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Friday, December 13, 2013

Comic Reviews 12/13/13

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: Avatar
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Paul Duffield
Colors: Paul Duffield & Nadine Ashworth
Letters: Paul Duffield
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama

In the Avatar series ABSOLUTION: RUBICON we met the character Happy Kitty. She
is a young girl who is very good at killing. She was involved with some very bad
people until she connected with John Dusk. Briefly he is an enhancile, someone
with super powers, who worked with the police until he tired of the bad guys
getting off on technicalities. He crossed the line and took justice into his own
hands. He went full vigilante and in desperation the police released a nearly
unstoppable criminal enhancile to stop him. During the course of the series
Happy Kitty joined John in his mission of justice. In that series we saw this
very young girl as a very adept assassin. That’s it – she kills people, even
when vastly outnumbered. In fact in that regard you might draw a parallel to Hit
Girl from KICK ASS. In ability they are very similar but that is where the
similarity ends.  This special explores her “origin” of sorts. It is jarring in
the RUBICON series to see this rather young girl in a mini-skirt dispatching
grown men with ease and brutality. But how did she get that way?  That is what
Christos Gage is telling us in this special. This is not a pretty story. When
her parents were killed by gangsters the boss decided to spare the young tot so
that when she was old enough she could be sold. Even as a preteen she was
absorbed in playing video games and the boss learned quickly how to use her
obsession to control her. But as we have seen in ABSOLUTION: RUBICON she is
destined to be her own person. This type of violent story is typical from
AVATAR, a publisher willing to let the creators push the limits as they see fit.
Christos walks a fine line between violence for violence sake and using it as a
key element at points where it matters in the life of the main character. This
is really a basic story of how people treat this quiet but gifted child and how
she reacts to those differing forms of treatment. There is a logical sequence of
events and a conclusion that is somewhat satisfying. I liked the art for the
most part. In fact I found the various titillating poses and up skirt shots more
annoying than the bloodshed. It is not for everyone so be warned.
(Writer Christos Gage will be doing an in-store appearance on January 1st at
That's Entertainment in Worcester! 2pm - 6pm)

Issue Number: Annual #1
Title Story: It’s the Most Loneliest Time of the Year!
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artist: David LaFuente
Colors: Rain Beredo with Lee Loughridge
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: David LaFuente & Lee Loughridge
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Annuals are traditionally stand-alone issues that tell stories of your favorite
characters apart from whatever ongoing storylines are happening month to month.
That is not always the case when some major event is going on or when a group of
different titles tell a unique story across various annuals.  This one is like
the former. It is a Christmas story that takes place at Avengers Tower. The
focus is on Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and Bruce Banner. It begins
as Shang-Chi is hosting a group of teenage savants in a sort of retreat to help
them get motivated to realize their potential. In turn each one of the Avengers
speaks to the group. After they have left the four discuss their plans for the
evening, each going their own way and Cap staying back for tower duty.  The fun
begins as we find one female student stayed behind in hiding and soon we see she
is not only a savant but is also gifted with a power, if you can call it a gift.
Zamira can make holographic images of people appear and act self-aware. Whatever
her impression of a person is becomes the personality of the doppelganger she
creates. The more stress she is under the more people start popping out of thin
air. One thing is their all duplicates of herself but have visual
characteristics of the person being copied. Cap is her with a helmet and red
white and blue suit. Iron Man is her with a goatee and chest implant. The
problem is she can’t control these beings. Now that would pose a real problem
with security in the tower as Cap finds out when he returns from helping out at
the local soup kitchen. The story is supposed to be a bout a lonely night. The
main characters supposedly had plans for travel or seclusion in a comfortable
style but it turns out they are just as alone as Cap planned to be. It is all
revealed as Zamira’s duplicates get way out of control and the tower is in real
danger. It is all resolved in the end with no lasting problems and with Zamira
having learned a lesson, which is the point. This is an ok story but I would not
classify it as above average. The art for one thing is lacking in better
definition of the characters. It is a cross between realistic and cartoonish and
is just not appealing. The Avengers themselves are portrayed for the most part
as caricatures of the more intense heroes in the monthly comics. This was done
on purpose so that Zamira’s duplicates would be even more off the wall. I think
it is rather silly and would say that regular readers of the AVENGERS can safely
skip this one and save the five bucks for something more entertaining.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Ancient Flashback Art: Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Israel Silva
Infinity Flashback Art: Dustin Weaver & Israel Silva
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the results of INFINITY was the destruction of Attilan. The bomb set off
by Black Bolt himself was more than an explosive, in fact the explosion was
merely a side effect of the true nature of the device set off. It was actually a
distribution device for terrigen. Past continuity has told us of the effects of
the terrigen mist under controlled situations. It was a choice some Inhumans
made, like a rite of passage. The purpose of this device was to spread terrigen
throughout the world and transform the rest of the Inhumans. This new series
begins as people all over the world have been affected by the terrigen process
and have been enveloped in cocoons from which they will later emerge. The issue
for the most part is narrated by Karnak, the Inhuman who is a martial arts
expert with the power to exploit any flaw, however minor in an opponent or
object in order to bring it down. He is found by the Avengers babbling in the
remains of Attilan and is encased in a secure glass cell for his own protection.
It is from there that he tells the Avengers and eventually Medusa and Crystal
about the origins of the Inhumans. It began 25,000 years ago as Kree
Xenogeneticists abducted prehistoric men and fiddled with their DNA. It is an
involved story over centuries that covers how the Inhumans evolved from that
point and set themselves apart from normal humans. But the release of the
terrigen now showed that there are far more Inhumans among us than the ones we
have come to know. Literally millions have passed as humans over generations but
the terrigen will change all that. What this all means for humanity and the
other Inhumans will be explored moving forward. The immediate effect on Karnak
is the story in this chapter and Medusa will be next. This is a good set up
issue that lays it all out there with a brief recap of the ending of the
invasion by Thanos that prompted Black Bolt’s action fit nicely in. The use of
the different artists sets off the time frame of each segment well as we move
back and forth among the three timeframes. It remains to be seen if this will
kick off a bigger presence and sales for the Inhumans.

Issue Number: 1 (OF 4) (Encore Edition)
Title Story: 1: The Arduous Business of Getting Rescued
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: M. Goodwin
Letters: Jung Ha Kim
Price (USD): $1.00
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor/Fantasy

I had not read this series the first time around so I picked up this encore (we
used to call them reprints) edition to see what it is all about. Right from the
beginning I was enthralled. It starts with a queen telling her daughter the
typical fairy tale of the poor blonde-haired blue-eyed princess who had been
locked away in a tower that was guarded by a dragon so that no prince would ever
be able to get to her. Of course the bravest prince in the land eventually
challenged the dragon, killed it with one blow, and rescued the fair princess.
They married, had lots of children and lived happily ever after – the end. With
that out of the way we get right into the real world as the cynical young
Adrienne takes apart the story piece by piece, claiming it is full of plot holes
like who kills a dragon with one blow, how did he get her from the tower and who
entrusts their daughter to a ferocious beast anyway? Of course her mother points
out that the true meaning is that if you are good and pure of intention someday
your prince will come. Flash forward in the real story. Adrienne is now sixteen
and guess what – she is locked in a tower that is guarded by a dragon she has
nicknamed Sparky. She has found out that the fairy tale was actually the way of
life and tradition. In fact she and her sisters have all been subjected to the
same conditions in their father’s hope that someday a prince brave and true will
rescue on of them and be worthy to inherit the throne. His own son is a big
disappointment. This is all told with a lot of humor, a lot of it is Adrienne’s
sarcasm. She is such a strong character that she is not just going to sit around
wasting her life on the chance of being rescued. And so begins her story to seek
her own destiny, with the help of her friendly neighborhood dragon. There is a
backup story called “Mr. Froggy” It relates to us how young men born into
royalty must attend charm school when they reach a certain age. And of course
what better one to go to than Prince Charming’s Charm School of Future Kings?
This story follows one such prince, Willcome, as he is brought dragging and
kicking to the school when he would much rather play in the mud with a frog. The
whole process is a like a boot camp. Everyone gets identical haircuts, learns to
use a sword and practices saving princesses from dragons. It is all a hoot as
the fate of Willcome unpredictably ties in to the first story. The entire issue
is a delightful read. The characters are interesting and funny and the art is
complimentary to the whole effort. This is one of the most entertaining books
for a dollar you will find on the racks. Check it out!

Issue Number: 700.1
Title Story: Frost
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: David Morrell
Artist: Klaus Janson
Colors: Steve Buccellatto
Letters: Joe Caramagna & Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

We all know by now that Otto Octavius took over Peter Parker’s body and his
identity as the Superior Spider-Man. That certainly was controversial among
long-time fans. Well, here is your chance to see more adventures of Peter Parker
as the true Spider-Man. The numbering is deliberate but it does not follow the
actual issue #700. For all purposes these events take place at some point in the
past. Just enjoy the further adventures of Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-man. 
He opening issue is an interesting tale that takes place sometime in November.
As the nights get shorter and colder Peter remains ever vigilante. Night after
night he patrols to stop crime and save citizens. It is one constant in his life
– the need for Spider-man is always there regardless of the time or season. Of
course another constant is that J Jonah Jameson is on a crusade to paint Spider-
man as a menace in the pages of the Daily Bugle and it is Peter’s job to get
pictures that help in that cause. These are traditional elements of many Spider-
Man stories. The plot for this one has Peter tiring of the constant battle. He
wonders if it is all worth it when the next night there is always more to do. It
explores the possibility of what might happen if he decided to take a night off,
to let the world turn without Spider-Man. The night of a winter blizzard
cripples all traffic and a massive power outage stops most activity in the city.
This could be the proper time to take a break. Except Peter’s life is never that
simple or easy. I enjoy reading Spider-Man stories of this type. I am all for
evolution and growth in the characters but sometimes you just want to go back to
the roots. There is nothing wrong with revisiting the way things were as long
there is a decent plot. This one will find Peter learning what it means to be
given the “great responsibility” and finding a way to live up to it. The art is
very good and all the characters are spot on. This one is sure to delight all
true fans of Spider-Man.


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 HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT there is a pile of bricks with one green one on top in
Rick's trophy room.  Where did the pile come from and what is the green one?

The green brick was Kryptonite and, according to Peter David, the remaining
bricks are actually the remains of - The Avengers Mansion!

During the famous story arc in the Superman titles, REIGN OF THE
SUPERMEN, one cover asked the question we pose as our question this week,

Here is your no prize question:
What is the largest island on the east coast of the US not connected to the
mainland by a bridge or tunnel?

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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