Search This Blog

Friday, December 20, 2013

Comics Reviews 12/20/13


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
Writer: Brian Joines
Artist: Dean Kotz
Colors: Ron Riley
Letters: Charles Pritchett
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

It is fitting to start off this week’s reviews with a comic about Santa Claus.
Actually it is about a lot of them, in fact, The Secret Society of Santa
Clauses. Their leader is Father Christmas and they represent the versions of
Santa from around the world from Sinterklaas of the Netherlands and Pere Noel of
France to Kris Kringle of the US and Hoteiosho of Japan. They have come together
at the North Pole under dire circumstance. Someone has stolen the skeletal
remains of Saint Nicholas the original inspiration for Santa Claus. Their belief
is his remains fuel their magic abilities. Sure enough a simple test proves this
to be true. So the reindeer can’t fly and even the elves are becoming less
skilled with building the high tech toys so much in demand these days. They must
send someone to Italy to investigate the theft and regain the sacred bones and
there is only one they can turn to – Krampus. He was a creature born of dark
magic and long ago Sinterklaas brought him forth to bring terror and punishment
to wicked children on Christmas Eve. However times changed and the European
Santas decided the children should not be punished. When Krampus refused to quit
his ways they imprisoned him in a special place at the North Pole. Now they
decided to make a deal with the devil, so to speak. If he can recover the
remains and bring back their magic Krampus will be freed to do as he please.
This is a fun book that has a serious plot. There are evil forces at work and
even a traitor in the Society working against them. But there is humor in the
interchange between the various Clauses as each has their own distinct
peculiarities. When they criticize each other it is quite comical. The art is
passable but nothing outstanding. I like the way the plot is structured and
executed. This is a mystery with supernatural and mythical elements and an
interesting cast of characters. Krampus has his work cut out for him and it
looks like it won’t be easy. It is a fun romp that will give you a different
perspective on Santa Claus.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colors: Moreno Dinisio
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama

This is a story about one cop, Orson Gage, on a vendetta after his girlfriend
was gunned down during a bank robbery. He gets a small lead about a known hacker
who may be leaving town quickly and so his quest begins. The bank job was a
cover. The idea was while everyone was focusing on whatever cash was stolen the
big payoff was in the computer system. Jimmy Stowe was brought along to hack the
computers to access accounts, some secret or illegal for the big score worth
millions. When he walked into the carnage in the main room he panicked and ran.
Now not only is Gage looking for him but so is the gang that pulled the job. We
learn the details of the job when another member of the crew is secretly grilled
by another bad guy not connected to the gang. If Gage can get to Jimmy before
his partners do he might be able to get the information he needs to get his
vengeance. This is a fast-paced drama with just a few scenes that tell us all we
need to know. The main player are detailed as to their character, or lack of it,
and motivations. I particularly like the art that encompasses dramatic layouts
and very good sense of perspective. While Gage is clearly out for revenge he
hasn’t crossed the line yet. Maybe that is part of the set up to get us to
wonder if he will shoot first and ask questions later. It is a quick read and
leaves you wanting more. If you like crime drama this should suit your taste.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creator: Jeff Kline
Writer: Jeff Kline
Artists: Javi Garron & Salvi Garcia
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero Satire

This story is told in a world with some super heroes around. We learn that
gradually along the way. A family having dinner together comment on another
diner whom they believe is Princess Power. Later as the brother, Gregory, is in
a line for an exclusive nightclub his date dumps him when she is invited to join
the charismatic hero the Blaze. Gregory lives in an apartment with Barry who is
a stereotypical gamer. When Greg returns early from the botched date Barry
pleads with him to return a couple games to the video store and that will prove
to be a fateful request.  You see Greg doesn’t know it but he is a mutant. He
may never have found out were it not for the two guys who decided to rob the
video store at closing time. When he stepped in to help the clerk Greg ended up
taking one to the chest. But it only knocked him down, the bullet never
penetrated his skin. Well this was all captured on the security camera and soon
the cops are searching for Gregory. There is more to the back story that is only
given out in pieces. The first scene is at a woman’s prison as one inmate is
released after four years. Who is she and why is she important to us? Another
scene shows another powered female flying down to dock and walking away with an
older man who had been fishing.  Why is that important? For that matter why do
the cops want to take Greg in by force?  In fact Gregory’s lost date changes her
tune after she learns about his new found status. Is there more to her than
meets the eye? We do not have all the details about this world. We know there
are supers and they have celebrity status. How and if Gregory will fit in with
them when he clearly does not want to is the story that is coming. The story is
drawn and colored well. The main plot moves along nicely and there is a subtle
sense of humor through it all. The dangling subplots are interesting but too
little information makes them a little annoying. I am more interested in Gregory
right now and may stop in next time to see how his story develops.  I suggest
you take a look at this first issue.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: 20 Seconds
Publisher: Archaia Black Label
Creators: Khang Le & Adhesive Games
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Federico Dallocchio
Colors: Chris Northrop
Letters: Julia Fung
Cover Artist: Tim Bradstreet
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction – Online Game Adaptation

This futuristic military drama is based on a multiplayer first-person shooter
game where the players are in giant robotic war machines. You can register and
play for free at right now. As with other comics of
this type the creators try to give you a feel for the backstory and what it
might be like if this were a real situation. The main character in this first
issue of the mini-series is G5 Draden Lusk. He is a highly qualified candidate
for his position. Despite his inexperience in the field he scored in the top
eight for his grade. His flaw may be that he reacts on instinct rather that too
much analysis of the tactical situation. This may catch up to him at some point.
We join the action as he watches a missile heading straight at him. His shields
hold up for that hit but the inputs on his display reveal he has four hostiles
after him – two lights, a medium and a heavy hostile. He quickly calls for air
support and the eta is twenty seconds – hence the title of the story. The
significance of that title is made clear as we feel time slow from his
perspective. Under heavy fire twenty seconds is a lifetime and it is his life on
the line. The whole plot of this issue is how he engages the hostiles trying to
stay alive for twenty seconds. The art is very close up for the most part which
is intentional. Occasionally there is a long range view of the action but most
of it is from within the armor. Some of the jargon relates to the equipment and
munitions making it realistic. The thoughts and comments are typical for a man
in combat. It moves quickly and ends in a way consistent with the expectations
you might have. It is not an outstanding comic for those of us who want a larger
story but as a one chapter in a larger picture it is not bad. Fans of the game
or those who might be interested in going online to check it out should enjoy it
as well.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jorge Molina
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Marvel’s next event following Infinity is well under way. The Terrigen bomb was
set off destroying Attilan in the process. The mist traversed the globe causing
latent Inhumans to undergo a transformation. Some were affected immediately
while others where wrapped in cocoons to emerge later. This story features
several Marvel heroes from Avengers Academy and the Jean Grey School. They are
helping with the relief efforts in New York caused by Attilan exploding. When
Pixie reads tweets from a possible transformed Inhuman contemplating suicide she
teleports Quentin, Finesse and Striker to Mystic, Connecticut to find the girl.
They calm down the new Inhuman, Fiona, enough for her to tell her story of
transformation. It is a story we have seen so many times in the past in other
Marvel books. The only thing that has changed is that it is no longer about
mutants who suddenly manifest. The same reactions are present from those around
Fiona and most of them are either revulsion, disbelief, intolerance or even
horror from family, friends and others. But our young heroes have words of
encouragement and hope relating their own experiences coping with their powers
and how it sets them apart from others. It is a balanced tale that progresses
logically. But then as it seems that Fiona has gained the proper perspective she
reveals that she has a brother. Since she is genetically part Inhuman he must be
too. The first chapter ends with their first encounter with Flynn.  I enjoyed
the story for what it is but as I said it is derivative at best. There is decent
art with some very unique panel and layout choices. However, the entire thing is
integrated editorially with social media posts. Some are from people just
tweeting about what is going on and others are instant messages or texts between
Fiona and her BFF. It is somewhat distracting, especially on those pages that
have tweets at the top, Fiona narrating in the middle and her test messages at
the bottom. It is meant to give different perspectives of the same events but it
makes it harder to follow the main plot. I hope it does not continue through the
whole series but then again I did not find the main story compelling enough to
follow what is next. Your mileage may vary.

Issue Number: 15.INH
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Kris Anka
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Joe Caramagna & Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist: Kris Anka
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is a supplemental issue of the ongoing series with special “dot” numbering
that is all the rage these days. I guess that means that the events of
Inhumanity affect the characters in the particular title, but not enough to make
it a major element of the ongoing story. Instead they take a break to add an
issue that addresses those effects. In this case it happens in the second half
of the book. The first half is setup. It starts strangely enough with Illyana
visiting with Dr. Strange in the past as part of some therapy. When she returns
to the present she finds the Stepford sisters and Eva waiting for her. Soon Jean
Grey passes by and before you know it they make a strong case for everyone to go
out shopping. Illyana insist that Emma must go too and they even grab Kitty
Pride at Jean’s insistence. So the story begins as a girls’ night out and the
place they choose is Piccadilly Square in London. This could easily fall into
the plot of any issue of the series, with part of the dialogue dealing with
friction between Jean and Celeste of the Stepfords. But then of course it has to
tie in to Inhumanity and a commotion nearby draws the ladies to one of those
Terrigen cocoons. The rest of the story is about what emerges, and their
interaction with him. The whole point of the issue is the girls’ first encounter
with global Terrigenesis and it ends with musings about what this means for the
mutants of the world who have been beleaguered for so long. It is not a bad
story. If you must have everything involved in the Inhumanity event you won’t be
disappointed. The usual creative team have done a good job dipping their toes in
the big event without doing harm to the ongoing plot. If you are a regular
reader of the Uncanny X-Men you could skip this issue but I think you will want
to get it anyway.


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:
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,
                      WHO WATCHES THE SUPERMEN?

The WHO watching the Supermen was the real steel deal, Superman, Kal-El himself.

Here was 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?
The answer is Martha’s Vineyard and David
McBarron gets another no prize for the correct answer.

James Robinson's title character for the Ultraverse line was very different from
the others title characters.  How was he different?

Here is your no prize question:
Which candy bar is the best-selling of all time?

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment