Category: comic books

Comic Review: ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is Seriously Strange & Sexy!

Here’s a cool solid debut comic book from Black Mask Studios called ‘There’s Nothing There’ from the co-creator Patrick Kindlon of the awesome series “We Can Never Go Home”. This issue starts off instantly with a cool but familiar feeling set up as we follow a woman named Reno who attends a mysterious elite costume party with one of her friends. Think a little ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ here as soon it’s revealed that things are set to get kinky real quick.

We’re not entirely sure who’s party this is or what’s at stake as we’re introduced to some mega richie rich ‘Bill Clinton’ looking dude who emerges and delivers an odd slightly religious sexually charged speech to the party goers that seems to signify they’ll be creating something important together. The place quickly erupts in a full on orgy, and Reno fully partakes in the festivities as we’re given a fairly detailed look at the sexual endeavors that ensue over a few pages. During it all Reno sees something strange appear outside in the sky that at first appear almost like some sort of UFO’s floating in a pink cloud shrouding the sky.

The next morning Reno’s mind is clearly in a bit of a haze and as she meets a friend for breakfast we discover she’s some sort of star who’s worried about the paparazzi following her and not following her at the same time. She soon begins to have hallucinations of odd people appearing on the streets and we’re not quite sure if she’s suffering from the effects of drugs from the night before or if perhaps she’s developed some sort of sixth sense to see dead people. Is this the result of an elite ritual from night before? Likely, but things continue on this way even after she returns home to get some rest.

There’s some great potential here and has set up a mysterious plot that could easily go in any number of directions and I hope it pushes the envelope as the story progresses into some unfamiliar terrifying territory. We’re treated as well to some pretty sweet stylized artwork here from Maria LLovet that works perfectly with the story’s tone & mysterious set up. I’m not always these days drawn to stories about rich sexy elites as it seems that most characters in comics somehow come from this sort of classist privileged environment. However, I’m getting the feeling that this might deliver a lot of twists and turns that will likely place our main characters into some unfamiliar territory.

Black Mask is putting out cool books and is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. ‘There’s Nothing There’ #1 is a solid debut (that’s new on the shelves this week) and it’ll be interesting to see if this one can craft an unpredictable mystery as the series continues. Check it out!

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The All Time Greatest One Shot Comics: X-Men #205!

Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.

Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.

The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s.  Continue reading

Is Marvel Comics Exploiting Diversity?

I’ve been seeing an increase  of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?

I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading

Comic Review: Space Riders #1 – Galaxy of Brutality!

Here’s a cool new comic book from ‘Black Mask’ that packs a visually stunning slice of dirty raw color to the space pirate genre. From page one I’ll admit for this one it really didn’t matter how solid the plot would be for ‘Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality’, the first page showcases some awesome artwork that’s a breath of fresh air in the current comics spectrum. Black Mask has been putting out some pretty impressive shit for quite some time now. Space Riders #1 continues that trend with a solid debut that could possibly be more fun to look at than read. This is apparently a sequel series, but it’s new to me and I’ll have to take a moment to hunt down the first trade. So if you’re late to the party like myself, I don’t think it really matters all that much. We’re given a cast of outrageous characters from the get go, some crazy space bikers, weaving through the stars, wreaking havok on a refugee ship full of aliens. It doesn’t take long for the giant floating skull space craft, with our main characters aboard to vaporize the scavengers dead in their tracks. This sets the tone for the type of crazy shit visually and plot wise that’s on the horizon.

I  totally dig it, it’s a straight forward story so far filled with some insanely colorful characters that harken back to classic vintage style space voyage that would’ve fit nicely in the pages of ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine. We’ve got the gruff wise guy Captain Peligro, a tuff guy baboon human hyrid co-pilot, cyborg babes, bat people, marauding space bikers, galactic maidens and cool space vagina portals. It’s a damn fun first issue that’s jam packed with eye candy galore and just a ton of weirdo oddball landscapes & evil aliens. I like these kind of stories sometimes that don’t rely too much on paying attention to crazy details and more so on just having a good old fashion ruff around the collar space adventure. This is the perfect book to roll a joint, kick & absorb the madness of it all.

Now the problem here I gotta say is that Space Riders takes about five minutes to read. I’m not exaggerating either it’s filled with a ton of huge panels and splash pages. While those can all be cool to look at I’ve said before comic books these days need to make some changes for readers who’re expected to throw down four bucks per issue for five minutes of story. Too many books out there don’t seem to give us enough bang for our buck. What do you think? Can you afford the rising prices of comic books? Well if you can I recommend Space Riders #1 it’s got a unique look and it bound to go to some pretty cool ass places…       

VHS Verdict: ‘Wild Thing’ Is The 80’s Greatest Homeless Hippie Superhero!

I recently picked up an obscure 80’s flick called ‘Wild Thing’ (aka Asphalt Kid) on VHS and to my surprise it was quite an enjoyable little oddball ‘superhero’ flick. Yeah, ‘Wild Thing’ is the alias of the homeless hippie hero who’s parents were killed by a crooked cop in 1969 when he was just a toddler. His parents were full on flower children too, as the opening scene shows them looking like members of the Grateful Dead driving around in an old VW van around the big city. Instead of living with his aunt and uncle after this tragic event the lil’ dude is chased down by the cops and leaps into a nearby river. He finds shelter with a homeless lady who takes him in as her own. Over the years he learns the ways of the streets, hunts pigeons with a tennis racquet for food, mimics a martial arts master who practices in the park, learns to speak from radio disc jockeys and figures out ways to communicate with alley cats. Yep Wild Thing is a bit of a “Jack of ALL trades”.

Wild Thing grows up a bit and by the late 80’s he’s become somewhat of a local legend and protector of the streets, rumored to have superhuman abilities. He’s a full on hippie vigilante who roams the rooftops looking for trouble. This one’s got quite a plot. Things get interesting when a woman from Wisconsin named Jane (Kathleen Quinlan) moves into the area to work at a priest’s half way home. Sure enough she arrives for the job late at night and is attacked by some crazy local hoodlums, well guess who arrives to save her? Continue reading

My One Big Problem With ‘LOGAN’!

Holy Hell! I’ve got to make some time here to give some props to Hugh Jackman’s “last” run as Wolverine! I know everyone and their mom, dad & parakeet are talking about how great this movie is and yeah I agree it’s a glorious final chapter. They finally took the gloves off and let Wolverine be Wolverine. I find it funny how damn long it takes Hollywood to figure out what us comic book fanatics knew way back in the year 2000. We want our Wolverine to be a savage lil’ a-hole and you just can’t really do it with a PG-13 rating. So as you know by now obviously Logan is bloody, gritty and tonally different than any of the other movies. It’s a no BS affair, it’s personal and it has real heart. There are no giant CG robots or even a weak ass version of Sabretooth anywhere in sight. Nope Wolverine here is a cussin’, drinkin’, pissed off SOB and it’s great to finally see him the way he was more or less supposed to be all along. Sure he’s older and weaker here but hey I’ll take what I can get dammit!

Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier is amazing and so is Dafne Keen’s X-23. They both nearly steal the thunder from Logan time and time again throughout the movie. By now you’ve likely heard it ALL and probably seen the movie. It’s great and I’ll see it again, soon. BUT, yes there is a but here and it needs to be addressed (SPOILERS AHEAD). My biggest problem with ‘Logan’ was it’s villain/villains. That’s not to say I didn’t dig Donald Pierce and his Reavers, they were forgettably fine but let’s be honest they could have been AMAZING. When I heard that they were going up against Wolverine in this final flick I was fucking thrilled. The Reavers could have and should have been a seriously scary force to be reckoned with.

Sure Donald Pierce had a dinky lil’ cybernetic hand but he could have been a lot more like his counterpart from the comics with four cybernetic limbs & superhuman strength. They failed to make him a truly deadly opponent and the rest of The Reavers should have been modeled after the legendary comic book team. Imagine the original Reavers with an even deadlier Lady Deathstrike back again looking more like comic book counterpart. It should have been Logan and co taking on serious threats more similar to ‘The Terminator’. That would have been amazing. They missed an opportunity to really bring us the psychotic cyborgs we deserved to see. They gave us a lot of throwaway soldiers for him and x-23 to mow down sure, but none of them served any other purpose than just that.

The real threat here was X-24, a villain that to me felt as about exciting as “Deadpool” from X-men Origins: Wolverine. I was really disappointed to see a Hugh Jackman ‘clone’ as the big bad muscle of the movie. That was a serious mis-step in my opinion. I only say this because we could have gotten any number of amazing Wolverine villains in his place. Imagine for a second that their secret weapon was Omega Red?! Or Cyber? Daken? Razorfist? Heck even a bigger badder version of Sabretooth would have been welcome.

My point being we really didn’t need any of them, we already had Donald Pierce and The Reavers. They could have supplied us with all sorts of frightening cybernetic mayhem. Instead they went the overused “fight your clone / fight yourself” route. Ahhh well what can I say, I am a picky comic book bastard. It just irritates me that they got so close to me having to just shut the fuck up and admit perfection. At least they finally got ol’ Wolvie right. It took them seventeen years to figure it all out and I’m damn glad they did. This is clearly a groundbreaking movie that’ll change the way comic book movies are made from this point on. Don’t get me wrong I give ‘Logan’ a solid A-, but in the future though let’s give the same care to the villains as we do to the heroes cuz a hero’s only as good as his villain! Oh yeah one more thing I highly doubt this is the last time we’ll see Mr. Jackman in the role of Logan, this movie is a box office smash and we all know money talks…why stop now anyway when you finally figured it all out?!!

 

Comic Review: The Dregs #2 Continues The Meanest Mystery In Town!

The Dregs is easily one of the most compelling comic books out there. After a amazing first issue this new series from Black Mask keeps this unique mystery building, leaving you with plenty to think about after the last page. We’ve got one of the most original books on the shelves that breaks the mold of of anything you’re likely reading at the moment. Issue #2 starts off with a bang as we follow the exploits of Arnold, a homeless addict who’s hell bent on solving the mystery of a missing friend named Manny who’s seemed to vanish into thin air from the streets. The first issue also let us in on something incredibly sinister going on in the gentrified area of of the city where it appears that a hip bougie restaurant was serving up plates of food with people on the menu.

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I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but the second issue delivers the tension, mystery & then some. The opening sequence of it sets a dark tone unlike many other comic book I’ve read. This series is full on grit and hits some serious issues in our society you rarely ever see in the pages of comic books. Aside from those the story doesn’t rely entirely on social commentary to be interesting, it’s pages bring about a truly creepy and hopeless air that’s hard to shake. The light at the end of the tunnel looks very, very dim at this point. Continue reading