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Friday, May 3, 2013

Comic Reviews 5/4/13


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
Creators: Mark Millar & Frank Quitely
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors & Letters: Peter Doherty
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

I will read almost everything from Mark Millar.  When I read he was doing a
story about super hero legacy children I knew I would go for it. Add to the fact
that the art is by Frank Quitely and you know it will appeal to lots of readers.
It appears the story will initially focus on two children of the first
generation of super heroes and how they view their place in the world. But it
begins at the start of the origin of the world's first super heroes. It starts
in 1932, three years after the crash on Wall Street. One man who lost everything
in the aftermath, Sheldon Sampson, began having dreams of an island off the
coast of Africa. He was so troubled about the plight of his country that he
wanted to do something to save it. When the island kept calling out to him
promising salvation and better times he finally decided to act. He gave up on a
possible new career and even his fianc‚e to pursue the dream. With his brother
and a few college friends he set out to find the island. They made their way to
the area and hired a ship to take them where he felt the island would be.
Despite the captain's protests they would find nothing there his friends stood
behind him all the way. It sort of reminded me of the search for Skull Island in
KING KONG. Though the island proves to be real we never get to see what they
find there or how they got their powers. The story shifts to the present and it
is no coincidence that the state of the country is approaching circumstances
similar to what Sheldon experienced prior to the stock market crash. This part
of the story focuses on two areas.  We have the existing heroes battling a major
villain who is so powerful it will take their combined physical and mental
powers to defeat him. In the aftermath Sheldon, known as the Utopian, and his
brother Walter, who has the psychic powers, get into a heated argument over
whether their efforts should take another approach. Walter believes they should
force the world's leaders to be more responsible about things that are leading
to the financial collapse of major economies. Sheldon is more the straight-laced
Boy Scout who believes their responsibility is to serve and protect. Though some
of the younger generation is a member of the super team it is Utopian's children
who don't care to be super heroes. We see in other scenes how the son Brandon
has tired of the super hero gig, claiming all the cool opponents are gone. He
and his sister like the money from endorsements but would rather party than play
super-cop. In fact Chloe is an avid pacifist and vegetarian who runs with a wild
crowd and would rather date normal bad boys than other people with powers. Her
world appears to be in conflict with her parent's ideals and it is about to come
crashing down. This is an interesting start and it sets up the status quo for
the most part. There are conflicts among the heroes and between the generations
that will be explored as the story goes forward. No doubt some things will
change as these differences strain relations. You can almost guess some event
will be a catalyst to heat things up. Quitely does his usual fine job and
Doherty is spot on with his coloring.  It is a terrific package and will grow in
popularity as word spreads.  I recommend you give it a try.

Issue Number: 6 (of 6)
Title Story: Eighties
Publisher: DC
Creators: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Writer: Brain Azzarello
Artist: J.G. Jones
Colors: Alex Sinclair & Lee Loughridge
Letters: Clem Robins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the final issue of the BEFORE WATCHMEN group of books. It is a bit late
but it is not a wrap up of the bigger story, just the final chapter involving
Comedian. Through this mini-series and others we have scene the character evolve
into the ruthless agent who is willing to do what it takes. Through the Viet Nam
war and the close association with the Kennedy administration. This final
episode takes place during Bobby Kennedy's campaign for president. It is also
background in this version of the US relating to the conflict between the CIA
and the FBI. It recants how Comedian is relieved from his duties after his part
in a village massacre. While that event is covered up for political reasons it
will play into future events. Back in the states Blake has decided to hand out
justice to the criminal elements in the same fashion, which puts him in conflict
with Night Owl and Rorschach. But the main story gets back to his relationship
with the Kennedys. While in California Blake is approached by a former FBI agent
who has a revelation to make - someone will try to assassinate Bobby. He claims
the CIA is behind it and it is something others want to thwart, for their own
reasons. The man claims the Bureau will do nothing to stop it and will then
expose the CIA's involvement for their own purposes. Blake is instructed to use
the information as he sees fit with strong implications that the powers on his
side want to win the war and Bobby's death could galvanize the anti-war
movement. So this story is all about the choices Blake will have to make. A late
night visit by Bobby himself adds another twist to the story. I won't spoil the
ending as it is better seen on your own.  I enjoyed Azzarello's script through
the series and this seems like a good place to end it. I can also see room for
more stories involving this character but perhaps that would not be advisable.
Overall I think the concept of all of these series was worth executing as I have
enjoyed most of them.  I think they should leave it be for now, ending on a high

Publisher: Chronicle Books
Creator: Jeffrey Brown
Based on STAR WARS - Lucasfilms Ltd.
Price (USD): $14.95
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Film characters parody
All Ages

This charming little book is a delight for Star Wars fans of all ages. Jeffrey
Brown is an accomplished cartoonist and he brings his own passion for the
subject matter into the mix. This is essentially a collection of one-page comic
strips or panels. The central characters are Darth Vader and Leia. The premise
is that she is actually living with her dad from the time she is a sweet little
girl growing into a "rebellious" teenager. Many are typical father-teen
situations like Darth dropping her off at school in an AT-AT or taking her on a
driving lesson in a Tie Fighter. The panels span the various ages and include
other characters from the movies. We have Luke complaining about Leia taking too
long in the bathroom and Han promising to bring her home by 10:00. There is even
a scene with her wearing the famous outfit she wore as a slave to Jabba only in
this case Darth is saying the familiar phrase, "You are not going out dressed
like that!" And of course what rebellious teenager hasn't said, "I hate you!" To
which Vader responds, "Yes! Use your hate!" Wait until you see the punch line to
Leia's, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" It is all very clever
and witty. Browns art style on original stuff is unique and recognizable. On
this book he translates the famous heroes into younger versions quite well while
maintaining the familiar appearance of the adults.  I enjoyed it a lot and I
think you will too.

Issue Number: 8
Publisher: Kaboom!
Creator: Charles M. Schulz
Artist: Vicki Scott
Inkers: Paige Braddock & Justin Thompson
Colors: Nina Kester, Donna Almendrala & Art Roche
Letters: Alexis E. Fajardo
Cover Artist: Charles M. Schulz
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Comedy - All Ages

Kaboom! Is carrying on the legacy of Charles Schulz by bringing all new stories
of his beloved characters to another generation in comic book form. The series
is up to number eight and this issue brings us three new stories plus a couple
of classic strips from the creator himself. On the visual side the work is very
good. Vicki Scott successfully portrays all the characters we have come to know
flawlessly. The supporting inkers and colorists provide fine finishes making it
a top-notch production. The introductory story, "Ha Ha Herman" written by Paige
Braddock, follows the tradition of the beleaguered Charlie Brown who never seems
to get any joy out of life. Peppermint Patty and Marcie invite him to play a
game called Ha Ha Herman. Charlie has to go hide and then yell out the catch
phrase. It is apparently a game of hide and seek with the person whom is it
being the only one who hides. When the girls start searching Marcie suggests
Patty loves Charlie Brown causing Patty to blurt out that no one could love
someone so boring, dull and wishy-washy. They just happen to be standing next to
the bush Chuck is hiding in prompting him to leave while giving his classic
sigh. Marcie trying tries to mend things but only Patty will be able to sooth
Chuck's feelings if she can. The end result is what you would expect. In
"Missing Peace" written by Nat Gertler Charlie's little sister Sally is doing a
300 piece jig saw puzzle only to find one piece missing. The entire plot
involves her looking high and low for it while Charlie tries to calm her down.
But Sally can be explosive at times and so the frustration becomes too much. 
Her final reaction and the location of the missing piece are too good to spoil.
It is a fun story. The last entry is "Lone Beagle" written by Art Roche
featuring Snoopy. It is a series of segments loosely tied together in which
Snoopy speculates about his life based on the comments of those around him.
Sally scolds him for acting like a vulture followed by some harsh comments when
he refuses to fetch a stick. Perhaps he is "defective" as she puts it. This
leads him to ponder about things that have brought him joy and realizing those
things are not all that great he seeks "professional" help from the 5-cent
psychiatrist, Lucy. In the end it works out as he finds his worth and the really
important things in life.  Added to all this are two classic strips from Schulz
- one is a familiar clip of Charlie Brown's baseball team and the other features
Lucy being her crabby old self. The only negative I can see is the $4 price
point on this product. It may be forced by higher royalties or some such
business reason but I prefer products suitable for younger readers be more
economically priced. Still it is a polished effort and a lot of fun for

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Steve Horton & Michael Dialynas
Writer: Steve Horton
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Colors: Michael Dialynas
Letters: Steve Horton
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

This mini-series is a follow up to previous installments of Amala's story
published in DARK HORSE PRESENTS and reprinted in the inevitable zero issue. The
setting is the land of Naamaron an island separated by two distinct groups who
had been at civil war for years. On the west side are the Purifiers that have a
steam driven society. To the east are the Modifiers, a technology driven
society. The central cities of Ouon and Avatoun, like the rest of the island,
are separated by a neutral territory. The lead character, Amalia, is the
greatest assassin in the land. Previously she had killed a captain and
commandeered his ship. As this story begins she is in a tavern deep in Purifier
territory. As you read this you will see that the story is very accessible. She
is undercover on her next assignment making what appears to be small talk with a
local drunk who is bragging about killing a Modifier. You will also notice a
drunken monkey ghost hanging around but apparently only visible to Amalia. It
turns out there are several ghosts that appear to her from time to time. Well,
there is a sudden revelation and Amalia is forced to finish her job and beat a
hasty retreat. That really is a scene to get us more familiar with the
underlying conditions of the land and her place in it. Her employer is the
Vizier who has a palace in the neutral territory. He is concerned that while she
gets the job done she is drawing to much attention. Quick and easy is not her
method. He has a plan to correct that.  We also get to see the other side of
Amalia's life, living on Smitty's farm in Purifier territory. This is where she
finds the peace of a simple life between assignments and has a budding romance
with Smitty's assistant. Of course the tranquility is eventually interrupted as
the Vizier's messenger brings her next assignment - to kill a Purifier
noblewoman. This comic is more interesting for the characters than anything
else. The bar scene provides action and a look at Amalia's ability. The
supporting cast is a diverse mix of true friends, scheming employers and what is
up with the ghosts? The art is not to my liking although it is structured well
dynamically. The lines are rough which makes it less appealing to the eye
although the characterization added visually works well. It is too soon to judge
the story but it is off to a good start.  You might want to give it a try.

Issue Number: 014 AU
Title Arc: Age of Ultron Tie-In
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Butch Guice
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Once again I am sampling an AGE OF ULTRON tie-in issue of another series. I have
not been reading AVENGERS ASSEMBLE but like other tie-in comics to this event it
is not necessary in order to understand what is going on for this comic. For
this special issue the focus is on the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff. She has
taken a day off from everything and just enjoying the company of two old friends
from the Champions the daredevil stuntman George and his agent Richard. A good
part of this is just set up for what is to come - the tranquility of an outdoor
caf‚ and old friends getting together.  What this issue does for a change is not
start in the middle of the Ultron takeover but rather at the beginning.  We get
to see Natasha's perspective as first news from the east coast breaks as one by
one all communications are lost from its major cities. Even the Avenger's card
cannot get through. Her first instinct tells her that nuclear war has begun and
she must get her friends to safety before it hits San Francisco. But when she
looks up she realizes what it really is - Ultron. As the Ultrabots attack chaos
abounds. Natasha takes charge in a flight for survival, though many perish. 
Seeking temporary refuge in the sewers she will soon have to confront a new
danger. George the stunt man has a prosthetic arm. Unlike the normal metal and
plastic type this is made with Stark technology - a fully functional cyber
appendage. We all know that all technology connected to the wireless world is
vulnerable to Ultron's control. Eventually, because we have already seen her in
other chapters of the main event, we know Natasha will survive. How she came to
be scarred is part of this story. I enjoyed this episode a great deal. I dislike
coming in to the middle of the action and finding out later what came before as
in the main title. This provides that "from the beginning" perspective I like
and highlights the Black Widow's strength of character. The artwork is good
quality. The final panel showing the Widow's disfigured face is haunting. This
issue is not enough for me to sign up for yet another Avengers title but as an
adjunct to the AU event it was well worth 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:
On the death theme: Which god from New Genesis was the first to die on Earth in
the war with Darkseid's minions?

In the original NEW GODS series, Seagrin was the first to die on Earth, done in
by the Deep Six.

Here is your no prize question:
What is the highest elevation on the Massachusetts Turnpike?

I-90 hits an elevation of 1724 feet in the foothills of the Berkshires in
Western Mass.

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

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

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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