Search This Blog

Friday, July 11, 2014

Comic Reviews 7/11/14


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: Marvel
Creators: Lee & Kirby
Writer: Jan Van Meter
Artist: Joanna Estep
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Normally in comics the 100th anniversary would be the publishing of issue#100.
Marvel has come up with a different concept and published a short series of
titles as if they are being published one hundred years after they started. Of
course we are talking comic book continuity time here so the characters are not
over a hundred years old, but they have aged. The first of the series is
FANTASTIC FOUR. As the issue begins we are already looking back fifteen years to
an event that was pivotal in the future of the team. In the "current" time of
the story the Fantastic Four consist of Trin (Fantasm) and Kirby (Slip)
Richards-Banner the daughter and son of Valeria Richards, Victoria Harkness
(Enchantress) and Lee Minh Cam, the Human Torch. They are out to investigate
catastrophic damage to an orbital colony of Neolunar, the new moon, when they
receive what appears to be a transmission from Reed Richards who disappeared
fifteen years ago with Johnny, Franklin and Victor Von Doom. They were all
presumed dead. Back then those four were trying to prevent a time crime but were
falsely accused of being the terrorists by the authorities that were closing in
on the event. After a fantastic explosion the four were gone, presumed to be
disintegrated. The Thing was left in a comma and Sue has been essentially under
house arrest for fifteen year. The second and third generation have carried on
the family business and now it seems they are about to learn the truth of what
really happened on that day long ago. This is a fun story and is much more than
I expected. It is cool to see the newer characters with different abilities and
their own dynamic. Valeria as an adult is a natural leader and the Banner twist
in her marriage and offspring is an added plus. The way the two plots intersect
is handled well and the larger picture - the reason behind the time event and
what happens at the end of this chapter is just getting interesting. But since
this is a one shot we will have to look elsewhere to see what develops. Luckily
the final panel promises to continue the story in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 100TH
ANNIVERSARY. The down side of this comic for me is the art. I find the line work
too crude and the coloring just passable. But I enjoyed the other aspects of it.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: A Chasing Tale
Publisher: Marvel
Writer/Artist: Skottie Young
Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover Artist: Skottie Young
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

With the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movie just a few weeks away Marvel is ramping
up the amount of related comics available on the racks. This week I look at two
of them. First up is a solo title about the talking raccoon who is not a raccoon
and does not want to be called one. This character tends to be the comic relief
of the group and Marvel chose Skottie Young who is no strange to comical stories
for Marvel to head it up. Rocket is the last of his species from another planet.
He is boisterous and quite the ladies' man. In fact when he is not out saving
the galaxy with the Guardians you might find him with his latest paramour. That
is the beginning of the main plot to this story as we find Rocket on a date at a
wrestling match on some foreign planet where one of the main contestants is his
old buddy Groot. As you can imagine his date is not all that impressed with the
choice and would rather spend quality time alone with our hero. Well, that is
not going to happen as the pair got caught on the kissing cam at the stadium and
suddenly the whole stadium is alerted that he is a wanted fugitive. The ensuing
action is all for fun as he gets involved in the match briefly and is chased all
over the city sewers all the while calling the Guardians for help. This is all
part of a bigger plot by an unexpected former acquaintance to get even. The fun
has just begun. I enjoyed this comic for what it is, a comic relief type story
with lots of dialog by Rocket that suits his character to a tee. Young has a
cartoonish quality to his art that suits the story and the finished product is a
quality effort by all. If you like the character you will enjoy it too. If you
are more interested in the hard-hitting stories in the main book you won't need
to pick up this one for fear of missing something important.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The other Guardians related comic out this week features the leader, Peter
Quill, in his own title. The start of the main plot has Peter in a hard spot. He
has been found by the evil Badoon at an orphanage on a distant planet. As an
added bonus for the bad guys he also has in his possession the fabulous Mandalay
Gem, left behind by the Spartax army when they left the planet. The Badoon plan
to turn over Peter to a certain Mr. Knife for a handsome bounty.  Most of the
action takes place on the Badoon ship with Peter in a cell. Although they have
to turn him in alive to collect their bounty the Badoon are not averse to
roughing him up on the way, and that will be their mistake. The comic has some
interesting asides throughout. One involves flashbacks to Peter as a child
shortly after his mother's death. Another is a conversation he has over a
communicator with Kitty Pride of the X-Men. While at first it seems like his
intention was to rob the orphanage of the gem in their custody we eventually see
his true nature shine as the story unfolds. There are little bits of humor here
and there that keep things natural for our hero and in the back of his mind is
always to the goal to hunt down Thanos. But there is a big surprise at the end
of the issue when it seems he has jumped out of the frying pan right into the
fire. And you won't believe who it is he meets for the first time on the final
page. This is a good story with fine art making it a worthy companion book to
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It helps us get to know Peter better and will fill in
some missing bits of his background we did not know. It is worth picking up for
that reason.

Issue Number: 0.1
Title Story: Road Warrior
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Chris Samnee & Javier Rodriguez
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is indeed one of those point-one issues Marvel has grown fond of and since
this one is 0.1 it takes place before the first issue of the current series. To
bring you up to speed Matt Murdock has finally revealed his secret identity on
purpose and for that he has been disbarred from practicing law in New York. This
new series has him setting up new digs on the left coast and this story takes
place during his journey across country. Regular scribe Mark Waid is filling us
in on his adventures on his way to San Francisco. He is accompanied by fellow
lawyer Kirsten McDuffie when their plane is force to land in Milwaukee due to
bad weather. The gist of the plot involves Matt's heightened senses as the plane
endures the rough weather attempting to land. Matt of course has super hearing
and the heartbeats of all the passengers are like a symphony of sound he cannot
block out. But something is odd in the mix of all the passengers and as they are
deplaning he finally figures it out - one of the passengers has no heartbeat at
all. Naturally he cannot pass up investigating further and that will be
beginning of an adventure that leads him to track down the man only to discover
that the guy believes he is someone and something he is not. The plot thickens
as the trail leads to none other than the infamous Thinker.  It is a well-laid
out story that has plenty of action and a twist or two as Matt figures out a way
to foil the villain at the point where it seems he can't possibly do it. The
story held my interest all the way though there is a plot hole about Daredevil
having his plane downed by weather in a place close enough to find Thinker once
he has figured out the mystery behind the stranger on the plane. We know he did
not travel far from the area to find Thinker because in the end he is back with
Kirsten about to finish their trip by car. Still I enjoyed the story and it held
my interest the whole time. It even makes sense to have this as a point one
issue rather than starting the new series with this particular story. Those who
follow the series will definitely enjoy this one. If you would like to read a
good standalone Daredevil story then this is a good one to get.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Dead or Alive You're Coming with Me
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
Suggested for Mature Readers

Boom has taken its latest Robocop series full circle by setting it in the world
of the original movie that started it all. Officers Murphy and Lewis are once
again patrol the mean streets of Detroit where Robocop is making a difference in
the war on crime. To emphasize the value Murphy has added to the force in his
Robocop persona we are treated to several pages of shoot-out action in which
Robocop single-handedly takes out a gun running operation. In fact this episode
is so violent it will cause a change in policy in the city that will directly
affect our two heroes. In a sub plot Lewis is studying for the detective's exam
but hasn't told Murphy yet. But the main plot involves a new initiative from the
mayor called "Get the Guns." From now on any gun that is not registered with
both the city and OCP gets confiscated. Lewis fears that the citizens will riot
if they try to confiscate all the guns but then her boss drops the bomb that she
and Murphy are in charge of the project. This will set up the main conflict
going forward, especially when they find out what we already know about the new
citizen liaison assigned to the project. While there is a lot of action in this
first issue this issue the main plot is only just beginning. But it is all
plotted purposely to properly pace the story. The art is spectacular and really
moves things while adding to the story. This is a real easy comic to get
involved with as it only requires basic knowledge from the movie without any tie
the various other Robocop series published in the past. If you like the
characters you will like this adventure with them.

Issue Number: 1-shot
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Creator: Sergio Ponchione
Translated from Italian by Diego Ceresa w/Sergio Ponchione, Eric Reynolds and
Kristy Valenti
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Artistic Tribute

This comic is probably one of the most unusual on the racks right now because it
does not fall into any of the major genres. Instead it is a labor of love by a
well-known award winning comic creator and teacher from Italy. It is his tribute
to three of the greatest contributors to the US comic book industry - Steve
Ditko, Jack Kirby and Wally Wood. He approaches the effort with a framing
sequence that has an aspiring comic artist visit his studio to show off his work
and seek his advice. After browsing through the young man's portfolio he makes a
few suggestions but the major one is that he should study the works of the three
seminal figures in American comic book history. If he studies their work he will
understand their talent and find his own path to his dream. For the sake of the
structure at this point he has a rather magical transition into his first lesson
on Steve Ditko titled "The Mysterious Steve." He paints him as a man who has
been doing what he does the same way all his life. He is reclusive, never
married and takes no visitors, does no interviews. Although he has not prospered
monetarily from his greatest creation, Spider-Man, it is not about the money for
him. It is the productive achievement of doing his best, day after day, that is
his reward. Though it is a brief outline of the kind of man Ditko is the
highlight is a full-page spread Sergio does in the Ditko style featuring some of
characters he is famous for doing as his major contributions to comics. As I
said the framing sequence has a magical element to it. Before each segment the
letter of the creator appears in the air, enlarges, and opens up a gateway into
the narrative about that creator. In the case of Jack Kirby the K acts as a
window into a science fiction realm, and the title of the segment, "Planet
Kirby." It is a fictional place where Jack labors at his desk, the ever-present
cigar hanging from his lip, as he creates new fantastic beings and devises. He
is getting his latest shipment of supplies from the being whose perspective is
used to show the fantastic creations all around Kirby's habitat. They are
reminiscent of his body of work - monsters, super heroes, gods, alien beings and
futuristic cities. This is the place Kirby continues to toil with paper, pencil
and ink, even after his demise, while the fantastic machine converts all that he
draws into 3-D holograms to surround his new home. It is a place where he will
forever be king. Sergio takes a turn on the last segment about Wally Wood. This
is more of an essay on Wood's life with illustrations sparingly used to point
out the ups and downs of his career down to his struggles in later life and
eventually his tragic death. The illustrations are done in Wood's style showing
the breadth of his influence from science fiction, the Spirit's "Moon Saga" and
of course the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Overall it is a loving tribute and it is
informative drawing facts from other works that have documented these artists
over their careers. The teacher instructing the student is a good way to get
across the point he is making about each one and Sergio's own talent shines on
every page. This comic is not going to tell you everything you should know about
these three icons but it is a good introduction that references larger works to
seek out to get more details about them. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a
little more than I knew before. If you are at all interested in the story behind
the creations then this one is for you.


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:
Can you name any one of three DC characters who won Olympic Gold medals
according to the "Guide to the DC Universe"? (Within continuity - no imaginary
stories, etc.)

Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning was one.  The other I was looking for were
Amazing Man I, and Gus Gray from the HAUNTED TANK crew. The winner by the dice
is Mike Dooley.

I forgot to mention that Mauricio Carvalho won the no-prize last week for
knowing the answer was George Bernard Shaw.

In the STATIC comics, what school did Virgil and friends attend?

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