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Friday, June 20, 2014

Comic Reviews 6/20/14


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: Planet of the Humans
Publisher: DC
Creator: Jack Kirby
Story & Art: Keith Giffen & Dan Didio
Inker: Scott Koblish
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Giffen & Koblish
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

DC is bringing back some of the first characters Jack Kirby introduced to the DC
Universe when he made the jump from Marvel. Giffen & Didio are the perfect pick
to bring these characters into the NEW 52 as they capture the essence of Kirby's
style in a true homage to the King. In the set up for what is to come four of
the best students from the New Genesis' Academy of Higher Conscience are sent to
Earth to study and aid in the advancement of humanity. They are Vykin Baldaur
who is the prime carrier and Mother Box Nest, his sister Serafina Baldaur, Mark
Moonrider and the enigmatic Beautiful Dreamer. Vykin is the reluctant member of
the group who was the only one who could activate the Mother Box to create a
boom tube. His plan is to get to Earth, bond the Mother Box to someone else and
get back before dinner. We get the feeling that won't happen. Greeting them as
they arrive in Venice Beach, California is their mentor, Big Bear. He has set
them up in a singles apartment complex but thanks to Mother Box the interior
accommodations are mostly like what they are used to on New Genesis. In a
fitting touch the household AI that maintains it all is named Kirby. The first
issue is mostly introduction to the characters and setting up their situation.
However, the final few pages present what will likely be their first challenge.
The New Gods, as we are well aware by now, are not the only beings that have
arrived to Earth via boom tubes. The closing pages introduce Mantis and his
minions to an agricultural paradise established in Sudan and they are not very
friendly. Though not all that much happens this first issue I really enjoyed it.
As I mentioned the artwork while distinct on its own evokes the magic of the
Kirby style. The writers have stayed true to the origins and nature of the
Forever People while putting their own spin on each one. I am anxious to see
things develop and how and when the other title character, Infinity Man, will
make his appearance. Kudos to DC for putting out this series and still keeping
it affordable at $3.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Marvel
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This anthology of stories is tied in with the event series ORGINAL SIN. Rather
than move the event forward it looks at other people and how they are involved
in the concept. This issue has three stories. One is really a promo for a comic
coming in October. Another is serialized in this title and the last is a stand-
alone story used for filler.

"Terminus" is a prelude to the DEATHLOK series. It is written by Nathan
Edmondson with art by Mike Perkins and Andy Troy. The tie-in here is Seth Horne,
an off duty agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was downtown when the Watcher's eye exploded
showing those present some secrets (see the main series for details.) In this
case Agent Horne was shown a secret about Henry Hayes. He now knows the details
that turned Henry into Deathlok and that he is a killer cyborg. In this story he
seeks Henry out to tell him he knows and that he is a fan of his work. How Henry
reacts to this information is the key to the plot and an introduction to what
you can expect when the series debuts in October. This is not a bad way to get
people interested in Deathlok. It has some flashes to his past as a clandestine
operative. It also suggests he is not entirely in control of his actions. I
might be interested in reading the first full issue when it comes out. The art
is pretty good as well.

"Hidden in Plain Sight" is a five-part story about the Young Avengers. It is
written by Ryan North with art by Ramon Villalobos and Jordan Gibson. I have not
been a follower of the Young Avengers though I have read a couple issues here
and there. The art on this story is very different from the regular series.
Ramon has a style similar to Mike Allred so the characters look very different
than what I am used to. The story begins as the heroes are fighting the villain
downtown. Chief among the bad guys is Exterminatrix, Marvel Boy's ex. Hulking
and Prodigy decide he needs to be told and when they can't contact him they
visit his home in space. He definitely wants to see how this came to be and soon
the three are breaching the S.H.I.E.L.D. perimeter around the battle zone in a
most unusual way. Since this story runs through the five issues it ends in a bit
of a cliffhanger as they confront a surprise villain. I like the way the plot
flowed and the only downside is not knowing the history between Noh-Varr and
Exterminatrix but that is not too significant to what is happening now. I am not
sure I would follow this story in its own title but included here as it is makes
it a good fit.

"Buried Memory" is a brief comical story about Lockjaw written by Stuart Moore
with art by Rick Geary and Ive Svorcina. As I said this story is just filler. In
fact there is no dialogue at all. It follows Lockjaw, the teleporting pet of the
Inhumans, as he seeks help from various heroes after he had an inspiration upon
awakening one day. No one seems to have time for him until he finds Iron Man who
explains, again without words, about the death of the Watcher. This seems to be
the catalyst for a final teleport and the end of the quest. It is just a silly
interlude the best part of which is the always terrific art of Rick Geary.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Journey into Imagination
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy
ALL AGES - Disney Kingdoms

The latest Disney/Marvel comic springs from a character that goes back to the
opening of the Journey into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot in 1982. To quote
Wikipedia, "Dreamfinder, a jolly wizard-like scientist, teaches Figment how to
use his imagination. Figment is meant to be the literal embodiment of the phrase
"figment of the imagination". He is composed of various elements Dreamfinder
found in his travels including two tiny wings, large yellow eyes, the horns of a
steer (or dilemma, according to a 1983 appearance on the Today Show), a
crocodile's snout, and the childish delight found at a birthday party." The
wizards at Marvel along with the Disney Imagineers got together to spin a story
using the Dreamfinder and Figment in a real world situation. The "Dreamfinder"
in this case Blarion Mercurial a scientist working at the Academy Scientifica-
Lucidius. His latest experiment seems to have had a small problem resulting in a
partial destruction of his Integrated Mesmonic Convertor and a lot of black
smoke. Chairman Illocrant sees this as a lack of focus on the mission of the
Academy since the device is supposed to tap into the energy of the mind. The
Chairman has directed him to seek new sources of energy - usable energy. He
gives Blare an ultimatum to work on something more practical or he is finished.
But Blare cannot abandon his dream and so finally gets his machine working. When
it is time to test it he uses his own mind and to his amazement the childhood
"figment" of his imagination becomes real. While this is fantastic it does not
solve his immediate problem with the Chairman. By the end of the issue the
machine will do something else that will make his job security the least of
Blare's problems.  This is a pretty decent story that is scripted carefully to
set up the premise and provide the introduction of the two main characters. The
characterization of Figment, while relegated to the second half of the book, is
delightful and a god counterpoint to Blare. The theme behind the plot is the
power of the imagination. This first issue gives a brief glimpse of what is
possible. If the writers continue on this theme there are many roads to explore.
The art is pretty decent as you would expect in such a collaboration. This will
have a built in audience for those who remember the magic of the Disney
experience be they young or old. Anyone else can enjoy this tale as well.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image/Top Cow
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Linda Sejic
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Linda Sejic
Letters: Troy Peteri
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I am such a fan of Matt Hawkins other series THINK TANK that I was waiting for
this series to arrive. In this title Matt explores the debate over genetically
modified organism. More specifically it is the genetic modification of plant
life to combat food shortages. The opening scene portends one possible
consequence of uncontrolled scientific experimentation. But the plot begins
three days earlier with a televised debate over the benefits and consequences of
genetic modification. On the pro side is Dr. Beth Silva, a private researcher in
genetically engineered food. Her work is funded by Biogenesis that has just
about cornered the market and patented thousands of genetic variations. On the
other side is Dr. Gerald Lerner who is the lead spokesman and founder of Green
Aware, an advocacy group for organic produce. His argument is that this is
science run amuck. Beth holds that they have stringent test procedures approved
by the Department of Agriculture and work hand in hand with the EPA to ensure
their produce is safe. He claims that the FDA and Biogenesis rely on each other
and so both are vested in things moving forward. He even suggests a conflict of
interest at the FDA, which is filled with former executives from the industry
they are regulating. She claims they will solve the increasing food shortage
problem while he claims GMOs cause cancer and may have long term effects on the
food chain and the environment. No one has a clear win in such a debate. It
brings up the concerns of both sides and by the time it is over Beth has put
herself in the hot seat by claiming they have found a way to accelerate plant
growth with only 5% of the nutrients and water to full term growth. In reality
the team has not yet reached that goal so she begins to press her group for
results. As we see in the lab the latest experiment on transgenic beansprout has
it sprout and grow to several inches tall in less than an hour only to
immediately wilt and die. Researcher Dan Miller is already disappointed in the
lack of success so when he hears of Beth's claim on TV he is outraged. Even more
so the next day when Beth announces they must hold a public demonstration of
their success or risk losing their funding and their jobs at the University. So
the plot is meant to pose the conflicting interests about this form of research
and its consequences versus benefits. As you might expect something will go
wrong at the demonstration that will be the basis for the conflict going
forward. While this is not high drama it is a fascinating subject. As in THINK
TANK Hawkins provides several text pages in the back going over the scientific
concepts and the reality of the current status. He provides links for the reader
to research more on their own. Some of this information may be a bit disturbing
as it points to things the general public may not be aware of as common
knowledge, especially the list of companies that are already using GMOs in their
products. Linda Sejic does a good job on the art for the most part though her
panels give the appearance of animation cels with often blurred backgrounds.
This is the kind of comic I enjoy aside from the usual super hero fare. Please
give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator/Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

Agent Jensen of the Centers for Disease Control and Agent Langford of the FBI
are part of a multi-agency task force investigating a series of crimes that seem
to be related to or caused by a disease of some kind. It has been dubbed the
Empty Man. The latest incident involved a man who went out of his mind while in
the shower and the end result was his death and that of his wife in a most
unusual way. The two children are currently missing, which is the team's
immediate concern. This is just the latest in a series of bizarre deaths that
began about five years ago. A woman fed her newborn to her dogs claiming the
baby whispered to her to do it. A businessman in LA jumped out of a high rise
after complaining he had been turned inside out. A woman in Seattle ran into
oncoming traffic after seeing her grandfather's face in a just cooked meatloaf.
This has been going on for five years with the added feature lately in many
cases that a scrawled note claimed "The Empty Man Made Me Do It." This first
issue follows Jensen and Langford as they come across a man who may know more
about the "disease" though what he tells them points to something far from
disease. Clearly the intent in this first issue is to begin things with lots of
unanswered questions while conveying the chief investigators have not gotten a
handle on the situation as of yet. There is a religious, even cult, element to
what is going on as you might suspect from the opening scene set in Atlanta five
years ago. While most of it has our protagonists stumbling around looking for
answers the final scene may be a revelation to them. Or maybe not. The problem
is the art. It is a unique style that has a lot of very loose pencil work that
the coloring does not help define. That last scene is probably supposed to be
revelatory but it is just too difficult to discern what it is that Jensen is
looking at. The combination of this particular art and a stumbling plot makes
this one not worth any more of my time. As I always realize many comics appeal
to different people in different ways so don't take my word for it.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Daniel Corey
Artist: Mark Dos Santos
Colors: Chris Fenoglio
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover Color: Steve Downer
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

This story is set far in the future after the solar system had been fully
colonized. The planets are united under one central government with each planet
a separate State in the entity called the New Solar System. At one point Venus
and Neptune attempted to secede from the NSS but the resulting war united
everyone again. This is the backstory for the story of our hero Cal Talmage who
grew up as an orphan on Mars. He eventually joined the Central City PD and rose
to become an impressive homicide detective and also served in the unification
wars in the marines. But the bad boy part of him never was cured and he soon
found himself in a heap of trouble for running a black market operation on the
federal ship where he was in charge of security. He was sure he would be drummed
out and sent back to Earth but to his surprise a general who believes in him
wants him to run a special mission. It seems a new treaty is in the works
between Venus and Mercury. Mercury needs to trade with Venus to get out of a
crippling depression and plans to lift an embargo with the treaty. This will
take place on Mars. The problem is the daughter of the Mercurian ambassador has
gone missing. It will be Cal's job to find her and get her back to her father
before it jeopardizes the treaty signing. His superiors hope Cal can use his
contacts in Central city to locate Talia before it is too late. There is a lot
of old-fashioned detective work and plenty of offbeat characters in this story
filled with political intrigue. He follows a lead that has Talia mixed up with
the Venus ambassador's son and soon finds himself in a lot more trouble. This
story is a typical cop story set in a science fiction future. The dialogue is
pretty good and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is a bit confusing at
times as there is a lot of extraneous information presented, or so it seems at
first read. I really like the art which is finally colored and uses good
perspective and shadows. Corey manages to give us a few twists and surprises
keeping our interest all the way. It is not a great book but it is well-crafted
and promises more excitement along the way.


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

It was not the 1991 return in Silver Surfer, but the 1996 return in ULTRAVERSE

What native "mystery hero" did Jimmy Olsen meet when he became the Beatle of
1000 BC?

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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