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Friday, April 19, 2013

Comic Reviews 4/20/13


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: A Tale of Zombies vs. Aliens
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Chris Ryall
Artist: Drew Moss
Colors: Jay Photos
Letters: Tom B. Long
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror

All you really need to know about this comic is the story title. It really is
about aliens and zombies. It begins in Montana with an alien ship on a mission
to pick up terran life forms. They happen over a cemetery and while they pick up
movement there is no heat signature. They engage the tractor beam anyway and,
you guessed it, they beam up a zombie. This is the little town of Carbon Falls,
the kind of place people live in to escape the hassles of urban problems. But
people are people and anywhere they come together they have problems. The death
of the town leader is fomenting a power struggle between his son Huxley and some
of the elders who have a different vision for the town's future. Huxley has been
pushing to make the town a truly green community - no carbon footprint. There is
a group of homegrown militia that would wrest control of the town and take it in
another direction. But local politics will have to take a back burner when the
alien ship crashes and everyone rushes to find out what that crash is all about.
Once they see the ship they expect some secret military unit to come out.
Instead the little green men in space suits come running out to escape the
zombie they beamed aboard and things just get crazy after that. The hook of the
story is both the humans and the aliens facing the zombie threat. Once the
conflict begins it makes all the pages taken up with the town politics seem
superfluous. Maybe that will come back into play later. In fact it seems the
militia types would rather kill 'em all - zombies and aliens - and let God sort
it out. It is a somewhat comical premise, or it could be, if it didn't try to
take itself too seriously. So in my opinion it is not as good as it could be. 
The art is good enough but I just couldn't get into the story that should carry
the book when people are not fighting off the zombies.  You might have a
different opinion.
Title: SEX
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Summer of Hard
Publisher: Image
Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colors: Brad Simpson
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOON SALE
Genre: Super Hero Drama
Mature - Adult situations and nudity

I noticed some coverage of this title on the Internet on the comic news sites
but did not bother to read any of it. So I approached this comic knowing little
more than its title. I was not surprised to see it pre-bagged on the racks at
That's Entertainment given its mature theme. What I found inside was no so much
sex this time around and a surprising backdrop to the story. This is about Simon
Cooke the very rich head of the Cooke Company in Saturn City. What I did not
know going in was that he was also a crime fighter known as the Armored Saint.
However there are no scenes of him in action even in flashback. The introduction
has Simon returning to his city having been away for some seven months. At some
point in the past he gave up his secret life and also suffered a personal loss
in his life. Some flashbacks reveal who it is and heavily suggest the promise he
made at the deathbed is why he gave up the secret life he was leading. We also
get introduced to some underground figures, notably a very old king pin called
the Old Man for good reason, who are pondering what life will be like for them
without the Guardian around. The gambling and sex dens are once again thriving
with a lot of illegal activity. As we eventually get around to the sex part of
the story Simon visits a high-end peep show palace. In a private room he watches
as two females get it on with each other. It is these pages filled with various
lesbian sex scenes that are not for younger eyes. The line work on this book is
pretty good but I found the coloring to be less appealing as it often is just a
shade washing an entire panel for effect though in normal settings it is more
traditional. So we are left with wondering why Simon is so adamant about his new
direction in life. We also wonder why he has a small ball of some sort that he
takes out every now and then. And of course is the voyeurism something new and
if not what is the purpose as he seems to be detached and almost uninterested
during the session. The final page has him meeting the female patron of the
place, someone he already knows so what is their connection?  There is not much
here to sink your teeth into yet. You get the feeling he may be forced back into
his costume at some point but even that is not a definite. I would reserve
judgment on the direction of the plot for now but I think the pace needs to be
picked up notch.  If the title is meant to be provocative then why are the
actual "adult" scenes almost superfluous?  So if you are not off put by the
mature content you might want to check it out but I think a few more issues are
needed to but a stamp on the real nature of this comic.

Issue Number: 1AU - ONE SHOT
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: Amilcar Pinna
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Kalman Andrasofszky
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have been enjoying the AGE OF ULTRON series very much. I normally will not get
tie-in comics to these events but I felt it was worthwhile to check out this
one-shot, as I was a fan of the RUNAWAYS series. The lead character in this
story is Victor Mancha who was a member of that group. During the course of that
series Victor found out he was a cyborg created by Ultron himself. He also was
told that at some point he was going to be responsible for the murder of every
hero on the planet. Imagine his frame of mind now that just such a future is
beginning to unfold. It is important when reading these stories to realize that
everything is taking place right now. Ultron's robots overrun the world with all
the major cities in rubble and the world's heroes targeted for extinction. This
seemingly does not fit in with normal continuity on all the other Marvel regular
titles which indicates to me by the end of it all things will be back to
"normal" and the main book has the surviving heroes working toward that goal.
But this is about one teenager just trying to survive while helping others to do
the same. He has a slight advantage against the Ultron henchbots because he does
not register as human or meta-powered to their sensors. In some cases they will
just exterminate individual humans they come across and this story starts with
Victor rescuing one young boy on his own in Los Angeles. Once they elude the
robots he takes Jaime to Bronson Canyon where the Leapfrog ship hides the
entrance to the hideaway he is sharing with three others he brought here. The
others do not know his secret but when he is caught viewing and talking to
projections of his former teammates his secret is lost. So this is more a look
into Victor's thoughts about his past and
always feared what he might become it is clear he is in total control of himself
and is doing the right thing. The others may not have a chance to decide one way
or the other though but we are left with a strong impression that Victor will
fight to the finish. While this story is not really integral to the rest of the
event in the main book you never know if Victor himself will play a part in the
final resolution. I found the story interesting for what it is and the art team
does a great job. I was not disappointed.

Issue Number: 19
Title Story: Denial
Publisher: DC
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

When I heard about the appearance of a certain character in this issue I decided
to check it out.  If you haven't heard about it or opened the fold out cover you
may be surprised the guest star is someone from the future - sort of. I am of
course talking about the Robin from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Carrie Kelley. But
this is the New 52 so this girl with the same name is a student at Gotham
Community College. In one of the two major plots of this issue we learn that she
had been giving Damian lessons, theatrical arts is implied, but she does not
know he is dead when she drops off the bill at Wayne Manor. In a similar manner
Bruce was not aware this was going on and is curious what kind of girl Carrie
is. But the scene when they meet is more revealing about Bruce. This story is
showing the effect of Damian's death on Bruce both consciously and
subconsciously. The main plot has Batman going off to kidnap Frankenstein Agent
of S.H.A.D.E. and bring him to Frankenstein's lab. His plan is to isolate the
life force that animates the monster and reverse engineer it to come up with a
way to resurrect Damian. If you haven't read any of the stories featuring
Frankenstein he is not a barely literal monster as portrayed in the movies. So
there is a major discourse between the two about this plan. Naturally Batman has
the upper hand in keeping things under his control, because he's Batman. But on
the other hand he is really not seeing the logic that this is a really bad idea.
Thankfully Alfred is one step ahead and calls in Red Robin to find out what
Bruce is up to far north in the Arctic. I was really turned off by this story. I
get the story is called "Denial" but Bruce is portrayed as just off the deep end
believing he can somehow bring the dead back to life and that would be a good
idea.  Then we have the whole Frankenstein deal as a secret agent, which I find
comical in itself. I don't know if Bruce is being portrayed this way in the
other Batman titles. Maybe it is part of the bigger picture planned for what
comes next but I didn't care for it. The saving grace of this issue is Carrie
Kelley in the opening and closing scenes. They have introduced a pretty decent
character that has personality and drive. Whether or not she eventually becomes
Robin does not take away from this first appearance. I'd like to see more of her
either way. Frankenstein needs to keep to his own book and Bruce needs to snap
out of it.

Issue Number: 19
Title Story: Gone But Not Begotten
Publisher: DC
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Diogenes Neves & R.B. Silva
Inkers: Vicente Cifuentes & Rob Lean
Colors: Richard & Tanya Horie
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Ardian Syrf and Jaime Mendoza with Blond
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I am a sucker for secret origin stories. So despite not really feeling great
about the last issue I decided to give SUPERBOY a second try. Warning this will
reveal major elements of Superboy's origin. Once you open the WTF fold out cover
the tease is that he is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. Now this is the New
52 so forget about prior versions of Superboy going back to The Reign of
Supermen version. This version was created by Harvest who is a major bad guy in
the titles involving this Superboy.  Superboy's story begins with Harvest before
he became what he is. He was from the thirtieth century, a hundred years before
the Legion of Super Heroes emerged. In his century the super powered metas had
somehow gone the route of wanting to rule mankind rather than serve them. Those
who would not accept their position under Meta rule became their enemies and
Haven was a part of the human resistance. When his only son became a casualty of
that war he vowed to kill al metas. His plan involved using the newly emerging,
not yet perfected time travel technology. He would go back to the twentieth
century when the metas first started to appear and kill them before they became
too numerous and strong. This world he came back to was not the present DC
Universe, as we know it. In their twentieth century Superman and Lois were
married and had a son, Jon. But that was not a happy story as Jon fell ill and
apparently died just shy of four years in age. Lois and Superman removed
themselves from public and somehow Harvest knew the boy was only dormant and so
took him to the future. There he revived and became the son Harvest lost. And as
such he came of age and took up his father's cause - controlling the metas as
the most powerful among them. But when his body betrayed him again Harvest knew
he had to go back with Jon to the twentieth century for some of the original DNA
from his parents as part of the cure. This time when they came back it was
Harvest's last trip through time due to the effects time travel had on his body.
But this time they are in the New 52 universe and Harvest still has a plan to
kill the metas to prevent the future he has now left behind and exact his
revenge. The story is actually more convoluted than this and there is a lot of
narrative about a lot of things that have gone on in the RAVAGERS, TEEN TITANS
and SUPERBOY issues. So while Superboy really is the son of Lois and Clark, it
is another Lois and Clark from an alternate timeline. On the plus side this
issue is mostly self-contained and can be followed easily enough. With Harvest
narrating the story we see a whole new perspective on Superboy, even if it takes
a long roundabout route to get there. On the minus side, I don't really care
where the future of this comic is going. I guess it boils down to Lobdell's
writing style. The art is good on the details but the layouts are often
scattered as if just to break things up and the transition to the next panel are
not always clear. So now I know how this Superboy came to be, but I doubt I will
be reading many future issues.

Issue Number: 1
Originally published online 2012-2013 as Chapters 1 & 2
Publisher: DC
Writers: Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Humor

This is one of those comics that first appeared online as a web comic and has
been compiled into a printed comic for a new audience. As you might guess from
the title the major characters are portrayed as child-like people, except for
Batman who has a more domineering appearance. The art itself is fully painted
which is a good style for this type of characterization. It is not cartoonish
but still evokes a humorous rendering. There are two stories on holiday themes. 
The first is about Halloween and most of it involves Batman educating Robin
(Damian) what the holiday is all about.  That in itself is rather silly as if
anyone his age would not know anything about Halloween. Anyway, Damian is ready
to capture kids dressed up as major villains until Batman explains the whole
masquerade aspect of the night. It is funnier when he tells him about the trick
or treat aspect, which Damian gets all wrong as well. Toward the end they do
encounter a group of actual villains and the resolution of the situation is not
what you would expect.  The second story is about Thanksgiving and it begins
with Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, vowing to a group of actual penguins that
Gotham will pay for celebrating the murder and consumption of their brethren
birds. Back at stately Wayne Manor Bruce, Damian and Alfred are enjoying their
holiday feast and watching the Gotham parade on TV when Penguin enters the scene
with an army of turkeys to exact revenge. The balance of the story has the
dynamic duo rushing to the scene with expected results. There is even an epilog
with Penguin in the pen receiving his just desserts. The rest of the issue is
what amounts to a four-page ad for DC Nation cartoons on Cartoon Network. I like
this comic because there is a good focus on entertaining a wide audience. The
stories are intended for all ages but are not dumbed down for the youngest
readers. There is good humor and the art is strong.  It is a good comic to share
with everyone.


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:
Famous LAST words of which character?
"I love you so much for what you are.  For how . . .good you are..."

These famous dying words were from Supergirl (Kara) in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS
#7. The winner this week is Gary Katzoff.

Here is your no prize question:
Rhode Island's oldest Catholic Church, St. Mary's in Newport, was the scene of
what famous event?

The wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier was held at St. Mary's.


I have a multi-part question - all from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.  Get them all
to win the prize.

In CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS who killed these heroes?

Here is your no prize question:
Where was the first US Open in golf held?

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.

his possible future. While he has

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