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Friday, October 26, 2012

Comic Reviews 10/27/12


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
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super hero - new title previews

Marvel's program of new first issues has begun with much more coming soon. This title is a preview of coming attractions. Some are new titles; some are existing titles with new number one issues. This volume highlights 6 such Marvel Now titles starting up in the next three to four months.

NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. in " NYSE by Nick Spencer, Luke Ross, Lee Loughridge & Clayton Cowles
This is the framing story that weaves through the entire issue. It is also a preview of SECRET AVENGERS when it restarts. Nick Fury has been called in to interrogate someone being held by S.H.I.E.L.D. this man had showed up at the stock exchange and within two hours has everyone's interest - within three he is moving five billion dollars in trades every fifteen minutes. This caused too much attention and his incarceration but he specifically asked to talk only to Fury. He is a self-proclaimed prophet of things to come and warns that it cannot be stopped. When his real strategy is revealed it is too late to stop him. It looks like an interesting plot and yes there is an element to the story that will require the Avengers go into action. Based on the plot and the superb art I would say it is worth picking up SECRET AVENGERS when it reboots in February.

Star Lord in "Guardians of the Galaxy" by Brian Bendis, Steve McNiven, John Dell, Justin Ponsor & Cory Petit
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will reboot with a "0" issue in February. This brief preview reveals that will be, at least in part, the origin story of Peter Quill - how he is orphaned as a young boy when aliens arrive at his home in Wisconsin. His mother is the target of their attack and Peter will acquire a weapon clearly not of this Earth in the process.  Brief as it is it does read well, gets to where it need to go very quickly and sets the stage for the future of the character. The art here is also very good so I give it thumbs up as well.

Nova in "Diamondhead" by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Marte Gracia & Albert Deschesne
I am not too much of a fan of Nova. This eight-page preview of his new title coming in February begins as he is pondering the fact that Thor asked him to become an Avenger. As he travels home to Utah he is unaware he is being followed by Diamondhead who has a major grudge to repay against Nova, at least anyone in the Nova costume. It is a brief confrontation and certainly is not the main point of the first issue, or not. It is not enough to tell. The art is fine on this one so I would say it is a maybe for me.

Miss America in "The New World" by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton, Matthew Wilson & Clayton Cowles
This one is a preview of YOUNG AVENGERS #1 coming in January. I am not all that familiar with the two characters in this preview - Miss America and what appears to be a younger Loki. (?) Loki has invited her to lunch to make a proposition. Through the dialogue we learn that this is not our Earth. I knew she was from another reality and when Loki talks about going back to EARTH-Earth I assume they are in her original dimension. It seems he is recruiting for a new group of Young Avengers. What he proposes results in a fight and a warning from Miss America as she rejects him. This is a bit confusing to me but may not be for others. Again I have no complaints on the art so I give it a maybe.

Ant Man in "It's Art!" by Matt Fraction, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, & Clayton Cowles
I was disappointed to learn that both FANTASTIC FOUR and FF titles would end soon. This is a first look at FF #1 coming in late November. While the main title will follow Marvel's first family into space FF will be about the team in charge while they are gone. They will be led by Ant-Man and consist of She Hulk, Medusa and some girl in a Thing suit, no kidding! This preview follows Scott Lang still remembering the death of Cassie at the hands of Dr. Doom. Many weeks later he is sneaking into a Latverian art show at the embassy to do a little damage in the way of revenge. He has hitched a ride on one of the guest in microscopic size. This preview shows the dangers inherent in being so small - both natural and man-made when you are dealing with Doom. It ends in a rather comical note but there is no clue about the rest of the book or the team. If you are a fan of the Allreds I do not have to tell you that the art is up to their usual high standard. However, there is not enough information to determine how the rest of the team will interact. I guess we will have to sample it when it hits the racks.

Forge in "Crazy Enough" by Dennis Hopeless, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, David Curiel & Joe Sabino
This is my least favorite entry in the issue. It is a preview of CABLE & X-FORCE #1 coming in December. I gave up on most X-Men spin off titles with the exception of X-FACTOR, which remains the best mutant book on the racks. This new team book includes Cable (back once again), Colossus, Domino, Forge and some other guy I don't recognize because I don't read multiple X-Men titles every month. But the preview is about Forge, Marvel's mutant that can fix or build anything. This is rather strange as Forge is digging through ruins of some kind of fortress he claims to have built in a desolate area. He happens on a machine that should not be there because he did not build it - but he can fix it. The whole while he works on the problem he is carrying on a dialogue with the voice in his head acknowledging he could paranoid even delusional but not insane. It is a rather strange sequence ending with a confrontation with a giant brain that spills out everywhere forcing Forge to run and then form an attack. Whether this part is real or in his mind is not clear to me. What is clear is why they begin with Forge when you see the final panel. The art in this one is bit muddled for my taste. The characterization of Forge is a bit cartoony for a character that in earlier incarnations was depicted a lot stronger. I don't think I will be picking this title up but you can't judge it from this brief sequence so try it your self if you are so inclined.

Issue Number: 1 (OF 4)
Title Story: Demon in the Armor
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Nathan Edmonson
Artist: Matteo Buffagni
Colors: Andy Troy
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Frank Stockton/Gabriele Dell'otto
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This mini-series is evidently set in a time after the nationwide chaos occurring in the other Ultimate Comics titles. There is no explanatory introduction but at one point Tony Stark mentions how the nation has risen from the wreckage of tribulation. So lets assume it is all over. The idea of course is that this is a stand-alone story away from those events. Tony is busy with his girlfriend, Josey Gardner, building a new company separate from Stark Enterprises. They have purposely sought outside investors so as not to be entangled in his father's web of control. On that front Howard Stark is demanding Tony take his rightful role as the next CEO of Stark Enterprises. Of course it is the resources of Stark Enterprises that allows Tony to operate as Iron Man. So this is a plot running through the book - the conflict of Tony managing the three situations. Ultimately (no pun intended) something will have to give. The other plot is about Iron Man and the latest threat to him and ultimately (there's that word again) Stark Industries. The book opens with an action sequence showing the attempted hijacking of weapons from a moving train in Canada via helicopter. But the main conflict is later. Behind the scenes we meet this new threat as an agent of this new opponent successfully bribes a low level official in a subsidiary division of Stark Enterprises to plug a flash drive into one of the computers. Later Tony is warned of a breach at that facility and Iron Man flies off to investigate. This leads him to chase a drone flying near the facility and then back track the control signal to an armored vehicle. These are simple problems for our hero but what happens next reveals at least the name of his opponent as well as the seriousness of the threat he poses. The story is straightforward and has a good mix of action and character confrontations. This gives us a feel for Tony's attitude at this point in his life and as events unfold how they effect that disposition. The art team does a decent job as well. It is probably not critical to grab this title to keep up with the big picture of the Ultimate Universe. But if you are a fan of all the Ultimate titles, as I am, you won't be disappointed.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Hollow Man
Publisher: Dark Horse
Script: Joshua Scott Emmons & Tim Seeley
Artist: Tim Seeley
Colors: Carlos Badilla
Letters: Joshua Scott Emmons
Cover Artist: Tim Seeley & Dave Stewart
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

The thing that makes this comic work is the mix of several layers in the plot. There is an opening scene like something out of "Criminal Minds" with a victim strapped to a table and his tormentor using a feather to stab a vein and then write things in a book in his blood. We never see the bad guy, only the hands. Eventually we learn that this victim is the third in the neighborhood but that is after a lot of other things happen. The FBI is canvassing the neighborhood when they call on Saul Adams. Saul is the central character of the play. Our first impression of him is a dark one. He is deep in thought and in a depressed state.  Some of those thoughts he writes in a journal that he keeps with him wherever he goes. He has a dark secret we learn a bit later. Speaking of secrets, the female FBI agent has an incident in her past that she is repressing. The writings in the journal and her experience seem to be related but is it coincidence? The latest victim was a regular at the Commonwealth Diner, a place that Saul visits regularly. This night he decides to step in when an ex-boyfriend won't leave the waitress, Ashley, alone. These three characters will interact again later that night in an unexpected way. The revelations from that scene make you rethink who is doing what to whom. It is a very intricate plot that blends subtle horror with murder and twisted love. It will have you thinking who is the monster and who is the hero. The art is polished and clean without much change to emphasize the horror aspect in this chapter. You can guess from the cover illustration it will get more intense. This is not just horror to shock you. It is a well though out tale meant to make you think about it. It is worth your time.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing
Writers: Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing
Script: Al Ewing
Artist: Brendan McCarthy
Colors: Len O'Grady & Brendan McCarthy
Letters: Ellie De Ville
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This is a somewhat bizarre comic that has at its core a fairly solid plot. The story is about a wizard, referred as the Zaucer in the other dimensional land of Zilk. He wields the mystical wand handed down for generations of Zaucers and his mighty magic is drawn from legions of adoring fans, the more vocal of which young girls referred to Texting Teenie-moths. His arch foe is Errol Paine, a rather dreary fellow who also has a wand with magical powers. Errol wants to capture the Zaucer's wand and merge it with his to gain even more power. The land of Zilk is a visually stunning place everything, including the clouds and the people is multi-colored. It is like a psychedelic trip. In fact some of the characters and art reminds me of the Beatle's "Yellow Submarine" movie. Other characters include the ruler of all Zilk, Zaucer's cousin the Zultan. He is not as bad as Raine but he also covets the Zaucer Wand and was outraged when at the passing of the last Zaucer the wand fled not to him but to a previously unknown bastard child, the current Zaucer. The Zaucer has two aides in his employ. They are Spantalex who hovers around by way of the copter blade on her headdress and Crissymouth a blue man with the head of a dog. It is all a little strange but fits the story. The main plot has Raine, who revels in dreariness, trapping Zaucer in one of his drab, rainy, decaying not-worlds. Struggling with amnesia it is only through the efforts of Spantalex and Crissymouth that he is transported back to Zilk. Once he has regained his composure, and gained the companionship of Tutu (2-2) an ambitious Texting Teen, the Zaucer decides to confront his cousin the Zultan as he suspects he is consorting with the enemy. From here the story takes off into a confrontation with Raine and a frantic search across dimensions for the kidnapped Tutu. Parts of the story get pretty surreal and comical visually. McCarthy has created a world with a wide array of characters where even the good guys are flawed. The book is published in conjunction with Rebellion, publishers of 2000AD. Another collaboration is coming up in November when IDW launches JUDGE DREDD. If you have ever read the variety of different comics in 2000AD Magazine you will not be surprised that this comic has its roots there. It is a diversion from most of what you will find from American publishers.

Issue Number: Vol. 4 Issue #1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Marc Silvestri
Writers: Marc Silvestri & Matt Hawkins
Artist: Khoi Pham
Inker: Sal Regla
Colors: Sunny Gho
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $???
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Never being a big fan of the first three versions of this Image team I am not sure how this measures up. I don't even know if it is a continuation of previous stories or a restart with a new premise. So I am viewing it as the first issue to see how it measures up. First thing to notice is there is no cover price. Evidently there is a special promotion for this to be free at participating comic stores. The story is about Carin Taylor, daughter of the Chairwoman of the CDI; evidently the people in power in a newly rebuilt Pittsburgh in some future time marked by devastation and bio-mechanically enhanced people. Carin is being hunted down by the CDI military after running away. She herself is enhanced, a Four - whatever that means. She also has a voice in her head carrying on conversations. Through this dialogue we learn that Carin knows of the coming end of the world through a series of circumstance and events leading to global war that does not end well. So she is running away to find Morgan Stryker. Instead she is beset by her mother's troops and she escapes into the sewers of Old Pittsburgh and is found by members of Cyberforce, though they don't actually use that name in the story. They are somewhat familiar by there names in past series. There is Dylan Cruse - Heatwave, Dominique Thiebaut - Cyblade, Boomer O'Shea - Impact, Mark Matthews - Ares Prime and Robert Bearclaw - Ripclaw. The fact that she is looking for Stryker does not endear her to most of the team who would rather kill her and move on because they believe Stryker is a myth and she is the daughter of their enemy. The problem with the story is we end up in a situation with conflicting sides, individuals with relationships and hidden motives and have to figure out what is going on and why. There a lot of people angry with a lot of other people for something we haven't been told about. The writer knows all the details but would rather drop us into the situation and fill us in as he goes along. This is not always a bad way to tell a story but you have to get the reader interested enough to stick around. So far I have not seen enough to get me there. On the plus side the art is executed very well with good composition, detail and coloring. So this is not a great comic in my opinion and is not interesting enough for me to stick with it. Your opinion may be different.

Issue Number: 1
Story & Art: Fred Perry, Rod Espinosa, Will Terrell & Mary Bellamy
Publisher: Antarctic Press
Cover Artist: Fred Perry
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Steam Punk (black & white)

Well, my first comment about this comic is that is not about Halloween at all. The only thing remotely related to Halloween is a pin up in the back of a Steampunk witch on a broom holding a jack-o-lantern. That is it. So either AP is just pushing out another one-shot for its loyal following of the genre or they are hoping others will give it a try because they like to read comics about Halloween at this time of the year. If you are in the latter group don't waste your time. Having said that this is not a comic without value. Aside from the aforementioned pinup there are three more horror Steampunk pin ups that are stunning visually done by David Hutchinson. Then we have the main story, which is neither about Halloween or horror. It is called "Viva La Venice" and is done by Rod Espinosa. It is the story of a female agent called Francheska who is on a mission to steal back the maps to the lost continent of Atlantis that rightfully belong to the people of Alexandria. She slips into a masquerade ball in Venice (the closest we get to Halloween) to find her way to the commodore's quarters. She has an array of Steampunk tools to open locks and crack the safe, though it is a mystery how she concealed them in her clothes. As she proceeds in her task she sheds more clothing, all the time keeping radio contact with her handler. By the end she is in bra, panties and leggings, which of course is meant to titillate the fanboys. It is a fun story and the art is decent. The second shorter story is by Fred Perry called, "Look Out It's Frankensteam's Boxer!!!" Which has the steam punk female version of Dr. Frankenstein building a female robot to pass as a human and box the champion Piston McSlapchop. It is drawn in a Manga style and is silly from start to finish. Finally Will Terell offers "Hold Up!" In it the brave female Steampunk gunslinger happens into a robbery at the general store and must confront the thieves. As I said, if you are already a fan of AP's genre offerings you will probably pick this one up. Personally there is not enough solid content to justify $3.50 for this comic.


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:

Famous first words of which character:

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

First reactions are often wrong in trivia and such was the case this time.  Most would guess Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler but it was Jarvis, of the Avenger's mansion, that uttered those words in his debut. Another week with no winner.

Here was a no prize question:

Who was the youngest Vice President of the USA to ever get elected to the office?

John Breckinridge, VP under President Buchanan from 1857-61 was 36 when elected. David McBarron gets the no prize.


This one is for small press fans of the last two decades. In what comic feature do the cats Stan and Ollie hang out?

Here is your no prize question:

What is the fastest growing plant on earth?

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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