Search This Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comic Reviews 11/30/12


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: 698
Title Story: Day in the Life
Title Arc: Dying Wish
Publisher: Marvel
Creators: Lee & Ditko
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Richard Elson
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

There is no way to review this comic without SPOILING the main point of the
plot. If you somehow do not know by now what happens that is a MAJOR change in
this fifty-year-old character and would rather read the comic first then move on
to the next review and maybe come back after you have read ASM #698. THIS IS

There are a few stories, movies, comics and the like that are written in such a
way that lead you down the path believing one thing, that you understand what is
being said and done based on what has come before or what your basic
understanding of the character is, only to find that at the very end something
very different was going on. It is those works that give you the feeling once
they are done that you immediately want to experience them again knowing what
you now know. Movies like THE SIXTH SENSE and MEMENTO are like that. This comic
is definitely like that so if you don't know anything about the big reveal of
this comic the first read is very different than the second. Last chance to look
away dear review readers.

It needs to be said that this issue is the first part of a three-part story that
culminates in the final issue in December - #700. Through this issue we follow
Peter Parker and Spider-Man through what appears to be a typical day. He stops a
would be criminal, checks in on the job, attempts a reconciliation with MJ, and
even visits Aunt May in the hospital. All the while he ponders what a good life
he has, what marvelous things he has done and how he is going to improve things
starting today. It seems to the casual reader, like myself, that something
positive has happened to Peter that could be a life-changing event. To the more
avid reader of all things Spider-Man this change of attitude might be a hint
that they either missed something or that something else is behind it all. The
main plot involves Dr. Otto Octavius who is a prisoner on the Raft and is near
death. Spider-Man is notified by the Avengers that Doc Ock is about to die and
has asked for him to visit – that is he has asked for Peter Parker. Spider-man
goes to see him in the last few pages and it is in that last conversation that
we learn why we may have thought Peter was acting a bit odd. It is after that
conversation that you will want to go back to the beginning and read it again,
knowing what you now know. No, I am not going to tell you what they said to each
other. You will have to read the comic, if you can find a copy or wait for a
second printing, or go on the Internet and find out what is happening. It is a
major change. It will have a lot of people very upset, some interested, and some
may even swear off following Spider-Man any longer. Just remember that this is
part one of the story and you might want to read the whole thing before forming
a lasting opinion. I don't pretend to know how it will end or how it will lead
into the new #1 in January – THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. I just know I have to
follow it through to number 700 as urged by the writer, Dan Slott. Elson and
Fabela do a fantastic job on the visuals as they should on such a monumental
(apparently) event. This is one of those comics lots of people will be talking
about. It is worth your time and money to see why, in my opinion.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story:
Title Arc:
Publisher: IDW
Creators: John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: "RIPE": Nelson Daniel
Artists: "PROTECTION RACKET": Paul Gulacy & Leonard O'Grady
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

JUDGE DREDD is the most popular British comic series ever. It began in the
second issue of 2000AD, a weekly anthology comic magazine, and has been featured
in all but three issues ever since. It has also had its own magazine and comic
books as well as a couple of movies. It is the beginning of the twenty-second
century in Mega City – a giant metropolis that spans the entire east coast of
North America with a population of over eight hundred million people. The city
is walled off from the radioactive wastelands of the interior. It is also a
multi-level civilization and naturally the more well off inhabit the upper
regions. The advances in technology have made it possible to have the basic
life-sustaining systems controlled by robotic systems that are designed to never
fail. In the first story "Ripe" we get a closer look at one of the marvels of
that technology and when happens when things go horribly wrong. In one topside
Pleasure Mall a tree called the Paradise Machine grows luscious, genetically
enhanced fruit free for the plucking and enjoyment of all. The machine rushes
the fruit from bud to full ripeness and then decay in two minutes. It is
constantly recycling what is not eaten in an endless loop. On this day we see a
seemingly minor robot decide not to do its job regulating waste flow at the very
lowest level. This decision has effects that flow all the way up to the Paradise
Machine. Suddenly the ripened fruit begins flying off the machine/tree at high
velocity impacting people and smashing windows of the stores in the vicinity.
Whether seizing an opportunity or perhaps as part of a plan a band of looters
invade one of the stores taking advantage of the chaos. At this point we are
introduced to another institution of Mega City – the Judges. They are the law in
every aspect – they enforce the law and as their title suggests they also act as
judge, jury and sometimes executioner, no lawyers, juries or appeals. It is
Judge Dredd who arrives to handle the looting situation but he and his fellow
judges find they have a bigger problem. The Paradise Machine continues to cycle
through periods of shooting fruit all over. The ensuing goop jams their
communications gear and they have to rely on their weapons to take control. But
as we see there is something more sinister going on as even the service robots
on the upper level start to malfunction. Dredd will have to get to the bottom of
things, literally and figuratively to restore the peace in future chapters.

The second story, "Protection Racket" is self-contained and concerns a service
robot in a nostalgia shop that apparently is rebelling against its owner.
Perhaps this story takes place during the course of the above story but it
matters not. A gang enters the store and begins a smash and grab over the
protests of the proprietor. His service robot who is supposed to protect him and
the store refuses to act in protest over the way it has been treated for years.
When a regular customer decides to help himself the owner can't stand it and at
the urging of the robot takes the law into his own hands. But as you might guess
the real law, Judge Dredd, will show him the error of his ways. The hook of this
story is not so much the morality of the need for obeying the law but the odd
behavior of the robot. It adds and element of mystery as well as humor to the

Both entries are good reading, even if you have never sampled JUDGE DREDD in the
past. The two distinct art styles give different looks to the work but both are
very appealing. The one criticism I have read of Gulacy's Dredd is that his
helmet is not the traditional comic version but instead is patterned after the
one worn by Stallone in the movie. I am not such a nitpicker and enjoyed it all
the same. I think you will too.

Issue Number: Volume Two #1
Publisher: Boom!
Creator: Grace Randolph
Writer: Grace Randolph
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The initial mini-series of SUPERBIA was successful enough to warrant an ongoing
series beginning with this issue. It is helpful to read the mini-series but new
readers can jump on with this issue easily enough. The concept is a bit of a
soap opera involving the world's greatest heroes, the Meta Legion, who along
with their spouse and children have settled together in a quiet suburb so as to
share their personal as well as professional lives. Each family has its own hero
and their share of problems. The leader is the all-powerful Sovereign, a
Superman analog. He is shacking up clandestinely with a former ex-addict
villainess and his ex, journalist Hayley Harper, is threatening to expose this
arrangement. The current girlfriend, Helen Heart, also known as Hella wants
nothing to do with the support group the other spouses have formed to be of
service to the Meta Legion. Her situation is about to get exposed but not by
Hayley. Then there is Robert White the current Marine Omega who recently moved
to Superbia with his wife Eve to assume the role from his mentor Mike Smith.
Unknown to all Mike's widow Ruth is really a shape-shifting sleeper agent who
murdered Mike. There is a female Amazon type Batu, Daughter of Bright Moon. She
and her husband have recently discovered that their son, not their daughter, has
inherited the mother's legacy. She has reluctantly accepted this disappointment
and is off with her son Eli on his first adventure astride a magical flying
beast to meet his grandmother.  Then we have the Batman/Robin analogs Night Fox
and Agent Twilight. Playing into the old cliché they are also lovers but have
recently been found out by Night Fox's wife. No one is really happy in this love
triangle. This issue is actually set up as an introduction for new readers. It
introduces the major characters and begins a few sub plots to develop going
forward. The last panel promises that internal strife within the families and
among the group is not the only issue that they will be dealing with. This title
deserved to have an ongoing, and not just because the mini-series sold so well.
The characterization is critical with a cast of so many characters. While parts
of the plots are nothing new the entire concept of a functioning hero group with
so many odd characters and situations works well. The art is splendid making the
entire effort first class. If you like super heroes in general this independent
effort is worth giving a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Michael Walsh
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Ed Brisson
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature – Comics on the Edge

Mark and Seth are operatives for a very special organization. Basically they
make people disappear, but not in the usual sense. Their methods include time
travel. They offer a very secret and very expensive alternative to losing a
loved one. An example of what they offer is how the story opens. Without telling
him why the two arrive at the home of Mr. Fields and proceed to drug him when he
resists. Next they pull a body out of their van, placing it in the house before
they set it on fire. Mr. Field's daughter has paid the exorbitant fee for the
company to go back in time, grab her dad and bring him forward two months into
the present past a fatal event that would have cost Mr. Fields his life. The
spare body will help cover up what they have done. But a peculiarity of time
travel messes with the mission. We learn the details of how this company is set
up when Seth meets with the next potential client. Mr. Ingram lost his wife in a
car accident 65 days ago. This means they will have to make the trip back in a
day or two since they are limited to how far back they can go. We see just how
much it will cost Mr. Ingram during their meeting. But all is not well within
the company. Both Mark and the boss have noticed a change in Seth's appearance –
like he is worn out and does not care about his appearance. Later Seth confides
to Mark that he is going to quit after the next trip. This may have something to
do with the final scene when Seth is once again with Mr. Fields in the past.
Since the first attempt failed he tells him he will disappear in a more
traditional way – somewhere safe away from the fatal event. But is that really
his intention? Their methods are clearly not legal. They even include bribery of
coroners. But the problems with Seth are taking center stage. Whatever
complications this will have for the company and its clients remain to be seen.
This is an interesting thriller including a man in the shadows apparently
following Seth. The set up is good giving us the details of the operation and
the people involved. There is bound to be some tense moments in the next issue.
It is an interesting plot. The art style is good with coloring that sets the
tone. It is good enough to see what happens next.

Title: CLONE
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: David Schulner
Writer: David Schulner
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colors: Felix Serrano
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature – Comics on the Edge

Looking at the cover and browsing the inside I was very impressed with art of
Juan Jose Ryp and the coloring of Felix Serrano. Ryp put a lot of effort into
the details, more than most artists, and Serrano is a good colorist, though I
noticed a bit of inconsistency here and there. Art is a strong point to grab
your attention – especially on a first issue. Speaking of first issues this is
Schulner's first comic book and he present a complex concept to ponder. He
explains it in the text in the back. What if you met all the versions of
yourself that never were? What if you had to confront your past and your future?
I am not sure those questions is that accurate of a description of what is
happening to Luke Taylor, a scientist who works at Los Alamos Labs. We see the
story from his perspective. First he dreams of being chased by another man and
gets shot in the gut before he wakes in a cold sweat. Imagine his surprise later
when he finds the man he was in his dream laying on the kitchen floor bleeding.
He calls himself Foster but is clearly a look alike of Luke. Foster warns Luke
he must go get his wife, who is at the Medical Center getting a sonogram of her
unborn baby. "They" are coming for both of them and "they" are also clones of
Luke. Before long Luke will be involved with Foster and some operatives seeking
to help him find his wife who was abducted by another clone. Foster and company
have a lot of explaining to do to Luke and to us. We are left with knowing
unknown to Luke he has been cloned, several times, and some of those clones are
hunting not only him but other clones. It is all very mysterious but the details
are purposely left for later so we can get right into the action from the start.
Clone stories are not new but this one is so far pretty decent in plot and art.
If you prefer science fiction this comic is one of the better ones.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mark David
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Colors: Sunny Gho
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the few MARVEL NOW! First issues I have been waiting for is
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK. I am a fan of Peter David who also writes the best X-book
on the racks, X-FACTOR. I figured he would do an equally great job on this title
so I signed up for it. I am not sure if this follows directly from the plots in
the previous title but I found it to be instantly accessible and a good jump on
point for anyone who is either a Hulk fan or has not been keeping up with him in
except in certain crossover events. This is the original Hulk who transform from
Bruce Banner whenever he is angered or threatened. This series marks a change in
attitude of Bruce Banner about the monster within. Over all the years he has
sought to rid himself, cure himself, from becoming the Hulk. Now he has finally
accepted the fact that this cannot be done. So what does he do about it now? 
That is the gist of the plot. The action takes place in a small town in Alabama.
Maria Hill is communicating in an encrypted chat with Agent Coulson. She is on a
mission here but continues to question him about information that will lead to
the whereabouts of the Hulk. He wants her to concentrate on the current mission
and stop obsessing on the Hulk. Imagine her surprise when none other than Bruce
Banner walks in and sits with her. He has a proposal to make that will solve her
Hulk problem and at the same time provide him the recognition he deserves as one
of the smartest men on the planet. Rather than try to cure himself of the Hulk
he wants to manage him. S.H.I.E.L.D. has the resources he needs to put his
Banner time to the best use, developing technology for the betterment of
mankind. In return Hill will get to direct the power of the Hulk in a focused
fashion for those situations that require his unmatched strength. Rather than
the Hulk being a bomb he would be a cannon. She can point him in the right
direction. As it turns out Bruce is aware of the mission that brought her to
this small town and he proposes a demonstration of how it will work. This is a
fine premise for the book and will hopefully transform the way everyone, even
the Avengers (comic continuity anyway), views the Hulk in the future. The
balance of the book deals with how this trial run plays out. There are some
things as the cover illustration shows that are left unrevealed as yet. Why is
Hulk wearing a belt with glowing lights on it?  What is that little floating
robot next to him all about?  These and more questions will be answered moving
forward. For now the restart of this series promises an interesting future for
both Banner and his alter ego. Leinil Yu does a splendid job with all the
various scenarios David has plotted out and the supporting staff finishes it off
in good fashion. This is definitely one of the new #1 issues you should give a


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:
From Comico to Innovation to Caliber, name this comic book detective series.

The answer was Mike Barr's excellent series, THE MAZE AGENCY. The winner by the
dice is Keith Martin.

In the original Valiant Universe, which character's story began in Topeka,

Here is a no prize question:
What movie was the first to be distributed carrying the PG-13 rating?

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