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Friday, September 26, 2014

Comic Reviews 9/26/14


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 6)
Title Story: From Time to Time
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Creator: George Perez
Colors: Leonardo Paciarotti
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Alternate Cover Artist: Cameron Stewart
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction

George Perez has crafted a story and mythology that spans centuries and into
space. The leader characters, as you would expect are all females. They are
currently scattered about in time all over Earth. They are located in Rome of
100 AD, Iceland in 1104, Japan in 1754, Arizona in 1884, London in 1888 and New
York in 1987. One referred to as Highness is being held on an alien prison space
craft. She is their leader, Madame Vizcarra. There is a plan to get them all
together that will begin with rescuing Highness from her captors. The beginning
of that plot involves another of their team, Fanisha. She is in search of a lone
dragon back in ancient Iceland. The dragon in fact is part of an alien race
called the Draggo. By saving this particular dragon from its exile on Earth she
will save the entire race, putting them forever in her debt. As the story
progresses she will call in that debt to rescue Highness. The story is told in a
series of short scenes injected between scenes of the rescue as it progresses.
These shorter segments highlight each one of the Sirens as they interact with
the population in their time period. Agony is a female gladiator, as hard as
that would be to believe, in ancient Rome. Milla Bishop is a schoolteacher in
the Arizona Territory who also must confront a potential gunfight with her
advanced technology. Sherita is a servant in the household of a scientist in
1949 Alabama who has been using her advanced knowledge to aid the master in his
research secretly. Each one has their own place in the time they are in and soon
they will all be brought back together on their base on a spaceship, presumably
in the present. The reason why this group was originally scattered about in time
is hinted at briefly but as the issue reaches its climax they face a more
immediate problem. I enjoyed the issue primarily for Perez's art. He handles a
large cast better than most artists and this title is no exception. The plotting
is somewhat jarring as it hops from scene to scene but once you get what is
going on it becomes easier to follow. There is more of the overall plot that
needs to be explained moving forward as this issue is more introductory to many
characters with only a few of those really given a lot of development. He put a
lot in the first issue but left a lot to be explored later. It looks to be a
decent series if he maintains the forward momentum in the next issue.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The City Calls
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Writer: Kyle Puttkammer
Artist: Marcus Williams
Inker: Ryan Sellers
Letters: Briana Higgins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Animal Super Heroes
All Ages

We go from a group of femmes to a group of felines for this somewhat whimsical
tale set in a world where the cats at least can talk to each other and have a
real effect on things going on about them. The lead character and narrator is
Cassiopeia who lives in Stellar City with a family whose mother was an astronaut
that has gone lost in space on a mission to Mars. We learn more about the father
and his daughter in a backup story later. Cassiopeia has made changes in her
life and finally landed with this family as a permanent home. In Stellar city
she has met other cats who are all heroes that work under the radar to fight
crime and threats to humans. Midnight is sort of a Batman type who thinks of
itself as the Paws of Justice. Belle is the wise one as we see as she thwarts a
plot by an unscrupulous man trying to rob her elderly owner from her riches.
Rocket claims to be from outer space and is seeking a way to get back to its
home planet. Rocco is a cute fuzz ball that packs a wallop when needed. Ace sees
himself as a soldier responsible for protecting the homeland while his master is
off in the service. Part of the main story concentrates on Cassiopeia's story,
first as she is adopted by an older single lady, Lilly. Her niece is the
astronaut Amelia who went missing and Lilly decides the father and daughter
could use the company of her cat during their hard times. That brought Cass to
their home and eventually she met all the others. There is no real adventure of
the Hero Cats in this issue, just a recap in brief panels about them fighting
skeleton dinosaurs, flying saucers and robots. So this first issue only
introduces all the cats and tells the background of their leader. Next issue
looks to be an entire story against a twisted troublemaker.

The back-up story is scripted and drawn by Tracey Yardley. It is only two pages
but it sheds light on Cassie's owner, Stanley Quest and his daughter Suzie. We
know their wife and mother was lost in space and now we find out that after this
happened a meteor crashed into their home giving both Stanley and Suzie super
powers, as mysterious meteors always do in comic books. He is now Galaxy Man and
unbeknownst to him his youthful sidekick, Cosmic Girl, is actually his own
daughter. More to develop in future issues as they gain their own rogues gallery
of foes to fight.

The comic is ok but I found it lacked a lot of substance. The plot involving
Cass and how she came to her current situation is the only real story in it all.
The rest of the title characters are merely introduced and their interaction as
a group are in one panel summaries. Maybe next issue will be more about the team
as a unit. It is hard for me to want to see how that develops. This is why most
super hero comics are heavier in plot to begin and fill in details as they go
along. You have got to interest the readers in the action if you want them to
keep coming back. Other than that the art is polished and executed very well.
Being a smaller independent imprint this one will need people to stick with it
to survive.

Issue Number: 1 (of 4)
Title Story: The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest
Publisher: Archaia
Writer/Artist: S. M. Vidaurri
Variant Cover Artist: Missy Pena
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

Often in a comic book that has one person doing both the writing and art you get
a very unique product. That is the case with this fantasy story. It is not just
the art but the story that stands out as a new experience, at least for this
reader. Right away the art strikes you. It is laid out almost as an illustrated
story in a book rather than the more common sequential art. Most of the pages
have a central illustration and the lettering moves the eye around the page in
various sequences. Vidaurri's art is suited for this kind of structure because
the detail in the background and inanimate objects is just a much a part of the
visual experience as the characters. Having said all this there is a fine story
that is not just a rehash of other fairy tales we are familiar with. It is the
story of a royal family with two children. When the second child was a boy the
king celebrate the birth of his heir by cutting down the tallest tree in the
forest and formed a crown from the highest bows as they are purported to have
magical powers. But he did not know that this tree was beloved by the Lord of
the forest, a mythical creature with true magical powers. One day the princess
was wandering in the forest and heard the Lord of the forest cast a spell, a
curse on any man who wears the crown made from his beloved tree. She kept this
knowledge to herself until the untimely death of her parents. This meant that
the Prince, her younger brother, would soon be crowned king, crowned with the
cursed wooden crown. The tale becomes involved with a swan goose trying to
kidnap the prince but he is saved by an unlikely ally. When the time of
coronation came the princess would take action to save her brother and solve a
great mystery. It is an enchanting tale that has many elements and flows nicely
from start to end. If this is the quality of product that will represent the
rest of the series it will be worth staying with all four issues. This was
definitely a pleasant surprise.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Be Careful What You Wish For
Publisher: Image
Creator: Otis Frampton
Flats: Thomas Boatwright
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy

This comic is also one where the entire effort is from one creator. While it is
appropriate for all ages it has a somewhat dark theme to start. It is the story
of a young girl whose name is actually Oddly. Her story goes back to her
parents. It seems her mother is a witch who used to live in Fignation, the land
of fiction. As a reporter for the Fignation Times she came to the real world to
get a better idea of what life in the real world was all about. She sought out
and found the most normal man she could find. The hook is she found him, his
last name was actually Normal, and then fell in love. So she married him and
they settled down in an otherwise normal neighborhood and the witch could cover
her true appearance with a spell so she looked like a normal person as well.
What she could not change was her genes and so when they had a daughter she was
born with green hair and pointed ears. Why they would choose to name their
daughter Oddly is never explained but you can imagine the kind of cruel taunting
she would receive from her cruel classmates over her name and appearance. So
Oddly's life is not a happy one. The story begins on her birthday. It starts as
a typical day with insults from the others in school. The biggest insult was
that in spite of her attempt to reach out to the others and invite them to her
birthday party not one person is willing to attend. To top it off the afternoon
turned to rain and while water is not actually deadly to witches, as in The
Wizard of Oz, it does hurt. In other circumstances loving parents would help
their child through these hardships but this couple seems completely oblivious
to their daughter's plight wrapped up in their own world and each other. The
crux of the opening story is the twist that will shape the plot going forward. I
have mixed feelings about this comic. On the one hand the art is pretty good. It
is a cartoon-like style that is well suited for the story. Frampton makes good
use of shading, layout and coloring to emphasize mood and emotion. On the other
hand, as I said, it is a dark story up to the very end. In fact the most
enlightening panel is the scene from the second issue. The plot is going to turn
and it looks like the next issue will be a lot more fun. That would be a good
thing. So I think it is worth checking out for the craft and the promise of a
more interesting plot going into future issues.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: In the Line of Duty
Publisher: DC
Writer: Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Colors: Noelle Giddings
Letters: Willie Schubert
Price (USD): $1.00
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

This comic is a reprint of the first issue of an older series. It was rushed to
print to coincide with the debut of the new TV show GOTHAM that premiered this
week. There are actually four trade paperback collections of GOTHAM CENTRAL
available from DC's back list. If you have not read any of the series than this
issue is a bargain at one dollar to see if it is worth a follow up with the
larger story. With Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka doing the writing I knew the story
would be worth a dollar for sure. These are of course stories that focus on
members of the Gotham PD. Police Commissioner James Gordon, Captain Maggie
Sawyer, Detective Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen all are doing
their part to keep the streets of Gotham safe. At times the nature of the
threats they face may beyond their capabilities to confront and they may
reluctantly rely on the Dark Knight for help. The set up for the initial plot
has a couple of detectives following a lead in a kidnapping case. What they
stumble on is the temporary hideout of Mr. Freeze. The end result is that one is
killed the other is injured and Freeze escaped. Since this is the murder of a
cop it is now the top priority on the force. Everyone that can be spared will be
involved. During the course of the story we learn that the dead cop had been
somewhat of a critic of others on the force who saw no problem in letting a
vigilante like Batman closing cases that involved super criminals. He always
though it was shameful, as if they had given up their responsibility. The
surviving partner wants GCPD to close the case without relying on Batman and for
now the higher ups agree. Since this only the first issue of the story there is
only a few scenes that indicate where it might lead. Neither Gordon nor Batman
show up anywhere in this issue. This promises to be more about the police force
and its members on the front lines against large than life characters in their
quest for justice. I think the plot gives you just enough detail and
characterization to settle in for more action and thrills as things develop. On
the other hand I am not a big fan of the art. While the basics of depicting the
story in sequential format are solid the line work is not as appealing as other
artists. It is not horrible - I just prefer sharper inking that makes people
look more natural. But that is a personal thing and it does not take away from
the quality of this book, which is well worth a buck to sample.

Issue Number: One-Shot
Title Story: Brothers in Arms
Publisher: DC
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Inker: Derek Fridolfs
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

The neat thing about these FUTURES END one-shots is that sometimes there are
dramatic changes going on five years in the future. This title is no exception.
There is a new Robin in town and he will be familiar to those who have read the
Zero Year arc in Batman titles. He is Duke from that story. Evidently he was
inspired by that first encounter and has dedicated his life to doing what Batman
does, put in the years of training and has made it to the A team, sort of.
Although Duke has been Robin for two years now this story illustrates a
lingering fear or doubt still haunting Bruce. He still has not gotten over
losing Damian and he is making sure he does not lose another Robin. So the basic
plot of this story is that Bruce is confronting The Heretic, presumed dead all
these years after the Damian incident, and he is having Alfred make sure that
Duke does not show up to help by sending Robin all over Gotham to other minor
crimes being committed. The way this is plotted out it showcases the new Robin's
talent nicely as he mixes it up with various bad guys. It also puts Alfred in
the middle of things. With Duke badgering about where Bruce is Alfred still
remains loyal to his instructions though he pleads Duke's case as well. We saw
from a previous FUTURES END one-shot that Bruce is not in top physical shape
anymore and Alfred is constantly monitoring his vitals remotely. So the faithful
butler knows the damage being done to Batman as he fights what appears to be the
Heretic. It is a well-paced story that sets up the future for the Dynamic Duo. I
like the new Robin and hope he plays a role in the ongoing FUTURES END weekly
series as well. This book is appealing visually also. It is a great done-in-one
story that anyone can enjoy on its own.


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

Jim Shooter's DEFIANT line held a contest to pick eight kids to model their GOOD
GUYS after in 1993.

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

John Ratzenberger is best known for his role as Cliff Clavin in Cheers and his
recurring roles in Pixar films. If you're a fan of Pixar movies such as Toy
Story and The Incredibles, you may have noticed his familiar voice. John
Ratzenberger has been in every single Pixar movie to date, starting with Toy
Story in 1995 and continuing all the way through the next Finding Nemo movie,
currently scheduled for a 2016 release. He's put his talents to use in a variety
of roles from Hamm the Piggy Bank in the "Toy Story" series to, his personal
favorite, P.T. Flea in "A Bug's Life." His "Cars" character Mack the Truck had
the epiphany that Ratzenberger has appeared in every Pixar film during the
movie's closing credit sequence.

Steven Grant wrote a JFK conspiracy comic published by Dark Horse. What company
originally published the first issue?

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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