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Friday, October 10, 2014

Comic Reviews 10/10/14


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
Title Story: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Publisher: DC
Writers: Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Colors: Geyser with Dave McCaig
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Teen Drama

Lots of first issues this week. One of the more interesting ones is this title
set in an exclusive school in Gotham. The lead character is a second year
student named Olive Silverlock here on a Wayne Foundation scholarship making her
somewhat of a target for the richer kids. As the story progresses we pick up
little bits of her history. She alludes to something that happened over the
summer that troubles her. Her immediate problem is she has been assigned as a
"nanny" to a first year student - sort of a big sister guide to acquaint
newcomers. The problem is "Maps" Mizoguchi is the sister of her ex-boyfriend,
which makes it awkward for Olive - not so much for Maps who is clueless. We get
the impression that Olive has changed - impressions from her narrative and
interaction with others. Even her roommate remarks that she liked Olive a lot
better last year. Maps on the other hand is just a ball of fire overly excited
about the whole experience and eager to explore the grounds, especially the
North Hall, recently declared off limits and structurally unsound. Maps has
heard the rumors of a ghost at the academy and views life here much like a grand
video or role-playing game. In an effort to do better with Maps, Olive suggests
they skip the welcoming assembly, with keynote speaker Bruce Wayne, and explore
the belfry of the chapel where the assembly is being held. Let's just say it is
not the smartest move considering what comes next. And there just might be
something real about that supposed ghost haunting the academy. That sub plot is
only beginning to develop. This is a pretty decent first issue. The art is very
pleasing though the coloring could be a bit brighter in places. The characters
have unique traits both visually and personally. There is a lot of development
getting us used to the main players and a bit of mystery waiting to come to the
front. There are even heroics involved though the closest we get to seeing any
super heroes is the bat-signal in the night sky. In all it likes like a fun book
with a lot of promise if you are not a strict capes and tights fan. It is worth
the affordable price.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Freak Show - The Strongman Cometh
Publisher: DC
Story: Andrew Kreisberg
Writers: Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak
Artist: Phil Hester
Inker: Eric Gapstur
Colors: Kelsey Shannon
Letters: Deron Bennett
Variant Cover Artist: Francis Manapul
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero - TV Adaptation

The other reasonably priced debut comic this time around is based on the new
FLASH TV show starting this week. This comic is set in the same continuity but
it reads well enough so you do not have to watch the show to know the players.
In this version of his origin Barry Allen a particle accelerator exploded during
a bad thunderstorm. It released unknown substances into a storm cloud and Barry
was struck by a lightning bolt from that cloud. It put him into a nine-month
coma while changing his DNA big time. When he awoke he was at S.T.A.R. labs, the
people responsible for the accelerator. Scientist Harrison Wells and his
assistants Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow are helping Barry adjust to his new
ability. So like ARROW the hero has a team in on his secret identity. Like past
versions of the Flash Barry is a member of the Central City PD Crime Lab. He has
a crush on Iris West who is currently dating another cop, Eddie Thawne. If you
look close in one panel you get a close look at Eddie's badge number (a no prize
to anyone who can identify the significance of Badge 714!) But I digress... Barry
has an admirer of his own but he is clueless about it. This issue slides right
into the story with enough detail on what happened and who the main players are
and still gives us a major plot about some villains who are about to create
havoc in Central City. Flash gets to show off his action against his first foe,
a circus strong man pulling a bank robbery. It does not end well for Flash but
provides a plot device to show another aspect of his super speed. As the main
plot develops we learn the bank robbery was not for money but for a certain key
and by the end of the issue a female snake charmer will prove to be far more
dangerous to the citizens of the city than the strongman was. I read this before
seeing the first episode of THE FLASH and was quite entertained. It has all the
basics to introduce the characters and the premise going forward. It will be
interesting to see Barry develop his powers as things move forward. The art is a
lot of angles which may not be appealing to some but the dynamics are all there
to tell the story. This one is worth a look.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Transgmigration of Bucky Barnes
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Maro Rudy
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Marvel keeps finding new things to do with Bucky Barnes. THE WINTER SOLDIER was
launched not that long ago and now it starts again, with a new first issue of
course. His new directions spins out of the ORIGINAL SIN event. Part of what was
revealed in that series was that Nick Fury had been guarding Earth from a
satellite headquarters. He was the "Man on the Wall" eliminating known threats
by murdering them before they murdered us. At the wrap of that series Bucky was
chosen to take his place. He has set up shop in the orbiting secret satellite
and has taken on a partner, Daisy Johnson, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director now on the
run. The structure of the issue is broken into several segments, not necessarily
in chronological sequence. One is on a far off planet with Bucky in chains about
to be killed by an alien race. Another has him recruiting Daisy both on the
satellite and at a space station orbiting Mars. In a third he is tracking down
an interstellar drug smuggler who happens to be currently in the Marianas Trench
with the help of Prince Namor. There are also a couple of unrelated scenes that
have no context with the rest of the book or any of the characters that I can
tell. Parts of the book make sense and are even entertaining. The rest of it
could mean a lot or very little, eventually. I really dislike it when writers
try to be too clever by throwing in a scene or two like this that will only make
sense several issues down the road. But that is not my main problem with this
title. That would be the art. This style is very unique in that the panels are
jumbled all over. On some pages they are concentric circles, others wrapped
around a central illustration or just a series of very small rectangle on the
bottom quarter of a large illustration. I am being overly simplified in my
description here. It is as if he is trying to find new ways to splash things all
over the page. This is not fine art, it is a comic book. It is an
ACTION/ADVENTURE story that relies on sequential art. I'd rather not try to
figure out what the sequence is supposed to be. And frankly the characters are
not clearly defined in most cases. The whole thing is very muddled. It is just
not appealing to me. I don't find the overall concept compelling enough to stick
with this one.

Title: THOR
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: If He Be Worthy
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Russell Dauterman & Frank Martin
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Marvel seems bent on changing a lot of their major characters these days. We had
a Superior Spiderman for a long time, Captain America is a whole other person
now and Tony Stark is on the verge of a big change as well. Don't get me started
on the latest news about the Fantastic Four. Oh and Wolverine is going to die.
Anyway, the latest change is happening in one of their other long running
comics. The change hinges on a whisper really. During the ORIGINAL SIN series
Nick Fury whispered something into Thor's ear while they were on the moon. From
that moment on Thor has been unable to lift Mjolnir. He has become unworthy. The
implications of this are puzzling fans all across the Marvel fanverse. Even Odin
is puzzled at how this could be when he learns of it. How could a few spoken
words rob Thor of the symbol of his power and the tool he uses to fly? I imagine
eventually we will find out. But at the present he has spent days, maybe weeks,
struggling to gain what he has lost to no avail. Now if you have not been
reading the series that preceded this relaunch, as I haven't, there are other
changes that have taken place among the Norse gods. Odin was gone for a long
time and his wife Freyja has taken over Asgardia as its monarch, the All-Mother.
Now Odin is back but it seems like there will be conflict over who's in charge.
In a sub plot it seems frost giants have invaded Earth and all involved - Odin,
Freyja and Thor - will have choices to make about that. There is a lot going on
here and then there is that cover illustration and the thing that has gotten
everyone's attention. There will be a female Thor. The last two pages illustrate
this quite plainly as the mystery woman in armor and a mask, alone on the
surface of the moon, speaks a simple sentence and lifts the hammer. She is
worthy. What happens next is anyone's guess. This is a pretty good start to a
new chapter. Many fans are not happy about this turn of events. But if you look
at the history of long running characters almost all of them went through
changes that does not please everyone. What counts in the end is the quality of
the writing and art. That is always first and foremost in this medium. This book
has both. Jason Aaron has given this title a new following and continues to
bring strong characterization with interesting plots to all his work. The art is
clean and beautifully colored. This is sure to be a winner and bring in more
fans who are curious about what is developing. It is worth it for you to see for

Title: GUARDIANS 3000
Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval
Colors: Edgar Del Gado
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

A lot of readers may not be aware of the original Guardians but that won't
hamper them in jumping right into this series. All you need to know is on the
credits page. The lineup is Vance Astro, Martinex, Charlie-27 and Starhawk. The
story is set in 3014. They are fighting invading Badoon and other deadly threats
to the galaxy. The plot of this story uses and old standby of science fiction -
a time loop. Starhawk is the mystical precog of the Guardians and has sensed
that the Guardians and their allies are fighting a war that never ends, that
somehow time is starting over again and again. She also sensed something special
in the human female Geena Drake in a way still unexplained. It is for that
reason the Guardians have rescued her from a Badoon prison and brought her to
the Hideaway Parliament. It is a safe place hidden in fold space and can only be
found with a dimension key. Here the alliance of the last free cultures are free
to meet and plan their war against the Brotherhood. This space station is
supposed to be unfindable and unreachable but somehow the Badoon attack. This is
where the story begins as the issue starts. We find the Guardians in mid battle
fending off the attackers and trying to find a way out while keeping Geena safe.
How did the Brotherhood find them? Is someone in the Alliance a traitor? More
importantly if they win or lose are they doomed to replay these events over and
over? As I said it is an often used plot devise. What makes the story are the
characters and how well they are integrated into the plot. In this case that is
not a problem. Neither is the art. It is a bit unique in the character
depictions but then most of the characters, except for Geena are pretty unique
in themselves. It is a good debut issue in that it gives us a close look at the
main characters as well as the dynamic of the team. There is plenty of action
and a bit of mystery and some light touches of humor. It is a good start.

Issue Number: One-Shot
Title Story: Genesis
Title Arc: Act 1
Publisher: DC
Story: Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule & Cullen Bunn
Script: Jensen & Jordan
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Suozuka, Chriscross & Pete
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

Doesn't it seem like every major event in a comic book universe is hype to have
long term consequences - things will never be the same? Well this crossover
event in the Green Lantern books is promising the same thing. One thing it will
certainly have big effects on the GL line. The fact that it also involves
Kirby's Fourth World characters hints that it will give more depth and
prominence of those characters in the NEW 52. This book end beginning one-shot
sets the stage in rapid fashion for what looks like it will be a major conflict
between the various Lantern Corps and the New Gods. It begins with things that
are familiar to long time DC readers but may not be to newer readers. The very
first panel is a classic scene used in GL stories prior to the NEW 52 version.
It is a depiction of the creation of the multiverse - a hand in the void of
space issuing forth all life, matter and multiple universe from its palm. Among
all the worlds created in that initial spark was the planet of the Old Gods. And
so we are given a quick history of the Kirby DC characters through the fall of
the old gods to the rise of the New Gods and the eventual conflict between those
of New Genesis and those of Apokolips. The evil Darkseid is of course ever-
searching for the anti-life equation to force all of creation under his boot.
The only hope for the New Gods to eventually prevail over this is to find the
life equation. Their quest eventually lead them to the boundary of creation, the
Source Wall. They gain knowledge from the beings that have become part of the
wall, for many have tried to breach it and find what is beyond, but all have
failed - except one. Through some cryptic words from the being in the wall High
Father and Metron learn that the wall has been breached by the unification of
seven ring bearers. As Metron explains the existence of the seven different
Lantern Corps High Father wrongly concluded that they joined the forces of their
rings to breach the wall and gain the power of the life equation. What Green
lantern fans know is that it was actually Kyle, the White Lantern that made the
trip through the wall and back. So desperate is High Father to gain the life
equation he quickly forms his own plan. He will send out his minions - Orion,
Metron and the rest to get a ring of power from each one of the seven, by force
if need be. He will build a device to combine the power of the seven rings and
that will give him the power of the life equation.  You can already guess what
some of the consequences will be. Even plans with good intentions can lead to
disaster.  This is certainly an interesting beginning to the arc. The unnerving
part of it all is the change in character with this version of High Father from
earlier versions. In the past he was more a peaceful person depicted more like a
shepherd. Here he is in armor and is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat
the ancient evil they have been battling forever. There is one scene toward the
end that depicts a rather cavalier attitude towards the collateral damage caused
by his erroneous assumptions. That may be off-putting to older fans of the pre-
NEW 52 character. This promises to be a grand epic battle pitting the two major
space-based forces in the DC Universe. It may even spill into other books as
they approach the Earth War part of their development elsewhere in DC titles.
The art certainly supports the epic scope of the story, including a four-page
spread depicting the Source Wall. This one is sure to delight GL fans and true
DC fans as it progresses forward.


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:
We all know Steve Ditko was the first penciller in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
Who was the second?

The question was not who succeeded Ditko in the title, just who was the second
to pencil "IN" ASM.  That was Jack Kirby in a back up story in #8, featuring his
Fantastic Four!


What was the first comic title in which Superboy (Kon-el), Robin (Tim Drake),
and Impulse (Bart Allen) all worked together?

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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