Search This Blog

Friday, January 18, 2013

Comic Reviews 1/18/13


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
Title Story: Hero or Menace?
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee & Ditko
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Those of you who decided to see what the fuss is about regarding the new Spider-
Man or otherwise figured to pick up a copy of this comic off the rack at your
leisure after the release day are out of luck. Once again the main Spider-man
title has sold out in a day. You can wait for a second printing if you like to
read the comic before the review. Be advised this review will necessarily SPOIL
the ending of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN comic book if you are still waiting for the
second printing of issue #700 coming out at the end of January. You have been

With that out of the way I can tell you that the mind of Otto Octavius is now in
the body of Peter Parker. He has all of Peter's memories and abilities and has
become Spider-Man. In AVENGINF SPIDER-MAN we saw how he took to the task of
becoming the Superior Spider-Man by first making enhancements to the costume and
equipment. In this debut issue he takes on his first challenge going up against
a new Sinister Six composed of Overdrive, Boomerang, Shocker, the Living Brain,
Beetle and Speed Demon. Otto (sorry I can't bring myself to call him Peter) also
now wears an ear piece to monitor police radios so the first encounter is his
response to the Six robbing Empire State University. This conflict shows off
some of Otto's ability at being a hero though initially he does not have the
dedication to prevail as Peter did. He decides he has had enough at one point
and just starts to leave. However he has a change of heart when a downed officer
is in mortal danger. Not giving up altogether after the Six split, minus the
Living Brain, he begins to work on a plan to finish off the Six at their next
job. In this sense he is becoming a bit more proactive than Peter was. He will
devise specific devises and traps that will ensure complete defeat of the
Sinister Six. Otto is a thinker. Rather than rush to capture the villains once
he knows where they are he plans to trap them when they strike again.
This is what the Superior Spider-Man does. But Spider-Man is only half of this
new gig. Otto has to function in Peter's civilian life and his social skills,
despite having Peter's memories, are somewhat lacking. He is frequently
condescending and rude to his colleagues. Though he wants to kindle a closer
relationship with Mary Jane he is often dismissive of her, even distracted by
his thoughts while on a date. This attitude is consistent with the way he acted
in ASM. You would think people would begin to wonder what has happened to Peter. 
I am thinking if he is too far out of character with other heroes Peter has
worked with in the past that some of the more astute ones will begin to suspect
something. It makes for interesting speculation and the dialogue is exactly what
Slott wants it to be for now. There is a huge reveal at the end of the issue as
Otto confronts the Sinister Six for the second time. Something happens to him at
a crucial moment when he is acting more like a villain than a true hero. He
can't figure it out but the readers is clued in very nicely. I won't tell you
what this is. It is worth getting this comic to find out. I mentioned in earlier
reviews that Dan Slott was warning people to read the whole story that ended in
ASM #700 before judging him about this new direction. There is something in #700
that is a clue to what happens in this first issue. So I would tell those who
swore off Spider-Man to get a copy of this comic to finally see what Slott had
in mind all along. I like it. I have already talked to someone who liked ASM
#700 a lot but once he read this he decided to drop the title. I am just the
opposite. I have not been a regular reader of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN but I will be
one of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. As always I welcome your thoughts on all this if you
care to correspond to me.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part 1 of 3
Title Arc: In the Shadow of Yavin
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: George Lucas
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D'anda
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction - Movie Sequel

OOPS! Here is another comic many people have been asking for but sold out the
day it came out. Copies on eBay have been selling for $40+ already. With
patience you may be able to wait out the frenzy and pick one up for a more
reasonable price or just wait for the second printing. The Alex Ross cover is
spectacular as he catches the likeness of the movie actors in a nice collage.
Dark Horse has been handling the STAR WARS comic book license for years. That
may not last now that Disney bought out Lucasfilm and all the rights. They own
Marvel now too. Dark Horse has several titles on the rack that explore various
aspects of the franchise at many points before, during and after the motion
pictures. This one is particularly appealing to all Star Wars fans because it is
set shortly after the end of Episode IV - A NEW HOPE, the original Star Wars
movie. Brian Wood is a very capable writer and a fan favorite. He is not just
telling a story about what happened before THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. He is
exploring the characters and how they have changed and evolved since the
destruction of the Death Star. The rebel alliance is looking for a new base and
the story begins with Luke, Leia and Wedge scouting out a planet in the outer
rim territories. Luke is struggling with all he has lost, family and friends.
Wedge has lost all his friends on Yavin and Leia lost her home planet. She is
less of a princess now but more a member of the rebels commanding her own X-Wing
Fighter. She has found new purpose - a way to turn the pain into a positive by
fighting for what is right. Meanwhile Vader has been disgraced. He has lost his
command and is on the Emperor's bad side. His characterization is spot on as he
shows contempt for his replacement and a new resolve to put things right. And
lest we forget about Han, his business as a smuggler has been severely affected
by his association with the rebels. Wood deals with all of these issues while
forwarding the plot. In particular we get to see Leia in a new light as their
mission is interrupted and she has to fend for herself. Moving forward the three
will not only have to find a place the rebels can call home but also determine
who in their midst is a spy. The artwork is very good as it always is in these
Dark Horse comics. This is a story that is well crafted. As I said any Star Wars
fan can get into it easily and will enjoy the premise and execution. Smart
readers are already signing up this title on their pull list so they won't miss
another issue. You should too!

Issue Number: 10
Main Story: The Leader's Legions!
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Todd DeZago
Artist: Christopher Jones
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Sotocolor
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
All Ages - TV Animation Adaptation

If you haven't been watching the cartoon version of the Avengers on Disney XD
you are missing out on one of the best super hero cartoons being made. This
comic ties into that show with additional stories in a briefer format. In fact
this issue has two of them. In the first story Hulk, Wasp Vision, Captain Marvel
and Iron Man are dealing with monsters on one of New York's bridges. These
monsters are normally associated with Mole Man. They are Grogg, Groot Rommbu
Vandoom and Gigantus. Wasp calls in for back up from Ant Man and Captain America
but they are alerted to a security breach at Stark Industries out on Long Island
and so head out that way. As it turns out the Leader is attempting to steal
Tony's latest invention, the Cyber-Synaptic Resonator. With it he hopes to exert
complete mind control over everyone on the planet. He already has limited
capability to do this with his Hypno-halo and in fact is controlling those
monsters as a distraction away from his main goal. He wasn't counting on any
Avengers showing up to ruin his plans. Naturally there is a major battle with
the Leader and his human thugs but Cap and Ant Man are very capable. Once they
defeat the Leader and remove the halo the monsters will be easy to control by
the others. This is a fun action tale with good pacing and a predictable
resolution. The art is along the lines of the TV show. But it is the dialogue
which is not toned down too much for the younger readers that makes it good
reading for all ages.

Back up story: "Baby Steps" by Clay McLeod Chapman & Luciano Vecchio

In this story Tony Stark is working on fixing a glitch in the Vision's android
body. To do this he has temporarily downloaded Vision's consciousness into a
suitable robot. Though he does not have any of his powers Vision decides to go
out in the world to experience things as a normal human might. Unknown to all
Ultron had secretly uploaded a virus to the lab computers hoping to take control
of one of Iron Man's suits of armor. Instead he seized the opportunity to
control the Vision's body and now he controls it with all its powers. Just Tony
and the Wasp are no match for an evil Vision. Fortunately the Vision spies the
noise and smoke coming from the mansion and hurries back to lend a hand. But can
a robot with no super powers turn the tide?  This is the story highlighted on
the cover of this issue. Through the course of the story we get to know this
version of Vision (say that five times fast!) a little better. Though he is not
human he does have human qualities that make a difference. Like the first story
it is a delightful tale done with professional polish.

Filling out the issue is a feature seen on the Marvel Universe TV bloc called
The Fury Files. In it Fury narrates origins and capabilities of one member of
the Marvel hero pantheon. This time it is the young hero Nova, who is a regular
on the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN portion of the show. Finally there is a one-page
comedy story by Audrey Loeb and Dario Brizuela. In it three mini-Hulks are
taking a pottery class. They are kid versions and each has its own color - red,
green and blue. This one is all for fun and is very cute. I recommend this comic
to anyone looking for age-appropriate comics whether or not they or their kids
watch the TV show. It is well done and enjoyable for kids of all ages.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: Inner Demons
Publisher: Image
Creator: Jim Ringuet
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This mini-series features a group of demon hunters. Joe is the mystic spell-
caster, Clay is the muscle and Martha seems to be the brains of the trio. The
opening sequence serves to demonstrate their capabilities as they confront a
preacher at his pulpit. They know he is possessed and the demon makes his
presence known when they confront him. After wrapping up this case their boss
has another one for them that involves a missing college drop out. Her father is
convinced she is possessed and is willing to pay handsomely to get her back.
What the team finds is a much larger problem than they anticipated. They track
her to Vegas and a connection to the leader of a biker gang. When they are
attacked on the open road by a major demon they realize they are on the right
trail. But are they ready for what they will find at the biker hangout? This is
a mostly predictable story with stereotypical characters. Ringuet does it all in
this book and I am not that impressed with his art. It is good enough to carry
he story but unimpressive, especially the coloring. There is a bit of suspense
at the end but the rest is either typical fight scenes or banter among the trio
often putting each other down. Even at three bucks I don't think I would bother
to see the rest of it through.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Image
Creators: James Asmus, Jim Festante & Rem Broo
Writers: James Asmus, Jim Festante
Artist: Rem Broo
Colors: Overdrive Studio
Letters: crank!
Cover Artist: Jim Mahfood
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Apocalyptic Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

In contrast to that last review this comic has a lot more going for it and it
too deals with things involving religious and supernatural themes. In this case
the title refers to it. This is a story based on the End Times as referred to in
the bible and the phenomenon inferred by many who interpret the bible called the
Rapture. As the story of the Rapture goes just prior to the seven-year period of
tribulation on Earth that will herald in the final war known as Armageddon in
which Jesus will return in glory to fight the forces of the devil all the
righteous people will be taken up so they can forego that period. They will
simply vanish. A more serious work of fiction on this premise has become very
popular over the years. It is called LEFT BEHIND and the first few volumes of
the series have been adapted to films starring Kirk Cameron and for a time there
was a prestige comic series some of which were drawn by our friend Paul Ryan.
This comic uses the Rapture as its driving force but it is much less serious. It
is about the people left behind as well and focuses on two guys in particular,
the lead characters Bram and Ben. At the time of the Rapture Bram is the one
that disappears, but only for a minute. It seems he was taken by mistake and so
was sent back. He has had a taste of heaven and did not like it. For one thing,
even though everyone was naked most of them were old, fat, or old and fat. They
only reason they never sinned is that no one would ever want to sin with them!
Ben is temporarily in a funk because he figures he should have been taken, he is
a good guy. But then the realization hits that he is not perfect and so the two
have to deal with the world as it now is. Bram looks on the bright side, from
his perspective. All the hot babes left behind can't be virgins so it is party
time. And so we see how he plans to spend his time. Ben has a love interest, or
at least a girl he is interested in and even at that he figures she has always
been a nice girl. Why wasn't she taken? Added into the mix is a survivalist
called Tipul who broke into their apartment to loot it. They all become uneasy
friends when Bram explains his Rapture experience. But Tipul is more practical
about the whole thing. He has been waiting for some kind of apocalyptic event;
he just wasn't counting on the real things. Now he is going to prepare for the
coming of the zombies - his interpretation of the dead rising as told in the
bible. His influence on Bram grows until at the end of the first chapter Bram
makes a startling pronouncement on what his role will be from now on. This is a
fun story in both story and art. The art is somewhat like a cartoon but is very
professional. The style and layouts are a perfect match for this kind of story.
The dialogue seems realistic and is filled with humor that is often accented by
the art. I found it enjoyable right from the start on both counts. For a nice
diversion from typical comics Image is the place to go. This comic fits in well

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Manifest Destiny
Publisher: IDW
Writer/Creator: Sohaib Awan
Artist: Tony Vassallo
Colors: Timothy Yates
Letters: Ed Brisson
Journal Art: Mark Torres
Journal Text: Gordon Holmes
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

There are three points of views shown in this first chapter. The first
perspective is from an alien invasion force from another planet, the Kibrani.
They are arrogant conquerors that are confident in their superior strength.
Earth will be an easy place to decimate. The second is that of a twenty-
something traveling with his buddy somewhere near Marrakech doing research for
his dissertation. When the aliens suddenly attack his friend who manages to
escape on a truck leaves behind Andrew. Only through the kindness of a local
merchant will he find the means of escape - atop a camel. The third view is that
of a local boy caught in the middle of it all and worried for the life of his
aunt and others. Only he has the means to do something. You see he has one of
those magic bottles with a genie in it!  Fleeing from the attack Andrew and his
benefactor are no match for an alien fighter craft and eventually their ride is
hit and they are sprawled out on the dessert, easy pray for the next pass of the
fighters. That is when the genie enters the fight.  I suppose this comic could
be subtitled "Genies vs. Aliens" as that will be the main conflict. Andrew is a
likable character who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The boy
who commands the genie is only present for two pages while the genie himself is
the star of the show so far. This mix of two different genres seems like a good
mix. How Andrew will interact with the boy and his genie is likely a central
plot going forward. The story is pretty straightforward and moves well once the
action begins. The art is stunning in my opinion. Vassallo and Yates have a nice
style that captures your eye, especially the cover page. Make no mistake; this
is more an adventure comic than any deep comment on the human condition. That is
fine with me.


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 did Xombi, and Bloodshot have in common?

Nanobots in the bloodstream is the answer. The winner is Gary Katzoff.

What is Mike Maxwell's other identity?

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