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Friday, October 24, 2014

Comic Reviews 10/24/14


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: One-Shot
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Rod Serling
Writer: Mark Rahner
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artists: Roberto Castro with Valentina Pinto
Price (USD): $7.99 (48 pages)
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Unexplained

This volume is a group of three stand-alone stories by Mark Rahner with various

"Hangnail on a Monkey's Paw: is illustrated by Randy Valiente and colored by
Viviane Xouza. This is a tale of revenge that is sought through the magic of a
monkey's paw. But we all know that magic always come with a price. Khalid is an
innocent who during one of the various conflicts in the Mideast or perhaps
Afghanistan was abducted and tortured at a CIA black site. Now he is out to get
the man he views ultimately responsible, former Vice President Butler. Butler is
an aging man who probably has little time left to live anyway. But Khalid has a
plan to abduct him and bring him to the Netherlands to stand trial for war
crimes. His way around Butler's fragile state is to use the monkey's paw to wish
Butler will never die. He manages to grab Butler while he is alone and the plan
is to get him to a cargo ship to secretly get him out of the country. He see
this as fulfilling justice and karma. But the plan goes a little astray and in
the end Khalid will be served a measure of karma as well. Though it is a simple
story it moves along nicely and the ending is unexpected, as a good Twilight
zone story should be. The art is pretty decent with the right touches to
emphasize emotion in the characters and action when it is needed.

"Cold Calculation" is illustrated by Edu Menna with greytones by Sandra Molina.
The ending of this one is not unpredictable if you are a fan of the old TV
series. It begins on a space ship. The crew is on a desperate mission to find a
new home since going back is not an option, they are nearly out of fuel. If they
can find a suitable planet they have the means to terraform it to their needs.
They left a planet that was slowly freezing over. As they approach what appears
to be a mostly viable planet with good atmosphere and water to sustain them. The
only hitch is this one is too cold as well. They have the technology to boost
the temperature of the planet to suit their needs. As they begin to prepare the
equipment the science officer relays that there are some life forms on the
planet - nothing advanced. Raising the temperature will mean some will die but
that is acceptable to the captain. Not such to the navigator. Thus begins a
moral argument right out of Star Trek. Does the survival of their own species
waiting to hear word the ship has found a new home outweigh the fate of some of
the indigenous life? This becomes a heated argument with a pointless outcome
when they get a closer look at the planet and its inhabitants. There is really a
double twist to the ending part of which you could easily guess. It is an
entertaining story and the art is very appealing.

"It's All in How You Frame It" us illustrated by Rod Rodolfo with color by Marco
Lesko. It is the story of Bobby Scott, a rising mogul in the high tech industry.
He has already made millions, constructing a new skyscraper headquarters but is
also a bit of a loner. The story hinges around a new prototype set of glasses
that he hopes will be his next big success. He is the first to try them out and
to his surprise he sees more than expected. When he looks at the assistant who
worked on it he can see an aura around her. To test it further he wanders around
the city a little. Each person has a uniquely colored aura. When he witnesses a
man dying he can actually see his spirit leaving his body. He realizes he can
see people's souls and begins to judge them in work and public interaction based
on what he sees. Needless to say this is not going to end well for Bobby. I like
the premise and I think the plot moves along logically with a twist ending that
is also very logical. The art is fine and the coloring is the key aspect of this
story.  The entire volume was enjoyable.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Silent War of Woodrow McCord
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Enis Cisic
Colors: Chris Chuckry
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos & Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

One of the main concepts out of the ORIGINAL SIN series is the idea of the "man
on the Wall." He is the person burdened with the safety of the planet - charged
with stopping all threats before they get to Earth. Kill before they kill us.
The revelation that Nick Fury has been that man for a long time was a big part
of the story and now Bucky Barnes has taken his place. This annual answers the
question about who came before Nick Fury in the job. The framing sequence begins
in 1958 as Fury and Howard Stark have witnessed the death of Woodrow McCord
after thwarting the attempted invasion by the Tribellians. Sometime later Fury
agrees to take on the job under one condition, that he learns more about the man
he is replacing.  And so this story becomes the story of Woodrow McCord. It
starts in backwoods USA as the young Woodrow is nearly captured by the alien
Entari who have already captured his brother and mother. He is only saved at the
last minute by the current Man on the Wall, Stafford. Given the time frame
Stafford's story goes back to the turn of the century when he was part of a
group of Men on the Wall. They were strictly defensive, stopped threats as they
appeared. Now he is alone and he takes in McCord as his apprentice. It is all in
preparation for a change in tactics. Stafford's plan is to take the fight to
space - move the wall as it were. This will be McCord's baptism of fire and the
experience will harden him to become what he needs to be. It is an interesting
story if somewhat predictable. As far as it being necessary reading I would say
you could pass it up and not miss much. However, if you are enthralled by the
whole concept than this will fill in the gaps nicely.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Scott Koblish
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero/Humor

I like to pick up a Deadpool comic every now and then for shear entertainment. I
like the character and the stories usually have a good mix of humor and
adventure. Quite often they take liberties with facts, time frame or set
continuity but you have to expect that when the lead character is off his
rocker. Case in point is the opening sequence where Deadpool actually kills the
famous General Sun Tzu Wu, author of the centuries old ART OF WAR. How this is
possible should not be pondered or you will get brain freeze. Anyway, now
Deadpool has the original manuscripts and a grand plan to make millions by
applying them to business practices and publishing "how to" books based on its
principles. Of course the publisher points out the book has been a best-seller
for centuries and unless he has a new angle on it she's not interested. His
pitch is the whole world is at war and the only way for anyone to survive is to
read Deadpool's book. Of course the world is not at war, but the day is young.
So first he has to come up with a plan to send the world spiraling into war. He
finally hits on the idea of using the gods because they always make a mess of
the world. What better god to do that than Loki? The funniest sequence of the
book is Deadpool researching Loki these days and finding a youngster and then a
woman, an obvious swipe at other books featuring the character. Before the book
is over he will be working with the classic Loki starting the war he wants.  As
I said the stories are improbable and a bit silly but they are very
entertaining. With Peter David on the script the dialogue is all it should be.
The art is unique and changes a bit in style depending on the circumstance. But
that works well given the material. This is only the first chapter but it shows
a lot of promise to be a fun romp. It is what I was looking for. If you want the
diversion from the usual fare look no further than this title.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: The Sky's the Limit
Publisher: Autism at Face Value
Creators: David and Angela Kot
Artist: Sky Owens
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Steampunk/Autism Awareness

As noted above this comic is dedicated to autism awareness. The company behind
it, Autism at Face Value, studies facial expressions as one way to improve
nonverbal communications. They help children with autism to spot emotional
expression using art. By recognizing emotion through facial expressions and body
language they will better cope with others around them. The comic also hopefully
help demystify Autism Spectrum Disorder to the public. The first few pages of
the book help introduce us to the world of 2072. At some point in the near
future world leaders banded together, formed peace agreements, found new fuels
and medicines and strove to end suffering. Steam powered technologies became
available to masses and world hunger was reduced through vegetarian diets. (?)
Extra-terrestrial visitors came and were welcomed. Many peace loving species
came to share the new utopia. When the Earth was attacked by hostile aliens the
winged space birds, the Shimmer, fought alongside the Earth hero the Zephyr.
Meanwhile the governments encouraged the citizens to maintain their typical
lives. And so we tune in on a middle school where the typical children are
anything but ordinary. As the teacher runs down the attendance we meet one such
class. The main character is Michael Eckman. He is an autistic boy who also has
mechanical sleeves to aid his weak arms. He also has a bio-droid aide with him,
Tess. She helps him cope with situations and others around him to understand
Michael and themselves. She is also our narrator and provides editorial lessons
and guidance to seek more information online. The classroom has a mix of
characters. The shy brute Frank, the outwardly intelligent and compassionate
Cass, the boisterous alien Duchenne, the constantly angry Eduardo and the
seeming self-absorbed and smug girl in the wheel chair Claudia are all part of
the story. There is a theme running through the book pointing to words to live
by - feel safe, feel wanted and you'll feel successful. To set up and adventure
for this group Claudia informs them that an airship has crashed near her house.
She suggest they explore it and others chime in they could write a report for
extra credit, and take pictures. But it is Michael who emerges as their leader
who forms a simple plan, assigns duties and warns the others to stay in a group
and think about extra credit. Along the way we get to know more about the
characters. While the trip does not turn out to be an amazing adventure it
points to a much more involved story coming in the next chapter. But one of the
outcomes of the whole day is that Michael feels wanted, the others accept him
for who he is, and not how others label him. He remembered the lesson his
parents taught him and he does indeed feel successful. It is a feel good story
that jumps around a bit but moves forward in a good pace. The alien war and the
super hero Zephyr are in the background now but may play a part in the future,
considering one of the classmates communicates with the Shimmer in her head. The
art is spectacular with great definition, detail and superb coloring. Since the
proceeds go to such a worthy cause I recommend you give it a try.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Jorge Coelho
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror - TV Adaptation

I am not a fan of the TV show this comic is based on. I watched the first couple
episodes and decided not to continue. Basically, Ichabod Crane, the character
from the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow", has been transported to the present. He has
been befriended by a local police detective Abbie and together they fight
supernatural forces that seem to be cropping up all over this little New York
town. This particular story involves an ancient burial ground for witches. But
we don't learn that until late in the story. It starts with a blind old woman
who molds pottery. One day the kiln flares up and suddenly she can see again.
Elsewhere in a park a young girl Hannah lays on the grass reading a book when
her brother chases his radio controlled car into the street right into the path
of an oncoming truck. Suddenly Hannah jumps up and runs and with one hand stops
the truck making it flip over the both of them in a large crash. There is a hint
of what cause this sudden power but Abbie won't discover that until later. When
she and Crane go to investigate Hannah goes into a rage when the EMTs want to
check her and her brother. Only a shock from a tazer is able to subdue her and
return her to normal and that gives the clue that something was controlling her.
The detective work on the mystery is a mix of Hannah's internet searches and
Crane's poring over ancient tomes along with his eidetic memory. They figure out
what is behind all this and where the next incident may occur. It is a race
against time to thwart a larger tragedy and end the incidents altogether. It is
a worthwhile story as far as the plot goes. Subtle clues are given to the reader
to expect part of it and when the mystery is unveiled the action takes over.
Naturally it is Crane's clever use of a trick he learned from Ben Franklin that
saves the day. The characters are fun to follow. Bennett plays of Crane's man
out of time condition to add humor from time to time in a non-intrusive fashion.
Thus it is a horror book but not heavy handed like some. The art team does a
decent job bringing it all together so this one gets a favorable rating.

Back-up story: "Movie Night" by Noelle Stevenson

To add a lighter tale as filler Noelle Stevenson tells a tale of what movie
night is with Crane and Abbie. He continually wants to watch the Christmas movie
ELF while Abbie insists on a different genre for a change, a slasher film called
"Arken-Saw Massacre IV". A turn of events will make her reassess her choice. It
is only two pages put tells a complete story on a light note while sticking to
the main theme of the two fighting supernatural forces.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Creators: Steve Niles & Damien Worm
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Damien Worm
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

When you want to get into more traditional dark horror stories you can count on
Steve Niles to deliver one. But he usually works his way up to the real scary
stuff. The lead character is a professor who teaches a class about monsters
promising the class that by the end they will know the answers to if monsters
exist and why. In reality Frederick is a retired monster hunter. He does not
have to work but enjoys it. The story begins with a visit from his old partner
who is in town on an assignment. It affords us the chance to learn of
Frederick's past adventures as the two reminisce about old times. But his friend
also has to tell Frederick that he saw his wife with another man. Frederick is
not surprised and reveals they barely see each other anymore. All this is just
background for now. The real plot involves two high school kids, a boy and his
sister with secret ties to the supernatural. Geoff is bullied for perhaps being
gay by the class jock jerk Phil. But Geoff quickly turns the tables by telling
Phil he knows he lied about the accident that killed his three friends and cost
him a college scholarship. How he knows gives us a hint that Geoff has a unique
talent. His sister, Vivian, is likewise gifted. When the local in crowd girls
taunt her rather than give it back she just sees into the future at how
overweight and ugly they will become. There is a reason why these two a shunned
by the self-important crowd. They both live in an old house that from the
outside looks like a stereotypical haunted house. They are Frederick's kids.
They have a big secret they are hiding that will no doubt play into the gist of
the comic very soon. As I said Niles works up the real scary stuff slowly. This
first issue establishes the fact that vampires and other supernatural beings
actually exist, something that the main character fought very successfully in
the past. Is it because of his past profession or in spite of it that his kids
are dabbling in things they shouldn't?  We will find out eventually but for now
the table is set for more thrilling things to come. Damien Worm has a very moody
painted style that works well in this genre. While parts of it are dark he uses
shadow and light very effectively to convey the mood called for in the script.
This one has promise to be an entertaining story if you are a fan of the genre.


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 card game are Aunt May and Uncle Ben playing when the intruder shows up in

The coffee table has what is clearly a deck of cards in mid game and a cribbage
board used for keeping score in that wonderful old card game. Gary Katzoff is
the winner by the dice.

Famous first words of which character?

"Before I leave for the evening, sir, I thought you might like some freshly
brewed coffee"

Here is your no prize question:

Who appeared on the cover of TV Guide the most times?

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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