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Friday, October 31, 2014

Comic Reviews - 10/31/14


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.

Our reviews turn to the darker side of comics as Halloween is upon us once
again. Some involve super heroes and villains while others are more for mature
horror comics fans.

Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Gods of War
Publisher: DC
Creators: Deathstroke created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Rob Leigh
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Villain

Deathstroke has been around the DC Universe for a long time. In the NEW 52 he
has a prominent role in the FUTURES END weekly series. But that is set 5 years
from now. This comic catches up with Deathstroke in the present. Slade Wilson is
basically a mercenary/assassin who is the best at what he does. (Yeah I borrowed
that line from Marvel!) Like a certain Canuck he also has a fantastic healing
ability making him nearly unstoppable.  This is a good starting issue because
you start clean with a brief introduction to Slade, his middle man Tiggs who
sets up his jobs and some of his methods of operation. His latest job will take
him to Russia. Another thing you need to know about Slade is that he has
contacts all over the world. Some of them are of like mind when it comes to the
kind of work he does and are willing to work with him for their cut or other
reasons. One such comrade is Angelica who knows everything about Moscow and what
goes on there. She will help him find the man he needs to kill and get Slade out
quickly. That is the plan anyway. But that wouldn't be much of a story if it was
so easy. Sure enough someone knows Slade is in town and sets a trap that he does
not see coming. That is only the beginning of lots of action, near mortal wounds
and a foe who himself seems unkillable. But the real crux of the story is the
person Slade will turn to as a last resort. Their interaction is just the
opening glimpse at a mystery that will start with the shocking ending and lead
to a secret past.  While a guy who goes around killing people for a living is
not someone to root for I can still get into the whole concept that this is what
he does and sometimes it is not just the good guys who want to take him down.
Tony provides a solid script and terrific pencils. The rest of the team polishes
it off in fine fashion. This is a teen+ book for the violence and some gore. It
is good action and adventure that I found very entertaining.

Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: A Home for the Criminally Insane
Publisher: DC
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

There is a notation at the start of this comic that events take place after
BATMAN ETERNAL #30. Frankly with so many Batman titles out there I don't know
how anyone can keep his continuity straight. But I digress... Not being a reader
of BATMAN ETERNAL this story does not mess up anything for me. What it does is
rapidly bring me up to speed on current (or maybe soon to be) continuity as far
as Batman goes. So if you are not caught up on all your B.E. issues you should
probably read through #30 or at least skip this review as it may contain
spoilers. With that out of the way here is the new status quo in Gotham.
Somewhere in one or more of the Bat-books Arkham Asylum fell - it was destroyed.
At first the criminally insane were kept in a stadium. The citizens and
politicians are up in arms over the situation. Then the mayor arrives at a
solution. The city takes over Wayne Manor by eminent domain and refits it to
become the new asylum, Arkham Manor. Bruce does not like it but he has resigned
himself to the fact that it is a reasonable solution for the city and for the
patients who need the care. He even rationalizes that he has become too
emotionally attached to the house. So the cave has been permanently sealed off
and with the few personal possessions they chose to keep Bruce and Alfred now
live in an apartment. Well if it was just a new way of doing business the book
wouldn't be called Arkham Manor. Bruce is not entirely free from the Manor yet.
It seems there has already been a murder and Batman has been notified - only
this time he will go in the front door. This is an interesting twist on things.
Part of the storytelling technique involves the images Bruce has walking through
the Manor. He sees old scenes from his life there at various ages. But of course
his mind is on the task at hand mostly. There is more of a mystery with yet
another body and a strange new inmate with an interesting connection to it all,
if you catch the hint in the last panel. Appears to be an adjustment to the new
dynamic and then right into a new case for the world's greatest detective. On
the other side of the creative team I was not too impressed with the art. It is
passible but the characters at times are raggedly drawn as if in caricature. I
always try to point out that this is a personal assessment as to what appeals to
my eye. Others may like it more. Overall it is a decent beginning with promise.
Where it goes long term as a story and as a series will be the true judge of its

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Image
Creators: Jacob Semahn & Jorge Corona
Writer: Jacob Semahn
Artist: Jorge Corona
Colors: Gabriel Cassata
Letters: Steve Wands
Price (USD): $2.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This is a story of a family who through the ages has stood as the first line of
defense against the evil things of the supernatural. They are the Latimer
family. The latest generation have turned it into a profitable business complete
with their own TV crew for live reality shots. This story is how it begins to
fall apart. The father and mother, Raleigh and Evelyn Latimer are at the latest
siting, the governor's mansion in King's Bluff, MA. While they are fighting the
Brotherhood of Anubis inside the local media is gathered outside and gets the
story as it literally spills out the upstairs window. Evelyn clings for life
hanging off what is left of the balcony on live TV as her son and daughter watch
on the local station from home. Then the unthinkable happens - as Raleigh starts
to pull her up he is run through from behind by a rather large sword. It is a
fatal blow and Evelyn falls to her death as he loses his grip. Seventeen year
old Zoe and twelve year old Josiah have just witnessed the death of their
parents but that is not the immediate concern. With the help of the family
retainer, Frank, they barely escape an attack of demons on their own house. The
local police detective sees no coincidence here and soon he and Frank are trying
to figure out who is behind it all. They had better work quickly because even
the police station isn't safe from attack now that the Latimers are dead. This
is an average tale in the genre in my opinion. It is really appealing for the
art in my opinion. It shows good use of panel composition, and coloring in
particular. We have a somewhat typical plot where the newly orphaned kids are
likely to prove to be as invaluable to solving the mystery and defeating the bad
guys as the cops are. Still that does not make it bad, just average. You be the

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Color Assistance: Eduardo Ferreyra
Letters: Nate Piekos
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Horror
Mature - Comics on the Edge

This story is also set in Massachusetts, this time in Boston. The lead character
is Declan Thomas who has a unique ability. Somehow he can ease the suffering of
the mentally ill just be touching them. A local homeless man babbling
incoherently is suddenly lucid, patients in the hospital that are seeing
monsters and demons are cured and anxious to go home. A side effect of this
talent is that each time he does it his body temperature drops, causing him to
constantly monitor his temperature. It also makes for some humorous banter with
his live-in girlfriend regarding fair warning before becoming amorous. So after
a few pages of seeing Declan do his thing we get the picture. This is not the
first series about the character but it is fair to say that this mini-series is
easy to follow without knowledge of any of the past history. The antagonist this
time around is a very strange looking man who apparently has fingers for teeth.
In fact in the first sequence he appears in he is watching various people on the
street as they have their phone conversations, or walk their dog, or flip the
bird to someone. He takes into account every person and every action and then
proceeds to walk through them cutting off their fingers and collecting them.
What is this all about? On the one hand we have a nice guy doing the right thing
in a normal serious relationship and on the other a seemingly psychotic maniac
slicing fingers off in broad daylight and getting away with it. The bulk of the
comic is focused on Declan and the various encounters with the people he is
trying to help. Ferreyra does a great job showing us the hallucinations the
mentally ill are having before Declan touches them. In fact the art throughout
the comic is terrific in setting the mood and depicting horror in various forms.
These two main characters will intersect eventually. The bad guy's name is
Swivel and he has definite plans for Declan. What they are and why will unfold
as the story goes forward. This one grows on you as you turn each page from the
appeal of Declan, his girlfriend and their circle of friends to the horror of
Swivel and his actions. This one could easily get you hooked if you give it a

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Drew Rausch
Letters: Travis Lanham
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy/Horror - Movie sequel

Full disclosure, I only saw the movie EDWARD SCISSORHANDS once when it came out
in 1990. I have not seen it since. After reading this sequel, set decades later,
I was a bit at a loss for the meaning behind what I had read, and did not
understand parts of it. Others who are fans of the movie and have seen it more
recently would naturally have a different experience. In a nutshell, and it is
really not explained in this comic, Edward is an artificial person whose
inventor gave him scissors for hands and then died before he could give him real
hands. He lived as a recluse until discovered by a family who took him in and
tried to integrate him into their life and society. He was mostly shunned by
others, or used by them for their own ends resulting in more misunderstandings
and tragedy in his life. He fell in love with the daughter, Kim, who had a
jealous boyfriend. That triangle eventually led to the boyfriend's death and
Edward once again alone in his castle on the hill. Kim protected his secret by
telling the others that Edward had died so that the world would not bother him
anymore. One of the key elements of the original story is told in flashback in
later years as Kim explained the story of Edward to her granddaughter. She
explains that the snow in the town is really coming from Edward as he sculpts
angelic statues of Kim out of ice high on the hill. That theme is carried
forward into this sequel in the opening scene as Edward once again carves his
tribute to his now dead love decades later. Meg, the granddaughter in the story,
is grown now and is about to see for herself if Edward is still alive.
Meanwhile, because he is an artificial person, Edward has not aged at all and
has been content reading the daily newspapers as his only contact with the
outside world. He has also had plenty of time to explore the huge mansion and
has found a secret about his inventor. He had made an earlier unfinished attempt
at creating a person, in the form of a young lad. Exploring the castle he finds
that prototype and begins the process of trying to connect to his younger
"brother." So there are two plots going on here. Meg has always been curious
about her grandmother's story though her mother refuses to talk about it. Meg
will find something that will give her the nerve to explore further, whether or
not her mother approves. Rausch contrasts the two plots skillfully by showing
the Edward sequences mostly indoors in black and white and a single or a few
bright colored objects on most pages. The Meg sequences are done in full color
and with much more light. As I said researching the basic plot of the movie put
more perspective on the plot of this comic though in retrospect it is really not
a bad effort. The art is certainly worthy of a look and the story has some
promise. It is not something I would heartily embrace but it is worth a look.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Kevin Shinick
Artist: Javier Rodriguez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Javier Rodriguez
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero (?)

Right up front this comic comes with a warning to read AXIS #3 if you want to
know how Hobgoblin got to the point he is at as this story began. This is a tie
in the follows AXIS #3 so if you would rather get the bigger picture read that
first. Otherwise there be spoilers here. So Roderick Kingsley is the Hobgoblin,
a fashion mogul billionaire turned super villain. Among other things in the past
he created a business that lease out the likenesses of underused super villains.
But now he has flipped and is doing the same for people who want to be heroes.
Of course it is not an altruistic venture. It is a solid business model that is
making him lots of money. A good part of the story is taken up with Roderick
giving his spiel to the willing crowd. It's all about brands and franchising and
buying in to the next phase. Frankly this comic is like watching an infomercial
or a how to get rich speaker. But all is not going to be easy for Hobgoblin very
soon. You see the Goblin King is still around and still a villain hunting for
Hobgoblin. But after repeated failure by his minions he suddenly realizes who
the one person is that can bring his enemy down. This is not what I expected and
frankly I was kind of bored with the first two thirds of the book. It is
interesting what Roderick is doing but can it carry a larger story? The element
of the Goblin King at the end adds to the plot and the person he has in mind
could be a great catalyst for a more interesting story. But I am not invested in
these characters and do not really care what happens. I will say the art is very
impressive. The detail and finished work including some really good coloring
make it a very nice visual piece. If you are into it you will enjoy it.


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:
Famous first words of which character?

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

Most guessed Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler but it was Jarvis, of the Avenger's
mansion, that uttered those words in his debut.

Here was your no prize question:
Who appeared on the cover of TV Guide the most times?

The first ever TV Guide was graced by none other than Lucille Ball (whose image
was largely overwhelmed by that of her child). She went on to achieve the most
covers ever in TV Guide history, showing up a whopping 39 times. No matter what
the era, hers was always a face that would sell. Why? Well because if you ever
uttered the phrase "I Love Lucy," you weren't alone.


In what comic feature did the cats Stan and Ollie hang out?

Here is your no prize question:

What is the name of the Baltimore Ravens mascot?

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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