REVIEWS 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. Title: ALL-NEW X-MEN Issue Number: 1 Publisher: Marvel Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Stuart Immonen Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger Colors: Marte Gracia Letters: Cory Petit Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero
This is one of the most anticipated titles in the group of Marvel Now titles coming out. If you have not read any of the pre-publication hype about it you might be surprised by the cover, which shows the original X-Men in their earliest incarnation. Beast looks like a human, Angel and Iceman likewise have not been transformed and Jean Grey is there as the original Marvel Girl. Bendis and the rest have found a way to bring back Jean Grey - not as a clone, a LMD, or in some untold tale of the past. This is the original group and they will be plucked from their time and brought to the present. Imagine what their first impressions will be of their future selves, of what has gone by that they have not yet experienced, of the Xavier's school now named after Jean and so much more. In this present, our present, Jean is dead as is Xavier, Cyclops possessed and corrupted the Phoenix Force killing the professor in the process and the dying race of mutants was given a rebirth by the dispersing of the Phoenix Force by the Scarlett Witch and Hope. The story begins shortly after the end of AvX: CONSEQUENCES. Cyclops escaped imprisonment and has joined Emma, Magik, Magneto and others to be the protective force of the new mutants emerging around the world. They are mostly hunted by the rest of the world but are dedicated to the survival of the mutant race. We look at the present situation from two perspectives. Scott and the others are making very visible "rescues" of mutants around the world - mutants who suddenly display powers and are immediately set on by regular humans or the authorities. The other perspective is from the mutants at the Jean Grey School - Beast, Ororo, Iceman and Kitty Pride. They fear for all of their kind because Cyclops and the others will be viewed as extremists, even terrorist thus turning all humanity against their kind. They are in a quandary. If they fight him they lose, if they don't fight him they lose. But then something Bobby says gives Hank an idea. The last few pages are set back in the early days when the original five X-Men are having their own discussion about the plight of mutants in their own time. You may have seen this in a preview elsewhere. It is at this point in time that the older, still mutating, Beast arrives with a plea to his younger self and the others. The set up is all here and the fun is about to begin. It make take another issue or two to get into the really good stuff but not to worry, the next issue is out next week. I have been on board for this series for two reasons. I like the premise and am interested to see how it plays out. I also have enjoyed the writing of Bendis on most everything he does so I don't think I will be disappointed. The entire art team does a really good job making it visually appealing as well. I would not recommend you buy every single MARVEL NOW comic just because they are new first issues. The quality in story and art has to be there for any comic. I think this one is definitely worth your time and money. Title: GREAT PACIFIC Issue Number: 1 Publisher: Image Creators: Joe Harris & Martin Morazzo Writer: Joe Harris Artist: Martin Morazzo Letters: Doug E. Sherwood Price (USD): $2.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure Mature Readers
The inside cover text of this new comic is very interesting reading. Depending on your point of view it is either a warning of what is to come or silly environmentalist extreme scare tactics. There are some statistics that if you take seriously are indeed alarming. The UN estimates that on tenth of unrecycled plastic ends up in the oceans of the world - 50,000 pieces per square mile. Since it takes hundreds of years for post-consumer plastic to degrade it is a growing problem. While most of us would see this as a problem the protagonist of the story, Chas Worthington sees it as an opportunity. We get the impression from the opening panels, apparently from later in the story, that a great mass of mankind's discarded junk has come together to form a land mass halfway between California and Japan and is about the size of Texas. Later that will become the setting for the story. But we start two weeks earlier as we meet Chas Worthington III, heir to a large oil fortune. At first on the surface he seems a bit stereotypical of a comic book rich young adventurer. We first see him hunting lions with the Maasai in Kenya. Perhaps he is seeking a simpler way of proving himself a man, as do the members of the tribe in their own way. These scenes are in contrast to his duties as heir. His aid and best friend Alex helps keep him up to date on the goings on of the corporation, things he should be involved in as the major shareowner. We see he has other interests that occupy his time while presenting the image of a spoiled heir and international playboy. That seems to fit with him what appear to be orange golf balls off an oilrig off the coast of California. But on that same rig his people are developing a devise that will transform oil into water. If it proves out it will revolutionize oil spill clean ups and if applied to plastics complex hydrocarbons it could solve the solid pollution problems of the world. But he is also a realist. He knows his own board of directors hate him and are more concerned with short-term profits. But he has a plan and the first step will be his own death. I must say this story grew on me right from the start and by the end I was hooked. There are a lot of details left open for speculation and that opening scene of the Great Pacific Gyre is most intriguing. What Chas is planning is only hinted at here and there but I instantly liked him. He is not the man most others believe him to be. The science fiction elements of the story are not overwhelming, just enough to set the basis for a good story. The art is decent enough and the layouts have a good mix and move the story along. I am thinking Chas will have enemies as he moves forward and needs to get clandestine for now. We will see if it pays off as the story goes forward. I am along for the ride. Title: CHASING THE DEAD Issue Number: 1 Publisher: IDW Creator: Joe Schreiber Writers: Matthew Scott & Tim Westland Artist: Dietrich Smith Colors: Sendol Arts Letters: Comicraft Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Horror Mature - Comics on the Edge This thriller begins twenty years ago with a boy and girl barely in their teens at a playground. The conversation keys us in that kids their age and younger have been disappearing. Sue tells Phillip she is scared that the serial killer dubbed the Harvester will appear and they are prime targets. Phillip promises he will always be there to protect her - prophetic words. Their encounter with the Harvester will be a secret they keep for the next twenty years. In the present Sue carries a scar from that encounter but she has also had a successful career as the owner of the hottest real estate firm in Boston. She and Phillip are estranged for unnamed reasons. Her immediate concern involves her daughter, Lily. Sue came home late and the sitter informs her a man called saying they had an appointment. Distracted by the alarm clock going off unexpectedly Sue goes to her room and it shortly after she discover that Lily and the baby sitter are nowhere in the house. Thus begins a terror filled night as a voice on the phone instructs her to do as he says if she wants to see her daughter again. Thus on a stormy winter night she is driving back to Gray Haven with items the caller instructed her to bring. He is directing her to that place she and Phillip had the fatal encounter as children. But what is the purpose and who is behind it all? So far it is a basic thriller with only a hint of something unworldly in a few panels at the beginning. Maybe it is a straight murder thriller or maybe it is something more. So far it has gradually built up the suspense and hopefully that will continue next time. The art is better than average with great coloring. I classify this as horror based on the cover illustration. That aspect of the story is yet to come. Title: LOCKE & KEY: OMEGA Issue Number: 1 (of 6) Title Story: Our Regrets Title Arc: Omega Publisher: IDW Creators: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez Writer: Joe Hill Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez Colors: Jay Fotos Letters: Robbie Robbins Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Horror Mature - Comics on the Edge This critically acclaimed horror mystery has gripped me from the beginning and is now into the final six-issue arc that will wrap things up. It is possible to begin reading LOCKE & KEY with this mini-series and get the gist of what is going on but I strongly urge you to start from the beginning. This is a multi- faceted saga that can be appreciated one arc at a time but the entire story needs to be taken in to be fully appreciated. Naturally there are collected editions that will enable you to do that if you can no longer find individual issues. At this point the villain of the piece, a demon by the name of Dodge, has possessed the body of Bode Locke, the youngest of a family living in the ancestral home. The house has many secrets, the major one being a doorway to another dimension filled with demons that are psychic parasites. They can cross over but need a human host to inhabit. If they do not have one they turn into an inert magical metal. The Locke's over generations has fashioned keys from this metal - each with magical properties of all types. Doge has manipulated and killed his way into obtaining the one key to finish his plan, the Omega Key. It will unlock the dimensional gateway to usher the rest of his kind into our world. This opening chapter of the finale is split into two themes. On the one hand we watch Dodge, in Bode's body, gathering the final things he needs to accomplish his task. Everyone else is unaware of any of this and those that accidentally find out are dealt with. The rest of the issue ties in with the story title, "Regrets." One of the core group of friends of Tyler Locke, the older brother, is filming a documentary of sorts to show at the big cave rave after the prom. It is probably not a good Idea the cave is the very one Dodge plans to unleash the demons into. Our filmmaker tasks each one of his friends to say on camera what their biggest regret might be. What advise would they give themselves if they could go back to visit their younger self? He is not just filming these friends but others in the class. Sometimes the quips are comical and others, like Tyler's, are very serious. We know from reading the entire story The Locke family has had one tragedy after the other in their lives so it is no surprise that Kinsey Locke's regret is deeply tragic as well. There is only one brief scene that might indicate something new, another key, will be formed before the end. This is the set up and I expect the tension to build to hopefully an amazing ending. I have said from the start hope appealing the art of Rodriguez is to me. I know that is a subjective thing but for me his style really fits well into the big picture. Fans of the series will not be disappointed with the way this arc has been introduced. It will be difficult to wait for each new issue knowing the end is in sight. Title: FANTASTIC FOUR Issue Number: 1 Title Story: Unstable Publisher: Marvel Creators: Lee & Kirby Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Mark Bagley Inker: Mark Farmer Colors: Paul Mounts Letters: Clayton Cowles Price (USD): $2.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero Yet another Marvel Now #1 issue is out and on my review list. I am a bit jaded about all these new #1 issues already, especially for those titles that are not significantly different from the previous numbering. The DC New 52 made sense because with very few exceptions the plots and character backgrounds where different post FLASHPOINT. FANTASTIC FOUR had a new number 1 just two years ago and yet here we are again with another restart of the numbering just because there is a new creative team taking the same characters with the same history in a new direction (aka new story arc.) But I digress. Things have settled down from the latest adventures in this tile and the companion book FF so it is time for another adventure. Strangely enough the catalyst for the what is to come begins millions of years ago where the FF are found trapped inside a dinosaur's mouth and Reed has sustained a rather nasty injury to his left arm. It is that injury once they are back in the present that forces Reed into making a decision. Once back the others are back to some routine activities - Sue looks after the kids, Johnny is off on a spectacular date, Ben is tangling with the Yancy Street Gang - but Reed is making a startling discovery. By the end of the story he proposes that the team take the kids with them through space and time in the modified space ship Pestilence. They can explore places together, have adventures together for as long as they like and because the Pestilence can travel through time they won't be gone long at all. But as a back up plan they will pick a team of heroes to stand in their place incase they don't come back to the exact time they left. It all sounds like a great education opportunity for the kids of the Future Foundation - plenty of adventure with hopefully not so much action. But of course he is hiding the ulterior motive. I think it is a good a start as any for a new story arc. There is one panel that indicates what may be happening one year from now and Franklin voices a bit of foreboding bad things. So we are not all that comfortable that all will be a fun adventure, which is what you would expect anyway. The art is good enough to convey what it has to. This is the set up for what is to come so it is not all that exciting. Feel free to jump on to the book at this point and see if this is worth following. Title: FABLES: WEREWOLVES OF THE HEARTLAND Issue Number: Graphic Novel (HC) Publisher: DC/Vertigo Creator: Bill Willingham Writer: Bill Willingham Artists: Craig Hamilton & Jim Fern Inkers: Craig Hamilton, Ray Snider, Mark Farmer & Jim Fern Colors: Lee Loughridge Letters: Todd Klein Cover Artist: Daniel Dos Santos Price (USD): $22.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Fantasy Mature - Comics on the Edge You may have seen previews of this graphic novel in the back of several Vertigo titles recently. The premise at the beginning has Bigby Wolf searching for a new location for Fabletown. The Mayor had tasked him with this duty and after possibilities in Maine and Pennsylvania did not pan out he traveled further west to Iowa. It turns out that Blackbeard had been secretly investing in a small town called Story City and in fact pretty much owned the place. Since the Mayor wanted to know more about those financial dealings it fit well with Bigby's task. If you saw the preview you know that as he approached the town through the woods he happens into a pack of werewolves hunting a human but before he can intervene he is tranquilized and brought into town as a prisoner. It is after he awakens in a jail cell that he begins to learn the secrets of Story City. To his surprise one of the leaders is an old ally from World War II. Arthur Harp was an early recruit into the secret American spy organization OSS. Bigby had been wandering around behind enemy lines killing Germans whenever the opportunity arose. He happened on Harp who had been injured when his cover was blown. The two formed a team and soon Harp had the power he needed to do real damage to the enemy and Bigby had the intelligence data to focus his efforts more effectively. This whole flashback sequence is a journal of their collaboration leading up to a major mission to take out secret efforts to create a different kind of super soldier in a famous old castle. Without giving out too much detail I will say the Nazi plan involved a famous character of literature and while the mission was eventually a success Bigby was apparently the only survivor. So imagine his surprise to see his old friend alive and married to the female Nazi blood specialist both of whom were apparently buried under the rubble of the German castle. It seems they both were infected with Bigby's blood during the bloody fighting at the castle. They were turned into werewolves and soon found it was pointless to fight each other as neither died from any wounds. So they kept their presence secret and labored at creating a generation of werewolves first by using the special properties in their blood on selected subjects until they were successful with a core group. They then migrated to the US clandestinely and eventually settled in this isolated town where they bother no one and are left alone, or so says Harp. So this is how this town grew into an isolated population of werewolves living seemingly normal human lives. But there are darker secrets and faction among the younger generation who have plans of their own. The main plot of the story has Bigby learning more of the secrets about life in Story City that will eventually put him in direct conflict with nearly everyone there. Whether this can be a place for the new Fabletown or something that will become more sinister is the gist of the plot. I enjoyed this story as much as any of the arcs in the ongoing FABLES series. Willingham establishes the genesis of the American werewolf seamlessly into FABLES history and presents a drama based on that premise that has an interesting conflict of ideas and purposes. And he even manages to give a tip of the hat to an iconic figure of literature. It is a very satisfying story that held my interest from beginning to end. I was less impressed with the art, especially since the cover illustration is so well done. The mechanics are fine throughout the story but I found rendering of the faces of the characters somewhat minimal and lacking definition at times. Bigby does not really resemble the character I am used to and other characters could be more detailed than they are. It is a minor point though. I would recommend this book for FABLES fans for sure. For the rest of you it is a good sampling of Willingham's work that would make an excellent gift for the holidays. ***** TRIVIA CONTEST!!!! WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!! If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com 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: Who fought the Pinocchio Patrol in their debut issue? The Pinocchio Patrol were the first foes of Peter David's SOULSEARCHERS & COMPANY. The winner by the dice is David Lizewski. THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: From Comico to Innovation to Caliber, name this comic book detective series. 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.