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Friday, May 24, 2013

Comic Reviews 5/25/13


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
Publisher: Image
Writer: Nathan Edmonson
Artist: Konstantin Novosadov
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Paranormal/supernatural Drama
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

Have you ever heard the theory that real life is in your dreams and your waking
hours are only a dream?  That may be what Winslow believes. All his life he has
had the same dream over and over. He is in a place with no name and he is
flying. It was his refuge from the life with his adoptive parents who were
always fighting. As he grew older the dream became more intense, he became
consumed by it; it became harder to wake up. The dream was so real that waking
up sometimes felt like falling asleep. Eventually he could not concentrate on
anything else and the doctors were convinced he really could not distinguish
dreaming from reality. So eventually he was committed to a psychiatric hospital,
which is were we find him as the story begins. He has a casual friend, Ziggy,
who is schizophrenic. The only other friend is Anne who serves meals in the
cafeteria. She has been passing him books about dreaming from the outside world.
It is clear there is a spark between them. These circumstances and conversations
gives us insight into the main characters save one, a mysterious man who will
enter Winslow's life very soon. It is shortly after Winslow's latest doctor
tries a session using regression therapy when things change. It is during that
session's dream state that Winslow sees three figures cloaked in dark robes.
They see him; they looked at him. This has never happened before and it
frightens Winslow. Later that evening, while he is awake in his room, the
figures appear in his room and reach out to him with clawed hands. Fortunately
Anne is nearby and hears him yell. She opens his room and when the figures
appear again they both begin to run.  It seems like Winslow has gone from a
lifelong dream to a waking nightmare. The story involves these two on the run
from forces they do not know nor comprehend. At several turns an old man with a
staff appears when they need him most with a little aid and guidance.  He
eventually identifies himself as the Dream Merchant and the antagonists as the
Regulators. It seems Winslow's dream is very important and now the Regulators
will pursue him to advance their own agenda. It is a frightening and mysterious
premise without full explanation at this point. There is a bit of suspense and
the characterization is developing page by page. The art is unique and well
suited for the theme of the work. At first this seems like a work exploring a
particular form of mental illness but as wee see now it is much more. I am not
totally committed to this series yet but I would like to see what happens next
as Winslow and Anne cope with life on the run from the boogiemen.

Issue Number: 1 (of 2)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted by: Richard Corben
Letters: Nate Piekos
Price (USD): $$3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

You do not have to be familiar with this famous work of Poe to enjoy it. I
grabbed this issue because I am a fan of Richard Corben's art. He is one of
those artists who are instantly recognizable. His characters mostly have long
faces and large noses. His females tend to be well endowed in proportion to
their body. The story follows a young man named Allan who has been summoned
rather urgently to the home of an old classmate, Roderick Usher. Unfortunately
it is a long ride by horseback and in the night his horse abandons him. He
finally makes it to the house of Usher on foot. When he finally arrives in a
dense fog he is startled by what he finds in the entrance hall of the house - a
pile of coffins and decaying bodies strewn about. He stumbles and hits his head
and later awakens in a bed. He explores a bit and finds his old classmate at
work on a painting. Surprisingly Usher brushes aside the cause of his urgent
summons explaining that his painting is more important now. He shows several
sketches - an anatomical study of a nude female and then reveals it is his own
sister, sitting across the room au natural. Usher begs his leave and says they
will meet for breakfast but it the sister who comes to Allan's room that night
refusing to speak. She passes him a series of notes saying she fears for her
life and Allan must help her escape from her brother when he leaves. This is the
mystery that is being set up that has to do with the coffins, Usher's mad
obsession and the painting of his sister he is rushing to complete.  There is
enough of a tease in this first half to get you intrigued, especially if you do
not know the full story. Corben's art is fascinating to me and as always his
coloring is brilliant. He added a narrator to bookend the chapter and that adds
another element to the experience. I would be interested to see how fans of Poe
take to this adaptation. On its own it is worthwhile to check out anyway.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator:  Based on the Universal Television series created by Glen A. Larson
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Cezar Razek
Colors: Vinicius Townsend
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/TV Adaptation

Fans of the original Battlestar Galactica series on TV should appreciate this
series, which brings us back to those characters with new plots. Rather than
carry on from where it left off way back then (and I disregard the second series
which had them actually reach Earth) the comic book creators go back to the time
when they are still in deep space, still looking for Earth, and are still being
pursued by the Cylons. The opening page begins appropriately with the familiar
opening dialogue heard every week recited by actor Patrick McNee, "There are
those who believe that life here began out there." The action takes us back
through a recap of major events, one being Adams's personal loss of his wife and
son to the Cylon attacks. It haunts him every day, even as he leads a makeshift
fleet of military and civilian spacecraft across the cosmos in search of the
lost tribe of humans from their distant past. This recap leads us into the
current day; on the anniversary of the attack on Caprica and the other colonies
Adama addresses the fleet to reaffirm their mission and purpose. That being the
set up, an introduction to new readers and a refresher for past fans, we get
right into action as an incoming Cylon attack is detected. This one is bigger
than ever with multiple basestars appearing out of a nearby nebula. With the
overwhelming odds and the damage to the Galactica Adama has no choice but to
sanction the use of heretofore forbidden technology. Zee, a brilliant scientist
in the body of a young boy, has been working on temporal weapons. In order to
buy time for the Galactica and the rest of the fleet he proposes to use two
vipers outfitted with these weapons. Naturally Starbuck and Apollo are chosen
for the mission. The plan is to fire on the battlestars. This will displace them
temporally - actually remove them from the timeline as if they never existed.
With ten shots apiece they can hit all the basestars and the attack will have
never happened. Of course this is the set up of the ongoing plot when something
goes wrong. I think the artists have really captured the likenesses of the
original actors close enough on the interior art and superbly by Alex Ross on
the cover. The flow of action throughout is depicted well as are the characters.
I enjoyed this return to one of my favorite series from long ago. The effort is
good enough for new readers to enjoy as well.

Title: DOOMSDAY .1
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: John Byrne
Colors: Leonard O'Grady
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

In 1975 John Byrne was published in his first pencil and ink color comic series
from Charlton called DOOMSDAY +1. He of course went on to become a big success
in the industry. Now he is returning to his roots with a comic series loosely
based on the same concept - a few astronauts returning from space after a global
cataclysm. He has updated the circumstances to set it in the present time and
change the antagonist from a South American despot to the sun. Astronauts on the
International Space Station are the first to understand the problem. The sun has
let out a tremendous burst of radiation. Their instruments indicate it is of
such a magnitude that anyone not shielded as they are from the rays, everyone on
the Earth exposed to it in other words, will develop cancer within a year. But
looking closer they see things are worse than that. This is a massive solar
flare that is unlike any other in the past. It is large enough to have its own
gravity, condensing into a spheroid with a cloud of plasma surrounding it that
is larger than the Earth. In a nutshell this will mean the end of the planet.
After the flare hits there will be a ring of fire sweeping across the globe.
Little if anything will survive or be habitable. So what do you do when certain
doom approaches?  After learning and believing that this could be the end of
everything we look in on a few places on Earth and a few key people who are
reacting. The president, against the advise of nearly everyone, goes on national
TV to tell everyone of their fate and she advises the people of their only
option. In Rome the Pope is following his own course as his advisors discuss the
most likely place on the planet where life might be able to endure. And in a
maximum-security prison in Southeast Texas, the warden and his top correctional
officer ponder their own fate, being in an area that might survive. They wonder
what to do about the prisoners when that decision is taken out of their hands.
But it is the seven astronauts who are the main cast of the story. Without
future contact with Earth, and the ISS in the path of the flare, they have no
choice but to take the shuttle to avoid the flare and then land on what is left.
In typical Byrne fashion there is a lot of character interaction among these
astronauts.  We learn quickly about the relationships and sometimes the
unpleasant friction among some. Sometimes it is a bit overdone in his effort to
emphasize the point. As the story goes forward, if they survive at all, we know
they will have to put aside their difference for their own survival and that of
mankind. Byrne's art is another that is instantly recognizable. Those who have
read a lot of his work will recognize a few familiar faces he has used for
characters in his other work. Leonard O'Grady does a splendid job with coloring
it all. I liked the first issue and hope Byrne can maintain my level of interest
without getting bogged down too much in melodrama. I'll wait and see.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Kaboom!
Creator: JG Quinel
Writer: KC Green
Artist: Allison Strejlau
Colors: Lisa Moore
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artists: Various
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor/TV Adaptation

I am someone who grew up on very old school cartoons from Looney Tunes to Popeye
and later to things like Rocky & Bullwinkle to Animaniacs and so on. I have
limited my current cartoon interest to generally the superhero fare like Batman
Beyond and the current Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers series. In prime time I
have enjoyed the Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park. There has been a surge of
popularity of shows on Cartoon Network and I have sampled them from time to time
but the characters and humor is in a much different vein and I find I can't
really get into it.  This is not so much of a criticism as it is recognition of
the difference of tastes in generations when it comes to humor. Some is more
universal and other types appeal more to the young or older than others. I
really like Bing Bang Theory for example but never cared for The Office. So
recognizing this I decided to sample a comic based on one of those newer
cartoons I do not watch. I really don't know anything about THE REGULAR SHOW so
I approached this purely as a comic book. If you are also unfamiliar the first
thing you notice are the main characters on the cover. They are an odd mix of
anthropomorphic animals - a raccoon and a bird, what looks like an animate ghost
broom with a hand on the other end- he is called Fives, a rather husky short guy
with green skin they call Muscle Man and a guy named Benson that looks like a
gumball machine with arms and legs except the globe is half filled with liquid.
There are a couple of other characters but you get the idea. So I figure the odd
combination of this type having adventures in a world filled with otherwise
normal people is done for visual effect - they stand out and some of them more
odd than others. The plot has the guys working at an outdoor charity concert.
Rigby the raccoon and the bird, sorry they do not give his name, are on trash
duty with Benson supervising them and others. The two begin wishing there was a
mosh pit but it is the wrong music and wrong kind of people. Muscle Man
overhears this and takes it as a challenge. He and Fives start mixing it up in
the crowd and before long there is utter chaos. But something else happens as
well. There is a surreal effect on the crowd. Some outside source has taken them
over and the ground is beginning to rumble. There is a dark force that feeds off
the energy of rowdy adolescents and it seems it is centered right below the
mayhem they have created. Will Benson and the others who are not affected be
able to save everyone before something disastrous happens?  This is not so much
humor, to me anyway, than it is a silly cartoon adventure. There are bits of
humor along the way, mostly to appeal to the younger crowd. The story is
structured to flow properly and leaves a cliffhanger for next time. The
mechanics of the art are professionally rendered as well. I think the creators
accomplish what they desire and hit the marks for their intended audience.

Back up story: Thrill Baby
Written & illustrated by Brian Butler, colored by Maarta Laiho

In this second story the guys are trying to get Rigby to ride a roller coaster
thrill ride called the Face Melter. They interpret his hesitance to be fear but
it turns out to be embarrassment. He claims he can never get a good picture
taken, as this is one of those rides that snap a photo at a critical point in
the ride. Whenever he gets off the staff is always laughing at the ridiculous
faces he makes. The others come up with a plan to fix that and, well you can
expect something to go wrong.

Issue Number: 20
Title Story: Home Invasion
Publisher: DC
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino with Nei Ruffino
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Back to the NEW 52 and another series to see where it is going after 20 issues.
This issue turns out to be a good one to sample as it is presented in such a way
that knowledge of what preceded it is not critical to understanding the plot.
The story involves Supergirl, her counterpart from Earth 2 Power Girl, and
Supergirl's AI fortress under the sea she calls Sanctuary. As the story begins
the two supergals are in Sanctuary and have just been politely informed by
Sanctuary that Power Girl is obviously a clone of Supergirl and therefore if she
remains still the eradication protocol will be invoked. There is something in
its Kryptonian programming that will not allow clones of its master to exist. No
matter what Supergirl says or even commands Sanctuary it will not deviate from
its programming to eliminate Kara. When she finally convinces it to do another
test, rather than decide who is the real deal by gladiatorial combat, it changes
its mind and declares that Supergirl is actually the clone and needs to be
destroyed. Eventually we get to the point where Sanctuary attacks. Can either or
both of these heroes stand up to Kryptonian technology designed to overcome
their powers? This is a fun issue. For one, Power Girl is back to her pre-New 52
costume and there is a bit of sparring about it when Supergirl says she is too
"old" for the outfit with the cleavage window. There are other bits of sarcasm
and asides that really make the script fun to read. It is not often a writer can
pull it off and still maintain the serious part of the plot - Peter David comes
to mind - but Michael Nelson handles the balance very well. The art is decent
enough though sometimes the pencils on the characters seem inconsistent from
panel to panel. It has good layout and sequencing and the coloring is fine. 
This was a pleasant comic and it is not just a temporary conflict thing as the
ending reveals. I would not hesitate to recommend you give this issue a try to
see if it is something you would like to follow.


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
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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 series XOMBI David Kim was unable to resurrect his assistant
Kelly Sanborne with his blood's nanomachines. Why not?

She had been cremated so the nanomachines had no material to work with. The
winner this week is Keith Martin.

What do Miracle Dog and the killer of Izaya's wife have in common?

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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