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Friday, October 19, 2012

Comic Reviews 10/19/12


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: 13
Title Story: Knock Knock
Title Arc: Death of the Family
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Clapion
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Well, this it - the beginning of the Batman crossover event. I must say the scripting of this first chapter is deftly handled. Each panel and every scene has a purpose. From the opening where the dialogue is coming from the commissioner but the visual is a delivery van entering the city and eventually pulling up to GPD. It is a little thing; you pay more attention to what is being said rather than a mundane vision of a panel truck driving through the rain. And yet the dialogue, mentioning omens of terrible things to come should be a clue that this is no ordinary van. There are several major scenes. The first is at Gotham PD where Joker makes his appearance in a rather dramatic and deadly fashion. Then we have Batman back at the cave beginning his investigation now that he knows Joker is back. The conversation begins with Alfred but soon includes Robin and then via telecom connections Nightwing, Red Robin and Batgirl. Of course the big questions are where has he been and what does he have planned next? A transmission over the local TV feed reveals it all. But like most of Joker's plans there are plans within plans. Even the best efforts of Batman and the police cannot plan for every contingency. But only Batman would pick up on something very obscure as a result of his next attack and that will lead him right into what Joker was planning all along. As I said I like the scripting. At every turn the good guys seem to have it all covered only to find Joker is two steps ahead. The overall effect is a major story that begins with lots of violence and tragedy - the biggest of which may come right after the closing panel. It also has Batman at one point in a traditional death trap fully orchestrated by Joker but that scene also carries with it a big surprise as well as our first look at his new appearance - his face newly attached to his head. It is a tense ending that is built up masterfully. The art team does a terrific job as well. I can see how anyone can get hooked into wanting more after reading this issue so be warned. But wait, there's more!

Back up story - "Tease" by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV with art by Jock and letters by Sal Cipriano

This story goes back before the ending of the first tale. It is Joker meeting with Harley for the first time since he came back. She is still a devote follower and he has special plans for her, which is played out in the beginning story. But this scene is more about him teasing her about what he is going to do to her to make her perfect. He is such a twisted character you start to believe, as does Harley, that he will really do it. This is more of a glimpse of the relation between the two and a reaffirmation of the wickedness that is the Joker. The art is very stylistic giving it an added sense of horror beyond the dialogue. It is kind of creepy, which makes it very appropriate for this issue.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: New Union
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: John Cassaday
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Marvel has begun its restart of issues dubbed Marvel Now with this new title. The title and the cover suggest that the Avengers will become more diverse as a result of the outcome of AVENGERS VS X-MEN by adding more mutants to its ranks. The issue is organized into several sub plots. One is the funeral of Charles Xavier with Wolverine in civilian dress giving the eulogy. He spends time recalling Xavier's dream of peaceful cohabitation among humans and mutants and how it would be done. Through it he touches on his animosity for Scott Summers and the deed he has done and how the followers of Charles Xavier have failed. Woven into that plot is another showing Scott's brother Alex visiting him at the maximum-security prison to more or less lecture Scott about what has happened. As he leaves he is met by Captain America and Thor who invite him to the Avengers Mansion to ask him to join the Avengers and lead its premiere team as an example of new cooperation between the X-Men and Avengers. Before they can reach a resolution the city outside is attacked by Avalanche and the three spring to action. Another plot later shows the Scarlett Witch at Charles's tomb paying her respects when she is confronted by Rogue upset by her mere presence. They have a heated exchange with a most unusual revelation and they too are interrupted by an unexpected attack. The final plot actually frames the issue at the beginning and the end. The narrator is unseen until the very last panel. He may very well be behind the other attacks in the story. He talks of the aftermath of AvX and how mutants will be hated now more than ever because of the actions of the Phoenix Five and their followers. All the while he is performing an operation - what appears to be a lobotomy or brain removal. What he believes he is acquiring by doing this, the identity of the victim and the revelation of the mystery narrator are all exposed in a shocking final panel. I'll admit I did not see the ending coming though some may from slight hints in prior panels. I felt the characterizations throughout were pretty good given the stories that have followed before. Remender has begun the run with a bang by adding new threats and new alliances as well as a major threat form an old foe. Fan favorite John Cassaday puts on a stellar performance with the fine coloring of award winning Laura Martin touching things off beautifully. Marvel has the A-team on this book and it sure to be a big hit.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Banana Tale Press
Creator: Mark McKenna
Writer/Inker: Mark McKenna
Artist: Jason Baroody
Colors: Kate Finnegan
Letters: John Hunt
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror

The pumpkins and pumpkin-like creatures on the cover might make you think this is a Halloween story but it is not. This story by the award winning Mark Mckenna takes place on another planet. The back-story tells us that a planet entered our solar system and became trapped in the same orbit as Earth, on the other side of the sun. The planet was dubbed Maia and in 2214 probes revealed it had a breathable atmosphere. Terraformers who were mostly volunteers that where lifers or death row inmates were sent to prep the planet for colonization. In a few months after they arrive the planet began to show vegetation growing - vegetation very similar to one known on Earth. When communications with the colony was lost for weeks the space marines (ala the ALIENS movie) are sent to investigate. All this is in the first three pages before the splash. I now realize that the rest of the story is less interesting. You can almost see what is going to happen. The marines land amid acres of what appear to be pumpkin patches. Like any good horror story the pumpkins naturally come to life, walking on their roots and vines and they attack. From here on it is a battle for survival. The high point, if you can call it that, is the appearance of a lone survivor of the colony with an interesting story of how he managed to stay alive. To his credit McKenna tries to give the story a Twilight Zone type twist designed to have us ponder if this is really the end. The best part of the comic is the art. It is stunning at points and the coloring is brilliant. While it is well produced the weak story does not measure up to the rest of it.

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Publisher: Image
Writer: Brandon Montclare
Artist: Amy Reeder
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

The title of this comic has a double meaning. The majority of the action takes place on the night before Halloween and the main character is named Eve. Eve works in a costume store and of course their busiest time is around Halloween. Eve is uncharacteristically averse to Halloween, especially since the boss has dictated that all the employees will be in costume Halloween day. She is good in her job always getting the right look for each customer; she just doesn't want to dress up herself. In the course of the opening the other employees are all arguing with her about her stubbornness. Each has their own personality that is brought out well by both the writer and the artist. Raymond is the closet thing to a friend to Eve. He appears at first to be a fool but turns out to be a prince. Carlos is the ill-tempered manager. Bernardo, his nephew, is a chubby likable guy who takes criticism in stride. Ingrid is a strong female and a no-nonsense individual. These character traits are all brought out later when Eve is chosen to stay late that evening to prepare the store for the big day, Halloween. During the course of her work she begins talking to the manikins, even dressing them up and pretending one is Raymond. When she takes it one step further and puts on a witch's costume something strange starts to happen. Whether it is a dream or a supernatural experience she starts to see and hear things. The jester Raymond manikin begins to talk, a devil appears and as she runs away she ends up going through a mirror and into a very surreal land of people and animals all in various costumes - a land of Halloween. Each of the major characters in this fantasy is representative of her co-workers. Through it all she will look a things and people very differently the next day. The art as I said is very effective in carrying the theme into the visuals it deserves. It is a polished effort on all fronts. While it is not a very deep story it is interesting and entertaining. Not the typical story you might expect from a comic with such a title.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Jay Faerber & Koray Kuranel
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Koray Kuranel
Letters: Charles Pritchett
Price (USD): $2.99 (Black & White)
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
Mature - Comics on the Edge

One thing that grabbed me about this comic is the cover. In fact the art throughout is a masterful use of black & white, which is often best suited for a darker tale such as this. Koray Kuranel tends to use black more than white and that sets the tone very nicely. The cover illustration is the critical scene that drives the plot. It shows a city of high-rise buildings at night. But on the roof of one building we see two figures, perhaps men, throwing a female off the roof. This plays right into the opening panels of the book as the body lands on the roof of a parked car. The scenes shift as we move forward. The cops investigating reach the conclusion this was a murder. The woman's husband returns home to find she is not there but someone is ransacking their bedroom. As the intruder escapes with a laptop we know there is more to learn about the victim. Indeed we see another man also reaching out to her by phone, not knowing she is dead. He apparently is her lover but there is a clue that ties him into that intruder - so what is really going on?  The mystery is only beginning. There are unseen people involved in the murder also. What is her secret that brought about these circumstances? The writer has given us a lot to think about and the illustrator has moved the story forward with the visuals that the dialogue does not cover. This is a decent comic that has a lot of promise.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Menton J. Matthews III
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

Whenever I see Steve Niles name on a comic I know I can expect something terrifying and unusual. When you combine his talents with the art of Menton Matthews unusual is not strong enough. TRANSFUSION is set in a future where the world is overrun by machines and monsters that both need human blood to survive. After war ravaged the planet the climate has changed drastically to crippling cold nights and unbearable heat in the days. The war machines, robots, hunt all humans now using their body and blood as lubricant for their systems. The opening scenes show this dire situation humans are in dramatically and graphically. A small group of humans is seen scavenging for whatever they can find to survive. Thinking it is safe they run into a small cornfield to gather what they can carry. They soon learn it is not safe at all. The story is told in part from the perspective of one of the group. It turns out he is the only one that survives to live another day. But there is another part of this story. Machines aren't the only ones hunting humans. I mentioned monsters. Specifically they are vampires. There is no explanation why vampires abound in this future world but they do. They are more devious in their plans to get as many humans as possible. Rather than just kill them on sight they may use some to find more, preferring to wait for a large prize. So this story is more about vampires versus robots than it is about humans struggling to survive. Menton's surrealistic style borders on as style that is something from Heronymous Bosch. It is really eerie and adds to the horror of it all. Fans of superb horror should give this one a look.


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

The coffee table has what is clearly a deck of cards in mid game and a cribbage board used for keeping score in that wonderful old card game. No winner again.

Famous first words of which character:

"Before I leave for the evening, sir, I thought you might like some freshly brewed coffee."

Here is a no prize question:
Who was the youngest Vice President of the USA to ever get elected to the office?

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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