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Friday, October 11, 2013

Comic Reviews 10/12/13


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: Bee Vixens from Mars – part 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Alex De Campi
Artist: Chris Peterson
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Alex De Campi
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This comic has the feel of a “B” movie (or bee movie if you prefer) which I
guess is the point. We have Jimmy the local sheriff out on a beer run when he
gets word from his female one-eyed deputy Garcia that she found a body. The guy
is in the front seat of his car with his guts on the seat and his head gone.
There is evidence that a girl was with him but she is nowhere to be seen. Oh,
and there are bees flying around, which is unusual for this time of night. There
is a trail of blood leading to a rose bush and what they find leads Garcia to
exclaim that the village is cursed because of the bees that fly at night. Well
the action that follows shows there is more to it than a curse. And in true
cinema fashion the opening scene has two overly endowed females licking honey
from each other’s fingers so there is a bit of not so subtle eroticism as well.
The art is the best part of the comic. It presents the action and emotion in a
nice style with a comedic sense when needed and more serious in the bits of
horror. The plot is not hard to follow but it is a bit here and there at times.
It leads up to what should be a major point and then breaks away. It is
something you would see watching a TV soap opera. But this is not high
literature by any means. There are attacking bees, a much larger creature of
some sort only seen in shadows, an accident that is more an omen than
coincidence, and of course the final reveal occurs just as Garcia thinks she has
taken care of the bee problem. It is almost wild enough to be laughable, but not

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mike Richardson
Writers: Mike Richardson & Tim Seeley
Artist: Mike Norton
Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: Steve Morris
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This character has appeared before in the pages of DARK HORSE PRESENTS and now
gets his own five-issue mini-series. Rob Bailey is a college student in
Plymouth, NH who has a unique power. An ancient book of spells called the Sword
has bound itself to him. He is still learning to use its power to protect
himself and others from Mystics and creatures determined to kill him and take
the Sword. This has made his life in both aspects somewhat out of control.
Fortunately he is working with Detective Anna Melendez whom he has a crush on
though she keeps things strictly professional. His other confidant is James
Charles who is a mystic himself. Secretly he is not Rob’s friend and is seeking
a way to wrest the Sword from Rob to extend his life because his body is
decaying and the magic he has used to keep himself alive is wearing off. In the
opening scene we see Rob and Anna track down and defeat a group of Wights, which
are angry spirits of starved people haunting their place of death hoping to sate
their hunger by eating living flesh. It is a good exposure to the power of the
Sword and the dynamic of the two as the work together. Later that night Rob
leaves his body as his astral from seeks out Anna in her dreams. What he finds
is not what he expected. In the subplot James is getting more anxious about his
condition and when he is spurned by those who helped him before he reaches out
to another character that may shake things up next issue.  This is basically a
set up issue that accomplishes its goals for the new reader. It introduces and
fleshes out the major characters and advances two plots enough to get us
interested in the things to come. The art is top notch. The team handles some
wildly diverse venues called for in the plot giving each a different feel
whether in the real world or mystical realm. It is a solid first issue. Fans of
the genre will not be disappointed.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: The Way of the Warrior
Publisher: Image
Creator: Inspired by the screenplay “Rising Sun” by Shahin Chandrasoma
Writer: Rob Levin
Artist: Jessada Sutthi
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Martial Arts/Horror
Teen Plus

This is an interesting mix of two genres – the way of the samurai known as
Bushido and the horror of what appear to be vampires.  It begins on a ship in
the Pacific Ocean in 1663 where everyone on board is being slaughtered by the
mythical creatures. Only a young boy escapes to the sea and is found on the
beach by Isamu who takes him into his home and raises him as a second son. He is
now called Kichiro and trains with Isamu’s actual son, Orochi, in Bushido. Isamu
even gave Kichiro extra training but they all know that a Gaijin could never
become a samurai. As Orochi receives his Katana in the official ceremony the
Shogun has another honor for Orochi. He requests that Orochi marry his daughter
and one day succeed him as Shogun of Nippon. So we see some underlying tension
between the foster brothers. Orochi resents the extra attention his father
always gave Kichiro while Kichiro is envious that Orochi has everything he ever
wanted, including the girl he also loves. Mitsuko loves Kichiro as well but he
will not dishonor his brother by running away with her. Instead he gives a
medallion, the last memory of his parents who died long ago on the ship. That
piece of jewelry may have a bearing on the plot later in the story. With nothing
left but heartache Kichiro decides to leave his new family for the good of all.
But while awaiting for his ship to sail the monsters that killed his family
attack the patrons of the bar where he waits. He recognizes them and learns more
about how they fight. When he overhears their master plan he rushes to warn his
father and the Shogun. This is a tale of tragic loss and search for redemption.
Kichiro is the hero but continues to find himself faced with barriers to
happiness. Even the person who should be his best friend spurns him for the
wrong reasons. Adding the supernatural creatures as antagonists brings an
element of heightened danger and perhaps even more tragedy for our hero. The art
style is unique and fascinating. The colors are all spot on and the detail and
layouts make it all the more fascinating. With four more issues to go there are
many paths the plot can follow. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Avengers Protocol
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Based on the animated TV show by Man of Action
Adapted by: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
All Ages

If you have been following Marvel Universe on Disney XD you will probably
recognize the storyline in this first issue of the comic adaptation. In fact the
only credit given is to Joe Caramagna which leads me to believe the art is taken
directly from individual cells of the cartoon show. If that is truly the case
then it works most of the time but in some panels are dark and muddled. You
can’t turn up the brightness on a comic book. The story does indeed follow the
plot of the pilot episode of the cartoon. The lineup is the same as it was in
the movie. The Avengers are not a permanent team now but Tony Stark is keeping
tabs on the members in case they need help. When he spies Captain America
confronted by the Red Skull he springs into action and flies off to aid Cap. As
he arrives on the scene he witnesses what apparently is Cap being disintegrated
by the Red Skull. The Skull has upgraded his tech and disables Iron Man’s armor
then MODOK appears and they teleport away. Tony quickly initiates the Avengers
Protocol calling the team back together under his leadership. All but the Black
Widow answer the call and they head off in a quinjet to track the tachyon
particles from the teleportation. Though they find the general area they are
confronted by agents of A.I.M. right away. Finally Widow shows up and has a plan
to find the Red Skull. All through this it appears that Tony does not understand
involves more than just saying, “I am in charge.” As the plot moves forward we
learn that the Red Skull actually teleported Captain America to his secret base
and with the help of the new technology he has switched bodies with Steve
Rogers. The team will now have to bring themselves to fight this dreaded enemy
who is in the body of their leader. There are more surprises ahead and the
cliffhanger ending is a doozy. It is a fun story that works as well in a comic
as it did on TV. The characterizations are a bit different from the movie, as
you would expect but kids of all ages will enjoy it.

To fill out the issue there are several short comics starring the Lego Super
Hero versions of the Avengers. These are more directed to the younger crowd. One
is based on the nature of true heroes as Captain America shows Thor that you do
not need to have super powers to be a hero. The other two adventures have our
heroes first capturing Loki and then later thwarting his plan to escape using
Hulk as a dupe. These stories are good fun as well.  Finally we get a preview of
the new comic just out this week based on the other Marvel Universe cartoon,

Issue Number: One-Shot
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison – Variant by Julian Totino Tedesco
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Horror Anthology
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is the latest of the Vertigo oversized anthology one-shots. There are nine
individual entries in the horror theme, most of which have to do with witches.
In the interest of recognition I have included credits for all of them.

“Daniel” by Steve Beach is a story of Charles, an older man who is kind to three
young girls who are being bullied by an older boy in the neighborhood. They
return the favor by returning one night dressed as witches. They claimed they
had a séance and Daniel, a friend of the man from long ago, contacted them and
asked them to get Charles to come to the séance. It is an interesting story of a
love lost and how these three girls help Charles find his way.

“Birdie” by Lauren Beukes & Gerhard Human is set in Capetown, South Africa in
the year 2020. Birdie is a witch of sorts. The birds pick up things from the
dump and tell her who to bring them to. When the recipients touch them the
ghosts of the owner talk to them or show them scenes from their past. Sometimes
this is good and sometimes not. When some local gangsters decide to use Birdie
to find out what happened to one of their own her power reveals more than they
thought and justice is served.

“Mars to Stay” by Brett Lewis & Cliff Chiang is probably my favorite in the
book. It is the first settlement on Mars. It was decided the only way to settle
Mars was to make the journey a one way trip. Each year a small crew would be
sent with materials for the rest along with their own supplies and shelter for
themselves until eventually the colony would be self-sustaining. The story
begins in the third year. The Americans came first and then the following year
the Japanese contingent came. Now it is time for the third ship to arrive but
something goes wrong and the ship with four new settlers and next year’s
supplies burn up in the atmosphere. Shortly thereafter they learn they will have
to wait it out for a while and then ten days later there is no communication
from Earth at all. How everyone reacts in the days and weeks that follow is the
crux of the story. It is somewhat predictable but is an intense look at human
nature. Very well done with good art.

“This Witch’s Work” by Annie Mok & Emily Carroll – I didn’t really get this one.
It was too disjointed and the art made it harder to comprehend.

“Legs” by Kelly Sue Deconnick & Ming Doyle is told in two stages. First the lead
character Ellen as a young girl who is told by her mother to sleep with her
hands over her ears to keep the spiders out of her brain. The scene shifts to
years later when she is a grad student and is out with friends at a bar. They
joke about the old admonition about spiders while one young man whose nickname
is Legs begins to hit on her and they hit it off. The ending is a typical horror
story ending. The art is done in three colors, which is very effective for this

“Fellow Travelers” by Matthew Sturges & Shawn McManus is kind of off the wall.
It is basically a “what if” story that changes the Salem witch trials to anti-
communist trials with the results being the same for the victims. Now it is 1953
and this has led to a world where witchcraft is more prevalent, something that
the governments of the world are trying to eradicate. The current congress has a
House Un-Natural Activities Committee looking to do the same thing the real
world version did to communists. The hero of the story is actually the
playwright Arthur Miller. He has hooked up with a woman whom revealed herself as
a witch to him. Her name is Norma Jean. She has a plan to stop the persecution
of witches and it involves Arthur writing a particular play that can be used in
conjunction with a certain spell. They have been found out by the feds and J.
Edgar Hoover himself is chasing them through the streets of Washington as Arthur
tries to finish up the play while Norma Jean fends off their pursuers with her
witchcraft. It is silly at times but is a coherent plot that wraps up nicely,
though as in real life everyone does not live happily ever after.

“Little Witch” by Ales Kot & Morgan Jeske was not that impressive to me. It
involves an Afghan vet who is haunted by his inability to say a young girl he
befriended there.

“Run Ragged” by Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham & Victor Santos is the third and
final chapter of the Dead Boy Detectives story that has been running through
these anthologies. Charles and Edwin have been on a case to find a missing cat.
Along the way they were abducted by an old man who runs a school of similarly
abducted children. Most of them are too scared to try to get away but one makes
the effort and the boys try to help. They are followed by the old man and the
situation has become life or death, for them and the cat. This episode wraps up
the story. I like the art but the characters and plot are not something I care

“Rise” Mariah Huehner & Tula Lotay is the final entry and again involves a
witch. Elena is a girl who has decided to save up her money and travel on the
cheap in England. After only a week she has had all her money stolen and is
seeking shelter in the woods from the rain. She finds a small cave which appears
to be a crude tomb. Sure enough a ghost rises and soon possesses her as it tells
Elena the tragic tale of how it was tortured and burned as a witch long ago. Now
with the help of Elena’s body she can return to the town and use its ghostly
powers to exact revenge. The ending is not what I expected. The art in this one
starts of nice and then when the supernatural elements begins it really shines.

Issue Number: October 2103
Publisher: Image Comics
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Anthology fundraiser

I think these “annuals” are really coming out more often than once a year. This
one lacks the usual text page about how it all came together. This comic is
comprised of work that is contributed no charge to help raise funds for the
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization that financially aids
creators, publishers and retailers in legal battles over censorship issues. To
learn more about the details and how you can contribute go to WWW.CBLDF.ORG
This is an anthology that ranges from true stories of the hardships of comic
creators to individual takes on censorship, sometimes metaphorically. Some are
just brief shorts with no connection – just contributed to aid the cause.

“Don’t Open It” by Fabio Moon – a one-page strip that warns a young girl about
having ideas.

“Dun’s Return” by Richard Corben – Corben in his unmistakable style tells the
story of a comic creator hounded by DA for his horror comics, even after a judge
cleared the way for publication.

“The Shoot” by Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman – a farcical story that imagines
that the motion picture camera was patented by Thomas Edison and his patent
company hired goons to anyone from using cameras to make motion pictures. The
story is about one such rogue company and how they thwart efforts to stop their
creative freedom.

“Charles De Ghoul: The Curse of the Empty Suit” by Jeremy Atkins, D.A. Cox &
Andy Owens – a fun story about one of those late night horror picture hosts
whose ratings have been not good enough for the advertisers. His unique solution
to the problem is the punch line.

“Hoax Hunters: Grievance Day” by Steve Seeley, Mike Moreci, Joe Eisma, Greg &
Fake and JW Campbell- the Hoax Hunters take one day a year to listen to
grievances from actual “hoaxes”. The story centers on Bigfoot who has been
blamed for things he did not do by a certain broadcaster to the point that
people are hunting to shoot him – not with cameras but guns. The hunters come up
with a unique solution to his problem.

“Captain Midnight: Captain Misinformation” by Josh Williamson & Dennis Culver –
the Captain has a hard time adjusting to the media of today, having been
transplanted from WWII times. Whether it be newspaper, TV or various internet
outlets, none seem to have nay journalistic integrity when it comes to getting
the story right. After venting enough he draws his own conclusion about what to

“My Hero” by Art Baltazar & Franco – this is just a cute one-page strip showing
the generational difference of opinion about what it takes to be a hero

“A Mustache at My Heels” by Paul Tobin & Juan Ferreyra – a story of a stage and
cabaret comic and stage showman. His tale begins in 1910 and runs through the
beginning of WWII as his initial success later makes him a target when he begins
doing satire about the Nazi’s.

“Punk Rock is Out To Lunch” by Leah Sottile, Emi Lenox, Michelle Madsen & Nate
Piekos – this is a call to arms for the sake of free speech. Leah uses the
situation of the jailing of Pussy Riot in Russia as a seminal event that should
have everyone speaking up rather than the fearing consequences

“Hack/Slash: Avert Your Eyes” by Tim Seeley, Andy Kuhn, Zac Atkinson and Crank!
– Cassandra and Vlad check into a motel after three days in the dessert when
they notice black censor bars across a video they watch on a phone and then on
Vlad’s crotch when he strips for a shower. They will have to break the third
wall to find out who is behind this sudden censorship

“What If Wertham Was Right?” by Josh Williamson & Ron Chan – in a world where
the post Wertham world resulted in comics being banned altogether three young
boys find a stash of comics. So the question is, was Wertham right?  Will sudden
exposure to this banned media corrupt their innocence? Heh, heh!


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 do the letters in the logo of the comic book publisher IDW stand for?

IDW stands for Idea and Design Works. The winner by the dice is
Erin O’Connor.

Here was your no prize question:

The word laser is actually an acronym. What does L.A.S.E.R. stand for?

The acronym is for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.


Where did Tony Stark meet Happy Hogan?

Here is your no prize question:
Radar is an acronym. What does RADAR stand for?

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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