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Friday, September 6, 2013

Comic Reviews 9/6/13

My View                                     
David LeBlanc

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: 15
Title Story: Kiss Today Goodbye
Title Arc: Infinity Tie-In
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Patrick Ollife
Inker: Drew Geraci
Colors: Andy Troy
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Joe Quinones
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is a true INFINITY tie-in that follows right after the action in that
event's first issue. What is in store for Captain Marvel is no secret from the
cover illustration. As INFINITY #1 showed the beings known as the Builders have
been attacking planets across the galaxy. Many of the Avengers left Earth to
join the Galactic Council in a massive counterstrike making for some unusual
alliances among the Kree, Skrulls, the Brood, the Spartax and the Shi'ar. What
you need to know about Carol Danvers at this point is explained in the opening
text page. She had been fighting a disgraced Kree warrior known as Magnitron.
She managed to escape his telepathic link but as a result her brain sustained
significant injuries erasing a lot of her personal memories. Although she has
joined her fellow Avengers in the quest she is less aware of the personal
relationships she has had with most of them. This is played out through the
issue as Carol keeps her condition secret but struggles with it in her mind. The
collective forces have planned their move by luring the Builders to an asteroid
belt near a black hole called the Corridor. They plan an ambush from the cover
of the asteroids leaving the Builders with the black hole at their back. The
Earth teams are in two Avengers' carriers with Carol leading one with Hawkeye,
Captain Universe, Starbrand, Nightmask, Abyss, Cannonball and Sunspot. The
others are with Captain America. At first the strategy seemed to work well and
they even destroyed the Builder's command vessel. But the tide turned as four
times as many Builder craft uncloaked. The attackers became the attacked. 
Things will get very bad from here on out. The united forces are vastly
outnumbered. Carol desperately tries to help the other Avenger craft after it is
damaged as well as other allied ships.  But they are getting dangerously close
to the black hole. In the end she will need to choose to save her crewmates by
risking a last ditch ploy that could be the end for Captain Marvel. The
unexpected consequences of her action are revealed as the issue closes. This is
a good tie-in issue that I am sure will be touched on in INFINITY #2. It has
elements of personal conflicts, including Carol's secret affecting her
decisions. In a subplot Spider-Woman is forced to work alongside the Skrulls she
has been fighting against sine the Invasion. Her actions provide yet another
problem to deal with at the worst possible time. This is not just a book to
compliment the event but has real consequences for the title character. The art
team does a fantastic job. The change to Captain Marvel may just be what the
alliance needs to turn the tide in the end. That remains to be seen.

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Originally serialized in DARK HORSE PRESENTS #19-#21
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writers: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This story is a familiar on as far as Science Fiction stories go. It begins with
a devastating explosion on an island in San Francisco Bay. The source of the
blast appears to have been from a laboratory in a converted warehouse. Through
the course of the story we learn that scientists there were building a machine
to create a window into alternate timelines. They hoped by seeing other
possibilities they could help the world change the course of events in their own
timeline. But something happened and before the machined broke down it opened a
doorway instead letting in a few strange creatures that look more like beings
from a far off planet than anything from an alternate Earth. Some are like
dinosaurs but the big baddy is a floating hulk with multiple tentacles and a
clear dome covering its version of a brain. The protagonist is one of the
scientists, Tim, who awakens far from the blast and discovers some of these
creatures as he tries to make his way back to the lab. Meanwhile the floating
hulk makes small work of several rescue helicopters. Tim is joined by a
colleague who lends a hand as they head for the lab.  But what they discover are
their other friends hurriedly trying to rebuild the machine and it is clear they
are under some form of mind control. Tim realizes the hulk is orchestrating the
effort to rebuild the machine so the portal can be reopened letting in more of
the floating beasts to invade the Earth. It is a race against time and former
allies to find a way to destroy the machine and the floating beast in order to
save mankind. As I said it is a typical sci-fi plot with lots of action and dire
situations along the way. In the end we don't really know if Tim's last
desperate move will succeed. The art is uniquely suited for this type of story.
Though the facial depictions are a bit rough the overall effect is decent,
especially the action sequences. It is not an outstanding story but I found it
entertaining. For a sample of a well-told story of this genre it is worth the

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mike Mignola
Writers: Art Baltazar & Franco
Artist: Art Baltazar
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor - Comic Book Parody

This mini-series shows that any genre of comic book can be turned into a fun parody with the right creators. Art and Frank have been given free reign to use characters from the Hellboy universe for their depiction of those characters as
kids. The art is done in a very cartoon-like style and the characters are
depicted with more child-like attitudes as opposed to the seriousness of a
horror comic. The book is broken up into several short stories, some longer than
others. I am not a follower of Hellboy so except for the main character I really
haven't got a clue what their adult counterparts are like. It seems there are
three characters that are opposed to Hellboy and his friends. One is a monkey,
one is a ghost called Rasputin and the other, the leader Karl, is difficult to
describe because his head is like a globe rather than a human head. Putting
aside the unfamiliarity the story is easy to follow. These three have a "fort"
of their own making in a dishwasher box making them feel invincible. Their first
encounter with Hellboy changes their opinion. From the other point of view we
see Hellboy and his friends - Liz a normal girl, Roger who apparently only wears
a jock strap for clothes and then there is Johann. He is really a vapor cloud
that gets around in a containment suit so that he can do kid stuff with the
others like play baseball. One funny episode involves Johann feeling sick and
the others decide that feeding him soup will help so they pour some into his
suit. The bad kids have another ally named Herman, a head in a jar that gets
around by bouncing on springs attached to the jar. He is their spy and will
discover that Hellboy and company also have a fort, made from a much larger
refrigerator box. This will lead to another conflict with funny results.  I
found this book to be entertaining on a base level. These are simple stories
with some humor and cute characters though nothing is laugh out loud funny. It
should be fun for kids who are used to cartoons these days that feature
characters bearing little if any resemblance to human beings. I have no way of
judging whether fans of Hellboy can get into it as it is so far removed from the
usual. I did not find it as funny as other books of this type from Marvel or DC
but it is still not a bad effort.

Issue Number: 4
Publisher: DC
Creator: Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Cover Artist: Bruce Timm & Nick Filardi
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This book for teens and up features three stories of the Man of Steel.

"A Day in the Life" by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, art by Wes Craig and Craig
Yeung, and colors by Lee Loughridge
Lex Luthor narrates the opening story and indeed it is about a day in his life
as recorded in his journal. As we follow him through the day he does typical
things you would expect from the evil genius. He conducts a hostile takeover of
a rival, deals with government dignitaries, fires a bunch of ineffectual
employees - something he particularly enjoys, works on a powerful new laser,
puts the screws to other villains who presumed he would be fair and even has a
date at the opera. Parallel to his story half the panels show Superman battling
a giant robot in Metropolis. His story is all action in contrast to Luthor's
until the end when the two plots cross. We suspect all along the giant robot was
Luthor's doing but can Superman prove it? In a lighter touch each day Luthor
begins his journal entry with "How to kill Superman idea #." I liked the story
and particularly the panel structure. It is not meant to be an all out battle
between the foes but does highlight their attitudes toward each other.

"The Deniers!" by Tom Defalco with art by Pete Woods
This one takes a look at the goings on in Metropolis from a pair of average
plumbers as they start their day with the normal routine of breakfast at the
local diner. The entire plot is a dialogue the two have about Superman and
powered heroes in general and the vast conspiracy between the government and the
media. Phil is the skeptic who does not believe anything in print, like the
supposed meteor about to strike the city. He believes it is a ploy by the space
agency to get more funding. The topic turns to Superman, which despite all the
press coverage of his feats of strength Phil believes is a big scam done with
special effects, because he has never seen any of it himself. As they dicker
back and forth we see in other panels Superman actually stopping the meteor
before it can impact Earth and stopping bank robbers in a giant robot just
outside in the streets. The two things are a good contrast and the punchline
comes in the final scene when we meet Phil's neighbor. This is a clever story
that has a lot of visuals that disprove Phil's theories though he himself never
sees them. I liked the art as well. These types of stories are usually only
found as fill-in in some annual but they are no less enjoyable.

"Savior" by Rob Williams with art by Chris Weston
Like the other stories in this issue the action visuals of Superman are
contrasted by the narrative by another character. In this case the narrator is
Ma Kent. She muses about her son and her feelings. She knows he is needed
constantly and gets into some pretty tough scrapes. A mother cannot help but
worry but still she has faith in him. But knowing he is constantly helping other
does not completely swage her feelings of wanting to see him more, and longer
than he usually stays. He is always on the go, never stops, but how many people
can he save? She wishes he would see her more often but she also knows she must
share him with the world. He is their son too. In the end there is a heartfelt
moment that wraps things up nicely. The better than average art on this part
takes up the visuals that show Superman on a variety of missions from fighting
Brainiac, to taking guff from Perry White, to teaming with the Justice League
and stopping yet another giant robot. It all compliments the narrative very well
and makes for the best story of the issue.

This is a feel good comic about the premier DC hero and I recommend it to all.

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

This is an anthology featuring the various characters appearing in BATMAN INC.
so far. The framing sequence, "Never the End", is drawn by Declan Shalvey with
colors by Jordie Bellaire. It is the set up as Batman instructs the Batcomputer
to review case files of the various operatives. As the book ends he is given the
option whether or not to archive the files. Each file is a short story and lots
of creators got in on this one.

Batman Japan in "Rending Machine" by Chris Burnham, colored by Nathan Fairbairn
& Dave McCaig and lettered by Dave Sharpe
This Batman of Asia is aided in his efforts by the diminutive female with wings,
Canary and water based female Aquazon. The tale involves the black market trade
of human organs. It begins with the discovery of bagged organs in a vending
machine and some slick detective work. Batman and Canary trace a potential
victim to a capsule hotel that is really a front for the insidious Doctor
Inside-Out to grab victims. In the end they of course prevail.

The Knight in "Without You" by Joe Keatinge, art by Emanuel Simeoni & Brett
Smith and letters by Carlos M. Mangual
This story follows Squire as she goes forward with her life without The Knight.
Knight is gone and with Batman Inc. disbanded she sees no need to carry on crime
fighting though curiously she still wears the Squire mask in public. But when
the Mechanic advises her that Spring-heeled Jack is back to his old ways she has
to take him down. It is a turning point for her career in more ways than one.

Raven Red in "Brave" by Nathan Fairbairn with art by John Paul Leon and letters
by Carlos M. Mangual
This adventure has Red Raven chasing Coyote who has some stolen Leviathan mind
control compound. The chase leads to a skyscraper under construction and as they
go higher and higher Raven recalls an incident with an Indian steel worker in
his past that brings to mind why Raven does what he does, firming his resolve to
get his man. This is a clever mix of plots that makes the point.

Nightrunner, Dark Ranger & El Gaucho in "The Danger of La Muuerte en Vida" by
Mike Raicht, art by John Stanisci, colors by art Lyon and letters by Taylor
The trio of heroes in Buenos Aires are up against a city gone mad. Between
saving innocents and fighting off the violent ones they have to figure out the
cause and stop it. It is Dark Ranger who detects a sound frequency evidently at
the source of the problem. He is protected from its effects by his helmet but
what of the other two?  It is a clever couple of plot twists that explain it all
and the team effort at the climax is enough to save the day.  This is tightly
scripted and rushes along to a neat finish with bits of humor thrown in.

Batcow in "Cowardly Lot" with story and art by Dan Didio and Ethan Van Sciver,
color by Hi-Fi and letters by Sal Cipriano
This is unexpected but a welcome addition to the book. There is no dialogue,
save for one Moo! at the end, or narrative but in six pages the bat-bovine stops
a pair of kidnappers running from the police and even has more to offer the
young victim in the end. It is funny and elegantly told with superb art.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque
Cover Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This anthology allows various creators to add their spin to characters and
situations that have come about in the long-running Vertigo series AMERICAN
VAMPIRE. I found it to be a good mix of styles and approaches to the vampire

"The Man Comes Around" by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque with colors by
Dave McCaig is the framing story featuring Skinner Sweet in 1967 New Mexico. It
reveals some information for long time readers and it sets the tone for the rest
of the book. Here is a brief look at the rest.

"Lost Colony" by Jason Aaron, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire
New colonists arrive in 1588 and set up a stockade settlement but the Native
Americans get curious when they see no movement anywhere in broad daylight. This
may be the first encounter in the new world between humans and vampires. The
Indians learn of the horror the vampires bring but will they be able to learn
how to stop it?

"Bleeding Kansas" by Rafael Albuquerque with art by Ivo Milazzo
A young couple has just moved to Topeka Kansas in 1856. Their hopes of a new
start are shattered by the slave trade that has follow civilization here. When
they learn she is pregnant their resolve to make a new life here is renewed. But
what will they do when the border ruffians attack the town and it turns out they
are more interested in blood than land?

"Canadian Vampire" by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
So why not tell a tale about vampires in Canada? In 1877 Canada a frontiersman
with a reputation is called in to investigate when the new settlers on an island
on the Moose River have not been seen for weeks. Their partner in the fur trade
asked Mr. Hammer to investigate to see if the local Indians inhabiting the
island are the problem. What he finds when he arrives is one little Indian boy
who tells a strange tale of white monsters who promised to trade furs but one by
one his people disappeared never to return. The boy knows enough to only venture
out in the day as he planned his escape from the island but will Hammer
understand the danger before it is too late?

"Greed" by Becky Coonan with colors by Jordie Bellaire
Becky tells this story of how Skinner Sweet made it to Hollywood before he met
Pearl. It is 1924 and he is in Death Valley. It is just his luck to run into a
film company doing a shoot. What Skinner learns from these folks, after a little
mischief of his own, changes his mind about possibly moving to California

"The Producers" by Francesco Francavilla
This is the story of the rise to stardom of actor Chase Hamilton in the early
1920's. He was a starving homeless man who is about to give up on his Hollywood
dreams when he stumbles into a situation that will change all that. He follows a
man lurking near where he camps with friends and finds more than he bargained
for in the house he is lead to. In quick thinking he makes a deal with the
vampires that seals his fate. His story is the middle sequence that explains why
he is bringing a promising starlet to meet his producers.

"Essence of Life" by Gail Simone and Tula Lotay
In a similar tale of Hollywood decadence Gail Simone tells the tale of Hattie
Hargrove's tragic past. She is a flower girl who is "discovered" one day leading
to an audition on the casting couch. She suffers the humiliation in hopes of
getting the one break she needs but as more often than not her heart is broken
again. It is after she meets Pearl later in life that she will get her justice.

"Last Night" by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon with Dave McCaig
This story is set in New York in 1940 as a black nightclub singer relates a tale
of horror to a newspaperman. Her tale of how the entire club, entertainers and
patrons alike were attacked by vampires is too brutal to believe. But maybe this
reporter will make this story public so others do not suffer the same fate.

"Portland, 1940" by Greg Rucka, JP Leon and Dave McCaig
The final segment set in Oregon in 1940 is a lost story of Skinner Sweet in a
seedy part of Portland. Skinner is in bad shape and it is his unfortunate luck
to be found by two ne'er do wells that secretly sell drunks and other scum to
ship captains looking for cheap labor. They will find more than they bargained
for when Skinner finally comes around.


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
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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:
Jay Endicott was also known as . . .?

Jay was the Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegel created Crossfire who appeared in
DNAgents prior to getting his own title. The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
What is the longest-running and most-manufactured single design platform of any

With over 21 million manufactured, the Volkswagen Beetle is the longest-running
and most-manufactured car of a single design platform, worldwide.

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

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

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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