In our first issue, we had some great pics of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game for next-gen consoles. Coming this year from Rocksteady Studios and Eidos Intercative, the game set in Gotham’s best (or worst) asylum looks fantastic, and should be a relief for DC fans who are still waiting for a good game starring their favourite characters. The new trailer is out now, and gives the impression of a blockbuster film. Can’t wait.
This issue is so pretty it’s making all my other comics jealous. An orgy of sights from Poltergeist, Ghostbusters, Judge Dredd and grand superhero epics, Warren Ellis and Steve Pugh concoct a tidy package of bombasticity (yes, I made up that word) unlike any piece of work you’ll find on today’s shelves. The four issue mini-series from Radical is yet another attention-getter in its already impressive arsenal of hot properties. Steve Pugh’s name comes before famed writer Warren Ellis’, and there’s a good reason. Hotwire is primarily Pugh’s creation, working from Ellis’ original story, but Pugh handles both chores brilliantly. Like any good writer/artist Pugh is totally in synch with his ambitions on the page and the fact that he’s been working on this title on and off for years shows. That devotion is obvious and Pugh can be glad that he stuck with Alice Hotwire. It’s paid off very well.
So what’s it all about then? This is a typically Radical high-concept and one that is revealed naturally within the story. Alice Hotwire is a smart, sassy, techno-goth punk and a detective exorcist. In the Britain of the future, ghosts are referred to as the more comfortable “blue lights” and in some parts roam the city as loose spirits. It’s a great idea to build an intriguing world upon, and in Pugh’s gorgeously rendered pages, the world is exquisite. Those familiar with his previous work on Shark Man will like what they see, as will everyone else, really. He digitally paints all manner of easily identifiable characters, surrounding them with gizmos and vehicles. There’s a burgeoning story at work here besides the undead, and the city riots, police corruption and unpopularity of the by-the-book Hotwire amongst her fellow cops will slowly form a larger narrative.
The beauty of Ellis’ writing is that he can take the same old broad ideas (humanity’s dependency on machines, pseudo-science, female outsiders) and paint them in striking new colours and Pugh has a great base to leap from as he constructs this tale. This is a great introduction to new readers sick of traditional superheroics. There’s enough action, playful attitude and variety to entertain you. There’s also exploding bodies, electrocutions and one angry digital ghost to compel you further. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Alice Hotwire is an attractive young girl who doesn’t compromise, believe she’s ever wrong, or lose a fight. The book wisely centres on her but surely her new partner, family man, Mobey, will share the spotlight once the pair start figuring out what’s going on with all the increasingly weird paranormal activity.
Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #1 is a 28 page issue, available from February 4. If you like looking at pretty things and being seduced by an equally arresting adventure, you have to pick it up.
I became familiar with writer Mike S. Miller’s work a couple of years ago through his Deal with the Devil series, as well as The Imaginaries, which is simply a great concept. He’s done work for every major publisher (either as writer or artist) and is most famous for his work on the adaptation of novelist George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight series, with writer/artist Ben Avery. He’s a creator that is able to change genres with ease however, and has also written Zondervan’s excellent The Hand of the Morningstar as well as the fantasy, Lullaby. The Imaginaries launched from Image four years ago, before moving to Abacus, Miller’s own publishing company. The series is back, and now withBluewater Productions.
Popular Avenger Ms. Marvel has a name change in her title, becoming Dark Ms. Marvel in issue 38. Last year, Marvel concocted a similar change to Hulk’s title, which went from The Incredible Hulk to The Incredible Hercules, as the Greek god took over the title. Now, tying into Marvel’s Dark Reign epic that has Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) effectively running America, Carol Danver’s life as Ms. Marvel is about to undergo some major changes. Click below for looks at covers for the next four months, including this week’s Ms. Marvel #35 by Ed McGuiness, and #36-#38 (the issue which begins Dark Ms. Marvel). All issues are written by Brian Reed with interior art by Patrick Olliffe.
Caped is a new series from BOOM! Studios, which debuts in March. Written by South Park scribes Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle with art by Yair Herrera, the series is an irreverent look at superheroes and their crazy world. You can order Caped from your local comic shop now. Click the link below the official press release for a sneak peek.
Think your boss is tough? Try working for a superhero! A story of capes, cowls and Blackberrys, CAPED comes to you from the brains of SOUTH PARK writers Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle, with art by Yair Herrera.
In CAPED, we meet Jimmy Lohman. Millions would kill to be a superhero’s personal assistant. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s not one of them. Down on his luck, and assisting a has-been hero, will anyone take Jimmy seriously when he uncovers the plot to kill off every superhero in town?
“Josh and Darin are some of the funniest guys I have met. And CAPED captures that completely. It’s a laugh out loud funny superhero story that every tights and spandex fan will love,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid.
“First thing you should know is that CAPED is autobiographical. We both had bosses who were jerks. They hogged all the credit but passed on all the blame. We wanted to tell a story about the unsung heroes and nowhere were those themes bigger – and funnier – than the superhero genre,”said CAPED co-writer Darin Moiselle.
CAPED features interior illustrations by Yair Herrera, known for his work on IDW’s ZOMBIES: ECLIPSE OF THE UNDEAD! and THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO DRAWING SUPERHEROES AND VILLAINS.
“Sometimes we just need to make fun of superheroes!” said CAPED series editor Ian Brill. “This is the series to do that.”
I reviewed Blue Dream’s Hyperactive book yesterday, and noticed that they currently have a huge sale on until the end of January. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and bought something. You might like to as well. Their main book, The Dreamland Chronicles from Scott Christian Sava has an impressive following and you can pick up the first two trades from the web-comic series, and some nice toys. Go here to check out the goodies.
This all-ages OGN (Original Graphic Novel) is simply a great entry point for younger readers. Playing like the pilot of a Saturday morning cartoon, this 108 page full colour book comes from Blue Dream Studios and Worthwhile Books.
Written by Scott Christian Sava (the creator of The Dreamland Chronicles) with art by Joseph Bergin III, Hyperactive is every kid’s fantasy. However, it doesn’t start that way. Joey Johnson returns to school, with everyone else, after the summer break and is welcomed by a few obvious changes. Firstly, Mabul has grown over the holiday and also into her role as the brace-ridden bully. As Joey attends his first class, the next change presents itself. Watching the seconds tick by behind the teacher’s desk, he realizes time is actually slowing and everyone around him is temporarily frozen. Joey revels in his newfound powers, especially during dodgeball where he exacts revenge on Mabul and astonishes the militaristic gym teacher. Showing pal Freddy, the pair realize that Joey now possesses super speed, leaving Freddy with an obvious response – “I want to be your sidekick.”
In his excitement, Joey beats the school bus, and a police radar gun, home to tell his parents the good, but surprising news. His parents are obviously concerned, as is his doctor, and soon enough certain unsavoury types arrive at the Johnson’s door, with nefarious schemes in mind. The ironically named Big Tony is first at the door, and promptly has it slammed in his face, followed by sports drink manufacturers, movie producers, game nerds and lawyers who look like the Three Stooges. Mr Itchez from the Burnz and Itchez Pharmaceutical Corporation is a lot more determined however and will not let Joey’s hyperactive metabolism be a wasted opportunity for his company. Dreaming of an army of super (speedy) soldiers, Mr. Itchez orders a good old fashioned kidnapping. Three brothers who bicker about their code names and get stuck in Joey‘s bedroom window manage to take the boy and his parents. Freddy realizes something’s wrong and shows up in a homemade costume looking to save his buddy in the name of adventure. Freddy shows up at Burnz and Itchez (where the security guard is reading Sava’s most famous book, Ed’s Terrestrials) to smuggle Joey out, but it appears he’s doing quite well by himself, due to the incompetence of his captors. Hijinks ensue and the duo eventually escape, and soon after realize that super speed isn’t the only power Joey possesses.
This is an entertaining book, and tailor made for younger readers. Parents can rest assured that it’s a simple tale, with enough jokes, and physical humour to raise a few chuckles. Bergin’s art resembles typical toon fare, with clean lines and lots of motion and sound effects. For those who want something safe for their kids, or younger sibling, pick up Hyperactive. Sava is a trusted name when it comes to entertaining adventures, and this latest book is another fine example of why.
One of the best things about superhero comics involves the constant smackdowns. Here’s a video showing what Marvel thought were their best fights from last year.
This has been one of my favourite titles since it began with the great creative pairing of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness. Then Supergirl was fantastically (re) introduced into the DC Comics Universe, with late, great penciller Michael Turner. It’s been a while since it’s hit these former heights though. And this Annual doesn’t help. I will say one thing for it though – it’s a great place to start for comic book newbies.
Written by Wolverine creator Len Wein, with beautifully fluid art by Chris Batista, this stand alone tale is set in the past of the DCU. The problem with this extra-sized issue is that the dialogue seems straight out of an issue from 20 years ago. It just appears staid and corny, and Batman is largely out of character. There’s no sense of menace or danger about him, nor is there any hint of his typically antagonistic relationship with Superman. However, it does introduce readers to Superman, Batman (of course) Lois Lane, the third Robin and baddies Professor Ivo, Metallo, Mr. Freeze, Atomic Skull and Firefly, sporting his recent animated look from The Batman carton. There’s also a nice cameo of sorts that hints at the ‘future’ of the DCU, with a newspaper headline declaring Martian Manhunter’s capture of the Human Flame. Loyal DC fans know that late last year, Human Flame was instrumental in Manhunter’s death.
So, what is this Annual about? With a nice twist on the silver Age concept of a composite Superman/Batman, this modern take presents a similar being, with powers and costumes of both heroes unsurprisingly suffering a maddening identity crisis. He kidnaps Lois and Robin and eventually understands that being one hero is tough enough, let alone two. So he decides to rip himself in half.
This is not an issue for mature readers who expect more from their comics. They’ll find themselves asking, “Why hasn’t Robin picked his handcuffs?” and raising eyebrows at lines like, “Gee, I don’t know, do I look like I’ve recently lost my mind to you?”
For newbies though, this issue isn’t too bad. It looks great, has a simple story, and fans of Tim Burton’s Batman films will see a similar look to the Dark Knight and his Batmobile here. Consider this as an easy entry point to comics reading, but don’t consider it indicative of the much more dynamic offerings DC usually create. For a preview of this issue, go here.
This was a surprise. Definitely not one for the kiddies, Harker is a new series from Ariel Press which follows two unlikely English cops as they delve into a gruesome murder on the steps of a church. Take CSI, peel away all the Hollywood veneer, and throw in a dash of that loveable dry British wit and you’ll come up with this oddly charming tale.
Written by Roger Gibson with art by Vince Danks, Harker is a curiously attractive package. Sure, there’s profanity and spilling gizzards, but it does maintain a sense of quiet anarchy without coming across as pretentious. It’s a clever balance really.
It opens with a brutal stabbing, followed by the discovery of the corpse the next morning. Amidst the disgusted cops and forensics team, steps Harker and Critchley discussing cheese and pickles. They are very much at odds with their fellow police officers, with their casual banter. However, they seem to know a lot and are determined to unearth answers. A quick visit to the autopsy later, where they put the female coroner off balance, and they have enough clues to act on. This leads them to the British Museum, where their unusual social stylings put another female professional out of whack. However, this time Critchley manages to impress the librarian enough to wrangle a date out of her. The pair finally come to the conclusion that they are dealing with a satanic cult. And this new series is off and running with an impressive first salvo.
Since Diamond, the world’s foremost comics distributor, has recently raised their minimum profit for listing books, many small time publishers will struggle to get attention. This is why it’s important to take note of publishers like Ariel Press, and support them. Not wholeheartedly however. Not every independent comics company is producing great material. Ariel appears to be though. Harker fulfills the goal of the creative pair behind it, by being TV on paper. It’s structured well with a great sense of pace and distinguishable characters.
Plus this fanboy noticed the From Hell reference (Alan Moore’s Jack the Ripper epic graphic novel) and also the fact that Critchley looks like fan-fave writer Grant Morrison. Seeing as how the detective duo are slightly based on their creators, that’s a happy coincidence though.
The art has to be mentioned too. Danks does a greta job with the black and white interiors. Fans of Dave Sim’s Glamourpuss MUST get this. With it’s beautifully simple renderings the art just pops. Every charcter looks like an actual person, rather than a generic humanoid, and when Danks puts his skills to the grand English architecture, with fine detail, and wise use of greys, the environment looks just as real as anything Alex Ross does.
Within this new series (of 6 in the first volume) there’s room for further character development, rather than simply being a double act. And more than a novelty. Gibson and Danks show they have what it takes to build upon this intriguing premise though. Hopefully this series will be a consistent breath of fresh air, and carve a niche for itself as an accessible title for readers with a spandex rash, or newbies just looking for a mature, well-crafted tale.
Harker #1 is available for order now, from this month’s Previews, for a March release. Put your order in now at your local comics shop.
Hasbro had two resonant franchises in the 1980s spawned from cartoons. One was Transformers. The other was G.I Joe. The robots in disguise had great success with their recent film (and another one on the way), while the Joe’s turn on the silver screen will be upon us August 6.
This issue is the first in a three-pronged attack from publishers IDW. G.I Joe is the adventure series, G.I Joe: Origins launches next month and G.I Joe: Cobra, which hits in March will focus on the Joes’ enemy and their rise to power. Each title has a different direction and creative teams, but they all present familiar faces to children of the 80s, like me.
G.I. Joe #1 is written by longtime Batman scribe chuck Dixon, with easy on the eyes art by Robert Atkins. It may mean more to hard core fans of the Joes, especially with cameos by such characters as Beachhead, Shipwreck, and Dial Tone. Each of the Joes has a set of unique skills that reflect their code names and work together as team of hi-tech operatives battling criminal organisations around the world. The events of this issue are set directly after the events of G.I Joe #0, but it’s not necessary to have read that preview issue beforehand. Opening with an attack on a smuggler’s ship, we are quickly introduced to the Joes, beginning with field leader Duke, and Beachhead on their run around The Pit, the Joes secret base of operations. And what an impressive base it is. Fans of the cartoon, and owners of the toys will see some familiar vehicles in the two page spread that reveals the base. As Shipwreck and his fellow divers examine the sunken vessel from the first few pages, the redhead Scarlett begins piecing together the big picture.
Following an attack by a vanishing soldier on the mansion of the ship’s owner, popular Joe, the mute ninja Snake Eyes makes a brief appearance. Then the American heroes examine a curious piece of hardware found recovered from the vessel, that seems to be secretly monitoring them.
There are many characters in the G.I Joe universe, but this issue does a grand job of introducing us to them slowly. Dixon restrains the urge to bring out a cavalcade of popular soldiers, and instead focuses on scripting a tight, over arching tale,. The bad guy shave yet to reveal themselves, but surely will in future issues. If you have fond memories of the Joe toon back in the day, or would like to familiarise yourself with this world before the silver screen version is released, then this is the title for you. You can view a preview of this issue here and read my interview with G.I. Joe editor Andy Schmidt here.
Like Hulk? What about Thor? How do you feel about Wolverine? If you’re fond of those three Marvel superheroes, then the Hulk Vs DVD is for you. Being released on January 27, the animated film is made up of two features, where Bruce Banner’s alter ego battles the norse god Thor and the popular X-Man Wolverine. Marvel has just released some great concept sketches of the film, including some from Jeff Matsuda, art director on the recent The Batman cartoon. For more info on the DVD and it’s new-fan friendly features, go here, and for more art click below, or go here.
This is more like a project from Top Shelf or Fantagraphics than the publishers of Warhammer comics. So, a hearty pat on the back to BOOM! Studios for expanding somewhat. Never As Bad As You Think is a 64 page hard cover collection of several on-line comic strips wackily produced by husband and wife team Kathryn and Stuart Immonen. Both are successful creators in their own right but it’s a joy to see them work together. Stuart is known for his work on Superman as well as the over the top beauty of Nextwave with writer Warren Ellis, and is the current penciller on Ultimate Spider-Man. Kathryn’s most familiar work would be writing Hellcat for Marvel.
As explained in the introduction, NABAYT has an unusual impetus. Starting with a random word choice, Kathryn would write a script, with Stuart setting his skills to the art soon after. I haven’t read anything like this I must say, and it was a breath of fresh air, with a hint of surrealism and a mild odour of the odd. It reminded me of the kinds of films I had to study while at film school. Randomness, with a loose connectivity between multiple short sequences with different charcters. It’s kind of like Seinfeld for those with ADD.
Most of the people shown don’t have names and we are given glimpses of their lives to let their character shine. Yes, most of the time these people are angry and amusingly ranting at something or someone. The beauty here lies in the pace. The script carries from scene to scene as if it’s carried by a whirling breeze. It’s not jarring, and most of the time the characters actions and speech isn’t comprehensive. It’s like being a voyeur of a tiny town, letting the Immonens guide our attention to where they see fit. That’s what gives it a sense of magic realism though. All of us have moments of daily nonsense that only make sense to us. That’s not to say that NABAYT is baffling or incoherent like a smelly pensioner at a bus stop. It’s more free form like a smelly poet at a café.
Stuart’s art is simply delightful, including the quirky lettering and simple colours. I adore the lightness of his more high-profile work, but here he strips back the details yet allows every situation to have its own flavour and every character to have their own distinct appeal.
What begins with an irritable couple at a café ends up with a balding man at a used car lot, via a urinating dog, a kidney carrying cyclist, a mermaid promoter, a waiter who could’ve been a doctor and more. Most of these vignettes (including two new strips) are only a few pages long, but that’s all you need. The Immonen’s year long web experiment has paid off. They make beautiful comics together. Let’s have more.
Publisher Top Cow (The Darkness, Witchblade, Impaler and so much more) has just released a few cover images for their books launching in April. Below are my favourites, for your viewing pleasure. The pictures are of the The Darkness #75 by Michael Broussard, Impaler #4 by Matt Timson, Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs Frankenstein by Greg Horn and Witchblade #126 by Stjepan Sejic.
Writer Steve Niles is beginning to pull all the pieces together in this tightly written penultimate tale from Radical Publishing. He spent the first two issues building this futuristic world where religion and fanciful stories are illegal, for the safety of the populace. Then he moved on to developing the motivations of the characters, namely cop Philip Khrome, who had his father imprisoned after he read a children’s book to him.
Finally, he’s moving onto reigning in all the sub-plots, for next issue’s ultimate showdown. In this issue, Khrome spends time with Ajax, a banished scientist, who with Khrome’s father developed bio-sapiens. These creatures made in the image of fantastical beats were meant to inspire citizens to heights of imagination once more. However, Ajax discovered that some of his creations were taking their “roles” too seriously, becoming bloodthirsty in the process.
Khrome leaves Ajax’s lab horrified, but not without hope, as a Frankenstein look-a-like tells the overwhelmed cop that he is “not like the others.” Khrome then visits his father for the first time, who is now a shadow of a man, drooling in is wheelchair in solitary confinement. But in a subtle yet cool sequence, Khrome soon discovers that his old man is not as useless as he would have the guards believe, and is told that it’s now time for Prime Directive Asimov. As the Frankenstein creature argues with his “father” about the morality of murder and the nature of animals, they are interrupted by creations gone wild.
With its horror meets sci-fi concept, plus some great thought provoking themes this series could easily have become a mish-mash of ideas, achieving none well. Niles rises above that. With a deft hand, he is able to take just the right amount of ingredients from each genre to form an eclectic, yet electric adventure story. With Khrome finally awakening to the breaking chaos around him, and others like Ajax, discovering that perhaps they’re not as smart as they thought, you just know a mad battle is on the way, with the fate of the city at stake. I can’t wait.
With three different artists at work here (Brandon Chng, Zid and Garrie Gastonny) the story could easily have fallen apart by a distracting variation of styles. That’s not the case thankfully. They all have a similar clean line, painterly approach, creating rich environments and detailed characters of the human and not-so human variety. It works, as the art always does with Radical’s books. Next issue will be a bloodbath I’m sure. It will also be a shame as it’s the last we may see of Khrome for a while. Hopefully Radical is already scratching their heads over another mini-series with Khrome and co.
Some good news for artists out there. The excellent web-site, Project Rooftop is putting out the challenge of re-designing the Dark Knight’s threads. Project Rooftop is a fan fave site that challenges artists to come up with alternate designs for some of comics most popular characters. So far they’ve covered Superman, Iron Man, Supergirl and more. It’s always a fun site to visit. All the details you need to know are below.
You’re going to need every tool in your utility belt for this one! Project: Rooftop is flipping on the signal. That’s right, old chum, in honor of the recent (apparent!) demise of the Dark Knight in Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis, and the likely torch-passing to follow, we’re announcing a very specific new contest: redesign the Batman uniform to suit his most likely successor, Dick Grayson AKA Robin AKA Nightwing.
Think about it, Nightwing was raised to be Batman 2.0, so any uniform he dons as the Caped Crusader should demonstrate that. And sure, Nightwing might not be the next Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s heroic death probably won’t last forever…but let’s enjoy the design opportunity anyway!
Rogues Gallery of Round Rock, TX has provided the following (awesome) prizes:
Grand Prize – The Batman Black & White Statue by Matt Wagner, a retailer exclusive DC Direct Batman action figure, Batman: The Black Glove HC, and Detective Comics #844 signed by artist Dustin Nguyen.
First Prize – Detective Comics #847 signed by Dustin Nguyen, a DC Direct Batman action figure, and Batman: Gotham Dark Knight animated deluxe 2-disc DVD or Blu-Ray (winner’s choice).
Second Prize – Detective Comics #849 signed by Dustin Nguyen and the new Eaglemoss Batman Metal Figurine.
Along with our usual P:R Staff roundtable reviews, Bat-artists J.H. Williams III (Batman) and Dustin Nguyen (Detective Comics), and comics blogger Tim Callahan (When Worlds Collide at CBR ) will be joining in to guest judge the finalists!
Send in your Batman redesigns to email@example.com, with the subject line: “Batman 2.0.” Please include your full name, age, website, and mailing address. International winners may be responsible for shipment. All the usual P:R Guidelines apply.
All entries must be received by February 4th, 2009!
I remember when this evil character was introduced, back in Grant Morrison’s excellent Justice League of America run that re-vamped DC Comics’ legendary heroes just over a decade ago. The second DC character to use that name, Prometheus was touted as the anti-Batman during his debut, due to his mad fighting skills, ruthless attitude and tactical mind. He was a great bad guy and almost took down the JLA single handedly by effectively downloading his opponents weaknesses into his brain. He was handled very well by Morrison, and then not so well by a few other writers. However this new one-shot explains why. Apparently Prometheus’ regular beatings more recently are due to the fact that it wasn’t the real deal. Rather, when the Justice Leaguer Martian Manhunter last defeated him he also temporarily imprisoned his mind. making him a vegetable in a lunatic asylum and a drooling shadow of his former self. The man who has been running around in his costume for the last two years was a weaker impostor. Now that Martian Manhunter has been killed, the real Prometheus is free.
I really enjoyed this issue. It’s part of this month’s Faces of Evil series that spotlights villains in the DC Comics Universe. Writer Sterling Gates (Supergril) and newbie artist Federicho Dallocchio do some great work here. Perfect for new readers, or those who have been away from the DCU for a while, it explains Prometheus’ origin very well (son of a criminal couple gunned down by cops, who travels the world training and acquires a supernatural key from a Tibetan monk, and vast sums of money from his parent’s thefts) it also looks gritty, with very Jae Lee (Stephen King’s The Stand)-like artwork. Prometheus is truly menacing once more, and when he meets the pretender to his identity, plus C-list heroes Gunfire, Anima and Argus, you just know a brutal smackdown is on its way. Even the retconning makes perfect sense. I was more impressed with this issue than I expected, and am glad the DCU has another villain on the way to a grand re-entrance. Click below to see some of the great art from this issue.
It’s no surprise to hard core readers. Infact, we’ve expected this moment for almost a year now, but what surprises me the most is that DC Comics haven’t made the most of this event with the press like they have with recent “events” such as the unveiling of a new lesbian Batwoman or introducing racial diversity to their characters, such as an Asian Atom, African American Firestorm and Mexican Blue Beetle. DC’s main competitor Marvel Comics, has made an art form of handling the press with headline grabbers such as Spider-Man’s divorce and Captain America’s death. Most recently, it’s been putting Barack Obama in Amazing Spider-Man #583, and experiencing huge queues at comic shops across the US as the mainstream press lapped it up. Obama is a popular draw card these days, with the President Elect also appearing in Image’s Savage Dragon recently, and an upcoming issue of Rob Liefeld’s new Youngblood series. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Obama is a mad Spidey fan either.
So, back to Batman. How exactly did the Dark Knight die? Let’s just say, it’s complicated. Scottish writer Grant Morrison has been deconstructing the hero in his lengthy Batman: R.I.P arc that has divided fans with its convoluted plots and fractured gaze at Batman’s various incarnations over the decades. Now that it’s finished, it’s obvious that it was a grand idea, poorly executed. However, this week’s Final Crisis #6, part of a multi-character end of the world epic that has everyone squaring off against Darkseid, Batman makes the ultimate sacrifice and reminds everyone one last time why he should be feared, by taking out Darkseid for good-hopefully. The best is yet to come for Bats though. There is now a fight on for who shall be the new Batman. Will it be Damian, Batman’s young son, any three of the Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake), bad guy Hush, or who knows? I will say that the last page of Final Crisis #6 is simply awesome. As every fanboy knows – superheroes die. All the time. And they generally come back. With a fired up Superman tearing up all he sees and showing up with Bat’s corpse in his arms, it’s definitely a WOW moment. But I think, once Battle for the Cowl begins in March, written and illustrated by Tony Daniel, there will be more WOWs to come. Batman’s not really gone I’d say. Just consider it a see you later, even though when Bruce Wayne returns it will probably not be under the familiar dark garb. For a preview of Final Crisis #6, click below.
One of my favourite new publishers, Radical will have a booth at the extravaganza that is the New York Comic-Con for the first time. If you’re blessed enough to be there, stop by and say hi to a few great artists such as Jim Steranko and Steve Pugh. Full details of Radical’s events at next month’s Con are at the link below the image.
On sale now is Witchblade #123 from Top Cow, and the great team of writer Ron Marz and artist Stjepan Sejic. At the link below you can see some interior pages from the issue, which is gearing things up for the big no. 125. Cop, and new mum, Sara Pezzini has half of the mystical gauntlet known as the Witchblade and must face an ancient foe terrorizing Brooklyn’s Ultra Orthodox Jewish community, that may or may not be the Angel of Death.
At the same time, the wielder of the other half of the ‘blade, dancer Dani Baptiste aims to help one of her students but it may not be such a wise move.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new Terminator film coming out. Nothing to do with Arnie, or creator James Cameron, this film stars Batman himself, Christian Bale. Set in its own continuity, without tying into the previous three films, or the new TV series, it opens on May 22 and is directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels). However, IDW are releasing a prequel comic series to the film so you don’t have to wait so long to get your Terminator fix. Official press release and movie trailer below.
In January, IDW Publishing debuts the comic book prequel to the next Terminator movie, Terminator: Salvation. The movie is the fourth instalment in the big screen contingent of the action series, starring Christian Bale as John Connor and directed by McG. The movie opens in May 2009.
Terminator: Salvation Movie Prequel is written by Dara Naraghi (Lifelike) with art by Alan Robinson and cover by Nick Runge.
The year is 2018. With John Connor as the voice of the resistance, the scattered remnants of humanity find themselves united against their common enemy: Skynet and its Terminators. Through a patchwork system of radio transmitters, hacked satellite phones, and encrypted computer networks, resistance leader Elena Maric in Detroit, and Nigerian mining engineer Bem Aworuwa, have formed an unlikely friendship and drawn up battle plans to take the fight to the Terminators!
Like the film they tie-in to, IDW’s Terminator comics will push the timeline of the franchise past Judgment Day and into all new territory, allowing for stories and visuals previously only hinted at on film. The series will take the core concept of the Terminator films and give them a more global scope showing not just John Connor, but other humans who are either trying to survive or are actively part of the resistance. Writer Dara Naraghi says he was interested in exploring new themes-not just the action of a monumental battles, but also the game of basic survival the characters find themselves facing in such a war torn and desolate future.
“All over the world, people find themselves having to band together regardless of what their previous station in life or prejudices might have been,” Naraghi explained.
As revealed on the latest post at MySpace/comicbooks from Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada is this little gem – the first script for the Fantatstic Four spin-off, Fantastic Force #1, which features the Fantastic Four of the future. It’s written by comics newbie Joe Ahearne who comes from working on Doctor Who at the BBC. You can read the full script at the link below. I’d recommend this for wannabe comic scribes, as you’ll get a feel for the proper formatting, as well as an idea of the kind of time it takes from script to publication (see date below.) If you want more of Quesada’s entertaining tales and peeks at Marvel’s future, go here.
Fantastic Force Issue 1
“Shock of the Nu”
Script By Joe Ahearne
Revised 7th January 2008
1/ A devastated future Earth. Multiple rays of ultraviolet light with figures inside streak out into the sky and out of the panel.
CAPTION : They traveled 500 years from the future to escape a dying Earth.
2/ The rays land on the other side of the split panel in one of the recreated cities of Nu-World – contemporary Manhattan.
CAPTION : This is Nu-World. A facsimile of present Earth.
Designed for today’s elite.
3/ The ultraviolet light fades to reveal a crowd of people looking around at Times Square, awed at their new surroundings.
CAPTION : Now home to eight billion refugees.
And the last six heroes in history.
Politics and comics seem to be the talk of the mainstream press these days, mostly due to Barack Obama’s recent appearances in both Image’s Savage Dragon, and next week’s Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man #583. Now Bluewater releases the latest in its Female Force line, which focuses on female politicians. Here’s their latest press release….
As part of its continuing series to feature influential and iconic women, Bluewater Productions unveiled the next subject for it Female Force comic series: Caroline Kennedy. Written by Neal Bailey and drawn by Ryan Howe this one-shot will be in stores in June.
The daughter of President John F. Kennedy and current aspirant for Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat, Kennedy, an accomplished author, attorney and education advocate, will be featured in the June issue of the bi-monthly series.
Bluewater chose Kennedy as its next comic book subject before the news broke of her interest in New York politics. “She was on the short list before all the hype about the Senate seat. She is an amazing person who has done a lot for education,” said publisher Darren G. Davis.
“I hope readers enjoy my rendition of one of the most influential families in political history,” said artist Vinnie Tartamella.
The latest addition to the Female Force series follows the biographies of Sen. Clinton, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, announced earlier this year. Female Force comic books showcase influential women who are making and shaping modern history. The “Sarah Palin: Female Force” comic book is available for order through Diamond Distributors, order code DEC083826.
From the fine folks at Udon (the publishers of the Street Fighter comics), comes an opportunity to become the next big thing. Well, have some of your art published anyway. Like they did with their successful Street Fighter tribute book, Udon are now putting together a similar tome for the lesser-known Darkstalkers game franchise. The deadline for submitting your art is March 1, and the entry form and rules can be seen here. Press release below.
Darkstalkers is Capcom’s horror-infused fighting game, filled with strange creatures and mysterious temptresses, loved by tens of thousands of fans around the world. 2009 is the 15th anniversary of the franchise and, to celebrate the property’s rich history, UDON Entertainment is producing an all-new full color art book – Darkstalkers Tribute.
The Darkstalkers fans who were young players when the franchise first launched are now grown up, but their love of the game continues. This high quality art book will showcase a cross section of brand new artistic interpretations of the Darkstalkers cast in a series of full size pin-up style illustrations. The book will launch this summer with UDON’s convention content and then be released in stores next fall.
UDON artists and other comic, video game and freelance illustrators have been invited to interpret their favourite Darkstalkers characters for inclusion in this special book. Along with these invited artists UDON is sending out a widespread open art submission call to the video game fan artist community to submit artwork for possible inclusion in the tribute volume.
You could be part of Capcom history as part of the Darkstalkers Tribute art book and have your artwork showcased alongside top names in the industry! It’s time to show UDON and Capcom your unique vision of Darkstalkers!