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Friday, August 9, 2013

Comic Reviews 8/9/13

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: 13
Title Story: The Dark Knight and the Devil's Daughter
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Steve Wands & Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As you may know this is the conclusion of Grant Morrison's run on this title,
which has from the beginning led to the final confrontation between Batman and
Talia with the death of their son Damian being one result of their conflict. I
imagine there has been a lot of events in the last several issues that feed into
this final chapter but surprisingly it is easy enough to follow without having
read another issue since the death of Robin. There are two intertwined plots to
the story. One is Bruce Wayne taken in for questioning by Commissioner Gordon
Basically, his funding of Batman Inc. has led to conflicts endangering Gotham
and the US, maybe even treason. Jim wants answers as to why he would date the
daughter of the world's number one criminal mastermind and then father a son
with her. Was Batman Inc. a private army built to wage a war of revenge?  All
the time we get the feeling Jim is dancing around the fact that he knows Bruce
is Batman, and he probably does. The other plot is the action that comes before
this sit down. Talia has confronted Batman in the Batcave and as they cross
swords she declares this will be a fight to the death. While this is going on
other members of the Batman family and Batman Inc. are fighting the forces of
Leviathan. Talia has wired seven cities to fall when she activates the Oroboro
Trigger and that will signal the rise of Leviathan out of the chaos. But she
does not have it and so she concentrates on killing Batman once and for all.
While the action is intense in parts the dialogue is even more so. All the
resentments and regrets of the years come out as the two fight their last
battle. Any long time fan of ongoing super hero titles know that Batman will
survive, it is always the way he does it that makes the story. Rather than leave
everything nice and neat at the end Morrison gives us two epilogues. One firms
Bruce's resolve the other proves that the fight never ends. I felt very
satisfied after reading this story. I especially enjoyed the discourse between
Bruce and Jim that is used as an excellent device to illustrate what has been
going on from another point of view. Bruce Wayne faces the truth to his old
friend and it is captivating. The art of course is top shelf all the way. There
are a couple of plot elements I have not revealed that are better left for the
reader to discover on his own making the experience all the more enjoyable.  I
highly recommend this story.

Title: 3 GUNS
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Creator: Steven Grant
Writer: Steven Grant
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Ed "The Duke" Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama

You probably have seen a lot of promotion for the new movie 2 GUNS by now.  That
flick is based on a comic book by one of the better writers in comics in my
opinion, Steven Grant. This sequel of sorts is well timed to debut along with
the movie. But don't expect this comic to read like a sequel to the movie, it is
the comic sequel. The characters are an undercover DEA agent and an undercover
NCIS agent. As it begins Bobby Beans has been hiding out after most everyone
believes he is dead. In fact only his old partner Marcus, no longer around,
knows his other name is Bobby Trench. The plot of the story has Bobby's cover
blown, though he does not know how, when a goon approaches him on the beach.
After an attempted escape and a stand off with the boss Lou Quill of the
Separatist Militia Bobby finds out the Lou wants to hire him for a specific job.
Quill plans to buy some high tech arms from the Russian mob. Lou wants Bobby to
wait until the deal is over and then steal Quill's money back from the Russians.
While on stake out sizing up the Russians on their yacht Bobby sees a familiar
face among them, his old partner Marcus. Naturally Marcus is working the case
undercover as an operative for the Russians. In fact they have hired him to
steal back the weapons from Quill once everything goes down. That is the set up
for what is supposed to happen. Along the way Bobby confronts Marcus secretly,
learns just how seriously dangerous Quill is and forms a friendship with a woman
within his influence who is not everything she appears to be.  I love the way
Grant writes these kinds of stories. I have found in other stories he gives you
enough information to make educated guesses what is going on or what is coming.
The female Joey is seemingly a minor character but by the end we see things are
not as they seem. I have a guess what her story is but we will have to wait and
see. The art team does a pretty good job, especially on the facial
characteristics of each of the characters. This reinforces Grant's script as to
their motivations. It is an excellent story so far that leaves you wanting more.
Forget the connection to the movie; this is a good comic on its own.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: On the Run
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Fernando Dagnino
Colors: Ego
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Adventure

Captain Midnight is a classic character that was very popular in old radio
serials and then a TV show. Dark Horse has decided to re-introduce the character
and modernize him in an ongoing comic series. They began with a short series
chronicled in DARK HORSE PRESENTS. Those episodes where collected into CAPTAIN
MIDNIGHT #0 and the action continues in the ongoing series beginning with this
issue. The basic story is that Jim Albright was one of America's greatest minds,
so much so that the government did not want to risk losing him as a resource and
so refused his entry into the military during World War II. So instead Albright
became Captain Midnight, a mystery man who helped the allies battle the Nazis on
his own terms. Then in 1944 he disappeared. As we saw in the zero issue his
World War II dive-bomber emerged recently from the Bermuda Triangle piloted by a
man claiming to be Captain Midnight. Deeming him to be a security risk whomever
he was the military detained him on an aircraft carrier bur Captain Midnight
stole a fighter jet and escaped. As the story resumes the hunt is on for the
fugitive hero.  This issue serves to get us familiar with the supporting cast,
some of whom are friends and enemies from his earlier adventures and others who
only know him from the stories and legends. Two main players are Joyce Ryan, a
former colleague of the Captain and her granddaughter Major Charlotte Ryan.
Joyce has convinced her granddaughter to help locate Captain Midnight because as
a stranger in a strange land he will need their help. Charlotte goes to the
former mountain aerie headquarters of Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron to
begin the search. But agent Jones of the FBI, with the help of Charlotte's ex-
husband Rick, arrives with a squad of agents with the same idea. The other major
character in the plot is introduced in a flashback sequence. The setting is at
the North Pole in a secret Nazi fortress where the Secret Squadron and US troops
have surrounded the castle with orders to bring back the Nazi criminal Ivan
Shark alive. Knowing this is the end Ivan stays to fight so that his daughter
Fury can escape to fight another day. Amazingly she appears in the present day
plot not having aged a day and at the head of an advanced military technical
firm called Sharkbyte. Sharkbyte is vying for the big US military contract
against Albright Industries. She also has a score to settle with Captain
Midnight and has already set her plan in motion. The stage is set for their
first confrontation, which involves a bunch of Sharkbyte operatives that look
like the Red Skull except they are green - I kid you not. We surmise the plot
will lead to the Captain forming a new team with Charlotte, Rick and Agent Jones
but that is only conjecture right now. The story moves along nicely though the
dialogue is a little overdramatic in spots. The art is decent but the coloring
needs a little polish - not much, it is just off here and there. So far it is a
fun comic with a strong lead character who is sort of a cross between Captain
America and Bruce Wayne. Fans of adventure with a little bit of science fiction
thrown in should go for this title.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Paradigm Shift
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Simon Oliver & Robbi Rodriguez
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Robbie Rodriguez
Colors: Rico Renzi
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Nathan Fox
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This is a story of a slightly different Earth where it turned out that the laws
of physics were not so carved in stone as everyone thought. The appearance of
localized gravity failures, time loops, wormholes and quantum tornadoes prompted
the government to form a new agency, the Federal Bureau of Physics charged with
preventing and protecting the public from physics-related phenomena. Though they
have been successful over time in repairing the fabric of our slowly
deteriorating universe the agency has become just another emergency service
continually struggling for funding.  This is the world of COLLIDER. The three
main players are agents with varied personalities and background. The main
character is Agent Adam Hardy whose father he never met was an early researcher
in these anomalies and lost his life because of it. There is evidence someone is
trying to profit from his dad's stolen research. Special Agent Cicero DeLuca is
in charge rising up as a child prodigy in quantum mechanics. He is the tough
voice of reason for things that defy explanation. Agent Jay Kelly is a veteran
agent whose private life may catch up with him and endanger the team and its
mission. Adam is the youngest of the group and is still sowing his wild oats so
at times he is not all Cicero wants him to be. This first issue illustrates this
fact as he shows up late to an emergency at a high school where gravity has gone
haywire. The incident illustrates how the team uses some special high tech
equipment and the daring of the agents to go into the breach and weld it shut.
Most of the first issue involves the mission and a near-disaster that occurs
that is unexpected. But the intriguing part of the story involves Agent Kelly
who has a clandestine meeting later that illustrates for the reader just what he
has gotten himself into. So far this is an interesting story. It has fleshed out
characters and an intriguing premise. With the threat of lack of funding and a
mysterious group working behind the scenes for their own motives there is enough
here to hook the reader and keep us interested until the next issue. The art is
stylish enough to give the feel of the otherworldly events as they occur while
depicted the characters in realistic fashion. This could develop into a good
series if handled correctly. I am interested to see what's next.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Girl in the Bubble
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Alan Moore & Chris Sprouse
Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Chris Sprouse
Inker: Karl Story
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Todd Klein
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Vertigo has revisited Alan Moore's America's Best Comics line with this latest
installment of TOM STRONG. Strong is a sort of an advanced version of Doc Savage
as he is super smart and uses lots of high tech stuff for adventures on Earth
and throughout the galaxy. Due to his unique upbringing as revealed in a
flashback he is physically and mentally strong enough to handle anything. As we
look in on him in the present his daughter Tesla is having complications with
her pregnancy. Her husband Val is a powered being who has flaming powers that
intensify when he gets stressed or upset. After Tesla suffered a slight fall her
temperature began to rise. Tom fears that the baby may have inherited her
father's abilities. In the short term they can calm her and the baby down but
what will happen when the stress of childbirth has its effect?  Even a caesarian
birth may prove fatal to Tesla. With the due date only a month away Tom has to
find a way to ensure the safety of them both. Then he remembers an Earth-like
planet on the far side of the galaxy known as Terra Obscura. Like Earth it also
has a number of science-heroes, a lot more than Earth. The most powerful was his
counterpart, Tom Strange. He is close to indestructible due to the elixir Alosun
that gave him fantastic powers. If he can obtain Alosun for Tesla it could
protect her from the suspected horror of the birth by giving her
invulnerability. Strangely enough the exploits of the heroes of Terra Obscura
are chronicled in comic books here on Earth as if the comic creators share some
kind of psychic link to that far away world. The fact that those comics are no
longer being published may forebode what Tom and Val will find when they reach
Terra Obscura in a matter of days using the hyper-drive space ship. It is a
well-defined premise with lots of background established to bring readers new to
the characters up to speed. Chris Sprouse is once again rendering his characters
in spectacular form. Fans of the prior series and new readers will not be

Issue Number: 2
Title Story: The Quick and the Green
Publisher: DC
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Sami Basri
Colors: Stellar Labs
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the long-time friendships in the old DC universe was between Hal Jordan
and Barry Allen. Green Lantern and Flash team-ups were always a favorite of
mine. When I read that this Flash annual would chronicle the first meeting of
the NEW 52 versions of these characters I had to see how it would be handled. I
am happy to say it was worth my time. The main story not only covers that first
meeting but also brings the heroes back to face the consequences of their first
team-up. It begins as the two enjoy dinner together in the present. Hal has
returned from OA to spend time with his best friend before he assumes his new
position as leader of the Green Lantern Corp. Suddenly they are both transported
to another planet, Agon. It is a world where two warring "houses" of beings
settle their differences in gladiatorial combat in a coliseum called Arena World
floating above the surface. Flash wants to know why they are back here, the
planet they first had an adventure together and so we are told the story in
flashback. Years ago Barry was investigating the disappearance of a number of
kids from their orphanages in cities around the country. Once he figures out the
pattern he speeds to the next place the abductors will strike, the home city of
Hal Jordan Coast City. Of course Green Lantern is also on the case and has made
the same deduction. Before you know it a portal opens in the dorm and the two
heroes follow it to the far off planet at the other end. They find most of the
lost children and while Flash transports them back GL goes looking for the rest.
As it turns out one of the families are using the kids to fight their battle in
arena world by transforming them into monstrous champions. The two have their
hands full rescuing three who have already been transformed and stopping the
Verus from abducting anymore. It was back then that Hal, as a Green Lantern
officer, made a deal to stop the Verus. But now it is the present and we find
out what his compromise was. He and Flash must fight a host of other champions
in the arena. This is a last man standing fight to the death. The winner will
then have to combat the champion of the Priscus, also to the death. This is not
a new plot devise - having the heroes fight other foes and then each other all
the while avoiding actually killing anyone. The earlier sequence is well done
and has bits of humor especially when the discussion of secret identities comes
up.  The whole thing is an enjoyable experience without getting bogged down in
the current continuity of either hero. It is much like the stories I remember
from the "old" days where Hal and Barry have to use their wits as well as their
powers to overcome the bad guys. The script handles the task beautifully and the
art team does a good job with all of it. This story is worth the price of
admission.  But wait, there's more!

Back up story: "Details" by Nicole Dubuc with art by Cully Hammer and Matthew

This is a Flash solo story that begins two years ago. It follows Flash on a
typical day as he handles a number of small tasks on his way to a party at the
office. He helps a homeless man collect cans, aids a lady in catching a bus,
saves a dog from getting hit by a car and even helps a young man get his snack
from a jammed vending machine. These are small things he could have ignored but
chose not to. One thing he cannot ignore is the police scanner signaling an
apartment fire with possible casualties. While he is able to rescue young girl
at the last minute he is too late for her mother who has already succumbed to
the smoke. In the present day the events of that day have consequences as the
widower of the women threatens to blow up the remains of the building his wife
died in. As the Flash arrives to stop him he accuses Flash of not being on time
before but we see the real reason for his actions. The situation is resolved and
on the final page we find out how all those little tasks Flash did that day long
ago had positive outcomes for those he helped.  It is a feel good story that is
a good addition and perfect as a back up story to the annual.


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:
For years Superman would invariably meet people, especially females, with L.L.
for initials (Lois and Lucy Lane, Lori Lemaris, etc.). Keeping the tradition
alive, SMALLVILLE revealed Lana Lang's parents names on the show.  What are

The correct answer and spelling, as shown on their tombstone, is Lewis and Laura
Lang. The winner is Keith Martin.

Here is your no prize question:
In what year did That's Entertainment win the coveted "Spirit of the Industry"
Will Eisner Award?

That's Entertainment won the 1997 Spirit of the Industry Eisner award at the
Sand Diego Comi-Con.

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

Here is 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?

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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