Search This Blog

Friday, May 16, 2014

Comic Reviews 5/16/14


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 8)
Title Story: No One Is Watching
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Frank Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is an eight-issue series so you expect the first issue to be mostly set-up
for what is to come. The first few pages are shots of the Watcher at his home
base on the moon, doing his watching thing while the narrator talks about his
never-ending duty to witness all that he can until he suddenly turns to say, "I
see you" before a big boom does him in. Thor is the first to discover something
is amiss as he passes by on his way to Earth and he contacts Captain America who
is dining in civilian guise with Natasha, Logan and Nick Fury. Soon they and
Iron Main join Thor to witness for themselves the crime no one thought possible,
someone has murdered the Watcher. It is clear that this was done by someone
unique. Who can sneak up on the Watcher? From the looks of things the immediate
area was ransacked crudely and quickly. Nick reluctantly agrees to lead the
investigation but warns the list of people who even know the Watcher exists is a
short one, and a lot of them are not bad guys. Things may be discovered that may
shock them. And so it begins as Nick starts the wheels in motion to bring
together people he will need on his team. It is really not clear if it is Nick
communicating with T'Challa but the Black Panther is sent information to
investigate and is advised others will join him. Ant Man approaches the secret
hiding place of Cyclop's X-Men to team up with Emma Frost as the Black Panther
provides them transportation in the form of an underground borer. Meanwhile
Doctor Strange is teaming up with the Punisher and Moon Knight is piloting a
ship with Winter Soldier as they pick up Gamora on their way to the moon. The
strangest thing happens right back in New York as The Thing and Spider-Man
confront a Mindless One on a rampage carrying the Ultimate Nullifier! There is
even a scene in shadows of a couple of bad guys who clearly are involved with
the stolen stuff from the moon, but are they the killers? The whole idea of sin
is touched on with regards to the Mindless Ones so that aspect is only beginning
to be explored. Oh, and if you buy this issue in time you will get a free glow-
in-the-dark Watcher eyeball for your very own. If you think that is an odd
promotional gimmick you have to read the last panel of this issue. My first
impression is that there is a lot of stuff going on and a lot of characters
involved. Jason Aaron has set the stage and there is bound to be some surprises
as the investigation moves forward. We also know from the promotion ahead of the
series that a lot of secrets will be revealed - sins people have committed that
will be revealed. That is the stuff I am most interested in because it will set
up situations going forward outside the series. Frankly I was not that impressed
with the art. Parts of it are decent but then some of it is not. Still it is an
important mini-series and I will stick with it to the end.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colors: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Cory Petit
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Is anyone else getting tired of new first issues of ongoing series, or is it
just me? Anyway, now that the Galactus problem has been taken care there is a
major change in Miles Morales' life. Miles revealed his secret identity to his
father and that was the last time he saw him. So Miles has been living with his
friend and confidant Ganke while holding out hope that his dad will return to
the apartment. That is the new status quo. But things are going to get shaken
up. There are multiple sub plots going on. With S.H.I.E.L.D. shut down prisoners
in their containment facilities are being transferred to federal prisons. Well,
there is a reason that they didn't go to federal facilities in the first place -
they are too dangerous. One of the most dangerous prisoners in the Ultimate
Universe is Norman Osborn. In another plot there are two bad guys on a crime
wave wearing protective suits that in the dark give them the appearance close to
that of Spider-man. The other major plot is of course Mile's situation.
Complicating things is his growing relationship with Katie Bishop. He has
reached that point we have seen in other super hero stories. She is questioning
missed calls and texts. He is trying hard not to lie to her but can't tell her
he was out on a mission with the new Ultimates. Or can he? If all that is not
enough to fill one issue wait until you see what is waiting for you on the final
page. Sorry, can't spoil that one, but it could be really big if it is real.
Despite my opening comments about Marvel's overused marketing practice this is
one of my favorite comics. It is straight forward in the direction it is going
and Bendis has always had the long term objective in mind. The characters are
well developed be they likable heroes and friends, or really evil bad guys. The
troubles Miles has are scripted in believable fashion and in this episode it is
delightful to see who he turns to for some "expert" advice. As always the art is
top notch. Of all the latest restarted Ultimate titles this one is the best.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Into the Future
Publisher: DC
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens & Keith Giffen
Artist: Patrick Zircher
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Last week I wrote about the "zero" issue of this comic that came out on Free
Comic Book Day. For those of you who missed that comic you need not feel you
missed all that much. The meat of the story begins here in issue #1. To recap a
little bit: at this point we find Batman Beyond has travelled from thirty five
years in the future, his own time, to five years from now. The plan was to go
back much earlier, about two years ago but since he was not the one who was
supposed to make the time trip the device missed the target and dropped him five
years from now with no way to go back home. The Batman Beyond future is bleak
and this was a last ditch effort to stop Brother Eye from ever being created so
it could not take over the world of the far future. But Terry overshot the time
by seven years so he is left to improvise with only the assistance of Alfred,
his suit's AI interface. Meanwhile, we are now five years relative time into the
DC future. We are going to see things that will happen then IF this is not just
a possible future. These time travel stories can be tricky so anything can
happen. Plus this is a weekly series that will play out over a year. There will
likely be short segments that are stories on their own while other plots, like
the Batman Beyond situation that will run the entire year. In this opening
segment we get to see the future version of Stormwatch that now includes Hawkman
as they confront an evil they may not survive. There is a rather brutal scene
featuring Grifter as he goes about his normal business. If you are not familiar
with his history it is a hard thing to watch until the very end. Then there is
Jason Rusch desperately searching for Ronnie Raymond. Firestorm is needed badly
and Jason must find Ronnie so the hero can answer the call. As Firestorm rushes
to Seattle they discuss some things and there is a brief reference as to why
they are now part of the Justice League that has to do with another big DC event
coming soon in the regular timeline. These four plots are enough to fill the
first issue alone but there is one more thing that happens - a major hero dies.
With a story that stretches out so far it is understandable that things will go
at a slow pace on some things. It is also understandable that it behooves the
writer to catch our attention and somehow leave us with a big bang to keep us
coming back week after week. So far the first issue does all that. If future
issues follow this pace there will be some major changes from what we know of
the current time and what will come to be in five years. I like the pace here
and the artwork from this time is pretty good. I am also a sucker for getting
more of the story every week, as long as the quality stays this good and the
story keeps my interest. So far it is a good start.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Russell Dautermen
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you have been reading the ALL-NEW X-MEN or are at least aware of what has
been going on over there you know that the original X-Men were brought forward
to our time by Hank McCoy. Now they can't go back and through a series of events
that transpired Scott met his father, whom he thought died in a plane crash long
ago. In a surprise to many Scott decided to take off into space with his father
and his crew, leaving his fellow X-Men back on Earth. This series follows his
adventures in space with Corsair and the Starjammers. While I enjoy the two X-
Books written by Bendis I was not sure I could get into a spin-off title by
another writer. It turns out that Rucka has a good handle on the character of
Cyclops, at least this younger version as established over the last couple of
years. He touches on some of the past events briefly but they really have little
bearing on this series. At the same time he does not ignore the internal
conflict Scott has initially, especially his feelings for Jean, whom he is
writing to in his spare time. What we get is a good start to rebuilding a
relationship severed many years ago - less time in relative years that Corsair.
The first main theme running through this issue is that neither is sure how to
relate to the other. At sixteen Scott has been through a lot and has seen how
his life theoretically would affect others if he becomes the man the older Scott
is in this time. He is young enough to have dreams of being a hero and is still
disappointed at how that turned out. From Corsair's point of view he is just not
sure how to be a father to a younger Scott after all this time. As always he
leans heavily on his lady, Hepzibah, to help him figure it out. The supporting
cast is colorful and add to the plot without upstaging the stars. Scott is
essentially a space-pirate in training and really enjoys that part. By the end
of the first issue a clear path has been set to help the father and son bond.
The script hits all the right points with characterization and developing a
story to flow into the next issue. The art is fine and the coloring is
exceptional. There is a small amount of action but that is not the point of the
first issue. I think if you read this one you'll be interested enough to come
back for more.

Issue Number: 1.1
Title Arc: Learning To Crawl
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee & Ditko
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos with Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Now that Marvel has restarted AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with a new number 1 following
the further adventures of Peter Parker back in his own body it seems that writer
Dan Slott decided he needed to go back to the beginning and tell parts of
Peter's start as Spider-Man that we missed. He doesn't really start from the
beginning but basically recaps the origin and death of Uncle Ben in the first
two pages. Once the heavy remorse has subsided Peter realizes he is the man of
the house now and has great responsibility. He covers some ground we are
familiar with already. Money is tight. Bills are overdue. Ben's pension has been
drawn down. Peter is making extra money performing as Spider-Man but he needs
more to take care of May. This part of his story is embellished. He is pushing
hard on the celebrity thing hoping to make a big enough score to take care of
May for life. This is all happening around the time of Ben's funeral and soon
things get really hectic for Peter. Between May being over-protective and the
hassles at school while sneaking away to entertain his growing following makes
things a little tense. There is also a sub plot involving one of those devoted
followers but this is no ordinary fan boy. He is one who is inspired and he has
the talent, brains and resources than to do more than watch from the sidelines.
This will no doubt add some conflict later in the series. For now the idea is
showing us a longer look at how Peter eventually finds his way to becoming a
true hero. It is more of the same from those early days, but just stories never
told. Even the art tries to recapture the magic that Ditko brought in those
early days. Comics have come a long way since the sixties but the right idea
handled by the right creative team can always entertain today's fans.  This look
back is worth the time of any true fan.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialko
Storyboards: J.L. Mast & Geoffrey Beaulieu
Artist: Juan Bobillo
Colors: Andres Mossa
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): FREE!!
Genre: Super Hero

This is the third AMAZING SPIDER-MAN title out in eight days. This one is a
little different. As explained in the opening text page it is a FREE print
version of the first chapter of the SPIDER-MAN INFINITE COMIC. That is a digital
comic available through the Marvel App. Those of us who prefer to get our comics
in paper form get to read it for the first time. The other reason it is
different is that it portrays Spider-Man as a criminal - sort of. It starts as
Spider-Man suddenly awakens without any knowledge of who he is or where he is.
When the fog clears he finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery. The two
security guards are webbed up tight and the masked robbers are telling him to
help them grab the loot and go. He is surprised he is a bank robber, but then he
is surprised that he is wearing a skin-tight suit with horrible fashion sense.
This is heavily played for laughs as he wise cracks as usual but in a different
fashion. Slowly by deduction he figures out he can climb walls and shoot webs
but his memory is clouded enough so that he goes along with the gang, even helps
take hostages all the while doubting whether this is really who he is. As the
story reaches its climax he is forced to make a drastic decision. I really did
not get into this story. We are supposed to go along with the idea that someone
who suddenly awaken with no knowledge of his past would do things counter to his
character. I think that is a stretch. There are indications that someone outside
of this group of thugs is pulling the strings, but not Spider-Man's.  It just
doesn't sit right that Pater would go along so willingly just because someone
else says he should. And no one in the bank speaks up to try to dissuade him.
The banter and inner thoughts are pretty funny from time to time so it is at
least readable for that purpose. The art is also good enough though it is clear
from a lot of space between panels that it was formatted for another medium. I
think I would pass on future issues of this comic, but for a free comic it was
worth my time.


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 Avenger was the first originally created for a TV cartoon?

FIRESTAR was out of comic book continuity when she was created for "SPIDER-MAN

Here was your no prize question:
What is the fastest growing plant on the Earth?

Bamboo has been measured surging skyward as fast as 39 inches in a 24-hour
period due to their unique rhizome-dependent system.

What event lead the Kent's to sell their farm and open a general store in
Smallville, in the 60's continuity.

Here is your no prize question:
What Massachusetts town claims to be the birthplace of volleyball?

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