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Friday, January 10, 2014

Comic Reviews 1/10/14


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: 2
Title Story: Part 2
Title Arc: Blood Makes Noise
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Larime Taylor
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama

I was so enthused by the first issue of this new comic I decided to also review
the next issue. As I said this is one book I will be staying with for a while.
First I am pleased with the art. I know this is a subjective thing but I find it
outstanding, especially considering that Larime does it all using his mouth and
special computer software and hardware due to his lifelong disability. It has
clearly defined characters, good use of shading and nice panel arrangements. The
story so far has not had a lot of action sequences so some may find it lacking
variety in the panels. That is function of the story being told and what the
script demands. This second issue has a lot of dialogue so a lot of different
scenes are not called for. What you need to know is that Zoey is a new freshman
away from home for the first time. Her background was explained in the first
issue. Her deep secret is that she killed a high school counselor that
inadvertently outed her best friend who was so devastated she tried to commit
suicide. The friend is now her adopted sister and no one ever found out that
Zoey was the killer. Now she is at school in Seattle and fortunately her uncle,
who happens to be a homicide detective is nearby but not intruding in her life.
It also explored the inner struggle Zoey has with her past, always questioning
if she could or would kill again. The first issue set her up with an evening
open forum talk show at the college radio station. It is that situation that is
the focus of this issue. On her debut program one caller called to tell Zoey
that she was considering killing herself. As this issue begins Zoey is dealing
with that statement but secretly thinks this could help her deal with her own
situation by looking into another life just as screwy if not worse than her own.
Most of the issue deals with the back and forth between the two as Zoey deftly
gets the girl, who calls herself Heather, to open up about her life and what led
her to this point. Meanwhile Zoey is texting Uncle Zeke to listen in and
possibly avert a tragedy. It is a complex script that deals in flashbacks of
Heather’s life. The attitude of her parents is a major factor in the misery she
feels and their indifference over a major event may have pushed her over the
edge. It is clever how Zoey prods her for more information, enough so that Zeke
can discover her real identity and by the end there is a clever twist you may
not expect. So far this comic has been gripping in its portrayal of the
realities some people have to face in life. We are still not sure if Zoey may
become, or perhaps already is a serial killer. Her conduct in this issue shows
increased compassion for this stranger on the phone. But it is the private
moments, the entries into her diary that are most revealing. I am captivated by
the character and the progression of the story so far. I am looking forward to
the next issue and I urge you to get the first two still on the racks.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Ceremonies in Dark Men and Scarlet Women
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Sergio Davila
Colors: Wes Hartman
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Joe Benitez
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Steampunk

I picked up this one basically because it is written by Bill Willingham, creator
of FABLES among other things. I had no expectations other than the obvious – it
is a steampunk adventure. After reading it and looking at the cover again I
seemed to have overlooked the obvious. The main characters are from properties
that Dynamite also publishes – Vampirella and Green Hornet. This becomes more
obvious shortly into the story that takes place mostly in a trendy eating
establishment called the Scarlett Club run by the mysterious Madam Pendragon,
our lady vampire. She is dining with the richest man in town, newspaper
publishing mogul Britt Reid. But disruption at the front door turns the tranquil
scene into a melee proving that Vampirella is one hell of a fighter. A band of
men is masks with various blades and steampunk machinery are after a female, a
lady in red who charged in seeking refuge. Once the perps have been dealt with
it is up to Vampi and Reid to interview the lady, Magna Spadarossa, to find out
her story. It seems she has been searching for her sister whom she saw off on a
cruise ship months ago. When her letters were returned she began questioning
people and got the attention of others who first tried to scare her off and now
just want to remove her as a problem. This is a mystery to solve along with the
fact that the attackers are all identical clones of each other. One other scene
clues us in on a man who is behind it all, but not why. Since Vampirella had her
time to shine in this episode it appears that Green Hornet and Kato will get
more deeply involved in the case. I am not particularly fond of steampunk but
this story does not rely heavily on the technology. It is character driven by
one of the best writers in comics. Having it blend Victorian Era science fiction
with famous characters is more interesting than you would expect. The art is
dynamic and well-paced though the coloring is a bit pale in places. It is a fun
story that is sure to entertain you.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Way Out
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Colors: Vinicius Andrade
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Presenting a comic book version of a classic television series can be a daunting
task. It is difficult with episodic adventure type shows to get the well-known
characters just right. Presumably the core of the intended readership will be
fans of the show and how the characters are rendered – their likenesses,
personalities and dialogue have to fit just right. That is not the case with
this series. There are no regular characters. Each story is unique and can range
from the mysterious, to science fiction to even supernatural or unexplained. The
challenge here is to tell interesting character studies in unusual circumstances
ending most often with some twist that is unexpected. That is the legacy of THE
TWILIGHT ZONE and what the target audience would expect. J. Michael Straczynski
understands this and has structured the story to deliver it. He even begins with
a narration that could have come from the original creator, Rod Serling himself.
Trevor Richmond is a mover and shaker in a very successful business in the big
city. His investment strategies have benefited the company immensely but he is
dissatisfied with the CEO’s preoccupation with finding his son’s killers. There
is nowhere for him to advance in the company, he needs a new challenge. His
personal life has become too routine as well, the same haunts each day, the same
unfulfilling relationship. At least that is what he tells Mr. Wylde, a man who
runs a secret company that can give him a new name, a new identity. He soon
learns that Mr. Wylde knows a lot about his past – his unscrupulous business
dealing, embezzlement of company funds, even his love life. What he offers is a
pill that will alter him from the inside out – blood type, eye color, even his
fingerprints. All it will cost him is everything he has socked away in those
secret offshore accounts. He will be given a new identity and enough funds in an
allowance to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Everything else will be
given to Mr. Wylde’s company. That is the set up and sure enough Trevor accepts
the offer. What happens over the next few days is amazing as he gradually
changes in appearance until he can no longer go to work and be his old self. He
has his new identity and freedom from everyone and everything that was a
problem, including the Feds who are now investigating the company and his old
illegal dealings. But is it enough?  As I said these stories usually have a
twist and this one is not one you can easily guess. But the story is continued
in the next issue so there is much more to Trevor’s story yet to be told. I
found this to be worthy of the TWILIGHT ZONE franchise in both the basic plot
and the characterizations. The art is pretty decent with varied panel
arrangements and composition as well as good coloring. This is a strong start to
what can be a great series.

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creators: Paul Jenkins & Humberto Ramos
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colors: Leonardo Olea & Edgar DelGado
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This murder mystery takes place at the Vatican and begins with a body plummeting
several stories onto a spiked iron wrought fence below. One significant detail
that is highlighted is that the dear departed Cardinal William Richleau had a
coin in his hand that fell out as he was impaled on the fence. What immediately
follows is stranger still. In the pouring rain a man emerges from the shadows
spouting phrases in Latin as he approaches the body. His fervor increases as he
raises a dagger to the corpse just as the Swiss Guard arrives to stop him. These
are the details we see as the reader but some of it will be covered up as famous
Scotland Yard detective Charlie Northern is requested to investigate by his old
friend Cardinal Leclair. Reluctantly he agrees and immediately finds things are
not right, the crime scene was not investigated properly and Cardinal Toscianni
tries to dissuade Charlie from wasting his time as they have done their
investigation and consider the matter closed. Of course Charlie sees things that
counter that argument and will look into it more deeply now. This is a strong
opening to what appears to be a deeper mystery. The who, what, where, how and
why of the event are not going to be covered up if Charlie can help it. Of
course there are strong forces working against him that are only hinted at. The
missing coin and the mysterious man who is not revealed may be the keys to
unravel it all. Ramos has a very distinct style that grows on you from page to
page. Aside from the unique characters his work always depicts the colorists
have made good use of contrasting black and white with color to highlight key
elements of each panel. This is a finely crafted story in both aspects and has
gotten my interest already.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Jonathan Maberry
Artist: Tyler Crook
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
MATURE – Comics on the Edge

The first seven pages of this comic made me wonder what the title had to do with
the story. It became clearer after that. It begins with the daily routine of two
college students, best friends since childhood. Through high school they did
everything together and aspired to play football at the university. But now
Trick, the aspiring quarterback, has been battling cancer for some time. He is
depicted as the ashen skinned and bald headed chemo patient you would expect.
His buddy Kyle has been there for him through it all. As the opening scenes
depict they find pleasure in simple things and ribbing each other. Through the
tough times Kyle has been the rock for Trick and right now he once again tries
to bolster Trick’s confidence that he can beat his disease if he does not give
up. Maberry purposely spends time in those several pages on their relationship
to set the groundwork for Trick’s motivation due to the events to follow. That
is when we learn that this is a vampire story. Alone at the football stadium
Trick is attacked by a vampire who apparently has just emerged from years of
hiding and feeding on animals. Why he chose now and this victim to turn on
humans is not clear but the fact he chose Trick is the crux of the plot. As he
bites into Trick’s neck he has an immediate reaction as if he swallowed acid.
The “Bad Blood” referred to in the title is of course Trick’s chemotherapy
tainted blood. It is not only the thing that ironically saved his life but also
it makes the vampire swear to tear apart Trick’s life – everything and everyone
he holds dear. He pledges Trick will be the one survivor to witness the fall of
the world of the living. And it will start with Kyle. This is a story of a man
who has nowhere to turn. He knows he must fight this creature of the dark but it
will be a lonely quest. No one would believe him if he told them vampires are
real. Though his body is weak his spirit is willing, strengthened by the need to
avenge the death of his best friend and the need to protect others. But as the
first chapter closes he has thought of looking for allies and it is that search
that introduces a very unique character to the mix in the closing panel. The
details of the story from page to page rather than the plot synopsis is what
should interest you. The characterizations are very detailed, even the seemingly
goofy spouting of the vampire bent on world domination. The step by step method
Trick begins to follow is interesting and even comical in places, but it is a
serious one that has already led to one big surprise. I feel there will be more
of the same as Maberry gets into the meat of the story. Tyler Crook has a decent
style and his choices of coloring sets the mood no matter what the situation.
They are a good mix for this comic. This is not your typical vampire story. It
is certainly worth checking out.

Issue Number: 3 (of 6)
Title Story: Deals with Devils
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sterling Gates
Artist: Neil Edwards
Inkers: Jason Paz & Jay Leisten
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artists: Jeremy Roberts, Rob Hunter & Gabe Eltaeb
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

As the FOREVER EVIL event continues on, the cover of this spin off caught my
eye. It features the return of Doctor Light. You may recall that the death of
Dr. Light at the hands of Superman was a key plot before Forever Evil began.
However he is apparently not dead though his appearance in this issue is not the
majority of the story. He briefly appears at his family’s home to see his wife
and children and then is mysteriously teleported away to a location only
revealed at the very end of the issue. This mini-series is more about Steve
Trevor and his work for ARGUS under the present circumstances. At his point in
his story he has made a deal with the Moirai, witches who pull memories out of
his head and cause him to relive them. He will give them something they value if
they aid him in finding Wonder Woman and the rest of the missing Justice League
members. Their magic mirror reveals where they are and who Steve will have to
seek to free his friends and since he is giving far more than they ask they will
aid him on his quest. The first step will be an unlikely alliance with Killer
Frost and Dr. Stein. Steve has information where the missing heroes are all
trapped and once Dr. Stein is told where he reveals how dangerous that is and
what eventually may be the consequences. There are two sub plots this issue, one
is about Dr. Light and the other is a brief one showing a dialogue between Ron
Raymond and the evil Firestorm counterpart from Earth 2. If you have been
following the main FOREVER EVIL comic you will know what bit of information is
crucial to the Syndicate’s plan and why Ron is so important. I found this issue
easy enough to follow though the people that teleported Dr. Light are a bit of a
mystery. The main plot is consistent with the whole crossover event and this
book adds to it, though it is not essential reading.


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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
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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:
Who was the first super hero to team up with Batman in BRAVE AND THE BOLD?

The answer was Green Lantern. No Winner this week.

Here was your no prize question:
What is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole,
forming much of Earth's outer and inner core? It is the fourth most common
element in the Earth's crust.

The element is iron.

What was the first Silver Age Annual from Marvel?

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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