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Friday, June 27, 2014

Comic Reviews 6/27/14


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
Publisher: Image
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Fantasy
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

"Every 90 years or so, twelve gods incarnate in the bodies of the young. They
are charismatic and brilliant. They stand before crowds, speak in tongues, and
send them into rapture. They're rumored to perform secretive miracles. They save
people's lives, either metaphorically or literally. They are loved. They are
hated. They are brilliant. Within two years, they're dead." This is from the
writer Kieron Gillen describing this new series. I include it because it helps
in reading this first issue to know the basic premise, although some of it
becomes evident right away. Gillen has chosen the twelve from various pantheons
so their mythical identities might not be immediately apparent. One that is
though is Luci, a somewhat androgynous incarnation whose name is short for
Lucifer as she freely admits later with, "Hey you guessed my name," a clear
reference to "Sympathy for the Devil."  She makes friends with the lead
character Laura, a seventeen-year old who desperately wants to meet the latest
pop star Amaterasu. Laura attended her latest "concert" where everyone attending
is enraptured with Amaterasu's power, driven to orgasmic ecstasy and then passes
out. Seeing things from Laura's perspective we see the frenzy, the adoration.
Laura not only loves these gods become icons she wants to be one. Thanks to Luci
she gets into the inner circle as the star is giving an interview or as Luci
puts it "addressing the unbelievers." It is during the course of the interview
with the very skeptical reporter Cassandra, we learn that the fact they are
reincarnated gods is not hidden, in fact it is part of their PR. We also learn
that there are those who are willing to go beyond just public criticism. This
will bring the focus clearly on to Luci when she reacts to the more aggressive
antagonists. This is a fascinating concept that leans heavily on pop icons and
archetypes. There are "miracles" and there is plain old violence. Laura's
adventure is just beginning and already it has stepped up to a whole new level.
Gillen indicates that we will also get a look at past incarnations as well. That
brings interesting conjectures to the readers' minds. Who would the gods become
in the 1920's or the 1830's? McKelvie's art is terrific. He knows how to
expertly provide detailed visuals that advance the story by action and
expression without detracting or duplicating the story being told in the
dialogue. Wilson's coloring is the perfect complement to that art making this
one slick visual delight. I was hooked after a few pages and you will be too.
This is going to be a big hit.

Title: NOVA
Issue Number: 18
Title Story: Dia De Los Muertos
Title Arc: Original Sin
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: David Baldeon
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colors: David Curiel
Letters: Albert Deschesne
Cover Artist: Paco Mendina
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Super Hero

If you read the zero issue of ORIGINAL SIN you will know that it centered on
Nova making a visit to the Watcher, learning a lot about who he is and why he
does what he does. As he left the Watcher's home on the moon he was given a gift
of sorts. The Watcher told him that the father he thought was long dead is
actually still alive. This gave him hope that someday he would find his dad. In
this issue of his regular title he is about to find out what the rest of us have
known for a while now. This issue covers the circumstances by which he found the
Watcher had been killed and eventually brings Nova to the battle scene in New
York as the Avengers and others fought off the Mindless Ones and eventually
confronted Exterminatrix and the Orb. As we know from the main series the
Watcher's eye exploded and anyone in the area, including Nova, was given
knowledge of long hidden secrets. In Nova's case it has to do with his father
and it will shake his faith in the Nova Corp and his father in particular. This
is the way a tie-in to an event should be handled. The lead character of the
book has a logical reason for his actions that lead him to get involved in a key
event of the main series and as it ends his involvement will have future
consequences. He was not just involved peripherally so they could use the tie-in
to get the non-regular readers of this title to sample it. Keep in mind this is
a very young hero and his reactions to bad news and then later to betrayal is
going to affect him deeper than an older hero such as Logan or Iron Man. I think
it is handled well and the art is some of the best in the main stream Marvel
books. I am glad I took a look at this issue and now I am interested where it
will lead apart from the main event. I believe that is the whole idea.

Issue Number: 1
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Butch Guice
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Science Fiction
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

This series is a continuation of the adventures of two survivors in a future
Earth that has been frozen just about solid. Thus it is a barren, lifeless
wasteland where survival is the only imperative. You might think you would miss
something if you haven't read the original graphic novel. I haven't but I found
this issue very accessible because it does not rely on what went on before to
tell a new story now. It is about Scully and his fourteen-year-old charge Wynn
as they make their way across the frozen wasteland always in search for food,
supplies and shelter. They have an unlikely companion, Rah-Rah, a badger. At
this point in time they find themselves stranded as their Snow-cat has broken
down. They have no choice but to gather what essentials they can carry and keep
on heading west. It is during their conversation we learn that they are crossing
the Caribbean Sea. They never really talk about why things are this way - what
caused the world to plunge into such a deep freeze. This is not a story about
the whys of it all. The frozen world is just the setting for a story about
survival. So it is amazing when you look on the next page and see a war ship
frozen and abandoned. It has been there a long time and for now it is a place
where they can shelter and just maybe find some things that will keep them
alive. As the issue goes on we get to know this odd couple a little bit better
and just a little bit about why they are heading in this particular direction.
Of course anyone would expect that sooner or later we would get to see other
survivors in the course of their travels and indeed by the end of the issue that
is what happens. It also heightens the drama and ends with a bit of a
cliffhanger. So far I have been pleased with the story and the art. Chuck Dixon
is a long-time favorite of mine and he turns in a solid script with good
characters and action. Match that with the always solid art of Butch Guice and
you have a solid comic that is entertaining in both plot and art. This one is
worth your time if you like to read something other than super hero books.

Issue Number: 1 (of 8)
Title Story: The Hand of the Island
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Creators: Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt
Writer: Chris Miskiewicz
Artist: Palle Schmidt
Letters: Deron Bennett
Price (USD): $3.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural

The key to this story is in the story title, "The Hand of the Island." The
island in question is Manhattan. While the story begins in modern day New York
it has its roots in colonial America in the late 1600's. The family of Richard
Alsop have settled and earned an honest living. But this is a time when
religious fervor often was misguided. Richard being a decent man spoke up
against the burning of women as witches and as a result a Native American Shaman
gave him a great gift. He passed along his powers to Richard Alsop. He gained an
innate understanding of the supernatural world. He also gained the power to
defend the island against the forces of evil. From that day on he and his
descendants would carry the burden of the Hand of the Island. About a third of
the book deals with this origin story and how Richard used this gift back in the
day. But mysteriously he also has a direct connect to the present day at one
point. As I said the story begins in the present or 2011 to be exact. Richard's
great, great grandson, Thomas, has indeed inherited the family legacy. But this
is the twenty-first century and while Thomas carries on his duties as protector
of the island he is a much different man than his ancestor. His off time is
spent in party mode. He has only recently embraced the guidance of his friends
and has become somewhat of a celebrity, a supernatural detective.  It is
connection to his ancestor that calls to him in a vision, something is amiss.
Soon he will be drawn in to the greatest test of his mettle and ability. This
story is well thought out and the structure of the script weaves the back story
to the present in good fashion. The main characters in both timelines are unique
characters with different morals and motivations but both have the same
underlying devotion to a sacred duty. If there is a criticism it is that Thomas
is a bit too much of a self-indulgent character as if the hero of the story must
be greatly flawed for us to like him. The art is passable though it takes a
while to get used to. There is a strong story carrying through it all that
captivates me and I think the next chapter will be even more interesting.

Issue Number: 1 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Creator: Mike Mignola
Writers: Kim Newman & Maura McHugh
Artist: Tyler Crook
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedesco
Price (USD): $3.50
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Supernatural
MATURE - Comics on the Edge

Sir Edward Grey uncovers occult plots for Queen and country. So he is puzzled
that he has been asked to come to the coroner's lab for an autopsy that on the
surface appears to be a routine drowning. The victim was Arthur Neal of Lord
Chamberlain's office. He had recently been sent to Hallam to inspect Poole's
Elixir Works. The company has applied for the Royal seal of approval, an
endorsement that would mean a fortune for the company. Now Neal has shown up
drowned in the elixir itself. While this seems to be an act of murder it is
hardly the kind of case to take to an occult investigator. But since the queen
herself uses the product Sir Edward agrees to poke around Hallam to see if he
can shed any light on the crime. At first glance Hallam is a model community
with no crime to speak of until now. The founder and chief employer, Sir Horace
Hallam, has built up the town after the tragic loss of his first son in the
local marshes. He had some of the marshes filled in and built up the economy to
make Hallam a thriving community. Sir Edward is escorted by the town constable
who has his own theories about the murder of Mr. Neal. His fanciful plot
involves foreign spies hoping to torture Neal for unknown crown secrets. Since
the crime scene at the local hotel has already been cleaned Sir Edmond's only
clue is a note in in Neal's journal that merely says "Go to Unland," the name
the locals use for the local marshes. But it is what happens in his hotel room
that evening that convinces Edward there are supernatural forces at work here.
The premise of the story is straightforward and the protagonist is a clear-
headed man of science who also knows the ways of the occult. There are plenty of
characters and hints of things just a bit off that are clues of a deeper
mystery. The last several pages place the story firmly into the realm that Grey
is familiar with. The writing is exceptional building the characters while
moving the plot forward. Tyler Crook brings to life a variety of characters and
when the plot calls for action he gives the conflict the right emphasis. You do
not need exposure to any of the background of the lead character to get into
this story. It is a strong representation of the genre as it balances the human
and supernatural elements quite nicely.

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Creator: Rod Serling
Writer: Mark Rahner
Letters: Rob Steen
Cover Artist: Roberto Castro & Adriano Lucas
Price (USD): $7.99
Release Date: NOW ON SALE
Genre: Mystery/Horror/Science Fiction Anthology

The ongoing TWILIGHT ZONE series has been structured to tell longer stories
written by J. Michael Straczynski over multiple issues. This annual digresses
from that formula by presenting three separate and complete stories all written
by Mark Rahner and illustrated by different artists.

"Takers" is illustrated by Randy Valiente and colored by Lisa Moore. It is about
a US Senator intent on filibustering a bill. Galt Randall is a stereotypical
conservative whose crusade involves stopping the extension of welfare benefits
for the unemployed. His mantra is naturally that constant handouts take away the
responsibility of the recipients to help themselves. His opponents naturally
paint him as someone who would prefer the disadvantaged just go away and die.
After a long and tiresome speech he suddenly falls asleep at his desk and is
transported to a shanty town in the famous dustbowl era of Oklahoma. His ranting
about being a Senator who needs to get to Washington has these poor people
believing he is delusional. His initial speech that people need jobs not
handouts fall on deaf ears as these people know full well they need jobs but
there are none to be had. They barely exist with what they have and can get from
the government in the bread line. The only thing they have to look forward to is
the special feast held once a month to one lucky person chosen by lots. It is
here among the actual poor and unemployed that Galt will learn the true meaning
of need. It has a typical Twilight Zone twist in the end. The art is ok on this
one though the colors are a bit muted

The art on "Not Faire" is done by Jose Malaga and Marco Lesko. This is the story
of Renaissance player who struggles from the derision of his peers for his
obsession. Theobold can't even resist talking about the Faire to his students
either. When the taunts of one relentless co-worker is too much he pretty much
wishes it to stop and when he opens his eyes he finds himself in Merry Olde
England in the Elizabethan Era. He will find that role playing and actually
living the real thing are two different things. While he fancied himself a
competent knight of the times it is not good enough to fool those folk who know
a phony when they see one. His fate may be the stocks or even worse, an actual
duel with a real knight. But this is the Twilight Zone where anything can happen
and the twist on this one is not one you will likely guess. I liked the art much
better in this story and the plot has a lot more to it, including a fun finish.

"The Secret Over-Sharer" is drawn by Edu Menna and colored by Sandra Molina.
This is a timely tale about the overuse of social networks. May Cook is a
freelance journalist that writes for magazines. She is also an advocate for
living in the now. The story begins with a television interview as she talks
against the obsession people have with posting in social media. She claims it
has brought out our most narcissistic tendencies. People are constantly bragging
online. "Look at me! Look at what I'm doing, where I'm going, what I am
watching." It is almost as if nothing exists for us anymore unless we post about
it. Her attitude in this vein has hardened to the point that she even turns off
a potential romantic interest and antagonizes her best friend. When she decides
to withdraw from the posting herself and stops following other posts her life
begins to take an odd turn that will lead her to seek a doctor's help. She seems
to remember things that did not happen and others do not remember things she
knows did happen. Is she becoming mentally unstable or has she crossed over into
another dimension? There is no solid answer to that question though Rahner seems
to indicate a finite finish by the last panel. Again the art is adequate for an
anthology. As a whole the book presents three stories that are done in the mold
of the old TV series, each one with its own unique finish. It is up you to
decide if that is enough to spend the higher price for the volume.


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 native "mystery hero" did Jimmy Olsen meet when he became the Beatle of
1000 BC?

Jimmy met Mighty Youth who was secretly Samson of Biblical fame. 
The Beatle tie in was about long hair! :) The winner by the dice is David McBarron.

Who won the Great Cow Race?

Here is your no prize question:

Who has won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize?

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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