Comic Book Review: The Skeptics & Black #1

The Skeptics #1 (Black Mask)

I just read the debut issue for the new Black Mask series “The Skeptics” and was quite pleased with this sweet little intro to a thus far promising retro adventure. Brought to you by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi we’ve got a solid story of two teenagers during the Cold War era that are brought in by the US government to test for paranormal abilities. There’s a claim made by the Soviets that they’ve got a new breed of soldier in the works, ones with intense psychic abilities. But is it just a hoax to scare us Americans during those tense times? Either way it doesn’t matter because of course the US is determined to find people with similar unique abilities here in our own country to face off with the Soviets.

Well all just is not what it seems when Mary and Maxwell are brought in for testing, for unknown reasons these two have figured out a way to to trick the scientists and even the President into believing they’ve got telekinetic abilities. The President claims they’re the key to stopping World War 3 but it seems there’s more going on than meets the eye. The two young “psychics” quickly decide to take matters into their own hands when they realize that perhaps it’s not a hoax. The Soviets may indeed be harboring people with superhuman abilities. 

I had a pretty fun time with the first issue, it’s really simplistic, pure story telling with some decent artwork as well. It’s a refreshing break from all of the ultra edgy stuff being cranked out these days, I’ll check out issue number two and see just where this all goes but either way the debut is worth a look if you’re looking for something a little different.


Black #1 (Black Mask)

Here’s another decent debut issue that finds it’s plot ripped from the media headlines. It’s a story about police corruption and racism in America with a superhero twist. We’ve got corrupt white cops who shoot down three black teens who’ve done nothing wrong in broad daylight on the streets of the inner city. Sound familiar?

Well things get more interesting when one of the teens who’s presumed dead awakens alive and well in the ambulance on the way to the hospital with seemingly superhuman energy and endurance. On the run from the cops he meets a Morpheus like character (from the movie The Matrix) who helps him to safety and soon it’s revealed that people do indeed exist on this planet with superhuman powers….except only those who are black can have them. This like The Skeptics is also a pretty quick and simple read with an  interesting spin on the superhero genre. This idea spun out of a Kickstarter campaign and was soon picked up by Black Mask. The art adds to the experience as it’s really well drawn and in black and white.

The writing for this by Kwanza Osajyefo is solid yet at the same time a bit on the predictable side. Starting out with a fairly popular view point being, corrupt cops are running rampant and they kill black people for no apparent reason. I think it’s fair to say from most of the news stories we’ve heard reported on point to this similar scenario. So we’ve definitely got a story here thats basis is controversial and hotly debated. I can already see people being upset about the race issue presented here, it is indeed written to get a response from white readers and continue the much needed dialogue about racial tension today. I think however it’s not much really of a different concept than say “Y The Last Man” yet this comic’s timing probably is the most controversial aspect of it.

Overall I dig it, the idea of just one race being graced with superpowers is an odd angle but given the recent headlines this one’s certain to make some waves. It’s also written & drawn by an all black team as the above The Skeptics is an all female team. So we’re getting a lot more projects out there now that are created with race appropriate and gender appropriate teams attached. It I guess raises questions about whether or not it’s ok in modern times to have people writing books that aren’t of the same gender or race of the characters in the book? This topic alone has become somewhat of an issue lately for movies, books and tv shows. I’m still under the belief that at the end of the day in works of fiction, in a free society none of that needs to really be micro-analyzed. So therefore I welcome anyone to bring a unique story to the table no matter what their race, gender, sexuality or association may be. With that being said I’m curious to see where the story of “Black” ultimately goes. I’ll be back for a second issue…   

Comic Review: Great Lakes Avengers #1

I’ve been super pumped for the new Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series for quite a while now and this weekend I picked up a stack of new comics and this was one of them. I’ve been a big fan of the team from way back when they were introduced in 1989 for a few reasons. First they were created by the legendary John Byrne, who’s been my favorite comic book artist since I was a kid, second The Great Lakes Avengers are from my home state of Wisconsin (a place where superhero stories rarely take place) and finally I love the pure oddity of these misfit, underdog, d-list characters. I always thought they could be a hit if they were given the proper chance and I STILL think Marvel could make an amazing movie/tv series with this team. So anyway was this debut issue worth the wait for a die hard fan like myself?

I’ve gotta be honest here, I was a bit underwhelmed with issue #1. One reason being perhaps that I recently decided to reread the Dan Slott GLA mini series from 2005, which I think was fantastic. Here we have in 2016 a bit of a more of a lighter playful take on the team rather than the dark comedy that Slott brought us. This new series is obviously trying reeeeaaallly hard to funny and personally I don’t think many of the jokes really land. It can be hard to make pure comedic gold in comic book form and I’ll say I think Slott & Byrne accomplished this more much more solidly. Continue reading

Best of VHS Box Art: Prophecy!!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love monster movies? Well being a huge fan of the creature feature I thought I’d showcase one of my personal favorites. Prophecy from 1979 is a damn good movie that still holds up quite well even in 2016. It’s a monster movie with a message, don’t pollute the rivers cuz if you do you just might end up with a wildly mutated pissed off monster grizzly bear in your forests! Yeah John Frankenheimer does a wonderful job bringing this twister creature feature to life and the box/ poster art is one of my favorites check it:

It really doesn’t get too much better than this as far as awesome cover art goes and also having a movie that’s actually as cool as it’s poster art in this era can at time be a difficult task. As a kid this cover always stuck with me from way back in the video store days. If you haven’t seen this one then make sure this Halloween you track it down, you won’t be disappointed!



Luke Cage & My Hopes for Iron Fist!

For the record I’d like to say that Luke Cage was yet another job well done for the Netflix Marvel universe. I wasn’t quite as addicted to it as I hoped I would be, I think maybe the first season of Daredevil was probably the best in my opinion. I do think though when I came to that conclusion it’s likely because it felt the most like a comic book. We got Daredevil in his costume (though I still think they could have done a better job with the DD costume)) while Jessica Jones and Luke Cage appearance wise kept the whole street clothes thing in check. It worked for them because let’s face it the tiara & big yellow blouse-y shirt just get up wouldn’t have been a look many people in 2016 would have been too thrilled with. I found Luke Cage to be super solid action drama a bit light on the whole superhero vibe which is fine because it does work for the medium but hey I think giving these guys a few more colorful villains to tangle with might be exactly what the show is missing.

I’m not certain why everything thus far has to look so “real world” on these shows, I mean the Marvel movies are incredibly colorful for the most part. So far the Netflix shows do have way better developed villains than in the movies. However I’d like to see some full on super villains eventually enter the scene. Imagine how tense things could get if we got someone perhaps like Tombstone to enter the scene and accurately keep his larger than life comic book appearance? Continue reading

Creepy Comic Book Covers of the Week: Baron Blood!!

It’s October and it’s time to get creepy with the comic book covers of the week! Here are actually two awesome creepy covers from one of my favorite little Captain America stories of all time. Both covers are drawn by my all time favorite legend of the biz Mr. John Byrne! This creepy 2 part classic starts in Captain America #253 with a resurrection of one of his oldest foes, the vampire Nazi Baron Blood. It’s a cool little mystery and also reunites Steve Rogers with his old World War 2 Invaders ally Lords Falsworth the legendary Union Jack, who’s now like ninety years old.

Then Issue 254 turns up the heat as we see the showdown brilliantly  drawn by Byrne and we see Union Jack somehow return to the action. The cover features the old as fuck Union Jack trying to get in on the action! Hunt this cool classic Cap story down it really doesn’t disappoint and is perfect for the Halloween season!!!

Byrne did a variant cover years later for the classic showdown in black and white.

‘Get Out’ Trailer Looks Like a WTF Horror Masterpiece!

I’m always looking for some truly original horror movies to check out and a lot of the trailers I see, even the good ones, usually seem to be lifting directly from some other movie that was done better thirty years ago. Hey, I get it, it’s hard to be original in 2016, I mean everything has been done before right?!

Well take a look at this awesome new trailer for the upcoming fright flick “Get Out” because I think it’s one of the most intriguing trailers I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s one of those movies I’ll likely avoid any additional info on until I’ve got my ass seated firmly in the theater. ‘Get Out’ is due out Feb. 24th and it looks like a full on WTF mind bender, with a totally original & mysteriously crazy looking storyline. Hands down this one looks like a total treat!

Review: Ash Vs Evil Dead Season Two Debut!

I checked out the first episode last night of season two of Ash vs Evil Dead that’s streaming for FREE on Starz website. I’ve gotta say I think this episode might be one of the best ones thus far in the whole series. I really enjoyed season one, it did exactly what it set out to do which was bring us a fully over the top adventure featuring everyone’s favorite iconic cult horror anti-hero Ash. Did it have it’s flaws? Certainly. Some of the FX work relied too much on some questionable CG and at times there were a couple episodes that were just a little bit flat. Overall though, it packed the punch it promised and it was truly incredible to finally see Bruce back in the role. I gotta say I really never thought it would actually happen.

So season two comes around and part of me wonders if this whole formula will grow tired? Well the first episode did NOT disappoint! I couldn’t help but smile during it, Bruce is just so damn lovable and his two sidekicks have definitely grown on me, In fact someday I could see these two continue on the Evil Dead franchise without Bruce if he someday decided to hang up the chainsaw. I also loved the opening, having lived in Jacksonville Florida myself, the whole idea that THAT city is Ash’s personal view of paradise makes the idea that much more comedically potent.

I’m totally diggin’ where the show is going and we get to meet Ash’s very non PC dad (Lee Majors) which is a total treat. I do wish they’d have stayed a bit longer in Jacksonville, but I love how we’re getting some of Ash’s backstory in his home town in Michigan. What really do we know about the character otherwise? This begins to really flesh him out. Also someone must have been listening to fans reaction to the CG FX because the season two debut is almost entirely done with gory ass practical effects. It really looks great and feels more like the original movies than any of the other episodes. Well done. This show is pretty damn awesome and it’s the perfect thing to get you into a good mood if you’re feeling blue. I’ve just gotta catch this season weekly, it really is a show that makes me smile. In the meantime I’m going to watch this episode again, yeah it’s that good…  

Here’s the teaser for the next episode: