As I write this, I’m rewatching First Blood, mainly because Last Blood, the “final” movie in Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise is soon to be released. While 2008’s John Rambo was a perfectly fine capper to Stallone’s other famous franchise, the studios have decreed that we need a fifth film, and we’ll have to see if it was truly necessary or not. But as I watch John Rambo struggle with acclimating to civilian life in the most over the top way, I’m struck by the fact that this character that is so damaged, so out of his element in regular every day life, quickly became a symbol of American military and might, despite his first film being very much the complete opposite of those ideas. Read the rest of this entry
Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC Comics)
It’s not quite October yet, but DC is getting their spooky on with Gotham City Monsters, a new series from Steve Orlando and Amancay Nahuelpan that brings together some of the weirdest monsters and misfits in the DC universe to battle an ancient evil that’s been resurrected to wreak havoc on the multiverse. With a cast that ranges from Killer Croc to Frankenstein’s Monster to the vampire Andrew Bennet, Gotham City Monsters is definitely one of the biggest reaches for the publisher, but it’s not without it’s own charms.
Vampire Andrew Bennet and Frankenstein’s Monster are both hunting the same foe: Melmoth. Believing that forces are working behind the scenes to resurrect the ancient demonic entity, the two supernatural saviors eventually find themselves reluctantly working together to hunt him down. Or that would be the case if Frankenstein hadn’t just cut Bennett in half.
The interplay between Bennet and Frankenstein makes up a large majority of Steve Orlando’s script, and it’s pretty entertaining. What’s less entertaining is the random sections of the issue that deal with the other members of this monster team. While they’re fine snippets into what each character is currently doing, there’s little to no connective tissue for how these characters are going to fit into the team, or the current plot of the first issue. And by the issue’s end, they’re no closer to joining Frank and Bennett, so it doesn’t make me very confident that they’ll be joining those characters any time soon.
Amancay Nahuelpan made a big splash with Black Mask Comics, and it’s really neat to see his art on a big two book like Gotham City Monsters. His style is both cartoony but expressive, and this series should do wonders to increase his visibility in the industry. He can handle the dark visuals needed for this series, but also the super cool action sequences as well. If you’ve never experienced his art before, you’re in for a real treat.
Gotham City Monsters may not live up to it’s title yet, but it could get there in a few issues. For fans of New 52 series Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE and I,Vampire, this is a must get, as those two lead characters feature very prominently in this opening issue. Fans of characters like Killer Croc and….Orca, I guess? Well, you might be disappointed.
Trees: Three Fates #1 (Image Comics)
Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees has been running for a while now, and with the third installment in the series, Three Fates, arriving, I decided to finally give it a shot….which may have been a mistake. As a continuation of the Trees series, I’m sure it was great. But as a introduction to the Trees universe, it leaves a lot to be desired.
The basic plot of this new series revolves around the investigation of a dead body by local investigator Klara. After a bunch of giant pillars called “Trees” arrive on Earth, Humans needed to learn how to live with these new strange visitors. Eleven years later, humanity has accepted this as a new way of life, and the world keeps going, albeit now there’s a strange murder that may have ties to a deeper conspiracy.
That “lived in Sci-Fi” feeling is always welcome in my book, and while you can jump into this series with the basic information provided, I really do feel like I’m missing some larger revelations that probably arrived in one of the previous Trees series. Of course, this is partially on me for picking this up sight unseen, but at the same time, if Ellis wants people to come back to this series, or pick up the older series, then maybe he should have considered giving readers a little more tantalizing reasons behind the Trees to pique our interest.
Jason Howard’s art is an interesting mix of Ryan Ottley and Mike Avon Oeming, and it suits the series really well. Three Fates seems to be a much smaller event than the previous series, but that suits Howard’s style really well, as he gives the pages a nice sense of mood and pacing throughout the book. This wouldn’t be that far out of the realm of an HBO procedural drama, and it shows throughout the issue in Howard’s art.
Will I go back and check out the rest of Trees? I’m not so sure. But I do appreciate the fact that Ellis and Howard are using the backdrop they’ve set up to tell an interesting spin on the tried and true murder mystery, and it is neat to see this little indie book slowly set up it’s own universe, I can’t deny that I wish I was given a little more background information in this world to make it more interesting.
IT: Chapter Two (2019)
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone
Directed By: Andy Muschietti
As the sequel to the highest grossing horror movie of all time, there’s a lot of pressure for IT: Chapter Two. Hell, there would be a lot of pressure for the sequel even if the first film wasn’t such a monster success. That box office record is both a blessing and a curse for Chapter Two though, as the return trip to Derry, Maine, while plenty entertaining, struggles to recapture the magic of the first film, and at times feels a tad too long. Read the rest of this entry
Conan The Barbarian #9 (Marvel Comics)
Jason Aaron’s run on Conan The Barbarian has been a fantastic ride the usurps all expectations that one expects with the character. But for the ninth issue, Aaron and artist Mahmud Asrar finally give us a Conan adventure that fits neatly in with the original Robert E Howard stories, and in turn crafts one of the coolest issues of the series since it began. Read the rest of this entry
The amount of news that came out of this year’s Disney D23 convention was dizzying. From updates on Black Widow and Disney+ streaming shows, to news of new series starring everyone from She-Hulk to Moon Knight, Disney came out in a big way, and showed that they’re taking this streaming channel very seriously. But the biggest pieces of news came from a corner of the company that deals with stories from a long time ago, and in a galaxy far, far away…Star Wars. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics)
Every few years DC restarts a team up book for Batman and Superman, and it seems we’re about due for a new one. Unlike previous Superman and Batman series, Batman/Superman #1 is deeply rooted in the main continuity of the DC universe, and directly follows the events of the Batman Who Laughs miniseries that just wrapped up. However, those that didn’t follow that series won’t be completely lost, as the Joshua Williamson and David Marquez debut issue does a pretty good job of serving as an entry point into the modern day DC universe and it’s happenings. Read the rest of this entry
Superman Year One #2 (DC Comics)
Frank Miller’s weird take on the early years of the Man of Steel continue on in Superman Year One #2, which focuses more on Miller’s version of Clark Kent and his adventures with the Navy. Yes, the Navy. It’s something that’s really hard to wrap your head around, and like the first issue, this John Romita Jr drawn second issue still struggles to come up with a solid reason to exist. Read the rest of this entry
The Marvel Cinematic Universe could have a Spider-Man shaped hole in its future depending on how the current negotiations between Disney and Sony go. Naturally, this causes quite the dilemma for myself, your friendly neighborhood Spidey fan. It’s easy to point the fingers at Sony, given their less than stellar track record with the character prior to the MCU deal, but Disney’s not off the hook either, and it’s all thanks to the one foe that even Spider-Man may not be able to take down: Good old fashioned corporate greed! Read the rest of this entry
Disney and Marvel Studios are in a bit of a predicament. While much has been made (and celebrated) about the studios’ purchase of Fox and all their properties, there’s one property from Fox that has been met with a lot of confusion: Deadpool. The Unabashedly hard R franchise has done gangbusters business for Fox, but, under the new ownership it’s struggling to find its place. Disney and Marvel know a sure hit when they see it (hell, they just need to see the box office for Deadpool and the sequel), but at the same time, they finally have the use of the Marvel characters that Fox was using, and they want to put them into the MCU mega machine. So what’s a studio to do with a character as unabashedly profane as Deadpool?
Well, the answer is probably a lot simpler than you think. Read the rest of this entry
Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun #1 (Marvel Comics)
Comics are used to tell many different stories, but I’m not sure what story Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun is trying to tell. Written by Peter David and drawn by Francesco Manna, this one-shot continues the story from the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special from a few months back, but it feels like every other Silver Surfer story you’ve ever read before.
Prodigal Sun essentially follows the same beats as other Silver Surfer stories. In the past, serving as Galactus’ herald, the Surfer arrived at Prodigal’s planet and fought him. Later on, Prodigal learns that he needs the Silver Surfer to help him in his war, and that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of the same things you’ve read in past Silver Surfer books. There’s really nothing that makes this stand out, other than the fact that this issue focuses on Prodigal.
Peter David is a legend in the industry, but with Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun, he seems to be really resting on his laurels here. There’s no recap for if you didn’t read the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special (which I didn’t), and as I said before, the script doesn’t do a lot to make it stand out from other Silver Surfer stories from before. It’s a bit of a bummer from the writer, but then again, David has been writing for so long that I don’t think it’s that outside of the realm of possibility for him to phone it in every once and a while.
On the art side of things, Francesco Manna’s art is pretty solid. Able to go back and forth between cosmic action and the stoic Silver Surfer moments, Manna makes a definite mark with this issue, and plants his flag firmly in the art style of the Marvel brand. I expect big things from him in the future.
While Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun isn’t as new reader friendly as I was expecting, Surfer fans will still find enough to like. Plus those that read the previous Fantastic Four special will probably like seeing the story play out. However, it would’ve been cool for David and Manna to make this more of a easier read for those of us that didn’t check in on the previous special.
Once And Future #1 (Boom Studios)
The Arthurian Legend we all thought we knew isn’t nearly as heroic as it seems in Once and Future, which finds the scabbard of the fabled sword Excalibur going missing, and a young man and his grandmother forced into finding the missing item before it’s too late. Despite what legend tells us, King Arthur was not as noble as he seemed, and a group of British Nationalists are conspiring to resurrect the Once and Future King to bring about the Darkest Days of Britain.
Keiron Gillen’s made a name for himself with the fantastic fantasy series Die and The Wicked + Divine, but with Once and Future he adds a bit of Indiana Jones and Uncharted into the mix, as the mystery of King Arthur plays out more like something you’d see in those adventure series than a full blown fantasy epic like the other two series mentioned. That being said, this mystery is really cool, and Gillen adds fun little throw away lines into the mix that really expand on both our lead character Duncan and his badass grandmother Bridgette. They’re an unlikely pair that are instantly entertaining and a blast to watch.
Dan Mora’s made a big splash on Boom! Studios’ Buffy The Vampire Slayer Series, and he proves that he’s an even bigger talent with Once and Future, which allows him to break free from making his characters look like their live action counterparts. Mora’s clean style is awesomely detailed yet simple, and features enough action and motion that you’ll swear that the panels are moving before your eyes. If Buffy was going to to introduce Mora to comic readers, Once and Future is going to jump him up to the next level.
Once and Future at first didn’t seem like a title I would be interested in, but after only this first issue I’m adding this to my pull list. At six issues, it’s not a huge commitment, and the hook is extremely strong. If all goes well, Gillen and Mora could have the miniseries of the year with Once and Future.