Sure, the first two issues of this excellent series from BOOM! Studios have sold out, but second printings will be available very soon. I heaped my praise on the first issue (as did many others) and will do so again now.
Irredeemable is a new series from writer Mark Waid. If you have any interest in comics, you owe it to yourself to Google that name and pick up whatever you can find with his name on it at your LCS or bookstore. Waid is legendary. The classic Kingdom Come is as good as he gets, though it means more to long-time readers, though he’s proved with all the monthly assignments he’s had over the years, (The Flash, Captain America, etc) that he knows how to welcome newbies too. Irredeemable will satisfy both parties.
Issue 1 was a great set up. It’s such a simple premise, that I’m certain it’s been done before, but surely without such panache. Waid knows superheroes. The mindset, philosophies, the grand soap operas, the relationships in constant turmoil. All that stuff, plus fist fights between spandex clad characters is the glue that makes superhero comics great. With Irredeemable Waid respects those conventions, yet shatters them at the same time. His skill lies in not being too flamboyant and in yoir face, like other superhero ‘re-examinations’ such as The Authority or Kick Ass attempt. Waid is a gentleman, and doesn’t resort to nudity, profanity and blood letting to get his point across. However, saying that, as BOOM!’s marketing ploy reminded us weeks ago, “Mark Waid is evil.”
So here’s the story – The Plutonian was a great do-gooder; a costumed inspiration in the vein of Superman. Now he’s turned bad and is swiftly executing his former Paradigm team-mates. As is the trend of story telling these days, it’s told in a non-linear fashion. We are given glimpses of the past (during sunnier times, when the cracks started to show in the heroic visage) and mainly of the present with the world’s most powerful man on a vicious rampage. Kaidan, one of The Plutonian’s former allies, seeks The Plutonian’s initially surly girlfriend for answers. She tells Kaidan of their romance, and how the only villain he ever feared was Modeus, and gives hints to his background. I won’t spoil anymore than that. There’s a tremendous sense of urgency in this issue. We are never shown The Plutonian in the present. He exists only in flashbacks, yet Waid builds the menace like a crafty architect.
If you’ve ever enjoyed superhero tales for any length of time, you must grab this series. Sure, the characters are all new, but we recognise them instantly. It seems to me that over all the years Waid has been writing comics, he’s been storing away ideas for this series in the dark corners of his notepad. He unleashes blistering pages with ease. The highlight of this issue is an unpleasant, yet realistic, twist on the classic secret identity concept. It’s obvious Waid has really thought about this whole superhero thing and just what it means as part of a practical, daily existence, with all the desperation, responsibility and horror that accompany it.
Peter Krause’s art is suitably dark and frightening, and grounded in reality. It’s a perfect match for what Waid is up to. There really is a tremendous piece of fiction being unveiled here, with precision and fury. Don’t miss out on this series. It’s one of the very few that have me looking forward to each astonishing instalment.
From Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes, who have written the excellent BOOM! series Eureka and Station, respectively, comes this impressively cuddly debut. It had me smirking and fondly recalling my own carefree days of playing with my He-Man figures and G.I Joes. Ah, good times. This is a boy’s own adventure – literally, but it does have a healthy dose of dark humour and adventure. Like BOOM!’s other series, such as The Incredibles, or The Muppet Show Comic Book, this is something parents could read with their kids, with both getting enjoyment from it.
It begins with a scientist running from the agency he works for. Upon creating Artificial Intelligence, he flees from his nefarious employers and runs to the closest toy shop, where he swaps his CD with that of an interactive teddy bear. At the same time, David, a bath salesman recently separated from his fed up wife, is taking his son Zach out for a bit of shopping. After waving masculine gifts infront of his face, Zach decides to go for Mr. Stuffins instead. The rest of the issue is focused on Zach as he discovers his teddy’s unique skill set and gets frustrated with his lack of singing and bed-time story telling abilities. After all, that’s what the box promised! It’s like a premise of a classic 1980s film that was never made.
I could hear Mr. Stuffin’s gruff, take charge voice every time he spoke. He ties up a lifeless pink bunny for interrogation, beats up school bullies and mocks Zach’s parents. Yet he’s a loveable rascal. While elements of Buzz Lightyear and the 1998 film Small Soldiers may be apparent to some, this is still a refreshing concept. Zack is old enough to know that a teddy bear with military skills is not normal, yet young enough to just accept him as a new, though reluctant, friend.
I can see why this was a sell-out when it first appeared, and now that it’s returned with new art by Axel Medellin, it will surely garner new fans. Medellin draws with great expression. His figure work is simple, yet fluid enough and from the moment Mr. Stuffins’ eyes alight and he sits up, fully aware, I was sold on the approach. It has some great pacing and truly witty lines, that I won’t do the disservice of spoiling here. Let’s just say that I haven’t been entertained with cuddly toys for many years, yet I now want a Mr. Stuffins for Christmas.
This has been an excellent series with every issue. It’s been tightly scripted with a genuine momentum, and especially when compared to the disappointing finale of The Remnant, this is a truly satisfying conclusion to a great adventure.
By keeping the number of characters to a minimum, namely teenage magician/thief Luci, her friend Val, bad guy (and Luci’s former boss) Dietrich and badder girl Madame Cymbaline, writer Michael Alan Nelson has been free of confusing sub-plots and unnecessary diversions. Along with artist Emma Rios, he has crafted a dark supernatural tale of friendship, thievery, secrets and power lust. This final issue brings Luci’s desire for the death-dealing item, the carasinth, Dietrich’s machinations and Luci’s relationship to Madame Cymbaline all to a tidy conclusion. Luci shows she’s more wily than she’s given credit for and Val learns the pain of being a bargaining chip at gunpoint.
I’ve praised Hexed ever since it began. Fans of Buffy must grab this, and when the Trade comes out, I hope they, and others do so. The art by Rios is bold and fluid and with Cris Peter’s colour choices, violence and blood letting have never looked so strangely appealing.
Hexed could definitely carry the weight of an ongoing series, and this is a great primer. Writers who want to know how to craft an intelligent and entertaining introduction to a new universe should take notes. The mini-series format is an artform in itself. Hexed is one of the new breed that would easily fit in the done-in-one format of a Trade, without the sometimes unnecessary recaps in every issue. It barrels along and is a perfectly captured realization of a taut tale that can be read by anyone without getting bogged down in stray details. Telling an engrossing story these days while keeping things simple at the same time, is an honourable feat. Nelson and Rios have done it with Hexed.
Go here for a preview.
Well, not a comic book based on Blade Runner exactly, but one based on the novel that Blade Runner was based on. Whew. This is quite weird actually, as I just finished watching The Final Cut of the 1982 film on DVD, and all the awesome extras. Hearing how the film meandered somewhat from Philip K. Dick’s classic novel, I thought to myself, “I bet someone could adapt the book into a great comic.” And as I opened the latest Previews catalogue, that’s exactly what I found. BOOM! prove their mastery over chasing unusual properties yet again. Official description of the first issue of the series (which lands in June) below.
THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED THE FILM BLADE RUNNER COMES TO BOOM with backmatter by Warren Ellis! Worldwide best-selling sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick’s award-winning DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? has been called “a masterpiece ahead of its time, even today” and served as the basis for the film BLADE RUNNER. BOOM! Studios is honored to present the complete novel transplanted into the comic book medium, mixing all new panel-to-panel continuity with the actual text from the novel in an innovative, ground-breaking 24-issue maxi-series experiment illustrated by acclaimed COMA and WOLF artist Steven Dupre! San Francisco lies under a cloud of radioactive dust. The World War has killed millions, driving entire species to extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic fakes: horses, birds, cats, sheep… even humans.
Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter tasked to find six rogue androids — they’re machines, but look, sound, and think like humans – clever, and most of all, dangerous humans. Rick Deckard, Pris, The Voight-Kampff Test, Nexus 6 androids, the Tyrell Corporation: join us for the publishing event of the year!
BOOM! Studios today launched the weekly “15 Minutes with Waid” podcast, where you will be able to get your weekly dose of Mark Waid ruminating on the hot topics of today’s comic industry and talking about the latest creative endeavors of the inimitable Mark Waid.
BOOM! Studios Editor-In Chief Mark Waid, award-winning writer of such series as KINGDOM COME, EMPIRE, 52, and AMAZING-SPIDER MAN and a longtime industry veteran, hits the keyboard to blog regularly at MARKWAID.COM about his years of experience in the field. Updated daily with new content, MARKWAID.COM features free webcomics, podcasts, vlogs, script tutorials, rants, and special guests on a regular basis.
Waid’s new series, IRREDEEMABLE, launches this April and will feature variant covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN, PLANETARY) and Barry Kitson (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) in a 75/25 split and a special afterword by Grant Morrison. It is currently available for pre-order from the Diamond Previews Catalog with an order code of FEB094134.
“In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who’s called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job. I reject that premise,” said series writer and BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid. “IRREDEEMABLE is, in a way, my third and most complex chapter on the cost of superheroics – a pulp adventure tale of horror exploring how the lessons we learn about right and wrong as children can become warped and twisted when challenged by the realities of the adult world.”
Now I’ve never heard of this series about the secret agent teddy bear, but apparently his debut two years ago was quite popular. Now he’s back in a 3 ish mini, starting in April. Official press release below.
MR. STUFFINS IS BACK!
MY TEDDY BEAR’S A SECRET AGENT!
With covers by MOUSE GUARD’S David Peterson
Mr. Stuffins returns featuring covers by MOUSE GUARD”s David Peterson! Written by EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby and EUREKA staff writer Johanna Stokes, MR. STUFFINS is a tale of intrigue and suspense, and all before bedtime! For fans of TOY STORY and BURN NOTICE, MR. STUFFINS will have you wondering if your toy’s kung fu grip is for real!
David Petersen of MOUSE GUARD acclaim will be supplying all the A covers for the entire three issue run. MR. STUFFINS #1 will be shipping this April.
MR. STUFFINS follows the saga of a talking teddy bear that has been accidentally implanted with a chip, granting him the skills of the deadliest secret agents and mercenaries on the planet! Mr. Stuffins has to protect his new owner, Zachary, as evil forces hunt Mr. Stuffins down to steal his powers. Can this super-secret teddy bear save the day?
The original first issue of MR. STUFFINS shipped nearly two years ago, in April of 2007. All over the country, the original sold out at convention after convention as fans asked the question, “When will issue #2 come out?” Unfortunately, a second issue didn’t follow. “It’s totally my fault, I’ll take the blame,” said BOOM! co-founder Ross Richie. “That year BOOM! really started to boom, and we grew out of control. Thankfully, Mark Waid came in as Editor-in-Chief in 2008 and helped us correct problems like this and get an infrastructure.” Now the bear is back in a completely re-drawn and re-colored first issue with all new art from Axel Medellin, on-time and on-schedule!
The first B cover features a re-colored version of the Joe Abraham original. The B covers for issues 2 and 3 are by Matt Cossin, who worked on METAL HURLANT.
“I’m thrilled to return to the story of MR. STUFFINS,” said MR. STUFFINS co-writer Andrew Cosby. “One of the reasons why EUREKA is so successful is due to its ability to blend the absurd with the realistic, turning the campy into a vehicle for entertainment and, if there’s time, maybe a serious message or two. MR. STUFFINS also scratches that itch!”
MR. STUFFINS #1 (New Edition) features two variant covers in a 50/50 split by David Petersen, Joe Abraham with a Diamond Order Code of FEB094133 and ships this April.
I get the feeling that I’m at the start of something special. It’s easy to picture this as a future TV series or film. Like Buffy, but with an ambition equal to her comics rather than the TV series, Hexed is smart and entertaining.
It’d be easy to let a concept like this get out of hand, or lose its focus, but writer Alan Michael Nelson knows when he’s on to a good thing and wisely keeps the spotlight on her. Hexed is a new four issue mini-series from BOOM! Studios that follows the supernatural adventures of a girl named Lucifer, (real name Luci Jenifer Neves) and her thieving career choices. Last month’s delayed debut ish ended with Luci diving into the guts of a corpse. However, as we discover in this issue’s opener, the corpse’s stomach is bigger than it seems, just like the TARDIS.
After an intro which sees two men in 1857 running from an unseen baddie, it’s obvious this issue will delve straight into darkness. There’s no sense of playfulness here like there was in last month’s offering. The two running men soon come to a brutal end, with one’s head exploding. His brother then takes a small golden globe and whispers their killer’s name into it, before the artefact flies to the heavens.
Cutting to the present, Luci is swimming in a foul crimson sea inside the corpse, hunting the golden item, which we discover is called the carasinth. She fights off a sting-ray type creature, grabs the orb and gets out of there, landing in an autopsy room in front of an understandably stunned pathologist. Luci has managed to please Dietrich, her former boss who forced het to steal the item, but at the same time enrage her current employer, Val. And with good reason, as one whisper of a person’s name into the carasinth means they become a deadly target.
Continuing her streak of attracting antagonism, Dietrich and his goons invade Luci’s home to take what they believe is there’s. Luci puts up a fight, namely biting a nose off a goon, but to no avail. Dietrich forces Luci to take him to a “harlot”, which they do via a magical mirror. Arriving at a mansion, they meet the ageing woman who calls Luci darling and welcomes her home.
The pace is quick in this second issue, since the series is half way over and there are a few more questions that need answering, such as what’s the deal with the mysterious “H” tattoo on Luci’s back, and just what is the relationship between the ghastly old woman and our magical heroine.
Emma Rio’s art is again top notch. It may be too sketchy for some, but coupled with Cris Peter’s luscious colouring the energy crackles off the page. Rios draws Luci like a normal young woman, and gives characters such as Val and Dietrich a definite look. The page design remains driven and the action seems violent, but not shockingly so.
This is a good series. The Buffy comparisons will continue, and I’m sure Nelson is probably sick of them by now, but that is a worthy compliment. There are well rounded supporting characters and genuine human interactions with unique supernatural tones. This series can only continue to become more engrossing.
I read BOOM!’s new series, Hexed about female magician/thief named Luci recently and really enjoyed it. Delightful art, an interesting Buffy-like protagonist and an engrossing story. It’s a great comic really – for fanboys and newbies alike. BOOM! believe it is too and now you can read the whole issue for free at MySpace. No questions asked. My review of the ish is here if you need further convincing, but trust me – take advantage of this opportunity.
This is a collection of the four issues of the Fire and Honour mini-series. Written by Graham McNeill with art by Tony Parker it’s a rugged series of battles between humans and aliens with firepower and bravery used in equal measure. The collection is 128 pages long and comes complete with a gallery of the covers from the original issues.
The Cadian 71st squad, known as the Hellhounds arrive on Baktar III for an inspection by planetary governor Montague and planning for their next mission in safeguarding Paradise City, with the unwelcome aid of other regiments, including the 33rd. Captain Hawkins, the leader of the Hellhounds has a reputation as a trouble maker, due to his fight with another squad leader, which leaves an unfavourable impression upon meeting the Russian leader of the Vostroyan Firstborn 33rd Regiment. However, their men must work together anyway and bunker down to fortify the city.
The race known as the Tau invade at night and a battle between aliens in mech suits and well armed soldiers begins, with a few fire spewing tanks thrown in for good measure. The rugged humans manage a victory, but also discover that the stuffy governor Montague may very well be in cahoots with the Tau. Of course, no-one is too happy about this, but at least the bad blood between Captain Hawkins and the Santa Claus look-alike Colonel Renko of the 33rd Regiment has dissipated.
We soon learn that Montague is indeed a traitor, having hastily promised Emissary O’Pahn of the evil Tau victory in their ambush. Boy, is he embarrassed. Meanwhile in Paradise City, those clever Tau are jamming the humans’ signals, so they can not inform high command of Montague’s treachery. It is left to Captain Hawkins to begrudgingly leave his post and tell them in person. He does so with a few friends in tanks and drives through the forest, battling fanged aliens along the way. The brave soldiers of Paradise City continue fighting to allow Hawkins and his fellow Cadians an escape. However, soon after evading the reach of the Tau’s jammers, they run out of the necessary fuel to continue to the safety of high command. Thankfully, Aurigas Point fuel refinery is not far off, and they refuel their tanks just before those tenacious Tau attack once more, leaving the tank crews detached from each other, and many men the victim of gruesome and fiery deaths. The survivors head for the aptly named Last Chance Bridge, which looks like something form Lord of the Rings, with its massive statues and towering architecture. Another battle with the Tau and an almost-battle with fellow soldiers after being branded deserters by Montague wraps the tale up.
Having played the tabletop strategy of Warhammer 40 000 many years ago, my familiarity with WH40K is not recent, but I’m glad I was able to jump in to this book with ease. Too often these worlds can be so dense with characters and history that they can be daunting to the outsider. That’s not the case here. Every soldier has a distinct look, especially the Russian Renko, with his red jacket and long white beard, and McNeill wisely makes certain that character’s names are mentioned often, to avoid any confusion of who’s who. There are a few missteps though, particularly at Renko’s death. It basically happens off-panel, which is a shame, considering he’s one of the best things about this adventure. The other noticeable error is towards the end of this tale, where the traitorous Montague is finally shown for what he truly is. This moment happens awkwardly and suddenly.
The art is fine, and in keeping with the rest of BOOM!’s WH40K various mini-series. It works in tandem with the war nature of the series, with its bloody fights, scarred soldiers and big guns. The colours aren’t vibrant either, which gives the book its battle field look. More variety in panel layouts is definitely needed though. Too often the pages simply look static. There is no real sense of motion at all, and when occasional variety is used, such as different panel borders, or full page panels, it doesn’t seem extraordinary.
Gamers and fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy this, but for the rest of us, it’s a disapointing entry into the concept. It’s a quick read and an easy to understand tale, without bogging readers down with unnecessary details concerning politics and the Empire, but that’s not enough. It still needs something more dramatic to get it noticed amongst the other WH40K series. If you have some spare cash left over from Christmas, your best bet would be to grab one of BOOM!’s new 400 page Trade Paper Backs collecting three mini-series from both the 40K and Fantasy worlds, for a more diverse sampling. Yes, the Only War Omnibus contains Fire and Honour, but it’s not indicative of the rest of the more well crafted series in the line.
Compilations like this are a rarity on the comics stands these days. Image has done very well with the concept with the Tori Amos collaboration, Comic Book Tattoo as well as their two volumes of PopGun books and their recent Liquid City book which featured work by Asian writers and artists. Of course, there is always the excellent Flight series too. Those anthologies are all superb ways of introducing new fans into our beloved medium of choice, but if you’re into something more frequent (as in every month) that features some great short stories, then BOOM! Studios has the answer for you. Comparing their Zombie Tales series to the books mentioned above is a stretch, but they all offer bite sized (no pun intended) tales to hook readers into the marvels of sequential art.
Zombie Tales is, as the title suggests, a monthly look at tales featuring everyone’s favourite horror creatures of the moment. Yep, zombies. Having only read a couple of issues of this series, it’s extremely refreshing to be able to jump on board and simply be entertained without having to know why Superhero X is pummelling Superhero Y.
If you’re drawn to films of the undead like flies to the…undead, then this is a series for you. Zombies may not do much, apart from shambling and muttering, but as the slew of films have shown as over the last few years, they can squeeze into any genre. They’re not just bound to horror features anymore. Zombies are no longer being typecast. What an age we live in!
The first tale here is written by John R. Fultz, with art by Aritz Eiguren. It centres on two hitmen presumably working for the Mafia, who take their latest victim out to the woods to complete their given task. For one of the men, it is The Last Hit, as is the title. Despite their killing of the snitch, he digs out of his makeshift grave and attacks Satch in their car. Satch of course turns against his partner Bruno. Now Bruno has two “corpses” to his credit, and when he visits the boss to tell him he’s finished his final job, it looks like Bruno himself may be the third. Suitably bloody art makes this a harsh and violent story, as most zombie tales are.
Summer 2061 is the second tale and is a continuation of a story from the first issue of this series. However, if you didn’t read that tale, you won’t be out of your depth here. Basically, zombies now appear to be the dominant lifeform, taking over a city, with humans as their playthings. A more serious and epic tale, written by Kim Krizan, it is complimented greatly by Jon Reed’s ruggedly realistic art. A motley group of human survivors has had enough and storm the city to free a few more to join their ranks. They are met by the world the way zombies want it – humans in pet stores, human rugs and the huge Summer Games, consisting of humans fighting each other like the Roman days of centuries ago.
The third and final tale, Zombie Come Home is written by Tom Peyer, who is the only familiar name in this issue, due to his stint on many DC titles, including Legion of Super Heroes. Drew Rausch’s pencils combined with Drew Berry’s colours give this tale a look straight from a children’s book. The story is a simple one, with very little dialogue. Basically a boy is keeping a zombie tied to a tree in his backyard as a restrained and mute life size action figure. His parents console him as a government chopper comes to take him away. A fiery crash means the zombie is free and after some wandering, he falls into a river and lands at his keeper’s house again, which gives the child much joy. The naïve child runs to his undead friend and gives him a big hug, but instead of receiving a similar response, he is welcomed with a munch to his noggin. What a glorious ending. If you can’t laugh at this picture, then there’s something wrong with you. It’s a deliciously amusing finale, and if BOOM! doesn’t turn this page into a poster, they’re mad.
There’s something here for every taste. The first two tales are more serious in nature and the final one is anything but. Each of the three differs enough in its approach to story and art and is well worth a look if you’re new to comics, love zombies or just want a few entertaining pages to distract you from your post-Christmas weight gain.