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Friday, June 13, 2014

Comic Reviews 6/13/14


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 6)
Title Story: "On the Wrong Track"
Publisher: DC
Writers: Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colors: Tony Avina
Letters: Wes Abbott
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

In case you don't know there is a comic series currently on the racks that is
based on the BATMAN TV series from the 1960's. It takes many of us back to that
time that for a short while the Dynamic Duo was more pop than gritty - at least
to the general non comic-reading public. Reading that kind of story now in
comparison to the average main stream comic is a sharp contrast as most super
hero books do not purposely make caricatures of the main stars. For me it is a
great shot of nostalgia and a fun break from the normal. I also enjoy QUANTUM
AND WOODY for the same reason. It is not laugh out loud funny humor but it puts
a smile on my face. The added element of this mini-series is the inclusion of
another TV hero series from the same era, The Green Hornet. The plot has a
shipment of priceless fossils being shipped from Gotham to the home city of the
Green Hornet. Since the city was never specified in the original radio series
this comic honors that premise. The commissioner has asked Batman to help ensure
the safety of the transfer and so Bruce Wayne is on the train as the chairman of
the museum. Someone else is concerned about foul play and so Bruce runs into an
old acquaintance, Britt Reid publisher of the Daily Sentinel and his faithful
valet who are in secret the Green Hornet and Kato. In a subplot Dick Grayson had
arranged a date with a popular girl and Bruce insisted he can handle the
situation solo letting Robin take the day off. However when the train is
mysteriously stopped in its tracks Bruce contacts Dick via their two-way Bat-
cufflink radios and soon Robin is flying to the scene in the Bat-Copter bringing
with him a briefcase with a certain costume in it. This is one plot hole I
noticed right away. If Batman suspected trouble why didn't he bring his costume
along? Well, the reason the train stopped is because General Gumm, recently
promoted from Colonel by himself, has spread his super adhesive glue on the
tracks. Natural the two pair of heroes go into action and like the old Batman
series the issue ends in a cliff hanger. I think Kevin Smith has captured the
essence of the old TV show with the somewhat corny dialogue and kooky villain.
The art is decent as well keeping things rolling along. This is a fun read that
is fit for all ages, though the little ones may not enjoy it as much as us old-

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Out of the Frying Pan...
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Writer: Marc Silvestri
Artists: Sumeye Kesgin & Marc Silvestri
Colors: Betsy Gonia
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

This series actually began with one of the pesky "zero" issues that was given
out on Free Comic Book Day. No worries though, there is a very adequate recap in
the first several pages that brings new readers up to speed. The protagonist is
Asa Stone. He lives in the magical world of Rune where everyone has some form of
mystical power. Asa yearns for high adventure but unfortunately his power is to
fixing flying carpets. He wishes he could join his brother Rave who is a member
of the elite military Spellguard in Crystal City. Fed up with his nagging father
he decides to join his brother and so he borrows a customer's flying carpet and
heads to the city seeking his adventure. To aid in his quest he has acquired a
magic frog that can make Asa invisible when he licks it. (Ewe!) Well, all is not
well there in the mystical city. It is the storage place of the object known as
the Orb. It contains all the magic that holds the universe together and
naturally an evil mage Gore who is actually Commander of the Spellguard wants it
for his own plans. The Orb is protected by an unbreakable spell but Gore has a
plan to break it. When he makes his move the guard is caught by surprise and
Asa's brother Rave is in the front of the battle to stop him. By the time Asa
arrives to get a glimpse of the Orb it is already too late for his brother and
Asa is in way over his head. This is a somewhat typical plot in which the
reluctant hero is the only hope for saving the universe. His brother has allies
that guide him to what he must do next and the final scene is most unexpected.
This is a pretty decent story. The writers manage to craft this new world
without bogging things down in excessive detail that must be explained later, a
common error of newer writers of this genre. The art carries the story well and
the coloring gives it a good finish. There is a bit of humor along the way
making it all the more pleasant. I think it is a good product that fans of the
genre can enjoy.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Hell of the Midnight Road & the Ghosts of Storms
Title Arc: The Continuing Adventures of Jack Burton and the Pork Chop Express
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Story: John Carpenter & Eric Powell
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Comic Adventure

This comic is actually a sequel to a movie by the same name. It was released in
1986, directed by John Carpenter and it starred Kurt Russell. It was a financial
failure but maintains cult status through home video. I never saw the original
so I am judging this as a comic only. The basic plot involves truck driver Jack
Burton. As the story opens he is once again on the road after helping defeat
some really bad dudes that command magical beasts. Unknown to Jack one such
beast has hitched a ride and is about to make its move. After first fearing he
is under attack Jack realizes the beast is friendly to him and so he heads back
to Chinatown where his Chinese friends should better know how to handle the ape-
like creature. He arrives just prior to the wedding of his friend Wang and at
the gathering he learns from the old man Egg that this is a demon servant of the
man Jack killed, Lo Pan. Once that bond was broken the demon attached his
allegiance to his new master, Jack. This sets up the status quo as the wedding
is interrupted by Wang Chi of the Wing Kong and his henchmen seeking revenge for
their master Lo Pan's murder. There is lots of martial arts and even a sorcerer
to overcome by the end of the first chapter. This is a logical plot as far as it
goes but the dialogue is just too dreadful for me to enjoy. The writer attempts
to make Jack a larger than life hero but it is all so corny that everyone is a
caricature. If the original was along similar lines, and since Carpenter
collaborated on the comic I assume it was, I am not surprised it was a financial
flop. I am also not surprised it has a cult following. But for me it is just not
enjoyable, despite the better than average art. Your experience may be

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Down the Mountain
Publisher: Oni Press
Creator: Ted Naifeh
Colors & Letters: Warren Wucinich
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mythological Fantasy

I believe this story is somewhat based on the gods of Norse legends. For
purposes of the story they live in the mountains led by King Thorgrim and Queen
Friorika. They seem to be constantly at war with others in these lands but the
valley far below is more of a peaceful civilization. It is there that Princess
Grimmeria is sending her daughter Ulga for a proper education in the city of
Atraesca. The theme running through this first chapter is the contrasts between
the hardy, down-to-earth highlanders and the more refined valley people.
Princess Ulga is following the path her mother did long ago to learn more about
the world outside their own. To emphasize this we follow both Ulga and her
counterpart from Atraesca, the Lady Julifer. Ulga arrives in the city atop her
elephant-like mount and quickly creates a stir when she is unknowingly is
blocking the way for Julifer's sedan. Ulga's nickname is Little Berserker and we
soon see why as she tangles with both Julifer's servants and later the royal
guard. Will she even make it to the place where she has been promised her
worldly education? I like the basic plot and the character development of the
key players. There is a bit of humor when it is needed that fits well. The art
is pretty decent as well. The hard part is getting past the dialect Naifeh has
given Ulga to emphasize the Norse people. Those in the city talk normal English
which seems odd as they are not that far removed from Ulga's clan by distance. 
By emphasizing her strange way of talking I think Ted went a bit too far with
the spelling of her words and that makes it difficult to understand what Ulga is
saying with the first read. Still it is not a bad story and could be a lot of
fun going forward.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Nancy A. Collins
Artist: Patrick Berkenkotter
Inker: Dennis Crisostomo
Colors: Jorge Sutil
Letters: Rob Steen
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Teen+ - Comics on the Edge

Dynamite has launched another Vampirella series this time from writer Nancy
Collins. I am not sure if this is in continuity for any previous series though
the characters seem to have met, fought or worked with each other in past
episodes. Regardless it is no big deal as the story is structured to be easy for
anyone to pick up on the plot. At this point in her life Vampirella is working
in conjunction with a Catholic sect called the Cestus Dei through her contact
Father Esatto. She is based out of Seattle and it is here she gets the call from
the Monsignor that her special talent in dealing with the occult is needed. A
child has been kidnapped by her own father who intends to use the child in a
blood ritual. Normally this would be a matter for the FBI but the father claims
to be a man named Ethan Shroud and the priest is convinced their old nemesis has
possessed this man to further his latest plot. Shroud has crossed paths with
Vampirella in the past so she knows he is a powerful warlock that must once
again be stopped. So as the plot moves forward she must investigate the details
that will lead her to the ceremonial graveyard that will be used before it is
too late for the innocent little girl. However this will not be as easy as she
thinks and there is more than one twist to the story. The real plot involves
summoning the Lady of Shadows who will prepare the way for the Lord of Chaos who
will of course plunge the world into his hellish dominion. As I said there are a
couple of twists in the plot. One shocks the reader and the other sets up more
trouble for our heroine both near and long term. It is scripted well and by the
end I felt it was a satisfying story that logically leads to the next chapter.
The art team does a good job throughout the book making it a strong effort on
all fronts. This is a good jump-on point for those who want to sample Vampirella
either for the first time or as a returning fan. It is very well done.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Ted McKeever
Price (USD): $3.99
Black & White - Golden Age size
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Mature - Comics on the Edge

I often pick up a new creator-owned comic especially if it is published by
Image. They seem to have a string of quality products over the last several
years so the new ones are worth a shot. Sometimes I will find myself pleasantly
surprised at finding a new book I really like and want to continue with. Other
times I find a style so unique to a particular creator that I have a hard time
understanding what it is all about. Sometimes it is the art, sometimes it is the
writing. With this title it is a little of both, though I think the writing is
the part hardest to deal with. The problem here is we start in an unspecified
future in the seaside town of Blackwater that is overrun by mutated animals. We
don't know that is what we are looking at first and even by the end I had to
read the back cover to find out the author's intent. It opens with two guys or
maybe mutants or maybe anthropomorphic animals sitting on a dock. They are
talking about the man who lives in a large ship when a diver rises out of the
water. At first we have a hard time understanding what the diver is saying
through the mouthpiece of his snorkel. He eventually climbs to the pier and
boards his ship where we find the oddest thing. He has dressed a mannequin in
his clothes and propped it in the window, as if the dummy is another person. He
apparently spends his days scrounging for food and other things to prolong his
survival. After a while we see other creatures roaming the streets or even
spying on the man referred to only as "He" or "Him" and we realize He may be the
only human around. It is not a friendly world as the two fish-men from the
opening scene find out by the end of the issue. After reading through it I was
somewhat confused but the brief description on the back and another read has it
make more sense now. I think McKeever's art is pretty cool and well-suited for a
black and white format. He probably has a fan following on that basis alone.
Personally I found this title not all that compelling. The plot is too slow and
deliberate for my tastes. That does not mean it is a bad comic, it just does not
appeal to me.


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 is Bill Anderson's relation to what DC Hero?

Bill Anderson is the real name of TV's BATMAN, Adam West!
The winner by the dice is Keith Martin.

Here was your no prize question:
With the advent of electricity to the home what were the first six items run by
electricity introduced for home use?

The first six items introduced for home use were the light bulb, the electric
fan, the toaster, the sewing machine, the electric tea kettle and vibrating
marital aid.

In 1996 Adam Warlock returned to the Marvel Universe in what comic, (issue &

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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