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STORE NEWS
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Review Date: 10/25/2009

Since we're getting ever closer to Halloween, King Leonardo has decreed that we review this week the following three Halloween and/or creepy-themed comic books:
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Batman Unseen #1
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Doug Moench: Writer
Kelley Jones: Art
Michelle Mausen: Colors

 

 

 
 

             D.C. Comics has published this week issue #1 in a new, six-issue Batman mini-series entitled Batman Unseen.  The series is written by Doug Moench with art by Kelley Jones and Michelle Mausen.  This new series is designed to give us a needed fix of our currently-lost original Batman Bruce Wayne, and as such is subtitled "A Lost Tale Of Bruce Wayne As Batman."

     Issue #1 is entitled "Part One Meat-Man" and introduces two connected sub-plots.  The main storyline focuses on Dr. Nigel Glass, a mad scientist who is bankrolled by a mysterious, unidentified benefactor to complete his human invisibility research.  Glass tests his research on himself; he moves step-by-step throughout the tale toward complete invisibility, while at the same time declining into madness as a side affect of his experimentation.  By issue's end, Batman is on the trail of the now killer mad scientist.  A secondary storyline finds Batman having difficulty dealing with Gotham's common criminals, as he finds that they are not reacting in fear to his costumed personality as The Dark Knight.

     This is an enjoyable comic book for three reasons.  First, from the creepy, flying bat-filled cover to the style of the inside artwork, it seems specifically designed as a timely and effective Halloween comic book.  Secondly, the story is well-written and entertaining.  It's fun to see the mad scientist descend deeper into craziness step-by-step as he sheds each physical layer of his normal physical humanity for the appeal of total invisibility.  Third, I liked very much writer Doug Moench's fresh story element of Batman wrestiling with the problem of not being scary enough to the average crooks that he's dealing with.  It's an intriguing anti-Halloween type of problem, and it will be very interesting to see where the remaining five issues of this mini-series take us regarding Batman trying to bring the creepiness back into his mojo.  So a definite Halloween Pumpkin thumbs-up for our first holiday-appropriate comic book of the week.     

 
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House Of Mystery Halloween Annual #1
Publisher:  D.C. Vertigo
Matthew Sturges: Writer
Luca Rossi: Penciller
Jose Marzan: Inker
Lee Loughridge: Colors

 

 
 

          
    DC Vertigo has very appropriately picked House Of Mystery for a Halloween Annual special issue.  The extra-sized, 38-page $4.99 issue is scripted by Matthew Sturges with art by Luca Rossi, Jose Marzan and Lee Loughridge.  I gave a positive review last year to a monthly issue of this title, in which grad student Fig lives in the House of Mystery, which serves as an out-of-the-time-continuum pub where all sorts of varied timestream and alternate reality folk gather to drink, trade stories and deal with the creepy mysteries of the House.

      Entitled "Do You See What I See?", the main storyline of the Halloween issue finds our main character Fig donning a creepy Halloween mask that she found stored in ye olde House of Mystery; the mask immediately becomes stuck to her face, transporting her into four flashback tales of horror relating to past use of the mask.  In between the four tales, Fig's House of Mystery buddies work to get the mask off of her, succeeding in the end with the typical dark humor results of this comic title.  In between the Fig rescue activity, we're treated to the mask-related Halloween tales starring several other Vertigo comic characters, including Merv Pumpkinhead, John Constantine: Hell Blazer, I Zombie and Madame Xanadu.

     There's a surprisingly large and satisfying amount of material here for one comic book issue.  The main House of Mystery story is very well-written and has a good amount of the campy humor that makes this title so much fun without being weighed down by over-the-top gross-out horror.  While three of the four flashback tale stories do feature an amount of gore and/or dark horror, they are of very high quality and become at times emotionally moving, as opposed to just having splatter for its own sake.  This is by far the largest and most variety-oriented holiday comic issue I've seen in a very long time; there's something very enjoyable in it for all reader's tastes, so another Holiday Pumpkin thumbs-up for this feature holiday edition.  My advice is also to stick with reading the monthly issues of House of Mystery, too, of course!

 
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DMZ #46
Publisher: D.C. Vertigo Comics
Brian Wood: Writer
Riccardo Burchielli: Artist
Jeromy Cox: Colors

 

 
 

          
    Issue #46 of DMZ is out this week, published under DC's Vertigo imprint.  The comic book is written by its creator Brian Wood, with art by Riccardo Burchielli and Jeromy Cox.  The setting of DMZ is a  near future New York City, which serves as a mostly abandoned demilitarized zone between the warring factions of the federal government and successionist groups known as the "Free State Armies," that sprang-up in the Midwest and have taken over part of the city.  One of the main characters is Matty Roth, a journalist who became trapped in the war zone early in the series.

     Issue #46 is part two of a multi-issue story arc entitled "Hearts and Minds."  The story centers on tensions escalating in the DMZ as all parties react to the news that successionist leader Parco Delgado claims to have a nuclear weapon secreted somewhere in New York.  There's a multi-page scene as Matty Roth dialogues with a local militia leader in an attempt to defuse the escalating tension, while at the same time we witness an anonymous radio reporter broadcasting the situation from a secret location in the city.

     I had never read an issue of DMZ before, and decided to include it in this Halloween review column because to me, a tale of armageddon and societal breakdown is as creepy as any horror story can be.  I found both the plot and story atmosphere to be extremely entertaining, on a par with much of the other high quality story-telling produced over the past several years by veteran writer Brian Wood.  The fragmented warring society that Wood has created in this comic comes across as less of a broken world and more of a technologically-evolved punk society, more along the lines of the cyberpunk science fiction genre writing of authors such as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.  As such, the universe of the DMZ title was much less depressing and more science fiction-interesting than expected.  Back issues of DMZ as well as trade paperback reprints of earlier issues are all available at That's Entertainment.

 
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Contest Reminder!!!

Just a reminder that we're still taking entries at Gordon_A@msn.com for our current contest.  Your challenge is to submit to us your favorite science fiction or fantasy genre television show and tell us why the rest of us shouldn't be missing out on watching your show.  So e-mail us no later than Wednesday, October 28 with your entry.  First prize is a $10.00 gift certificate to That's Entertainment.

That's it for now, so have a great comic book reading week and see you again next week Here In Bongo Congo!

 
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