Search This Blog

Friday, August 3, 2012

Comic Reviews 8.3/12

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: Marvel
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Dennis Crisostomo
Colors: Jessica Kholinne
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedesco
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Sometimes I wonder if Marvel is obsessed with constantly coming up with new X-books or just starting old ones with a new number one. From what I see in the latest news about Marvel Now I should not be surprised. Anyway, this is yet another X-Men title with a different twist. It involves the so-called Multiverse and a group of X-Men that cross over into the main Marvel Universe. They are Captain James Howlett, Emmeline Frost-Summers and young Kurt Wagner. The opening sequence is rather bizarre. It shows a hundred of disembodied heads in globes of Charles Xavier all linked together and attempting the mass teleportation of the entire planet - people and infrastructure - to an uninhabited alternative Earth. It actually works but once it is finished there are also unexpected side effects to the Xaviers and the world. Meanwhile, back on our Earth Allison Blaire, Dazzler, is helping Scott and Danger power up a Ghost Box to open a viewing portal to the other Universe. Oddly enough, instead of just viewing it, who comes through the portal but the aforementioned X-Men and one Xavier in his globe. What follows them grabs Dazzler and pulls her back through the portal and the alternate X-People follow to save her. This sets up the premise of the series. The mass teleport broke or created something in the Multiverse. Xavier explains he has the power to teleport this small band between universes and they must find ten other, evil and very powerful Xaviers before they destroy the entire Multiverse. Expect various story arcs as they hop around realities like the Exiles did in that series. In that sense this is really nothing new and at least it does not tie-into the current continuity of the main books, except for Allison, so it should stand on its own. The art is pretty decent and the main characters are a bit different from their main Earth counterparts. But in the end it is X-Men other world analogs of familiar characters over and over again. I don't think I'll be staying with this one.

Issue Number: 11
Title Story: The Revenge of Black Hand - part 1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin & Mahnke
Colors: Tony Avina & Alex Sinclair
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Time to look back into one of the NEW 52 as it begins a new story arc that is the lead up to the next big Green Lantern event. Like Batman, Green Lantern is a property that now has multiple titles with long story arcs sometimes tying them together. It is very popular but I am not one to get involved in all those titles so picking up just one, even at the beginning of a new arc, involves a lot of catching up on continuity. In the opening scene Sinestro is released by the Indigo tribe into Hal's custody as well as fiddled with Hal and Sinestro's rings so that the bond between the two rings (?) is now different. Evidently Hal's ring can now affect Sinestro (again???). But the real problem is Black Hand. Wherever they are is supposed to be where Black Hand was but he is gone. For those of you not in the know he was the main bad guy in the whole Blackest Night event leading the army of Black Lanterns including some famous dead super heroes and their loved ones. Well Black Hand is back from the dead, so to speak. Hal and the Indigo tribe have a plan to save the Guardians who apparently have gone over to the dark side or something. They evidently have abandoned the Green Lanterns like the Manhunters before them. Sinestro is very skeptical Hal's plan can save the Guardians before the Guardians destroy the Green Lanterns. This all hints at what will be in the next arc - the third army. Hal and Sinestro make a covert journey to Sinestro's world to look for information in the Book of the Black. Meanwhile in several scenes we follow Black Hand in a bizarre sequence where he raise several people key to his past from the dead to converse with them. He pretty much has an MO of killing people, raising them from the dead and have them kill more people and so on and so on. What his ultimate plan is will be revealed as we get into further chapters. While enough information is revealed along the way to get the gist of what is happening now you really need to be following at least this title for a long time to catch most of it and the other GL titles to get everything. The art is stunning, which is not surprising for the prominence this title has in the DC universe. This would not be a bad place to jump on if you want to get ready for the next big GL event when it happens.

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Title Story: Kid Eternity
Publisher: DC
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Cully Hamner & Derec Donovan
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Cover Artist: Cully Hamner
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural/Murder Mystery

This comic turned out to be the gem of the week. The lead character is Christopher Freeman. He is twenty-seven and one year ago he died. But he is not dead now. You see he came back to life. Not as a zombie or anything like that. He was caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting that killed his father and for a time he was in the place where the recently departed await their fate. Then suddenly he was back on the street and alive. This event changed his life as we see later in the story. He works in the city morgue and has found he has a new talent. He can go back to limbo and pull back a spirit of a recently departed individual for a short period of time. Back in the real world Chris is the only one who can see the spirit and one of the "rules" when that person died violently is that they can't remember the events shortly before or during their death. So the plot of this story has to do with a new body in the morgue. The man died of a single gunshot wound at close range. Chris decides to pull him back and with his help solve the murder. The dead man may not know who shot him but he may know enough to help Chris recreate events leading up to his death. The story moves on based on that premise and is a good murder mystery. How he solves the mystery is deftly handle with clever plotting. Along the way he also has trouble with his boss as this other activity distracts him from his work. The story has a good twist to it. Another subplot seems incidental until the last panel gives us a surprise and a possible opening for a sequel or even an ongoing series. I really enjoyed all aspects of this book. The script has a good balance of emotion, humor, mystery and suspense. The art suits it well and is better than a lot out there. If DC decides to make it an ongoing I would be there. Check it out.

Issue Number: 5
Title Story: La Fortaleza de las Cienagas
Publisher: IDW
Story: Benjamin Truman & Timothy Truman
Writer: Benjamin Truman
Artist: Timothy Truman
Black & White art
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Western/Fantasy
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

I was drawn to this title by the Tim Truman cover and despite it being the fifth issue decided to try it out. Actually this was not difficult to jump right into. The action takes place in the Arizona Territory in a fortress of sorts held by a group known as the Ring. As we learn through the story this band deals in clandestine operations, which lately involves delivering a shipment that includes a gattling gun. The title character is stalking these men and makes his move on a rainy night picking them off from the shadows. The peculiar thing is that Hawken is also haunted by ghosts that occasionally appear in the panel to talk to him as he goes about his vengeful foray. This is a violent tale as Hawken uses a variety of methods to finish off the bad guys. But this is not the only plot. It seems there is another vying for control of this portion of the Ring's operation and she has not only managed to maneuver people into this conflict but has a special gift for the big boss who has a very exotic array of unusual stuffed animals including a pterodactyl. It is an interesting story with a few twists that make it odd for a western. Truman's art is spectacular as always. It is really the strength of the book as often only the art is carrying things forward. This seems like a worthwhile series to follow.

Issue Number: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Gregory Wright
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Drama
MATURE READERS - Comics on the Edge

This is more than just a story of a bunch of school kids who take people hostage in the school. It is a much more complex tale that explores a lot of ideas mostly expressed by those kids. The action part of the story is pretty straightforward. Five kids in a high school have smuggled in guns and at the proper moment take some students and teachers hostage. They also have set up cameras strategically and are streaming the whole thing on the Internet. They know everyone will be watching, which seemingly will deter more aggressive actions that might be taken by the police. But why do this at all? These seem to be above average intelligent kids, not the loners that have pushed around all their lives as the stereotypical perp always is. As we get deeper into in it seems more of a game. They tell the victims that the guns are not real, that they can leave anytime but the victims are too scared to believe it. Then they tell them the coffee they have been drinking is laced with LSD. And so the games go on. There are even places here and there where the dialogue suggests that they know they are in a comic book - references to a two dimensional world and one comment that the comic is not on sale yet. That may be coincidental or purposeful by the writer. It is at times fascinating even horrifying. But then there are times that the dialogue is burdened with a lot of stuff meant to characterize the main characters and show their philosophies but to me anyway it bogs down the story by making it difficult to get through. The whole thing ends somewhat predictably while leaving the reader feeling he has to read it again to get everything. And maybe that is purposeful as well. The art is masterful from page to page. In simpler sequences it is plain relying on the script while other times it goes off into various styles and coloring that really gives the story more depth and dimension. This one might not appeal to a wide audience but it is unique and will give serious readers a lot to think about.

Issue Number: Volume 1
Publisher: Rare Earth Comics
Creators: Ian Ally-Seals & Carl Mefferd
Black & White
Cover Colors: Tim Durning
Price (USD): $9.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Swashbuckling Fantasy

The cover of this volume shows the title character and his mate fighting off giant crustaceans of some sort. That was my first clue that this would be a not so normal tale of adventure on the high seas. Captain Atlantis is actually Dr. Julius Fowler, the last surviving crewman of a far-sea exploration vessel the Atlantis. As the story opens he comes across an island native stranded at sea on a swamped lifeboat and being attacked by one of those giant crustaceans. After rescuing the boy and tending to his wounds we get a bit of exposition from Fowler, who tends to ramble on a lot even though his new companion cannot speak English. As they sail the seas together they form a friendship and have a fierce battle with more monsters of the deep that swarm the ship. Only a clever solution allows them to distract the horde for another prey. The story covers a long period of time in which the boy, Chosot, learns to speak basic English. This is all introductory to the main plot of book. After sailing for a long time the two happen on an island. Despite Chosot's fears they go to land and begin exploring. As it turns out this is the island that Chosot escaped from originally. He and members of his tribe from another hidden island had been on a fishing expedition long ago when they were attacked and taken prisoner by the fierce Cogato tribe. They were enslaved and held on this island for years. The action will involve temporary betrayal, then redemption, Fowler's capture and escape and then an attempt by the two to take on an entire tribe of warriors to free Chosot's people. The story is interesting for a number of reasons. The Atlantis is a fine ship but has a few technological anomalies. It is a sort of steam punk machine that respond to the captain's flute. The dialogue gets campy a lot to highlight the quirky personality of Fowler. At several points things are not as they seem and situations get desperate more than once. It all flows nicely and the volume ends with an ominous foreboding of what is to come in the second volume. Mefferd's art is very accomplished and detailed. He understands how to tell the story playing to the strength of the black and white medium. It must be difficult for an independent comic to be successful in this format, more so than a monthly standard sized comic. This one is better than some I have read and deserves a shot.


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:
In the DAREDEVIL movie, a white character, Kingpin, is played by a black actor; somewhat like what happened in the old BATMAN TV series, when Eartha Kitt played Catwoman. This also happens in SMALLVILLE twice: who are the characters?
Everyone knew that Pete Ross was white in the comics but black in the TV show.  Many people suggested TV's Lana as the second character but we were looking for another black character, Dr. Hamilton. The winner is Jim Woodruff.

Here was your no prize question:
Where was the first purchase of land for a public park in the US made?

What is now part of Elm Park was deeded to the city of Worcester, MA in 1854.

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

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

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