David LeBlanc was the Editor of the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine for
over ten years. He is a life-long fan of comics and moderated online comic book
forums long before the Internet became the place to be. David works part-time at
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, the Eisner-winning comic store in Worcester, MA.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are happening at That's Entertainment and the company
newsletter which hosts this column and sponsors the trivia contest. As a result
this will be the last column of reviews, at least for the foreseeable future. It
has been fun sharing my thoughts on the hobby we all share and the good, the bad
and the ugly among the offerings on the shelves. I hope they have been some help
to the readers who bother to check out this column in deciding what to at least
pick off the shelf and maybe buy. I am grateful for the few among you who took
the time to either Email your comments or mention the column to me at the store
on your Saturday visits. I will still be there each week from 10 to 2 on
Saturday so do not hesitate to ask me in person about comics I think are worth
reading. As far as the trivia contest goes there is one more contest at the end
of this column. The prize will be awarded as usual in the form of a $10 credit
if anyone gets the correct answer by Friday November 14. Correct answers to the
no prize will all get a no prize immediately. If you don't get either question
right and want to know the answers send me an email and I will fill you in.
Thanks for taking the time to read the reviews and, if you will, do me a favor.
Give a kid a comic!
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.
Title: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED ANNUAL
Issue Number: 1
Title Story: Part 1
Title Arc: The Infinitus Saga
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Neil Edwards
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Dezi Sienty & Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Andrew Robinson
Price (USD): $4.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
Big company Annuals are generally of three types these days. They can be
standalone issues with one or more stories about the main characters. They can
be one of several other annuals tied together with a central theme or event arc.
Or they can be a chapter in the ongoing continuity of the regular series. This
is the latter type so regular readers of JLU will want to pick this one up to
stay current. New readers won't be lost though because this issue is the first
issue of a new arc and it guest stars the Legion of Super Heroes. This version
of the League is only six issues old (1-5 plus a zero issue) that has now
established the lineup. They are led by J'onn J'onz, the Martian Manhunter. The
field team leader is Green Arrow. Others in the roster include Star Girl, Super
Girl, Animal Man, Adam Strange and his lady Alanna Strange and newcomer created
for the series the Canadian hero Equinox who is a magic based elemental. What
you need to know about the first arc is that the League got involved with the
people of Rann who were breeding an alien with multiple DNA components. They
shut down the project but the child was born and has since shown rapid aging. He
is Ultra and has tremendous potential power. The Manhunter took him under his
wing using his telepathy to keep Ultra from acting out in his youth. They are
back on Earth with Equinox and Alanna Strange. Adam is stranded on Rann due to a
problem with the zeta beam and the rest are in space looking for Hawkman who
died in battle. They received a transmission from his old Justice League
transmitter. As the story begins Mon El of the Legion of Super Heroes appears on
Earth and tells J'onn and the others that to save the future Ultra must die. We
have the obligatory hero fighting hero scene until Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl and
Saturn Girl also show up and cooler heads prevail. At this point we get the
narrative as to what eventually Ultra will become and the devastating effect he
will have in the future. Brainiac proposes they work together to stop these
future events from happening, at least until the rest of the legionnaires
arrive. To complicate things Adam and Alanna are periodically trading places
between Earth and Rann due to that malfunction. Meanwhile the away team is
following leads to find Hawkman's body. Through the course of their adventure we
get more insight into the team dynamic. There is a conflict between Super Girl
and Green Arrow over his leadership of the team, which she seems to ignore when
she feels like it. Also Animal Man emerges as the comic relief in the story as
he ponders how to refer to his teammates with nicknames other than their hero
names. But they see plenty of action all manipulated by the mastermind behind
everything that has been going on, the alien terrorist Byth. This story leaves
us a couple of cliff hangers that lead directly into issue 6 of the ongoing
title. It is easy to follow for new readers who get a little extra story to get
familiar with the group. The art is very well done, that is sometimes hard for
an artist with so many characters and locations to deal with. This series has
been growing on me since it started and the inclusion of the Legion of Super
Heroes is welcome by this long time fan. You can do worse than this if you want
to try another title you have not been following.
Title: MARVEL 75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Issue Number: 1-SHOT
Writers: James Robinson, Bruce Timm, Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, Tom Defalco
and Len Wein
Artists: Chris Samnee, Jordie Bellaire, Dave Stewart, Michael Gaydos, Matt
Hollingsworth, Stan Goldberg, Scott Hanna, Paul Gulacy, Rain Beredo and others.
Letters: Cory Petit, Ferran DelGado, Joe Caramagna, Clayton Cowles & Manny
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
Price (USD): $5.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero
This is a really cool comic for any devote marvel fan and all comic fans in
general. Not only does it have some tribute stories from well-known and
respected creators but the filer material is lots of fun as well. There are five
stories in all that are worth the cover price alone.
"Anniversary" by James Robinson is a riff on the old question "Where were you
when..." In this case Ben Urich of the Daily Bugle asks, "Where were you when the
Fantastic Four first came to be?" While bits of his essay are sprinkled through
the panels the art itself answers the question by showing other key figures of
the Marvel Universe in their daily lives at that time. Don Blake in his office
with Jane, Tony Stark in a casino, Bruce Banner and Betty on a picnic in a
dessert, peter Parker showing Uncle Ben some pictures he took of Aunt May,
Captain America is floating in a block of ice and so on. Every now and then
there is a panel of the FF as they rocket into space, get bombarded with cosmic
rays, land and begin to show the effects and so on. It is a real nifty piece
that brings back a lot of memories in a unique way.
"Captain America Foils the Traitors Revenge" by Stan Lee with art by Bruce Timm
and colored by Dave Stewart is a unique piece. It was originally a story Stan
wrote in 1941 - his very first story for Marvel. Originally it was a two-page
text story that ran in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3. For the anniversary Stan
turned it into a script for Bruce to adapt to a full comic story. It is of
course set during the war at the camp where Steve and Bucky are stationed. The
plot has a man being dishonorably discharged for lying. When he returns at night
with some thugs to get revenge on the colonel it is up to Cap and Bucky to save
the day. It is classic Cap and Timm gives it the right look for a golden age
"Alias" by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos returns them to their famous
creation that was the first Marvel MAX comic. The protagonist is of course
Jessica Jones. At this point in her life she and Luke Cage are raising their
baby and she is semi-retired from the detective work. However, a very old woman
compels her to help her find a man she met her decades ago when the original
Human Torch made his debut. He was a fireman who saved her in the aftermath of
that episode and she has failed for years to find him. The crux of the story is
the unique way in which Jessica accomplishes the mission and the touching scene
at the end. It is great to see these creators back on what was a ground breaking
series at the time. It is worth your while to seek out the back issues or trades
"That Parker Boy" is written by Tom Defalco. It is a somewhat typical Spider-man
story from his early days. It sets up peter as too busy being Spider-man to
spend time with his friends as promised. Try as he may something always comes up
to take him away. While he ends up getting the bad guys he may lose his friends.
It is a story that harkens back to the simple but relevant stories of an earlier
time. The art is a bit cartoonish but it is executed superbly.
"Walkabout" is a Wolverine story told by none other than Len Wein. A "walkabout"
is a term used by the Australian aborigines to describe wandering through the
outback to see what nature presents. In Logan's case the dreamtime presents him
with visions of The Hulk, the professor and the X-Men, a giant lizard and even
memories of the Weapon X project. They are all visions but the final scene
brings someone very real, someone he can really sink his claws into. This is a
very different story than the rest and the art is some of the best in the book
done by the great Paul Gulacy. Marvel would have been remiss not to include
Wolverine in its tribute comic.
I mentioned the filler material. What it consists of is several mock covers of
"Marvel Comics We Never Made" written by Bendis and drawn by various artists.
There is a fake Squirrel Girl comic showing her marriage to a Raccoon, a MAX
version of Power Pack, The Portland Avengers with some really funny characters
and more. I think my favorite is LITIGIOUS TALES starring Groot, Attorney at
law. It is all in good fun and rounds out the issue nicely.
Title: AXIS REVOLUTIONS
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Axis Tie-In
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Ken Lashley & Paul Mounts
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Super Hero
This tie has two stories exploring the effects of the AXIS event on various
"With Great Hate" is by Dennis Hopeless with art by Ken Lashley. So as a result
of the events in AXIS normal people, and not so normal people, have been turned
into opposites of their normal personality. Normally peaceful people are now
filled with rage about anything and anybody. Spider-Man is spending his time
trying to keeping people from smashing things and hurting other people. Then he
meets a young boy who is convinced that all this violence about minor things is
justified. So Spidey decides to convince the kid that no one deserves a beating
regardless of the circumstances. He shows the kid one example after another
until he hits on something that resonates with him. But running through the
whole thing is the reader wondering why Peter parker has not been affected like
everyone else. The answer is compelling. It is a moralistic story that is ably
drawn and colored.
"Hoary Hosts of Hate" is written by Simon Spurrier with art by Tan Eng Huat and
Craig Yeung. This one has a comic element to it. As I said most people have been
filled with hate by now and not immune is Doctor Strange. However, he is able to
restrain his emotion. He has not gotten to the point of physical violence but he
spouts a lot of rage while working desperately with his assistant Wong to solve
the problem because the noise from all the violence is giving him a headache. He
decides to seek out an individual that help him with the task - a professor who
is a rational humanist, a dying woman who lost everything but blames no one and
is content, the innocence of young children not old enough to know hate and so
on. Everything he tries is a dead end until he realizes the one person who has
not exhibited any hate has been revealed to him all along, or so he thinks.
This is really a delightful tale. Seeing Dr. Strange so out of character like
this is very funny as is the crazy incantation filled dialogue. Frankly it is
the better story of the two.
If you like to get tie-in comic to major events than this is not a bad one. But
you really don't need it to follow the main story.
Title: AXIS: CARNAGE
Issue Number: 1
Title Arc: Axis Tie-In
Writer: Rick Spears
Artist: German Peralta
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Joe Sabino
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: Now on Sale
Genre: Super Villain (?)
This tie-in follows Carnage in his new state of mind following the Axis effect.
He was one of the most violent and blood thirsty characters until that happened.
What was once a serial killer symbiote-suited bad guy now is someone who wants
to be a hero. So as we begin the series we get the narrative from his point of
view. Being bad was simple - there were no rules and he was good at killing
people. Now he knows he has been changed and he wants to be a hero. That means
he has to follow classic good guy rules. The prime directive is of course no
killing. Of course it is going to take him a little time and practice to get it
right. When he happens on what appears to be a mugging he gets a little over-
enthused in putting down the bad guy and ends up doing some serious bodily harm.
But there is a larger story in the main plot as a new super villain arises
called the Sineater who is killing people and then absorbing the essence of
their tainted souls - supposedly eating their sins. He begins with a local TV
anchorman and then goes after his female co-anchor. That is where Carnage comes
in to save the day. The trouble is trying to figure out if being saved from a
homicidal maniac with supernatural powers is better than being saved by Carnage.
While the story seems somewhat comical on the surface it is really a fascinating
story with a very different take on what it takes to be a hero. I actually
enjoyed this one and I am not a fan of this type of character. IF I can find
value in it maybe you can too.
TRIVIA CONTEST!!!! WIN REAL PRIZES!!!!!
If you think you know the answer to the trivia question send your guess via
Email to me at ComicBkNet@aol.com 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:
In what comic feature did the cats Stan and Ollie hang out?
"Innocent Bystander" by Gary Sassaman, a stand-alone and then later a feature in
GEEKSVILLE, was the answer. The winner is Erin O'Connor.
Here is your no prize question:
What is the name of the Baltimore Ravens mascot?
An appropriate question for Halloween! The answer is the bird was named after
the famed poet (Edgar Allen) POE.
THIS WEEK'S TRIVIA QUESTION:
The creator of the systolic blood pressure test used in an attempt to detect
deception, which became one component of the modern polygraph, also created a
comic book super hero. Who was it?
Here is you no prize question:
What town changed its name in 2005 to get free TV?
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.