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Friday, August 22, 2014

Comic Reviews 8/22/14


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: 32
Title Arc: Edge of Spider-Verse
Publisher: Marvel
Plot: Dan Slott
Script: Christos Gage
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: John Dell
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you don't follow comic book pre-publicity as I do you probably thought that
the title SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN was finished because Peter Parker got his body
back and the title reverted to its original name. However, the next big Spider-
Man event is just beginning and to kick it off Slott went back to a previous
issue of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, specifically issue #19. In that issue Horizon Labs
was lost in a temporal implosion and Otto-Spider-Man disappeared for 24 hours.
This story explains what happened to him and how it ties in to the new story
arc. We see the events recreated here and follow Otto-Spider as he drifts
through time and space and ends up in the world of Spider-Man 2099. Now in this
time Spider-Man is a wanted man so he has to dodge the authorities while looking
for the advanced technology in this future Earth to build a devise to send
himself back to the present. As fortune would have it Spider-Man 2099's brother,
Gabriel O'Hara recognizes the similarity to Peter Parker's uniform and manages
to convince Otto to come with him to avoid capture. Of course Gabriel thinks
this is really Peter and Otto has already purged Peter's memories from his own
mind so he does not know Peter had already met Gabriel in a past adventure.
Convincing Gabriel he can get Miguel back from the past they go to Miguel's
apartment where Otto can begin his search for what he needs using the computers
there. His targets are Stark/Fujikawa and Alchemax corporations who had worked
on temporal or dimensional travel in the past. Once he gets it all together and
gets the computer interface downloaded to his uniform's tech he begins the trip
to get back home. But he finds out it is a hit-or-miss proposition at best. He
finds he is going have to make multiple hops in time and space to make it back.
The most startling thing he finds is that in each alternate reality the counter-
part Spider-Man has been slain in some fashion. Sometimes it happened in battle
with villains or aliens and other times it is an oppressive government or so it
seems. However, as the computer points out, each one had common fatal wounds and
that cannot be coincidental. He eventually discovers how and why these Spider-
Men are being tracked down and slaughtered. He realizes that the foe is too
powerful to take on alone and so he devises a plan to build an army that can
eventually defeat this foe or every Spider-Man across the dimensions will suffer
the same fate. There is a lot of detail I have not covered that you will
discover when you read this special story. If you are a regular Spider-Man
reader you will want to get it. It is a solid set-up for the event beginning to
unfold and it promises to be a good one.

Backup story: "The Spider Sanction" by Christos Gage, Adam Kubert & Brian Beredo
This second piece follows the main premise in the lead and shows yet another
world where the Spider-man is a bit more ruthless that the Peter Parker we are
familiar with. He is still a hero but his view of having to do whatever it takes
is more in line with the morals of Wolverine than Uncle Ben. He will become
another soldier in Otto's army if Otto-Spider can convince him to come along.

As a package I really enjoyed this comic. The art is top-notch as always with
two terrific writers in synch on the big picture they are painting. By all means
buy this book.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: No More Trouble
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover Artist: Jae Lee
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This story is about Rory Fletcher. He has just found out he has cancer, an
inoperable brain tumor giving him only two months to live. It starts off with
things you might find typical in such a case. He confides in his best friend,
makes the dreaded call to his mother to tell her the news and even is
propositioned by a female friend who wants to help him make the most of the time
he has left, if you catch my meaning. He is basically a good guy coping with the
inevitable. But that all changes when he learns about an experimental, very
secret program called Treatment Q. His best friend Raz had help to hack into the
research and proposes that he can duplicate the promising results that occurred
before the program was shut down and classified as top secret. Deciding the
reported shocking and unpredictable side effects can't be worse than death the
two proceed. Thus begins a strange journey that touches on both the good and bad
side of Rory. Yes, as you might guess, he gains abilities that are side effects.
At first they are uncontrollable and they also includes hallucinations from dark
memories of the past. But the desired effect, the shrinking of the tumor, is
also happening. The whole thing is a blessing and a curse resulting in a
downward moral spiral as Rory becomes more adept with his abilities. It seems
like his inner demons are coming forward and he may not be able to control them.
It is an interesting premise. Despite the title of the book this is not a super
hero story. It is an exploration of Rory having to face the man he really is.
Where it goes from here is going to be interesting. Milligan is giving us more
than just a science fiction adventure here. As things progress he keeps adding
layers to the story that are both frightening and amazing. The illustration and
coloring help to move things along by supplementing the scripted words. This is
worthy of the hype it has been getting and deserves a chance to succeed.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Artist: Dos Santos
Colors: Brad Simpson
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

What if you were just an average Joe and one day the Superman-like super hero of
the world came to you and proclaimed that you would be his successor? That is
the situation Mark McDonnell finds himself in one day as he is fulfilling his
father's wishes by spreading his ashes somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. As I
said Mark is an average Joe so seeing Imperial fly down to meet him in the
middle of nowhere really freaks him out. Once the shock is over and Mark finds
that small talk is not Imperial's way of conversing the hero spells it out for
him. Imperial has scanned the population of the world to find one worthy to be
the next protector of mankind and Mark is it. Mark is both awestruck and
bewildered. He is a big fan of Imperial, has all the comics and action figures.
But Mark is also getting married soon and is more concerned with all the
preparations going on in the next ten days than becoming a super hero. This
comic is played very much for the humor of situation. Mark tends to babble a
lot, even his thoughts jump from one silly notion to another. Imperial is
willing to give him a day to get ready for the odyssey to come as he leaves Mark
to return to his fiancĂ©e. So what would you do?  Would you tell anyone what
happened, even the person you loved the most? Would you try to forget about the
whole experience and continue with your life? Maybe Mark believes he can just
forget about the whole thing. But Imperial is the most serious person on the
planet so we know Mark is going to have to deal with it very soon. This is an
interesting concept and the humor inserted is very appropriate for this take on
the reluctant hero story. The cliff hanger ending is probably the only real
serious part of the whole story so far. The art is very acceptable with
outstanding coloring to set each shift of scene and mood. One interesting side
note to this comic is the design. The story begins on the inside front cover and
ends on the inside back cover. There are no ads or text pages. The credits and
indicia are all on the back cover. You are getting the maximum amount of value
for the $3 with this one. There is a lot to learn about the whole situation but
that does not detract from the story in this first issue. This appears like it
will be a fun comic to follow. Try it and see if you agree.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story:
Publisher: Image
Creator: Paolo Leandri
Writer: Adam McGovern
Artist/Letters: Paolo Leandri
Colors: Dominic Regan
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror

The first thing you notice about this comic is the Kirbyesque nature of the art.
I was always a fan of the King and it is nice to see someone mimic his style so
well as homage to his influence on the industry. The subject of the series deals
with magic and the supernatural. There is a noble demon named Plenilunio who is
contending for control of the mythical Soule Key with his antagonists Hellena
and Hotspot. Hanging in the balance is the fate of his lover Lidia. She is
entranced in a waking sleep and he seeks the soul key to free her. The trail has
led him to the library of an old man and a certain book that has a map to its
location. But his foes are not far behind and soon Hellena and her pet demon
Lotus crash the scene. Meanwhile Hot Spot is being sent on a separate mission by
the underboss of the underworld in charge of them. This is truly a unique comic,
and not just for the art. While you get the gist of the plot there is a lot
unsaid or hinted at that give you lots to ponder. The dialogue harkens back to
comics of long ago as well. The story has action, humor, and horror in a
pleasant mix that you won't find elsewhere. Unlike the trend these days toward
R-rated horror comics this is an all ages type comic with something for everyone
and nothing to offend anyone. The plot and style may not have the mass appeal it
had back in the 60's but it is very well done and lots of fans will appreciate
it. Even younger folks who are not that familiar with the early silver age of
comics can enjoy this classic style, especially when it is as well done as this
one. There are a couple of endorsements on the back cover from major comic book
creators that should tell you this work is worth checking out.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creators: Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier & Robert E. Howard
Writers: Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier
Artists: Sergio Aragones & Tom Yeates
Colors: Tom Luth
Letters: Richard Starkings
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor

Well, this comic is not what I expected. Actually with a title like that I did
not know what to expect. You would guess that at some point the classic
barbarian hero will somehow join in battle with the classic cartoon barbarian.
How we get there is the gist of the plot. It begins with what might be a typical
scene for Conan. A scantily clad miss is beset by an ugly beast in a high tower.
But somehow the beast changes his appearance to a skeleton and then a large
wolf. Lucky for her Conan is on the case. What is nice about this sequence is
the art of Tom Yeates who renders everything in the style we are accustomed to
seeing for such a story. That makes it all the more jarring when in one panel
Conan and the maiden are riding in a forest drawn in a realistic style and in
the next Sergio's typical peasants are peaking up from one corner in their more
flat cartoonish renderings. The next panel is full on Sergio art as the trio
compares a true hero riding away to the hero they have - one they sometimes fear
more than what he tries to protect them from. Their hero is of course Groo. Okay
so far, but then you turn the page and we are in a current day big city with
Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier discussing plot points of a possible Groo/Conan
crossover, something Sergio is not keen on doing. So we've gone from high
adventure to cartoon land to creators breaking the wall by inserting themselves
into the comic. This part is longer than the rest because it sets up the
circumstance for the actual plotting of the crossover. Through an unfortunate
series of events Sergio is knocked out and taken to the hospital and after the
misguided medical system sees him get a couple shots too many he really goes off
the deep end thinking he himself is Conan. This provides a Segway into a full on
Groo story. The plot here mirrors the plot in the real world segment in that the
average citizens are standing in the way of a construction project and the local
authorities need to step in. In the current day sequence a developer wants to
take over and demolish Sergio and Mark's favorite comic store. The Groo story is
as funny as they always are with the terrific detailed art that is Sergio's
signature. There is so much in each panel that even the backgrounds are worth
looking at carefully. The final scene is the setup for the eventual
confrontation between our two heroes and it mixes nicely the two art styles in
the same panels. This is well done artistically though the scripting jumps
around a lot. It will be worth checking out to see if you agree.

Title: HEXED
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Empty Garden
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creator: Michael Alan Nelson
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson
Artist: Dan Mora
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Ed "The Duke" Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Emma Rios/Dan Mora
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural
Mature - Comics on the edge

Evidently this is not the first appearance of the main character but it is my
first taste. She is Luci Jennifer Inacio Das Neves, most people call her
Lucifer. She is a supernatural thief for hire. She steals mystical objects so
the real nasty characters won't get their hands on them. She works for Val
Brisendine her mentor and mother figure. The other unique figure on her side is
known as the Harlot also known as the keeper of Secrets. Harlot is probably the
most interesting character and Lucifer is her designated heir. But her
appearance here is late in the story and is used as a bridge to a rather
startling cliffhanger climax to the issue. The main plot is about a painting,
more specifically the frame of a painting that Lucifer is about to steal when
she encounters a bunch of thugs dressed like ninjas with the same idea. The
chief rivals for these artifacts Lucifer is trying to keep safe is Madame
Cymbaline. To complicate things Cymbaline's brother Yves has his own ideas about
the use of these powerful objects and will use them to steal his sister's power.
Before the conflict in this issue is over two different innocent humans will be
in dire danger and Lucifer will unwittingly release Yves from his years of
magical imprisonment. Now she has to clean up her mess and the only way set
things right is to retrieve a soul from the SHADE, where on the dead reside.
This is a fascinating story with a few twists and lots of intrigue. The dialogue
is very lucid and gets the story told with a touch of humor here and there
without getting bogged with unnecessary detail that does not advance the plot.
The character art is fascinating and it actually overpowers a lot of the minimal
background work. While it may sound like it from my descriptions this is not the
typical supernatural/horror story I usually find boring very quickly. I enjoyed
this book and look forward to seeing what comes next.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist/Letters/Cover: I.N.J. Culbard
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Sword & Sorcery/Horror/Science Fiction?
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This starts out as if it is a period piece about a mercenary army in Europe in
the year 1333. By the end it appears to be about an alien or perhaps a
supernatural invasion. Captain Hawkherst is not a godless man but he does not
pray to Him feeling in the past his prayers have never been answered. Indeed his
troop are soldiers for hire. They roam the land waiting for the next war to
erupt so that they may back the right side - the one that will be most likely to
pay up when the job is done. They are between conflicts right now making camp
for the night when everything is about to change. The plot involves the
appearance of strange lights in the sky and before long the camp is attacked by
unearthly beasts who not only kill several of the soldiers but also critically
wound Captain Hawkherst. His second, Lucifer Galvin, realizes they must seek
shelter and a defensible position when some of the dead get up and start to be a
threat. They eventually will seek refuge in a monastery but are they jumping
from the frying pan into the fire?  It is a clever story with a twist or two I
was not expecting. There is something very odd about the monks. One in
particular keeps repeating over and over "They're here!"  Does he refer to the
soldiers or the invaders? The rest of the monks do not speak, apparently they
are a silent order. It is more than I expected. There is a mystery as well as
conflict of very unequal sides. How it all ends or why it is even happening is
anyone's guess. Abnett provides a good script that moves things along at a
decent pace. Culbard is a good artist whose style compliments the story nicely.
I enjoyed this story and find myself wondering, what next?

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The King of the Six
Publisher: IDW
Creators: John Wagner & Brian Bolland
Writer: Matt Smith
Artist: Carl Critchlow
Letters: Shawn Lee
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Those familiar with JUDGE DREDD know that in this dystopian future world the law
enforcement authority has a division of judges that have psychic powers. The one
member of that division that has been the focus of past stories has been
Cassandra Anderson. She often gets precognitive visions of impending crimes and
disasters, has a sort of spider-sense when danger is present and can even read
lingering memories of the recently deceased. I do not recall an origin story
though there probably was one in the past. This issue begins with a two-page
recap of the circumstance of her birth though that story seems to have no
bearing on her abilities or the current plot. That plot begins in her present as
she awakens after a strong precog dream of an explosion at the Mega City Museum
of Modern History. Although she is off duty she calls it in and then can't
resist going there herself to try and stop what might happen. Sure enough before
long a group with their own psychic use a mind blast to knock out the customers
and judges on site while they attempt to rob a map, one of the original surveys
of the Cursed Earth area of the US collated and drawn up in the years following
the atomic war. Something in that wasteland is worth going after in such a
dramatic manner. The trail to the escaped perps will lead Anderson to the area
known as the Alabama Morass. She will team up with a counterpart from Texas City
to search that vast swampland for the bad guys. This story diverges from the
usual urban crime stories in the far future. There is a bit of exposition as
Anderson begins working with Judge Degroot whose gift is psychogeography. She
can detect changes in the environment as influenced by the psyche of the people
inhabiting it. She can detect change, fear and distress, a skill useful in
finding people. The two make a good team and of course we are left with a
cliffhanger as to their future existence. Chritchlow's art is decent though it
relies heavily on characters in the foreground too much. In all it is a worthy
addition to the JUDGE DREDD mythos.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dave Wachter
Letters: Chris Mowry
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Monster Science Fiction

There have been Godzilla series and mini-series for a long time now and I have
not been reading them. Then I spotted this new first issue and read a little but
of the advanced information on it so I decided to give it a try. Unlike a lot of
the monster movies of the genre this story is set some time in the future in the
aftermath of a great war between the monsters that roamed the Earth. For a long
time it was monster against monster and when they were done they turned their
attention to mankind. When it was finished the monsters retreated into the sea,
air and earth. What they left behind was the world of men in rubble. Now it is
twenty years since the monsters vanished. The war has become almost a legend.
Those who lived through it refer to it as the way it was. The younger have only
known tents and wood shacks on the outskirts of cities in rubble. Most believe
the monsters are myths. The one particular such conclave we are witness to has
an old man, referred to as grandfather. He fears for the day when the monsters
return, for he knows in his heart they will. He even tries to dissuade his
grandsons from going out on the scouting patrol this particular day - a plot
devise that usually means things will go wrong. As the younger man begin their
trek they discuss things giving us an insight into the younger point of view.
The scenery as they move along is a mix of broken abandoned buildings, sometimes
littered with a downed jet fighter and everything overgrown with years of vines
and other vegetation. As always they look for anything that can be useful in any
way be it food, hardware, clothing or even toys. What they do not expect is
finding the carcass of a very large bear, half-eaten. What killed it? How long
ago? Are they in danger even now? This first issue is structured to bring new
readers up to speed with the new status quo. It accomplishes that rather nicely
not only with narrative and dialogue but with some very detailed art. However
the coloring is rather bland with too many earth tones. Once the monsters
appear, and they do finally show up, the action becomes intense for the humans
and not all of them survive. Well, I was right about grandfather's foreboding.
So moving forward, now that the monsters are back, we need to know what forms
they will take and if the humans can survive yet another monster war. The ones
that do appear are pretty cool, if you like that stuff and the big guy makes it
by the last page. If you have been curious about this line of comics this would
be a good issue to sample.


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 blog's trivia question:
What wrestler did SPIDER-MAN defeat in Amazing Fantasy 15?

It was Crusher Hogan! The winner by the dice is Erin O'Connor.

In what Justice League related title did the WONDER TWINS, Zan and Jayna, enter
DC continuity?

Here is your no prize question:
Which fast food chain has the most stores worldwide with a total of 42,298?

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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