Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Sat
15
Jun

Talking Peter Cannon with Kieron Gillen

When we reviewed the first issue of Dynamite Comis' take on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT, we were taken aback by what we read. Was this a WATCHMEN derivative? Did Kieron Gillen think people wouldn't catch on? By the end of that issue, it became clear that things were muddier than we thought (if that makes sense), and the second issue had us hooked. This was something different, something that was far more metacomic than it was supehero adventure.

When the fifth and final issue came out, we were certain that the whole thing was a reaction to what WATCHMEN had brought us, and how it had changed the industry.

Fri
14
Jun

Superman #12 - A Beautiful Family Reunion

Another wonderful chapter in Brian Michael Bendis' run on Superman. He's truly building something wonderful for the Superman family that we've never seen done before.

***Spoilers Ahead***

As Rogol Zaar continues to be a thorn in his side, Superman is trying to make sense of everything happening. The mystery behind his father, the truth about the destruction of his home planet, and why General Zod is working with the Kryptonian killing Zaar.

Wed
12
Jun

Steampunk Terrorism Clear and Present Danger in Latest Newbury and Hobbes Adventure from Titan

Newbury & Hobbes: The Undying

Sir Maurice Newbury and Veronica Hobbes are special agents to the Queen who specialize in the outre. Their world may seem to be another steampunk genre adventure, but it is much, much more than that. It's as though the best Victorian-era Doctor Who episodes were used as the backdrop for the forerunners of Jonathan Steed and Emma Peel.

Our saga opens with Sir Maurice and Miss Hobbes in a street brawl, battling masked cultists. But these are no mere anarchists, for behind their masks lies a gruesome discover -- they are a mesh of man and machine, operated on by some mad genius who has advanced science and stunted ethics.

Tue
11
Jun

Red Sonja Battles a Chaos God in Birth of the She-Devil

Red Sonja Birth of a She Devil 1

I'm familiar with Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith's creation, Red Sonja. But it's a passing familiarity. I recognize the character, I've read a few issues in my life. But there are years of story that I have not read, an entire mythology that I do not know.

Fortunately, I don't need to know any of that with RED SONJA: BIRTH OF THE SHE-DEVIL. Narrated by Ozzyus, the warrior who found and raised the red-haired little girl who grew up to be the scourge of despots, this tale from Luke Lieberman finds a somewhat younger Sonja on a quest to find a childhood friend, Shashana, who has been taken by Raka the Forsaken. To do what she has to do, Sonja is presented as a mix of ruthless and beguiling, strong and nubile. She dispatches warriors with ease, whether in combat or by drinking them under the table, and it would be a challenge to find a rendition of Red Sonja anywhere in comics sexier than the way Sergio Davila portrays her in this issue.

Tue
04
Jun

Bettie Page Unbound Brilliant Cross-Title Marketing for Dynamite

Bettie Page Unbound 1 Dynamite Comics Royle

It's another Number One issue for Bettie Page from David Avallone and Julius Ohta. And yes, it's continuing the Lovecraftian tale of Secret Agent Bettie Page, who stands against the elder gods and ancient aliens, but it's a new chapter, a new theme, and thus deserving of a new starting point. (Really, the BETTIE PAGE books have all just been standalone reads of a larger arc anyway.)

BETTIE PAGE UNBOUND is something altogether different. That is, it continues the ongoing adventure of Bettie and friends trying to stop Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep from entering our realm, but this time the creative team has an entirely new angle: a dimension-hopping Bettie who winds up in the form of a different adventurer with each hop. In this issue, she's Bettie the Page, chain-mail bikini warrior of Hyperborea.

Yes, Hyperborea. Bettie is a bad-ass, sword-wielding warrior, aka Red Sonja, a property currently under license to Dynamite.

Mon
03
Jun

A Superhero President Replaced by The Donald Who Laughs in Keenspot's Adult Satire

The Donald Who Laughs 1 Keenspot

John Barron and Shawn Remulac aren't the first to jump on the presidential parody train, certainly not this administration. But they are certainly doing what they can to milk the satire out of politics and comics as they approach Donald Trump with the raunchy eye of lampoonists. 

Hot on the heels of TRUMP'S TITANS, the Keenspot creators introduce THE DONALD WHO LAUGHS, a dark version of Donald Trump [insert obvious political jab here] who has, with his daughter, Darkvanka, kidnapped the real President and First Daughter so that they can take their place. As President, this evil Donald Trump [insert reflexive coughing fit here if needed] can muck about with the direction of the country while his daughter complains about how boring Jared is as she impersonates Ivanka. 

Wed
29
May

Thunderbolt Claps Back at Watchmen in Final Issue

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt 5

PETER CANNON, THUNDERBOLT wraps up its story arc with this fifth issue, whereupon the titular character takes on the titular character. It's Peter Cannon vs. Peter Cannon, but really it's more Charleston Thunderbolt takes on Watchmen's Ozymandias. But there's more going on here than simple homage from Kieron Gilen and Caspar Wijngaard.

Tue
21
May

Capes, Cowls, and Coming Out: History of the Batwoman

Batwoman from then to now

When the superheroes became popular, lo many decades ago, an attempt was made to draw in more readers by adding characters that would be (or so the theory went) relateable to girls. There was already Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and others, but none of them had quite the popularity of a Superman or a Batman.

And so the quick-and-easy path seemed to be to create female versions of these characters. It was a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. In the Superman comics, a Superwoman was introduced in Action Comics #60 in 1943. She was easily forgotten (although has resurfaced in one incarnation or another over the years), and largely eclipsed when sixteen years later Kara Zor-El made her debut as Supergirl in the pages of Action Comics #252.

Tue
21
May

Golden Age Gets Brassy with Heroes at Large

Heroes at Large 2

So many comic book superheroes passed into the public domain that they have become golden again -- golden for independent publishers that is, who are free to use these characters to tell their stories. They're at the heart of Dynamite Comics PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS series, and have shown up in other various series.

Mon
20
May

Cyberfrog is Officially Late. Or Is It?

Cyberfrog by Ethan Van Sciver

To date, there's only one comic book hero who, at the mere utterance of his name, has the ability to evoke either dreamlike awe or cold fury from the comics fan who hears it. His name is CyberFrog, and he's the creation of comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver.

Originally created in the 90s, CyberFrog is finding new life through an Indiegogo project which has drawn acclaim for its detailed preview artwork, and criticism for it being behind its self-imposed schedule. To date, CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY is eight months behind. If this were a car, it would be repossessed by now.

Thu
16
May

Matthew Rosenberg is Tearing the X-Men Apart and That's a Good Thing

Marvel scribe Matthew Rosenberg has warned readers that no X-Man (or woman) is safe during his run. And with Jonathan Hickman poised to reboot the X-Universe, Rosenberg is playing with old toys that are about to be replaced.

He is a bull in a china shop right now. And it's astonishing.

***Caution: MAJOR Spoilers Ahead***

Thu
16
May

The House of El is Re-United in Superman #11

Brian Michael Bendis is uniting a family that has been divided for so many years.

***CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD***

While Batman has enjoyed spending time with his "family" for many years, Superman has typically run solo. It something that's always seemed to separate the two. As Batman leans heavily on his ensemble cast of characters, Superman isolated himself by dealing with his problems alone.

Which is completely opposite of what you'd expect. Batman is the brooding vigilante and Superman is the family loving boy scout. Now, under the guidance of Bendis, Superman is in a fight for the future of his family alongside his father, son, and now his cousin!

Wed
08
May

Dangerous Opinions: Facebook Disconnects 250K Fans from Bounding Into Comics

BiC Censored

The landscape of opinion is a shifting mass of quicksand these days. The Internet, once a bastion of free speech -- and all the ugliness that comes with that -- has undergone a transformation to rein in opinions, protecting the eyes and ears of the many from anything that might be deemed offensive by the few.

It began with politics. When the deplatforming of Alex Jones and his InfoWars site occurred, the 1st Amendment let out an "oof" of having been punched in the stomach. No one heard it over all the cheering, however, and the social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were emboldened to continue their pogrom against information and opinion.

The idea was to stifle politics with which the social media overseers disagreed. The inherent problem with that is this: everything is political. And so we find ourselves at a point where a comic book review website (not this one, yet) loses its presence on Facebook.

Sun
10
Mar

Tales to Astonish No One: Parody of Comicsgate Figures Fails to Create an Audience

Astonishing Gaters

If you are a comics fan who goes to your local shop, checks the shelves for new items, spends a few minutes in the back issue boxes, and goes home to enjoy your purchase, you live in the best of all possible worlds.

If you have a social media account, you've shattered that utopia, and have likely been told to pick a side in the ongoing culture wars -- or been forced into a side whether you chose or not. It's called ComicsGate, 

In much the same way an irritant in an oyster causes the generation of a pearl, the mainstream comic industry and the creators who  have aligned with ComicsGate have worked together -- reluctantly, unwittingly, unknowingly, anything but admittedly -- to create some gems (and some malformations) through the crowdfunding platforms that have financed their own comics, several of them to the tune of six-figures.

Tue
26
Feb

Who Watches Peter Cannon? Peter Cannon Does, in Thunderbolt #2

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #2 Dynamite Comics review

When I first reviewed PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, I went over the relationship the character has to WATCHMEN, and how the premiere of this series not only paid homage to that series but also absorbed it into its own story. Too brazen and in-your-face to be called a rip-off, Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard gleefully took the keys from Alan Moore, jumped in, and peeled out for a joyride in his jet-black Magickmobile.

Tue
26
Feb

Triple Crown: Best Comic Book, Comics Writer, and Comics Artist All Awarded to Single Indy Title!

Tap Dance Killer Best Comic Book 2018

Some say that fandom is fickle. But fans are also a fiercely loyal bunch, and there's no better example than in the Critical Blast awards for 2018's Best in the comics industry. Last year, we saw DC Comics sweep all three categories, with DARK NIGHTS: METAL taking Best Story, with TOM KING taking Best Writer for BATMAN and ETHAN VAN SCIVER taking Best Artist for his work on HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS.

But this is truly a first, because we have another sweep -- this time going to an independent publisher, and all for the same title!

Fri
22
Feb

Van Helsing Finds the Sword of Heaven, Guarded by a New Breed of Monster

Van Helsing Sword of Heaven 5 Zenescope

Liesel Van Helsing and Lilitha Dara have both infiltrated the castle of Prince Sawar, a creature known as a baital that can animate -- and astrally inhabit -- the bodies of the dead. Sawar is the keeper of the Sword of Heaven, an artifact that can eliminate all vampires from the face of the Earth.

However, things have taken a turn for the worse, as Liesel's partner is fell during the battle, allowing Sawar to turn his full attention on Liesel, attacking her psychically by sending her mentally on a never-ending downward fall through a hellish landscape. Sawar's ultimate plan is to kill Liesel and inhabit her body as his own. But first he would have her experiences. He, too, sees the vampire population as a plague. But where Liesel wants to exterminate them, Sawar simply wants to control them and keep them in check. And the vampires, well, they're aware of this as well.

Wed
20
Feb

How Much is That Child Porn in My Comic Book?

Savage Dragon 236

We've seen it happen before in comics and animation. Some artist gets bored, slips in a sly little reference to this or that, just to see how many people it will slip past before it gets caught, if ever. In UNIVERSE X SPIDEY #1, artist Al Milgrom famously hid a secret message telling off his old boss, Bob Harras. NEW MUTANTS had some spicy conversations in it, if one bothered to translate the demon-language substitution cipher of lettering. And don't even get us started on all the rumors about what people think they see in Disney animated films.

But there's no real guessing at what's involved in Image Comics' SAVAGE DRAGON #236, which features the four offspring of the titular character. The storyline, called "Savage Little Dragons" finds they tykes doing various kid activities -- crawling out of the crib, fighting with each other, watching underage rape porn on the television.

Wait. What?

Sun
17
Feb

Zenescope's Archer Becomes Most Wanted in Robyn Hood: Outlaw

Robyn Hood Outlaw

Zenescope's ROBYN HOOD has gone through a few iterations with the books she's appeared in. With this latest miniseries, ROBYN HOOD: OUTLAW, she finds herself framed for the attempted murder of the police commissioner, found shot and dying in Robyn's trashed apartment late at night. On cue, police officers bust into her home, and they're not interested in making an arrest.

With dirty cops on her tail and an unknown person who is also a near-expert archer directing the players, Robyn makes a run for it, uncertain as to whom she can trust and unwilling to fight back against the police because she can't tell which ones are the bad cops and which ones are the ones only doing their duty but acting on misinformation. Along the way, she ends up rescuing a nameless smartass girl, leaving us with a breathless cliffhanger while we await the second issue.

Sun
17
Feb

A Tale of Two Cities: Destiny NY Volumes 1 and 2

Destiny NY

What if you had a destiny you had to fulfill in your life? Something specific, if vaguely worded, prophecy that defines your life? What if you went to a special school that prepared you to meet this destiny, and gave you direction on how to succeed beyond it?

That's the world of DESTINY, NY, which follows the messed-up life of Logan, a young lady who fulfilled her destiny while still a tween, and who now looks for direction in her life. Along the way, her life crosses paths with Lilith, who has a destiny of her own to fulfill -- and a psychopathic sister out to destroy her.

With two volumes under his belt, Pat Shand had built an intriguing graphic novel series, but it's not without certain issues. We put the books under the microscope and give them a good critical blasting. Check it out.

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