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Friday, May 10, 2013

Comic Reviews 5/10/13


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: Eaten From the Inside Out
Publisher: DC
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Freddie Williams II
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Carlos Mangual
Cover Artist: Amanda Conner
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

It is probably not accurate to classify this as a super hero book.  There are
characters with super powers but whether or not they are heroes is up to your
point of view. They are a group that calls itself The Movement. They not only
work outside the law they also work against it some times. The action is set in
Coral City. Through this introductory issue we see that there is a lot of bad in
the local police force. The beginning sequence shows two of the less ethical
cops trying to extort sex from a girl in an alley in exchange for not framing
her boyfriend for dealing drugs. The Movement has more than super powers in
their bag of tricks. They also use social media to expose bad people. In this
case several people suddenly appear, all wearing silver facemasks and playing a
recording of the officer making his threat on their cell phones.  Channel M, the
Internet identity of The Movement, instantly posts it to the net. The scene
serves to highlight the extent of the size of the movement and the depth of
problems in the police force. Even the chief is powerless to root it out and he
even has problems of his own.  There has been a rash of killings and the latest
victim has just been found.  If that isn't bad enough a young boy with powers
believes he is possessed and as he enters a church at the prodding of the pastor
it appears he may be correct. So these two situations have the cops out in force
but the Movement arrives to take charge and they make no bones that the police
are not welcome. This is an interesting dynamic for a change. Simone takes time
to characterize several members of the group showing their powers and their
attitudes, which have quite a range. Williams is a powerful artist who adds to
the story with a style very much like Neal Adams. This introduction has me
wondering how long the Movement can just usurp the authority in their section of
Coral City without a major conflict with the police. They have the upper hand
with their powers, and they are considerable, but you know there will be
pushback. It is a fascinating premise that is worth staying with for a while to
see what develops.

Title: SHADOWMANIssue Number: 0 (Zero)
Publisher: Valiant
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artists: Roberto De La Torre, Mico Suayan w/Lewis LaRossa & Neil Edwards
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artists: Dave Johnson, Khari Evans & Lewis LaRossa
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

This zero issue is essentially the origin of Master Darque, the immensely
powerful necromancer who currently is trapped in the parallel world known as the
Deadside. Shadowman is new to his power and is being aided by two humans in a
war to prevent Darque from making his way to Earth and possibly ending
existence, as we know it. But to understand Darque better we go back to his
beginning, right from birth. The narrator is actually his twin sister. She
retells the day of their birth, a somewhat unusual entrance into the world at
the cost of their mother's life. From an early age their father let them know
that they were very special and began training them in the art of magic, dark
magic. Nicodemo and Sandria eventually manifest their latent ability to wield
magic and their training begins in earnest. Their father explains that there is
a place where they can learn more, how to do things they can't do here. It is
called Lyceum. He has only seen a vision of it and spent his whole life trying
to find his way there through magic. He was not adept enough but his children
have already surpassed his ability in their early teens. He needs their help and
together they can all pass over to this wonderful place. They love their father
and will anything for him and so they begin even more training and get a series
of body tattoos over the years. By the time they were eighteen they were both
very powerful and the time was ready for the ritual. This is the climax of the
story as they learn the truth of their father's plan and suffer the consequences
of it. This is one of those issues in which the title character does not even
appear. It is a story that stands on its own as a powerful lesson in how power
and the lust for it can corrupt even family bonds. The art is especially apt for
this type of story with masterful coloring at every step. It may not be
necessary to follow the main plot of the series but it helps bring some
understanding of the main villain. Of all the Valiant titles this one has more
depth of characterization and this issue proves it.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Blood Oath
Publisher: Image
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Ben Templesmith
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

Two of my favorite comic creators are J. Michael Straczynski and Ben
Templesmith. That is to say when they are working on creator owned properties.
If you have never read FELL by Warren Ellis and Templesmith you should seek it
out. It is well worth your time. His art is very unique and works well on darker
themes. His characterizations and coloring/shading really adds to those types of
stories. Joe Fitzgerald is a fixer. His fee is ten grand, hence the title of the
book. He explains to his latest client that it is not a lot of money but it is
enough to weed out the kooks, clowns, whackos, feebs, creeps and the like.
Debbie has managed to scrape together the fee because she does not know where
else to turn. She explains her sister from Seattle, Sarah, came to live with her
and work at a local coffee shop. She got mixed in with a group called the Divine
Will and soon moved in with them instead. It was supposed to be about
spirituality and responsibility but after a while things changed. Sarah called
late at night to explain that it was not what she expected. The members were
involved in demonology. When Debbie went to see her the people at Divine will
explained that Sarah had left but Debbie believes otherwise. What clinches the
deal for Joe is a sketch of the leader of Divine Will, James, which Sarah had
made for Debbie. When Joe explains he killed that man two years ago Debbie
explains she saw him at Divine Will running the place. At that Joe agrees to
take the case for free. That is the set up. The rest of the issue is about Joe's
story, which has some very interesting aspects to it. As an enforcer he would
often be called on the take out competitors of a local gangster, Mr. Antonio. We
see when he got the job to take out James. We also see that it ruined his life
by costing the life of his true love, Laura. This was going to be his last job.
He was going to give it up for her. Instead they both were the objects of
supernatural retaliation. Fortunately, or not, for Joe an angel appears to him
as he dies to make him an offer he can't refuse. This story was great reading.
It starts off simple enough with no hint that it will involve angels and demons
and when the angel first appears in the present it is a surprise but it leads to
the back story in a most efficient way. This is a real thriller done in a
masterful way is story and art.  Get it now.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Getting a Bit Short On Heroes
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Mike Carey
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colors: Andrew Elder
Letters: Ed "Duke" Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Super Villain
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

Most stories about people with powers are very similar. A few try to take a
different approach and to me that makes them more interesting. Such is Mike
Carey's newest approach SUICIDE RISK. In this version of reality super powers
are just emerging. The problem is that most of the people with powers are
villains. The few that are heroes either eventually turn bad or are outnumbered
and get dead. Where does that leave the ordinary heroes, the police with no
super powers? That is the premise of this comic. Specifically the lead character
is one of those policemen, beat cop Leo Winters. Leo relates just how bad the
circumstances have become as he tells a superior of the latest incident. Thirty
cops were up against five villains and when the dust settled the good guys lost
seventeen with twelve injured and fourteen civilians were killed. The visuals
depict this battle in gruesome detail. Leo can't see how they could possibly
prevail against the rising tide of super powered bad guys. But Leo has heard how
these people have been getting their powers. Word is you can buy them on the
street. Carey takes time out to visit Leo's home life. It offers another view
from family and friends about this whole situation as well as the strong support
of his wife for his work. So what would you do in his place when you find the
clue that would lead you to the source of the powers?  Would you turn it over to
the higher ups or take things into your own hands? That is the question Leo has
to ask himself. It is a compelling plot and there is strong character
development that brings depth to the situation. Elena does a great job on every
panel and page with the strong coloring making it a polished product.  I did not
find anything to complain about and believe this comic deserves a wide audience.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Colors: Mat Lopes
Letters: Rob Steen
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I am not a big fan of the old pulp heroes redone in comics. Most of those I have
read are decent enough but fail to excite me enough for more. It is with this
attitude I looked into the BLACK BAT, Dynamite's latest foray into the genre.
What stands out in this first issue is Ronan Cliquet's art. He manages to
maintain the noir feel to it all, especially in the scenes featuring the Black
Bat. The story is not told in a linear fashion and Lopes is adept at coloring
the different scenes ever so slightly in his coloring to indicate the shift. The
two succeed it making this a modern comic with just the right feel. The Black
Bat character is the alter ego of defense attorney Tony Quinn. He has a love
hate relationship with the city he is in. He sees it for what it is - corrupt,
violent and unforgiving. At one point in his life, after losing his sight to a
vicious attack he was ready to give up on the city and life. But a doctor gifted
him with new corneas that somehow restored his sight, allowed him to actually
see in the dark and still present himself to the world as a blind man. Through
the period of his sightlessness his other senses sharpened. With two secret
allies he creates the Black Bat persona to work outside the law. This first
issue outlines some of those details and presents his first case for us to see.
Someone has been kidnapping cops and Quinn has a plan to use another ally as
bait to get to those responsible. But this will not be an easy win. As I said I
really liked the composition and the art.  It is a better than average story as
you would expect from Buccellato. It is not enough to keep me coming back for
more but I recognize a good product when I see it.

Issue Number: 258.1
Title Story: The Thought That Killed
Publisher: Marvel
Plot: David Michelinie & Bob Layton
Script: David Michelinie
Artist: Dave Ross
Inker: Bob Layton
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Some of you with no foreknowledge of this comic may be wondering with IRON MAN
recently restarted for Marvel NOW with a new number one how this issue of IRON
MAN could be 258.1 already. But if you take a closer look you will see it is not
the MARVEL NOW series.  This is truly a story that takes place after #258 of the
old series. The opening page confirms it. This is a continuation of the Armor
Wars II story first began in #258 by John Byrne and John Romita Jr., a follow-up
to the seminal Armor Wars story by David Michelinie and Bob Layton. Now
Michelinie and Layton are revisiting Armor Wars themselves for the first time.
What makes this a fun story is that it is removed from current continuity and
does not get mixed in with anything else going on in the Marvel Universe at the
time. It is a perfect type of story to entice readers the same week that the new
Iron Man movie is released. We have a younger curly haired Tony who recently had
a biochip removed that was causing him odd back pain. It is similar to the
biochip used to repair Tony's spine after he was shot. It was designed to go
dormant after the damage was repaired but it is now mutated into something else.
Tony has a theory that programmable nanites that had once been injected into his
blood by Justin Hammer may be the key to the biomass mutating. At this period of
time he is dating Rae Lacoste. Unknown to him she is actually working for
Hammer. It is all part of an elaborate plot that will soon come to a head when
the biolab attempts to analyze it. Rhodey has a strong supporting role in the
action sequences, which Layton presents masterfully. The first part of the story
ends with a good cliffhanger enticing us to come back in a week for the next
part.  As I said a self-contained story set in earlier times is accessible to
all readers, especially those who may have given up on current continuity. Give
it a try - I think you will like it.


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 feature jumped from STARSLAYER to PACIFIC PRESENTS to a graphic album?

The answer is Dave Stevens' ROCKETEER!

Here is your no prize question:
Which president paid off the entire national debt?

Andrew Jackson was the only president to actually pay off the national debt. On
Jan. 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate
what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the
big announcement: "Gentlemen . the national debt . is PAID." That was the one
time in U.S. history when the country was debt free. It lasted exactly one year.

Who gave Mister Miracle his other name, Scott Free?

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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