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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Comic Reviews 11/9/12


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.

Publisher: 11 Car Pile Up Productions
Creator & Writer: Chris Denmead
Artist: Katie Hickey Schultz
Price (USD): $13.00
Release Date: Now On Sale
Genre: Horror – All Ages

This book is the brainchild of Chris Denmead, a local patron of That's
Entertainment. He calls it a children's picture book and indeed it is 31 pages
each with a full-page illustration. About 80% of the page is a pretty consistent
background – the edge of a house with smoke coming from a chimney, a few trees,
the moon, stars and on occasion an owl as well as the narrative of the story.
These are not photocopies one after the other but are similar drawings of the
same scenery. Taking up so much of a large 6" X 9" panel with background seems a
waste. It is not distracting from the story but it compresses the action to the
bottom fifth of the page. I think the best part of the art is the coloring,
which is imaginative in contrasting key figures and objects with each other. The
line work is a bit flat making it look like a child's work due to the lack of
perspective and depth. While it relates the story and action well enough it
could be a lot better. The story is simple enough. It is about Halloween night
and a pumpkin that comes to life to eat children as they sample the candy in a
bowl nearby. Child after child in their Trick or Treat costumes stops for a
handful only to be grabbed by the pumpkin and ingested. All the while the
pumpkin gets larger. Even a dog is not immune. Each one takes up four or five
pages. In the end the tables are turned on the pumpkin. The book wraps up with
narrative taking up most of the last two pages ending with common sense warnings
for a safe Halloween. It is a simple story that takes its time getting to the
finish but ends well moralistically. You will have to judge for yourself if it
is worth the price.

Title: A+X
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Playing off the A vs. X series that was separate from the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN and
told stories to illuminate the main event Marvel now has a similar post event
series. In this book you will get a couple of stories with an Avenger teaming up
with an X-Man and not necessarily connected to any other events in other comics.
The first issue has these two stories and both have a time travel element to

"Captain America + Cable in Fight for the Future" by Dan Slott, Ron Garney,
Danny Miki, Cam Smith, Mark Morales, Will Quintana and Clayton Cowles. The story
is set in 1943 as Captain America and Bucky get their latest mission. They are
to drop in behind German lines near Lyon, France to sabotage a vengeance weapon
being buried by the Nazis. Intelligence indicates it will be sleeper robots, the
product of Hitler's new "wunderkind" Atticus Trask. What they find is a bunch of
robots working on a much larger giant robot that resembles what we know as a
sentinel. As they plan their method of attack they are forced to act prematurely
as Cable suddenly appears guns ablaze. He is of course from the future and knows
that Trask is tampering with the past and is not going to waste any time
planning a covert operation. It will take teamwork among the three heroes in
order to stop the Nazi plan. The interesting part of this story is the different
perspectives of the good guys. Cap and Bucky see this as another diabolical plan
by the enemy if not to win the war then to avenge defeat at a later date. But if
they have such technology why not use it on the battlefield now?  From Cable's
perspective he has to stop someone from changing the past so as to preserve not
only his future but also ours. There are bits of dialogue that are refreshing
and even humorous but it is mostly an action drama that is well drawn.

"The Incredible Hulk + Wolverine" by Jeph Loeb, Dale Keown, Danny Miki, Frank
D'Armata and Albert Deschesne. I mentioned both stories have a time travel
element. This one has a unique twist. In the present Wolverine and Hulk are
together in Avengers tower arguing over a piece of cake when who should burst
onto the scene via time warp but Wolverine and the Hulk – or at least a version
of them. It is actually the future Hulk known as Maestro and a much older gray-
haired Logan and they immediately attack. Now this seems strange, especially
since Maestro declares they do not want any witnesses. When he declares that
this is not the Hulk they seek two things are clear. They are here to find the
Red Hulk and they will kill the Green Hulk and Wolverine if they get in the way,
or maybe kill them anyway. But if they kill their past selves won't they be dead
too? It is all part of a master plan by the one who sent them and when we learn
who it is in the last panel it leaves more questions for another day. The art on
this story is exceptional making it the better of the two stories in that
regard. But the story is too short and leaves us hanging and wondering will it
be continued in this comic or another title down the road.

So as far as the title goes it is a mixed bag that gets a slightly positive
review. The stories are decent if too short but they are not critical to other
things going on in the Marvel Universe. If you prefer seeing various heroes mix
it up without being bogged down with continuity and crossover storylines that
this is for you.

Issue Number: 1
Story Title: The End of Everything Good
Publisher: Image
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letters: Kelly Tindall
Cover Artist: Frazer Irving
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This comic is very interesting both in plot and graphic design. The action takes
place in two time frames – one ten years ago and one in the present. The older
scenes are depicted in three colors, black, white and red while the present is
in color though there is stronger emphasis is in red. The past focuses on a
deranged killer known as Madder Red. In the opening scene he has taken over an
opera house with his accomplices and killed all the people except one little
girl. He holds her hostage on stage while the police are about to storm the
building. He is dressed in a gray body suit from head to toe and wears a mask
with a white face that has jack-o-lantern like features in red and a red X on
the forehead. There is no way out but he seems not to be bothered as the local
vigilante hero known as The First crashes in from above to take him out. A lot
of the dialogue takes place at the police interrogation room as Madder Red
reveals his end game. He intended to be captured to put the police on trial.
Prior to the assault at the opera house he and his crew planted six bombs, each
in a child's belongings, each at a different school. They could be anywhere in
the city of Bedlam. Instead of bargaining for his freedom he is bargaining for
his own death. He claims over a prerecorded telecast to the city that unless he
is dead in one hour the children will be. In his mind this will prove to the
people that those who claim to be keeping them safe through the rule of law will
be exposed as fakes. If they kill him they are going against their own rules, if
they don't they are letting hundreds of kids die. I have called this a horror
story and that aspect shows up later as we see a "doctor" planning to operate on
a man who is just waking from sedative, apparently. The doctor claims he is
already dead and from what we have seen up to this point we believe that. So how
is it he can carry on a conversation?  The doctor claims he will suck the poison
from his brain so that he can help make the city safe again and great again. 
The other sequence shows a man listening to the radio and TV as he rises and
prepares for his day. The news is about a killer on the loose – a killer that is
preying on senior citizens. This man is on medication of some sort and is
clearly disturbed either with the world or himself. A female detective, Ramira
Acevedo, is on the serial killer case, which peaks the interest of this man.
Later he is out walking in the city and comes across two older boys beating a
younger boy accusing him of stealing from them. What the unnamed man does next
is unexpected to say the least. Nick Spencer has penned a fascinating tale that
has many twists and illogical actions by the players. There appears to be a
grand scheme behind the actions of the main characters that will slowly be
exposed moving forward. You really cannot guess what will happen next or what
future issues will bring. This comic will get you thinking and guessing right
from the start. I recommend it.

Title: LOT 13
Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: DC
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Glenn Fabry
Colors: Adam Brown
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This story is set in Fairfax County Virginia in two different eras. The first is
1670 in a bizarre court hearing. The laws of the times are based on those of
Louis the XIV who proclaimed suicide to be illegal and those who commit it will
be brought before the courts and punished, whether or not they are already dead.
It is in that context that we see a dead man standing trial. He killed his wife
and their three children before blowing out his own brains. Strangely the
victims stand accused as well and all are found guilty. That is the background
for the horror that will present itself in the future. We only get a hint of it
in this issue. In the present a family is moving their household from an
apartment to their new place far away in the suburbs. But they find the house is
not yet ready and so the parents and three kids head back out on the freeway to
find a place for a few days. Those are the circumstances that will bring them to
an apartment building with rooms for rent by the day. We don't know if it is
this building, their new home or the old apartment that connects them to the
events of colonial times, but they have become connected. As I said there are
only hints, all having to do with the young boy that was murdered by his father
in 1670. He seems to be appearing briefly to members of this family – first at
the old apartment, then at this new temporary home in a more graphic way. But as
of now we have no idea why he is around or what he wants. The art is very good
though the flesh tones are just slightly off in places. Most of the story is set
up for what is to come with the mystery of it all only touched on. It is too
early to tell how it will play out but so far it seems very promising.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: DC
Cover Artist: Joe Kubert
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mixed – Anthology

As the text inside written by Kubert himself explains he was given the reins of
an anthology book where he could feature his own work plus the work of others he
chose for six issues. Two of the stories are by Kubert himself and two are from
creators he picked to join him in this venture.

"Hawkman" by Joe Kubert
This one begins with a self-portrait of Joe at his drawing board introducing his
version of the origin of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. It begins on Thanagar as they are
summoned to headquarters for a vital mission on a far away planet in the galaxy.
Their leaders have been monitoring Earth and are disturbed by the wars, famine,
disease and weapons of mass destruction that have developed over the years. They
are worried that Earth could affect the balance of peace in the galaxy some day.
Our two heroes are being sent to get more first hand information before a plan
of action can be determined. By design they land at night in a jungle area to
escape detection. There first interaction will be with a tribe that they learn
only have food an medicine because they have allowed "civilized" men to bury
toxic waste underground in their land. Katar and Shayera set out to protect this
tribe from the danger they have unknowingly brought into their midst. It is
interesting to note that in this version the Thanagarans have the ability to
communicate and control the animals of the jungle, something I do not recall
from other versions of Hawkman. It is a good story with a moral ending and of
course masterfully drawn and colored.

"Angel and the Ape" by Brian Buniak
This is a lighter entry in the volume. If you are unfamiliar with the title
characters there is a brief recap told by Angel of how she met the intelligent
Ape on a trip to Africa and they made such a good team that he accompanied her
to the states where they set up their own detective agency. The first case
involves a man, Walter Weissmuller, who comes to them claiming he is in danger
of being killed and wants their protection. As the story unfolds we learn that
he is the owner of the Silver Safari Restaurant that has a jungle motif and
animatronics animals that complete the experience. He was in the business with
his brother. The two fell in love with a waitress, Mimi Myne, and the brother
won her and left to start his own dinosaur themed eatery. Despondent Walter
contacted a hit man to put him out of his misery. But then he hit the lottery
and being now much richer than his brother Mimi switched sides. Now he is afraid
the hit man will carry out the kill anyway. Angel and the Ape is a fun feature
with lots of humor and silly situations. Visually it fits well with Kubert's
work in a style that reminds me of Eisner. It is a great addition to the volume.

"Spit" by Joe Kubert

This story is totally in black and white, apparently printed right from Kubert's
pencil work. It is a tale of an orphan boy called Spit who was abandoned by his
mother and spent the first few years of his life as the subject of abuse by
other kids at the orphanage as well as whippings from the mistress. It is not a
good situation – the constant beatings and near starvation. He was dubbed Spit
by the others as an indication of what they felt about his worth. In this short
story we begin with him finally walking out on his own and seeking some place,
any place that is better. He will end up at the docks seeking refuge on a
whaling ship. This brief chapter has the makings of a much larger story though
it is unclear if the feature will continue through the mini-series. Kubert's
work is amazing even when it is just pencils and minimal backgrounds. He gets
the feelings across to us in a way no one else could.

"U.S.S. Stevens" by Sam Glanzman
This is a story of a naval ship in WWII. Specifically it tells the story of a
young seaman, Jerry Debitt, eager to learn all he could at the elbow of the
Gunner Patty Scone. Ironically though they trained and Jerry learned quickly
they would actually never see a naval battle. Instead it was badly damaged by
Kamikaze pilots. But Jerry made his goal of being a gunner himself. The story
tells of his dreams of telling his son of his war adventures and his ultimate
fate. I found this story somewhat disjointed but illustrated capably. I am not a
big fan of war stories but this one is impressive.

In all, this anthology is well worth the price and your time. There is something
for everyone and all of it is better than most of the super hero stuff that is
so popular.

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Cover Artist: Dave Johnson – Variant by Phil Jimenez & Andrew Dalhouse
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror Anthology
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This anthology tells nine ghost stories as told by the likes of Al Ewing, Toby
Litt, Cecil Castellucci, Joe Kubert, Neil Kleid, Mary Choi, Paul Pope, Gilbert
Hernandez and Geoff Johns.  Rather that detail each one I chose to point out a
few. One I found intriguing is "Wallflower" by Cecil Castellucci with art by Amy
Reeder. It tells the tale of a young couple through narration and illustration.
As we see their lives progress and their family grow we see some typical scenes.
She has an artistic flair for decorating and takes up art as a hobby. He is
dedicated to his work and as time goes on is absent from many meals. Each page
has one panel that is a framed picture, a snapshot of their life at the time.
Little by little we see the portraits depict less expression of affection as
each becomes more distant and involved in their own interests. In later pages
her depiction in the panels and the portraits become faded and colorless until
she is no longer in the picture. As the middle-aged husband realizes she is gone
his own image begins to fade as well. He eventually begins a journey to find her
and the end of the story is unexpected but satisfying. Kubert's entry is
introduced by Editor Karen Berger explaining this story was the last Joe both
wrote and illustrated before his untimely death. It is penciled and lettered but
he never got the chance to ink and color it. It is the story of a an old man who
was nearing death, left in the jungle by his tribe to meet Quetzlcoatl on his
final journey. The man is resigned to his fate but is bothered by his grandson
who won't leave his side. When the angry god arrives it is the boy that he
points to over the pleas of the grandfather to take him instead. It is a classic
story of unforeseen circumstances that ends well with a small twist to make you
smile. In contrast, "A Bowl of Red" by Neil Kleid with art by John McCrea and
Andrew Elder, is brightly colored over the detailed art that is more in the line
of a good horror story. The story begins at a chili cook off in El Paso, Texas.
The three judges are confronted by a man who is badly burnt all over his body to
the point some of his skin is gone. He is ranting about having found the perfect
chili and his body paid the price. He begs them to go see for themselves and
help him prove his devotion to the "heavenly fire." Up to the challenge the
three judges find their way to the restaurant with a sign that merely says
"Abandon Hope." The proprietor explains the risks and consequences but the
skeptic judges demand their bowls to see for themselves. The twist of the story
involves the secret pepper used to make the chili and the supernatural nature of
its existence. It is delightfully scripted to slowly unfold the secrets and the
results are not unexpected. Another outstanding entry is "Ghost For Hire" by
Geoff Johns with art by Jeff Lemire and Jose Villarrubia. Eddie and his ghost
brother Louis have a unique business going. They promise to their clients that
they can scare people for whatever purpose the client chooses and they get paid
well for it. Now it seems odd that a ghost would care about money and he
doesn't. He even does not like what they do but at least he still has the
companionship of his brother. Their latest clients are a brother and sister who
want to scare their mother enough to have her committed so they can sell her
home and get on with their lives in better style. But unlike previous jobs Eddie
has shocking news for the couple after the deed is done. In this case Louis will
feel a lot better about what they are doing and even gets a nice surprise from
Eddie in the end.  These are the highlights of the volume. Some of the others
stories are decent enough and a couple are below par. But that is what you get
in such an anthology and in this one the gems outweigh the clunkers.


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:
In the Milestone title BLOOD SYNDICATE, from what two gangs did the members that
formed the group come?

The Paris Bloods (to which Holocaust belonged) and the Force Syndicate (to which
Tech-9 belonged) were the first two gangs involved. The winner by the dice is
Stu Cathell.

Here was your no prize question:
Who was the first recording artist to have three consecutive double albums reach
number one on the Billboard pop charts?

Arguably the most successful female artist of the disco era, Donna Summer helped
kick off the disco revolution. Summer received five Grammy awards, charted four
#1 pop singles in 13 months, and was the first recording artist to have three
consecutive double albums reach number one on the Billboard pop charts.

Famous first lines of which character?
"There!  My flying broomstick is finished at last!!"

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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