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Friday, August 8, 2014

Comic Reviews 8/9/14

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: TUKI
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Save the Humans
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Creator: Jeff Smith
Colors: Tom Gaadt
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Prehistoric Fiction

Fans of Jeff Smith will be glad to see this new comic on the racks. Jeff has
varied his work from the adventure fantasy BONE to the science fiction mystery
RASL. Now he comes up with a story set some two million years ago. It is a time
when the evolution of the species has produced Homo Erectus, said to be the
first of our kind to harness fire. The tagline for the book is that it is the
story of the first human to leave Africa. The first thing you will notice when
you open this issue is that the art is done in landscape (horizontal) mode
rather than portrait (the normal vertical mode) and it is in full color, a first
for Smith. In the back text you will learn it was first serialized on Jeff's
website - a medium that works better in landscape mode. Additionally it has just
won the Reuben Award from the National Cartoonist Society for Best Long-form Web
Comic! So, the main character is an example of the peak of evolution at this
point in time. Tuki is a loner and much of the introduction is showing him
through the plains in his daily survival routine. At one point he comes across
carrion birds feeding on a carcass. This will be an easy meal for him but
another predator soon nixes that idea. Once we are introduced to Tuki we get to
the main plot of the story as he comes across a lesser evolved human, an example
of Homo Habilus - more apelike that Erectus but still walks on his two legs and
uses stone tools. Bear in mind the element of fiction is at work here. Though it
is scientifically possible these humans have the capability of speech it is
highly unlikely two such disparate humans from different tribes and evolutionary
status would have a common language. But for purposes of the story they do. In
fact at first all the old man can do is laugh but through friendly motions he
gets Tuki to sit with him and prepares a powder that he blows into Tuki's face
after which he declares they can now understand each other. The old man claims
to communicate with the spirits. They tell him Tuki has gone against the old
ways by wandering away from his tribe's protected area. Further he believes Tuki
wants to go beyond the area of the three waterfalls, which is the realm of the
gods and forbidden to all two-foots. The other revelation is the mysterious eyes
in the dark we have seen following Tuki are declared to be Little Ones, the last
of their kind. This is clearly a reference to a lesser evolved human who were
first to walk upright on two legs but are closer to apes than humans. This is a
fascinating set up and it closes with what appears to be the fulfillment of a
prophecy given by the old man concerning a lone child. The whole thing is
enthralling. Part of that is Jeff's wonderful art that draws you into this
unfamiliar world as he first did in BONE. The only downside is that this is not
a monthly book so the next issue is out in October. Still it is worth the wait.

Issue Number: 1
Title Stories: 2014/1890/2050/1940
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creator/Writer: Si Spencer
Artists: 2014-Meghan Hetrick, 1890-Dean Ormston, 2050-Tula Lotay, 1940-Phil
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Dezi Sienty & Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Fiona Stephenson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Murder Mystery
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This title has a unique evolution, premise and structure. According to Si
Spencer it started with just a title and a challenge to come up with a story.
What he came up with was four stories set in four time periods, four detectives,
four murders with identical M.O. and location. At first glance to the reader the
four victims appear to be the same person. Also part of the strict structure is
that each story will get six pages per issue. So every six pages we jump from
the present to the long past days of Jack the Ripper then to some thirty-six
years into the future and finally back to London in 1940. The location is
Longharvest Lane in the East End. The victim is a male, about thirty and naked.
He has been tortured and beaten as well as slashed, quite deeply in some areas.
He has burns on his thighs, whip marks on his chest, a deep gash in his abdomen
and one eye removed. He also has a definite symbol carved into his left wrist -
three vertical bars crossed in the middle by one horizontal bar. This also
happens to be the symbol of the Order of Mithras, a popular men's lodge in
Whitechapel as we learn in the 1890 story. As we see each story in its time
there are all kinds of differences between them, mostly in the detectives
investigating the case. In the "politically correct" 2014 story the detective is
Shahara Hasan, a female of Mideast origins, who is called away from a mob
control situation when the body is found. In 1890 we find Edmond Hillinghead who
is trying to figure out if his murder is actually Jack the Ripper who has preyed
on females up to this point. This section I found most interesting for the
inclusion of the aforementioned lodge and its possible connection to the murder.
The future story has a young female detective called Maplewood who clearly has
some sort of dysfunction going on. She comes across the body but has a hard time
remembering the word for corpse, or a ball when one bounces by. But other than
that she is as smart as a sink plunger, or so she claims. Her mystery, aside
from the murder, is a little girl that appears at her door and the word KYAD
spelled out in Greek letters above the door and bay window of her office. Our
detective in 1940 is Charles Weissman. From the opening scene we see he is not
entirely a man who does things by the books and often crosses the line into
criminal activity. Maybe he sees this as a necessity to curb the wartime
lawlessness on the streets. That is the main point of his entry as the body only
shows up in the last panel. At first I read the promotion for this title and
thought it was a gimmick to get people to pick it up. Now that I have read it I
am truly intrigued. Rereading it as I review it I find more things about it to
like. The art in each section is different enough in line-work, coloring,
shading and detail to make each one stand out. I thought I'd just be reading the
first one to review but now I want to know more of the story. I am hooked.

Title: LOW
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Delirium of Hope
Publisher: Image
Creators: Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Letters: Rus Wooton
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

The idea for this story began with a truth Rick Remender remembered (say that
five times fast) from his youth. One day the sun will expand on the way to going
supernova and our planet will be destroyed. As he worked on a story to fit the
times prior to that happening he wondered what mankind would do to survive. One
idea is that we would move to the bottom of the oceans to escape the increasing
radiation while looking for a new planet, if we hadn't left the Earth by then
anyway. What if we had been down there too long? What if the probes never found
a suitable inhabitable world? It is tens of thousands of years in the future and
there are just a few such cities left. With that as the background we begin with
a very special family in one such city, that of Johl and Stel Caine. Johl is the
last Helmsman of the city of Salus. The Helmsman is the only one that can don
and operate the last Helmsuit of Salus. Think of it as an Iron Man suit for deep
underwater. Only members of the Caine bloodline can operate it as it is
genetically keyed to their DNA. On the day we begin Johl has promised his two
daughters Tajo and Della out on their first hunt. The Helmsman is tasked with
providing for the city using the power of the Helmsuit. This will be the
beginning of their training to eventually bond with the suit on become the next
Helmsman. The whole search for other worlds element is not forgotten as Stel is
deeply involved in the communication and tracking of those probes. The older
son, Marik, has opted to stay behind and has no desire to follow his father in
that task. They hunt what they call a mammoth, a giant squid. When they spot one
of the biggest they have ever seen and the chase is on. Or is it? It appears
civilization has devolved into a city-state society and there are rivals who
covet the Helmsuit. But even if they can get their hands on it how do they get
around the genetic programming?  That is the crux of the plot. The large story
will be about Stel and her overwhelming optimistic attitude to hold out against
all odds. The bad guys in this story are deliciously cruel. Once we get into an
action sequence we find out the lengths they will go to to achieve their goals.
While the art is dynamic and well laid out I found it lacking in detail in some
cases, often due to coloring and shading. But it suits the story and advances
the plot nicely. This has been getting lots of promotion by Image and it is
worth looking at to see if it tickles your fancy.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Story: Mike Richardson
Script: Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko
Artist: Fernando Baldo
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover Artists: Gabriel Hardman with Matthew Wilson
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

Maelstrom Science and Technology Corporation has the exclusive contract to mine
the resources of an alien planet circling a red dwarf star some three years
distant from Earth. Bringing the local flora and fauna back from Poseidon has
been lucrative for the company - enough to pay for the enormous expense of the
three year freight runs back and forth. Each ship brings new workers for the
planet signed up for a three year rotation. It is a hostile planet and three
years is the most anyone is allowed to stay. Anything past four years is deadly.
Except for the crew that runs the ship on the voyage everyone is in stasis for
the trip. Third class engineer Steven Paxon gave up a lucrative job on Earth to
fly with the crew on the latest voyage aboard the Vanguard. He is making the
round trip for personal reasons. The love of his life signed up for assignment
on Poseidon and is at the end of her three-year rotation. He has not seen her in
six years but hopes he can rekindle their relationship. His timing couldn't be
worse as she is busy once the Vanguard lands with getting the ship loaded for
the voyage home. If he does not get things settled when they reach deep space he
will have to wait another three years to see her after she emerges from stasis.
Their conflict is the emotional part of the story. There are other scenes
highlighting the hazards of space travel. But the most hazardous place in on the
planet. Even though the compound is heavily fenced in straying too close to the
fence can be deadly. Just how deadly is shown when Paxon and the friend who
helped arrange his assignment find that the local animal life is not entirely
contained by a fence. Most of this first issue is about three things. The
romance plot and the exposition about the planet and how the operation works
takes up most of the book. There is an underlying concern by those in charge of
the operations. They know that any major mistake or catastrophe could mean the
cancelling of their contract and that would mean disaster for the company. But
space is a dangerous place and even the most careful plans and practices cannot
anticipate what is coming next for the crew of the Vanguard. This is mostly set
up for what is to come. The last few pages leave us with a major cliffhanger for
next time. The plotting and script is pretty good. There are scenes here and
there that add to the overall perception of the conditions both planeside and on
the ship. The art is really good in all areas - no complaints there. This is a
fine space opera worthy of a look.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: Andy Lanning & Ron Marz
Artist: Gustavo Duarte
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: David Lopez
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The next 100th Anniversary Special shows us a future version of the Guardians of
the Galaxy. Groot is still around as is Rocket accompanied by his nephews, the
Raccoons. Gamora is now the Star Lord and Drax is still on the team. Iron Man is
part of the mix. This contradicts his appearance in the AVENGERS special where
he was a disembodied brain in a special container in Malaysia. In this story
Tony Stark's consciousness has been downloaded into nanites giving this Iron Man
some very special abilities. Rounding out the crew is Charlie-72. At this point
in future history Galactus has absorbed the Silver Surfer who at the time had
been bestowed with god-like powers by the Living Tribunal. Now the Silver
Galactus has greater hunger than ever before. The scene opens on Asgard, which
has long been abandoned by the gods. The Guardians have been summoned here by
someone who used to be one of their own. But they find that when Vance Astro
arrives he is now working for Galactus and he has brought with him an army of
robots to take down the Guardians. But we learn after a big battle that this was
all a distraction. In a place called Nowhere in the continuum cortex the real
plot is unfolding. Silver Galactus is seeking control of this place between the
known universe and the void. If he controls Nowhere he will be able to easily
transport to any world he desires to feed his hunger. Galactus has already taken
over the transport system, a fact our heroes learn when they cannot transport
themselves to Nowhere. The crux of the plot occurs when suddenly the Guardians
are transported to Nowhere unexpectedly and now face a last-ditch battle to save
all known realities from Silver Galactus. This is a fun story that plays more
for the comedy than the serious nature of the consequences. Cosmo, the talking
dog, adds to that theme at key points of the story. There is a big reveal at the
end of the issue that under any other circumstances would be the set up for the
next issue of the series. It even ends with "to be continued?" so it resolves
the main plot of the book but leaves us hanging for a sequel that may never
come. That is the only flaw to this comic. The art is different from the regular
series but works well in this issue. In all it is much better than some of the
other 100th Anniversary Specials.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Faking it
Title Arc: No End in Sight
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Rahmat Handoko
Inker: Roberto Poggi, Craig Yeung, Livesay and Norman Lee
Colors: Ruth Redmond
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Gary Choo
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This is not a 100th Anniversary Special but the continuing of the story that
began in the UNCANNY X-MEN SPECIAL and will continue in the NOVA SPECIAL. In
part one of the story Cyclops was kidnapped by bounty hunters lead by Death's
Head. In order to save him and find where Death's Head might be the X-Men Mindee
and Benjamin Deeds have snuck into the Peek, which is the orbiting headquarters
of S.W.O.R.D. There they ran into Iron Man who, believing the kids are members
of S.W.O.R.D., volunteered to join them on their mission. Secretly the kids plan
to transport more of the X-Men to help, members Tony would not know, using
Magik's power. They are heading for a planet called Calculex one of Death Head's
known hideouts. The place they seek is a gentlemen's club where he is known to
go but unfortunately they find they will have to deal with a little blue guy
named Neut. He claims he used to be a great time travelling warrior until the
Avengers stopped his plans and now he is stuck here. Naturally he has his own
gang of armed thugs and wants to vent his anger at Iron Man and anyone with him.
While everyone here is battling it out we look in on the captive Cyclops. He is
with Monark Starstalker who has seen his grand plan fall apart. You see Death's
Head and the gang have grabbed the wrong Summers - he really wanted Havock. The
conversation he has with Cyclops explains his dilemma and leads into the bridge
at the end of the issue to the third part of the story. This is a pretty basic
team super hero adventure with a twist or two and some well-placed humor.
However it is not must-have literature for your collection, unless you are a
completest for comics with iron Man or X-Men stories. The visual part of it is
above average so it is does have good production values. You could spend your
money on far worse products out there.


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 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?

The insert was in the humor/satire magazine SPY. The winner by the dice is Keith

Here was 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?

The answer is Boston. The two founders of Portland, Francis Pettygrove from
Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy from Boston, Massachusetts, both wanted to name
the fledgling site-then known as The Clearing-after their respective home towns. 
The Portland Penny is the name subsequently given to a specific coin, a U.S.
copper one-cent piece, used to decide the name of Portland, Oregon.

What wrestler did SPIDER-MAN defeat in Amazing Fantasy 15?

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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