Search This Blog

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Comic Reviews 2/1/14


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 (of 4)
Publisher: Archaia/Boom
Creator: Alyssa Milano
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly 
Artist: Marcus To
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Deron Bennett
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure
Mature – Comics on the Edge

The center organization involved in this thriller is a social networking company
called Yourlife. The two young entrepreneurs who started it, Nate Graft and
Edwin Hiccox, are now billionaires. The hook is that the users’ information is
protected from piracy or surveillance through their state-of-the-art
cryptographic hash table. Using it can help you achieve positive change based on
your goals be it soul mates, projects, partners, philosophy or philanthropy.
Nate demonstrates the power of it at forum they are conducting by picking out
one attendee and telling him once he logs back in he will find resources,
locations and potential employees to set up his own restaurant. That segment of
the plot explains somewhat the power and success of Yourlife. But the real plot
is what Nate and Edwin have been doing in their spare time in San Francisco. The
opening scene follows a group of dissidents in Tunisia who are desperate to get
their message out to the people. Public speeches are dangerous and soon raided
by the authorities and the government has shut down all access to the Internet,
which would be their best bet at spreading the word. This is here our two genius
come in. In their safe house the protestors get a text message and to their
amazement the network is working for the first time in a month. They know their
mystery benefactors by only the code name _sve_urs3lf. Nate and Ed realize they
have just enabled a revolution but that is not good enough – they could change
the world. The next step could be closer than they think. I liked this story
because the characters are interesting – one is bold and cocky while the other
is pragmatic and obsessive compulsive. We are eased into the real meat of the
story at the very end when Nate is approached after their big keynote
presentation by someone who could help them fulfill a goal. The art is decent
and has very good coloring. It will be interesting to see how things develop in
the next issue. That is always a good thing for a first issue.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Creator: Steven Grant
Writer: Steven Grant
Artist: Jose Holder
Colors: Stephane Roux
Letters: Ed Dukeshire 
Cover Artist: Stephane Roux
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Spy Thriller

I usually enjoy stories by Steven Grant. This one is very involved and took a
while to get into. The protagonist is an American named Lincoln McCord who seems
to be an adventurer with connections to European high society. He is currently
in West Germany. He does have an employer but currently agreed to help road test
some race cars for an old friend. As the private jet lands he finds a limo
waiting for him from another friend, the Contessa Via Viarosa, who is throwing a
party and expects McCord to be there. This is his life – never knowing what turn
it will take. In the course of this comic he will save a lady from thugs who
claim she stole from her employer so he invites her along to the party. Later at
the party he is dragged into a spat between another friend and some thugs who
are hassling him. But these incidents are mostly to give us a flavor for the
kind of guy McCord is. What he does for his employer is still not made clear but
the girl he brought to the party is not all she seems and could shed some light
on that for us. As I said this is not a typical plot I would expect from Steven
Grant. It is very involved and jumps from one incident to seemingly unrelated
incident after another. I think the second issue will make a little more sense
so I may stick with it. The art is passible but the pencils are not as detailed
as I like. It is passable though. I would say right now this is an average comic
that needs to pick up speed to hold my interest.

Title: BAD ASS
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: Herik Hanna
Artist: Bruno Bessadi
Colors: Gaetan Georges
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Cover Artist: $3.99
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is a strange comic book. It starts off pretty cool actually and then gets
really strange. The first impression you get about the main character, who is
actually called Dead End not Bad Ass, is that he is somehow gifted. He is
sitting at an outdoor café and musing about the people around him. It seems he
is not thrilled with the young lovers at the next table, or the kid with the
chopsticks up his nose, or the old couple about to take a walk. They didn’t do
anything to him, he is just annoyed by everything, or so it seems. This scene is
set up to show us that Dead End is very good with analyzing a situation and
doing exactly the right thing to set a chain of events into motion for a desired
end result. The simple flick of a coin distracts a driver who swerves off the
road and crashes into a woman who is physically abusing her son. This appears to
be his gift. It is a small example and a sharp contrast to some flashback
sequences of his childhood as a bumbling kid with pimples that was the target of
bullies. Now he is a hit man for a mob boss who happens to be a dragon – sort of
like the lizard from Spider-Man, that size but a dragon not a lizard. This I was
not expecting. Our man Dead End has decided to gather the Green Dragon’s ill-
gotten proceeds for himself and plans to do it at a gathering of all his minions
about three dozen of them. He going to need that special talent of his – big
time. And wait until you see who shows up at the end to challenge him. As I said
this book takes a quick turn. In fact it does so several times and the Green
Dragon thing was out of the blue. This is not a normal world. This has the
elements of an interesting premise but then it sinks into silly dialogue despite
the cool action sequences. The flashbacks appear to have no real meaning right
now, except perhaps why Dead End wears the mask – we never really see his full
face as an adult. Maybe it will become clearer later on but it is just too
disjointed to put up with the bad parts. That is a shame because the art is
rather good. Maybe you will have a different reaction to it than I did.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: George Romero
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is yet another story set in the post-zombie apocalypse era. In this case it
is five years after the dead first walked. It is lower Manhattan and the humans
that are walking about are heavily armed. The leader of the group is Paul
Barnum. This story is about how humanity has devolved. Though Barnum’s group are
police they are off duty as a protection detail for him. He has a very
particular job for the mayor of the city. He procures zombies for the arena in
Central Park. This is the zombie Circus Maxims. This part of it seems ripped
right from The Walking Dead. The fights are staged to amuse the public.
Sometimes there are private fights to amuse the mayor and his friends. To Barnum
it is a job. The other main character is a female doctor from Columbia
University. She is interested in Barnum and his work. Most of this issue is
taken up with the two talking about the nature of the world now, the differences
in various zombies – some seem actually smart, others are just savage. There is
an element of mystery about a missing cop. Barnum assumed she was eventually
attacked by zombies but we see her popping in and out of the shadows. She is not
totally mindless out for flesh – as if she is dead but still has a purpose to
fulfill. And she witnesses a scene by an important person connected to the mayor
that lets us know there is more going on in this world that the usual zombie
plague. Having said all that I had a real hard time getting excited or even
mildly interested in where this is going. There is too much talking and very
little character development. There are only three or four scenes where
something actually happens of significance. So far it is another version of
Zombie-World that is not all that interesting. Romero does add a new element at
the very end of the chapter that may serve to pick up the pace next time but I
am not interested enough to care. As far as the art goes it is not bad but it
takes some getting used to. It seems to me this is an attempt to approach the
whole zombie thing on a more analytical level rather than just as the basis of a
horror story. For me it didn’t click.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Rick Remender & Wes Craig
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure
Mature – Comics on the Edge

The story is set in San Francisco in 1987. It is about a fourteen-year-old
homeless boy named Marcus. He emigrated from Nicaragua with his parents when he
was much younger. But the tragic death of both his parents left him a ward of
the state and placed in a boys’ home. That was then. Now he is trying to survive
on the street any way he can by panhandling or stealing. The first half of this
book is somewhat depressing as it visits the realities of this kind of life.
Marcus is faced with health problems and danger from other homeless trying to
survive as well. So we see an old man trying to steal Marcus’ shoes while he
sleeps among other things to emphasize the hopelessness of the situation. It
finally gets to him enough that he goes to a bridge with intentions of ending
his pain. At the last minute he remembers his father’s encouragement from long
ago and decides to live. But it is also at this point that we see someone else
has taken an interest in Marcus. A young girl standing in the shadows whispers
“Don’t” to herself as he stands on the edge. As it turns out this girl and those
she associates with will play a large part in Marcus’ life. Just when you think
you have figured out what this comic is about it takes a right turn. At a street
festival marking the “Day of the Dead” two things happen. Marcus sees the girl
he thinks has been watching him and a bunch of cops, begin to close in on him.
We are not told why he is being sought by the police, or why one of them who
manages to corner Marcus after a wild chase is about to shoot him in cold blood.
What we do find out is the girl and the various people that lend a hand in
helping her and Marcus evade the police are part of a very secret organization.
At the end we learn it is called Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts and
they want Marcus to join their league of assassins. I like the way Remender
eased us into the crux of the plot. He takes time characterizing Marcus and his
lot in life and then eventually introduces some fast paced action we had not
anticipated. He has also left some mystery about Marcus regarding his wanted
status as well as why the members of this league know about him and sought him
out. The art is very interesting with a lot of interesting layouts and coloring.
It sets the mood nicely. What I thought was going to be a depressing look at
homelessness turned out to be much more. I urge you to check it out and see if
it appeals to you.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Last Laugh
Publisher: DC
Writer: Josh Elder
Artists: Adam Archer & Ben Bates
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero – Video Game Adaptation

The final comic for review this week is one suited for all ages. It is based on
a video game and has the visual appeal and straight forward plotting to appeal
to the younger crowd. However, it is not dumbed down to that level. Josh Elder
manages to keep it interesting for older readers with some humor and homages
that more experienced DC readers will love. The basis for the main characters is
in one of those alternate Earths called Earth-i. It is a world of imagination
where anything is possible – dinosaurs, robots, robot dinosaurs, pirates and
ninjas are all common in some areas. This Earth’s super hero is called Maxwell
the Scribblenaut. He received a magic notebook from his parents and whatever he
writes in it comes to life. His twin sister Lily was given a magic globe that
allows her to transport anywhere, even to other dimensions. She is known as the
Cartographer. In a brief recap we are told of some previous adventures they have
had, one involving the Justice League on Earth 1. So it is no surprise that this
story will also involve the heroes of the normal DC Universe. The lead-in is
very clever with the Phantom Stranger talking with Madame Xanadu in the House of
Mystery. Long-time DC fans will get a kick out of the inferences to a clichéd
plot line about an impending crisis threatening all existence and how Madame X
foretells the importance of Max and Lily to it all. To get things rolling the
Stranger fetches Max and Lily back to Earth 1 just in time to intervene in an
epic battle in Gotham with the entire Bat family on one side and Joker, Harley,
Bane, Catwoman, Clayface and Firefly on the other. This conflict provides the
action for most of the issue and in the end the kids learn that this Earth is a
lot different from the one they remember. As I said this is well-scripted and
entertaining for kids of all ages. The characters are all pint-sized versions of
the normal DC characters done in a unique style that suits both the video game
format as well as this comic. It is the finishing touch on an already good comic
that makes it highly recommended by this reviewer.


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:
What was the first thing the Impossible Man turned into?
The answer is a small jet. The winner by the dice roll is Steven Berk.

What group of kids debuted in DC's STAR SPANGLED COMICS #7?

Here is your no prize question:

“We Are the World” raised over $60 million for charity and featured the voices
of many stars in 1985 including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Bruce
Springsteen and Michael Jackson, among others. The question is what was the name
of the band that played the music on this multi-award winning song?

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