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Friday, October 25, 2013

Comic Reviews 10/25/13


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 6)
Title Story: Homecoming
Publisher: DC
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artists: Patrick Zircher & Scott Hepburn
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Cover Artist: Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Another week, another FOREVER EVIL tie-in mini-series. This one deals with
flashes Rogues Gallery as they return to Central City after the meeting held by
the Crime Syndicate recruiting the world’s villains for their Secret Society of
Super Villains. Well, the Rogues are not about joining and so they returned to
their home town only to find it has already been attacked and greatly damaged by
Gorilla Grod. There is some dissension among the Rogues as to whether or not
they should join in with the Syndicate but Captain Cold is the leader and
insists they stay independent. He is more interested right now in finding out if
his sister Lisa, aka Glider, is still alive in the hospital. This whole story is
about three sets of conflicts. The first occurs when the group comes across a
few policemen who have been injured and chained to trees. The conflict is among
the Rogues when Cold decides to set them free. Later at the hospital the reunion
with Lisa is cut short when a group of villains led by Black Bison arrive to
finish off the city, starting with the hospital. This provides the action part
of the story as the various villains match up - one to finish destruction and
the other to stop it. It is a pretty good fight sequence that shows how well the
Rogues work as a team. The cliffhanger at the end shows what is in store for the
Rogues as a result of their open defiance of the Crime Syndicate. This story is
easy to follow and flows nicely through the plot points in sequence. You do not
really need prior knowledge of their history to understand the Rogues’
motivations and relationships. It is reasonable this group would not want to be
part of the planned world domination, they only care about their own business. I
am not a big fan of the art although it is adequate. It seems darker and muddled
when it does not need to be. This is still an entertaining book and a good tie-
in that is accessible for other than fans of The Flash.

Title: LETTER 44
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alberto Jimenez Albuquerque
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Shawn DePasquale
Price (USD): $1.00
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I think it is a really smart idea to offer the first issue of a new series for
only a dollar. Oni is not as big a player in the comic market as several others
but they put out some decent products that deserve exposure so the low cost of
the first issue may bring in readers who might otherwise pass it by. And this
comic is worth a buck for sure. The setting is somewhat contemporary times as
the new president is about to be sworn in. The names have been changed but you
get the distinct impression that this president is an alternate Earth
replacement for Obama. President Stephen Blades appears to be Hispanic and is
following the two-term presidency of a president who has gotten the US involved
in two wars in the Middle East over WMDs that were never found. The real
explanation for the buildup of the military and the ongoing wars is the crux of
the plot. As Blades enters the oval office he finds a letter on the desk from
his predecessor, as has been the custom for decades. This is the famous Letter
44 of the title. In it the about to be former president explains that early in
his presidency NASA detected some form of mining or construction going on in the
asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They concluded it must be an alien
presence though no attempt at contact has been made for seven years. He explains
that he wanted as many combat ready soldiers as he could get while pumping as
much as he could into defense R&D. We need to be ready if those things decide to
come to Earth. Finally the letter reveals that the government secretly built a
deep space exploration ship in orbit and a team of seven scientists and soldiers
have been on their way to investigate for the last three years. In fact they are
almost at the rendezvous point as Blades takes office. Only the Joint Chiefs and
the Secretary of Defense are aware of the mission and the presence in the
asteroid belt has been kept secret to even the intelligence agencies. That is
the set up for the story about to unfold. In the first issue we follow blades on
his first day, meeting with the Joint Chiefs and even communicating through a
fourteen minute time delay with the astronauts. We get a brief introduction to
the members of the team as they approach some form of barrier around their
destination that have made unmanned probes useless for relaying any information
back to Earth. The tension is building on Earth on in space since no one really
knows what they will find or if they will survive at all if discovered. I like
the premise and so far the creative team has delivered with a solid script and
decent enough art. There are a couple of twists to be discovered when you read
this one but as I said it is well worth a dollar to see for yourself.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Marc Laming
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Simon Bowland
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

If you are a fan of classic pulp and golden age comics then this comic should
interest you. In case you can’t tell from the cover it features Mandrake the
Magician, The Phantom and Flash Gordon. What brings them together is unearthly
phenomena occurring around the world. Strange bursts of energy are lighting up
the sky periodically. Along with this people all over the world are having
recurring nightmares of creatures that look like they are out of a myth or
fantasy chasing them. This ties in with one lead character as Dale Arden is
having these nightmares though she has not told anyone. Each of the three heroes
are on the case to different degrees. We only get a hint of what might be
happening from a scene involving a cult headed up by the Cobra. He learns that
something called the King’s Watch is located in Africa and he is sure some form
of gate opened up and let something through. When we get our own look at a
certain place in Africa we find a camera safari being attacked by a being
clearly not of this Earth. Fortunately for them the Phantom arrives in time.
Mandrake has the least amount of panel time in this chapter adding little to the
plot or the solution to the mystery. Perhaps the most time is spent on Flash
Gordon whose father has been funding work on a space plane and now Flash sees it
as an opportunity to investigate the sky lights up close. There are several plot
threads throughout the issue that will take a while to bring together in future
issues. None of the major characters have been brought together and you know
that must eventually occur. For now it is a mystery with several facets. The
characterizations seem true, especially the Phantom. The art is very detailed
and colored brilliantly. So far it is a decent comic that could get better as it
goes forward.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Brian Joines
Writer: Brian Joines
Artist: Bachan
Colors: Ruth Redmond
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover Artist: Khary Randolph w/Matthew Wilson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This one is on the lighter side even though it involves some scary characters.
The Imagine Agents are people who take care of imaginary friends. This is a
world where imaginary friends are real. Yes only the kids who make them up can
see them - that is except for our agents with special technology. Once the kid
stops believing they can no longer see their friends and so the agents help
relocate the good ones to a special place where they can live with others of
their kind.  The bad ones are another story. Naturally the name of such an
agency is an acronym. In this case Imagine stands for Institute for the
Management, Acclimation, Guardianship and Incarceration of Notional Entities.
The story follows two such agents, veteran Dave Slatern and his somewhat rookie
partner Terry Snowgoose. Their first assignment is to stop an out of control
entity called Moog of Mog and is a cross between an Easter Island statue and a
giant millipede. He has been wrecking the neighborhood where his human lives.
The scene serves several purposes. It shows us how the agents work and the tools
they have at their disposal. Explains how not all imaginary friends are good, in
fact some of them are out of control, like invaders from another dimension.
Finally it introduces the main characters and gives us a glimpse of their
personalities. So with the premise established the two agents move on to the
next case – an imaginary on his last day as the boy who imagined him has just
gotten too old to see it anymore. This is Blounder – a lovable pink blob who
they bring to live with other nice imagines who no longer have a human. But the
bigger plot is about to begin when Slatern learns that a particularly bad
imagine that goes by the name of Dapple is headed their way. He is a very bad
imagine who even jumped an agent and got his weapon. This is one dangerous being
and very sneaky as you will see. As I said this is a more lighthearted comic. It
is similar to MEN IN BLACK. The focus right now is on the kids and their
imaginary friends and the plot being hatched by Dapple. The art is perfect for
this type of story with terrific layouts and perspective and beautiful coloring.
It is humorous science fiction that is fun for all ages.

Title: S.H.O.O.T. FIRST
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Bottle Jinn
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Justin Aclin
Artist: Nicolas Daniel Selma
Colors: Marlac
Letters: Amanda Aguilar Selma
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This is another one of those secret government agency stories dealing with
supernatural beings. This super-secret agency has a base deep underground in
Dubai. They are S.H.O.O.T. – Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Task Force and
of course they are around to save the world. The weapons division is called
S.H.A.R.D. – Secular Humanist Applications Research and Development. They all
believe for ages mankind has been manipulated by powerful creatures who use the
blind faith of mankind as energy to make themselves powerful. They take the
forms of demons, angels, yeti, elves, Jinn and others. The secret to these
agents of SHOOT is that they are doubters, they have no firm religious beliefs.
Their weapons are designed so that only such non-believers can operate them. Now
I am one more than willing to suspend disbelief for a good story but making a
gun that “knows” you don’t believe in God is a big stretch. This is not a small
plot point either. After a fight with a Jin at a mosque goes bad the team is
saved by a Muslim who has decided he no longer believes and so when he retrieves
a fallen weapon he is able to fire it. These bad guys, disguised as humans, have
been staging fake bombings at mosques as a cover to kidnap the faithful for
their master plan. Unknown to SHOOT there is a mole in their midst. It will take
more than a new recruit to face what comes next. Meanwhile the field team
leader, Mrs. Brookstone, has problems to contend with at home with her young
son. Strangely that will work into the plot as well. This is not a bad comic.
The art is pretty good. I guess I am just not that interested in the genre very
much and the plot flaw I mentioned earlier does not help. You may have a
different opinion.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Payback
Publisher: DC
Creator: Based on the Free-to-Play MMO game by Derek Smart
Writer: Ricardo Sanchez
Artist: Brian Ching
Colors: Sergi Erra and David Lopez
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover Artist: Sergio Sandoval
Price (USD): $3.99?
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This comic is interesting to me because it is based on an online game. Most of
these systems have a backstory that sets up the action involving the players. I
am always curious to see if it is solid enough to make for interesting ready as
a story on its own. In this case it seems to be pretty good science fiction. It
is set in the far future, 3000AD. Humanity has of course spread out through the
galaxy and a Galactic Command was set up in 2993 to maintain lawfulness among
the member nation’s territories. But like many of these stories the government
military are looked upon as oppressors and soon there is an insurgency
spreading. As the story begins it focuses on the planet Lyrius where the
insurgents have overrun decommissioned GALCOM bases. It is a strategic location
for the insurgents to use as a base of operations and now the two opposing
forces are at a stalemate both on the planet and in orbit. This story focuses on
Akasuki Svenson a squad leader for the insurgents. She is a bit of a rogue,
often disobeying orders to get the job done or save other soldiers. Her actions
are barely tolerated by the insurgent commander Lars Kaine. Now his tolerance is
about to be tested. They have learned that the GALCOM Field Commander Dansing is
coming planet side to inspect repairs on the GALCOM controlled station. Kaine
sees it as an opportunity to attack the GALCOM space station and orders Svenson
to lead the attack. His is the right strategic move. Svenson on the other hand
sees an opportunity to get the Commander herself. You can see it coming - if she
has to go do it herself she will find a way to kill Commander Dansing. The story
is all about Svenson. We see her as a child when she witnesses her father’s
execution by GALCOM troops for being an insurgent. As an older girl she tries to
exact revenge and almost succeeds. We see how she became tough enough to be the
best at what she does. The rest of the story highlights the tactics and
technology of this future conflict. There are some neat toys and Svenson uses
them skillfully to get to her final objective. The art is good enough but could
use a bit more detail in the characters. It works fine for this story, which
held my attention through the end. I was pleasantly surprised with this comic. I
think you may be as well.


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:

He was the radio voice of Superman, but he was better known for what quiz show?

TO TELL THE TRUTH about Bud Collyer, he was the host of that show and the radio
voice of Superman.

Here is your no prize question:

What is the phrase shortened to the common term sonar?

Sonar stands for Sound Navigation And Ranging.


What other comic cover did THE SIMPSONS COMICS #1 pay homage to?

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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