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Friday, January 24, 2014

Comic Reviews 1/24/14


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: 1
Title Story: … A Dream of Flying
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Mick Anglo
Writer: “The Original Writer” – (Alan Moore)
Artist: Garry Leach
Colors: Steve Oliff
Restored from WARRIOR #1-2, 1982
Art Restoration: Michael Kelleher & Kellustration with Garry Leach
Prologue: 1956 – “The Invaders from Earth” by Mick Anglo and Don Lawrence
From MIRACLEMAN #1, August 1985
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Parental Advisory – Strong Language & Content

First, the credits – Alan Moore is not mentioned by name by his request but it
is he who wrote this masterpiece. The introductory piece, Prologue, is by the
original creator, Mick Anglo with art by Don Lawrence. It is basically what a
Marvelman comic would be like if it had survived into the 1980’s though the
story is set in 1956. It is significant as a set up for Moore’s first arc giving
a brief introduction to the Miracle Family in an adventure. It also ends with a
very apt quote about the superman from Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”
This is a portent of how dark the story will become. MIRACLEMAN of course is
based on Anglo’s MARVELMAN, a British comic based on Captain Marvel that ran
from 1954 until 1963 along with a companion book YOUNG MARVELMAN. There is a
very brief summary of the genesis of Marvelman written by Mike Conroy included
in this issue. For a detailed history of the evolution of it and the eventual
MIRACLEMAN comics from Warrior and reprinted in the US by Eclipse I strongly
urge you to seek out the multi-chapter essay, The Poisoned Chalice, on THE BEAT
website at:

So, MIRACLEMAN ran in WARRIOR Magazine starting in 1982. It was later reprinted
in standard comic book form in the US by Eclipse Comics. The significance of
this story cannot be understated. This was the key comic book that began the
deconstruction of the super hero archetype. It precedes WATCHMEN and all the
others. If you are reading it for the first time you may think it is a rehash of
themes you have seen before but remember this story is over thirty years old. It
is the current genre that is imitating. The main story is set in 1982. The main
character is Mike Moran who is 42. He has been having a recurring dream about
being able to fly along with two younger men. The dream always ends with a
disastrous explosion. He wakens in a scream and the headaches that follow are
nearly debilitating. The dream is constantly on his mind with a nagging
obsession that there is a word he needs to remember bust just can’t. It is on
this day that we begin his story that his problem will be solved. As we learn
later in the story his life was changed at the age of 14 back in 1954 when
astro-physicist Guntag Borghelm appeared to him and bestowed upon him god-like
powers when he utters the word KIMOTA (Anglo chose this word for Marvelman
because it sounds like atomic spelled backwards.) The second part of this
chapter recounts some of the adventures he had as Miracleman and he fought major
villains with the help of Young Miracleman and Kid Miracleman. In the present
day, in his job as a freelance journalist, Mike plans to cover an anti-nuclear
protest but is caught in the middle of a robbery as masked men take the crowd
hostage while they plan to take the plutonium store at the facility to sell to
terrorists. Through a quirk of fate he is overcome by his migraine and in a hazy
state he sees the word ATOMIC from the back side of a glass door so it reads
CIMOTA. It finally dawns on him that this is the word he has been trying to
remember and when he says it he is once again transformed into Miracleman.
Suddenly the memories come back to him about his former life as a young man –
things he had forgotten since a tragic explosion in 1963. The most interesting
part of this chapter is how he explains all this to his wife Liz when he shows
up home as Miracleman. This is all prelude for the story to come. Reading this
for the first time in a long time was a real treat. Some of it I had forgotten
so knowing the major details that come later in the story put this beginning in
a different perspective for me. But looking at it in the way a first time reader
might I saw what the initial excitement was when I first read it. It starts slow
but there is enough revelation and unanswered questions to intrigue the new
reader. The original art holds up well under new coloring and lettering. I am
tempted to pull out my Eclipse copies and read it all in one sitting but will
resist the urge for now. Along with the main story and other filler the back of
the book reprints three black and white Marvelman stories from 1954. It is
interesting to contrast these classic tales with what Moore is starting in the
main feature. However, not everyone will appreciate the inclusion preferring
maybe to have more of the main story or a lower price point. I think it will
still sell well and I am happy to see the improved production quality but I too
think maybe Marvel is pushing the fans a bit on this at $6. When it is finished
it is going to make a terrific collected edition though.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is an INHUMANITY tie-in that has the Superior Spider-Man coping with not
only the aftermath of the damage done by the destruction of Attilan but also a
confrontation when well-meaning citizens grab some Inhuman technology from the
rubble resulting in a big problem. This story fits right into the Superior
Spider-Man continuity and Gage has the character of the Doc Oc web crawler just
right. He is arrogant and sarcastic mostly and clearly has plans of his own –
reasons for salvaging Inhuman technology for his own purposes. But he is no
longer an evil villain and acts the hero when innocent lives are in danger. He
is harsh with his army of agents if they do not follow his instructions to the
letter but he also reveals a bit of admiration for the rescue workers and
firefighters while still considering them as sheep. It is an interesting
contrast and Christos scripts his dialogue well. The main conflict that drives
this story concerns a man who retrieves some technology and is using it to try
to save his wife from her terminal cancer. Unfortunately the machinery he donned
to do this is draining the life force from other people in the area to sustain
her. He could actually kill many people if Spidey doesn’t stop him. It is a
unique challenge and Otto will have help from someone that will teach him
valuable lesson. This is a feel-good story as you get further into it so it
stands apart from the rest of Spider-Man continuity. Christos has taken the
basics from that regular series and used them to set a tale in the background of
the Inhumanity event and come up with a book that is better than the sum of its
parts. The art is pretty decent for the most part, though I found it a bit rough
and angular in places. This is a decent comic as a tie-in or just as a one-shot
to enjoy good old fashioned super heroics.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brandon Seifert
Artist: Karl Moline
Inker: Rick Maygar
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Michael Del Mundo
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

This is Disney’s first foray into publishing comics based on their own concepts
and characters since they bought Marvel. Elements of the story pertaining to the
Museum of the Weird are based on a concept developed by Disney Imagineer Rolly
Crump. The museum was supposed to be an adjunct to the Disney Haunted Mansion
and Walt saw it as its own walk-through attraction but it never got built after
Walt’s passing. So folks at Marvel and Disney got together to develop a comic
book based on the museum and its artifacts. The story is set in New Orleans
where Maxwell and Melody lead typical lives as teenagers and have the usual
problems that go with it. They live with their parents above the family curio
shop called Keep it Weird. The story begins on a particular day when they both
are concerned about telling their parents about mid-term grades. But instead of
the usual parental interest both brush off any discussion as if they hadn’t even
heard the words “bad news” and “grades” to hurry off to dad’s off-limits study
for “work” stuff. The story that follows will lead Max and Mel to discover what
is truly behind the family business. That night the kids are roused by an attack
on their parents in the curio shop and they both arrive to see their parents
fighting off mythical creatures with magic artifacts, only to be captured and
flown off into the night sky by these same beasts. But the danger is still all
around and if not for the timely arrival of their Uncle Roland the kids would
have been captured or worse. It is through Roland that the kids finally get to
see the secrets of their father’s study and the safe door in it that leads into
an impossibly huge museum on the other side – the Museum of the Weird. It
appears that their parents have secretly been the keepers of all sorts of unique
artifacts and now, as Roland explains, the Society of Shadows is looking to grab
a particular item and he must get things here to help him get to it first. The
story is told from the kids’ perspective as they were as clueless as the reader
about what was going on all these years.  The creators have laid down the basic
elements of the plot – the kidnapping, mythical and magical forces at work, a
quest to be undertaken and two innocents who will play a part much larger than
they imagine. The story flows very smoothly and the art is strong in all
aspects. This is a good first issue to kick off what is sure to be a series of
new comics on the racks. It is good comic fun for all ages.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Every Origin Has a Beginning
Publisher: IDW
Based on the film BLACK DYNAMITE written by Michael Jai White, Byron Minns &
Scott Sanders
Writer: Brian Ash
Artist: Ron Wimberly
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colors: JM Ringuet
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature – Comics on the Edge

I can honestly say I do not recall anything about the movie BLACK DYNAMITE from
2009. Maybe I saw a trailer for it but that memory is long gone. Since I never
saw the movie I approach this comic for what it can present to me for
entertainment value. What grabbed me at first was the tribute to Jack Kirby
cover that is instantly recognizable as his style. When I saw it was an almost
Luke Cage looking hero jumping out at me I figured why not. When I opened it I
discovered it was based on a movie from five years ago. This first issue, I
guess, is an origin story based on the title.  The script is organized into
plots from different times. The bookends take place in Cuba in 1976 as we watch
the loan figure with no shirt and a hooded jacket walking in the streets of
Havana in a pouring rain. We also see he is being watched, by what seems to be a
government operative. This is a very moody sequence in the beginning of the book
that turns into something very different in the end sequence. The main plot in
the middle takes place “a number of years earlier” – from one clue around 1972-
73. So evidently this is going to tell us how Black Dynamite eventually came to
be in Cuba. Our hero is probably the most admired guy on the block. Crowds cheer
when he shows up. And that is what happens in this story. A bad-ass pimp named
Too Swole disrupts a block party just to get Black Dynamite to challenge him.
This upsets BD as he was about to get personal with his lady. Basically the plot
is he appears, trashes the pimp and then gets put down by the local community
organizers for being a magnet for this type of element. They recount numerous
bad guys who show up and though he always beats them there is also a lot of
collateral damage. There is more to it than this but why bother. This comic has
some of the worst dialogue I have ever read. I can’t tell if Brian Ash is trying
to be serious or purposely making it as stereotypical as were the
blacksploitation movies of the seventies. There is a lot of clichéd dialogue and
unrealistic reactions. At first I thought it would be good for a few laughs, and
it would be if it was done more intelligently but I did not enjoy it and it got
more painful the more I read. It is not good drama, good satire or good comedy.
The art is also very weak with limited detail, poor transitions and low quality
coloring. I am surprised IDW put out a book like this. Anyway, it is not worth
your time in my humble opinion. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Title: EGOs
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Dead Worlds
Publisher: Image
Creators: Stuart Moore & Gus Storms
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Gus Storms
Letters: Rob Steen
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Teen +

This far future science fiction story on first look seems like it would be about
one thing and then turns out to be very different. There are a couple of
disjointed plots that one would assume will join later. A young girl on a long
forgotten colony world is giving her parents fits by disappearing all the time.
The truth is that she is moving among alternate realities. The bulk of the book
is about the group of adventurers known as EGO, which stands for Earth/Galactic
Operatives. We are introduced to the “old” team in a story being told to an
audience by their one time leader Deuce. He has the power of persuasion. Among
the other members are two telepaths, a combat master, a cyborg and a girl who
can freeze things. Deuce tells the story of a great battle decades ago against
Repliqa who planned to conquer the known universe using forbidden cloning
technology. (Hmm… shades of STAR WARS!) That flashback serves to explain what
EGO is and how Deuce met his wife Mira. But in the current day the EGOs have
gone their separate ways. Deuce is here to announce that an all new EGO team
will be formed to once again protect the galaxy from looming threats everywhere.
What he does not tell them is that he already knows of a major threat, one that
may have killed a member of the old team. We see the threat known as Masse in
the opening sequence and later again on a larger scale. The public perception is
Deuce is building an all new younger group of heroes to battle any threat that
comes up. But you will see as you go along that the motive is more urgent and
even the team that he puts together is not all that it seems. Oh and why is that
alternate dimension viewing girl watching all this and what does she want? 
There are some interesting plot elements here. At first it seemed a bit jumbled
but as we went further along it started to become clearer. The art is not too
bad. What it lacks in facial detail it seems to make up in other areas. I think
the script is the stronger part of the book and so far seems interesting enough
to make me come back for more.


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:
These are the first lines of what comic book character:
"No! No! Take the fish away! Take them away! They'll kill me!"

These are the first lines of Aqualad. No one got it this time.

What was the first thing the Impossible Man turned into?

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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