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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Comic Reviews 9/12/14


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: Valiant
Writer: Jen Van Meter
Artist: Roberto de la Torre
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artist: Travel Foreman
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Occult

Valiant has released its latest revival of a past title with one that has a
strong female lead, Doctor Mirage. As in the original series Shan Mirage is on
her own after the untimely death of her husband Hwen. Shan has many skills in
mystic arts, one being the ability to communicate with the dead. Sadly though
the one person she has not been able to contact is her husband. If this series
is anything true to the original that will eventually change, but nothing
guarantees that fact. The opening scene serves up sort of a therapeutic session
for both Shan and her newest clients. Not only does Shan needs to be working
mentally and economically but also the people that have come to see her have all
felt a loss similar to hers. She can help them find closure by passing along
messages from their loved ones. But the main plot involves another client her
manager has found. Shan is not anxious to take on a big job in her state of mind
but the knowing financially she can't turn it down she agrees to at least meet
the client. He is billionaire Linton March and though he is a widower contacting
his dead wife is not what he desires. At the close of WWII he was with Army
Intelligence and became part of a team tasked with recruiting Nazi occultists
similar to the program that recruited scientists to work for the US rather than
the communists. They not only recruited people but collected significant magical
and paranormal objects. On one mission the team was caught by surprise and
though Linton survived he is burdened with a supernatural shackle on one wrist
and needs help to remove it. As Shan soon finds out he is actually bound
mystically to a creature who is in chains in a special room. Though Shan knows
there are others better equipped to help Linton a psychic conversation with the
captive convinces her that this task might help her to find Hwen, if she
survives the experience. This title has started off strong. There is good
characterization of the main characters and a sense of the danger and importance
of the task at hand. The art is captivating in its simplicity and complexity at
the same time. The coloring compliments the line work perfectly. The ending is a
classic splash page that portends what is to come in the place where the living
do not belong. The team has hit the high points set out by the plot and promise
a thrilling adventure. Well done.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Title Story: Crossroads
Publisher: DC
Creator: Superman created by Siegel & Shuster
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artists: Pascal Alixe and Dave McCaig
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Carlos Mangual
Cover Artist: Lee Weeks & Dave McCaig
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This month DC has moved all their regular NEW 52 titles into the time of FUTURES
END, the weekly series set five years in the future. It would help a little if
you have been reading that series because you would have bits of information
about the particular character of the tie-in title and his or her place in the
future. So far from what I have read of these tie-in titles I suggest reading
them first before reading that week's issue of FUTURES END. But don't put off
reading them before the next week's FUTURES END. In the case of Superman we know
from the weekly that there has been a different man dressed in the familiar
uniform of the man of steel with a big difference, he also wears a helmet to
hide his face. Prior to this issue of ACTION we learned who it was behind the
mask - SPOILER ALERT - it is not Clark Kent/Kal El. So what has the real steel
deal been up to five years in the future? This issue of ACTION starts to reveal
it and this week's issue of FUTURES END, the one with Constantine on the cover,
reveals even more. Whatever happened between now and the future has affected
Clark in a profound way. As we start the issue he is in a barren pasture in
Ethiopia trying as hard as he can to grow food to aid the starving all around.
Even the irrigation drip he has managed to obtain may not be enough for this
used up top soil. Actually the scenes with Clark are peripheral to the main
story. Instead we are shown scenes of various people in different places in the
world. Each are at a crossroad in their life. Each are given an opportunity to
realize their potential and make a change. Some chose to better their lives,
others failed. What happens to them involves a creature, perhaps magical in
nature, who looks like a Superman made of sand. He visits each one and imparts
one super power one each of them. A girl about to step off a tall building can
suddenly fly. A young man who is being beaten by the bookies he owes suddenly
gains super strength. A young boy who has had to watch his abusive father beat
his mother suddenly has invulnerability. In each case it is a test and the sand
Superman is part of it all. He also learns a lesson that he puts to good use by
the end of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by this story and not at all
disappointed that it did not have more to do with Clark. His story is moving
forward in FUTURES END and no doubt in SUPERMAN: FUTURES END when it comes out.
I was disappointed with the art though. It is not bad on the individual
characters but there is very little detail in the backgrounds to give it more
definition. Overall it is a good issue, though you can skip it and not miss
anything about the big picture of the FUTURES END arc.

Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Publisher: DC
Writers: Jeff Lemire 
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This story is set in the FUTURES END world five years in the future. In fact it
takes place before THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #1. If you know about the weekly
series you know that one of the big bangs at the very start of the series was
the death of Oliver Queen. So this issue leads up to that event, even depicts
it. That is really not a spoiler given the circumstances. And I will add that
after you read this comic go to THE NEW 52: FUTURES END #18 to see how the
events in this issue evolved into the maxi-series. As this issue begins we are
still five years into the future and in Seattle a new Green Arrow, Emiko Queen -
half-sister of Oliver and daughter of Asian archer Shado. At this time she has
taken over the Emerald Archer's mantle with the help of Naomi Singh who uses the
code name Dart. This has been going on for weeks but Oliver shows up at the
Arrow Cave to fill Emiko in on his master plan. But not quite yet. He needs her
to continue on in his place and if he should fail at what he is about to do. He
gives her an object that must get to Lois Lane if that happens and instructs her
not to follow him. The main plot is that Oliver has discovered the secret of
Cadmus Island. One of the underlying drivers of the plot of FUTURES END is that
after the Earth War millions of refugees from Earth 2 have been trying to
integrate into their new world. The secret is that a number of heroes from Earth
2 are being held on Cadmus Island, being experimented on and cut apart. Ollie
means to go and rescue those heroes and expose Cadmus. But to do that he has to
recruit others to join him. So where does he start? He goes to a group of people
that are not all that friendly with him, The Outsiders. He needs to convince
Shado, Katana, the Axe, the Fist and Magus to join this quest. If they do he
will forego being the hero of Seattle and join them in the Outsiders. He has to
be convincing because one of these players is crucial to the first step in his
big plan. As I said this story also depicts the death of Oliver Queen. It is
what happens right after that that is the crux of the story and the bridge to
the main FUTURES END story. If you've read FUTURES END #18 you know what I mean.
If not you will really enjoy the culmination of this story. I highly recommend
this one.

Title: EX-CON
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Beginning to See the Light
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Duanne Swierczynski
Artist: Keith Burns
Colors: Aikau Oliva
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Tim Bradstreet
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime/Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This is the story of Cody Pomeray. He is a bit of a neer-do-well who just
happens to have a special talent. When he looks at people he sees an aura around
them. It is something the doctor he saw as a child calls color Synesthesia. Each
aura had a color and he learned orange meant weak, red meant lust, yellow was a
lie, dark grey meant fear and green was always greed. He used the most of this
gift through his life, always on the edge of danger. He could read people and
use them to his advantage and avoid being used. Until his luck ran out. He ended
up in jail doing five years and it would have ended with his death much earlier
had he not been protected by a boss, Barnaby Creed, known as the Pope. Barnaby
has a proposition. He will see to it that no harm comes to Cody while he is in
prison in return for a favor when he is released after his stint. Knowing the
alternative is certain death Cody accepts but he is disturbed by one thing. He
cannot see the Pope's aura. Now since this title is called Ex-Con the story
continues after he is freed and there is a limo waiting for him outside the
prison. It seems the Pope is going to collect on his favor right away. But the
surprising thing for Cody is who it is that on the outside that will be giving
him his instructions. I have mixed feeling about this one. I like the idea of
the special talent and the characterization of Cody and his femme fatale are
spot on. The basic plot is setting up the bigger story. You get the feeling Cody
could be getting deeper into trouble because what he is being asked to do seems
too simple. On the other hand I am not thrilled by the art. Keith Burns' has a
unique style that has some appeal but not consistently. The biggest flaw is the
coloring. For a story based on someone being able to see colored auras Oliva
needs to use brighter, sharper color distinctions and does not. So a mixed
review on this one.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Title Story: The High Window
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Creators: Peter Milligan & Leandro Fernandez
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colors: Cris Peter
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Celia Calle
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Crime Drama
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

The "names" in the title refer to the names of those who had Kevin Walker
killed. The opening scene shows his untimely death staged to look like a
suicide, complete with a note he is forced to write before he is tossed out a
51st story window. The main emphasis of the plot is how his wife handles the
news and subsequent events. It seems the people responsible work at the Wall
Street firm he was employed at. Katya does not believe he would commit suicide,
even the composition of the note in his own handwriting is not consistent with
his personality. The perpetrators have been thorough, even doctoring his medical
profile to make it look like he was depressed. There is an added factor to the
mix. Kevin's son by his first wife is in a special school. He is a young boy
with unusual math skills but also has selective mutism. He hasn't spoken since
his dad's last visit. Now she has to inform him of Kevin's death and hope she
can break through his unspeaking shield. The real story begins when she receives
a recording on a phone. Since this was prepared in the event of his death it is
no surprise that Kevin tells her to not pursue the matter, for her and Philip's
safety. She must not trust the police or his colleague Marco and she must find
the "key." It is somewhat cryptic and when Marco arrives to console her she
knows what she must do. This is a thriller that will intrigue you right from the
start. The players on the bad side are deliciously ruthless and the strong
female lead is well-defined without being one-dimensional. We can already see
that this will be a complex process for Katya to find the names of those
directly responsible. By the end of the first issue she has one to start with on
her quest. We have the feeling it is going to be a great adventure. The art is
equal to the writing. The layouts, lines and colors are executed perfectly to
add the emotion and mood not in the scripted words. This will be worth investing
in for eight issues.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Title Story: A Star is Born
Publisher: Image
Writer/Artist: Ryan Browne
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Chris Crank & Ryan Browne
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
MATURE READERS ONLY - Comics on the Edge

First I must admit I only picked this one up because of the title. Second, it is
worth noting that this is another Image comic truly standing on its own merits.
There are no ads at all. From front cover to back cover it is entirely the work
of the creators. Having said that I will also say it is one of the most bizarre
comics I have ever read. It starts like a somewhat typical space opera, in plot
anyway. But right from the first page you know it is going to be an irreverent
romp. We look in on a ship traveling in the Crab Nebula and naturally the crew
are crabs - well at least their heads are crabs. That is except for the captain
who is a tiger and his name is Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger.  Evidently
that is what he does all the time no matter what else he is doing. His father is
the king of Crabulon and his name is, you guessed it, King Tiger Eating a
Cheeseburger. This scene is set two years ago. It ends in tragedy as the ship is
rammed by what appears to be a crude home-made rocket and both ships are
destroyed. So where did this other ship come from? If you thought crab headed
people and cheeseburger eating tigers were silly wait until you meet the astro-
farmers. Their leader, the Lord Astro-Farmer, had a vision of the Great Space
God who told him to leave this world and join him in Golden Moon Heaven. So
naturally he got a bunch of his fellow farmers and formed the astro farmers.
They built rockets ships from silos and will defy NASA's admonition not to
venture into space. Lord Astro-Farmer is pretty confident they will succeed and
he has his love by his side. She is the lovely Hennifer - the combination of a
ditsy babe he found on the street with the head of his true love, his chicken.
Yeah, need I say it doesn't get any better. There is one more group of
characters involved in this convoluted plot. They are the Power Person Five who
work for NASA and will try to stop the Astro-Farmers from going into space. They
are a super hero group whose leader is their former star warrior who now has the
head of a rhino. Without going into details about the rest of them suffice it to
say there is a big confrontation between the Astro-Farmers and the Power Person
Five before too long. And we have not heard the last from King Tiger Eating a
Cheeseburger. There is a basic plot underlying this whole thing if you filter
through all the inane characters and improbable situations they have been
through. Just because you have a plot that could work does not mean you can
dress it up with silly characters that swear a lot, have sex with chickens and
are all basically insane. I can see a segment of comic readers that might enjoy
this craziness. The curious, such as myself probably won't see the entertainment
value of such an effort. It is up to you to decide how you feel.


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:
The story began in Avengers, continued in Fantastic Four and then jumped to the
first issue of a new comic.  Name this title that debuted in Feb 1986.

The return of Jean Grey and the original X-Men was the story that launched X-
FACTOR. The winner by the dice is Gary Katzoff.

Here was your no prize question:
Who were the first singing brothers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of

The Everly Brothers were American country-influenced rock and roll singers,
known for steel-string guitar playing and close harmony singing. The duo,
consisting of Isaac Donald "Don" Everly and Phillip "Phil" Everly, were elected
in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first group of inductees in 1986.

What Issue #1 comic, about a dog and cat, was polybagged to preserve a unique
"smelly" gimmick?

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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