Friday, November 21, 2014

A Spider-man Fever Dream

TPB:  Spider-Man Reign
Writer:  Kaare Andrews
Artist: Kaare Andrews
Price:  $14.99

On my first ever From The Booth show, Randal asked me if I had ever stopped collecting comics and if so, what comic got me collecting again.  My answer was yes I had and the comic that got me back in (along with a lot of other people, I imagine) was The Dark Knight Returns. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Our heroes are usually mortal and mortal beings age and become weak.  It’s an inevitability that we try to avoid in telling their stories.  Batman was 29 years old for several decades and Spider-man stopped aging around his 30th birthday as well. 

Spider-man: Reign is an attempt to look at what happens to Peter Parker years after he’s burned the costume in the trashcan for what should have been the final time.  In this future, a tyrannical government has overtaken New York City and Reign troops terrorize the populace.  Parker is now a senior citizen eking out a meager existence working at a flower shop.  His wife and aunt are dead and his time as Spider-man seems like a distant memory until J. Jonah Jameson comes to his door.  Jameson knows who he was and recognizes that, now more than ever, the city needs its savior.  

Andrew Kaare is a Candian comic book writer and illustrator who has done mostly covers along with some single issues and very short runs on interior work for many popular titles.  More recently, he’s worked on Iron Fist: The Living Weapon.

Although the premise seems like a pretty cool idea for a Spider-man book, the execution falls flat.  Children’s nursery rhymes are repeated over and over sometimes relating to the panel where they are located, sometimes not.  Trite sayings abound as if Kaare were attempting to make every bit of dialogue quotable.  At one point the reason for Mary Jane’s death is revealed (SPOILERS!) and it has to do with ALL of Spider-man’s fluids being radioactive and cancer causing.  Just think about that for a minute.  The panels also try to convey inner turmoil through orchids being crushed and Mary Jane’s corpse being batted about by a dead Doc Ock (whose arms still function autonomously) but the effect is that the entire book comes off as creepy and deeply disturbing. 

The art is well done with the contrast of the clean, detailed art for children and the more stylized art with jagged edges for the elderly incarnations of our favorite characters.  The backgrounds suggest some digital work which I always appreciate.  However, the art is not enough to save the book which veers back and forth between plot and metaphor like a drunk.

Final rating (out of 5):



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tales Of The Valiant web comic debuts today at IGN

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This new four-part web comic begins today and runs every Wednesday. If you are a regular reader of Valiant titles, then this may have less value to you than a newcomer. If you are just beginning to explore the Valiant universe, you should consider this essential.  Why not follow it, since it’s free.  More details below, including a link to the IGN site . . . .

from the official press release . . . . . .

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This December, a battle ten millennia in the making begins in THE VALIANT #1 by New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire & Matt Kindt and Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera…but, first, meet the blockbuster heroes behind THE VALIANT in a new weekly webcomic exclusively at IGN!

 

Valiant is proud to announce IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT – an all-new, four-part webcomic counting down to the release of THE VALIANT #1 by New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (THE VALIANT, RAI) and Harvey Award-nominated rising star Pere Perez (HARBINGER WARS, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG), debuting exclusively at IGN each Wednesday!

"THE VALIANT is a ground-level introduction to Valiant's most iconic and enduring characters," said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. "True to form, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera have crafted a story that is a true epic, covering centuries of history and drawing nearly all of Valiant's most important heroes and villains into the fray. Now, in concert with IGN, we're excited to zero in individually on each of the series' primary leads – the Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, Geomancer, and Ninjak – for an intimate adventure preceding the events of THE VALIANT #1. Matt and Pere have expertly captured what makes these characters tick, and IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT is a perfect short-form introduction to the stage and setting of THE VALIANT before issue #1 arrives in December."

Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.

But before THE VALIANT begin their star-crossed showdown with the Immoral Enemy on December 10th, meet each of the series' most important players in the exclusive TALES OF THE VALIANT webcomic, beginning today at IGN! Eternal Warrior. Bloodshot. Geomancer. Ninjak. United to prevent the dawn of a new Dark Age for mankind, each of these fearless heroes is stepping to the fore for a special standalone adventure detailing their origin and escapades prior to THE VALIANT #1 with a new installment of IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT each Wednesday!

The adventure begins right now in the first installment of IGN PRESENTS TALES OF THE VALIANT by Matt Kindt and Pere Perez, available only at IGN!
And don't miss the first epic issue on December 10th in comic shops everywhere when superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera unleash THE VALIANT #1!

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, on Twitter, on Tumblr, and at ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com.

THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) [VALIANT NEXT]
Written by JEFF LEMIRE & MATT KINDT
Art & Cover by PAOLO RIVERA (OCT141678)
Interlocking Variant Cover by JEFF LEMIRE & MATT KINDT (OCT141679)
Variant Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (OCT141680)
B&W Sketch Variant by PAOLO RIVERA (OCT141681)
Blank Cover also available (OCT141682)
$3.99 | 32 pages. | T+ | On sale DECEMBER 10 (FOC – 11/17/14)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Moonstone continues pulp exploration in hardcover fiction

 

Upcoming book release scheduled for March 2015 . . . . . . . . . .

DAY OF THE DESTROYERS: Jimmie Flint, Agent X-11 must save America

Authors: Ron Fortier, Adam Lance Garcia, Gary Phillips, Paul Bishop, Eric Fein, Tommy Hancock,

Aaron Shaps, & Joe Gentile.   Cover: Fernando Ferreiro

6” x 9”, sc, 276pgs, $13.95     ISBN: 978-1-936814-79-4(51395)

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Based on a real historical event during the Roosevelt administration.

Guest starring pulp heroes The Green Lama, The Phantom Detective, and The Black Bat.

Day of the Destroyers is an all-original linked prose anthology - each story is part of a larger arc wherein Jimmie Flint, Secret Agent X-11 of the Intelligence Service Command, battles to prevent the seditionist Medusa Council from engineering a bloody coup overthrowing our democracy.

Agent X-11 fights across the country preventing an aerial assault on Chicago’s rail lines, destroying a secret factory of gas meant to enthrall millions in New Mexico, racing to stop a machine of fantastic destruction in Manhattan, and much more.

Written by pulp fictioneers: Ron Fortier, Adam Lance Garcia, Gary Phillips, Paul Bishop, Eric Fein, Tommy Hancock, Aaron Shaps, & Joe Gentile.

Introduction by pulp historian and award-winning author Robert Weinberg.

There is also an exclusive edition that will be available through pre-order from PREVIEWS. Look for it in an upcoming issue:

DAY OF THE DESTROYERS: Jimmie Flint, Agent X-11 must save America                                     6” x 9”, HC, 276pgs, $23.95     ISBN: 978-1-936814-75-6(52399)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Special Advance Preview: THE VALIANT 4 issue mini-series

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  There has been a mountain of pre-publicity, including a ton of  stunning artwork, released in advance of Issue #1 of THE VALIANT coming in December.  You can tell it’s a book that the brain trust at Valiant Entertainment are excited to talk about, based on the press releases, blogs and interviews.  We anticipate THE VALIANT will be worth the hype, based on the creative team and what’s been revealed about the storyline so far.  BC REFUGEES was given an advance look at the first issue, and we encourage you to pick up a copy.  We’ll try to cover the high points for you without spoiling too much of the details . . . . . . . .

Official Video Trailer for THE VALIANT #1

THE VALIANT #1 (of 4):  (Valiant Next, December 10, 2014 release date)  Written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt.  Art by Paolo Rivera.  Covers by Rivera, Lemire & Kindt, and Francesco Francavilla.

         What makes THE VALIANT extra special and deserving of your time?   Why is it considered such a “milestone project” for Valiant Entertainment?   If we know anything about Valiant, it’s to not expect the standard team book, team-up or even “event.”  THE VALIANT promises to be a centuries-spanning epic that features all of Valiant’s key heroes (led by the Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, and Geomancer) united against a cosmic threat (the Immortal Enemy) that intends to plunge humanity into a new Dark Age.

          Might this be a perfect ground-level, accessible introduction to Valiant’s universe with nearly every hero and villain making an appearance along the way?  One can only hope.  Kindt is already acquainted with the Valiant universe through his work on UNITY.  However, considering that this is the first work for Valiant by Lemire, we sincerely wishTHE-VALIANT_001_002_thumb[2] that the writing team put their stamp on as many of Valiant’s characters as possible. We can’t wait to see how they handle some of them.  It seems a perfect starting point for first-time Valiant readers to meet those characters.  THE VALIANT also serves as a mini-prelude or preview of what impact Kindt will have on the new NINJAK series and BLOODSHOT REBORN series as imagined by Lemire.

           Gilad Anni-Padda, The Eternal Warrior, traces his lineage back to the ancient civilization of UR.  A universe-spanning accident resulted in immortality for Gilad and his two brothers.  Gilad was blessed with enhanced strength and a healing ability.  He has no super-powers, just a familiarity with various forms of combat and a keen strategic military mind learned via the various battles and campaigns he’s been involved in. He’s been entrusted with protecting the Geomancer, a mystic in tune with the needs of planet Earth - -  a role that is passed on to worthy individuals of each age.

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            Part of the Immortal Enemy’s plans for bringing his own brand of Hell to Earth involves eliminating the Geomancer.  Issue # 1 of THE VALIANT details how three times in the past Gilad has attempted to protect the Geomancer from the Immortal Enemy.  He failed each time.   We return to the present day, where Gilad formulates a new plan to protect Earth’s current Geomancer Kay McHenry. Kay is presently in the company of Armstrong (Gilad’s brother). 

          Gilad’s protective plans will likely involve the nanite-enhanced mercenary Bloodshot, who we are introduced to as he seeks to obtain a package for his present employer, M-I 6.  Gilad senses a new threat to the Geomancer will surface soon, and he begins by seeking help and counsel from X-O Manowar.

         Lemire and Kindt mix the necessary exposition among the action sequences and proceed through Issue #1 at a steady pace.  In spite of everything that is and soon will occur, the flow of the story is very smooth.  The art by Rivera requires additional readings of the story in order to full appreciate how it compliments and enhances the story.  There are some wonderful images in store for readers.

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 Above photos:  Jeff Lemire,  Matt Kindt,  Paolo Rivera

          The saga of the Eternal Warrior has always provided a nice canvas for creators to work upon.  Greg Pak did a fine job fleshing out the character of Gilad in his series for Valiant.  I look forward to what the team of Lemire and Kindt will provide.   Jeff Lemire has built a sizeable reputation on bringing humanity to  science-fiction and fantasy stories.  Like Ray Bradbury, he spices his fantastic tales with a real small-town neighborhood flavor.   Matt Kindt is a master of detailed plotting, usually involving espionage and conspiracies.   Two scenes in Issue #1 help illustrate the skills that both writers bring to this story: 1) When Gilad helps re-assure a  very young and anxious boy Geomancer, and 2) when we are introduced to Kay McHenry as she confides in Armstrong and shares her lack of confidence with him.

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THE VALIANT   is a prestige-format project with upgraded covers and premium paper quality, exclusive features and commentary materials.  Cover price is $3.99.   THE VALIANT also launches the first of the VALIANT NEXT titles (not to be confused with Marvel Now, mind you).    Future new series, set to debut from January through April 2015, include IVAR, TIMEWALKER (see previous article in BC Refugees Archives), DIVINITY, IMPERIUM, NINJAK, and BLOODSHOT REBORN.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Advance Look: IVAR, TIMEWALKER from Valiant Comics

Editor’s Note: Valiant continues to put out high quality books.  I expect nothing less than a great story and art every time and am rarely disappointed. This looks like another winner.  Take a look at some of the awesome art and covers . . . .

from the official press release . . . . .

Prehistoric empires! Dystopian futures! And everywhere in between!

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Valiant is proud to present your first look inside IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 – the FIRST ISSUE of the VALIANT NEXT ongoing series by New York Times best-selling creators Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry!  From the award-winning creative team that brought you ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, start an all-new adventure right here on January 21st as the mysterious Ivar Anni-Padda launches into a centuries-spanning race against the clock!

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At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made.  A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process.  But she doesn’t know that yet.  Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the time stream will be banging down her door.  Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right?  Now it’s down to history’s most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be…before time runs out!

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From the dawn of the dinosaurs…to the Battle of Trafalgar...to the year 4001…begin a clock-stopping odyssey into the distant past, far future, and every moment in between as the most unlikely Valiant hero of all leaps into his first history-ripping adventure on January 21st in IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 – featuring covers from blockbuster artists Raul Allen (UNITY), Jorge Molina (X-Men), David Aja (Hawkeye), and Barry Kitson (Harbinger)!

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Beginning with THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) on December 10th, don't miss each exciting title from VALIANT NEXT – an all-new wave of ongoing series and prestige format projects from some of the premier creative talents in comics today.  Beginning with THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) by superstar creators Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera in December, VALIANT NEXT continues with five blockbuster new series in 2015:

  • IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry in January
  • DIVINITY #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine in February
  • IMPERIUM #1 by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite in February
  • NINJAK #1 by Matt Kindt and Clay Mann in March
  • BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan in April

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Following the critically acclaimed, smash-hit success of VALIANT FIRST in 2014, VALIANT NEXT will present six new starting points perfect for readers new and old.  Featuring an exciting selection of new series starring Valliant's biggest, most-demanded heroes alongside all-new, never before seen characters, VALIANT NEXT is the NEXT epic evolution of Valliant's best-selling, fan-favorite publishing line.

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, on Twitter, on Tumblr, and at Valiant Universe.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit Valiant Store.com.

IVAR_001_005

IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 (VALIANT NEXT)
Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY
Cover A by RAUL ALLEN (NOV141680)
Cover B by JORGE MOLINA (NOV141681)
Character Design Variant by DAVID AJA (NOV141682)
Variant Cover by BARRY KITSON (NOV141683)
$3.99 | 32 pages. | T+ | On sale JANUARY 21 (FOC – 12/29/14)