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Monday, October 15, 2012

Comic Reviews 10/15/12


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: Image
Writer: Glen Brunswick
Artist: Whilce Portacio
Colors: Brian Valeza
Letters: Rus Wooten
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This comic has as its premise the possibility that toys could come to life in
the real world. That alone poses some interesting questions that the writer can
explore and situations you might not think of immediately. The year is 2041 and
the story is set in Los Angeles. The main character is Detective Oliver Aimes of
the LAPD. Some undetermined amount of years ago the "disease" struck bringing
toys, manikins and the like to a life of their own. They are referred to as Non-
Humans. Aimes' partner was recently murdered so that is what is driving the plot
as the story opens. Aimes interacts at times with the first Non-Human detective
on the force who goes by the name Medic. It seems some of the NH are more equal
than others. If the have an Existence Card they are more accepted in society.
Medic is working on a series of murders on NH's by a contract killer. There is
an underground NH mafia and that may lead Aime's to his partner's killer. The
plot also involves his ex-wife and son. It seems this "disease" is spread by
children. The government issues mandatory meds to those under 19 to take them to
help prevent the activation of more Non-Humans. It seems their son Todd has been
hanging out with a former Victoria Secret manikin and is keeping late hours. He
is only fourteen so if he goes off his meds… The other main plot point is the
fact that the NH population has grown to the point that they have organized and
even have their own president. Since there is a serial assassin of NH's at loose
he would be the likely target at the Non-Human rights rally held once a year.
There is a lot going on in this one issue – a lot of concepts to grasp about
this very different society. Portacio does a decent job on the art, though he
has never been my favorite. I felt Brunswick was trying to get too much going on
this first issue and at times found myself re-reading sections to better
understand things. I think it would have been better to have an informative text
page up front to explain things a little better rather than force the exposition
into the narrative. Still it has promise and may be worth seeing what happens

Issue Number: 1
Material reprinted from SPACEKNIGHTS Magazine #1-2, 2000
Title Story: Ebon Tidings
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Chris Batista
Inker: Chip Wallace
Colors: Tom Chu
Letters: Jon Babcock
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Marvel has dipped back into their archives to pull out this space opera from
twelve years ago. I sometimes wonder how an editorial decision like this gets
made and if there is any interest in the current market. Evidently someone at
Marvel thinks so – maybe a new line of toys is in the works. The above the log
blurb is "The Next Wave of Marvel Heroes!" so… This series seems to be set after
another series ran. The opening is three-page recap of what has happened before.
During the Dark Age the Dire Wraiths became a peril to life and soul throughout
the universe. From the planet Galador arose the Space Knights to counter the
Wraiths. The war waged for centuries and many planets allied with the Space
Knights including Earth. Here Brandy Clark took up the mantle of Starshine to
defend her planet and with the Space Knights victorious the Wraiths were
banished to Limbo. Brandy return to Galador to be with the leader of the
Knights, the Prime Director as they rebuilt their broken capital and began a
family.  Now it is years later. The older son Balin is first among the Knights
and his younger brother, Tristan, is forever in his shadow as he comes of age to
be among the knights. Word has just come back to Galador that the Prime Director
was apparently destroyed in an attack on his ship. The story has a couple of
main plots. On the far off planet of Trion internal conflict has lead the
government to appeal to the Space Knights to help stop the ethnic cleansing
among their people. Suddenly the planet is attacked by beings that look a lot
like Space Knights to the Trions. The Knights get word of these imposters and
head off to set things right. Meanwhile the queen, Mistress Brandy, is worried
that there is a traitor in their midst. Through a few scenes here and there we
know the Nazgoth are responsible for the attacks on the Director and Trion and
are in league with the traitor. But for now that is all hidden truth. The other
main plot is the strained relationship between the two brothers. Balin now seeks
to claim his birthright but fails to pass a ritual test. He is still the leader
and fears Tristan could pass that test and usurp his authority. Meanwhile
Tristan has problems of his own including recurring visions of a mystical
nature. At the climax of the issue the conflict between the two comes to a head
as Tristan makes a fatal mistake. Tristan is clearly the ultimate hero of the
story and must at some point redeem himself. This truly is a space opera in that
sense. There are multiple characters though only a few are really central to the
story. While the issue includes some action sequences most of it is introductory
and set up for what is to come. I found it to be an average tale with nothing
that made me really excited. The art is very good and the coloring is spot on.
Maybe I would have enjoyed it more twelve years ago but today it is just ok.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Cover Artist: Ethan Van Sciver & Brian Miller
Letters by Saida Temofonte
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have mentioned before I do not follow all the regular Batman titles because
invariably they get entangled in large event crossovers. Case in point is the
"Death of the Family" event that is just beginning. It will play out over four
months and involve nine different titles. Don't get me wrong; I like Batman as a
character. That is why I was pleased to see this anthology series appear with
three stand-alone stories with various creators contributing. The first issue
has three stories to give you your Batman fix. Up front I will say that this is
an excellent first issue and is accessible to all who enjoy good Batman stories.

"The Butler Did It" by Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire and Jose Villarubia
This story explores the nature of super heroes in the mind of Batman. In the
opening narration and later in a flashback scene with Alfred, Bruce ponders all
of his colleagues with powers. They may be able to fly, or create big green
things from their mind but they also have weaknesses, vulnerabilities. When he
claims to Alfred that he himself has no weakness Alfred disagrees and Bruce bets
him a dollar he is wrong. It would be giving away too much to reveal how that
bet turns out but the title of the story gives you a clue. It is a well thought
out story that is enjoyable. On the other hand the art is not that appealing to

"All of the Above" by Jonathan Larsen, JG Jones and Paul Mounts

In contrast to the first story this story shows Batman at his best – both
visually by the art team and in the plot that involves Batman alone on duty in
the JLA satellite. It opens with a seemingly inescapable trap that Batman has to
escape in just seconds. We find out later how he manages it with the use of a
rather comical tip of the hat to the old Batman TV show. The real action begins
earlier when he detects an intruder that turns out to be Amazo, the android with
all the powers of the Justice League members. Larsen gives us a great script
showing how Batman escapes the trap, evades Amazo and eventually leads him into
a trap of his own. It is an example of how to write an interesting and action
packed short story.

"The Crime Never Committed" by Tom Taylor, Nicola Scott, Wayne Faucher and Allen

This is also a cleverly written story with the strong art and coloring it
deserves. The opening two pages may have you wonder what is going on. Batman is
in the cave using the computer to track the purchases of an average citizen. The
purchase of a shotgun leads him to cross-reference other purchases on the same
credit card. Taken all together they point to an intended crime by a man with no
record. Put aside the fact that it is kind of creepy Bruce is trolling for crime
through the records of private citizens and the rest of the story is rather
clever. He and Robin arrange a meeting, in their unique fashion, with this guy
and lay out the obvious outcomes of his plan. Damien actually does most of the
talking in this one. It is an enjoyable story that does not really solve the
reason why the man made the choice in the first place or how he will resolve his

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Zenescope
Writer: Pat Shand
Story by: Joe Brusha, Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Pat Shand
Artist: Dan Glasl
Colors: Tom Mullin & Jason Embury
Letters: Jim Campbell
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy

Everything you need to know about the Zenescope Grimm universe is explained on
the inside cover, which is fortunate for new readers. It explains that fairy
tales and fables were considered fiction for centuries but the truth is they are
set in four realms linked to Earth – Myst, Neverland, Wonderland and Oz. Those
born in the four realms are called Highborns. Those of mixed human and Highborn
blood are called Falsebloods. All those with any Highborn blood have some form
of supernatural ability. As it is with humans, some are good and some are evil.
The Falsebloods may have to choose which side they are on as they discover their
abilities. While the cover leads you to believe this may be an adaptation of the
classic tale with a female good girl in the lead role. It is far from the
"Robin" Hood we are familiar with. It begins in the Realm of Myst as a baby is
about to be sacrificed in a dark magic ritual only to be saved by a warrior
fighting for the right cause. The mystical leaders of the Realm agree that the
child must be nurture outside of the realm and so the warrior brings her to
Earth though to an unlikely home. The girl grows up learning to fend for herself
against cruel classmates and care for her ailing foster mother. While she is
active in school she is also street tough, often stealing from drug dealers to
buy the medicine her parents can't afford. But her tie to Myst is not gone. Back
in that realm some poor people are being oppressed by evil king. One of the
serfs is bold enough to seek help from a Highborn with power. Though she feels
their pain she cannot act against the king but reveals there is another who can
help them, when the time is right. Clearly this is a set up for the time when
Robyn is old enough to be returned to Myst and become the bane of the king much
like the traditional Robin Hood was the foil of Prince John and the sheriff.
This being the beginning of the story it spends time on Robyn's life growing up
on Earth and some of the hardships, often cruelty and pain, she endures that
will build her character. The art, as always in these books, is appealing in
every aspect. I found the story interesting. Thankfully it is not muddled with
other aspects of the Grimm Universe from other titles. This would be a good
issue to sample, as was the JUNGLE BOOK when I sampled that one.

Title: Critter
Issue Number: 4
Publisher: Big Dog Ink
Creator: Tom Hutchison
Writer: Tom Hutchison
Artist: Fico Ossio
Letters: Kel Nuttall
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Looking for comics I had not sampled I found this issue of an ongoing series
from newcomers Big Dog Ink. To their credit the recap briefly the story so far
on the inside cover so starting with the fourth issue is not a hindrance.
Basically Cassie Crawford is a legacy super hero, or wants to be. Her mom was
one of the most powerful telekinetics on the planet. Cassie now wears the tail
and ears of the cat-like costume hoping to make it on her own as a hero. The
part that is missing is how she got hook up with the group known as
Purrrfection. Rather than being heroes and helping people they are basically
escorts and chaperones for movie stars. It is rather disappointing for our girl
until a ten foot bruiser with horns starts trashing a car on the street near
where the group is gathered. She quickly springs into action and holds the bad
guy at bay until the real heroes, The In Crowd, appear to finish him off. The
first half of the book is a bit of this action and then some exposition on the
members of the In Crowd. The second half is back at Cassie's apartment where her
roommate has been busy putting together a new costume for her gal pal. In that
vein there are subtle hints that Gina is more than platonic about her feelings
toward Cassie. The final scenes have Cassie finally going out on patrol and
doing the vigilante thing on a common criminal. The art on this book is somewhat
appealing however the coloring is heavy in red shades, which distracts from its
strengths. The plotting is jumbled with jarring changes in scenes. I felt
Hutchinson lost focus on the plot in places and is trying to hard to introduce
lots of characters and give them depth. What there is in plot is minimal. This
is more a collection of scenes without any of them inspiring. I won't be waiting
for the next issue.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Jason Strutz
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

Getting even deeper into rack I found another odd-looking comic from yet another
small publisher to review something different. Right up front let me say this
has some of the worst art I have seen in a long time. I used to review self-
published and small press comics sent to me when I did the online Emag and this
has the appearance of a lot of that stuff. It is a one-man effort and it shows.
The rough pencils are actually a unique style all its own but the finish and
coloring ruin any chance of it coming off as stylish. Instead it appears
amateurish. So there is strike one. The story involves an excavation in England
that unearths a bunch of ancient mythical beings with an agenda. As they spread
out into various areas they kidnap the queen and kill her husband. They also
take control of Parliament as well as shutting off all communication to the
island. At the center of it all is the Faerie Queen Titania, apparently
establishing her rule. That is the set up of the conflict. In other parts of the
plot we met the major players, almost all of which are parodies of famous
English celebrities. There is rock star Dizzy Clairborne whose speech is barely
decipherable but thankfully someone is always repeating what he says in plain
English for us. Then we have Gene Everyman, author of the famous Boy Wizard
series of books – he is the most normal of the bunch. We also have aging British
actor who is also a homosexual. His prime is past and he has resorted to acting
in low-grade science fiction movies. These three are in different parts of the
US when they all pass out suddenly. While those around them react to their
situations we see their minds have been transported to an astral plane to meet
Merlin of King Arthur's court. Our three are also members of the Order of
Dagonet, supposedly a special order used by the British Royalty to award
Knighthood to entertainers, athletes and the like. Merlin charges them with
saving England as all knights are sworn to defend the kingdom. When they regain
consciousness they will all arrange to make their way back to the homeland. In a
humorous twist the gay actor Tottington calls on a friend for transportation on
his private jet. He is a flamboyant rock star, Emerald, with audacious
sunglasses and all glitter clothes. Even his jet has glitter. These brief bits
of humor are the best part of the book. In fact the whole story is played with a
strong sense of humor while still trying to advance the plot. It is hard to
imagine that this group can go up against powerful magical beings but it looks
to be a fun ride. Too bad the visuals are not that appealing.


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:
What was the first comic title in which Superboy (Kon-el), Robin (Tim Drake),
and Impulse (Bart Allen) all worked together?

GROWNUPS was the answer.  Superboy, Robin and Impulse first appeared together at
the end of UNLIMITED ACCESS #3. No winner this time.

What card game are Aunt May and Uncle Ben playing when the intruder shows up in

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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