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God of Comics – Dragon Age: Knight Errant #3

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 11, 2017

Dragon Age: Knight Errant #3 (Dark Horse Comics)

We seem to be talking about this comic a lot but we’re just kinda eager for more Dragon Age. We’ve got a history of tragedy in these games, having romanced Morrigan, Anders, and Solas, and we need to know what mage is going to break our hearts in the fourth game – of which there are no details other then it’s maybe happening?

There was more intel on the new Metroid game(s) than on the fourth installment of Dragon Age. And, hey, Anthem looks interesting and Andromeda wasn’t as bad as people seem to think and that’s a miracle given the horror story that is that game’s production cycle, but…

We like this comic. We like it a lot. For those of us that are trapped by obsession on Thedas, this comic is the first story that takes place after the end of the last game. It’s in canon. We’ve returned to Kirkwall, the location of the second game and the former home of Marian Hawke and her ill-fated family. Seriously, you want tragedy? Bethany died! Carver’s a Warden! Mom was chopped into pieces and turned into a zombie that you had to kill! Uncle lost the family fortune and then found out he had a daughter who nothing bad has happened to (yet)! Boyfriend one is a murderous traumatized elf! Boyfriend two started a war! Marian herself is trapped in the Fade! At least the dog is okay…

Anyways, Hawke’s best friend is a Dwarf named Varric who was just made the Viscount of Kirkwall, a position that has been empty since the last one was beheaded. Good for him. Varric has been pretty great in two games now and he’s a writer and spymaster. He’s got good business sense and has seen some terrible things, so he’s probably got this.

The coronation is kind of a big deal and a lot of people were invited, including a knight whose best days are behind him and his apprentice, an elf named Vaea. Vaea has also seen the worst humanity has to offer because being an elf in Thedas hasn’t been easy for a while now, and she’s currently being blackmailed by members of the Inquisition maybe who want her to pull off a job for them.

She’s got to navigate the political intrigue of the upper echelons of society, including the holier-than-thou Prince Sebastian of Starkhaven and the somehow even worse Seneschal Granger while not exposing her knight to the job that she’s being forced to undertake on the side.

We’ve mentioned in the past that this comic is being expertly written by Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis, a writing duo who very much get the appeal of Dragon Age and the feel of Thedas. Artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa does a good job of capturing the feel and space of Kirkwall and is going to give us a look at Starkhaven in this very issue.

It might not be the visit to Thedas that we’re waiting for but it is worth the price of admission. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.

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252

God of Comics – Bankshot #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

June 26, 2017

Bankshot #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Alex di Campi is a mad genius.

I feel like we need to start there. She’s the person that brought us Archie vs Predator, and if you haven’t read that crossover you should probably go and take a look: she successfully combined the wholesomeness and weird underbelly of the Archie comics with the bloodlust-driven sanity of the Predator franchise. It was a thing that shouldn’t have worked, but she used the black arts and her pen to stitch two worlds together in a way that no one could have foreseen (but that you can now find at your local comic shop).

With Bankshot, she’s merging the themes of Robin Hood with the modern landscape. How would the world react to someone physically taking on the greed and evils of Wall Street – you know, when they’re bribing politicians to pass legislation that physically results in the rest of us dying (see Trumpcare, or, as it should probably be called, Republicans don’t care about you)?

See, Wall Street has gotten pretty good at dealing with non-violent protests by making them look idiotic (see the demonization of the Occupy movement) or making them look violent (see any BLM protest) or using violence to suppress them (see the NDAP). They’re used to cracking down on groups while those groups die, and have built an impressive oligarchal system that’s going to kill them in the long term whole reaping profits in the short term.

Reaping. Get it? Because they’re killing all of us.

Thing is, Robin Hood started as a selfish ass with good public relations, and her hero is going to be doing the same thing. His name is Marcus King, and he’s being called a terrorist while giving the image of doing right by the downtrodden – but that’s all it is, an image inspired by the old Robin Hood myth, until he meets someone who plans to blackmail him into being the real deal.

If that doesn’t sound like awesome comics you haven’t been paying attention.

Art duties are being handled by Chris Cross – whose are will make you stand up and pay attention – and he is a goddamn living legend. Seriously, this guy has worked on everything from Blood Syndicate for DC’s Milestone imprint to Captain Marvel for Marvel to Archer & Armstrong and Bloodshot over at Valiant. When he works on a comic it’s because that comic has something to say about the era in which it’s being created.

Either Alex di Campi or Chris Cross alone would be enough to get me excited about this comic, but both of them together hardly seems fair. Throw in the content of what they’re working on and it’s impossible to not be interested in what they’re putting out.

This right here? This is the comic I’m most excited about reading this week, and you should be, too.

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150

God of Comics – Dragon Age: Knight Errant #2

God Of Comics, Reviews

June 13, 2017

Dragon Age: Knight Errant #2 (Dark Horse Comics)

Alright. The story continues. This is the first post-Trespasser story in the Dragon Age universe and it’s given us some hints at things.

Looks like the Inquisition continues to exist. I’m happy with that. My heart-broken Lavellan would definitely not give up her fight with the Dread Wolf, nor cut off any other part of her ability to take the fight to anyone that crosses her. She already lost a hand and her love; no need to give up her organization.

My thing is… well, where’s Hawke? Marian was the Champion of Kirkwall and this story is taking place in her city. The new Viscount is her former best friend, and I’m curious to see where the default decision in Dragon Age went. They made Alistair king (which I also did), but we still don’t know if Hawke was left in the fade or not (she totally booted everyone else out in my game and took the fight to the Nightmare, and the only thing that kept Anders sane when he heard was Fenris and the child the three of them were raising).

What’s the deal, Bioware? I need to know. Hawke is a totemic character with me. Also, Anthem looks cool and all but is there any word on Dragon Age 4 other than it’s being worked on?

Anyway, this story. You’ve seen the Magnificent Seven or Seven Samurai, right? If not, do so. The recent take on the western – the one with Chris Pratt – is quite good. The main characters here are reminiscent of two of the characters from there, one a legend and the other an apprentice. The legend is worn out but no one knows it yet, allowing that person to still be a legend. The apprentice knows but is protecting her master while being protected by him.

See, the apprentice, in this case, is an elven thief named Vaea and she’s on the run from a very angry Templar. Elves are very much second-class citizens in the world of Dragon Age, having lost much of their magic, most of their culture, and all of their immortality. Templars, meanwhile, have a pretty dark history in Kirkwall what with the time they tried to murder all mages (my Hawke was a mage, too).

Thing is, Vaea is an elf and the Inquisition’s primary opposition at this point appears to be an actual living Elven God by the name of Solas or the title of Fen’Harel, which means the Dread Wolf. She’s understandably a bit leery of what the Inquisition is up to, or if the people that have contacted her are actually part of the Inquisition at all, but their offer of aid is one she’s going to want to take once the Templar with a hate-on for her shows up.

The writers here are Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis, a married couple who have done TV and comics and manga and all sorts of cools stuff all over the place (and you should check out Dracula Everlasting if you like the whole manga thing). They’ve got a pretty good handle on the whole Dragon Age thing and issue one was a lot of fun. Art is being done by Fernando Heinz Furukawa and colors are being wrought by the incomparable Michael Atiyeh, and between the two of them this book is gorgeous.

If you’re looking for some great and detailed fantasy, this is your jam.

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372

God of Comics – Joe Golem, Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 30, 2017

Joe Golem, Occult Detective: The Outer Dark #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Peace Talks is still not anywhere close to publication – Jim Butcher is still working on the script and those of us waiting for that unique blend of detective noir and urban fantasy have had to deal with whatever we can get our claws on. Novel-wise that can be tricky: plenty of good urban fantasy but where’s the mystery, the allure, the pull?

Joe Golem is a good place to start looking.

A comic series written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, the first volume of Joe Golem was published in 2015 and introduced us to a haunted Manhatten that flooded forty years prior to the start of story. Joe was working as a gumshoe in this drowning city, investigating the children that were vanishing below the watery surface of the city.

This being a story by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, there was an inhuman creature that was responsible for the whole mess and Joe ended up having to face down things that were never meant to exist. That is kind if what these two writers bring to the table – an extended and creeping Lovecraftian horror, as seen by their works in Hellboy and Baltimore. These two know their shit, know how to dig into the guts of dread and weave a tale that’ll creep into your dreams and stay there, waiting for those moments when you think sleep is safe.

It isn’t. Not after reading something like this. And that’s why it’s great.

The world in the comics has moved on as our world has – two years have gone by since Joe stopped an army of resurrected dead and questions were left unanswered. Old powers continue to whisper forgotten truths into Joe’s sleeping mind as his mentor uses steampunk science to keep himself alive and fighting a battle old than the devil himself.

Enter a new piece in the game Joe is being forced to play: something that looks like a man but is stronger than any man should be, attacking people on urges delivered from beyond all sanity and into his head. This is no mere madman, but another gambit by the forces of entropy to tear our world apart…

Illustrator Patric Reynolds returns to Joe Golem, bringing the same washed out moody visuals he brought to Aliens, Prometheus, Hellboy, and the previous run of this title. If you’re looking for something possessed of the weird, this is the comic you should be picking up.

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400

God of Comics: Dragon Age – Knight Errant #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 9, 2017

Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

So, I do this thing where I assign totemic analogs of my closest friends in pop culture and I’m lucky enough that they’re willing to play along. I have a friend who we refer to as the Hero of Time, for example, and every time a new Legend of Zelda game comes out we ask him what he remembers about that incarnation. It’s ridiculous and kinda fun and a practice I exempted myself from for a long time due to depression and the like.

A big kick of trauma made me re-evaluate some things as I was playing Dragon Age II and as a result, I ended up applying Hawke to myself. It’s, again, a weird totemic thing, a pop culture analog that makes games more interesting and gives the people involved something to draw upon in unexpected ways: going back to the Hero of Time, he got weirdly good at archery for no real reason. It was kinda cool. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is it helps if the games involved have a story or mythology as in-depth as the Legend of Zelda…. or Dragon Age II.

I’m told that Bioware games lend themselves very well to this process and am, of course, inclined to agree. We build head-canons around the characters we travel with, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have a preferred party build in Dragon Age: Origins (Alistair, Morrigan, Leliana), Dragon Age II (Varric, Anders, Fenris), and Dragon Age Inquisition (Blackwall, Sera or Iron Bull, and the bald elf-god that broke my heart). We build moments between them that have nothing to do with the game, and…

Well.

The comics are canon explanations of stuff that happens in the world of those games, but doesn’t fit into the games themselves. In this case, Hawke’s best friend, Varric Tethras, is a beardless dwarf who is sometimes a spy master and sometimes a drunk and is always an exile from the Dwarven kingdoms, an odd Dwarf out, but that’s changing due to his heroics around Thedas in general and Kirkwall in particular and he’s about to be made a viscount.

Should be cool, but there’s an Elf girl-squire named Vaea and her knight is dragging her to Kirkwall for the ceremony and she’s got a bit of a shady past. When she finds what looks like an easy job she’s going to take it because of course she is, not understanding how dangerous Kirkwall can be and how things that look simple in Kirkwall always end up changing on the fly.

It sounds like a fun little tale and it’s being told by the duo of Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis. The two of them have a knack for this sort of thing (see Amazing Agent Jennifer, Bad Medicine, and Dracula Everlasting for proof of concept), with art by Stitch’s Heinz Furukawa and colors by Michael Atiyah, who does a lot of video game comics and always does an excellent job of making inks pop.

This would be the comic I’m looking most forward to this week, but…

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393

God of Comics: Shaolin Cowboy – Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 19, 2017

Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Many many moons ago, I walked into Big Pete’s Comics and Collectibles and found a Smiling Big Pete. Pete is big, usually, the sort of tall that makes you think that maybe he’s smuggling back mushrooms from a certain kingdom or maybe he did, in fact, defeat the King of the Koopas. And he often does smile. He is an affable fellow.

The smile on this day, though, was different. It was a special smile. A smile rooted in the discovery of something no one was ever supposed to know about. A smile that spoke of those maddening gifts that sometimes one is lucky enough to find, and – if one is paying attention – lucky enough to acknowledge.

Such treasures need to be shared.

Have you ever heard,” Pete asked, speaking in the tone of one who has discovered a great truth, “of Shaolin Cowboy?”

The comic he placed in my hands was madness – starting with a wordless splash page fight scene that lasted an entire issue, where an unassuming old man in frumpy clothes fought an army armed with a stick that had two chainsaws attached to it. There was pathos here, somehow, an implied ethos and uncertain logos that left one stripped of order and adrift in chaos.

It was gory, ridiculous, and beautiful.

Geof Darrow is the mad prophet that brings us this vision of greatness, this salivating and glorious insanity. In the latest chapter of Samurai Cowboy the frumpy old man battles beachfront property and some of its associated horrors. Those horrors are looking for revenge for things maybe in a comic that has won and lost Eisner awards. Do not look away. Stare into the void. Read the comic. Look in the mirror.

Your smile will shock you, but only then will you Understand.

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1353

God of Comics 2015-12-30

Culture, God Of Comics

December 29, 2015

All-New Wolverine #3All-New Wolverine #3

I really like Laura. I dig her character and I’m glad she’s stepped in to fill Logan’s absence, even if the traditional Wolverine outfit looks kinda ridiculous on her. Still, I like what they’ve done with her pretty much from the get-go, and this comic continues that trend – we’re getting stories that explore concepts of personhood and agency, and adding a little spy thriller melodrama to the mix. Her relationship with time-displaced young Angel is presented as a healthy thing here, two characters that know and trust one another. It all makes for good reading, unlike…

 

All-New X-Men #3All-New X-Men #3

… this. This is not good reading. This is not good reading because everyone but Young Time Displaced Scott feels like they’re being written out of character. All that interesting stuff between Laura and time-displaced Warren I mentioned above? Short circuited here for some trite melodrama. Also, pretty much everyone else is relegated to comic release, or forced so far outside of what they were or what you’d expect them to be as to make them unreadable. The artwork is good and there’s some really not concepts here, but slogging through the mire of this dialogue is tedious at best.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #13Batman and Robin Eternal #13

Okay, so Bruce maybe sorta ordered himself up an heir after a young Dick Grayson kinda screwed up enough for mother to realize who Batman was. We got to see the two of them chatting and talking about murder and other things, and I’m assuming that there is a trick coming – every writer on this is too skilled not to have something up their collective sleeves. This continues to be an excellent little mystery, an even keel that is ramping things up as we return to the DCYou version of Cassandra Cain. This is fun and if you like DC Comics you should be following it.

 

Black Magick #3Black Magick #3

If you like comics, however, or incredibly strong stories with a rich history and mythology implied on every page, then you really must be reading this. It’s Greg Rucka inventing another world in which to play in, this one involving a witch who is also a cop and the politics of a centuries out coven that is running from a group of witch hunters who are now using magic, or getting someone to use magic for them. There’s a real sense of menace here, some awful and thus far unseen power that is wrecking havoc on people’s lives. It’s great stuff, is what we’re saying. Check it out.

 

Drax #2Drax #2

We told you. We told you last month that CM Punk was going to write something awesome, and he went out and wrote something awesome. Drax is the muscle for the Guardians of the Galaxy, but all of them are going off and doing their own things in their own titles. Drax, of course, gets a turn, and heads off to find and kill Thanos because that is what Drax does. His ship cuts out, stranding him on a world with Terrax, so they go to get drunk and maybe go on a crime spree so they can raise some money to fix the ship and go kill Thanos, maybe even together~! Comics are amazing.

 

Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6Harley Quinn & Power Girl #6

Jimmy Palimioti and Amanda Conner have quietly been writing one of the best runs with this character that has ever been, and one of the best titles that DC Comics has ever published. This run is part of her epic team-up with Power Girl, when the two of them went galivanting through other dimensions and saved a Seventies Disco Sex God from an alien invasion led by aliens that are against fun in all it’s forms. Having done this they now have to find a way home, which might involve Power Girl marrying the aforementioned Sex God. There are no words for this. You must experience it. Yes.

 

Jughead #3Jughead #3

Wow, this comic is weird. Like, really, really weird. Jughead is the classic character we all know in love, now updated (again) for the modern world by… not really changing very much of anything. Jughead is one of those characters that is iconic because he fits into any situation. There’s something very Zen about Jughead. He is, of course, still subject to the vicissitudes of fate, and this comic is exposing him to the horrors of crumbling personal freedoms and enforced mediocre conformity within the modern American school system. He is, however, armed with his imagination, so my money is on Jughead, but then I hate people that abuse the authority they think they have.

 

Rat Queens #14Rat Queens #14

Has there ever been a tighter fantasy comic than this one? Rat Queens hit the world at the exact best moment for itself – a high-stakes fantasy adventure starring a foul-mouthed, life-loving, all-female mercenary band. It’s given us some of the deepest characters in the medium while exploring a number of absurd and harsh realities, all while never losing sight of itself. Take Hannah, the necromancer half-elf, half-tiefling who is sometimes the voice of reason but is now getting lost in some pretty terrible family stuff that was wide-reaching implications for her world. The timing of this – right after Christmas – is magic, the sort of thing we could all use.

 

Southern Bastards #13Southern Bastards #13

One of my favorite books growing up was a science fiction novel called Illegal Aliens: some aliens land in Central Park in the mid-eighties, and an entire chapter is dedicated to explaining how the world responds. When these reactions are summarized for the UN, it’s explained as “America during Superbowl Sunday.” There is nothing more important in the American consciousness than Football, especially when you leave the trappings of civilization behind for the ever-present heat of the broken south. This is a tale of that broken south and football. This will not end well.

 

Star Wars #14Star Wars #14

Do you ever think that, perhaps, a company decides to drag something on longer than they should? Sometimes, events happen on their own, necessitated by story: that’s what appeared to be happening with Vader Down, but aside from the last few pages in the last part of this event, well, there didn’t seem to be much happening. A holding pattern. I’m not sure why – the art is good and the writing is Gillen, and even bad Gillen is better than some people’s best. Let’s see if we can get this thing back in track with the one thing we all need: Wooke Wrestling Entertainment. BAH GAWD.

 

Sunstone Vol. 4Sunstone Vol. 4

Stjepan Sejic was goofing around on hid deviantart page and accidentally created one of the best romance comics, period. Sunstone is a mature and honest look at love and knots, the absurdity of kink mingled with the trust that any healthy relationship needs to be built on, and how insecurity and a lack of communication can kill even the strongest ties: let’s be clear, love never dies, love is murdered when people aren’t clear with one another. There’s a little something in hear for everyone, and if you’re not familiar with this book you really should look into it.

 

Welcome Back #4Welcome Back #4

Imagine reincarnation. Imagine lifetime after lifetime, bound to repeat some of the same events with the same people, but imagine, too, that this is no love story. Imagine you are in a war, a war without end – born again, die again, forever and ever. Is there any room for change there? Any room to be anything other than a victim, a killer, a corpse? And if the road ahead looks like death without end, is there a point? Where does it begin? That’s what this comic seeks to answer: what fate looks like, the importance of beginnings in understanding the present and changing the future.

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2745

2014-12-24 God of Comics

God Of Comics, Reviews

December 25, 2014

This Week: All-New X-Men Annual #1, Avengers & X-Men – Axis #9, Batman Eternal #38, Catwoman Annual #2, Death of Wolverine – the Logan Legacy #7, Harley Quinn #13, He-Man – the Eternity War #1, Loki – Agent of Asgard #9, Magneto #13, Sunstone TPB #1, Tomb Raider #11, Uncanny X-Men #11, Unity #13 (more…)

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1719

God of Comics 2014-10-22

God Of Comics, Reviews

October 23, 2014

This Week: All-New Ghost Rider #8, All-New Invaders #11, Amazing Spider-Man #8, Amazing X-Men #12, Aquaman #35, Axis #3, Batman Eternal #29, Catwoman #35, Cyclops #6, Death of Wolverine – the Logan Legacy #2, Delinquents #3, Harley Quinn #11, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #18, Lazarus #12, New Warriors #11, Nightbreed #6, Sheltered #12, Tomb Raider #9, The Wicked and the Divine #5 (more…)

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1112

God of Comics [2014-08-27]

God Of Comics, Reviews

September 1, 2014

This Week: Army of Darkness: Ash Gets Hitched #2, Cyclops #4, Dream Police #4, Ghostbusters #19, POP #1, Savage Hulk #3, Star-Spangle War Stories #2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time #3, The 7th Sword #4, Transformers vs G.I. Joe #2, Wayward #1. (more…)

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