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The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

Advance Review: TOMB RAIDER #1
BATMAN: BAD BLOOD Animated Movie
CHEW #57
Opinions Are Like @$$Holes: @$$IE LEAKS III – THE TRUTH REVEALED!

Available February 17th!


Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Phillip Sevy
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Lyzard

With the recent surge of comic book adaptations of popular video game franchises, from ASSASSIN’S CREED to SPLINTER CELL, I keep asking myself why? Why would I choose to read a comic book rather than play the game? Besides price there are few reasons why I wouldn’t want to read a pre-determined story rather than create one myself by having Lara Croft die in various horrible and painful ways. Sadly, thanks to Microsoft, I haven’t had a chance to enjoy the newest installment of the series, RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER. So I thought reading about one of my favorite British bad-asses would temper my disappointment over the game’s delay to PC and PlayStation.

That is, of course, if you don’t mind potential spoilers. TOMB RAIDER #1 takes place after the events of RISE, so bully for you Xbox players. As for the rest of you who remained loyal to Lara’s original home console, fear not so much. The first issue of the Dark Horse series doesn’t have any direct allusions to the game. That being said, with the game being released on PC just before this comic, I am not confident that there won’t be spoilers in future issues.

In TOMB RAIDER #1 Lara is out of her element, which is to say that she is in modern society. While attending an archaeology conference, Lara ducks out early to train with her friend Joslin and her trainer, Dana. I’ve never associated auditory skills with Lara Croft, but maybe that is because I’m too busy cursing while playing to determine how important sound design is in the video games. That being said, nearly blind Dana teaches Lara how to fight without being dependent on vision and while this trope is cheesy, the comic does find a way to tie it into the actual quest part of the story. In this case, the treasure to be obtained is a Chinese mushroom of immortality. The mention of any-sort-of adventure doesn’t come up until halfway through the issue, but once it does the comic becomes much more interesting, much more like a Tomb Raider plot.

I’d say that TOMB RAIDER #1 is what I’ve come to expect from most first issue video game-comic book adaptations. Slow set-up but ending with the promise of better action to come. Writer Mariko Tamaki captures Lara’s voice. Not that he relies on phonetics in order to highlight her English accent, but rather carefully places verbiage that only the Brits would commonly use. Artist Phillip Sevy does the same, capturing Lara by not having my attention drawn to how he drew her. Sometimes having nothing nice to say is just as good as having nothing to criticize. Sevy draws a traditional Lara, that’s all the comic needs.

For all the reasons mentioned above, price and console loyalty, TOMB RAIDER #1 is a worthy filler until I can play the game its tied into.

Lyzard is Lyz Reblin, a graduate student at the University of Texas pursuing a master's degree in Media Studies... which is just a fancy way of saying she plays a lot video games, watches far too many horror films, and then tries to pass it all off as "research."

BATMAN: BAD BLOOD Animated Movie

Director: Jay Oliva
Writer: J. M. DeMatteis
Studio: DC Warner Brothers Animation
Reviewer: Masked Man

Here comes the third Batman animated DVD in the new Warner Brother Animation franchise (The first two being SON OF BATMAN and BATMAN VS ROBIN). Like the previous ones, this one combines elements of various comic book stories to create an ‘original’ story. Since Damian Wayne is still a major character, it heavily borrows from Grant Morrison’s BATMAN AND ROBIN and “The Heretic” story. For the spoiler free quickie, review, it’s just as solid as the first two. Which are all superior latest Justice League franchise from WBA. B:BB is loaded with fights (loaded I say), has a rare Batman story twist, and of course continues plotlines from the last two films. Any passing fan of Batman will enjoy this, as will anyone who enjoyed the last two films.

Getting more to a spoiler break down, for those who wish to, follow me. Since WBA wanted to tell these recent Grant Morrison Bat tales, the first thing they had to do is kill Batman (since, let’s face it, there’s no way they are doing FINAL CRISIS!). So the movie starts with the introduction of the Heretic and Batwoman, which leads to Batman not surviving the encounter. With Gotham Batman less, Damian and Dick step up and become the new Batman and Robin. (With shades of the DARK KNIGHT RISES) The Heretic’s goals soon lead him to the Wayne Industry, forcing Lucius Fox to open the ‘Bat’-Vault to him and his gang of super villains. (With shades of Cyborg) Lucius gets hurt in the process and his son Luke Fox becomes Iron-Bat, er Batwing. Then we learn who the real villain of the piece is, Talia al Ghul. She has kidnapped Batman/Bruce Wayne and is having the Mad Hatter (who looks like Abe Lincoln for some reason) rewire his brain. To complete the family, Heretic kidnaps Damian too. Then it’s revealed (to those who didn’t read the comic) that the Heretic is a Damian clone, who’s been accelerated into adulthood (It’s hinted that Damian himself is clone too). (BIG SPOILER #1) Talia isn’t hip with the Heretic going off script, (as DeMatteis deviates from Morrison’s stories) so she kills them. Just then Batman (Dick), Batwoman and Batwing all show up battling nunjas (yeah) and freeing Damian and Bruce from Talia. (BIG SPOILER #2) As things get back to ‘normal’, it’s revealed Bruce Wayne is under Talia’s control (you don’t see that very often). She then uses him in a bid to take over the world. The heroes find out in time and it’s a giant throw down between Nightwing and Batman in the climax.

As I wrote earlier this is all executed very well. The art and script are both solid (though I’m a little tired of Andy Chiang’s character designs), and the action is non-stop. The little twist at the end (for people who skipped the spoilers, it’s not a major SIX SENSE like twist) is nice and rarely seen in a Batman story. I’d almost bet that was the concept DeMatteis (a very seasoned comic book writer) pitched in order to get the job writing this. The short and the long of it is producer James Tucker (BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD) and director Jay Oliva (his 7th WBA feature) knows how to make a good animated story. So the question often becomes, well how bad are the flaws.

As flaw go, there isn’t much, the biggest one to me is just how boring all the fighting is. I know that might sound crazy, but for a while now the fight scenes in these animated DVD’s have been just dull- for two reasons. One: They lack imagination, and all look the same. Every fight is just a paint by numbers, jump, kick, spin, punch, block, repeat. Even Alfred’s fight scene comes off feeling like a Batman fight scene, as he punches just as hard and fast. The fighters have no individual thought, and no blow is shown to have a greater or less effect than any other. All the storyboard artists should really study RAID REDEMPTION and not just copy it. Two: The timing is always off. This is an inherent flaw with the current American animation process. Where a director and storyboard artist draw out the scene, a timer times it (determining number of drawings per action) and an overseas animator animates to those guidelines. This overly complex process usually results in homogenized movement. Where everyone moves at the same pace, regardless of the character or action. So characters often move like robots, instead of human, even with good posing. To be fair, there are some nice moments to a few fights, but not enough for this fight heavy movie to seem special.

The second flaw has to do with the two big spoilers (seriously). The second misstep of the film is the marquee fight: Nightwing vs Batman. In wanting to be different from the comics, The Heretic is killed off. So after a great intro, showing him to be an awesome match for Batman we a robbed of that final showdown. In it’s place we get mind controlled Bruce Wayne vs Dick Grayson. Which, let’s be honest, can only have two cool how comes: One- Dick does something really awesome and clever to win. Or two- Bruce beats Dick to a bloody pulp, shocking everyone. But since either of those happen, the final showdown is no more interesting than any other fight. Although, brownie points for how the free Bruce from the mind control.

Lastly I’ll go over some comic book reader points. When I watched the film I thought is was kinda cool that they had Bat villains Firefly and Firebug team-up. Imagine my surprise when I saw the credits, that was suppose to be Killer Moth and Firefly? Disappointed they used Onyx, the bald villain, instead of the cool crime fighter from the 80’s. The use of Batwoman in the story was very well done, Batwing not so much. It’s very bizarre that the only two WBA African American heroes (Batwing and Cyborg) have basically the same origin. Finally Talia, she’s a psychopath here, just like in the comics. Which bugs me to no end. Why is DC turning they shades of grey characters (Maxwell Lord, Talia) into cardboard villains? It’s not good writing, it’s lack of imagination. Still, accepting her as a psycho, her character is fine in the film.

So there ya have it, all the dirt on BATMAN: BAD BLOOD, which prevents it from being a superior film. On the Masked Man’s scale of Crap, Poor, Decent, Good, and Great, BATMAN: BAD BLOOD scores a GOOD.


Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review: The Kid Marvel

I was extremely excited for this series, prior to its release for two reasons. One, Bendis and Sorrentino did a superb job for the SECRET WARS series of OLD MAN LOGAN and two, I was a massive fan of Lemire and Sorrentino’s run on GREEN ARROW and seeing these two on another series, that I was l already pretty high on, was just perfect. While the first issues wasn’t exactly as good as I thought it be, it wasn’t a disappointment either but, I’ll get to that.

First, OLD MAN LOGAN chronologically seems to follow Old Man Logan, prior to being picked up by future Jean Grey in EXTRAORDIDARY X-MEN, directly after Secret Wars, unlike most titles that begin their storylines much later. Logan is pretty dazed, with his memories shifting from the original OLD MAN LOGAN series by Miller, mixing with the current state of the Marvel 616 universe. After Logan’s reads a paper to check the date, about a third into the comic, it is revealed that the current year is 2015 and few years back, before what occurs in the original, Miller written, OLD MAN LOGAN arc. Logan hasn’t been manipulated by Mysterio yet and no villain uprising. We are then treated to a few more pages of Logan’s Wasteland memories, which ends up pushing the current premise, of what will probably consist of the next several issues. Rather than warning the heroes of their impending futures, Logan’s decided he’s going to start a hit list of some very specific targets and kill them. All of whom, for anyone who’s never read the original run and without spoiling it for them, were extremely pivotal and important characters in Miller’s story. Basically, Logan’s going to fix his future by killing those responsible in his time, before history can be repeated.

Overall, OLD MAN LOGAN 1 was a solid title but, not as overwhelming amazing as I’d hoped. However, I might have gotten my hopes up too much, for the first issue to a perfect book, without time to build the story. It’s definitely a fun read and the follow story looks like it’ll be extremely entertaining. I just need to relax a bit and let OLD MAN LOGAN get some momentum first.

Honestly, I think Lemire and Sorrentino are one of the best duos in the comic industry currently. Sorrentino’s art is god tier and never disappoints, he’s probably one of my favorite, if not my favorite artist at the moment. Then of course Jeff Lemire is no slouch either and if this overall arc is even half as good as GREEN ARROW, I’d have nothing to complain about. These two complement one another perfectly and I think it helps having Sorrentino’s art, being a sort of next level storytelling device on it’s own, that really helps bring the script to life and help the story flow beautifully from the writing. Lemire seems to have a strong grasp on Old Man Logan, his personality and I think will really capture the character as a whole. It’s been some time since there’s been a solo Wolverine centered title and I think Lemire, will create something spectacular with this out of place, old and grizzled Logan, whose sole mission is to hunt and kill. This doesn’t seem like there will be many team ups or outside characters, besides Logan’s targets, so it’ll be nice to have the story solely focus on Logan, without introducing too many side characters and deviating from the “loner” aspect, the Wolverine character is best known for. Plus, Sorrentino is handling the violence, blood and grizzled viciousness like no other in the artwork. It has a wonderful western feel to it, even with the first issue being centered in New York. I’m very excited to see how these two handle the series in the long run.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone. The art is phenomenal and worth the purchase on its own. Then of course with Lemire at the helm of the script and writing, OLD MAN LOGAN should be anything less than one of the best Marvel books on the shelf, as the series proceeds. Objectively, it’s a solid title and worth checking out. Subjectively, I’m beyond excited to see what these two bring to the character.

CHEW #54

Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

All things come to an end, whether you are prepared to deal with it or not. No one knows this fundamental truth about life better than a bald man, such as myself. But that is a harsh reality that fans of CHEW have been nibbling at with each issue that comes out, which is a shame, but is also something to be celebrated. The main cause for this commemoration, in my opinion, is not just the success of this title – which considering how unconventional it has been since day one, is also an accomplishment – but that it has stayed very true to itself from day one until now. Event with all the overlaying craziness of the book and the constant barrage of in-jokes, whether they be referential to the events within the book or a jab a the industry as a whole, CHEW has always had a big heart at its core, even if occasionally it stabbed that old blood pumper with a jagged chicken bone. That’s what has made those big, heartrending moments all the more potent, and that is what the fifty-fourth installment of this series puts on our plate while still dishing out the usual shenanigans.

What has provoked this outbreak of reminiscing about this series here in this space is just how well all of the story bits and unconventional humor has really come to a head in this penultimate story arc. This comic has come a long way from being the opener where it was a quirky book about the kind of dumped on cop turned FDA agent Tony Chu and his overly intellectual and hulking partner Savoy. The advancement of that relationship between Chu and Savoy from where it was then until now is really the metaphor of the book for the book and it really shows the range of what has transpired in all the issues in between. Tony and Savoy had a brief but very enjoyable and playful mentor/mentee relationship until the greater conspiracy of this comics’ world opened up and shit got a little bit real. Since then that relationship has bounced back and forth between those good times of riffy camaraderie and hands at each others throats and the tone of the book has matched those emotions appropriately, and I feel like that has been a great anchor for CHEW in the midst of all the other craziness John Layman has heaped onto the story.

This issue, though, is just a great culmination of everything the series has done up until this point and as it teeters on the brink of its finality and really stirs up the pleasant feelings it has planted over the years. The crazy varieties of food related abilities have been trickling down as the book has been pushing toward its end, but the applications of the more established gifts like Tony’s Cibopathy and Amelia’s Saboscrivner talents have evolved into plot devices I would have never imagined the depths of when this book started. That is probably the truest and best compliment I think can be paid to this book at this juncture in its life; that it already started as something incredibly unique from tone, appearance, plot devices and story structure and has still managed to surprise further with the expansion of these food power abstractions. Then you channel through that all the familial loyalty and infighting, the friendships, the betrayal, motherfucking Poyo, and on and on, and CHEW has just been chock full of all the good stuff you want in a classic comic book series. Also, Chogs, Chogs, Chogs.

Sometimes that fun has to lie aside for some dirty business and as we wind down on CHEW dirty business looks to be more of the name of the game. Sure, there’s some giant cow exploding goodness in here and, of course, CHOGS! But as we get down to the wire pivotal moments need to happen in any great story and the one that defines this issue has been foretold. Layman and Guillory handle it all with immense class though, finding that delicate balance of keeping the heart of the book light where it needs to be so that the bad times don’t fully cut. It’s a real talent to find that levity when a big downer affair sucks all the wind out of a story but with the pretty ridiculous, Chogular bits that Layman writes and Guillory’s masterful ability to go from cartoonish over exaggeration of the absurd bits into a tight and solemn mood as the bad times comes nearer and nearer, it really shows what a dynamic duo these folks have been bringing this comic book to life. I come here not to bury CHEW, but to praise it, though it very much has life a lot of life left in its final moments as it did during its shelf life, and sustaining such vigor for such a long creative run is an accomplishment indeed.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

It was a slow pull week for me, so I thought I’d get topical and check out the newest middle eastern superheroes, Marvel’s Pakistani-American Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and DC’s Egyptian-American Khalid Nassour (Doctor Fate). Right off the bat, I’m a long time reader and have no real interest in either of these two. Not because I’m some crazy Trump supporter, but because Carol Danvers and Kent Nelson will always be ‘the’ Ms. Marvel and Doctor Fate to me.

Starting off with Khan(!!!!!!!!), I’ll say appreciate the fact that Carol Danvers is still flying around. Unlike my boy Rich Rider, who Marvel is trying to forget in favor of Sam Alexander and his Dad. Despite Rich being listed #36 on an all time favorite Marvel character poll (Carol was 17, Kamala was 27, Sam didn’t make it), but I digress. Still, it’s nice that Marvel didn’t destroy Carol for Kamala, in the crusade for racial pandering (which is a double edged sword for sure).

Relaunching after the SECRET WARS, Ms. Marvel has discovered Hydra in her home town of Jersey City. Seems Hydra is involved in a mind control real estate scam to make Jersey City one of their bases. The guy in charge of this is un-named in this issue, so thanks Wilson. If that wasn’t personal enough for Ms. Marvel, her best friend Bruno is a mind slave of Hydra. Unable to rescue him directly, she hooks up with his girlfriend, Michaela. Ms. Marvel quickly gets involved in the old Peter Parker plot device of talking about personal relationships, with supporting cast members who don’t know the hero is the person they are talking about. Anyway, before getting mind controlled, Bruno came up with an antidote to the mind control drink. Ms. Marvel and Michaela manage to manufacture it with a 3-D printer (I don’t think 3-D printers work like that) and put an end to Hydra’s plan at a community gathering.

For the most part this is just a good superhero tale: Lot’s of action, a tricky problem to solve and fun with secret identities (which is rare these days). The personal drama is teen angsty, but the characters are in high school, so take it or leave it. With just a few minor things that threw me (the 3-D printer making an aerosol, and the rather long period of time before someone would come to Ms. Marvel’s aid), Wilson does a really good job putting this all together.

Miyazawa’s artwork also works very well here. It’s very fun and kinetic like the story. Though, I still find his anime inspired style, a little undercooked at times. Even though he’s been doing it for years, it can look rushed and inelegant at times. But the overall quality still makes it work well.

So despite being another so-called reversed white washed character- with superpowers swiped by DC’s off and on dead Elastic-Girl from the Doom Patrol, not to mention I doubt any girl her age (these days) knows what the heck the term Ms. means; MS. MARVEL is a fine comic book and worthy of the praise it is getting.


Writer: Eric Stephenson
Art: Dave Taylor
Publisher: Image Comics

A hiatus is a tricky, tricky move to pull off in the comic world. Taking any time off from your project is a roll of the dice and a big leap of faith that whatever audience you’ve generated would care enough to come back to you. It takes a lot of skill and a great story to win back the crowd and bring the flock back into the fold. You make that time you take off be a three year break? Well, you’ve got quite an uphill battle.

NOWHERE MEN, is attempting the climb.

That’s right, one of 2013’s hottest books is finally back! With the release of NOWHERE MEN #7, science is once again The New Rock and Roll, and we pick back up in the densely packed sci-fi adventure right where we left off. The cliff hanger that creators Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde left us in at the end of issue six has been mostly answered and the next chapter of the story is underway.

Predominantly taking place in the hospital that Emerson Strange’s daughter runs, this issue is basically one long check in. Now that the dust has settled from the first arc, the players on the chess board get a chance to stop, take a second, look around, and introduce themselves to each other. They discuss what happened, why it happened, and how foolish each other are for allowing it to happen.

And that’s… pretty much it. This is where getting your book out of hiatus gets hard; issue seven is very much a “back from hiatus” book. There is plenty of exposition that isn’t too clunky, summarizing what just happened, while lots of characters think out loud to each other about how they feel about what is now the status quo, and plenty of upset people exclaim how “[Character] could possibly do [pivotal plot point from previous issues]!” Though Bellegarde is sadly missing from art duties, Dave Taylor is generally successful in matching Bellegarde’s style so as to facilitate a smooth transition back into the book. All together a good, useful place to restart book and remind people of what just happened after three years of radio silence.

That said though, the second half of a successful “back from hiatus” book is that next step. What’s coming next? What comments have you let your characters drop that get us excited for issue eight? What new developments have happened while everyone was away exploding things? What’s hooking us back onto your line? In this issue, there seemed to be an unfortunate lack aforementioned kernels of excitement. The closest the book gets to exciting is the last page which is, in typical comic book form, a splash panel with a big revelation. It’s a revelation that I am admittedly excited about, but take that one page out, however, and it’s difficult to find much new information.

Taylor’s art plays it similarly safe. There’s a bit of an uncanny valley effect to the pages; Taylor is so close to Bellegarde that from afar, you can’t usually tell, but the closer you look, the more inconsistencies you find, picking out differences until it’s shown to be a copy that is just little bit plainer, a little safer in its renderings of this cool sci-fi world. Something as simple as a news report on others infected with the book’s mysterious virus is drawn as blue panels, floating heads, and text boxes; the most boring choice when it came to an already recap heavy sequence.

Ultimately, it’s hard to gauge exactly how “successful” NOWHERE MEN is in its attempts to capture our hearts and minds. It’s a book that has never been known for its break-neck pace, so perhaps it is premature to judge harshly this moment of relative peace and instead we ought to relish this time when most of the characters are in the same room together and aren’t actively trying to kill one another. The story up to this point has been so compellingly reeled out bit by bit that this is probably, hopefully, part of a larger puzzle, painstakingly pieced together. Now that they’ve reminded us of where the story is, the real test is going to be where they go with issue eight.

NOEHERE MEN, congratulations on cheating publication death. You are successfully out of hiatus. Here’s hoping you stick around for a while this time.


Writer: Matt Hawkins
Art: Issac Goodheart
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

So, I haven’t spent much time talking about it, but Postal? Which started last year and centers around one of the most engaging settings I’ve seen in comics in the town of Eden, and the criminals who live there?

It’s really fucking good.

The series centers on the residents of the town, all of whom (except one) are criminals and monsters. But in the town of Eden, an unmapped location somewhere in the woods of Wyoming, these people are given a chance to create new lives for themselves. Led by the ruthless mayor Laura Shiffron, the residents walk the line of freedom. All except her son, Mark, an innocent young man with Asperger’s who serves as the cities postman. There’s murder, sex, intrigue, betrayal, and at the core of it, the story of Mark growing into a man (and possibly a bad one at that). It’s really fucking good.

But this issue provides a nice jumping on point for any interested parties, as it looks like we have a new power player on the field. The issue introduces us to Molly, a long haired woman who seems nice enough, but with a certain edge that turns razor sharp by the end. The cast comes through clear here, especially Mark, who uses his disconnect to the rest of the world (save Maggie, his only friend and a waitress at the diner) to serve as a Sherlock Holmes esque detective for the various crimes that he stumbles across.

The series centers around redemption and justice, and Molly is an interesting way to look at it. We’re not 100% sure who or what she is yet, but there’s a sliver of menace to every action she takes. But is this something that can be redeemed for the betterment of Eden? Should she be redeemed? Maggie herself is a good parallel, a more conventionally kind and appealing character, who’s gotten by on manipulating Mark and playing sides against the city. And with the genuinely kind Mark at the center, the book has been transforming into one of those series I’m ecstatic to see a new issue of every month.

And I haven’t even gotten to the art yet! The pencils by Issac Goodheart are wonderful, sleek enough to keep the action always moving but full of creative paneling and choices. Each character feels like their own unique person, and stands out. And hell, just the way Mark figures out puzzles and mysteries is engaging looking. And on top of that, Gonia gives the whole book a beautiful look with her solid colour work.

This middle America mystery is deep, with each issue of revealing another level of horror and intrigue. And I haven’t even gotten to the force of nature made man that is Mark’s father.

This series is really fucking good.


Writer: Paul Levitz
Artist: Ibrahim Moustafa
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

Now part two of my middle eastern superhero review, the latest Dr. Fate. As I mentioned in my review of MS. MARVEL, Kent Nelson will always be Dr. Fate to me. But just like the term Ms. Marvel, many characters have held the Dr. Fate title. Though each time a new character takes the title, DC has to reinvent the whole concept of Dr. Fate (seriously?)! As a long time reader, the original (or at least the 60’s and 70’s update of the 40’s character) still works best and is still quite original: That being the concept of the iconic helmet being a conduit to another worldly being, taking possession of the wearing to protect time, space and humanity against threatens outside the normal, a so-called Lord of Order. But of course this new Dr. Fate is nothing like that, as the helmet just gives him the ability to cast spells.

Longtime DC scribe (back before I started reading) Paul Levitz has now tied the Dr. Fate concept to Egypt even more (the original helmet wearer, Nabu, was always Egyptian). As the series deals with Egyptian gods, and the young hero is an Egyptian-American Khalid Nassour. Now since this series re boot/launch/birth ed after CONVERGENCE, I have no idea what Earth it takes place on, or if any of the other Dr. Fates still exist or existed. Aside from Robins, it’s DC’s current M.O. to burn everything prior to re boot/launch/birth - especially in the New 52 (what, you mean Jaime Reyes still isn’t more popular than Ted Kord!? – inconceivable!). With the helmet, Nassour (running around as the rookie hero) has the ability to absorb energy around him and use it to fuel his spells (or desires as there doesn’t seem to be any real structure to the spell casting). Now if that sounds clunky, well it looks just as clunky, because Moustfa has no good idea how to draw that, aside form having magic wavy lines coming from Dr. Fate’s hands doing fairly nondescript things.

In this issue, the world is still recovering from the damage caused by the first story arc, as Anubis tried to flood the world. Bastet turned Khalid into Dr. Fate to defeat Anubis and now heal the world. So Fate travels to a few locations, inelegantly using his powers to fix broken structures- kinda. All the while he does the usual rookie hero bit of dealing with self-doubt. Levitz lays it on heavy with the meta world encouraging him, and even jedi-mind-tricking his girlfriend not to be mad at him.

Overall, Levitz clearly wants the middle eastern angle of this series to actually factor into the story, and not just be the color of the hero’s skin. Which is a good idea, but might be a bit heavy handed here. The issue itself, is kind of a time out issue, as not much happens, accept spending time with Khalid, who, while not unlikable, really isn’t very likable either.

Ibrahim Moustafa’s artwork is very likeable either. Looking at his work online, he seems to be another artist that has great looking personal and pin-up work, but his pages come off half @$$ed in comparison. His figures are pretty unappealing and his action is very confusing. Since it seems to be unclear how Dr. Fate’s powers actually function, well that doesn’t help Moustafa either. His attempts to do the Spider-Man/Peter Parker split face are rather inelegant too.

Unfortunately, I'd bet Khalid will soon be joining the ranks of the Wikipedia footnotes about Doctor Fate. Especially, since it seems DC is Re- boot/launch/birth –ing everything again five months. They know you only like buying #1 issues, so here are 24 more!


An @$$-itorial by Stones Throw

The Story so Far: Back in 2013, an ex-writer for this site received a secret cache of e-mails from the heart of Marvel, DC and the independent publishers, threatening to expose a major scandal at the heart of the comic book world in the 21st century. He immediately published the highlights on AICN Comics. Before he was able to finish his revelations, he received a strange visitor which shut him up without trace for the next two-and-a-half years.

Now, finally, he is ready to conclude his story …

The next two years were a baffling whirlwind that took me from Communist China, where I witnessed the deaths before my own eyes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, to the imperial capital of London and the heart of the British government, to the Syrian chemical weapons programme, The Hague, to drug-running in Colombia and the very depths of poverty in Crystal Palace.

But all that time I kept before me the vision of that slender, wizened man with the mustache and glasses who had appeared before me, prevented my dream of being the “Deep Throat” of the AICN Comics Talkback League of @$$Holes, and told me a story that had rocked my world to its very core.

“Greetings, True Believer!” he had said (and how could I ever erase those words from my mind?). “Are you quite convinced that this course is correct, chum? It’d be a marvel if a maniac like you were to make a mistake – and not such a merry one, either!”

What could he have meant? Didn’t we believe in truth, justice, and the Ain’t it Cool way, here in comic book reviewing?

“You see, sport, this slimy scandal could be a little slippery for us! Would ya find it fun if all your favorite friends – like The Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and the Amazing Spider-Man – and all those delights from the Distinguished Competition – were frozen, (I mean iced!) like a fox in Fido’s fangs?” And he had torn up one of the comic books lying in my apartment and scattered the tiny pieces across the room.

“No, sir – I mean, I wouldn’t like that at all,” I had said, miserably.

“Well, listen and look! I had no idea what I was entering into either! I was makin’ merry with Uncle Marty for the summer! Then Joe and Jerry conceived the Kryptonian – and that was the start of it all! Jack and the Captain – Kane and the Knight! There was no stoppin’ em!

“Soon serious sums were circulating! Stuff got spooky! Some powerful players got involved – the people at National, then Warner, now Disney! Hell, even the U.S. Government had us barterin’ bonds for a while!

“But what about the schmucks who had started it? Joe and Jerry and Bob and Bill and Jack and Joe and all? Well, they wanted their wage! Can ya blame ‘em? But reward woulda involved rights – and rights coulda meant runnin’ outa retention!

“Well, me, I stuck with the studios! What else could I consider? And I didn’t have it so dire! I was at the Playboy shanty in the Seventies … the creator of the Incredible Hulk, and Spidey – keepin’ schtum about Kirby and Steve!

“Then they started makin’ the movies – more massive than little ol’ me coulda imagined! Now they gotta keep creatin’ the comics, or they’ll cease copyright! But they don’t want ‘em noticed, either! They want all the money to the movies! Otherwise the offspring could get uppity – all the Siegels and Kanes and Kirbys and Schusters!

“That’s why your comics are sh--”

I had heard enough! Before he could even say “Excelsior!”, I had fled, away from that place, away from AICN Comics, away from comic stores – for two-and-a-half long years. My dreams had shattered. Disney bought Marvel, and then STAR WARS – none of it mattered to me anymore. I had seen through the “fourth wall” – beyond the frames of the comic panel – and discovered that it was only a lie.

So why do I tell this story now? Now, with AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON, ANT-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR, BATMAN VS SUPERMAN THE DAWN OF JUSTICE, STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, STEP BROTHERS 2: THE MOVIE and all the rest being cranked out in endless succession, and the studios at their evil work, like Banquo’s line of kings?

Because I entertain a faint hope – nothing more than a glimmer – that my victors may turn aside from their wrongdoing, and in their movies embrace good old-fashioned characters, drama and plots, like before! That the comics may learn the lesson of the best of the movies, and show us some solid art and storytelling!

I have a dream!

And if nothing else, there’s always GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2...

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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