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Friday, September 19, 2014

Comic Reviews 9/20/14


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 (of 5)
Title Story: Spider-Man Noir
Publisher: Marvel
Writers: David Hine with Fabrice Sapolky
Artist: Richard Isanove
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you read SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #32 then you have already seen the beginning of
this Marvel event. If not there is no recap to catch you up on the underlying
plot. Basically while Otto Octavius, aka Dr. Octopus, was inhabiting Peter
Parker's body an accident hurled him into future to 2099. He discovered a great
foe was traveling across time and dimensions to kill every version of Spider-Man
he could find. He was successful with some so Otto/Peter knew he had to find a
way to stop this death angel before he killed them all, including himself.
Otto/Peter managed to create his own device to cross time and dimensions and is
busy recruiting Spider-Men to build an army to defeat the enemy. You don't need
to know this to enjoy the main story in this issue but it helps explain the
ending that occurs after the main plot has been resolved. So this book looks in
on one such alternate Spider-Man. I am not sure if this particular character has
appeared in the past or was created for this series. Regardless, he is Peter
Parker who lives with his Aunt May and dates Mary Jane Watson. But in this
reality it is New York in 1939. He is a journalist who was bitten by a poisonous
exotic spider hidden in an antique statue. He passed out and dreamt of the
spider-god Anansi. When he awoke he had gained spider-powers and so became
Spider-Man to fight crime during the era of prohibition and thereafter. The bit
about the spider-god is crucial to the plot. There is a famous magician
appearing at the New York World's Fair called the Magnificent Mysterio. He has
observed the exploits of Spider-man in the theater news reels and is convinced
that the blood of Anansi flows through his veins. If Mysterio can gets his hands
on some of Spider-Man's blood he too can gain powers from the spider-god. To
execute his plan he will need the help of the criminal he is in league with,
Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime. He knows there is a connection between
Spider-Man and Felicia Hardy. Using Fisk and his men he will attempt to force
her to tell him how to find Spider-Man. If that fails he will use her as bait to
lure the web-slinger into a trap. But being the egotistical showman he will
threaten to kill her live on stage if Spider-Man does not surrender. That is the
plan. The story sets it up and then we see where it goes from there. I enjoyed
this alternate cast of characters. The little changes keep it consistent with
the time setting and yet it is still a basic Spider-Man story. Felicia is a
tragic and yet faithful character here and she plays a critical part not only as
a victim but also her actions provide a possible bridge to a future story.
Mysterio is a good villain. This being a noir story he powers are all the tricks
and feints of a magician but in this setting it is more than enough to advance
his criminal aspirations. The Kingpin here is just as ruthless as the more
familiar Fisk. It is well-constructed plot-wise and of course ends with the
intersection of the larger plot when Superior Spider-Man appears. The art is
really good on this issue as well. So far I think this major arc that will also
cross over into AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN 2099 and yet another issue of
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN is worth the extra investment in the five-issue mini-series.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Deal with the Devil
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frazer Irving
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

You never know what Grant Morrison will come up with when he is working on
established characters in the mainstream super hero genre. When he works on his
own creations it is even more surprising what he comes up with. Such is the case
with this new effort from Legendary Comics. The Annihilator in this case has a
double meaning. In the first instance it is a black hole at the center of the
galaxy referred to as the Great Annihilator. It plays a role in a screenplay
being developed by a rising star writer named Ray Spass, pronounced space. It is
the setting for his latest effort, or rather a space station on the edge of it
is. In the far future sixteen of the Dominions greatest scientist started a
three year tour of duty at Dis. Within six months they all suffered from
depression, paranoia, nightmares and perversion. Later a sect of celibate neo-
nihilist monks caking themselves The Select moved in. Eventually they all took
poison and sat down together staring and sobbing at the hole until their tears
ran black. Now it has become the prison home of Max Nomax. He has brought with
him the body of his dead lover with the hope of bringing her back to life. It is
an interesting beginning to a movie, if Ray can ever finish it. In an effort for
inspiration he has just bought an abandoned home in Hollywood with a history of
Satan worshippers and murder. Oddly, there is a small sinkhole near the front
walk making unsaleable otherwise. This is the kind of thing that appeals to Ray,
the creepier and weirder the better. His agent is bothered by the lack of
progress on the script and even more by Ray's lifestyle of booze, drugs and
orgies. He has given Ray a deadline to meet if he wants to sell his script. What
we learn later is that Ray also has an inoperable brain tumor, which may be part
of his obsession in life and work of cheating death. So imagine his surprise
when he is informed by the FBI that a fugitive by the name of Max Nomax is
trying to contact Ray. But that is the name of the lead character in his
screenplay! As I said Mr. Morrison comes up with some unique plots and this
seems like one of those times he is using fictional characters that meet their
creator. We will have to see how it plays out. Ray is not a likable character,
not many in this comic are. But he is developed well and the plot is very
intriguing. The art is fascinating as it runs from the spectacle of outer space
to the depravity right here on Earth. Frazer Irving uses shading and color in a
variety of ways that are stunning to see. This will certainly get you thinking
about what is going on, how everything is connected. You may find yourself re-
reading it to fully understand the scope. It is not light disposable super hero

This comic also includes a preview of the upcoming comic from Legendary called
EPOCHALYPSE. It is written by Jonathan Hennessey, penciled by Shane Davis,
colored by Morry Hollowell and lettered by Pat Brosseau. The brief scene
depicted takes place in a road side diner. At first it seems like the cook and
waitress have a secret microwave they are very guarded about. But as government
troops swarm the place we begin to understand that this is no normal appliance
and there is more than meets the eye here. It is an interesting tease with
stunning art and coloring. It might be worth sampling when it hits the stands

Issue Number: ONE-SHOT
Title Story: Remains
Title Arc: Futures End
Publisher: DC
Writer: Ray Fawkes with Scott Snyder
Artist: Aco
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Dezi Sienty and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This month we are getting a more in-depth look at the Earth of FUTURES END five
years from now. The NEW 52 titles are all set in that time frame in September
and this one takes a closer look at Batman. In this time Batman has been trying
every available technology to solve a problem and time is running short. He has
been injured over the years, even has an artificial spine grafted to his back.
Now he is looking for a way to extend his legacy rather than just leave it to
the various comrades in the Batman family of heroes. He has tried everything
available from Waynetech, Terrifitech, and even the work of Dr. Magnus and Kord
Industries. He has not been able to get anything from Miles Caulder but he knows
one lab that house the secrets of Caulder's creation. It is that of Lex Luthor.
This will be his biggest challenge yet and the security at Lexcorp is probably
the best on Earth. Despite Alfred's objections he will attempt to breach that
security and find what he needs to complete his ultimate objective. I won't
reveal what that is as it is the punch line of the story in the end. What most
of the issue details is his efforts to breach Lexcorp and get to the one thing
he needs. It is a classic Batman as detective and master escape artist romp with
twists and turns at every level. Since this is set in the future, or maybe a
possible future, we never know what his fate will be until the very end making
it all the more thrilling as we move along. The counterpoint to his efforts are
the taunting by Luthor at every step via holographic image. As we near the end
we begin to suspect what it is that Batman is hoping to do, though if you don't
guess it is revealed in the end. I found it to be a thrilling story and very
entertaining. The art holds up though the detail on the characters is a little
rough at times. It is a good story with a big hint provided by the cover

Issue Number: ONE-SHOT
Title Story: Breaking
Title Arc: Futures End
Publisher: DC
Writer: Paul Levitz with Keith Giffen
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Colors: Jason Wright
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist: Stephen Segovia and Mike Atiyeh
Price (USD): $3.99/$2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The NEW 52 version of WORLD"S FINEST is of course the adventures of Huntress and
Power Girl who are originally from Earth 2 where they were that world's version
of Bat Girl/Robin and Supergirl. In their regular issues they have just made it
back to their home world to find a global war being fought by a new group of
heroes against the forces of Darkseid. But this issue is set in the future five
years later and they are back on Earth Prime, or whatever it is called, along
with millions of refuges from Earth 2 as a result of the Earth War that occurred
in the intervening years. We have learned from the FUTURES END weekly series,
and other main titles already out this month, that the heroes from Earth 2 have
been rounded up and isolated on Cadmus Island for nefarious purposes. It is a
high security island patrolled by Nomacs. As this story begins Power Girl is
sneaking onto the island to rescue Helena who has been captured. Once inside the
perimeter Kara manages to find suitable clothing to help her blend into the
population hopefully unnoticed. But it will take more than a change of clothes
to fool Deathstroke who is a major enforcer for the powers that be. In a
somewhat comical side note her initial battle with Deathstroke results in a
blast to her chest that destroys the fabric and reveals her cleavage. She just
can't seem to get away from having a boob window! The rest of the issue is more
struggles as she meets Fifty-Sue and mistakes her for a helpless little girl
that is just another captive - big mistake. There is no happy resolution to this
one as it appears her efforts and the fate of Helena will be continued
elsewhere. If you are a fan of WORLD'S FINEST or the EARTH 2 series you will
want to get this to keep up with these characters and their place in FUTURES END
wherever it goes from here.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Jay Faerber & Scott Godlewski
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colors: Ron Riley
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Space Western

There is a subgenre of science fiction called the space western. It is basically
Old West drama set in space. Aspects of the original STAR TREK series and
FIREFLY are other examples. This comic is purposely done this way and the
creators refer to it as DEADWOOD in space. The main character is Clara Bronson,
newly appointed Sheriff of the mining town of Copperhead on a distant planet.
The story follows her and her young boy Zeke as they travel to their new home.
They are met by her deputy, an alien named Budroxifinicus. Right from the start
he exhibits his resentment for not getting the job Clara has. It seems humans
are in charge of everything and the aliens are not given positions of high
authority no matter how qualified they are. So this story will have familiar
plot elements - the newcomer seeking how best to fit in and gain respect for her
authority while juggling the responsibility of a single parent. The first
encounter on the job is a domestic dispute among an alien family in which Clara
will have to prove herself to her deputy "Boo" as well as the citizens. Then we
have the local big shot and owner of the mines, Benjamin Hickory, who lets it be
known she should play along with his desires since he pretty much owns the town.
These incidents are devised to set the scene and the character of Copperhead as
backdrop to the more intense situations that are to come. By the end of the
first issue Clara will be faced with her first murder scene and Zeke, as young
boys tend to do, will have his own set of troubles. I really enjoyed this first
issue. It has a good mix of characterization, humor and drama. The science
fiction elements blend in well rather than dominate the story as is best in this
type of tale. The art and coloring are splendid as well. A lot of the science
fiction comics I have sampled seem to try to be a lot more complex making the
story less important than the elements around it. This is not the case here so I
recommend you give it a chance.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Creator: Jake Lawrence
Variant Cover Artists: Jen Lee/Alexis Ziritt
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Humor

I like to sample the All Ages comics when they come out to see how companies are
trying to appeal to younger readers. Many of them are adaptations from other
media and some are doing very well on their own. I saw this one from BOOM! Box
and decided to see what it is all about. From what I can tell it is not an
adaptation but an independent creation of Jake Lawrence. The lead character is
an anthropomorphic dog in high school with mostly human kids. In this case Teen
Dog is the super cool dude that is liked by almost everyone. The girls rave that
he is cool, charming, dreamy and a rebel. As we see from some of the scenes he
is more into being cool than concentrating on schoolwork or even what is going
on in the classroom. The book is laid out in a series of shorter comics, usually
a page or two. Some of them have silly punch lines like Teen Dog revealing his
idea of being prepared for class is bringing a hamburger to eat. In others get
into philosophical discussions with his friend Mariella like pondering why there
are always different cliques at schools but of course those two transcend
cliques. He does have a nemesis, another dog student named Thug Pug, who is
rather harmless but constantly derides Teen Dog as not really being cool. There
is a lot of silliness as we jump from scene to scene like why is there a cave in
the back of his locker, or how did he become the 34th President of the United
States? I can see the appeal to the younger crowd and even some adults whose
sense of humor is not really in line with my own. The art is very accomplished
showing Lawrence to be a good cartoonist. I just don't think I would enjoy
another issue as much, let alone eight. Your opinion might be otherwise.


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

Of course it was Marvel's REN & STIMPY adaptation that had the air fouler
enclosed in the bag of the first issue. The winner by the dice is Christopher


What comic, in 1993, modeled the eight major characters on real people chosen by
a contest?

Here is your no prize question:
Which actor has been in every Pixar film?

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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