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Friday, March 14, 2014

Comic Reviews 3/14/14


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: Image
Creators: Mark Millar & Gordon Parlov
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Gordon Parlov
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Letters: Marko Sunjic
Cover Artist: John Cassaday/Gordon Parlov
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature – Comics on the Edge

If you saw some of the promotional material for this comic you might conclude it
was going to be a clone of Flash Gordon, and parts of it are. It is the story of
a former space hero, Duke McQueen, now approaching his senior years. His wife of
38 years passed away a year ago and he is still adjusting. His two boys are
grown with kids of their own. They had some concern about him at the funeral but
went off to live their own lives. A year later, as we tune in the story, Duke is
planning a dinner for his family on the anniversary of Joanne’s death. Through
the process we learn of his prior adventures both in flashbacks and in framed
newspaper clippings on his wall. He was a career test pilot that disappeared one
day, whisked away to an alien world where he became the hero of that far off
planet by taking down its ruthless dictator freeing the people. While we don’t
see all the details he is loved by all so much so that they urge them to stay
and marry the queen. But his heart is back on Earth and so he returned with a
fabulous tale that no one believed. He was ridiculed by the press and it cost
him his career. Now with Joanne gone he has only memories to live with. But that
is about to change as we see in the final scene. He has visitors in need of his
services. This first episode is more a tale of the man nearing his retirement
years remembering the good times and suffering the loss of family in more ways
than one. Clearly he made a difference in his youth, though those that
recognized it are a galaxy away. Like anyone else his age he ponders what the
future could possibly hold for him. The story going forward will answer that
question. So it is not just a space epic in the likes of Flash Gordon but more a
tale of the human spirit. The art is spectacular and evokes memories of styles
seen in Heavy Metal and the like. The colors are brilliant and really set off
the pencil and ink. This promises to be a deeper story based on the
characterization so far. I am confident Millar has a lot in store for us and I
plan to see what that is.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Slasher
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The best way to describe Moon Knight is in the introductory text of this latest
series. “Mercenary Marc Spector died in Egypt, under a statue of the ancient
deity Khonshu. He returned to life in the shadow of the moon god, and wore his
aspect to fight crime for his own redemption. He went completely insane, and
disappeared. This is what happened next.” That is about all you need to know to
get into the character. He has some similarity to Batman. He is very rich and
fights crime by night in a costume and has all kinds of high tech gadgets but no
special powers. The contrast is that the money was gained through past nefarious
deeds so he uses it to counter the sins of the past. He also wears white instead
of black. One of the best lines of the comic is when asked why he wears white
because the bad guys will see him coming his response is, “That’s the part I
like.” So instead of a cape and cowl arrangement now he wears a white suit and
tie with an all-white face mask emblazoned with the crescent moon on his
forehead. He also has the cooperation of a special police task force headed up
by Detective Flint. They are assigned to the freaky cases. While Flint
recognizes that Moon Knight is a vigilante he knows he can trust him to get
results. He informs new members of the squad at the most recent crime scene that
“Mr. Knight” is a concerned citizen and his officers will only refer to him as
such. There are standing orders to apprehend Moon Knight but this Mr. Knight is
here to help. Oh, and the other thing is the insane part. Part of the result of
his resurrection in Egypt was that he took on different aspects of Khonshu. Now
he has four different personalities, something called Dissociative Identity
Disorder. But as we see in flash back to a doctor who examined him it is not
just a simple brain disorder. She believes he is indeed inhabited by an ancient
consciousness and his brain is struggling to explain it to Marc, sometimes with
hallucinations. He is indeed an interesting character and trust Warren Ellis to
explore it in well-thought-out fashion. I understand this series will be a
series of done-in-one stories, which is always appealing to me. This first issue
deals with a slasher dwelling in the underground of New York. Ellis leads us
through Marc’s though process that leads him to the killer and how he
systematically wins the fight. This first issue does not rely heavily on action.
It is more like a TV procedural that leads up to a brilliant climax with a lot
of characterization along the way. Coloring is the key to the visuals in this
comic and Bellaire does a great job showing the stark contrast of the man in
white against the dark surroundings of the city at night. This comic is flying
off the racks and more copies are arriving as I type. This one looks like a hit
and I urge you to give it a try.

Issue Number: 6 (of 7)
Title Story: The Power of MAZAHS!
Publisher: DC
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Richard Friend
Colors: Sonia Oback
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is the penultimate (love that word) issue of the series that is reshaping
the future of the major super teams in the NEW 52 Universe. The bad guys crossed
over from Earth 3, sort of an opposite world to our Earth, and have defeated the
Justice League while recruiting most of the Earth bad guys to do their bidding.
While we wait to see the fate of the main teams in their respective books this
title has gone forward with the odd teaming of Batman, one of the few JLA
members not captured, with Lex Luthor and a team of mostly bad guys. They
include Deathstroke, Manta, Captain Cold, Black Adam, Sinestro, Catwoman and the
Bizzaro recently created by Luthor. They are closing in on the crashed JLA
satellite near Happy Harbor, RI. Sinestro’s ring detects that most of the Crime
Syndicate’s other-world auras are somewhere in Maine but there are two
signatures inside the satellite. Catwoman observes from what they know there is
one more Earth-3 person than they knew about. Indeed, if you have been reading
this story you know that the Crime Syndicate have a prisoner whose identity has
been hidden from us. He is inside with The Outsider – the Earth 3 Alfred along
with their analog of Cyborg – the machine controlling all the tech in the world
- Grid. Nightwing is also inside. Several things are all coming together at
once. The rest of the Crime Syndicate fear the appearance of a crack in the sky
and need Deathstorm to absorb enough energy to seal it before their “Destructor”
can break through. One of their members, Power Ring, was killed and his power
ring is seeking a new host. Meanwhile Nightwing was meant to be held safe by
Grid but Alfred has learned that Grid went way beyond his directive and rigged
him up to a device meant to hold Doomsday within the JLA satellite. Basically it
is rigged to seal the room and then explode if any attempt is made to free
Grayson. The only way to stop the device is to stop Dick’s heart. It is a hard
choice for the group in the room. Elsewhere Sinestro, Deathstroke and Black Adam
are alerted to the impending arrival of the rest of the Syndicate. And Alfred,
realizing that the secret prisoner is the most dangerous threat if he is
released betrays Owlman’s former orders to protect Nightwing and has gone to
take care of the prisoner. Each of these situations bring about a lot of
conflict and casualties. While we are left hanging on one major development for
the moment it is clear by the end why the Syndicate had feared their secret
prisoner. The secret is in the story title if you can figure it out. Johns has
really built up a great story and I am anxious to see how it all ends. Finch and
the rest put in a great effort on this as it deserves. There is a brief mention
of Firestorm in one panel which may indicate the JLA/JLofA fates will come into
play next issue as well. I have not been disappointed with this story yet and
the last issue will definitely at the top of the read pile when it hits the

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Anti-Hero

Marvel has just put out a Magneto solo series, disconnected from the UNCANNY X-
MEN. The whole theme here is Magneto going on a one-man crusade to make sure
that those who seek to destroy mutants pay for their sins. The first such target
is Doctor Eli Hatcher who has gone by other aliases and worked with anti-mutant
organizations like the Purifiers, The Right and the Friends of Humanity. How
Magneto deals with Eli is first told by an eyewitness to some men in black, aka
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Then we see graphically how easily Magneto dispatches his
enemy. This was only one stop on a trail he is following. And obviously
S.H.I.E.L.D. is following him. One of the more interesting aspects of this story
is the fact he is doing this with no costume. With a shaved head and beard
stubble no one really recognizes who he is – they only know him with the helmet
on – a fact he takes notice of. But out here on the run he has limited resources
to track down those he seeks. He sifts through newspapers from all over the
country looking for reports of crimes against mutants knowing full well those
after him would also plant false stories in hopes of luring him into a trap. It
is a bit of a cat and mouse game but he stays focused and knows what to look for
in every case. His next target poses a more unique problem. This is a man who
killed three mutants and has turned himself into the police in a small town in
California. Cullen has put him an interesting situation and how he deals with it
is typical of his straight at the problem attitude. But he will find something
he wasn’t expecting.  As far as a first issue this has all the right elements.
It establishes the status quo of the main character, sets up the motivations for
his actions and provides some decent action and a little bit of drama. Just
because he is going after really bad people does not meant we have to agree with
his methods. But somehow you find yourself routing for Magneto. You get invested
in the character so that is another plus. I found the art very appealing. While
I might not be a fan for a long time investment in this type of story I think it
is well done and should be a hit.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: On Basilisk Station
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creator: Based on the novels by David Weber
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Jung-Geun Yoon
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This comic is an adaptation of a series of science fiction novels I am not
familiar with. Fortunately there is a bit of introductory text to explain the
scene over which this space opera takes place. In the year 2130 a colony ship
left Earth to begin the interstellar dispersion of mankind. New Star Nations
were born and ruled themselves as they saw fit. There were Theocracies,
monarchies, communist states, democracies and various fringe groups. But
advances in transit speed brought the distances between them closer and the
inevitable clashes began. One of these nations, The People’s Republic of Haven
is on the surface a democracy but is actually a central party controlled
dictatorship. As it became wasted by its welfare state it embraced an
expansionist policy of military conquest. After conquering several other systems
it set its sights on the Kingdom of Manticore, home of the lead character Honor
Harrington. She joined the military following the footsteps of her father
knowing full well that they would soon be at war with Haven. As the story opens
she and her officers are prisoners aboard a Havenite battlecruiser bound for a
prison planet named Hades. From the supporting text we find out that this
episode actually takes place during the seventh novel of the series, "In Enemy
Hands.” Hawkins and Weber agreed to structure the story this way to have Honor
narrate the story in flashback from her under duress position. She thinks back
to her first light cruiser command on Basilisk Station. She tells of the
difficulties of the crew adjusting to her command and her treecat, Nimitz. It is
not a pet but a special breed from her home world that can form a symbiotic
empathic relationship with humans. Then there is their first participation in
the war games held regularly. Her brilliant maneuvers gave them a victory but
made them the object for the flagship’s defeat. Eventually this led to The
Fearless being ordered to Basilisk Station, a space station far out in the
Manticore system that guarded a wormhole. It is the closest thing to exile the
military has. But it is about to get worse when she finds out who her commanding
officer is. The point of the structure of the plot is to give us a glimpse of
where thing are leading from where they started. As Honor narrates her story she
pauses here and there to jump forward a little bit to another scene yet to come.
It is a way of teasing us to stay with the story for bigger payoffs. The
character is a strong competent woman that we come to admire. Knowing she is
held prisoner and about to be tortured adds some element of wonder once we see
some of the things she was capable of in her career before that. The art is
different in that I really like the scenes of the space battles more than those
of the characters interacting. It is a decent series that deserves a chance.

Title: VEIL
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Toni Fejzula
Letters: Nate Piekos
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature – Comics on the Edge

This is a very odd comic. For one the art style is quite unique. It is fully
painted and involves a lot of different perspectives of view. The composition is
well done and there is good detail in characters and background. It just strikes
you visually when you first see it. The protagonist is introduced in a very odd
way. We are in a subway and laying on the platform, completely naked is a female
gaining the curiosity of the rats that start to swarm around her. Suddenly she
awakens and speaks only a few words, no complete sentences. As she wanders
around looking for a way out she starts speaking in rhyme. For example “Not-rat-
not-cat-not-fat-in-a-cocked-hat…” and so on. When she approaches a gate locked
with chains she has no trouble snapping the chains by bending the bars apart. So
we get the idea she is not an ordinary human. But what is she? You can imagine
the reaction she gets when she reaches street level with no clothes on. This
happens to be in a section of the city filled with peep shows and strip joints
so the street people have a mix of reactions. Some of lesser moral fiber plan to
take advantage of her but one concerned young man steps to her aid with a coat
to cover her. The plot leads them to his place where he offers her some clothes
and plans to somehow find a way to get her help. But the local thugs have
followed them and have other plans. There is a shocking climax to this first
issue in which we learn that Veil is even more resourceful than we first
thought. Though she may not be able to communicate very well she is not a
helpless, feeble-minded person. It is an interesting set up for the series.
There is a big mystery to explain going forward. Obviously we want to know how
she came by these fantastic abilities and why did she end up on the subway
platform. This will have to come as the story unfolds. Rucka has peaked our
curiosity and I for one want to know more. You probably will too.


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 company published PETE THE P.O.'ed POSTAL WORKER?

Sharkbait Press was the answer and the winner by the dice roll is Christopher

Here is one about a character that recently made his debut in NEW 52. The
question is in what comic did Alexander Luthor ORIGINALLY make his first

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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