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Friday, February 14, 2014

Comic Reviews 2/15/14

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: Meta Morphosis
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This comic has gotten a lot of media coverage because once again Marvel is
introducing a hero who is not a typical white person. In this case it is a
teenage girl who is a Muslim. She is a native-born American but her parents came
over from Pakistan. She is a teenager from Jersey City trying to walk the
balance between two cultures. In fact this first issue is more about the
difficulty she has with other classmates and her parents with the pivotal moment
in her life occurring at the end of the issue. So for the most part we are given
a long look at her life. She does have a few real friends. Others at the school
act friendly at times but also make fun of the restrictions of her religion and
her parents. She wants desperately to fit in and it gets to the point that she
sneaks out to a party she has been forbidden to attend. The plot contrasts her
family life and that of her life with other kids. The home life shows an
emphasis on traditions though it is her brother who is more focused on the
Muslim precepts. The other aspect of Kamala that we find out early on is that
she is a big fan of super heroes, the Avengers in particular. It is her secret
wish to be like her idol, Captain Marvel. It is no secret she will indeed gain
powers. The only thing I was surprised about was how she got them, even though
what they are has not been revealed. I don’t think I will spoil the event that
gave her the powers but it is not something very unusual in the Marvel universe
these days. So my first impression is this first issue is purposely decompressed
to give us a long look at Kamala and her life before it is turned upside down
starting next issue. It is almost like they are teasing us to come back for more
if we are really curious about what her powers are and how she will handle them.
The story so far is good as far as it goes though some of the characters are on
the edge of stereotypical. This is dangerous as it may get tiring after a while.
Perhaps the heroic part will have more meat to it. The art is a bit pale in the
coloring but the rest of it is pretty good. I am not overwhelmed by this first
issue. I like to feel more excitement when a new character makes the scene. This
one has potential but it is not there yet.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Sanctuary
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Mirko Colak
Colors: Lauren Affe
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Turok has been around a long time and has seen resurgence in popularity. The
last time was in the Valiant series and a major video game franchise. As part of
a group of Gold Key characters he has seen different publishers. Now he and the
others, Magnus, Solar and Dr. Spektor have landed at Dynamite and Turok is the
first one to launch with the others to follow. I try to approach series with an
open mind. It is difficult with a character I am familiar with from past
versions. There are certain expectations that have to be set aside. A new
generation of readers will not have that prejudice. So what we have here is a
Native American during some unspecified time in the past living apart from the
tribe. He has frequent flashbacks to the time his parents were killed. The other
men of the tribe treat him with disdain. Andar and his two friends bully Turok
and when he stands up to them he is taken back to the tribe for discipline. He
just wants to be left alone but Andar would rather he leave and never come back.
But wait, this title is about a dinosaur hunter, right? They eventually show up
near the end to turn the world upside down on the tribe. The kicker is that it
is revealed in the very last panel that his is the year 1210AD. So where did the
dinosaurs come from?  There are other players revealed at the end that answers
who but not how. I must say I was not very impressed with this comic. The first
half is muddled between the present and the flashbacks so visually neither is
distinct. There is implications that one tribe assimilated another but again it
is not clear. The final problem is the dinosaurs out of time and who is behind
it. It is just not logical when you see who it is. I will allow for creative
license on that part assuming all will be revealed later. Realistically, there
should be no humans and dinosaurs occupying the same time whether it be millions
of years in the past or in the thirteenth century but then there never would
have been a Turok comic in the past either. Oh, and there is a major clue as to
what can be expected in the shadows on the cover illustration – the main cover
by Bart Sears. I may give this another issue or two to see where it goes but the
first one did not grab me. 

Issue Number: 1-Shot
Title Story: Golgotham
Publisher: DC
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Meghan Hetrick
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover Artist: Georges Jeanty & Michelle Madsen
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

The Joker’s Daughter has been around the NEW 52 Universe for a while now. During
Villains Month her background was told showing how she came by the remains of
the Joker’s face and came to power in Gotham’s underground known as Golgotham.
This issue follows after those events and once again highlights the disturbing
psyche of this new character. The driving force in her life is her obsession
with the Joker. She is not really his daughter but has decided to pattern her
life after his. Her focus this issue is finding the Joker, convinced he is still
alive. She has a plan to accomplish this. She decides to blow up a school bus
and leave a note claiming it was the Joker and thereby getting Batman involved.
She is sure that he would then lead her to the object of her desire. For the
most part her plan is working as she follows Batman to a tunnel leading
underground. But anyone would be a fool to think Batman would not know he is
being followed. It is here she will learn the truth about the Joker’s fate. Up
to this point she has not emulated the Joker’s ruthlessness. As far as Batman is
concerned she is a sick person in need of help. Granted she blew up the bus but
there was no injury or loss of life. When more pressing matters arise he leaves
her with a warning. Of course she won’t be brushed aside so easily and follows
again, right into the waiting arms of the police. It seems her reign of terror
will end before it begins – but then this would not be much of a story, would
it? There are more revelations about this sad character throughout the issue.
The most revealing is her encounter with the Anchoress in Arkham. With a touch
she can peel away the layers of self-deceit showing JD all the lies she has been
telling herself. This one-shot is not an end to Joker’s daughter but a new
beginning. She is convinced she must find the Joker or some part of him beyond
the facial mask she wears. She needs to be part of him – have him in her for all
time and the ending shows her as she seeks the one man who can help her make a
final transformation. She will have a new look about her and new drive. She has
crossed the line finally to be a willing killer – more easily than before. This
special sets her up for future mayhem in Gotham. This is a dark story and can be
a bit disturbing in parts. It really examines the character very closely and
sets up the future. The art is really good on this one. The complex plot calls
for a variety of scenes and sequences and the team is up to the task. Dedicated
Batman fans will have to get this for their collection.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Trust Me
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain/Anti-hero

This comic grabs you right with the opening panel. It shows Loki running a sword
through Thor’s heart from behind with the text reading, “Trust me. I know what
I’m doing.” It is clearly the climax of the issue revealed in the very first
panel. Fortunately for those of us who have not kept up with all things Thor
lately there is a recap text that explains the status quo. Loki evolved from
adopted son, to god of mischief to god of evil – until he died. At some point he
was reborn as a younger version of himself. Now he has made a deal with the All-
Mother, ruling triumvirate of Asgardia. He completes missions for them and they
forgive past sins one by one. So we get the idea after two pages that the
“mission” this time is to stab Thor in the back – heh, heh. Well obviously there
more to the story than that and we jump back to the beginning of the journey as
Loki gets his mission from the All-Mother via his bathroom mirror. At this point
we don’t know what it is as the scene shifts quickly to Loki running up the side
of a very tall building, Avenger’s Tower. This is a very blatant move which will
surely trigger alarms and cause the Avengers to assemble. But with Loki things
are never as they seem. There are plans within plans. The cleverness of the plot
is very entertaining. Loki is here for more than one reason only one of which is
the mission he has been given. We eventually get to the reason why he runs
through Thor and it is no spoiler that Thor will survive it. It would be a
spoiler to reveal what happens at the very end after Loki reports to Asgardia
and then leaves. It is unexpected and sets up the next issue for some very
interesting conversation. I like the character of the young Loki. He is written
with a distinct personality that is not evil but at the same time always doing
what is best for himself. The subplot at the end indicates a deeper story will
be told through the ongoing issues. It is not just simply a different mission
each month showing how clever Loki is in getting things done. For that it is
worth giving it a try. The art is what I would call average for Marvel. It is
not stunning as in the flagship titles but it is better than lesser company’s
stuff. I give this one a positive first issue thumbs up.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Memento Mori
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Anti-hero Adventure

Seeing yet another first issue for the Punisher I got to wondering just how many
series he has had and is it a Marvel record? Some research revealed that this is
the tenth PUNISHER series not counting the four spin offs – WAR JOURNAL, WAR
ZONE, 2099 AND MAX. Whether that is a record I don’t know. Marvel is more prone
to renumber series at #1 whenever there is a change in creative teams or
editorial direction. They are now taking it a step further by putting a big
white #1 on ongoing series issues as if they were actually first issues. Take
note of the recent or soon to come titles UNCANNY AVENGERS #18, NEW AVENGERS
#16, IRON MAN #23, and UNCANNY X-MEN #19 sporting the #1 on the cover and
another 5 ongoing series resetting at #1 all advertised in this week’s Marvel
comics. It makes me long for the old times when comics stood or fell based on
their quality and fan support without an artificial boost in sales from
renumbering.  But I digress…

This series has an interesting start involving a group of military special ops
members as they complete a rescues mission. This at first does not appear to
have any bearing on the main character but it will by the end of the issue – and
wait until you see what their code name is. The bulk of the book is what I would
call more of a classic Punisher story. It opens with a sub plot as Frank stalks
his quarry in a rather unique way. It is the first step in a larger plan to stop
the flow of drugs in a particular supply chain. The first guy gets him the name
of the middleman. The middleman gets him the location of the main group – the
cartel members behind it all. At each step Frank uses his talents to get the
information he wants and in typical Punisher fashion makes sure those who are
most involved in trafficking get what they deserve – in his mind anyway. As a
counterpoint to his ruthless avenging we also see the civilian side of Frank
Castle at his favorite diner. Whether it is chatting up the local beat cop or
listening to the rants of the cook it as if he is a normal guy from the
neighborhood. It works well for a first issue. It sets the base of how Frank is
operating these days and introduces a limited supporting cast. It also begins a
longer plot thread involving the military unit introduced at the beginning. The
art is decent as well so this one gets a recommend as a good issue to sample to
see if you would come back for more.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Rogue Logan
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Inker: Mark Morales
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The final first issue up for review is another restart of an ongoing series.
Thinking about this issue in particular made me realize that one of the problems
with just resetting the number is that new readers have missed what has come
before and too much reference to the previous volume may be confusing. So this
issue begins with a brief recap of what has happened recently in Wolverine’s
life – at least in this title, which may or may not sync with the other numerous
Wolverine and team books he appears in. Basically all we have to know is that a
virus recently stripped Wolverine of his healing factor meaning he is now mortal
and can be killed. He has enemies that may at some time try to kill him so he
has to take extra measures to defend himself. Now supposedly he is back to his
life as headmaster of the Jean Grey School but as we see right from the opening
scene just because he is more vulnerable does not mean he will not put himself
in danger. He is working on a team with characters I am not familiar with –
Pinch, Lost Boy and Fuel. He is wearing a uniform with added armor in places.
They are on a job for the man in charge known as The Offer. He is called that
because his talent is to always make the best possible offer to people to get
them to do what he wants or needs. But as we see behind the scene The Offer is
currently engaged in a conversation with a man who says he represents
Sabretooth, Logan’s sworn enemy. There is an interlude to the main story that
goes back a few weeks when Logan and Ororo are having a conversation about his
recent recovery from a battle with Sabretooth. We also see him going through
some basic firearms training with Black Widow. But this is not about being good
with a weapon, Logan has lived long enough to be adept at shooting. It is about
being able to fire at something you may not want to when you have to. This is
all to get us somewhat assimilated to his new “condition” and maybe a change in
attitude. The end of the mission for Offer presents another complex plot twist
that will have to be explained in the future. For me, the best part of this
title is the art. I find Stegman and Morales do nice rendering of characters and
Curiel is an exceptional colorist. The story is only so-so for me. The plot
devise of having the lead character do something stunning and seemingly out of
character as a cliff hanger is overdone. I am not sure what Logan’s agenda is or
why The Offer was able to get him to work with the team. When I decided I didn’t
care I knew I wouldn’t be back for more. Your mileage may differ.


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:

Which comic does OVERSTREET list as the first BAXTER PAPER as well as the first
deluxe format comic?

The earliest Baxter paper, deluxe format comic was STARLORD: THE SPECIAL EDITION
in February of 1982. No winner.

Whom did Gene Colan model his Dracula character for Marvel after?

Here is your no prize question:
What is the second longest running sporting competition after the Kentucky

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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