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Friday, February 21, 2014

Comic Reviews 2/21/14


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
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Eric Garcia
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colors: Mark Englert & Felix Serrano
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

If you watch the TV show "Person of Interest" this comic may interest you - no
pun intended. The city is San Francisco and there is a system similar to "the
machine" in that show. With over 40,000 security cameras spread throughout the
city it is nearly impossible for anything that happens in public to go
undetected. The system is known as Golden Shield and it takes crime detection
and prevention one step further. Early in the issue we see a demonstration of
how it is supposed to work. The system detects an armed robbery with hostages
involved in progress. The system automatically overrides the police dispatch
center and sends an alert out to all available patrol cars that arrive much
faster than they would if someone had waited for an alarm or a 911 call. The
problem with this demonstration for Homeland Security is the "robbers" were a
bunch of kids playing cops and robbers. The video in this case was grainy enough
to not distinguish the people or weapons in good enough detail. Naturally the
DHS agent rejects this because the human element has been taken out of the
equation. This is where our protagonist, Ben, comes in. He is the head of coding
for the project which desperately needed the government to buy into it. He is a
typical techie who has sunk his life into making this work and as a result he is
late for his rent and even totally misses the advances of a female co-worker.
But like many of these stories an unfortunate incident involving terrorists will
change his life and fortunes forever. Caught in a blast he awakens to find that
his eyesight was saved by a co-worker who implanted digital state-of-the-art
cameras in his eye sockets. Not only did it save his eyesight but his friend
took it one step further. Ben can now plug into Golden Shield and see everything
the security cameras see. Will he become the human element, the intuitive
interpretation the system needs to succeed? This is an interesting concept that
is worth exploring. I also see similarities to the new TV show "Intelligence" in
which the hero has had a chip implanted into his brain that allows him to see
anything connected to a computer - those his abilities go beyond that. So what
are the ramifications on the man himself? Will being able to see anything going
on in the city prove to be a burden? The plug for issue #2 poses one such issue,
"Some things can never be unseen." Since Ben is human he will naturally make
mistakes and that could be fatal in the right situation. The first issue sets up
the series nicely and teases us to come back for more. The art is rough but
passable. I think this is a solid beginning worth taking a look at.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Joe Infurnari
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature Readers - Comics on the Edge

This comic has had an unexpected surge of pre-press chatter on the internet so
much so that the first issues flew off the shelf. People are hawking them on
eBay hoping for it to be the next WALKING DEAD. It begins with a double-sized
first issue for only $4 and there is a lot compressed into it. This is the story
of five post-college friends whose lives seemed to be intertwined in normal
human ways. But right from the start we see their lives will be anything but
normal. For some reason they have decided to bury a time capsule. Billy is the
skeptic among them saying it is juvenile. His sister Heidi prods him along,
knowing he really wants to be there. Daniel and Natasha are a couple and Grady
is along for the fun. They arbitrarily pick a spot in the woods and to Grady's
surprise just below a surface they hit a door with four names on it. Grady
Potts, Heidi Ryder, Natasha Losi and Daniel Adamson are etched into the metal
top. Noticeably absent is Billy's name. This alone poses some questions. Who did
this and how did they know these four at least would pick this spot to dig? The
plot is split into two segments. One is set in present time when they find the
bunker and the rest is in the future about fourteen years after some kind of
cataclysmic event and the years after it. You see what they find in the bunker
are boxes of handwritten notes. Each box is labelled for the proper person and
everything is written in their own handwriting. Some of it is written by Grady
about the others so we learn early on what lead to the event known as Mass
Extinction and the role that some of them had in bringing it about. After
reading things in their own hand they all come to realize that this cannot be an
elaborate hoax. No one person could know some of the secret things about the
others. Nearly all of them have a secret that is referred to in the notes from
their future selves. They set out to bury a time capsule and instead found a
time capsule from the future. By flipping back and forth between the two plots
we learn a lot about each person, who they are, what secrets from their past and
present have shaped them now and in the future. One will cause the disaster with
the good intentions of saving the world. Another will be executed for future
crimes while still another will become President of the United States. This is a
masterful plot with a very lot of information in 40 pages. The heart of the
story is of course how each of the characters react and begin a new course based
on this information. The unanswered question is this glimpse of the future
inevitable or can this warning from the future help changes things? I can see
how this would gain interest even prior to publication. I am hooked already and
can't wait to see what happens next. I have just touched on a very brief part of
the plot. There is so much more involved that it is really well worth the cover
price. The art is unique. It is mostly pencil and ink but there are color washes
that give it a different look I found appealing. This is a definite winner and
worth seeking out if you can find a copy. If not there is bound to be a second

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Nice Work If You Can Get It
Publisher: Image
Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Mathew Reynolds
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Adventure

This high adventure thriller is set in 1938 in the Pacific Ocean. It follows a
crew that have their own submarine and do all kinds of work for hire, some of it
very illegal. The leader is Jack Harper, known as a smuggler and bootlegger and
wanted by the US Treasury. Smokestack Johnson was a heavyweight fighter who
refused to throw a fight and is on the run from gangsters. Doc Weatherborne was
a Royal Army surgeon until his drinking problem ended that career. Samantha
Blair is a young lady whose father was a notorious moonshine runner but is now
in prison. Each has their own reason for joining the group. While they wander
from island to island and job to job it seems Jack has a goal he has been
hunting for years. There are tales told throughout the Pacific of a lost island
not found on any maps or charts. It is called Koji Ra. It is fabled to have
mountains of gold and rubies the size of a man's fist. The tales go back to
ancient times when early explorers found the island was also home to prehistoric
creatures and a fabled city whose inhabitants new the secrets of the heavens and
the afterlife. While he is not obsessed with it he always inquires about it
among other travelers in the area and even the native tribesmen he has
befriended along the way. This seems to be a rather important plot point as it
gets more than a few panels of discussion. Maybe Jack prefers to be running
toward something rather than running away from things, as they all are. But the
immediate plot has them pull into the Freeport of South Haven to barter for
supplies and seek any work they can find for their particular talents. They
split into two groups which serves to set up two future plots. One group is
approached by a mysterious man in a bar who seems to know a lot about the crew.
The other is offered a job to transport medicine and supplies to a Dutch mission
on another island. Both of these meetings will bring major consequences. This is
an interesting comic. Visually the art is something that grabs you right away.
Many of the panels have the people in the foreground in full color with a grey
or out of focus background. It has the look of an animation cell and it works
well. The pencil work is sharp making the characters distinctive. After reading
it I found I liked the premise and got to know the main characters well enough
to be interested. I can tell the mystery will deepen next time and the adventure
part is about to explode. This is a pleasant comic that shows how diverse
entertaining comics can be.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Russia Shift
Publisher: Image
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Colors: Shari Chankhamma
Letters: Ed Brisson
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Crime

Who is killing the homeless on an orbiting city and why?  That is the crime
being investigated by the main characters in this cops in space thriller. We get
a hint of why in the opening scene when the first victim is seen just before his
attack babbling that he didn't tell anybody.  Tell who what? Dietrich is a
former homicide detective from Germany and has just arrived on the Fuse where he
volunteered to join the police department in Midway City. But as his new
partner, Klementina Ristovych, points out only two kinds of people volunteer for
space cop duty - those who are screwed back on Earth and those who are screwed
back on Earth. By all accounts he is an excellent cop so Klem infers it is
personal reasons that brought him here - probably a woman. Klem is much older
than Dietrich and takes the lead on their first case, but only after he stumbled
on a fresh murder and mistook her for a concerned citizen. The two are the only
members of the homicide division and due to Klem's nationality it is referred to
as the Russia shift, hence the story title. The basic plot is a typical homicide
procedural. A homeless female is seen running through the shuttleport and then
collapses dead. It seems she has been shot and has some money on her so it is
apparently not a robbery gone wrong. There are clues that lead to some
surveillance video but that does not reveal enough to lead to a suspect yet.
When a second homeless victim pops up Klem and Dietrich realize there is more to
this than a simple murder. The first issue is more introductory and character
development of the two main characters. Klem is somewhat reluctant to have a new
partner while Dietrich is settling in and finding how to fit in without ruffling
any feathers. So far it is a decent crime drama and the scripting is fun to
read. The art is ok on the pencil and ink work but the coloring is unusual as
far as the people are concerned. Dietrich who is black is properly colored but
Klem and some other white people, not all, are not flesh-colored but actually
white. This is odd because it is not consistent with everyone. Some are white
some are flesh-colored. I don't know if this has a bearing on the story or is a
just a preference of the colorist. Other than that it is a fine comic and very

Issue Number: 1 (of 6)
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Writer: Bob Williams
Artist: Simon Coleby
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Wes Abbott
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/War
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This six-issue mini-series explores an alternate world where the only people
with super powers are the royal families. In other words the "Divine Right of
Kings" is taken a step further to give them special abilities. The purer the
bloodline the more powerful the individual. At the time of this story WWII is
raging and London is being bombed in 1940. The royals across the world have
signed a treaty never to get involved in the wars of the commoners. In fact in
England the royal family has gone so far as to perpetrate the ruse that Prince
Arthur and his brother Henry were born without powers like their father King
Albert, who indeed had no powers through some genetic mutation. But the reality
is that both Arthur and Henry do have powers but have been forbidden to use them
by their father. There are a few in government who know this secret, like high
ranking military security and they are not happy that the royals have isolated
themselves from the devastation being wrought without stepping in. This will all
change soon. While Prince Arthur is the womanizing spoiled ruler who couldn't
care less about the plight of the commoners his younger brother Henry is
conflicted. He confides with their sister Rose who also has powers, telepathy.
The prince is strong and can fly but more importantly is more down to earth. He
feels compassion for the people and aches about the damage being done to them
and his beloved country. When he decides to break the rules and leave the
shelter of the palace he will witness first-hand what war is really like and
will make a decision that will forever change the royal family. This is an
interesting concept that will take us through the major events of WWII but with
the added component of super powered heroes entering the fray. Henry is the
catalyst that will lead to a very different kind of war. The English are not the
only royals and that extends all the way to the Emperor of Japan. There is a
similar idea in the current series UBER but in that comic the super heroes are
created rather than born with powers. The very opening scene in this comic shows
an event near the end of the war set in Berlin of 1945. It is perhaps a
foreboding of the consequences of doing the right thing can have unintended
consequences. It is all very clever with a well-developed cast of characters and
a fast moving script. The coloring stands out on very good basic art making this
a better than average product for only $2.99. I highly recommend it.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Motion
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Javier Pulido
Colors: Munsta Vicente
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Kevin Wada
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

She-Hulk has had her share of series over the years. The cousin of Bruce Banner,
Jennifer Walters, gained Hulk-Like powers when he gave her a life-saving
transfusion. But unlike Bruce she can totally control the transformation and
does not lose her control when in Hulk mode. However a side effect turned her
hair and skin green even in human form. Over the years she has also been in the
Avengers and a member of the Fantastic Four. She has also continued her career
as an attorney. When we pick up her story at this point in her life she is
finishing her first year as an associate member of a large New York law firm and
is up for her first review. This is the lead scene and ends in a rather comical
way that is too good to spoil. The real plot is about a case she takes pro-bono
from a widow who finds her at a watering hole for lawyers. It seems her husband
was the late Dr. Jonas Harrow, a criminal inventor of various deadly
technologies who was eventually murdered by the Hood. At his death he had
nothing to leave to his widow and kids and she is desperate for help. It seems
Jonas contended that Tony Stark stole some tech from him long ago and his
corporation, or one of its many variants over the years, have made a lot of
money off of it. To Jennifer this seems like a matter that can be handled out of
court with a frank conversation between friends and fellow heroes. What she will
find is that may not be an easy thing to accomplish.  As a first issue this is a
good start. It has several moments of humor that fit very nicely into the plot.
The story itself is a statement on the problems that levels of bureaucracy and
legal departments can create despite the best intentions of those in charge. It
also sets up Jennifer as a likable character who has integrity and tenacity as
well as the powers of the Hulk. The art is nice as well. Pulido at sometimes
mimics Mike Allred it seems but the overall effect is good visual composition
and execution. This certainly is a good example of how to get readers interested
in a series without resorting to master plots and lots of dangling questions.
This story is self-contained and ends with a pleasant entrée into the rest of
the series. Well done!


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

Gene patterned his Dracula after Jack Palance. But, ironically, not because
Palance played Dracula, as he hadn't done that TV movie yet. It was Jack's
performance in DR. JECKLE AND MR. HYDE that made Gene believe Palance's face was
perfect for Dracula. The winner by the dice is Erin O'Connor.

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

The next longest continuing competition in the US is the Westminster Dog Show.

Which character from the original ULTRAVERSE Made it to a live action TV show

Here is your no prize question:
What was the only city to turn down hosting of the Winter Olympics?

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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