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Friday, November 15, 2013

Comic Reviews 11/15/13


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
Publisher: Image/Joe’s Comics
Creator: J. Michael Straczynski
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Gordon Purcell
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Straczynski has recently put out new comics under his Joe’s Comics imprint
through Image. This is the latest entry and it deals with a familiar theme – a
world were super heroes emerged. The book is set up with two main plots. The
first is the origins of the heroes starting with the first that appeared during
World War Two right after the Normandy invasion. An average sergeant in the US
Army was caught in an explosion when something fell out of the sky. He
immediately gained super powers. Soon after he donned a mask and with a US flag
across the chest of his newly designed fatigues aided the allied effort in
winning the war as The Patriot. Unlike Captain America he has flight and super
strength along with invulnerability. After the war more heroes began to emerge,
as if some extraterrestrial intelligence had a plan for the people of Earth. The
interesting thing is that they all arose in the US and most of them were rich
Americans who fought for freedom and the good of mankind. If you believed the
press there were no super bad guys. Eventually a group of them banded together
and formed Protectors. Soon they incorporated and fame and fortune followed.
Public appearances, books, endorsements, merchandising and fan clubs made them
all richer. Most of them were publicly known but the Patriot, who never actually
joined the group, always kept his identity a secret. He wanted to remain a
symbol rather than cash in. In fact we see him in his civilian identity as
Detective John Riley in Chicago. The heroes are all in the major cities around
the US and occasionally would visit another city where one would challenge the
local hero battling in the sky just for fun and to see who was top dog. The
citizens and the cities loved the drama for the entertainment and tourist
dollars it brought in. As the story begins the Patriot has been off the grid for
ten years choosing to remain a civilian. The other plot is a second mystery as
two people disappear in a flash of light. One is under the custody of the CIA
rendition agent on his way to Washington, DC. The other is a seemingly normal
twenty-something office worker on a night on the town with her friends. What
these two may have in common and how it involves the super heroes is left for
future issues. Well, so far it is a typical super hero story that has been
tweaked a little. The Patriot is clearly the only altruistic hero of the bunch
so far. Since it is all set up at this point we have no idea what direction the
story will take. Purcell’s art is terrific and is ably colored for the right
effects.  I like it so far but will have to see more to gain more interest it
the characters and plot.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part One
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mark Bagley
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

We still don’t know if CATACLYSM is a device being used to end the Ultimate
Universe or perhaps its current version of the Ultimates. We saw the first
encounter with Galactus who managed to cross over from the regular Marvel
Universe in last week’s Point One issue and that ended in a hint of just who
might be able to stop him from devouring Earth or the whole universe. This event
will encompass the major players in the Ultimate Universe. We have already seen
Rick Jones and the Watcher among others in HUNGER and the Vision last week.
Aside from this main title the story will tie-in with the characters in their
own renumbered books – THE ULTIMATES, THE X-MEN AND SPIDER-MAN. This issue is
the first encounter on Earth. It begins quietly as Miles Morales relates to his
friend Ganke his concern over the time-displaced vision he had of some huge guy
in the sky. Well this story is about to begin as that vision becomes reality. As
Galactus begins raining havoc on New York, (why is it always New York?), Spider-
Man quickly realizes there is not much he can do about it but help save the
innocent. This calls for the Ultimates who soon appear to take up the battle
after the might of S.H.I.E.L.D. proves to be ineffective. Can Thor, Iron Man,
Captain America, Hawkeye and the Fantastic Four, now without Reed Richards,
prevail?  That is what this is all about. This is fine as a lead in for an event
such as this. We will have to see a lot more before reaching the climax. For now
be satisfied with the initial reactions of all involved and the seemingly
hopeless battle at this point. Bagley has returned to these characters and does
a spectacular job in conveying the action and drama. The supporting artists are
very good on the finishes as well. If you are an Ultimate Universe fan as I am
you will want to see it through to the end.

Title: ALEX + ADA
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Story & Script: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn
Artist & Letters: Jonathan Luna
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
TEEN + - Comics on the Edge

This story is set in a technologically advanced future with advances that are
not really far-fetched. It follows the main character Alex through his typical
day, although it happens to be his birthday. It is clear right from the
beginning that his is a world where nearly everything is automated and
controlled from an implant in his brain. He can flush the toilet, turn on the
shower adjusting the temperature, have the closet present him with the proper
shirt and even have a small robot perk and fetch his coffee all by just thinking
the proper commands. It was only a year ago that a new piece of software
artificial intelligence became self-aware, uploaded itself to dozens of robots
and attacked human workers. Thirty-four people died before the police contained
the rogues and shut them down. That company was closed down and the government
put restrictions on artificial intelligence and the robotics industry but the
lingering question is still on everyone’s mind. Could another A.I. attack happen
in the future? This is a world very dependent on robots for a lot of the menial
and service jobs. That is the background in which the main story takes place. As
I said it is Alex’s birthday. His birthday party with family and friends is
nice, but it is also a reminder of how empty his life is after his relationship
with Claire ended several months ago. So he needs something or someone in his
life again and that fact is very clear to his grandmother who urges Alex to get
an android lover like she has.  Their video conversation is amusing and creepy
at the same time. But it is clear by the end of the story what the birthday
present from Grandma will be when Alex gets home that night. The concept is not
a new one but this one is told with interesting characters and dialogue and the
very pleasing art of Johnathan Luna. I have always been a fan of science fiction
that is close to what really might happen as opposed to speculation of what is
out there. This world is believable as are the characters. Of course the
emphasis on the A.I. problem could pose a major plot point going forward and
that will be interesting to see how it is integrated into the story of Alex and
Ada. I like it a lot and will be staying to see what comes next.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part One
Publisher: Marvel/Icon
Creator: Jimmy Palmiotti
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Juan Santacruz
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Cover Artists: Amanda Conner & Dave Johnson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Crime
Mature – Comics on the Edge

Jimmy Palmiotti has returned to one of his more famous characters. Jane Vasko
was working undercover for the NYPD when her cover was blown. She was injected
with a cocktail of deadly drugs and left for dead. Her family and friends were
lead to believe that she died for their own protection but she actually emerged
from a six-month coma with a killer immune system that gave her the ability to
rapidly heal from any injury. Now she works with her best friend on the force,
Maureen Fernandez, as her off-the-books operative that can work outside the law
to get the bad guys. The latest mission will have Jane trying to keep an eye on
a very rich, very important Saudi princess. She is visiting New York on her own
and her father refused police protection. So Jane is supposed to tail her in
case her own body guard is not enough. This story is at first glance about
cultural differences but it goes deeper as we get into it. Jane is running late
to get to the hanger where the private jet landed and witnesses an attack on the
limo as it pulls away by what appear to be NYPD cruisers. This causes chaos as
the chase leads unto one runway ending with the limo crashing into a fence with
the fake cops right behind. She manages to help the bodyguard stop the bad guys
but not before the bodyguard is wounded badly. With the appearance of an armed
drone coming at them she has no choice but to grab the princess and run.  This
is an interesting contrast between a hard-boiled, do what it takes operative and
a spoiled rich kid who does not understand the gravity of her situation. Maureen
makes a good partner for our heroine as she easily fends off requests by the FBI
to turn over the princess from wherever she is. At this point no one knows who
is behind the plot to kill the princess and she is far better off with Jane
where no one but Maureen knows where to look. But off course the last panel
indicates there is another problem looming close by. I like the story and the
pace of it. Palmiotti takes time to re-introduce his hero adding dialogue to
familiarize new readers about the kind of person she is. This is also true of
the other main players. There is enough mystery concerning the plot to kill the
princess that we are not sure that even her father may be behind it. The art is
very detailed and brilliantly colored with a hint of naughtiness here and there.
It is a fine beginning for new and old readers alike.

The back-up story, “From the Beginning” by Palmiotti with art by Sam Lofti
explores the relationship between Jane and Maureen from there early days as Jane
thinks back on how they met and then became roommates and then partners in crime
prevention. The memories are prompted after they take down some bad guys and
Maureen is hit. Like her life flashing before her eyes Jane sees the highlights
of their time together, though we do not see the incident that changed her life
forever. It is decent filler material that adds new dimension to their
relationship. While the art is dynamic and well laid out the pencils are a bit
crude in places making it less appealing than the main story. Still the entire
issue is entertaining and worth a look.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part One
Title Arc: The Quest for Nightcrawler
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Is anyone else getting tired of Marvel starting new X-Men books that throw
different members together and give it a new title, or reuse an old one? I am
just saying that there are enough X-Men (and Avengers for that matter) comics
around without having a new first issue with a different title every three
months. From the future plans I see this trend is not going to be stopping. As
you can guess from the story arc the excuse to use a new first issue rather than
incorporate the story into an existing one is the reappearance of Nightcrawler
who has been dead for some time now. As the issue opens he appears to be in
heaven and is satisfied with his fate. He is where he knows he was always meant
to be but yet somehow it is missing something. Well, that something is not a
bunch of demon pirates who suddenly appear to breach the tranquility followed by
Azazel and the Bamfs who plan to grab as many souls as they can before the
archangels find out. I can’t begin to wonder how wrong that would be, if this
truly were heaven, but I digress… The more interesting, to me, plot is in the
present as Angelica Jones, aka Starfire, arrives at the Jean Grey School for
Higher Learning to begin her tenure on the faculty. For those not currently
reading WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN it is a good introduction to some of the
characters and craziness going on at the school. Angelica is startled by both
the students and some of the faculty who are all mostly wrapped up in their own
problems to pay her much attention. All except for Hank McCoy who whisks her off
to help him with a recurring problem that she might be able to help with. It
seems the school has been infested with bamfs and Henry has decided to take
decisive action against their thievery. What the two discover in the underground
chambers of the school will require them to alert the others, presumably the
lineup for this book. Will the nine mutants on this team be enough to counter
the gateway they have discovered or what may be on the other side? While I am
not averse to having Nightcrawler come back I think the constant start of new X-
books for the sake of a new number one is wearing thin. Is this Marvel’s formula
for sales – start a new book, drop an old one only to restart it a month or two
later with a new number one? Anyway, I like the characterizations and the art
more than I did the plot. No doubt the fuzzy elf will eventually be back in the
real world but that is not enough, either way, to keep me interested. Maybe the
next new X-book will be more to my liking.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part One
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artist: Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: David Nakayama
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Longshot has been around for a long time and is one of those characters who come
and go as needed. As the opening text explains he is not a mutant though he has
been a member of X-Men and X-Factor in the past. He is a genetically engineered
being from another universe who has extremely good luck, can read past events
from touching objects involved and is unnaturally attractive to men and women
alike. The title of this comic intrigued me as I wondered how someone with those
“super powers” could save the entire universe. Alright, the extreme luck thing
must factor into that and as it turns out luck is the main theme of the plot. As
the story opens we see an old man buying a scratch ticket, hitting a big winner
and then dropping dead. As part of that scene a man appears behind him and is
apparently the cause of that untimely death. He is not visible to others as
surely someone would remark about his face being all black on one side and ashen
white on the other. Even his word balloons are half black on white and half
white on black, an interesting touch. He is some kind powerful being from
another world or dimension looking for someone with extraordinary luck and his
trail has lead from upstate, through Manhattan and into Brooklyn. The media has
taken note of instances where people have won at gambling, escaped harrowing
accidents and otherwise had very good luck only to suddenly drop dead. We can
guess our antagonist is seeking Longshot by sensing luck wherever he goes. In a
subplot that intersects later Tony Stark and Reed Richards are inspecting a rare
object that suddenly appeared at the Metropolitan Museum in the Sphinx. Reed
detected it and brought it to Tony. The two decide they need to transport it to
a secure facility in New Jersey and embark on the road trip in a large truck.
Meanwhile Longshot himself is in Brooklyn and gets involved with a scientist and
his daughter when an explosion draws his attention. You see his power can
backfire if he tries to use his luck for personal gain. He was wishing for some
cash to buy a taco when the blast went off and he figured he caused it. It is
this particular place where all the characters come together, Longshot, the
scientist, the evil dimension guy, Tony and Reed which may or may not be
construed as a lucky coincidence. What it is for sure is a plot device to get
Longshot to handle what Reed and Tony were transporting for that is what will
move the plot forward. There is a lot going on here and the last few pages are
the most important and too good to spoil. At first it seemed like a lighter
comic that would have some entertainment value but as the end nears we find a
much deeper plot and a few clever twists one after the other. By the time I was
finished I thought a lot more of the title and where it is going. Kudos to the
art team as well for doing a splendid job. I would much rather read this kind of
story than another series that is full of mutants.


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:
In the original Valiant Universe the last line of the UNITY SAGA refers to what
other familiar work of fiction?

The reference to the robot that raised Magnus compares him to the Tin Man in the
Wizard of Oz. No winner this week.

Here was your no prize question:

What does the word MODEM stand for?

A modem is a Modulator-demodulator.

What is Millie the Model's last name?

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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