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Friday, August 10, 2012

Comic Reviews 8/10/12


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.

Three Image and Three Marvel this week:

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: Image
Creator: Howard Chaykin
Letters: Ken Bruzenak
Black & White
Cover Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Erotic Thriller
MATURE - ADULT CONTENT - nudity, explicit sex

Over twenty years ago Howard Chaykin rocked the comics world with his erotic thriller BLACK KISS. Now he has finally followed up with the story behind the story in this six-issue prequel of sorts. This issue is divided into two chapters. The first is set in Manhattan in the summer of 1906. The second part is aboard the Titanic on that fatal night in 1912. The first theme has to do with history, sex and movies. He begins with a rather descriptive history of New York from the early days as a trading post for the Hudson Bay Company, to the immigration of various Europeans and how the culture evolved into various classes in sections of the city and its boroughs. Along the way is an interlude for one page of a sexual encounter between a loose Irish woman and a vigorous Jewish man. But the key to this part involves the so-called masses and their recreation of choice, the movies at the local nickelodeon. It is a bizarre sequence because what appears to be a mixed crowd of men and women, some overdressed by today's standards, watching what only can be described as a pornographic film. As the action on screen gets more depraved, something I cannot describe in a polite review, the crowd grows more shocked. Toward the end it even leaps out of the screen, or appears to, as a succubus engages some of the crowd with multiple male appendages. Is it agony or pleasure they experience? Things to ponder as the scene shifts to the ill-fated liner in the North Atlantic. The main character we follow is Charlie Kenton, a twenty-year-old virgin looking to amend that situation. As the iceberg hits and people begin to scatter an attractive woman who wants to grant him that pleasure, even at the cost of going down with the ship, pulls him into a cabin. Once again there are demonic elements to her character and some wild changes as the act is performed. How this ends for Charlie moves the story forward. It seems to me that the female succubus will be central to the story throughout. Whether there is a grand plan or just random encounters along the way is anyone's guess. This is by no means a simple story. Chaykin has put a lot into the art in his unique style, which he masters in glorious black and white. This may attract the curious as well as fans of Chaykin who are familiar with the original and have been anticipating this series for a long time. It is certainly not for kids. We'll see if it can draw enough adults to be a success.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Rahsan Ekedal
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Rahsan Ekedal
Letters: Troy Peteri
Black & White
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Adventure

I have been pleased at most of the independent work coming out of Image these days and do not hesitate to pick up a new first issue when it appears. I had high expectations for this title written by Matt Hawkins and was not disappointed. The protagonist is David Loren who is one of the geniuses working at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, at Fort Meade, Maryland. DARPA is for real. They contract various think tanks to come up with anything they can to put on their possible projects list. They range from imminently practical to the bizarre, including paranormal and psionic. A lot of these projects end up with things that kill faster, smarter and more economically. David's Indian roommate, Dr. Manish Pavi, was recruited along with David from Cal Tech. In a scene between Manish and their military liaison, Colonel Mark Harrison, we learn Manish is not only there for his intelligence but to help motivate and control David or face deportation. This is a daunting task indeed for though they both know why they are here and what their work produces David is more bothered by it. In fact he thinks of himself as a walking oxymoron - a lazy overachiever. He revels in the resources available to stretch the limits of what is possible, even if it is mostly for weapons. The background is filled in nicely with several scenes depicting the real-world results already being used and with David's past in college. By the end of the book he is finally progressing on a project he really wants to see work. He is working on a device that can actually read minds but it will take some clandestine appropriations to get it to the point of a field test. There is very interesting back matter in the end of the book that is worth reading. It puts the story in the context of what is really happening in the world of advanced technology. I found the plot and the concepts fascinating and I am hooked on this comic. Rashan Ekedal has a nice black and white style that works rather well in every panel. These guys have come up with something closer to reality for an adventure comic and it is definitely worth your time.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Image/Shadowline
Creators: A.J. Lieberman & Colin Lorimer
Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Letters: Brandon DeStefano
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

The title of this comic refers to the clandestine harvesting of human organs for use on the black market. That is not apparent at first as we follow someone on the streets of Chicago one rainy night. He buys every bag of ice at a convenience store and brings them back to his improvised operating theater in an abandoned building. This is Dr. Benjamin Dane preparing to operate on his victim. How he got to this point is revealed in flashbacks. First we see his predecessor at a moment of truth after his latest operation. This sets up the search for another doctor and we see Dane is about to lose everything including his job and his license. For whatever reason he has sunk into a decadent lifestyle and the drinking and drugs have finally caught up with his professional career. Not only will he lose all that but also will likely be sued for a wrongful death in the operating room. The black market organization must be very well connected to find him at precisely this moment in his life and will make him an offer he can't refuse, literally. The set up is all here from the ruthlessness of the bad guys to the depravity our main character has sunken to. There is a brief interlude showing a mother with her too small children preparing to get them off to school as she heads for work. It is jarringly disconnected from the rest of the story until the young boy, Noah, appears to have a connection with Dane. The illustration is very appealing for its style, and it does get gruesome here and there. Things are already racing forward but there is a lot more to go in four more issues. This is a well-done thriller that could have some surprising moments down the road.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Lucky
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is a different kind of solo series for the ever-popular archer of the Marvel Universe(s). This Hawkeye is the main character in the regular continuity but as explained in the introduction the book is about what he does when he is not an Avenger. It does not start out too well for Clint showing that once in a while he can fail and in this case fall several stories. This results in several broken bones and a six-week stay in the hospital. These opening scenes as he leaves the hospital and makes his way back to his apartment serve to get us to know the man a little better. Living on the top floor of a building in Bedford-Stuyvesant affords him some anonymity at a low cost. But when he gets there he finds a neighbor being evicted. The Russian landlord has decided to triple the rent and this is the first tenant who admits she cannot pay the new rate. After several conversations with other tenants Clint decides to propose a solution in his own endearing way to the landlord. When the true reason his offer is refused things take a decidedly more violent turn. This is not then a story of Hawkeye on his latest mission. It is about a super hero who lives in the city and faces a bad situation for his friends because it is the right thing to do. This is reinforced by scenes of him bringing a badly injured dog to the vet and insisting the doctor saves it no matter what. It is not his dog but why it is so important to him unfolds as the story goes forward. This seems like a story you might find as a backup story in an annual. It is a look at the other side of a hero's life that ends in a satisfying manner. I could take a monthly comic like this if the quality is maintained; something Fraction has the reputation for doing. The art is different with somewhat course line work and muted colors but it works well with the structure and layouts being very dynamic. I liked this tile more than I thought I would.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Children of the Atom
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Neal Adams & Christos Gage
Artist: Neal Adams
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I was a bit surprised to see that Neal Adams co-wrote this story with fan favorite Christos Gage. Neal's art is instantly recognizable and always some of the best work on the racks. However, in the past I have not been a fan of his writing. It is good to see Christos on the job to give it his influence. The story is set long before Xavier established his school for gifted children. The main character is Logan. This starts out with him looking for the son of a war buddy. The kid disappeared and the father suspects it is more than just rebellious youth. It is his first encounter that clues Logan and us into the bigger picture. Apparently some government agency is hunting down gifted people and snatching them off the streets. As soon as Logan is sure he must follow where the trail leads he enlists the aid of Creed, aka Sabertooth, to follow where the scent leads. This will alert the authorities in charge as to their presence but also unveil the truth that both Logan and Creed are also targets of this operation. Along the way a female will join them with a talent for making people see their heart's desire or their worse fears. Knowing they need more allies the trio head to Oxford University for their first meeting with a certain professor. The only character on the cover we haven't seen shows up in the end pages. It may not be apparent who he is from the cover so I won't spoil it by revealing who this is. This series seems to be going in the direction of a bunch of mutants doing what they can to save others of their kind from clandestine government operatives who have nefarious plans - a familiar theme. The story is interesting enough and apparently if this is going to be new canon shows the first meeting between Logan, Xavier and others. However, that is not enough for me to stay with it - been there, done that. Your opinion may differ.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Parental Advisory

I knew right off the bat that Deadpool wasn't actually going to kill the main Marvel Universe so of course it must be one of those pesky alternate realities. Sure enough with the Watcher on the very first page giving his usual spiel I was ready to see how Deadpool could possibly pull such a thing off. His first victims are the Fantastic Four though we join the story with two of them already down and the other two about to be done in. Everyone knows that Deadpool has the super healing ability and you might expect that if you explode his head he would not come back from that. You would be wrong. But the story does not really start in the Baxter Building but in the Ravenscroft Asylum where a Dr. Benjamin Brighton has gotten a reputation for radical new treatments that ease troubled minds. It is that reputation that convinced Professor X to bring Wade Wilson here to perhaps turn his malicious soul towards peace. It is only after the X-Men leave and Wade has his first session with the doctor that we learn the real secret of the asylum and the beginning of Deadpool's rampage through the Marvel Universe. Leaving the asylum his first victim comes as quite a surprise and is too revealing and comical to spoil. I think the idea of this "What If?" plot is entertaining, in a crazy kind of way. Having Deadpool the cause of destruction will also make it humorous and I am all for that. While purists may doubt he could ever get the drop on all of the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, or many other heroes we are talking about comics here - willing suspension of disbelief and all that. The whole thing will be a hoot and the art is good enough to keep things readable without distracting. Give it a try if you can find a copy.


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:
Silver Age trivia
Who was the first Metal Man ever created by Doc Magnus?

The question was not - who was the first member of the team - but who was invented first.  Appearing first in The Brave and the Bold #55, the first Metal Man he created was Uranium. Winner by the dice is Stu Cathell.

Here was your no prize question:
By what name is Leonard Franklin Slye better known?

Leonard Slye's professional name was Roy Rogers. David Mc Barron wins the no prize this time.

On the theme of famous firsts, name the character whose first words uttered in a comic were:
"Are you mad? What have you done? I could see that you two were rehearsing some kind of act -- but this --"

Here is your no prize question:
Chris Klug won the bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic games, and became the first and only transplantee to compete in the Olympics. For what sport did he win his Olympic medal?

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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