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God of Comics: Eternal Warrior – Awakening #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 9, 2017

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 (Valiant Comics)

… Robert Venditti is returning to Valiant with the Eternal Warrior.

I’m continuing writing this directly from our article on Dragon Age: Knight Errant #1, which you can find here. So, yes, this, this comic right here, this is the comic I’m most looking forward to reading this week and that can be laid at the feet of Robert Venditti. The man wrote the initial fifty-issue run of X-O Manowar, the comic that Valiant used to relaunch itself and a comic we still talk about being the best of all comics.

Wanna know why? Click here~!

This is, sadly, a one-shot. It’s the second of four comics that Valiant is publishing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the character. That’s not the sad part – the Eternal Warrior is a great concept, a man tied to the earth, kept alive by the life force of the planet to be both fist and steel. The sad part is that this isn’t an ongoing, and Robert Venditti is so good at getting to the core of Valiant’s characters.

Here’s the set-up: a man was born the youngest of three brothers, all princes in the ancient world: the first was intelligent, the second was strong, and the third was skilled. The skilled one died in some long-forgotten war but his brothers would not let him pass; the intelligent one discovered a means of bringing the skilled one back from the dead, and the strong one helped make it possible.

They succeeded in doing what they set out to do, but they destroyed their whole civilization in the process. Wiped it and every person in it from existence so that only the three of them remain. The intelligent one became lost in time, a phantom haunting different eras as he tried to chart when he was. The strong one, alone, became a drunk and would eventually become Armstrong over in Archer & Armstrong. And the skilled one…

His name is Gilad Anni-Padda, and the rite that brought him back from the dead tied him to the living earth forever, made him the champion of the biosphere as a whole. When forces gather that would destroy our world, destroy life, he is called to do battle once again. You can kill him but the killing never takes, and this is a tale from the ancient world when he’s just getting started, when he was forgotten who he is due to a vicious head wound and a single man’s pride is in danger of destroying humanity as it emerges from civilization’s cradle.

It’s pretty cool stuff that’s limited only by the single-issue format and it makes me hunger for more. The Eternal Warrior is such an interesting concept that needs to be expanded upon, its mythology given the respect that it deserves – especially in our modern world, where the pride of a few is going to destroy us all. Gilad is essentially the Lorax with axe and sword, someone who will make you listen, someone who will save humanity in spite of the pride or greed of our species. There’s something to be said about that.

Artist Renato Guedes and colorist Ulises Arreola capture a breadth of human emotion and create a world that feels real, that feels lived in and give life to Robert Venditti’s words. This comic is awesome and if you’re looking for an easy way to into Valiant or an alternative to Marvel, this is it.

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260

God of Comics: Faith #11 (Valiant Entertainment)

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 2, 2017

I love Faith. It’s hard not to. The character is designed to be loved; she’s the best part of any serious fandom, hope and dignity and compassion given flesh and superpowers. She was literally a fanfic writer and geek girl who got the power to fly and carry others and has stood toe-to-toe with some of the biggest scariest players in the Valiant-verse.

That list includes people like the Eternal Warrior, Peter Stanchek, Toyo Harada, X-O Manowar, Obidiah Archer… hell, she dated that last one. She was even recruited by Unity, the Valiant-equivalent of the Avengers, but left because those people couldn’t live up to her standards – and they felt bad for letting her down.

She’s awesome, is what I’m saying.

But there’s this weird thing where people view any sort of kindness or compassion as a personal attack. I think it comes from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and the weird Mammon-cult that’s taken hold in the heart of America, but I know those are more recent faces of a much larger problem. It’s crab-bucket mentality taken to its logical extreme: how dare you be kind? How dare you be compassionate? A response born of knowing that an action is bad and doing it anyway.

Those are the sorts of enemies that Faith has managed to attract, and they are as ridiculous and selfish and horrifying as you’d expect. They’re terrible not for their power but for their reality. We know these villains. We meet them every day. And, yes, Faith has managed to beat them one at a time because they are awful and evil and self-destructive, but their hatred of her is greater than their hatred of one another – though perhaps not as great as their hatred of themselves.

See, their selfishness sees the pain they cause as part of a game. The people that they hurt and kill aren’t real, not for them. They’re tearing someone down because they think it’s fun and because they’re nihilists (even if they couldn’t spell it or understand what it means). They want to wear her down and destroy her identity and think that will make her like them and that will somehow make them okay people.

It won’t. It never does.

Cruelty solves nothing.

Jody Houser continues to write one of the best and most thoughtful superhero books on the shelves. Joe Eisma and Marguerite Sauvage illustrate everything beautifully, giving Faith presence and making the ugliness of her villains all the more apparent for their physical attractiveness. This comic is always a good conversation starter, and I urge you to pick it up and find out why.

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244

God of Comics: X-O Manowar #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

X-O Manowar #1

We spent four years calling X-O Manowar the best of all comics. We then went into detail explaining why we said this, and you can read that explanation by clicking here. Everything we said still rings true and Valiant is about to take Aric of Dacia into a whole new storyline.

For those that don’t know, Aric of Dacia was a land-locked proto-Viking at war with Rome who mistook some aliens for Romans and attacked him. He got abducted, led a revolt, was chosen by their God, teleported back to earth more than a thousand years later, fought Italy until Italy surrendered, went back to free his people, and then brought his people home.

I’m brushing over the finer details for the sake of not repeating myself, but Aric saved the world, an alien civilization, and all sentient life in the cosmos. He learned and fought and began to desire only peace, and we learn that he found what he wanted at the beginning of this comic.

He’s given up the armor, settled on an alien world, and is tilling the land. All he wants is to tend his crops and live with his mate, an alien woman he’s met on this new and primitive world. He wants to be left alone, free from the war and violence that defined his every waking breath. Even the god-armor that gave him power lies dormant and Aric is finally at peace.

So, of course, some people are going to cross him and spoil everything.

Here’s the set-up: an alien army comes recruiting and decides to drag Aric to the front lines to be used as canon-fodder, but this is motherfucking Aric of Dacia, and he will win this battle so that he can go home, but the aliens leading this army won’t let him leave, won’t hold up their end, and are going to force him to fight. They have no idea who they’re dealing with or what they’ve awoken, because Aric of Dacia is not the sort of person you want to push around.

Matt Kindt is taking over writing duties from Robert Venditti, and if there’s anyone that can bear the weight of Venditti’s crown it’s got to be Kindt. He’s the force behind the utter brilliance that is divinity, also from Valiant, and if he brings the same sense of pathos and epic to this title that he brought to that one, then we’re in for one hell of a ride.

Tomas Giorello is handling the art, and you might know him from his work on various Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian comics, which might be the single greatest resume possible to work on X-O Manowar.

Seriously, get in now. If this run ends up being even a tenth as good as the original it will still be mind-blowingly excellent.

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213

God of Comics: Bloodshot Reborn #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

Bloodshot: Reborn #0 (Valiant Entertainment)

Quietly, subtlely, Jeff Lemire has been writing an opus to the different flavors action stories come in. Taken as a whole, Bloodshot has been a masterwork – the sort of nuanced and detailed storytelling that you wouldn’t expect from something that started as a pure action story, but both the comic and the character the comic is about have evolved over the past four or five years through the application of consequence, a thing that Valiant Comics excels at.

The story began with a super soldier named Ray being deployed against enemies of the United States. Ray was an ordinary looking person who, when activated, turned into a snow white-skinned ghoul with solid red eyes and a red circle on his chest. He was super strong and fast, able to regenerate from all kinds of damage, and could hack into and take-over any machines in his range.

He was also part of a conspiracy, his family and memories a lie concocted to keep him loyal. The powers behind the politicians of the world – the bankers and corporations that profit off of human suffering – were worried about a man named Toyo Harada. Harada combines the best parts of Professor X and Magneto, only he started a corporation himself and was working against profit and capitalism, subverting the system from the inside. He was also, personally speaking, on par with gods so far as power: a telekinetic and telepath who can affect things on a microscopic level. Bloodshot was created to kill Harada, but in the process of his creation he ended up with a soul.

Since then he’s gained power, lost power, had allies and watched them die, been the subject of a manhunt, fought himself, discovered the full weight and history of the conspiracy that created him, and fought against the powers that be to free all humanity from the shackles of greed and avarice. He’s also made a massive mess in the process. This is not a comic for the faint of heart, but those of you that want some thought packed in with your ultraviolence really should be reading this title.

Also, Sony is planning a Bloodshot live-action film and Valiant did a web series where Bloodshot was played by Jason David Frank (the Green Power Ranger), so Bloodshot has that going for it. No idea if Frank will reprise the role for the movie, but Dave Wilson is directing. Wilson did promotional videos for some small projects like Halo and Titanfall 2 and that awesome mini-movie that announced a new Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. He’s also the partner of Tim Miller, who you might remember having directed a little film called Deadpool.

With Sony having finally clued in that making good movies that happen to have comic book characters in them rather than making comic book movies is why Marvel is doing so well (as evidenced by Logan and Deadpool), we have high hopes for this eventual release. If you’re looking for the early scoop on something that can and should be awesome, get into the comics now.

It’s the perfect moment. Jeff is starting the next part of his epic saga here, so this? This is the moment that you’re going to want to jump on board. Renato Guedes, on art duties, will shock you with how pretty his art is. Do not miss this.

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1034

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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698

God of Comics 2015-12-23

Culture, God Of Comics

December 22, 2015

Angela - Queen of Hel #3Angela: Queen of Hel #3

You ever meet an over-achiever? Someone who just, by their very nature, tends to reach higher and farther than other people ever think to? That’s Angela. Born to Asgard and adopted by Heven, she doesn’t really feel comfortable with either, having learned about the flaws of both. Those flaws have sent her on a new quest, one to carve out her own place and her own realm, so she’s looking to take over Hel and become an equal to her adopted parents – Odin and Frigga – and her adopted mom – the Queen of Heven. This is who is starting a rebellion in Hel. Needs a metal OST.

 

Arcadia #7Arcadia #7

How great is the Expanse? The answer, of course, is “pretty great.” I was chatting with a friend and he was like “ity’s been so long since we had good sci-fi” and I was all “are you reading Arcadia?” And that is why, Casey, you’re going to be getting the Arcadia trade for Christmas, the moment that it comes out. Anyway, a terrible disease has ravaged the world and ninety-nine percent of humanity has been looked in cyro-storage, their minds shuffled into an MMO hellscape that is falling apart, because the tech they’re using was not meant for what they’re using it for. Awesome stuff.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #12Batman and Robin Eternal #12

We now know exactly how horrific Mother is, and how terrifying her ability to sculpt minds is. They’re not kidding around with what they’ve built here, either, with some of the best writers in comics coming in and adding so much to the Bat-mythos. Jason and Tim are working with Bane and have just bumped into an Azrael, which should go poorly for Jason and Tim and maybe Bane, while Dick and Harper try to understand the horror that nearly swallowed Bruce back during the earliest days of the Bat. This is awesome and heady stuff, a rather awesome spy thriller.

 

Bloodshot Reborn #9Bloodshot: Reborn #9

I need to know how this ends. An unstoppable golem was created by the military industrial complex to kill god, but somewhere a long the way it gained a soul, questioned the violence of it’s being, and gave up the power of itself. That power went elsewhere, infecting others and turning them into almost unstoppable killing machines, and he’s had to go and reclaim his power from those that never wanted it… except for one guy, who did want it and came to the same conclusion the golem did: kill everyone, get all the power. These comics are insanely good existential action-terror.

 

Daredevil #2Daredevil #2

Matt Murdock is back in New York, has managed to hide his secret identity (again, dammit), and is still moonlighting as Daredevil. Good on him? He has changed a little bit, though, as he’s now working for the district attorney in New York as opposed to running a private practice. To show him how much they love him, they’ve stuck his office at the bottom of an elevator shaft, with the excuse of not wanting to waste windows on a blind man. Interestingly, studies show that blind people can tell – they need Vitamin D just like the rest of us. Could be okay. Was liking him in LA.

 

Dark Knight III - The Master Race #2Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

No, no, don’t walk away, it’s readable, I promise. Yes, Frank Miller’s name is on the cover, and, yes, he’s got some creative input. Someone else is translating his ideas to paper, though, making this a much more interesting comic than it has any business being. The art is very much in line with the original Dark Knight comics, though things are a little more detailed here than they are in, say, Sin City. Anyway, Bruce is dead, the new commissioner forgot what she learned in the Dark Knight, and Carrie Kelly just got herself good and captured. Far better than it has any business being.

 

Darth Vader #14Darth Vader #14

Holy God but the Force Awakens was good. We can all agree with that, right? The D-Cast (link) thought it was incredible, and this? This comic here? Just as freakin’ good. Marvel has done an incredible job of getting from the end of Episode IV to the beginning of Episode V, particularly with Vader re-establishing himself following his loss of a whole Death Star. Along the way, Vader discovered Luke and has been actively hunting him, leading to him crashing on a planet where the rebel alliance was training an army specifically to deal with Vader. They failed just as Leia arrived. Also, Vader’s hench-people just had a battle with Han, and we get the fallout… now. Do not miss this.

 

Deadly Class #17Deadly Class #17

Things have not gone well for Marcus. He fell in love with two girls in a school for assassins, abandoned one as the other got killed, and has since fallen apart. He’s going through some terrible things and feels utterly alone, falling in with the wrong crowd as everything good in him erodes. It’s not just me thinking this; the faculty agrees, because final exams for the year include hunting Marcus down and executing him. This book is haunting, hunting, the sort of thing that is difficult to read but impossible to put down, the unblinking grit of slivered goodness in humanity’s worst.

 

Dr. Mirage Second Lives #1Dr. Mirage: Second Lives #1

It’s a Valiant comic, which I think should be enough of a recommendation on it’s own. Dr. Mirage is a medium who deals with the dead, like her husband, and the two of them work together to perform exorcisms, banishments, and other forms of benevolent necromancy while pondering the weight and circumstance of death itself. Here, she’s discovered a means of giving her husband flesh once more, but it’s an ancient rite that was never meant to be performed and you can already see where this is going… but, like life, this comic is about the journey, not the destination.

 

He-Man The Eternity War #13He-Man: The Eternity War #13

In order to win, in order to defeat the Horde that threatened to devour everything and everyone forever, He-Man had to give up the Power of Greyskull. This left him little more than a broken Adam while his uncle, Skeletor, stepped in and claimed that power. He now dominates everything and everyone, trapping Adora to keep himself on a throne that was never meant for him. Now, Adam must take back his power before King Hiss devours his soul in a series of comics that are far better and deeper than they have any business being. This is science-fantasy opera and it needs to be read to be believed.

 

Justice League 3001 #7Justice League 3001 #7

Speaking of science-fantasy opera, this comic features soul-devouring genetic overlays of various Justice League members teaming up with other immortal Justice League members a thousand years in the future, where things have gone weird. Also, villains have brought back other Justice League era villains to fight the new Justice League, which is going about as well as you’d expect given that a lot of details have become sort of muddled. Also, there’s some kind of robot invasion and they just killed Superman. That can’t be good. And this Superman? Not coming back. No one is safe.

 

Lazarus #21Lazarus #21

Oligarchy took over – this is the world of President Trump, a corporatist dream where the rich rule and the rest of humanity is referred to as ‘waste,’ used to the last drop. The corporations have gone to war, the CEO of the best of their lot poisoned and taken down while his company flounders and their chosen champion struggles to make a difference in the field. There’re powerplays and politics and ruthless plans all coming to fruition, written by one of the best writers in the game and illustrated in a haunting style that will follow you into your dreams and stay there. Poignant, intelligent, and very much a must-read.

 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2

This is insane. Okay, a smart girl who is being vilified for being smart and believing in science and being ahead of the curve makes friends with a giant indestructible Tyrannosaurus Rex in modern day New York, which should make bullies a little easier to deal with. This is her school’s faculty’s fault for fiddling around with her science projects when they had no idea what the hell they were doing, which is something some of us might have experienced and gotten in trouble for. This comic celebrates intelligence and ingenuity while also showing how both qualities are mucked about with by a system and society that embraces conformity. Important in the same way Ms. Marvel is. Did I mention the genius girl is black?

 

Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat #1

You saw Jessica Jones, right link? Of course you did. It was incredible, one of the best things to come out of Netflix for a long while and a nice apology for that third season of Hemlock Grove link. Jessica’s adopted sister in that series was Trish “Patsy” Walker, an old and established character who is now getting her own series and that should be awesome. Trish used to date a literal partially reformed anti-Christ and is a partial celebrity and street level hero who’s kinda good at the martial arts thing. She’s pretty great, and this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Give it a chance.

 

Pretty Deadly #7Pretty Deadly #7

Deathface Ginny returns to stare down the barrell of the Great War – which is what World War One was called back before people knew they were supposed to name them. This comic is a weird meandering treatise on the weight and responsibility of death, both from the perspective of the living and dying. It’s odd and beautiful and terrifying all at once, edged in with the scripture of the old west and married to the narrative of the early twentieth century. There’s a lot going on here, in other words, and this book is dense, the sort of thing you could use to prove comics-as-art.

 

Rai #12Rai #12

This is the weirdest book… okay, you know how Aphrodite IX and IXth Generation and Justice League 3001 are all about the futures of their respective universes, using the mythos of today to build a landscape set in the far future? That’s what Rai has done, taking the disparate parts of their various titles and making them more important by showing what the eventual consequences of those people, places, and things are. It’s beautiful and detailed and stranger than a badly cut eighties anime, moving at a breakneck pace and expecting you to keep up with introduced concepts.

 

Rocketeer At War #1Rocketeer: At War #1

Somehow, this character is still a thing. The movie link holds up pretty well, and there’s enough here that a company like IDW Publishing should be able to put out something cool – a stunt pilot discovers a jetpack back in World War II, and goes from being a nobody to being a major player because of the technology he has mastered. The man in question, Cliff Secord, gets by on his wits and is very much a chip off the Han Solo block, a guy who just wants to be left alone to do his thing, but given the proper circumstances can be a hero. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

 

Star-Lord #2Star-Lord #2

I’m trying to decide of I care. This is now young Peter Quill by way of John Crichton, having stolen a space ship and gotten himself stranded in space. This goes against the movie – and wasn’t Secret Wars supposed to do two things? One was fix the mistakes of Jonathan Hickman, and the other was to being the comics closer in line with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This serves neither, but still could be interesting if we weren’t comparing it to the series that came before Secret Wars, which was, well, stellar. We’ll see if this gets any better this month. I’m hoping it does.

 

Switch #3Switch #3

Stjepan Sejic is one of the most gifted artists working in comics today. He’s got a knack for writing engaging characters, even if English is not his first language. The trick is that in looking past his weaknesses to view his many strengths, and few comics illustrate those as well as this one. The Witchblade falls into the hands of an ordinary school girl who has no idea what she has or what she’s gotten into. Like spider-Gwen, this comic then takes familiar faces and puts new spins on them, so if you’ve never read Witchblade, this might be something you’ll dig. We dig it quite a lot.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #53

Hamato Yoshi killed Oroko Saki. It happened – we all watched it happen, and Saki welcomes it at the end. It brought an end to a struggle that traversed lifetimes, and might finally allow Saki to overcome with karma and evolve. Everyone who was watching understood… except Michelangelo, who fled to an old enemy for succor. He doesn’t know how bad Old Hob can be, because his family protected him from the worst of Hob’s excesses and he’s buddies with Slash, but without that barrier he’s likely to learn some things he might not like. The only sure thing is that this will be excellent.

 

Venom Space Knight #2Venom: Space Knight #2

So, Flash Thompson went to the planet of the symbiotes and got the madness within his other half expunged, aligning himself with the monastic heroic order the symbiotes are supposed to be. Now, he gets to wander like a knight errant throughout the cosmos, writing wrongs and fighting evil whenever he’s not hanging with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The first issue was a surprising pleasure, setting the stage for a strange heroic space opera, which is exactly what this feels like. The art is also gorgeous, matching the quality of the writing into an incredibly strong whole. Recommended.

 

Velvet #13Velvet #13

Every week, it seems, there’s one comic where we stop and say simply read this. So, to wit: read this. Velvet is a female James Bond operating in the early seventies, cutting a world-wide swath to expose a double agent in British intelligence while clearing her own name. We don’t know the full scope of the conspiracy, but neither does she – what we do know is that she’s good at what she does, an expert in the field and dangerous in every way conceivable, and that the people that messed with her made the mistake of forgetting who she is. Don’t make that same mistake. Read this.

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421

God of Comics 2015-12-02

Culture, God Of Comics

December 1, 2015

IXth Generation #7IXth Generation #7

Okay, get this – the actual big bad of the series was revealed eight comics ago, at the end of Aphrodite IX. Over the course of that comic we were shown the significance of the name and number, introduced to the world, and shown what was at stake. This series has shown people shirking their responsibilities and now we’ve gone from nine people to save the world to five, and if those five can’t get their shit together than the Darkness will devour all that is. That’s how you set epic level stakes. Also, Stjepan Sejic does art, and I’ll read pretty much anything he does the art for.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #9Batman and Robin Eternal #9

Remember when Bane was an interesting character? It feels like years have passed since then… when was it? The last version of Secret Six? Something like that. Someone among the writers seems to have remembered that Bane can be great, and given this writing team that’s not surprising. I’d pick up this comic just for that, but we’re also looking at what Bruce Wayne was up to back during his first year and what his connection to Mother is… and what the process is for this organization that makes custom people. Is DC Comics about to get their very own Purple Man

 

Daredevil #1Daredevil #1

Can we all agree that the Mark Waid run was inspired, and one of the better things to happen to the character since the Brian Michael Bendis run? Yeah? Yeah. Also, the Netflix original series helped jumpstart interest in the character, and in the wake of Secret Wars that means putting Matt back in New York. Interestingly, though, Matt is now working with the District Attorney’s office in Hell’s Kitchen, which should make for an interesting change of pace. Daredevil has a lot of expectation to live up to, and it’s going to be interesting to watch where this series goes.

 

Doctor Strange #3Doctor Strange #3

Jason Aaron is writing this, which is as close to a guarantee of excellence as comics can offer. He’s a master of epic-level storytelling, and this is a character that lends itself well to that. The first couple issues of this new series have established who Strange is and what he does, what role he fills in the Marvel Universe as a whole. This issue is going to go one better than that, and get into the core of his identity by stripping him of his magic and home and forcing him to make due with an impossible situation. That sounds like the best sort of Strange story, pun certainly intended.

 

Exit Generation #3Exit Generation #3

One of the best ideas for a comic ever is happening right now and you need to be reading it…! Ninety percent of humanity leaves Earth, and the remnants find themselves living in a Utopia. One boy becomes addicted to eighties action movies and wants to be an eighties action movie hero for real, and is given the chance when ALIENS INVADE. They’ve come to eat humans because that’s how they roll, and it’s up to a handful of humans to band together, invade the alien spaceship, and punch the invaders in the face~! This is sci-fi punk rock at it’s finest, and it is amazing.

 

Extraordinary X-Men #3Extraordinary X-Men #3

The evil that is Fox has caused all mutants to become sterile. The stupid that was Secret Wars brought Old Man Logan into our more familiar reality, where his younger self is dead. The interesting writing of the Bendis Uncanny run saw time-displaced Jean Grey leave the X-Men, which lasted about a week before ashe was roped back in. Also, Storm remembers that hating Scott Summers and fighting with Rachael Grey doesn’t make for an interesting character, Iceman is Iceman, and Magik is the most interesting character in this book. Will this be good? Does Marvel care? We’ll find out together~!

 

Gotham Academy #12Gotham Academy #12

So, our favorite kids at Gotham Academy decided to go exploring while on a field trip and one of them has gone missing. Instead of, say, going to the authorities or the demon-hunting headmaster for help, they’ve decided to take care things on their own. The mystery is leading them to the ruins of Arkham Asylum, which went from asylum to demon-infested hellhole back in Batman Eternal, but apparently we’re going to get some more background on Olive’s mom, the forgotten Bat-villain known as Calamity. This is how you instill dread and stakes in kid’s comics; this is pretty much the textbook example of how you write kids comics. Pick it up.

 

Harley's Little Black Book #1Harley’s Little Black Book #1

Speaking of things to pick up, I’ll grab pretty much anything with Harley on the cover at this point. Harley’s been kicking ass in her own series and her team-up with Power Girl, which was such a good idea that DC Comics has decided to pair Harley up with other heroes and villains. We’re starting off with a bang, as Harley discovers a plot to assassinate Wonder Woman and decides she’s the only person that can possibly stop it…! Because Harley…! Zaniness will ensue, also because Harley. This is going to be bi-monthly and is almost certain to be awesome.

 

Invincible Iron Man #4Invincible Iron Man #4

I never thought I’d be saying that an Iron Man comic would be awesome, not after Civil War and everything that followed. Tony was such a failure as a hero that even Marvel decided to make him a villain, which made him even less readable. If there’s one thing that’s really worked coming out of Secret Wars, though, it’s Tony becoming a hero again. This is very much the Tony of the movies, fun to read and be around, and they’ve turned Madame Masque into an a-list villain again and that’s a great thing. Also, Mary-Jane Watson escapes the quagmire of One More Day and moves on with her life.

 

John Flood #5John Flood #5

Things we know: there is a sinister agency that did something to the title character, and robbed him of his ability to sleep. This has given him an ability to see patterns that no one else notices, one of which allowed him to see a mass murderer that was also created by that same agency. Problem: the murderer noticed and is hunting him, so John framed himself for a crime to be taken to a police station to keep himself safe. Further problem: the murderer is killing his way through the police station. John’s bodyguard and friend is going to have to get him out before death. Neat. I love this comic.

 

Nailbiter #18Nailbiter #18

And on the note of crazed killers who are more than somewhat interesting, a small town in the middle of American nowhere has just given rise to its seventeenth serial killer, and those in the best position to stop things from getting worse have been stripped of the ability to do anything by other people that think they’re doing the right thing and are being taken advantage of. This all begs the question – what would you do to fight evil? How far into the darkness would you venture, and what sort of mark would it leave on your soul? This comic is incredible. Hunt it down.

 

Prez #6Prez #6

Speaking of incredible comics, Prez is one of those titles that is probably hitting a little too close to home. It isn’t getting the attention it justly deserves, so here goes: a young woman gets voted into the American Presidency be default when the corporate ogliarchy that controls a corrupted congress fails to notice. A Bernie Sanders stand-in gets in as Vice President, and they go about trying to save a world so lost in corruption and propaganda that nothing can be controlled anymore. This comic is insane, but so are the American Presidential Primaries. Read one to understand the other.

 

Red Wolf #1Red Wolf #1

Coming fresh from the idiocy of Secret Wars… something interesting~! Okay, okay, Secret Wars itself was idiotic and unnecessary, but some of the mini-series that killed time between when that mess began and when it ended were cool, and one of them stared a Native American Sheriff in 1872 acting as the lawman over a town populated by western versions of different Marvel characters, including a mayor by the name of Wilson Fisk. It’s an okay concept that had some great writing and good art to support it, enough to grant it an on-going and it’s been awhile since the 6th Gun gave us anything new.

 

Robin War #1Robin War #1

Gotham’s been kind of a mess since Batman and the Joker killed one another. Yeah, Bruce Wayne is still kicking around, but he isn’t Batman… Jim Gordan is wearing a Bubblegum Crisis-like hardsuit and is calling himself Batman while working with the GCPD. A bunch of kids have taken to calling themselves Robin, but Damien Wayne is back and he is not happy. The other former Robins (minus Steph Brown) are also back and not impressed. Oh, and the Court of Owls is there and they might do something to make people think they’re relevant. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Rowan's Ruin #3Rowan’s Ruin #3

So, there’s a girl named Katie that did a house-swap and is chilling across the pond and she disturbed a room that was never meant to be disturbed. Ghosts have ensued, and hauntings, and it hasn’t been nearly as much fun for Katie as she might have thought it would be. Her parents, meanwhile, are trying to make friends with the person that swapped houses, and that should go along just smashingly. As in, something is going to get smashed. Maybe Katie, maybe her parents. It’s a haunting fable, and these things don’t end well for anyone that isn’t a necromancer, or into necromancy.

 

Spidey #1Spidey #1

Ughhhhhhhhhh… okay. In another effort to recapture the energy and awesome of the original run of Spider-comics, Marvel is rehashing Peter Parker’s high school days again. It’s a retelling of stuff that’s been retold and retold, and, fine, whatever, I’m sure it will be fun and all and this is one of the things comics can do really well, revisit old concepts and make them relevant again. I just would rather see a comic where Peter didn’t sell his marriage to Satan, or at least a story where that actually mattered. I’d actually kill to write the latter. Just a twelve issue thing to kick start another new Spider-title for those of us that liked the marriage.

 

Star Wars #13Star Wars #13

Alright. You know how Marvel doesn’t seem to understand what to do with Spider-Man? The opposite holds true for the Star Wars comics: they know exactly what they’re doing. They took a year to show what everyone was doing between Episodes IV and V, setting the stage with entertaining tales, finally leading to their first event – Vader Down. Vader went hunting Luke and crashed on a small planet where the Rebels were training people to take down Vader, and Vader cut through them. Now, Leia gets her chance to meet Vader for the first time since Vader tortured his daughter. I am almost certain that this will make this week’s top five comics.

 

The Storyteller - Dragons #1The Storyteller: Dragons #1

So, a while back Boom Studios teamed with Jim Henson productions to give us the Storyteller, a series of tales that looked at old witchy fables and gave us some truly awesome stories to share. The second verse features more of the same, only instead of witches we get dragons. Told by a variety of writers and illustrated by a bunch of artists, this comic will look at draconic legends from around the world, starting with the Native American lore detailing the Horned Snake and the Thunderbird. This is going to be stupidly epic, so give it a look when you go comic shopping.

 

Toil & Trouble #4Toil & Trouble #4

Boom Studios continues to explore a war between the witches of MacBeth, where the three of them are engaged in a contest using the peoples of Scotland as pawns in a much larger game. Two witches stand against one another, with a third keeping the rules between them – they are family of a sort, and so much more than mere witches. There’s some awesome stuff going on here, the slow build of the first couple of issues laying the groundwork for the bloodbath we know is coming and the strange conflict between the Wyrd sisters. This is awesome stuff.

 

The Woods #18The Woods #18

This, though… this is in a league of its own. The Woods deals with a high school that was transported from earth to some other place, and everyone is trying to make due in the wake of that change. Problem is, there’s some people that are in it only for themselves and they’re making some impossibly shortsighted deals with outside powers to satisfy their own greed. There really isn’t anything else like this book on the shelves today, either in terms of emotional guy-punch writing or the insanity of the art. Pick this up; you won’t be disappointed.

 

Unfollow #2Unfollow #2

Here’s one of those ideas that you know someone, somewhere, is rich and terrible enough to find funny. A multi-billionaire is going to leave his money, evenly-split, among one hundred and forty strangers, or however many of them are still alive at the time of his death. Does this mean that some of them are going to try and kill the others? Yes. Does this mean there’s a good chance for character development, pathos, and ethical horror? You bet. This comic is unrelenting and promises to ramp things up quickly. Can anyone hold to ethics in the face of this sort of temptation?

 

X-O Manowar - Commander Trill #0X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0

Aric of Dacia had a rough go of it, sure, but he’s the most powerful hero in the Valiant Universe because he was chosen by a god-like suit of living plant armor. You want to see someone who’s had a really rough go of it, look at the alien that would be his nemesis, Commander Trill of the alien Vine. Dude watched his god choose a member of a slave race, and a slave that he captured and crippled. He could do nothing when the God Hand came for his people and had to watch that slave save some of him. Now, he’s going to try and conquer the earth… and Aric again stands in his way. Valiant doesn’t like one-dimensional baddies, though, so expect this comic to dig deep into the layers of Trill’s psyche.

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539

God of Comics – Top 5 for 2015-11-25

Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

November 26, 2015

Archie #4

Archie #4

One of the things that crosses people is expectation versus reality. We believe in things that we’re told to believe in, and doubt our own experiences in favor of expectations that may or may not have any reality to them. I’ve seen this destroy friendships, relationships, marriages… and I’ve rarely seen this conflict so well illustrated as it is here. We finally delve into the very heart of the lipstick incident, the moment that crushed Archie and Betty and drove them apart, and it’s entirely tied into preconceived notions of gender, identity, and popularity. Archie overhears some girls making fun of Betty and tries to come to her aid; the girls respond by trying to remake Betty into someone she isn’t, but it’s fun to experiment and kind of necessary to do so. We learn who we are as much by figuring out why we aren’t. The girls make changes to Betty and Betty goes along with it because it’s fun, it’s a game of make believe, but it’s Archie’s reactions to the change that hurt her and drive them apart. Excellent tragedy that resonates because it’s real.

 

Black Magick #2

Black Magick #2

Combing the writering of Greg Rucka with the art of Nicola Scott isn’t fair to the other comics. You’re pretty much guaranteed to come up with something that will be, at the very least, exceptional. Rucka has a talent for sifting out some really interesting history and crafting lore with it whenever he delves into fantasy, and Black Magick is no exception. A cop who happens to be an actual witch is nearly set on fire by a group of people that hunt witches because they use magic, but the hunters are now using magic themselves. There’s a lot of politicking and double-speak going on here and there has to be; the witches are trying to live among the rest of humanity, and very few really believe in magic any more. Humans, that is. Animals know better. So does the thing lurking behind you right now. Nicola Scott’s art, as always, is the perfect sort of haunting for this tale, all soft shades with few edges. The sum is a comic that reads like a gentle dream, one of those strange overlays where everything feels real. This is beautiful stuff.

 

Darth Vader #13

Darth Vader #13

And this is about as far from the previous two comics as you’re likely to get while still keeping the same level of quality. Vader got sick of the Rebel Alliance being a thing and decided to take them out on his own, which is an unfair fight. Vader proves this quickly, even after Luke crashes into Vader’s ship. If the Alliance was smart, they’d destroy everything, pack up, and leave – instead, they try to fight Vader en masse and then they die en masse. There’s some clever moments around Vader as the people he’s cultivated from the beginning of this comic quickly find themselves in a bind and go to his rescue, even going so far as to capture Luke so that Vader will hopefully not obliterate them. There is nothing – nothing – that has given Vader back the dread and dignity he had before the prequel movies like these comics. This Vader is a force of nature, and everything around him reflects that, from the facial expressions and body language of everyone around him. This is the best of the Star Wars comics, and you need to be reading this.

 

Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur #1

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

I’m not sure when intelligence became vilified in popular culture, or why. Perhaps it’s an idea of enslaving those gifted with a high intellect, to keep them subservient to the status quo. Regardless of the origin, there is an ideological war going on in our modern world, where conservatism goes out of its way to punish intelligence, curiosity, and passion. Witness the blatant lies, the blind adherence to staid dogma over question and seeking. And, yes, there’s a matter of representation: there are some intelligent heroes that are allowed to be, but they’re usually white and male. There’s exceptions, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone whose superpower is intelligence and curiosity who is also a young black girl, and that’s fucking awesome. Her world reacts poorly in its groping stupidity, but she’s made friends with a giant red Tyrannosaurus Rex, so I think she’s going to be okay. This comic is a puzzle of time travel, of the joy in discovery and the escape from a gray mundanity that sucks all life from the world. As great and important as Ms. Marvel, and for the same reasons.

 

X-O Manowar #42

X-O Manowar #42

Oh, look, X-O Manowar makes the Top Five again. It’s not like this isn’t earned; Valiant goes out of it’s way to make certain that this comic is one of their best, and the strain of quality this forces on all other comics is tremendous. Aric of Dacia has come a long way spiritually from the violent maniac he once was, having learned that all of his actions have consequences and that the god-like power that he now wields comes with a price. Aric is a warrior who has seen and become disillusioned with war while still acknowledging the occasional necessity of it. Here, he drives a hard peace among the factions he has sworn himself to while recognizing that there are other powers at play that are manipulating them all. There’s complexity here, philosophy and meditations on faith, violence, and real-politick all set against a sci-fi superhero backdrop that is unique for the sheer weight of everything that happens. We have called this the best of all comics time and again, and Valiant continues to prove us right. Thanks, guys. Please keep this up.

 

Didn’t quite make the Top Five. Still worth your time.

 

Angela - Queen of Hel #2Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Right from the start, this book is gorgeous. We described Black Magick, above, as having very soft shades with few edges, but this is very much the opposite: hard lines, stark colors, this book resembles a stone relief that is trapped somewhere between a church wall and a viking campfire. The story follows suite, standing firmly on an epic playing field, and starts building towards the means by which Angela will be able to overthrow Hel.

 

 

Switch #2Switch #2

Stjepan Sejic’s art is in a class by itself. There is no one who is better able to convey emotion through facial expression and body language like he can, and it makes anything he works on incredibly distinct. His writing style is also very much different than anything else you’re going to find on the stands. English is very much his second language, and there’s a weird flow to his narrative because of it. Oddly charming, like all his works. Definitely worth checking out.

 

 

Venom - Space Knight #1Venom: Space Knight #1

It’s weird how all the Guardians of the Galaxy – except Gamorra, and now the Thing – have gotten their own series, and each series has been stronger than the book they all share. Groot, Rocket, Drax, and Star-Lord have all ended up being fantastic reads, but I had my doubts when it came to this. I really shouldn’t have: this is both weird and excellent, with Venom becoming something like a Jedi by way of symbiote. Weird and excellent.

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438

God of Comics 2015-11-25

Culture, God Of Comics

November 24, 2015

All-New Wolverine #2All-New Wolverine #2

Issue one was okay. Laura’s always been a little more about the hard philosophy and question of identity than Logan was; she knows where she comes from, but she wonders what that makes her. Her journey has been one of consequence and self discovery from the very start, and her time among the Avengers Academy and All-New X-Men were echoes of that concept and her previous solo series, which, well, read the old X-23 comics. This, well, we’ll see.

 

Angela - Queen of Hel #2Angela: Queen of Hel #2

This title, on the other hand, has a very clear sense of itself. Through the auspices of Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen, she was inserted into the Marvel Universe and given history and identity. Both have been given a rich sense of lore that explains where Heven and the angels were and what’s been done to them, while also giving Angela reason to storm the very pits of Hel and claim them for herself. If you like truly epic myth-making, you need to read this.

 

Archie #4Archie #4

Finally, we might get some details on the Lipstick Incident! What was it that drove Archie and Betty apart? Can Betty and Jughead save Archie from the clutches of Veronica? Where is Reggie? Seriously, we’re four issues in and there’s been no real sign of Reggie. This month does give us Dilton and Moose, though, and I’m curious to see how this team updates the smartest man in Riverdale, especially given the chic that geeks are increasingly claiming for themselves.

 

Batman and Robin Eternal #8Batman and Robin Eternal #8

It continues. It powers on. The even comic that will evolve the whole of the Batman mythology, starring the various Robins – including Steph Brown, though she’s not a Robin here – with newcomers Harper and Cassandra Cain. Two things make this comic: one is the interplay between the Robins and their allies as try to work a case in Bruce’s absence, while the other is the sheer horror and utility of the villain, who makes custom people. Awesome stuff.

 

Black Magick #2Black Magick #2

Greg Rucka is writing an urban fantasy story. That should be enough information to get you interested in picking this up, but it probably won’t be, so… there’s a police detective working a case and she just happens to be a practicing witch, and she and her people have been doing their best to lay low from the forces that are hunting them, forces that think that the witches are evil and will not accept any other definition of them. Oh, and Nicola Scott is on art. You need this comic.

 

Darth Vader #13Darth Vader #13

So, in the first issue of Vader Down, Vader decided that he was done with this whole ‘Rebel Alliance’ thing and attacked the Rebel Alliance. By himself. He slaughtered a whole squadron with the same level of care that you might walk across a room before Luke crashed into the Dark Lord of the Sith, sending them both down to a single planet where the Rebels were training people to fight Vader. He’s still going to kill them all. This is going to be great.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #2Guardians of the Galaxy #2

Now that Secret Wars is over, we can get back to our regularly scheduled awesome. The Guardians of the Galaxy have had some strange things happen – notably, Peter Quill got elected in-absentia and has become a literal star-lord, the new head of a galactic empire. The other Guardians – including his new wife, Kitty Pryde – are not sold on the concept and are off doing Guardian-things. It’s all pretty great, and being written by Bendis. Worth hunting down.

 

He-Man - The Eternity War #12He-Man: The Eternity War #12

Things went to hell when Hordak attacked: Skeletor claimed the power of Greyskull for himself, trapping his niece and letting his nephew try to clean up the mess. The problem is that Skeletor is a terrible person to hold any sort of power, and he’s got a good chance of ending everything that is sort of by accident… meaning Adam is going to have to step up his game and save the world, but the snake people are looking to replace him and remake the world in their image. I love comics.

 

 

Hex 11 #6Hex 11 #6

Get in on this now – humanity discovers that Ether is an actual thing, an energy force that allows them to do magic. Digital mysticism results, resulting in absolute chaos on a political and corporate level as world powers strive to claim more and more power, as power filters its way into the hands of anyone willing to claim it… though those outliers and heretics find themselves relegated to the Hex, ghettos for magical outcasts. This is awesome stuff, and you must read it.

 

Ivar, Timewalker #11Ivar, Timewalker #11

Oh, this is the comic that broke time. An immortal chrono-naut caused his own creation when the woman that he taught time travel to invented time travel, then took back his younger self to a point before she became the villain of the series. Now, there are dinosaurs in control of the Roman Empire, which is pretty much how I remember the Roman Empire about seventy million years ago. Yeah, their civilization didn’t survive, either, but it might now. This is madness.

 

Justice League 3001 #6Justice League 3001 #6

This might be the best comic coming out of DC right now. No, seriously. It’s about clones of the Justice League being recast in the future to save the future, and being drawn towards old members of the original Justice League who are immortal for reasons and reforming a team while one of the twins that cloned them also clones villains who maybe aren’t villains anymore because the clones are really genetic overlays and are working off broken information. This comic is the purest sort of lunatic gold. It’s brilliant and unexpected and does great things.

 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

I don’t even. Wut. A super-genius girl is made smarter when she becomes an Inhuman, which is basically a different version of mutants with a dumber name. She wants to save the world but the world doesn’t want to be saved because there are bad people out there, bad scary people. Thankfully, she’s just made friends with someone that can protect her and maybe help with her self esteem: DEVIL DINOSAUR, who is a MUTANT IMMORTAL RED TYRANNOSAURUS REX. You read comics to see shit like this. Get in on the game.

 

Ringside #1Ringside #1

Wrestling is the weirdest business there is. It’s a live-action show about an athletic competition that featuring death-defying stunts carried out in front of live audiences, pre-determined but not fake, with larger-than-life personalities that include sorcerers, demi-gods, and more. This is a comic about that, from the perspective of people involved in the strange twilight world of behind-the-scenes, whatever that means. This could be completely insane, and we’re looking forward to it.

 

Silk #1Silk #1

Of all the spider-powered people living in the Marvel Universe, Cindy Moon has had it the worst. Her family was taken from her and she was locked in a bunker for half her life, freed to kick-start an apocalypse, and then left on her own without any sort of safety net. She tried to make a go of things, but now she’s hooked up with an evil Black Cat, made that way by the Redacted Spider-Man back when that was still a thing. This was good before Secret Wars.

 

Switch #2Switch #2

Get this. Get this now. Stjepan Sejic does his own version of Witchblade, adopting the familiar characters and lore and taking them in radically different directions while still making everything, well, gorgeous. This latter bit is unsurprising given Sejic, but the story follows a young teen who picks up the ultimate weapon and is forced to become a player in the war between Darkness and Light. Take nothing for granted. Adorable chaos rules all.

 

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #52

We keep saying that this is the best iteration of the TMNT that has ever been, and it is. Are you reading it yet? Oroko Saki and Splinter had it out, and the end result is Saki is dead and Splinter rules the Foot. Mikey split and has pretty much vanished, and some factions within the foot clan are not too happy about their new leader and are just stupid enough to try and do something about it. Also, Baxter Stockman is still out there and still terrifying. This is awesome.

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

Marvel’s A-list hero has – all by herself – beatn Modok, Thanos, Dr. Doom, and even Galactus. She’s the best hero in the whole of the Marvel Universe, but can even she overcome being sent back in time and erased from history? Only her best friend remembers that she exists, and her plan is to get a man Squirrel Girl has an interesting relationship with to help: no less than Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man~! But who did this? Who is responsible? The cover will not tell us, so I suppose we’re just going to have to read the comic. You should do that, too.

 

Venom - Space Knight #1Venom: Space Knight #1

Neat. Groot gets his own book. Star-Lord… Lady. Whatever. Drax. Rocket. Not Gamorra, of course, for reasons. Venom, though? The guy that just kind of started hanging out with these guys after leaving the Thunderbolts? Sure, give him a book. This might be cool, though; Venom is Flash Thompson, former bully and war hero, double-amputee granted legs and power through the symbiote, and current Earth Ambassador in galactic affairs. The other Guardian books are great, and this should be, too.

 

X-O Manowar #42X-O Manowar #42

It’s the best of all comics. No, really. If there’s one thing that Valiant Comics has been good at, it’s been expressing the idea of weight and consequence that comes with power. No one has felt that more than X-O Manowar, a space viking chosen by the god of an alien empire and made the king of those aliens, his own time dispaced people, and the modern world. Sadly, there’s conflict between the fearful and the warmongers of all three peoples, and that’s all finally coming to a head – which is going to force Aric of Dacia to do something about it. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it makes for excellent reading.

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439

God of Comics 2015-11-18

God Of Comics

November 17, 2015

Batman and Robin Eternal #7Batman and Robin Eternal #7

DC Comics seems to have learned quite a lot from their time plotting Batman Eternal – this feels like a much more even ride so far, with the lows being nowhere near as bad and the story clipping along at a brisk pace. This is really Robins Eternal, as Bruce is still out of commission and Bat-tlegum Crisis hasn’t clued in yet, but we’ve gotten some shocking revelations about mother and the kids are off to investigate a criminal organization that makes designer humans. It’s a good read, and about as close to Batman: City of Crime as could be expected. Cool beans.

 

Black Knight #1Black Knight #1

Really? This guy gets his own comic series? Okay, the Black Knight is a sometimes-Avenger who wields a cursed sword. The sword makes him more powerful the more he uses it, but it drives him towards damnation as its powers grow. It’s an interesting horror or psychological device that has never been used in that way, but now that character is being warped to Weird World so maybe we’ll actually get the story that this character was designed for? I’m going to read this more out of curiosity and a love of Weird World than anything else. Fingers they be crossed.

 

Bloodshot Reborn #8Bloodshot: Reborn #8

I don’t even know what’s happening with this book anymore, and that’s not a bad thing – this was the single best action book on the shelves, but writer Jeff Lemire decided to move into action-thriller and then action-horror, showing the versatility of this concept and exploring the guts of the character. Equal parts Terminator, Dracula, and the X-Files, Bloodshot combines the best of those narratives and creates something wholly unique: a monster who became a man and now seeks to become a monster to trap the monster he was. This series is unspeakably cool, and you should read it.

 

Clean Room #2Clean Room #2

Hey, Gail Simone is writing Lovecraftian horror with a Scientology analogue, and you know what it is? If you said terrifying and awesome, than you are correct. We don’t know what the Clean Room is; those in-world that do know of it speak of it in whispers, and our protagonist, Chloe, is hunting for answers held by someone who many view as a savior. The thing is, we’re dealing with a false messiah that has a dangerous following and access to a perspective that puts everyone that might challenge her at a disadvantage. This book questions that nature of reality. Check it out.

 

Cognetic #2Cognetic #2

You know what’s fun? Starting a story off by showing how effective a character is, and then having them outplayed at every turn by someone so far above their paygrade that it makes them look… well, silly. Things did not go so well for Amie, but they worked out stellar fashion for the villain men call Blue. Now, Amie is back to less than where this story began – lacking resources burned and trust lost among colleagues. This is okay. A story with a decent enough hook, but it’ll be the next few issues that determine whether it’s going to be worth following.

 

Extraordinary X-Men #2Extraordinary X-Men #2

That was quick. Wasn’t issue one a week or two ago? Are we all that eager to put Secret Wars behind us? The short answer to that is a resounding yes, because fuck Secret Wars. The X-Men are in dire straits as all the mutants are sterile and the x-gene is no longer propagating because of Fox. Storm, eager to be a worthwhile character again following the taint Wolverine left on her in the last few years, has put together a team to make that happen. Wasn’t overly impressed with issue one, but I am curious to see where this goes and what Marvel has in mind.

 

Hacktivist #5Hacktivist #5

Read this. Read this. Do it now. Go to your comic book store or Amazon or wherever and get the first trade and then every single issue of the second volume. You’ll thank us. This is a reprint of a formerly con-exclusive cover and we’re okay with that on the basis that it gives us an excuse to bring up this series again. In essence, Alyssa Milano wanted to talk about the emergence of an information-centric economy and the real politick of of greed and corruption that is destroying our world. Like a superhero, she put together the best possible team and struck gold. You must read this.

 

Harley Quinn #22Harley Quinn #22

You get weird stuff out of the big two, sometimes. Parodies of their own stories and one another. Marvel has Deadpool, for the most part, and DC has Harley. This version of the character is insane, yes, but also incredibly bright and is past her Joker-obsession and trying to make a life for herself. Sometimes, that means making friends and helping them out. One of those friends is Sy Borgman, a retired supervillain who is having trouble with an old lover who may or may not have been impaled on a rhino. This series is batshit insane in the best possible way.

 

Huck #1Huck #1

I find Mark Millar hit-or-miss. There’s an unhealthy amount of self-loathing in some of his works, a hatred of himself and his craft and his fans that I think is born out of the fact that he writes comics. The thing is that he is impossibly talented, so even when he’s in the mire of his damage his work comes out qualitative. This sounds like Millar without the deprecation: a superhero living in a small town as an open secret finds himself being blackmailed by a reporter who discovers that he exists. This could be very interesting, and we’re looking forward to getting our mitts on it.

 

Jem and The Holograms #9Jem and The Holograms #9

Gods, but that movie was terrible. Who decided to lock down Kesha as Pizzazz and then not use her? That’s criminal, that is. That’s outrageous. Equally outrageous, but in the opposite direction, is this comic. Kelly Thompson has expanded the mythology of this series beautifully, growing her characters and taking the time to make her world make sense, at least to itself. Jem and her sisters feel like family, which is nice, and Synergy has hinted at how dangerous she might be… and with the Misfits sneaking into a house party Jerrica is throwing, things are about to get wacky.

 

Jughead #2Jughead #2

The modernization of Archie continues with Archie’s closest friend, Jughead. This version of the character is a teen who grew up rich and lost everything at a young age, which explains his name and apparent lack of money. He continues to be intelligent and tricky and maybe the single best character in comics (it’s arguable). Here, he’s having to deal with Riverdale High’s faculty being replaced by people that are mucking about with his world, and clearly do not know with whom they are mucking. Jughead’s imagination is his refuge and font of inspiration, and this is one of the better comics coming out this week. Give it a look.

 

Kanan The Last Padawan #8Kanan: The Last Padawan #8

We got the history of Kanan leading up to this point, watching as a young Padawan lost his Jedi and then learned to give up the Force. It was a tragic tale, but we’re moving even further back now – to the point where a young Caleb Dune was first taken in by a Master, and how the two of them found one another and learned from one another. It’s an interesting device that adds depth to Star Wars: Rebels, which has been the best way to kill time while waiting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Do you have your ticket yet? Good. Need something to read? This is it.

 

Ms. Marvel #1Ms. Marvel #1

So, with any luck, this series is going to pick up where it left off prior to Secret Wars because here’s the thing: this comic is pretty much perfect. It’s the best young adult comic series going right now, honest and awkward and heartfelt and, most of all, important. It doesn’t talk down to its readers, it doesn’t shirk away from difficult content, and it is frank, honest, imaginative, and entertaining all at once. Better still, she’s now officially an Avenger, which has to be about the best thing ever for a geeky fangirl like her. Kamala Khan is the best thing ever and if you like fun you will like this.

 

The Mighty Thor #1The Mighty Thor #1

Marvel’s absolute king when it comes to epic level storytelling, Jason Aaron, continues to evolve the mythology of Thor. The Goddess of Thunder was revealed to be Jane Foster, which is an interesting twist: Jane is dying of late stage cancer, so when she’s not Thor she’s frail on death’s door. As Thor, she is one of the mightiest beings in the Marvel Universe, which is good considering the mess the Asgardians have made of the Ten Realms. Clever writing and beautiful art combine to make a story worthy of the best bards and one of the best comic runs Marvel has ever published.

 

Pretty Deadly #6Pretty Deadly #6

Deathface Ginny is back. The daughter of Death Himself returns with her small band of friends, having survived the encounter with her parents. Now, a new century approaches with the promise of a war larger and more brutal than anything that has come before – can Ginny, now Death Herself, handle the weight of her inheritance? Those of you that missed this the first time around might want to dive right in; this series is weird and excellent, with flowing artwork that feels wet and a meandering writing style that feels like the best parts of a vision quest.

 

Public Relations #3Public Relations #3

Nerdcouver is in the process of making some changes, but credit where credit is due: they’re the ones that turned us on to this series, and we will cover it in their absence. Why? It’s fun. A prince ran away from a magical kingdom to live in the real world, but was dragged back by co-workers and now everyone is regretting the decision. This is about making a place for yourself when you feel like you don’t belong, a slice-of-life book that went off the rails somewhere in the most entertaining way possible. Those who get it cannot explain; those who do not will not understand.

 

Rat Queens #13Rat Queens #13

The best high fantasy D&D-inspired comic ever comes back for unlucky thirteen, but who is that lack of luck for? The students at Mage University, where magic-users go to learn their craft, are having issues because the faculty is cracking down on the concept of education. The Rat Queens are involved because their resident necromancer’s dad seems to have kicked the whole thing off, and the others are looking to get drunk and get to the bottom of things. Or a maybe a glass. You know, whichever comes first. Look, it’s Rat Queens, if you’re reading this you know it’s fucking great. Recommended.

 

Red Thorn #1Red Thorn #1

We get a lot of Celtic mythology in modern fantasy. A lot of Roman and Norse and Egyptian. Some Japanese or Chinese, maybe. And, well… that’s pretty much it. Maybe some Santeria, if we’re lucky. No Sumerian, no Hindu, slivers of Meso-American and Polynesian. This comic seeks to redress some of that by going into Pictish and Scottish lore, playing with the monstrous beings that lurk under Glasgow in the modern era. A girl discovers she can make her drawings come to life as a demi-god emerges from underhill. Sounds like exactly the sort of story we like.

 

Secret Six #8Secret Six #8

Turns out some things have gone awry on the mystical side of things in the DCYou, and it’s adversely affecting the various mystical people that normally would deal with this sort of thing. The only person left that can do anything about it is Black Alice, who is a sullen traumatized teenage girl who happens to hang out with a bunch of other sullen traumatized people. Thankfully, the lot of them have a guide in the form of a literal demon, Etrigan. This should end well. For us readers, anyway; things rarely end well for the Secret Six, which is kind of the point.

 

Star Wars #12Star Wars #12

Jason Aaron, who we’ve already called Marvel’s resident master of epic scale storytelling, was given the wherewithal to tell a Star Wars story. It’s been a lot of build and expansion, showing what happened between the destruction of the Death Star in Episode IV and the attack on Hoth at the beginning of Episode V. The short answer is chaos, as Luke investigates every scrap of Jedi-lore he can find, and Leia gets caught up in Hans’ smuggling past. It’s a fun little tale that will get us from one point to the next, and it’s well worth picking up if you’re a Star Wars fan.

 

Star Wars Vader Down #1Star Wars: Vader Down #1

More Jason Aaron, this time building on the framework laid by Keiron Gillen. That’s basically saying that Michelangelo is working on something started by Leonardo da Vinci in a collaborative manner. Yeah. Following the Machiavellian machinations of the Vader comics, the Dark Lord of the Sith decides to go after the Rebel Alliance by himself. Everyone gets involved from both sides, because if there is one person (besides Palpatine) that the entire galaxy lives in terror of, it’s Vader. This is going to be awesome, and is almost a shoe-in for a top five spot. Get this.

 

Star-Lord #1Star-Lord #1

Okay, so this is about how Peter Quill basically stole his way into space, back before he was a member of the Guardians or Star-Lord. The problem with this is that it goes what we know about Quill being in space as a kid, but we trust Sam Humphries to tell his tale; the man writes a better Peter Quill than anyone else in the history of ever, though I’d much rather get more details on what Star-Lord is doing, you know, running an empire juxtaposed with what his wife is doing while guarding the galaxy. Should be fun and worth a look if you’re a GotG fan.

 

Tomboy #1Tomboy #1

We don’t look at Action Lab Comics too much, so we’re hoping this series changes that. The cover looks gorgeous, and the story sounds interesting – a young girl who spends her time playing field hockey loses her damn mind when a childhood friend is murdered. She decides that murdering the people that did the murdering is the best thing she can do, especially given the utter corruption she discovers is lurking all about her. The best part? The narrative promises to look at the deeper terrors of revenge, namely that fighting monsters can turn one into a monster. Looking forward to this.

 

Wayward #11Wayward #11

You’re reading this, right? You need to be reading this. Go buy the prior two trades, because spoilers lie ahead. The revelation of evolving divinity has recast what this comic is about, establishing who our characters are, why they have the powers they do, and what is happening all around them. Now that these characters understand who and what they are, the old gods are running for cover and trying to survive this latest celestial emergence. Spectacular artwork and a heady concept mingle with excellent characters, witty dialogue, and deceptively simple storytelling. Also, the appendix in each of these comics is worth the cover price alone. If you haven’t read this yet, fix that and do so now.

 

Welcome Back #3Welcome Back #3

We’ve seen the story where two lovers are resurrected time and again, through the ages, finding one another and falling in love all over again. Sometimes it’s effective; most times it comes across as sort of meh. This takes the basic concept and does something different with it – the two people being reincarnated are warriors, and arch-enemies on top of it. They’ve been hunting and killing one another for eons as part of a war of other immortals that are, likewise, caught up in the same conflict. Discovery and character are the hallmarks of this book, and make it well worth the read. Check it out.

 

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1

I want to be excited by this book. I do. I love the character of the Eternal Warrior. I love the concept of him, and I love the stories it should be easy to tell with him. He’s a character full of age and gravitas, a living record of what has been and what is told bluntly. Trick of it is, Valiant has tried this twice already and failed. Admittedly, they didn’t have Robert Venditti – the man who writes the best of all comics, X-O Manowar – writing it then, and… you know, that does make a difference. I just talked myself into being excited by this book, and it might be my first read this week.

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