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Friday, July 18, 2014

Comic Reviews 7/19/14


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.

Title: SPIDER-MAN 2099
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Simone Bianchi
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Quite a while back Marvel did a whole series of comics set in the year 2099
featuring new characters with familiar names. One of the most popular of those
series was SPIDER-MAN 2099. Now Peter David is back on the series with the main
character trapped in the present with no way back. For those who are unfamiliar
with Miguel O'Hara, except for his recent appearances in the Spider-Man comics,
the editors have provided a brief backstory at the beginning of this issue.
Miguel was a young genetics genius employed by Alchemax in the far future. In
trying to replicate the spider powers of Peter Parker the experiment was turned
against him and it rewrote his DNA to make it 50% spider. (Hey this is comics
after all.) Gaining amazing powers he became the Spider-Man of 2099. The recent
temporal distortions in the Marvel Universe threatened the life of the head of
Alchemax, Tyler Stone who is secretly Miguel's father. Miguel has since
travelled back to the early days of the company, our present, to try to save the
life of his grandfather, Tiberius Stone. He is stranded here but he is not
alone. As part of his technical arsenal he has a holographic AI assistant called
Lyla who helps him navigate through the early 21st century. As I said Miguel has
already been around for a while as this story begins. He has a position at
Alchemax under the name Michael O'Mara so as not to show up in any future
databases under his real name. As the real action begins he is in a meeting with
Tiberius Stone trying to dissuade him from selling the Spider-Slayers to a
dictatorship nation. Also working at Alchemax is one Liz Allan, someone true
Spider-Man fans are familiar with. As this first episode indicates she is going
to play a key role in Miguel's future. Providing the action this issue is
another visitor from the future in an armored suit. He is and adjustor from an
agency in the year 2211. The agency is T.O.T.E.M., the Temporal Oversight Team
Eliminating Mistakes. They are that time's version of the time police and this
adjustor was sent back to this time to eliminate Miguel O'Hara. You see by 2211
time travel is limited only to agents of T.O.T.E.M. and they take it so
seriously that they go back further in time to find unauthorized travelers
through the ages. Since Miguel is not supposed to be here he must be destroyed.
Just to show us this guy means business we witness a couple of situations where
people in his way disintegrated once the adjustor researches there personal
history to determine if there termination will have any impact on the future.
Well, this guy has no problem finding our hero in his present identity at
Alchemax and it will be up to Miguel to find a way to avoid the whole mess. One
thing about the time traveler is that he reveals bits of information about
people before he makes his decision. That is how we know the lives of Miguel and
Liz will be intertwined. It is a solid first issue with really good art to
support the non-verbal part of the story. We get to know a little bit about
Miguel initially as he finds an apartment to settle in and interacts with a
neighbor he actually has already met as Spider-Man 2099 in this timeline. The
main plot is wrapped up in a unique fashion but Peter David leaves the threads
for future developments. You do not need to know any more than what is in this
issue to enjoy it and follow it to the end. I recommend you give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Tim Seeley
Plot: Tim Seeley & Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Andrew Robinson
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Espionage

If you are like me and do not read all the various Batman titles out there you
might be missing the story of how Dick Grayson transitioned from having his
identity as Nightwing revealed to the world in FOREVER EVIL to being an
operative for an international spy agency called Spyral. I say "might" because I
am not sure if such a transition took place anywhere else. Be that as it may his
cover now is that he was killed in FOREVER EVIL (not entirely untrue though he
got better) and the organization he works for has some really cool technology so
they have identity protection implants that ensure his face cannot be captured
camera. So that takes care of anybody recognizing him. He works closely with
Helena Bertinelli and they are handled by the mysterious Mr. Minos whose face is
completely blotted out - like he is wearing a skin mask that does not reveal any
features - eyes, nose, and mouth are all solid skin it appears. It opens with a
mission to abduct a Russian on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He has a special
implant that give him some awesome powers and there are others out to get him as
well. There is a lot of action this first issue that really highlight the fact
that Dick Grayson is so highly trained he does not need the super hero garb to
be effective. The surprise for me in this debut issue was the appearance of
another familiar character that tries to intervene when Dick is escaping with
the Russian, Ninel. For some reason Midnighter of Storm Watch is also interested
in Ninel and through his superior capabilities quickly deduces that Dick is an
agent of Spyral. If you know anything about Midnighter you know he is not just a
Batman analog. He is possibly the most formidable character in hand to hand
combat in the DC Universe. Dick has got his hands full with this one. The other
reveal in this episode is that Dick secretly has a contact outside of Spyral so
all may not be as it seems. And as Midnighter alludes during the fight scenes
Spyral is known for some rather unethical things when it comes to beings with
enhanced abilities. In fact the final scene gives a big clue as to what Mr.
Minos is up to and just how much he knows. So there is intrigue within this
whole set up I was not expecting. It is plotted very well and the art is spot-on
as you would expect. There is a lot more to this comic than first meets the eye.
You might want to get it now before things heat up.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creator: Stjepan Sejic
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural Horror
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

The main character in this story is a dead man named Samuel Lewis. In fact the
very first thing we see is how he died, some twelve years ago. It is what
happens immediately following that sets up the story as it jumps to the present.
At his death Sam was recruited by the personification death, a white-haired
female called Bernadette the Reaper, to join her army called the Vigil. As a
soldier in Vigil he wields unique tools, as they all do, that are magical veil
rippers. His are a spade and a pick axe and goes by the title Digger. They fight
the forces of the occult that try to enter our realm. Often times this pits them
against necromancers who are very real attempting to open the gateways for the
eldritch forces. The larger part of this story involves one such necromancer who
has laid the groundwork to cast his master spell for long time and it will
involve killing his girlfriend and using her hatred at his betrayal as she nears
death to open the veil. It is all part of a larger plot to draw the forces of
Vigil to events like these and then the evil forces unleashed will theoretically
destroy the soldiers of Vigil and steal their veil rippers for a much larger
master plan. This whole sequence introduces us to the kinds of supernatural bad
guys involved as well as some of the main members of Death's Vigil. The most
interesting of them, and apparently the most powerful, besides Bernadette, is a
white raven called Hugin. Sejic has created an interesting mythology here. The
human element of the soldiers brings some needed characterization for emotional
content, both serious and humorous. He does it all in this book and his art is
quite good as it jumps from ordinary scenes to fantastical supernatural battles.
This is not my particular comic to read on a regular basis but I highly
recommend it for its structure and craft for any fan of the genre.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Pure Insanity
Publisher: DC
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Jeremy Roberts
Colors: Blond
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Anti-hero

I guess after the fall out from FOREVER EVIL the Suicide Squad needed some
retooling. Amanda Waller is still running the team but now she reports to Victor
Sage. Sage has made some changes to things. New members Deathstroke,
Black Manta and Joker's Daughter have joined Harley Quinn and Deadshot on their first
mission as the newly named Task Force X. (hmm, I wonder if Marvel will sue them
for the use of the letter X?) This first mission is taking them to the Russian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. They have multiple goals, besides
destroying the ministry. Manta will be looking for a top secret project being
worked on here while Deathstroke is going to assassinate the CEO of the largest
Russian oil company. There is conflict all over this team, not the least of
which is Waller's animosity toward her new boss and his methods. She really
objects to bringing in new members without the bomb implants that control the
existing members and then sending them off so quickly without adequate
integration. Then there is the fact that Joker's Daughter is wearing Mr. J's
face, something Harley does not like at all. There is also natural distrust from
Deadshot over Deathstroke being in charge and keeping the killing assignment for
himself. They may be the best team to pull off such an outrageous covert
operation but can they work together? Sure they have the ruthlessness and
firepower to get the job done. On the other hand the Russians may have something
up their sleeve as well. I enjoyed this issue right from the start. A lot of it
is team dynamics, or lack thereof, on every level and the characterizations make
it very readable. I was not a reader of the old series so I am not sure if this
Sage guy is new to the group or just a character introduced to mix things up. He
does add things to the story that should prove interesting. The art is as good
as any major DC title. One small flaw in my copy was an incorrect assembly of
the issue that left two pages inserted loosely in the middle though they depict
a scene that is actually five pages earlier. Once I figured it out it made much
more sense. I also checked and very few issues came through this way an there
are plenty of correct copies available. This is a very readable story that is
different, as it has always been, from the standard "hero" books. Check it out.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Great Power
Publisher: Marvel
Creator: Lee & Ditko
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: In-Hyuk Lee
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Unlike the 100th ANNIVERSARY FANTASTIC FOUR issue this story has a more youthful
Peter Parker facing off against the familiar Kingpin of Crime. Without
explicitly saying so this is some far future issue involving the symbiote suit,
which we are familiar with in its current iteration in the present. This future
suit has been technologically enhanced allowing the wearer to control nearly any
machine on the planet thanks to funding secretly provided by Wilson Fisk. For
the purposes of this special issue we are coming into the story at its
conclusion, part 8 of the arc. Peter and Eddie Brock have jostled for control of
the suit but have come to the realization that it is too dangerous for anyone to
have and have agreed to destroy it. Before they could they were overcome and as
they come to in Wilson Fisk's office the Kingpin shoots and kills Eddie. This is
explained in the opening text as Fisk reveals his plan all along was to make
sure the suit had no kinks in it before taking it on himself. With the world of
the future even more automated than now he can control anything and everything.
But first he has to kill Peter Parker. And so this entire issue becomes a
slugfest with Peter on the run as Wilson controls automated cars, helicopters
and anything else in range to throw at Peter who is desperately trying to put
together a plan to stop him. There is not a lot of dialogue by this point and
frankly the final confrontation does not seem very satisfying to me. It is as if
I am missing something I should know because for all the superiority Kingpin has
while wearing the suit the final defeat seems way too easy. I liked the art very
much, which is essential in a story with very little dialogue and lots of
action. Bottom line for me is that this is just not that special as an
anniversary issue.

Issue Number: 25
Title Story: Farewells
Publisher: DC
Creators: Huntress created by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton & Bob Layton
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Inkers: Joe Weeks & Art Thibert
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia & Michael Atiyeh
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The cover to this comic is a bit misleading. It shows Huntress and Power Girl
exiting a Boom Tube on Earth 2 as the heroes of that Earth, the New Batman,
Green Lantern and the Kryptonian are fighting the turned-evil Superman and some
parademons. Even the cover blurb says "Deadly Reunion on Earth 2!" But that
scene never happens. In fact the last panel only shows the two female heroines
exiting the tube as they finally return to their home dimension and nothing and
nobody else. For two years-worth of issues, more than five years their time,
these two have been on Earth Prime after crossing over at the point that Batman,
Superman and Wonder Woman were all apparently killed by the forces of Darkseid.
If you have been reading the EARTH 2 comic you know that Superman was not
destroyed but captured and turned to the Dark Side (pun intended.) This is
actually a transition issue as Helena and Kara prepare for their last day in
this dimension. They have finally found a way to get back to Earth 2. There are
technical preparations, Kara has made arrangements to pass on her considerable
business holdings and Helena wants to spend some quality time enjoy the
relatively peaceful life here before returning to a war torn world where they
are not even sure any heroes are left. What they don't know is that Desaad is
also trapped here and he plans to take the opportunity to get back to his master
on Earth 2. So rather than just fond farewells to old friends as they step into
the Boom Tube, the ladies will have a fight on their hands just trying to make
it through. So while the story is not what the cover hype says it is I still
enjoyed it. I do not follow WORLD'S FINEST but am a big fan of EARTH 2 and I
wanted to see the welcome introduction of these characters into that continuity.
Where it goes from here should be interesting and I will be following it in both
series from here on out. Now is your chance to join the fun.


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

In the comics, Virgil attended Ernest Hemingway High School. The winner this
week is Jeremy Mower.

What four costumed characters helped Swamp Thing in his quest in the afterlife
to rescue Abby who had been sent to Hell by Arcane?

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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