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Friday, September 13, 2013

Comic Reviews 9/13/13


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
Title Story: NIGHTFALL
Publisher: DC
Writer: Geoff johns
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend
Colors: Sonia Oback
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

There is a new world order in the NEW 52 as DC kicks off its first NEW 52
Universe crossover. As just about everyone knows they are celebrating the event
with special 3D alternate covers for their titles that cost a buck more. I am
not one to say whether it is worth the money - I buy my comics for the stories,
always have. But I will say they are spectacular so check them out, if there are
any left on the rack. The other hook is that a major villain related to that
title is "taking over" the book and is featured on the cover for each of the
major titles. For this opening chapter of the main book there are several
recognizable major villains on the cover. As an extra bonus the center of the
comic features a double fold out with a much larger gathering of bad guys and
gals. The story at the start and the end is told from the perspective of Lex
Luthor, which adds a unique touch to the visuals. This is one of those stories
that begin after a major change has taken place; there is a new status quo. As
in AGE OF ULTRON from Marvel, we do not know the details of how this happened,
presumably right after the events of TRINITY WAR as that story closed with the
villains from Earth 3 showing up on Earth. Whatever it was that we missed the
result is that the Justice League, again presumably all three versions, are
missing and the Earth 3 groups claims they are dead. Well, I am not ready to
believe that just yet but the fact that they are nowhere to be seen does present
a problem for everyone else on the planet. In case you are not familiar with
these characters from the previous DC continuity on Earth 3 there are basically
bad guy versions of the Justice League. They are the Crime Syndicate - Ultraman
for Superman, Owlman for Batman, Superwoman for Wonder Woman, Power Ring for
Green Lantern, Johnny Quick for Flash, Atomica for The Atom, a Cyborg analog
called Grid and newcomer Deathstorm for Firestorm. But they are not just bad
versions of our heroes. They have differences as well. For example Superwoman
has barbs on her lasso and Power Ring is kind of paranoid. The notable big
difference is in Ultraman. I guess since Earth 3 is kinda the reverse of Earth,
the sun actually drains his powers rather than recharges them. He also snorts
kryptonite dust like a drug to give himself more power. In fact his power level
is like the Superman of long ago to point of being able to move the moon in its
orbit. So these guys are amped up in the power department, have somehow gotten
rid of the Justice League and are setting about to pretty much rule the world.
As we enter in mid story they are into the next part of their plan, which is to
break open every super prison in the world and invite the super villains they
release to join the Secret Society - hence the four-page spread in the middle.
It is at their first gathering that Ultraman declares the Justice League is dead
and those that do not join them will face the consequences. There is a lot
jammed into this issue - what appears to be the NEW 52 hint that Ted Kord is
alive but perhaps not yet a hero, a very brief scene among the Teen Titans
indicating they may have a major role to play in this drama, a lot of bickering
among the bad guys we are used to seeing, but the big deal for this issue
involves Nightwing. The Crime Syndicate captures him but I won't reveal what
they do to him. It is a major event, the first of its kind in the NEW 52. In all
it is a good beginning. The art team is up to the task providing great visuals
throughout. I see possibilities for many characters here so I am anxious to see
what happens next. Check it out.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Deus. Rex. Terra
Publisher: Avatar
Creator: Jonathan Hickman
Writers: Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa
Artist: Di Amorim
Colors: Juanmar
Letters: Kurt Hathaway
Main Cover Artist: Jonathan Hickman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Religious Mythology
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This story has an interesting premise. What if the gods of mythology were not
just fictional ideals made up by man. What if they actually existed long ago,
and their tales were real. What if they came back? For the purposes of this
story that is exactly what is happening. At the end of this first chapter we
witness a gathering of members of several pantheons - the Norse gods, the
Mayans, Egyptians, the Hindus and the Greeks are all there. But the beginning
reads like omens of a coming apocalypse. Page after page shows scenes of major
disasters around the world - a Greek volcano erupts killing 10,000, in Norway
the temperature drops 89 degrees centigrade freezing 8,000, a sandstorm in Egypt
with winds of 468 kph kills seven thousand and blinds tens of thousands more, in
the Yucatan a major rainstorm drowns fourteen thousand and in New Delhi, India
an earthquake kills millions. The main part of the story takes place two months
after these disasters and understandably the belief systems of many in the world
have been shaken to the core. Many in the affected areas have reverted back to
worshipping the old gods, which in some cases means ancient rituals including
human sacrifice. But as we see there are a few men and women of science who seek
to end the madness while at the same time the remains of the US government and
military are hunkered down in a mountain bunker plotting what to do in a world
where the gods have taken over. It is a tense situation for all of mankind.
Thinking it through logically you wonder if there is anything mankind can do to
straighten this out. It will be interesting to see what comes next. Hickman
gives us a lot to ponder, not the least of which is why there is not a hint of
compassion among any of these gods that have returned. There are some
interesting visuals that are superbly done. And the apparent protagonists of the
story are seen far too little. I think it is worth following to see what comes

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Max Dunbar
Greytones & Colors: Aikau Olivia
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror/parody

No doubt some comic fans that like parodies of their favorite books will pick
this one up because of the title. But it is not a parody of THE WALKING DEAD.
Instead it kinda pokes fun at the whole zombie apocalypse thing. The set up is a
national security briefing in the Pentagon in the present. Involved are the
National Security Advisor to the President and representatives from the Army,
Air Force and Medical experts from the military and the CDC. They are being
briefed by Vanessa Malik from the Defense Intelligence Agency Directorate for
Analysis and Aaron Bunch who has been out of the government intelligence loop
for five years. Back then he was part of the Entertainment Emulation Subdivision
of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Their directive was to analyze international
entertainment products for the plausibility of real-world threats contained
therein and develop countermeasures against said threats. Current events have
made Malik recruit, by blackmail really, Aaron back into service. Video footage
from the Pittsburgh area reveals that zombies are real and spreading. It is up
to Vanessa and Aaron to come up with a plan to handle the outbreak. Most of the
book involves an introduction to Aaron and his current lifestyle disrupted by
black helicopters and the briefing by Vanessa as they head to DC. But other
scenes show the beginnings of the Zombie problem, with more than one comical
element in each one. At times Aaron seems to drift off into daydreams, even when
he is giving his briefing to the brass, which is just an excuse to play out a
scene from a generic zombie movie he saw as a kid. But of course he has a plan,
something that all those years long ago produced. That is the punchline and end
scene of the first issue. The main thing I like about this title is the art. The
characters are detailed and the action is dynamic as much as any black and white
comic I have read. The concept is a fun one, even if it stretches our belief
that the fate of the country rests in the opinion of people whose job was to
watch movies and then conclude how to handle a problem if it actually happened.
It was fun for one issue and if it maintains the level of humor it should be
entertaining for more to come.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Glen Brunswick
Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic
Colors: Paul Little
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I believe I have seen this concept used before in a comic. It is a story about a
comic book character actually crossing over into the real world, coming to life
where before it was only an idea. This happens at the very end of the first
issue. So this initial chapter provides us the story of the creator of the comic
book and the point in his life when the character he created shows up at his
door. Our guy is 26 year-old Willard Penn and he writes and draws comics. At
this point in his life he has decided to dedicate his entire effort into
creating a comic and getting it published. He has had a near miss when one comic
was optioned for a movie but the company went under. He hears from editors at
the big two regularly but they have not offered him work. So now he will put
together his comic and sell it to anyone who will publish it. The comic is about
a super hero in the mold of Batman. Thomas Scott is a super rich entrepreneur
but when evil strikes he changes into the vigilante Dark Hour. Since this is an
actual comic we get to see parts of Willard's comic, as it would actually appear
in its own comic. It does not move the main plot forward but those scenes are
entertaining in themselves. And that is what the publishers think when they take
a meeting. They like the fact that the lead character is a hard-hitting crime
fighter but his driving force personally is for companionship. Things are going
well and contract talks are moved to the lawyers involved. But as his hero is
not one-dimensional, neither is Willard. Brunswick brings us back to his
childhood and the special relationship he had with his older brother Tim. Tim
was everything an older brother should be - protector, confidant and mentor.
When Tim died part of Willard died with him. Through it all he has had highs and
lows and is finally on the brink of a breakthrough moment. But as you will see
from the first few pages it could all turn to disaster quickly. If you just
picked this comic from the rack with no knowledge of the "hook" you would still
find it a compelling tale of a young man struggling to realize his dreams while
suffering typical hardships life brings. Then at the very end the whole thing
turns into a science fiction mystery, on top of everything else. It is well
done. The execution of the script by the art team is flawless and the
composition of the script is a good mix with scene shifts that have meaning and
add to our understanding of the main character. I was very impressed and we
haven't even gotten into the problem of a comic book character that has come to
life.  I can't wait!

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: George Lucas
Adapted from the original rough draft screenplay for STAR WARS
Script: J.W. Rinzler
Artist: Mike Mayhew
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Nick Runge
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Some of the names are the same but the circumstances and relationships are a bit
different.  This is the way George Lucas first envisioned his now famous space
opera before it was fine-tuned to the finished product we are all familiar with.
The background at the beginning tells us of an Imperial Empire that has spread
across the galaxy. The chief architects of the Imperial Space Force were the
centuries old order of the Jedi-Bendu. But now there is a new empire and the
Jedi are all but extinct, hunted down by the ferocious and sinister rival
warrior sect the Knights of Sith. The Emperor addresses his military on the eve
of the next great battle to conquer the Aquilean system. The Aquilaeans have not
consented to the treaty offered by the Empire.  It is here we meet the Emperor
And his great general Darth Vader. But he is not covered in a helmet and life
support system we are familiar with. As they ponder the coming campaign they are
warned by another that the Aquilaeans are lead by the Jedi, in fact by one he
claims actually led the Jedi rebellion long ago - Luke Skywalker. In this
version Luke is and older man and leader of rebellion forces. On the planet
Aquilae he meets with King Kayos and his council. Some plead to accept the
treaty or the system will be destroyed. Skywalker has a different view.  We also
meet the king's daughter, Leia, as she heads off to school on Yuell. To round
out the familiar names and conditions we have another family involved, the
Starkillers.  The issue actually begins with their story and that incident on
the moon of Utapau has led to Kane and his son Annikin returning to Aquilae to
seek a favor. So right away we see Darth is not Annikin in this version. In fact
Kane Starkiller is the one who is more machine than man. I think if all the
names of these characters where different, just names not connected to what is
now STAR WARS cannon, the story would be still be a good one. It has lots of the
elements of the big picture, the background in which the individual stories are
told. It is fascinating to read this first cut and to analyze all the things
that changed between it and the final cut. The art is spectacular as it always
is in these comics from Dark Horse. As an added treat there are some pages in
the back with early art work for the designs seen in this series. Don't buy this
to compare it to the original movies and then complain. Read it to get the story
as it could have been.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC
Creator: Bob Kane
Cover Artist: Marc Silvestri
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This issue marks the return of the award-winning anthology of Batman stories
told by various creators in black & white. For five bucks you get five stories.

"Don't Know Where, Don't Know When" - written by Chip Kidd, Illustrated by
Michael Cho, Lettered by Dezi Sienty
This story features Robin as the star. He is supposed to meet Batman on a
rooftop but when Batman is a no show Robin goes into detective mode on his own.
After looking everywhere and talking to cops and thugs alike he is taking a
break when a friend from Metropolis shows up to aid in the hunt. You would think
with super senses it would be a breeze but Superman fails as well. In the end
Robin comes up with an idea that will combine both their talents that will
rescue Bruce from a clever trap set by the Joker.  It is a fun story with
spectacular art. Cho is a master of the "lost line" technique and this story
alone is worth the price of the comic.

"Batman Zombie" - written and illustrated by Neal Adams, lettered by Erica
This is a rather bizarre story. It has Batman coming across several situations
involving problems that are mostly not requiring a super hero.  He sees tenants
being unjustly evicted, a man trying to feed his homeless family, a man in jail
for fifteen years for possession of an ounce of pot and even worse a third
strike offender who last crime was stealing a pair of socks. I say it is bizarre
because in each of these situations Batman is portrayed as a zombie and always
tells the others there is nothing he can do. Your mind will be wondering how
this all came to be until you see how it ends. It is not my favorite though the
hook at the end is a nice touch. Adams work is always fun to see as well.

"Justice Is Served" - written by Maris Wicks, illustrated by Joe Quinones,
lettered by Rob Leigh
This one features two femme fatales of the Batman mythos - Harley Quinn and
Poison Ivy. It seems someone has done something to the burgers at the local
Gotham Burger joint and Harley fed some to her two dogs before she found out
there is this outbreak from the burgers causing extreme bloating and
discoloration. When her pups drastically change she is steaming to get the one
the news stories indicate may be responsible - Poison Ivy. After she confronts
Ivy they realize who actually might be behind it all and they both set out to
get revenge.  It is a lighter story with very detailed black and white work from
Joe Quinones. His use of gray tones really makes it a visual delight.

"Driven" - written by John Arcudi, illustrated by Sean Murphy, lettered by Sal
This one is probably my least favorite story. In parallel story lines we see
Batman in a city-wide car chase against a female in a hot rod equipped with some
dangerous weapons contrasted with scenes in the Batcave afterword as Bruce sets
to work on the minor damage to the fender. To Alfred's surprise he ends up just
about rebuilding the whole thing, even removing the engine. The action scenes
are typical adventure for a comic but the obsessive compulsive mechanic routine,
including Bruce's refusal to explain how the fender got damaged, is tiring and
not that amusing. The art is very acceptable though.

"Head Games" - written by Howard Mackie, illustrated by Chris Samnee, lettered
by Jack Morelli
This one opens at the scene of the third murder in a single night. This is the
third low-level hood from a group known as the Under Bosses that has been
brutally murdered. That group of gangsters each from different mobs has dreams
of unifying to make a move against their bosses. Batman is on the job and needs
to track down the killer before he finishes off the rest. It is a race against
time once he figures out who is responsible to stop the final murder. It is a
clever mystery with an interesting twist that proves these are crimes of passion
rather than survival.


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 was Harvey (Two-Face) Dent's original name when he first appeared?

So as not to confuse people with another famous character, Harvey Kent got
changed to Dent. Keith Martin is the winner this time.

Here is your no prize question:
What color is a polar bear's skin?

Surprisingly, the polar bears' skin color is black. The bears' black skin
absorbs heat from the sun. The fur, which appears to be white, is actually made
up of almost colorless, almost transparent hairs. The long, coarse guard hairs
are hollow, letting the warming rays of the sun reach to the dark skin that acts
as a solar heat collector. Reflection of the sunlight from the densely packed,
almost colorless hairs makes polar bears appear to be white in a sort of optical

Rainbow, Tank, Surge. what group did they belong to?

Here is your no prize question
Which New Hampshire town claims to be the home of the first snowmobile?

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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