Search This Blog

Friday, July 5, 2013

Comic Reviews 7/5/13

David LeBlanc was the Editor of the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine for
over ten years. He is a life-long fan of comics and moderated online comic book
forums long before the Internet became the place to be. David works part-time at
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, the Eisner-winning comic store in Worcester, MA.


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: Cross World
Publisher: DC
Creators: Bob Kane/Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Jae Lee & Ben Oliver
Colors: June Chung & Daniel Brown
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As the NEW 52 evolves some titles have been cancelled and new ones begin. This
week I look at two of the new titles. Since there already is a WORLD'S FINEST
title, involving members of the Batman and Superman families of Earth 2, this
team up title of the top two heroes is named BATMAN/SUPERMAN. We are not told
how long ago this happens but the story tells how Superman and Batman first met
as Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne and as it moves forward their alter egos meet and
in stereotypical super hero fashion battle each other. The set up has Clark
venturing to Gotham City for the first time. We presume Clark used his powers to
locate Bruce who is in disguise as a vagrant sitting on a park bench watching
local bullies pick on a weaker kid of Middle East descent. Oddly it is Clark who
intervenes and then later reveals that he knows this is Bruce Wayne. He came to
Gotham to seek him out because he is investigating the murders of three Wayne
Enterprises employees in Metropolis. Bruce has no comment and the scene shifts
to some later time in Metropolis where of all people Catwoman is attacking
another Wayne Enterprises employee, a board member. Bruce figured he would be
the target as he is the only employee in Metropolis who refused to relocate for
the night at Bruce's expense. Bruce is ready for what is happening and makes the
typical Batman entrance crashing through the glass face of a clock tower where
the action is happening. The employee has a WayneTech devise he tries to
activate and soon everyone is after everyone else including the robots the
device activated. But this is Metropolis and soon Superman makes the scene
naturally assuming the Batman is the bad guy. What was really going on is that
Catwoman has been possessed by some unknown entity. When it leaves her she is
surprised she is in Metropolis. As things start to get heated between the two
heroes the entity makes its play and the two heroes are transported, apparently
by a Boom Tube, to Smallville. So far the story has been moving well and what
happens in Smallville provides more mystery perhaps alluding to the entity's
power. It is no secret that the very next issue has our heroes meeting their
Earth 2 counterparts so it is possible that they are not in Kansas anymore, at
least not the Kansas Clark grew up in. Rucka spends a little time on the splash
page and in the thoughts of Clark and Bruce regarding their parents and early
experiences. It is a significant issue with their first meeting and then
realizing each other's identities. The art is for some reason shared by two
teams. Jae Lee does the first 18 pages and it is fascinating in the detail and
composition of the layouts. Ben Oliver handles the back end rather seamlessly
though the difference in style is noticeable. For the extra buck you get 26
story pages and a couple of gallery pages from other artists as well as the
uncolored cover to issue number two. So far I am enjoying it and will stick
around to see where it goes.

Issue Number: 10AI
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Andre Lima Araujo
Colors: Frank D'Armata
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Sara Pichelli & Marte Gracia
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you've read AGE OF ULTRON then this will interest you as it follows right
after that series and transitions into the next series AVENGERS AI. If you don't
yet know the composition of that new team it is revealed on the last page. At
the end of AU #10 Hank Pym remarks that he found his miscalculation when he
created Ultron in the first place. You might infer from this that he would try
again but that is not what is about to happen. This issue finds Hank sitting in
a corner contemplating all that has gone on not only with the space-time
continuum but his whole life. In fact this is a good issue to buy to get to know
more about Hank from his early days as a child. Waid goes into detail how the
young boy manifested extreme intelligence at an early age but to his parents'
consternation applied his talent to meaningless pursuits in their eyes. He was
always inventing gadgets with no practical applications - like a robotic knife
to scrape the cream filling out of Oreos. His grandmother was his friend and
defied his parents by always encouraging his silly creativity. Even through
school and eventually a research job he had to have others as a guiding force to
keep him focused. When he could no longer take the stifling of his self-
expression he struck out on his own and that is when he started down the path of
discovery leading to the Pym Particles and his birth as a super hero. The
narrative starts in a dark place, with Hank actually contemplating suicide but
evolves as he recalls the moments in his life where he made a difference. His
glimpse of a possible world where he was killed before he invented Ultron leads
him to an "It's A Wonderful Life" revelation about what he should do next. So
this issue turns out to be more about the evolution of Hank Pym than it is about
the new series to come. You can skip it and still not miss much when AVENGERS AI
debuts. However, this is a solid story that strengthens the character going
forward and I think it is worth your time. The art team does a superb job and
will not disappoint you.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Archaia
Creator: David Petersen
Writer/Artist Framing Sequence: David Petersen
Cover Artist: David Petersen
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Anthropomorphic Fantasy

This mini-series is a collection of short stories told by guest creators. David
Petersen renders the set up and interludes between the tales. He sets it up in
the June Valley Inn in the spring of 1155. The characters are of course all mice
and the proprietor, June, has offered up a competition of story telling among
the patrons who are late in paying their tabs for food, drink and lodging. The
winner telling the best tale will have his or her slate wiped clean. The first
issue includes three such stories.

"Autumn Tale" by Stan Sakai

First up is Mira, a female whose husband has been ill. Her story is how he was
hurrying home last fall when he fell prey to a fox. He would have been killed
had it not been for the timely intervention of an eagle that rescued him and
brought him home. The bird tells how the same vixen killed its own mate and
saving Mira's husband was part of a bigger plan to get justice. Sakai is a
masterful artist and he treats the characters with the same care as if they were
his own. It is a simple tale with a moral.

"Leviathan" by Alex Eckman-Lawn with a story by Nick Tapalansky

Next up is Holton who recalls the famous tale of Tiernan the Brave's Quest. His
many adventures on the quest are familiar to all but Holton tells a story of his
younger days when he was known as Tiernan the Brash. There was a story about him
at that age deciphering the mysteries of the Old Island Temple but few know
about his journey to get there when his wits and strength were of no use. The
way to the island was long, even astride the back of a friendly seabird. Sure
enough, stormy weather proved too much for the bird and as a result Tiernan was
thrown from his back into the sea. Were it not for his magic amulet that
protected him from drowning in a bubble he would have perished. But it also
prevented him from fending off the attack of a giant squid. How he survived with
aid from an unseen quarter is a story few know. It changed his demeanor to one
that was more sober and thoughtful. The art on this one is less defined in line
work but the colors stand out.

"A Bone to Pick" by Ben Caldwell

The final tale spinner is a farmer who tells a story of his two daughters
returning from an uneventful day of fishing. While taking a shortcut through
Battle Meadow they happen on two robbers plotting to loot their own town while
the Mouse Guard is away up north. They notice one of the robbers is afraid of
ghosts in this old battlefield and Pearl comes up with a plan to scare the
bandits by fashioning their own ghost from old rags, skeletons and weapons
strung together with fishing line. When they are discovered it looks like the
end but fate lends a hand to end things well. This is another cute story in a
more light-hearted vein. The characters are drawn like something out of a
familiar cartoon giving the story the right visual appeal.

Since this is the first of four issues we will have to wait and see if any of
these stories win the prize. The scenes done by Petersen are really a highlight
of the volume. His detail and coloring are perfect and it is easy to see why
MOUSE GUARD is a successful series. This issue is a perfect opportunity for new
readers of all ages to sample Petersen's wonderful world as interpreted by some
fantastic creators.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Extremely Large Dog on the Edge of Forever
Publisher: DC
Creators: Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis
Plot/Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colors: Mike Atiyeh
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: Howard Porter
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

When you buy this issue you will get you a free Orange Lantern ring while
supplies last.

This is the other NEW 52 title that begins this month that I mentioned above.
For those who still do not know who the title character is he is the one and
only Orange Lantern. There are power rings for every color of the rainbow -
ROYGBIV. Each one characterizes a different emotion and the orange one stands
for greed. That is all you really have to know to jump into this story where we
find Larfleeze and his indentured servant, Stargrave, floating on a small
asteroid at the farthest corner of the universe known as The Creation Point. It
is the cosmic nexus where matter becomes energy and vice versa. Larfleeze is in
a funk having lost all of his possessions, even the orange battery that powers
his ring. The ring is the only thing protecting the duo but when the charge runs
out in fifteen minutes the Point will scatter their existence into subatomic
particles. Stargrave's only hope is to jolt Larfleeze into action before it is
too late. But despite shaking off his funk Larfleeze decides to retell his
origin story - to regale in the things he had to overcome to achieve greatness.
In case you haven't guessed this comic is the most comical of the Green Lantern
books. Giffen and DeMatteis telling the story should have been the tip off.
Naturally Larfleeze's story is long and embellished and the counterpoint of
Stargrave in fear for their lives is done up constantly. The Orange Lantern goes
into detail right from his birth as one of seventeen. Often the story he tells
is a bit skewed from the actual truth the art is telling. His planet was invaded
and his people were enslaved on a nameless asteroid. Time moves forward from the
tale of his escape to battling the Manhunters and finally the discovery of an
ancient map that lead him to the orange battery of power. This is all good for
new readers as an introduction not only to the character's background but also
his personality. It also introduces a new discovery about his power and ends as
the encounter the beast mentioned in the story title. This title is not for
everyone. Of course those who are fans of all the GL books will probably get it
anyway but this one is structured for a wider audience. It is a comical story of
power and conflict and does not rely on the other books, at least for now, to
tell its story and entertain the fans. If the creators stay true to that format
it could be a fun book. Scott Kolins is a very good artist and the brilliant
coloring of Mike Atiyeh makes it visually exciting. It is worth the three bucks
to give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Season of Hungry Ghosts
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colors: Bill Crabtree
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure/Science Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

No, this is not yet another X-Men comic book. Instead the title refers to the
main character, Weaver, who has an ability he assumes no one else has. If he
makes skin contact with anyone he temporarily knows his or her thoughts and
personality traits. He even will acquire any physical abilities of the other for
a short time. This has come in very handy for him over the past year in
Singapore where he has made a living as a gambler hustling unsuspecting marks.
It is easy enough to know their tells and their methods when he uses his power
on them. But his string of luck is about to run out when he gets overconfident,
bluffs with money he does not have, and loses it all. His only chance is to
subdue the goon sent with him to his hotel to supposedly retrieve the money he
promised and then make a break for the airport. While he is confident his power
will be enough to carry out that plan he is in for a surprise as the
authorities, or someone with a lot of pull, close in on him. His only chance to
escape comes from a stranger with a proposition for him. This is basically an
action story with the lead character acting more like an adept spy than a con
man. The story moves well and keeps a fast pace right to the end. The dialogue
is enough to keep it moving and the art compliments it well. This one starts off
well but I think it will be more interesting when we learn why someone saved
Weaver and what they want.  Stay tuned.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Family
Publisher: Image
Creators: Greg Rucka & Michael Lark
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Colors: Santi Arcas
Letters: Michael Lark
Cover Artist: Michael Lark
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

How many different dystopian futures can there be?  Here is another one. In this
world people are divided along financial lines. The few very wealthy are the
privileged class. They own everything and are divided up amongst the Families.
Just below them are the Serf class who do the work and provide the labor for
everything. They have a decent living and are cared for from the largess of the
Families. The rest, by far the largest group, are of no use to anyone and are
referred to as Waste. In each Family there is one who is given the best of
everything, training, education and technology. They have every scientific
advantage to be their Family's protector and enforcer. They are called a Lazarus
for indeed they apparently cannot die. This issue begins with the story of the
Lazarus of the Carlyle Family. Her name is Forever. The first third of the issue
shows how Forever sustains multiple gunshot wounds and is left for dead by a few
Wasters apparently after food and provisions in a storehouse. Forever is
retelling the story to her doctor and he elicits information from her. He wants
to know all she felt and thought, how long it took before she rose again and
what she did after she came back to life. He has more than her health to be
concerned with as he is closer to her brother than his loyalty to doctor/patient
confidentiality. Her emotional state is their concern. There is more business to
attend to right away. There has been an assault on their facility called Harvest
One in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The Morray Family sent in troops
that were undetected as they approached and the whole security network collapsed
as they breached a wall and headed for the cold storage of seeds for future
crops. It is clear to all that they have been betrayed because this was not a
hack or sabotage. Someone in their midst is a traitor. This story could be told
I suppose without the need for the main character to be unkillable. In another
version she could just be a super soldier that always survives, like Captain
America. But that is not the case and Rucka uses her strengths to point out her
weakness as well. Her brother and doctor are manipulating her though at this
point the reason seems to be to ensure the survival of the family rather than
some other nefarious purpose. It almost seems when this is the case that the
person not being told the entire truth will eventually find out and rebel. We
will have to see if that is the case here. I like the art a great deal and the
colors are perfect as things switch from scene to scene.  It is a solid first


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:
Can you name the reporter with the blue beret in BLOOD SYNDICATE?

The reporter was Rob Chaplik. The winner by the dice is Keith Martin.

Here was your no prize question:
Which are the only two states whose names begin with double consonants?

Only Rhode Island and Florida start with double consonants.

The last issue of a long running comic was titled "Negro Americans the Early
Years."  What was the comic series?

Here is your no prize question:
What city in the US has held the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration?

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment