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Friday, August 1, 2014

Comic Reviews 08/01/14

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: Image
Creator: Rob Liefeld
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Tula Lotay
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Mature - Comics on the Edge

Some of the Image original founders have from time to time let other comic
professionals play with their creations. Probably the most famous such
collaboration was Neal Gaiman's work on SPAWN resulting in the creation of
Angela and an infamous lawsuit. In Rob Liefeld's case his SUPREME character has
been interpreted in the past by Alan Moore and that was arguably a much better
run than anything Liefeld did and won a best writer Eisner in 1997. Now he has
given it over to Warren Ellis who along with artist Tula Lotay has found a
different story to tell. The central character in the story is Diana Dane who in
past stories was the Lois lane analog to Supreme's Superman archetype. But this
story pretty much ignores that and begins as Diana Dane is a down on her luck
journalist who just lost her job after winning a major award. The story begins
with a dream sequence Diana has with the main message delivered to her by the
mysterious characters is don't trust Darius Dax. Those familiar with the history
of Supreme will know that Darius was a major villain in past history of the
character. In this story she is about to meet Dax portrayed as the wealthy CEO
of the National Praxinoscope Company. He has a proposition for her that will
reverse her financial woes for life. He explains that he requires investigators
to help him publish results to a very limited clientele. He is in the business
of strategic forecasting and specializes in "blue rose" cases. He explains that
a blue rose does not occur naturally in nature and the things he investigates
are like blue roses. He wants her to find a man named Ethan Crane, whom we know
is Supreme in civilian guise, and his connection to something that fell out of
the sky on a small town. This being a creation of Warren Ellis you can expect
some rather different elements adding to the mystery. The dream sequence is
clearly the first and the strange man named Rueben who is assigned to shadow her
on her quest is far from normal. Lotay's art is very unique in that it is not a
finished, polished style. And yet it grows on you as the story unfolds. We
barely get a glimpse of Crane and only a shadowy image of Supreme to whet our
appetite. At this point the story can go anywhere and I am intrigued already.
This is not your average super hero comic. It is more a science fiction mystery.
I am counting on Ellis to deliver a great story as he usually does.

Issue Number: One-Shot
Title Story: Red Dawn
Publisher: DC
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Andy Kubert
Inker: Jonathan Clapion
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

I have mentioned in the past I am not a steady follower of all the various
Batman titles on the racks. I am aware of some of the major events in the
current NEW 52 run and as it turns out this introduction to the next major arc
is structured to give casual readers like myself an easy entree into what is
going on. The start is a history lesson on certain elements of Batman's life
involving Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia. It recounts how Bruce got
involved with Talia and fathered a son he only learned about later. That of
course was Damian. The recap is extensive as it recaps Batman's "death" and his
journey through time to eventually return as Dick Grayson took over the role of
Batman and the mentoring of Damian as Robin. It also touches on the Death of the
Family arc and eventually Damian's heroic death at the hands of his own clone.
Talia was also killed in the aftermath of that story. Eventually we get to the
present time with the revelation that Ra's has stolen the coffins of both Damian
and Talia. When we finally begin moving forward with the story as it stands we
are at a scene in the Himalayan Mountains with Ra's and his league of cohorts on
the side of Batman and Frankenstein as they are confronted by Glorious Godfery
of Apokolips and various parademons and other minions. It seems Godfrey is
seeking something hidden in Damian's coffin. It seems Batman has no choice but
to side with Ra's against these other bad guys if he ever wants to get back
Damian's body. Clearly this whole scene follows on from a plot started in other
Batman books, but that is not important to the casual reader. We have all the
information we need to follow the second half of the story as the bloody battle
begins. The big surprise comes when things have turned to their very worst and
unexpected allies appear to aid Batman's uneasy alliance. This is only the
opening chapter of the story and from what Batman declares in the end the trail
will take him to Apokolips itself. This is one of the better bookends for a
major story I have read in a while. It provides all the elements to inform new
readers while tying in to recent events in the NEW 52 seamlessly. Kubert's art
is spectacular as you would expect. The story jumps from here to BATMAN AND
ROBIN #33 and I am interested enough to see what happens next.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: G.I. Zombie
Publisher: DC
Creators: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist: Scott Hampton
Colors: Scott Hampton
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Darwyn Cooke - Variant by Howard Porter
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Action/Horror

I am not a big fan of war comics but I am a sucker for new first issues,
especially when they introduce a new character, in this case G.I. Zombie. So
imagine my surprise when I started reading the issue and found the story was set
not on a battlefield but in Nowhere, Mississippi. The introduction to the plot
follows a female drifter new to a local biker bar apparently looking for a good
time as she cozies up to the dominant male named Duke. It isn't long before she
proves she is tough when some of the gang drag in an FBI agent they found
snooping around. Tiffany steps up claiming she can make the guy talk when others
have failed through the normal beatings. We are beginning the story in mid
mission for Carmen King aka Tiffany and her secret partner Jared Kabe. They are
both federal agents investigating anti-government domestic terrorists. As you
might guess by now Jared is the title character and we find out that fact in a
very spectacular visual way very early in the story. We don't get an origin
story for GI Zombie at this point, just passing comments that he is soldier who
has fought in many wars and is true to the soldier's creed and his country. So
for now this is not a battlefield story but an espionage story. Kabe is truly a
zombie, neither living or dead as the saying goes. He is very effective as an
agent but he is still a zombie. The things he can do and must do sometimes freak
out Carmen. But they are both dedicated agents and stay on task. This story was
a pleasant surprise, though for die-hard war comic book fans it might not be.
The scripting and characterization drew me right in from the start. GI Zombie is
of the mold of other horror characters who are on one hand fighting for the good
but on the other hand have a dark side they must tend to. Hampton does an
admirable job with the art though his coloring is a bit muted for my tastes. I
found this to be a rather enjoyable comic that is worth the price of admission.

Issue Number: 1
Story Title: Terminus...
Publisher: IDW
Writer/Artist: Walter Simonson
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: John Workman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mythological Fantasy
Suggested for Mature Readers

Many long-time comic book fans of Marvel became familiar with the Norse gods
through the pages of THE MIGHTY THOR. Of course that is a mix of Norse legend
and comic book fantasy. Anybody is free to put their own spin on the characters
or use them in a modern setting if they choose. In this new title comic legend
Walter Simonson has gone back to the source material and is giving us his own
story about what happens after Ragnarok, the final battle at the end of the rule
of the gods. It begins briefly with a recap of the infamous battle against the
enemies of the gods, culminating with the final battle between Thor and the
Midgard Serpent. That is just to establish the setting for the story he is to
tell. It involves Dark Elves, and in particular one family. Regn and his wife
Brynja have been assassins for the great enemies for a long time killing men,
fairies and even lesser enemies who broke their pledges. They are fierce
warriors and master sorcerers. But now they see a possible end to their
servitude with a mission that Brynja is about to undertake. The reward offered
is so large they can dream of finally retiring from this type of life to raise
their daughter Drifa in peace. What is really being offered by the evil Myrkr is
of more value than money. If Brynja succeeds he promises that Drifa will become
immortal, her body will be beyond all harm. Something tells me he couched his
words very carefully. All she has to do is find and breach the fortress
Kliffborg and kill a god! To accomplish this she will have to enlist the aid of
others, mercenaries whose love of gold outshine their fear of battle. She just
has to be sure that they fear her more than anything else. Simonson is certainly
an accomplished creator in all aspects. His art is truly something to take in
from the line work to the finished colored work. The plotting took a little
effort to sort out in places but by the end things are clear what is going on
and what is at stake. Now that things are moving along rapidly it promises to be
a thrilling adventure with a twist or two down the road. It is worth checking

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Revolutions of Terror
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Nick Abadzis
Artist: Elena Casagrande with Michele Pasta
Colors: Adrianna Florean with Claudia SG, Fabiola Jenne, Valentina Cuomo &
Azzura Florean
Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

I am a fan of Doctor Who though without access to BBC America I have lost touch
with his current history. The last Doctor I was able to watch on basic cable was
the tenth doctor, played splendidly by David Tennant. It is a tribute to the
creators, show runners and various actors that have played the doctor that DR.
WHO remains the longest running science fiction television show in history. I
have picked up some of the comics from time to time and was delighted to see
this new series dedicated to the tenth Doctor. I am not going to get into the
background of the Doctor in this review. The inside cover gives a brief
explanation of the time-space travelling alien whose time machine looks like a
police call box typical in England. Part of the normal adventures for the Doctor
often include a human companion that joins him for a period. As this story
begins the Doctor is once again alone and has once again returned to Earth. For
purposes of the story the time frame is not mentioned but it is around the
present time give or take a few years. This adventure begins in New York City's
Hispanic community near Sunset Park in Brooklyn. The story will involve a young
lady Gabriella who is working in the family owned businesses - a restaurant and
a laundromat. She resents having to do this as well as the course of study in
business her father is forcing her to take rather than pursuing her interests in
art. This first chapter of the story involves strange supernatural occurrences,
first at the laundromat and later everywhere in the neighborhood. The first
occurrence makes a mess of the place. But later people like Gabriella's uncle
and later her mother begin seeing demons or dead loved ones. Clearly there are
forces at work here that need to be investigated. Through all this the Doctor
happens to be wandering the neighborhood. If he knows more about what is going
on he doesn't let on but by the end he will definitely be there to confront the
problem, because that is what he does. This one started a little slow for my
tastes. The Doctor is mostly a peripheral character except for a couple of brief
scenes. That is necessary to set up the plot and show the different reactions
from alternate points of view among the community. Now that the Doctor has
inserted himself into the problem all that will change. The art is impressive
throughout the book and for the time that he appears the artists have captured a
pretty good likeness of Tennant. It is a worthy effort from all and promises to
be an interesting story. By the way if you prefer a more current Doctor there is
a companion series that also just started featuring the Matt Smith version call
DOCTOR WHO: THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR. From the looks of this title I'd say either one
is worth getting.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer/Artist: James Stokoe
Variant Cover Artist: Alexander Lozano
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

So Marvel continues with its special 100th Anniversary issues. That is of course
a bit premature so the specials are set in the future, as if it actually been
100 years in publication. This time it is the Avengers and for a change there is
only one creator on the book, James Stokoe. He is a very unique artist with a
style that is very detailed and dynamic. At times the colors are brilliant when
they need to be. He varies the panel arrangement and sizes perfectly as the
action warrants. It is really a visual delight in that respect.  So how is the
story? It is set after an invasion of Earth by the Badoon Empire. The
introduction explains the Avengers, with the help of Franklin Richards: Herald
of Galactus, have successfully repelled the invasion but the Earth has paid a
huge price. Bio-spores have littered the globe poisoning the atmosphere and a
great terror weapon transported the entire American continent into the Negative
Zone. The few remaining Avengers - Rogue, Beta Ray Bill, Dr. Strange and Iron
Man - have regrouped at their base in Malaysia while Captain America has
embarked on a one-man mission into the Negative Zone to find his lost homeland.
Now it is eight days after the Badoon have left. As the Avengers survey Kuala
Lumpur from the air they see the horror left behind. What isn't destroyed is
covered with strange bio-mass and there are still weapons and ordinance
littering the streets. Tony Stark, who has long since left his mortal body is a
brain floating in a tank in the Stark Tower here. The other three are
essentially immortal - Beta Ray by his nature, Dr. Strange through multiple
reincarnations and Rogue who "inherited" Logan's healing ability. As they
approach the tower they are warned by Iron Man's systems that some of the
unexploded ordinance is being rearmed. A closer investigation shows that a new
invasion has begun by Moloids and their leader, Mole Man the Third. He has
chosen to attack now when Earth is at its weakest to claim a new land having
lost their home in Subterranea years ago. It will be an all-out battle in true
comic book fashion but can Doctor Strange find an amicable solution before it
goes too far?  As I said I really liked Stokoe's art but I have mixed feelings
about the story. On the one hand it has proper structure with exposition,
conflict and resolution. Certainly over the years the Avengers have constantly
changed its line up so this particular team is not unreasonable considering the
longevity of the characters. The addition of Beta Ray Bill threw me off and
maybe a couple more members would have made it more "special" as the title
implies. It is not the worst of these anniversary specials and I think the art
makes it worth getting.


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 company made the toy that was the basis of ROM, SPACE KNIGHT?
ROM was created by Parker Brothers.

In 1992, Larry Doyle and Paul Kupperberg created a political satire in the form
of a super hero comic book insert. It was called the FANTASTIC FOURSOME,
patterned after the Clinton/Gore families.  In what magazine was this comic a
free insert?

Here is your no prize question:
The name of the city of Portland, Oregon was actually decided by a coin toss.
What was the other name being considered?

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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