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: BATMAN AND ROBIN ANNUAL Issue Number: 1 Title Story: Batman Impossible Publisher: DC Creator: Bob Kane Writer: Peter J. Tomasi Artist: Ardian Syaf Inker: Vicente Cifuentes Colors: John Kalisz Letters: Carlos M. Mangual Cover Artist: Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson Price (USD): $4.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero This Annual appealed to me because it is not tied into the whole Death of the Family story arc. Plus the cover illustration with Damian dressed in a Batman outfit intrigued me. Bruce awakens after a night of doing the Batman thing to find his bags are packed for travel with Alfred on the jet. It seems Damian has left strict instructions that they be over International waters before he reveals why. Surprisingly Bruce is willing to go along with this because he feels Damian has been trying hard to engage Bruce and he does not want to hamper that effort. The video he left reveals that he is sending them on a scavenger hunt. The purpose was twofold. In putting it together Damian learned more about the family he now belongs to and he wants Bruce to reconnect with things he usually does not have time for. Supposedly he is traveling a step ahead of them as they head for London, their first stop. He will be moving on to the next location before they get there. In reality, he is still in Gotham, unknown to Bruce and Alfred. This is an attempt to reach out to his father on a more personal level while at the same time to prove himself on his own at home. The two plots move independently from each other. At each stop in Europe Bruce finds things related to his parents. He finds a painting done by his mother hanging in a London hotel, a honeymoon photo location in Barcelona, a marriage proposal etched in stone in Greece. Meanwhile Damian gets involved in a mystery in the city. Some one stole gas at a local gas station by chewing off the nozzle at the pump. Through the course of Bruce's travel Damian patrols as Batman, with side adventures against common criminals, to get to the person or thing behind the plot and put an end to it. The final reunion with his father is something they both enjoy. It is a wonderful story and helps to move their relationship closer. The art team does a wonderful job in bringing it to the page. If you like to read Batman stories that stand on their own this is a good one, if not a conventional one. Title: INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US Issue Number: 1 Title Story: Part One Publisher: DC Writer: Tom Taylor Artists: Jheremy Raapack, Mike S. Miller and Axel Gimenez Inkers: Jheremy Raapack, Mike S. Miller and Narg Deering Colors: Andrew Elder Letters: Wes Abbott Cover Artist: Jheremy Raapack and Tony Avina Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero - Video Game Prequel On the credits page there is a note that this story takes place before the start of the game. The game is the upcoming video game for multiple platforms involving several members of the Justice League and their enemies. This comic acts as a back-story for the game and might be of interest to those planning on buying it. For the rest of us it is a good "Elseworld" type story where continuity follows a different path than it does in the New 52. The one-page intro has Batman perched on a gargoyle above Gotham pondering what has happened in the last five years. This night there is no crime, no gunshots, no cries in the darkness, no wailing sirens. It is the silence of fear, for the world is now ruled by the iron fist of The Man of Steel. How did this come to be? The main story flashes back five years. Clark is married to Lois and she is now pregnant. Ever the intrepid reporter she is determined to continue her job over his protests. She plans to get the drop on a councilman taking a bribe with Jimmy along to get the pictures. Unfortunately this is really a trap set by the master villain in this chapter. Superman is distracted by the presence of Batman in his city. It seems some Kryptonite was stolen from Star Labs. As Batman investigates the scene a frantic Superman arrives announcing Lois's abduction and despite his super vision and hearing he cannot find her. This is the catalyst that will cause Batman to call in other members of the League. Wonder Woman, the Flash and Green Arrow (Hal Jordan) are quick to respond. Through their joint efforts they find the Scarecrow, a victim of the Joker's special gas and at the docks Wonder Woman gets the truth out of a local thug. The whole thing is a plot by the Joker who has stolen a submarine in a twisted plot that involves Lois, the Scarecrow's fear toxin, the Kryptonite and a nuclear warhead. This is one of those stories that highlight the madness of the Joker and the vulnerability of the world's greatest hero. We know from that opening something must have gone seriously wrong for Superman to be acting like a dictator. We just didn't know what until the last few pages of this issue. This is a tightly scripted plot that moves at a steady pace that builds slowly and then races to a horrifying conclusion. The art is fantastic as well. Whether or not this is tied into a video game makes no difference. It is a fantastic story that should appealed to all DC fans. Title: INVINCIBLE Issue Number: 100 Publisher: Image Creator: Robert Kirkman & Cory Walker Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Ryan Ottley Inker: Cliff Rathburn Colors: John Rauch Letters: Rus Wooton Cover Artists: Various (8 variants) Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero I am always interested in landmark issues. I've read a few issues of INVINCIBLE and decided to see what Kirkman cooked up for the hundredth issue. It starts off in a rather spectacular and gory splash page. It shows Dinosaurus crushing Invincible's head flat and then ripping him in half from head to toe, all of which is being broadcast live on television. It sure is an unusual start. This of course is not the real Mark Grayson. Dinosaurus arranged the whole thing so he could swap Mark through a dimensional gate with a perfect clone so that the world would think Invincible is dead. Evidently they had been working together but the story leading up to this issue led into a major disaster with all the coastal cities of the world under water. After Dinosaurus teleports away from the gruesome murder we see he really has Mark safely hidden and explains to him that now he can operate safely free from all encumbrances. He really believes Mark will go along with him, even though his plans to know have ended up in a major disaster. Mark wants to fix things, find some way to reverse the effects and get the oceans back to normal but Dinosaurus wants to move forward. There is a long dialogue between the two and the underlying theme is that the villain of the piece always believes he is the hero. Mark is faced with several problems. How does he convince or stop Dinosaurus? How does he make the oceans recede? What does he do with his life after all that has happened? Others are busy working on the ocean thing, and they believe Mark is dead. But that still leaves the other situations. Clearly this is one issue at the end of a longer arc and it is meant to wrap up a major plot, which it does by the end. And it also launches into a couple more moving forward. The art is suitable for the genre and the coloring sets the whole thing in just the right tones. This is a well- produced comic, which deserves to be read more widely than it is in a crowded genre. Title: DOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME Issue Number: 1 Publisher: IDW Writers: Scott & David Tipton Artist: Simon Fraser Colors: Gary Caldwell Letters: Tom B. Long Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Science Fiction - TV adaptation The BBC is celebrating 50 years of Dr. Who. The science fiction series has gone through a number of lead actors as part of the nature of the character. The Doctor is the last of his race. He is a Time Lord from the planet Galifrey. With his Tardis that appears on the outside like a London Police call box he can traverse through space and time. He usually has human companions he has befriended and you never know where he will take them next to show them the wonders of the universe. He has the unique ability when near death to regenerate a new body, always different from the last - thus the multiple actors that have played the part. For the purposes of this series we begin with the character as portrayed by the first actor from 1963 through 1966, William Hartnell. In this story he has three companions, Ian, Barbara and Vicki. From the conversation we gather that at least one if not all of them are from the twenty-fifth century. They have traveled back to 1868 at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. They are there to take in a lecture by an old friend of the Doctor, Thomas Huxley, the famous biologist and defender of the ideas of Charles Darwin. Naturally it would not be Dr. Who without an adventure and sure enough they learn that two of Huxley's students have gone missing in the tunnels of the underground railroad. The Doctor insists that he and his friends aid in the search and that is the set up for what is to come. Before too long they are attacked by giant ants that the Doctor and his friends recognize as the Zarbi. The Zarbi's aggressive nature surprises the group since they last saw them on the planet Vortis where they freed the Zarbi from enslavement. As it turns out the Zarbi are once again being controlled by the Animus, a being that resembles a giant jellyfish. Not only does it control the Zarbi but also with specially designed collars it plans to enslave all of mankind. This is just the type of predicament you come to expect in a Dr. Who story and the methods he and his friends use to defeat the enemies they meet are always unique. But is that the end of the story? The last panel reveals a new mystery to solve and the opening sequence, which at first seems to be homage to the history of the series is actually a foreboding of a more sinister enemy lurking in the wings. I have always enjoyed Dr. Who when I've seen it on TV. The IDW comics do a great job in both visual depiction of the character as well as the essence of his adventures. This title is no exception. Perhaps it will feature other versions of the Doctor as it moves forward. It matters not though to me. It is not how he looks but how he acts that is so appealing. Title: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: ORIGIN OF HE-MAN Issue Number: 1 Title Story: The Beginning Publisher: DC Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov Artist: Ben Oliver Colors: Jose Villaruba & Kathryn Layno Letters: Saida Temofonte Cover Artist: Ben Oliver Price (USD): $2.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Fantasy DC has taken over the HE-MAN comic franchise and already has run a number of mini-series based on the characters. There will soon be an ongoing HE-MAN title and so they have published this title on the origin of the lead character. This is a pretty simple story that tells of the quest for the Sword of Power once owned by King Grayskull himself. The story is told in disjointed fashion. In one group of sequences Prince Adam first grasps the sword and turns into He-Man to fight the evil Skeletor. In the other sequences we watch the events that led up to that point. Skeletor is determined to find the Power Sword and claim his dominance of all Eternia. In the dead of night he has entered the castle and all but Prince Adam have fallen under his spell. He compels Adam to take him to the sword to spare his family. As things go from bad to worse the Prince, rather his mind, is transported to the ancient Castle Grayskull by the sorceress whose charge was to await the day when a descendent of the king would come to defend the kingdom and indeed the world from one of his own blood. Adam is that champion and must take up the battle for the sake of all. So both Adam and Skeletor are from the bloodline of King Grayskull but their exact relationship to each other is only hinted at. This comic is all about setting the stage for what is to come. Skeletor's background is not told here but in another comic so how he came to look as he does and act as he does is not revealed. This is simply about the day that Adam first became He-Man and when he learned why it was fated to be. For anyone following all the books and anxiously awaiting for the ongoing series this will be a must to buy. By itself it is not all that exciting. It is somewhat predictable and has no real conflict resolution. The art is not up to par in my opinion. The line work is very jagged in places and the coloring is much too dark or blurry or both. Visually I did not like it and am only modestly entertained by the story. Your mileage may vary. Title: BEFORE WATCHMEN: DOLLAR BILL Issue Number: One-Shot Title Story: I Want To Be In Pictures Publisher: DC Creator: Moore & Gibbons Writer: Len Wein Artist: Steve Rude Colors: Glen Whitmore Letters: Steve Rude Price (USD): $3.99 Release Date: NOW ON SALE Genre: Super Hero It is only fair that one of the BEFORE WATCHMEN titles touches on the life of Dollar Bill. This one shot does that and more. It is actually the life of William Brady, Dollar Bill, from his childhood to his death. He grew up in a farming town in Nebraska and his athletic skills got him to Dartmouth College where he excelled in sports if not in academics. He planned on a future in the NFL but an injury on the field crashed all his hopes for that future. After he barely made the grades to graduate he headed for New York and decided he could make a living off his looks. He found he was not good enough for Broadway either. But following any lead for work brought him to an ad agency planning a campaign for National Bank. Some may not have caught it but the names of the partners of this agency are Dewey, Cheatem and Howe - a tip of the hat to the Three Stooges if ever there was one. Anyway, they are looking for someone to be the spokesperson for the bank. The only catch is they will have to wear a super hero costume - they will become Dollar Bill. With heroes making the news more and more they believe it will be the perfect marketing strategy, and they are right. So William becomes Dollar Bill and thus begins his acting career in a way he never imagined. The story takes us through the rising success of the campaign and eventually his entry into the Minutemen. He explains to them he is not a real crime fighter, just an actor, but Dollar Bill is so well known they believe he will help raise the Minutemen's public profile so he is in. I won't bother to recap the rest. This is the story of a man who realizes his shortcomings and tries to overcome them. He has become a reluctant hero and through that experience learns some of the realities of life. This is a different kind of hero story. It has a beginning, middle and an end. Those have paid attention elsewhere know how the story ends for Dollar Bill. It is not so much about the ending, but the journey to get there. The script is very good in doing that and the art team handles the chores in fine fashion. It is no the most exciting title in the group but it is a satisfying story. ***** 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: What title from Malibu was purposely solicited for issues that would never be published to mask the true end of the run at issue #4? The title was EXILES from Malibu and the plot from the beginning was to kill off all but one member, and thus end the title, with issue #4. The winner by the dice is Gregory Goding. Here was your no prize question: What was the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart? "Don't Worry, Be Happy" is a song by musician Bobby McFerrin. Released in September 1988, it became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION: Another Comic Book Character's first words. Who said: "But Hank, joining a counter demonstration isn't going to accomplish anything! All you're going to do is make trouble." Here is your no prize question: Among the major cities in the United States which is the windiest city? 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.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Comic Reviews 2/8/12
Posted by Paul Howley's Story at 4:01 PM