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Friday, August 16, 2013

Comic Reviews 8/16/13


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 (of 12)
Title Story: Ever Again
Publisher: Image/Joe's Comics
Creator: J. Michael Straczynski
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Tom Mandrake
Colors: HiFi
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature - Comics on the Edge

Comic collectors all have different reasons for buying their comics. Some like
to have entire runs of a title or all variant covers. Some follow certain
characters or creators. For some the art has to be above par to even consider a
comic. I have always been the type that will tolerate lesser art for a really
good story. I am a reader. I enjoy great stories as long as the art does not
destroy my enjoyment altogether. For that reason I will be willing to try new
titles by certain writers I have found to be good storytellers. One of those
writers is J. Michael Straczynski. I especially enjoy his own creations so I was
eager to see what he had to bring on this title based on a super hero sidekick.
So far I have not been disappointed. The title character is known as Flyboy, the
sidekick of the very popular hero the Red Cowl. As you might guess he has the
ability to fly and is "fairly resistant to medium caliber bullets." The story
begins with the highlight of his career as he and the Red Cowl defeat the Sonic
Master but his sonic bomb is about to explode destroying the city. There is no
way to disarm it so Flyboy grabs it and flies high into the air with no thought
of his own safety. Fortunately he is able to throw it high enough in the
atmosphere so it does no harm and he survives the blast. It was great for him to
stand next to his partner at the press conference and hear Red Cowl give him the
credit he deserves as he says, "let no one call him just a sidekick ever again."
But that was then and this is now. Red Cowl had the strength of Samson and the
wisdom of Einstein but he could not stop the assassin's bullet that cut him down
during a parade in their honor. Though Flyboy swore to find the killer it is
years later and he never has. Things just went from bad to worse after that. The
Cowl was sort of a Bruce Wayne archetype, a rich man who spent lots of money on
the tools to fight crime. After the secret funeral Flyboy and the Cowl's
assistant and lover Melody learn from the Cowl's retainer that Thomas had spent
most of his fortune on his gadgets, lost the rest on bad investments and his
estate will be sold to pay off remaining debt. Flyboy will have to make it on
his own, trying to make a name for himself. Thus in the present we find him
still blaming himself for his friend's death and not being accepted by the
public as a hero in his own right. The first chapter explores how he tries to
get attention and fails, tries to raise money through the internet and even
trying out with other heroes to become a team member. But everyone still sees
him as an aging sidekick whose time is passed. We even see him do things that
show how his ethics have eroded. Where will it go from here? Maybe he can nab a
super criminal single-handedly and redeem himself in the yes of the other
heroes. Well the final page gives us a shocking revelation that may have some
bearing. It seems we get the feeling he may fall further into despair or even
turn to the "dark side" if things get bad enough. It is an interesting story so
far and I am sure JMS has a lot more surprises in store for us along the way.
Mandrake does a really good job on the art, which is an added, plus for me. If
you like super hero comics as much as I do and want to see a different take than
you get month after month from the mainstream titles then this is for you.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: 3797 - The Scientist/1921 - The Soldier
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creator: Jeff Lemire
Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
Colors: Jeff Lemire & Jose Villarubia
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Jeff Lemire
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This is a flipbook comic. The story has two parts that are told separately. One
starts at the front of the book and when you flip it over the other starts from
the other cover. The two intersect with a common scene in the middle. My
suggestion is to first read the story that begins from the cover with a female
in a space suit upside down over two men crossing a battlefield. The stories
begin centuries apart as the story titles suggest. One is about a former WWI
soldier, William, who is part of an expedition in 1921 to find the Forbidden
Temple of the Incas. A previous expedition was decimated before reaching their
goal but William is convinced he and his men can succeed. They are following the
map from before and hope to find not only wealth and treasure but also the
secret to eternal life itself. I suggest you begin on the other side of the
comic on a planet at the far end of the galaxy hundreds of years in the future.
There are only four thousand humans left and one scientist, Nika, is in a race
to obtain the one thing that can help mankind survive a sentient virus known as
the Caul. They have identified a flower called Trillium that is their best hope
to synthesize a vaccine to defeat the virus. Nika has been working feverishly to
translate the native language of the Atabithans on this last stronghold world of
humanity so that they may barter for a supply of Trillium. The situation has
gotten desperate and instead of a year she now only has a week. The first
expedition over the wall enclosing the Atabithans ended with the loss of all
that went. Nika can only hope that she and her AI assistant have learned enough
to communicate with the natives and plead their case. How is it that these two
stories will intersect?  That is a clever plot devise that involves what both
William and Nika find as they reach their goals. Jeff Lemire is well known in
the industry. His art is unique and may take some getting used to, especially
his painted coloring style. But it does move the story forward as much as the
words do. I did not know what to expect though I had read about the structure of
this comic itself. I found it intriguing enough to keep my attention on every
page. I believe it is a worthy effort and you should judge for yourself whether
it is for you.

Publisher: Image
Creators: Sina Grace & Daniel Freedman
Writers: Sina Grace & Daniel Freedman
Artist: Sina Grace
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

I did not know what to expect from this comic but the plot is laid out very
clearly from the beginning. After two pages we know an orphanage was purposely
set on fire long ago. It burned to the ground and everyone in it burned with it,
except for one young boy. Years later the boy, Rock, is on a vendetta to find
out who did it and why. He is strong and skilled in martial arts and does not
care what he has to do to get to the truth. We see him rousting neighborhood
characters, even facing four-to-one odds in a bar to get the information he
wants. When the odds get overwhelming he is joined by his friend, Bear. As they
get more information they get into even more precarious situations. The leads
take them to a strip joint controlled by the really bad element and if not for
another ally joining them, the female Lex, the trail would have ended there. But
the last bit of information is revealed and the final conflict will be that much
tougher. Frankly this is not even half the book and I was loosing interest
already. Even though this is listed as one of three it seems this plot has
already wrapped up by the end. There are some good bits along the way to
emphasize each character and their background. The trio is a solid group of
friends working toward a goal, which is admirable. But I felt it was all just a
formula - beat a bad guy, beat a group, beat the next group, showdown with the
big boss. It is almost like a very old video game, and maybe that is the idea.
The art isn't bad. There is great use of shading and the concentration is more
on characters than background. I just didn't get excited about it and really not
interested enough to see the second issue.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Based on the character from MGM movies
Writer: Frank Miller
Sequential Adaptation: Steven Grant
Artist: Korkut Oztekin
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Suggested for Mature Readers

I am not sure if this was a novel by Frank Miller but both he and Steven Grant
have worked on Robocop projects in the past and are well familiar with the
characters and the world they inhabit.  At this point in Robocop's history he is
a hunted cyborg. The broadcast news paints him as a killer and warns citizens to
stay inside and lock their doors.  But is this the truth?  At the same time the
media touts the new law enforcement organization as a new breed keeping the
streets safe. But is it the truth? The scenes we see paint a different picture.
Two cops are threatening a common streetwalker with pain and disfigurement if
she doesn't tell what she has seen in this area regarding Robocop. As they drag
her into their armored vehicle to proceed with the persuasion techniques it is
Robocop who comes to her rescue. But it is not only the uniformed cops looking
for our hero as detectives patrol with all kinds of tech equipment, hoping to
track him somehow electronically. There is also one industrious young lady who
figures out the right way to find him though she has no connection with OCP.
What her motives may be are left for speculation. Aside from the meeting between
Marie Lacasse and Robocop for the first time this chapter is more of an
introduction to the reader on the status quo in the city. There is another scene
involving an ambitious developer for Omni Consumer Products going forward with a
demolition project without regard for the lives of the innocents he is
endangering. It is that organization that is getting desperate and Robocop knows
it.  So we have a couple of plot threads that are developing and some cool
action sequences showing how resourceful our hero has become in facing the
superior forces both man and machines of the tight-fisted organization running
things. The title "Last Stand" implies some big final conflict down the road so
we know Miller is building up to that point. So far the script handles the task
it needs to and we are left intrigued by the story so far. On the other hand the
art is unimpressive. The coloring does nothing to embellish the line work, which
is adequate but not attractive.  So I give this one a mixed review. If you are
fans of the genre get it for the story.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Colors: Josan Gonzalez
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover Artist: Patrick Berkenkotter
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror/TV series adaptation
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This comic has been out for a while but I saw issue #1 on the racks and decided
to check it out. Dark Shadows was an afternoon soap opera horror series back in
the early 70s that had a cult following among young and old alike. When it began
we were introduced to the wealthy Collins family who resided in a remote fishing
village of Collinsport, Maine. The family dynasty has been cursed across time
and space by supernatural forces. The main character is Barnabas Collins who at
one point in his life becomes a vampire. But this is a "year one" story and so
we are taken back to time when like all families everyone is concerned with the
normal lives among the well off. At this time Barnabas is soon to marry the love
of his life, Josette. Some time before the scheduled event his uncle Jeremiah
takes Barnabas to a tavern and as the night goes on encourages him to approach
the more than friendly barmaid, Angelique, for a last fling. Barnabas gives into
the temptation but soon after regrets it and feels the guilt for days. But he
gets a shock as his fianc‚ appears for dinner with his family when he sees that
Angelique is Josette's handmaiden. It is Angelique who will begin the misery of
Barnabas and his family. Even uncle Jeremiah knows she is up to no good but we
see she is more than just an ambitious female. Through the power of witchcraft
she will manipulate people into getting what she wants, which apparently is to
marry Barnabas herself. She is skilled enough to eliminate Jeremiah with no one
suspecting her as the puppet master. With that threat out of the way she sets
her sites on her main prey by forcing him to choose between her and someone else
he loves. It is a truly insidious plan that when carried to fruition will bring
even more pain to the Collins family. I have not seen or read this part of the
Dark Shadows cannon before so it is like a fresh story with interesting
characters and a crafty plot that has a lot of elements coming together nicely.
Though you might at first think a big problem has been resolved by the end, you
know it will only get worse and you want to see what will come next. And we
haven't even got to the vampire part yet. I liked the story a lot and want to
see how the whole thing plays out. The art is good enough with some good detail
though the coloring did not impress me.  As a whole I recommend it.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Hunting Party
Title Arc: The Eye of the Goddess
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Roberto Castro
Colors: Alex Guimaraes
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Main Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Mature Readers

This is an interesting juxtaposition of two major Burroughs characters, Tarzan
and John Carter. There are two parallel plots, one for each character that will
intersect at some point. On Earth in 1910 Tarzan and his wife Jane are back in
Northumberland, England at the Greystoke Manor. Though they are back in the
"civilized" world Tarzan still hunts for food in his jungle fashion taking down
a deer with nothing but a knife. But soon he will be invited to a hunt with
modern weapons, rifles, by his neighbor and old friend of the family as a
welcoming to his ancestral home. As events unfold at the hunt it seems Lord
Marchmain is more interested in humiliating Tarzan that welcoming him. Tarzan is
no fool and would fight back with fists instead of words if not for Jane
interceding. She knows this man is not honorable but as they prepare to leave an
aid to Marchmain runs up announcing they have caught a poacher on his land. It
is Marchmain's cruelty to the injured poacher that really sets of Tarzan and his
defense of the man sets events that apparently were planned all along. Meanwhile
on Mars John Carter is in the midst of a campaign to rid the planet of the
terrible white apes. The struggle is a long one but he has technological
resources to draw on as War Lord. The key part of the plot occurs when
emissaries of the Holy Therns arrive to seek audience with Carter. They explain
while they submit to Carter's rule as a defeated race they must protest the
slaughter of the white apes. According to their faith the apes are the vessels
for the souls of the slain Therns. He asks that Carter visit the Holy Father,
Jagati Khen, since their religion precludes Khen from leaving his home in Dor.
The reader would naturally suspect that the Thern have ulterior motives but
Carter is confident he can handle the situation. How will these two plots
intersect? Going by the title the most likely supposition is that Tarzan will
somehow travel to Mars. You could also further deduce he would naturally be on
the side of the apes and the people that protect them. It should get interesting
very quickly. It is an interesting concept. Out of the two I enjoyed the Tarzan
plot more - the characters are more likeable, though there is nothing wrong with
Carter. In both plots people are apparently trying to manipulate the "lords" for
their own reasons and the script lays it out slowly without giving too much
away. The art carries the action well and is pleasing to look at with vibrant
coloring highlighting detailed lines. I like this one and I think many others
will as well.


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 is the significance of 1-900-720-2660?

The impulse is to say it is the number you would call to vote for the death of
Jason (Robin) Todd.  Most common answer was it was the number you would call to
either say yes or no on the subject.  But there were two numbers and this one
would let him live, as we know not enough people voted that way. And no one got
the answer this week either.

Here was your no prize question:
In honor of the 33-1/3 anniversary of That's Entertainment here is an
appropriate question to test the engineers in the crowd.
How many grooves are there on an average typical 33-1/3 RPM record?

The answer is one on each side. There is a single groove that spirals around the
surface of the record and records the information on a single track.

What was the first (and only) word spoken by DMZ during Milestone's initial run?

Here is your no prize question:
In what US city was the first jail sentence for speeding handed out?

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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