim to fame was hosting a TV show, Hollywood Detectives. Harvey is very much all about advancing his own career and sets his sights on solving the Wayne murders cold case. While the story does not get too deep into the actual creation of Batman it does touch on the bat inspiration in a different way. There are many small things that add to the big picture. Arkham is here but it is an abandoned mansion once owned by Martha Wayne's parents. That building plays a key role in Bruce's family history and later in the main plot. The character of Alfred is really outstanding in this version. He is a voice of reason but stands ready when needed. The interaction between the two is very well scripted in each scene. There is even a young Mr. Fox who is underutilized by his superiors in the Wayne Medical Group but is just the engineer Bruce needs to get those wonderful toys working right. The other major character is Oswald Cobblepot, the mayor of Gotham. He is the head of the fish that smells the most. The tangle of corruption spreads from him through a lot of the police department. It is the actions of Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Bullock separately that will set things in motion in a rapid pace to a stunning climax well worth the ride. It is also these three characters that will be profoundly changed by the end. Even Barbara Gordon plays a role in the plot. We even get a couple of hints in the last few pages as to what might be coming in the future. This is an excellent graphic novel with high production value and a reasonable price. It is well worth getting.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Title Story: I Met a Traveler...!
Publisher: DC
Creator: Moore and Gibbons
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Jae Lee
Colors: June Chung
Letters: John Workman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This entry into the chronicles of the heroes of WATCHMEN prior to that epic series is about the smartest man in the world - Adrian Alexander Veidt. Adrian narrates this issue from 1985, just before he set his great mission in motion to save mankind from itself. From that perspective he ponders his life from his parents coming to America in 1939, the year he was born, until the time he created his super hero persona - Ozymandias. It is an interesting story of a child prodigy who early on revealed his superior intelligence. In fact he was believed to be a cheater at first because his test scores were so unbelievably high. This lead to his father forcing him to stifle his superiority less he is thought a freak. And while he sadly followed that advise it did not stop him from being picked on by bullies. How he handles that situation is a preview to the approach he takes to things the rest of his life. He sees a problem, determines the corrective course of action and then undertakes whatever actions required to bring about the desired result. But the heart of the story begins at the untimely death of his parents. Adrian has always been in Awe of Alexander the Great - his accomplishments, failures, strengths and weaknesses. He takes off to retrace the steps of Alexander's campaigns at the age of seventeen and that will bring him new resolve and a purpose in life. However intelligence is not always the answer to everything. The story also touches on another personal tragedy that will compel him to seek a logical way to right that wrong. This is a back-story that fits fine with the little we knew about Adrian until now. Wein scripts this to really flesh out who the man is and what his motivations are. The art has interesting layout and composition and the finishes compliment Lee's pencils well. It is very compelling reading

Backup story: The Curse of the Crimson Corsair: The Devil in the Deep...!
By Len Wein, John Higgins & Sal Cipriano
As the story moves forward two pages at a time we are constantly changing our perspective and opinion of what is happening. At the close of the last chapter it seemed that a supernatural element was being introduced but that notion is quickly changed in the first panel. This is very clever scripting that gives us a story element each chapter rather than two pages of a larger story.

Title: THE CAPE: 1969
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Inspired by "The Cape" by Joe Hill
Writer: Jason Ciaramella
Artist: Nelson Daniel & Zach Howard (page 1, panel 1)
Letters: Shawn Lee
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: War Story/Science Fiction
Mature readers - Comics on the Edge

This book is a prequel to the story of a boy who had a cape as a child that he used to play super hero with. Later in life he rediscovered the cape and found it gave him the power of flight. In his case power corrupts and he used the power to destroy the people that loved him most. But we never knew the origins of the cape or why it had the power it did. This series promises to answer those questions. The setting is Vietnam in 1969. Eric's father, Cory Chase, is a Medivac helicopter pilot. This story is about a fateful mission that starts out routine but goes wrong when they take fire and are forced to crash. Only Cory and one medic survive the crash and now must somehow find their way to friendly troops while avoiding enemy patrols. The two are not entirely helpless but are not armed for a major firefight. There is some action but the telling part of the story is that a strange little man is watching them from above with tattoos all over his body. He no doubt has something to do with the cape but just what is untold right now. Those of you looking for quick answers will have to be patient. This first issue is almost all a typical war story with only the cryptic little man that no one sees on a couple of pages. The pacing seems deliberate so I will let it run its course to see if it pays off. The art is pretty good right up to the cliffhanger ending. So far it is interesting enough.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Seeker
Publisher: DC
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Philip Tan
Inkers: Ruy Jose & LeBeau Underwood
Colors: Richard & Tanya Horie with Carrie Strachan
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Philip Tan & Dave Wilkins
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy - Cartoon Adaptation

I am not sure what age groups will be familiar with He-man at this point in time. Twenty years ago he was the center of a popular cartoon series and toy franchise that even spawned a live-action movie. He was Prince Adam of the planet Eternia who with his allies would fight off the forces of evil led by Skeletor. The prince would transform into He-Man with his magic phrase, "By the power of Grey Skull!" Well, that was then and this is now. Rather than try to package a thirty-minute typical cartoon plot into a twenty two-page comic James Robinson is starting from scratch to tell a more interesting story by developing the characters and the circumstances over time. In this case Adam is a simple woodsman who cares for his ailing father in their modest home in the woods. He has dreams of being a powerful hero fighting with powerful comrades against the embodiment of evil and his minions. In his dreams the good always triumphs. As he reflects on those dreams he wonders if there is another path his life should be taking. If only someone or something would show him that path. As if in answer to that request a falcon appears to befriend him. Without knowing why he realizes he knows this animal, and its name. Trusting his father to a kind neighbor he decides to follow the bird to whatever fate may lead him to. But he finds very quickly there is one who stands in his way, Beastman. This is the beginning of Adam's journey of discovery. There are hints that there is more about Adam than he knows or remembers. And the resistance to him learning anything goes to the heart of the plot. This was a surprising level of story telling given the title but not the writer. Leave it to Robinson to take any character and breathe new life into it. The only criticism I would have is the length of the fight scene. It appears to be a bit too long as if to fill out the issue so that it ends at a specific point. The art is strong with terrific work on the colors. I think this comic is truly perfect for all ages. It is not written for just the younger readers. If there never were a cartoon and a line of toys you would find this an interesting story that shows promise anyway.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Avatar
Writers: Zak Penn & Scott Murphy
Script: Scott Murphy
Artist: Michael Dipascale
Colors: Digikore
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Here is yet another take on a world with just one super hero. He is known as Zenith and he has the typical major powers of flight, speed and strength. He is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He gained his powers when he was wounded on the battlefield and was bathed in a light from the sky of unknown origins. From that point on Harold Porter became a hero. Now it is years later and he has set up the Zenith Foundation. It is the world's largest charitable organization and functions to aid mankind with the help of his powers. The focus of the story though is not Zenith but one of his many fans, a high school boy named Adam Robeson. In fact Adam is one of the extreme fans who constantly is checking on Zenith's activities and rushes to the scene of any catastrophe in hopes of seeing and filming his hero. We see just how pervasive this has become for Adam when he interrupts a one-night-stand to rush off in hopes of a sighting. But Adam's world is about to change when he wins a fan club contest to actually tour the Zenith Foundation. Shortly after that Adam himself is suddenly able to fly himself. How will this affect his attitude on life when there is more than one powered being?  How will Zenith react to the situation? How did Adam or Zenith for that matter actually come by these powers? These questions may or may not be answered but it is an interesting start. Zak gives us good character development and dialog and the art team compliments the script with good execution that flows well. So far it is a lighter look though not humorous except for the nerd jokes. I am thinking it could get darker or at least more intense as the story develops. In either case it is worth you time.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Spring
Publisher: Marvel/Disney
Creator: Jim Henson
Writer/Artist: Roger Langridge
Colors: Kawaii Creative Studio
Letters: Litomilano S.R.L.
Cover Artists: Elisabetta Melaranci
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Comedy/TV Adaptation
All Ages

The latest title in the series of Muppet comics from Marvel is this mini-series that will tie in to each of the seasons. First up is spring and as we all know in spring a young Muppet's thoughts turn to love. So this story focuses on that theme in both the main plot and in smaller segments throughout the book. The setting is the Muppet Show as the latest guests arrive. They are Colonel Marmaduke Bunch and Meredith the Mountain Gorilla - the greatest primate-based song and dance act in show biz. Well it seems Animal the drummer has fallen for Meredith the ape at first site. But as we learn early on she has another admirer of her own species, Bruce the ape. From the start you kind of get the idea that somehow Bruce will win the heart of the fair maiden and Animal will have his heart broken. How we get there is the fun part. This is the Muppets after all and hardly a page goes by without some form of goofiness, wacky sight gag or terrible pun. Some of the old reliables are around for a page or two. The old guys in the box seats, Statler and Waldorf set up a corny joke about spring chickens for example. Reporter Kermit is once again on the planet Koozebane to witness the rare Deebyzebs arouse from their 100-year hibernation. They look like hand puppets but in keeping with the theme have springs, like a jack-in-the-box. The punch line comes from an encounter with their most fearsome predator whose name I cannot divulge lest I give it away. In "Pigs in Space" the crew of the SS Swinetrek are stranded on a planet they believe to be inhabited by the ravenous, carnivorous Fnarls. But Dr. Strangepork has a unique solution to their situation. All together this is a fun comic that captures the essence of the humor we associate with the Muppets. The art is top notch as well. It is a perfect comic for all ages.


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:
Noel Neil played Lois Lane's mother in the Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN movie. 
What two other live-action Superman projects was she a part of the cast prior to that?

Noel Neil was of course Lois Lane in the 1950's TV show THE ADVENTURES of SUPERMAN.  Before that show she also was in the Kirk Alyn SUPERMAN movie serials. The winner this time is Jason Pavao.

Here was your no prize question:
In which city was the first Dunkin Donuts established.

The first Dunkin Donuts was opened in Quincy, MA.

Though this title sounds like it would be from Marvel, it actually bounced around from Eternity to Amazing to Pied Piper to Eternity to Malibu.  What is it?

Here is your no prize question:
What is the only book of the Bible that specifies a blessing for those who study it?

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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