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Friday, September 27, 2013

Commic Reviews 9/27/13


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 4)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Mark Reznicek and Donny Cates
Plot: Donny Cates & Mark Reznicek
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Lauren Affe
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is a story of a man with super powers but there is a twist. He only gets
his powers when he drinks alcohol or does drugs. Even one beer will set things
off. We enter his story at a point in his life where he is trying to leave super
heroics behind. Evidently there was a bad experience Ruben does not want to
think about, talk about or let happen again. So, if he stops drinking he can
stop having super powers. To stop drinking he is attending an Alcoholics
Anonymous meeting. From the point of view of the others he is just another
newcomer. When he finally opens up to talk he is sufficiently vague about
certain details so as not to let on about his special ability. In fact he almost
walks out by convincing himself he is not like these people. They need to stop
drinking because they are drunks. That is not his situation. But the old guy
running the meeting convinces Ruben to come back and tell his story. His first
experience was in high school when he and his buddies crashed an upperclassmen
kegger and got wasted. As a result they crashed the car, the other two died
instantly and Ruben was thrown through the windshield but was up and around in a
week. The next time was five years later in college when as a pledge he and the
others were forced to drink lots of beer. That time he blacked out and
eventually left school. We don’t get any scenes of him as a super hero except as
he is standing in the aftermath of a major fight with the buildings around him
in ruins. Cates does a clever twist with the script with Ruben thinking of the
scenes as they happened, with him not getting a scratch, while he is speaking to
the group as if it were a lot different. There are two characters in this first
issue that appear to have lasting significance. The AA meeting chairman is
interesting, saying just the right things to fit that position but toward the
end we see a rather strange thing about him. Something I was not expecting.
After the meeting Ruben is approached by an old comrade in arms. That
conversation is interesting and may be setting up plot threads for later.
Certainly the ending pages forebode bad things to come. You gotta believe Ruben
is going to find himself at some point with no choice but to turn on his powers.
The art is decent and so far there is enough intrigue to pique my interest. I
would give it more issues to see if it delivers a punch.

Title: ZERO
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: War Machines
Publisher: Image
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Michael Walsh
Inker: Michael Walsh & Adam Gorham
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is one of the most amazing comic books I have seen in a long time. I say
that because there are absolutely no ads, in house or paid for by advertisers,
in the entire book. The indicia and creator credits are on the back cover. Every
other page, including the inside covers, are story pages. That is truly amazing
for a monthly comic. You get 30 pages of story for only $2.99 and no ads – a
real bargain. So all we need to find out is whether the story is worth the
price. Artistically the answer is yes. Walsh, Gorham and Bellaire have a style
that really works well with this story that is mostly told in a conflict in
Palestine sometime in 2018. Edward Zero is a special operative – does
clandestine operations for the “agency” and is the best there is. The problem at
this time is some stolen from the Agency lab that Hamas used to biomodify a
Palestinian terrorist. When the Israelis tried to kill him he wiped out four of
their black ops specialists. The next step, though they deny it, was to send in
their own prototype biomodified soldier. The two have been going at it for hours
in a closed down section of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. Zero’s assignment is
to get in there and cut the tech out of the Palestinian so that the Israelis
don’t get it. Zero is not biomodified – he is just very good. This issue covers
the mission as he begins it until the end. This mission is only the background
to a larger story being told from Zero’s point of view twenty years later. The
pace of the action and the narrative keep us involved from start to finish, at
which point you will say, “Okay, what happens next?” I think you will get into
it is you like this genre for its straightforward technique with a look at what
might be coming in the not to distant future.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Colors: Eduardo Ferreyra
Letters: Nate Piekos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

New Orleans is a werewolf town. That is how this story begins. There is a
narrative from the start that tells us how they are pretty much the mob of the
city. They run all the usual rackets – prostitution, protection, etc. There is a
hierarchy among the pack. Among the elders there is a leader of the pack. He is
Cassian. His wife is pregnant and the time has come for Verona the witch to
probe her womb with the Eye of Fates to see if the child will be a male and heir
to the leadership. It will be a boy but she does not see the mark of the
Lycanthrope. This information will set a number of things in motion. For Cassian
it will mean stepping down from his role once the elders find out. He has now
become a desperate man who will stop that from happening even if it means
silencing the elder who was there as a witness. But the witch, who already left
with her apprentices, needs to be taken care of as well. The man with the power
over all the werewolves has vast resources to track them down. But there is
another who is bound to protect Verona. We met him earlier in the story. He is a
fallen angel, the only one who wants back into heaven. He has a heavenly
handler, a cherub dressed in a white suite and smoking a cigar. He gives
Barnabus his assignments. For the moment he has to rescues four witches from
basically all the werewolves in New Orleans. I will say the characters are
interesting though the characterizations are a bit overdone. The basic plot is
sound as far as it goes but it could lapse into a mostly action comic with good
guys (relatively speaking) fighting bad guys all the time. It has only five
issues so I am guessing there is an end game in mind. I was not too impressed
with the art. It performs the needed visual and action needed for the plot and
some of the close up work is very detailed. But the longer shots seem like they
need more polish – better inking and coloring perhaps. I would say this comic is
average. It is not something for the casual reader to get excited about but fans
of the genre may find it more appealing.

Issue Number: 23.2 (Eclipso #1)
Title Story: Soul Shadows
Publisher: DC
Writer: Dan Didio
Artist: Philip Tan
Inker: Jason Paz
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Mikel Janin
Price (USD): $2.99/$3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This diversion for villains month takes a look at Eclipso. It does not tie-in
directly to FOREVER EVIL but rather explores the story of Gordon Jacobs and how
he became the character he is now in the NEW 52.  At one time Gordon was a
leader in the field of solar physics. He was recognized as a genius though he
preferred solitude. The only person he would really interact with was his
girlfriend, Mona. His grandest plan was to create a city powered solely by the
sun. Solar city was his lifelong dream. Dr. Jonah Bennett doubted him at every
turn. However, a tragic accident left his dream in ashes literally and he was
blamed for it – cast out by those in his field as a failure. As we enter the
story he has become a recluse in his apartment. It is also at this time that a
packaged he has been waiting for is delivered. It is the famous Black Diamond.
If he is right about it his career and the hopes for a solar future will be
restored. When he Skypes Dr. Bennett to inform him of his impending triumph he
is cut off quickly. Bennett informs him to not bother him or his daughter
anymore. They have both been put to shame for even associating with him. It is a
hard thing for him to bear – the only humans he really cared about spurn him
now. That is when he hears the voice from within the diamond. From here on out
you can see where this is going. The spirit in the diamond wants out and when it
gets out it will possess Gordon and carry out its own agenda. This is the power
of Eclipso. It has been trapped in the diamond and needs someone of the proper
intellect, or so he tells Gordon, to set it free. He is like the Devil offering
power to a weak individual, saying anything to get him to do his bidding. In
return there will be a price to pay.  This is a decent origin story. The art is
very stylistic with some interesting panel structure and coloring. The script
tells Gordon’s story as well as the event happening right now in detailed and
logical fashion. It is a fitting villain for this particular title. Eclipso
after all has the potential to be a major threat if DC uses him as they have in
the past. The 3D cover is one of the best of the month in my opinion and is
worth the extra dollar. Check it out.

Issue Number: 23.2 (Lex Luthor #1)
Title Story: Up, Up and Away!
Publisher: DC
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Raymond Bermudez
Inker: Dan Green
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Cover Artist: Eddie Berganza
Price (USD): $2.99/$3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This Villains Month entry is about Lex Luthor. We saw in the first issue of
Forever Evil how the events in this big crossover initially affected him. Now in
this story we learn what happened to him right before FOREVER EVIL #1. As it
begins Luthor is just about to leave the Hypermax Detention Center in Utah. It
is not that his sentence has been served but that he has decided he has had
enough time away from his work so he has had his lawyers work their magic. Only
Luthor would view time in a super maximum security prison as peace and quiet
away from the world. But now he needs to stop being selfish – the world needs
Lex Luthor. There is a theme running through this entire issue which is subtle
at first and then builds to a climax that you should see coming. As soon as
Luthor is clear of the building and is about to board his helicopter he ask his
aid Casey where Superman is. He expected that getting out early from a twenty
year stint would have Superman flying to the scene to confront him. It is more
odd that Casey does a quick search and says Superman has not been seen anywhere
this day. To anyone else this probably would not seem so odd but to Luthor it is
significant. The script takes us through the entire day as Luthor gets very busy
resuming activities at his corporation. He has some cosmetic work done on his
scarred face, tests the latest version of his battle suit and orders his techs
to scrap it and start again – it’s not good enough. And he is conducting a
personal vendetta against a business man who will not sell his business to
Luthor. He is also overseeing the launch of an orbital shuttle he has launched
on a secret mission, even to the astronauts. It all ties together by the end of
the issue as he once again boards his helicopter for his meeting with Thomas
Kord, an event we saw as the events of FOREVER EVIL unfolded. It is a very
clever script. Rather than run through another origin story like some of the
other Villain Week stories this one gives us insight into Luthor in a tense
story that ends showing his true ruthlessness. I found this to be the best of
the Villain Month stories so far. The art holds up and adds depth to the plot.
It is a perfect lead-in to what happens in the main Forever Evil story. This one
is worth getting even if you don’t usually read ACTION COMICS.

Issue Number: SERIES V #4
Reprinted from DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #155-158, 1989-1990
Publisher: IDW
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Cover Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/TV Adaptation

These reprints are set during the run of the Seventh Doctor who was played by
Sylvester McCoy on the BBC TV show. The book is set up with three separate
stories taken from DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE. The first is the end of an arc from
issue #155, the second is a stand-alone story from issue 156 and the last is a
two-part story from issues #157 and 158.

“Nemesis of the Daleks” (part 4) by Richard Starkings (as Richard Alan) and John
Tomlinson (as Steve Alan) with art by Lee Sullivan and letters by Zed
This wraps up a story in which the Daleks have created a doomsday machine in the
26th century known as the Dalek Death Wheel. It is orbiting the planet Hell as
they plan to unleash its power to exterminate the inhabitants. Meanwhile Abslom
Daak, Dalek-Killer is smashing his way inside the death star in an attempt to
rescue the Doctor and stop the Daleks.  This is a classic story of selfless
sacrifice in the face of incredible odds. The Doctor is more of a supporting
character in this one.

“Stairway to Heaven” by Paul Cornell and John Freeman with art by Gerry Nolan
and Rex Ward
This story has the Tardis stopping on a planet where the Doctor expected to find
the Chardaz Museum of Modern Art. Instead he found a strange little alien
forming bricks from clay by a river and then taking them up a spiral staircase
leading into the sky. Before the creature starts up the stairs he breaks off a
bone from one of dozens of skeletons scattered around the bottom. The Doctor
naturally follows him up the looming stairs to find an unusual reception at the
top. This is a mysterious short story that reaches a point in the last few pages
that explains it all and has a just resolution.

“Hunger from the Ends of Time” by Dan Abnett with art by John Ridgeway and
letters by Annie Halfacree
This two part story involves the planet Catalog, where the collated knowledge of
the universe is stored. The Librarians abandoned conventional filing centuries
ago and converted the information to a new form of information-energy that can
be stored across time rather than in space. But recently they have tracked an
infection in the system – a subatomic bookworm has been eating away chunks of
information. In their attempt to capture it they accidently trap the Tardis in
mid-journey transporting the Doctor to the planet. It is a good thing for them
for they will need his help once they see what they are facing. The story has a
dramatic cliffhanger at the end of the first half. The second half has the
revelation of the true threat and in typical Doctor Who fashion an
unconventional solution to the problem.

I found each story engaging and entertaining. The writers capture the essence of
the Who genre of stories and the artists translate it all very well. If you are
a fan you will enjoy it all. If you are curious about it this happens to be a
perfect jump-on issue.


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 unique cover enhancement was used in the DC/MILESTONE crossover,

The DC/Milestone crossover had a Colorform cover! The winner by the dice is
David McBarron.

Here is your no prize question:
What two countries have capitals named after US presidents?

David McBarron also wins the No Prize. Monrovia is the capital city of the West
African country of Liberia. Founded in 1822, Monrovia is named in honor of U.S.
President James Monroe, a prominent supporter of the colonization of Liberia.
Along with Washington, D.C., it is one of two national capitals to be named
after a U.S. President.

Which comic book featured the first appearance of Doctor Doom outside of

Here is your no prize question:
Which celebrity is featured in the very last scene of the classic comedy movie

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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