Category Archives: Art

HOUSE OF X #1 – MARVEL COMICS

WRITER – JONATHAN HICKMAN
ARTIST – PEPE LARRAZ
COVER ARTIST – MARTE GARCIA
LETTERER – CLAYTON COWLES

Ambitious. That was my first thought when I heard that JONATHAN HICKMAN was being put in charge of the X-Men re-launch. It’s the one thing that brought me back to a universe that I stepped away from about 4 years ago after multiple re-launches. I’ve read Hickman’s runs on the Avengers, and Fantastic Four and knew , with  him being one of the best “world builders” in the business, that he could get the franchise back on track. JONATHAN HICKMAN  is a novelist who just happens to have illustrations with his novels. For wordsmiths, him just being named to the project was a win. Now onto the review.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. I read it twice as there is a lot there to unpack as someone who has been outside the X-universe for a while. A few of the characters look different (will take me a while to get used to seeing Professor X look like that) and there were some new faces(both human and mutant), but I never really felt lost at any point in time, and upon my second read I had a much clearer picture of where this group of X-Men were at and the threads that tied them together. Some of your favs aren’t front and center, but it’s a 12 part series between HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X and there is plenty of time to get the roster fleshed out. This first chapter had a nice slow burn feel to it which is what it should have.

The first chapter also laid the groundwork very methodically to show you the culture that has formed around the X-Men. Each transitional scene ends with a look at a new language, new power levels, new olive branches to a human race that may yet bridge the divide(vague I know, but I meant what I said by “non” spoiler),A look at the lands, factions of mutants and much more. This book clocks in at about a 45 minute read and HICKMAN fills every minute and details and character driven dialogue. It felt a bit like a chess match where the board was being set for the long term game to come.

There is always that question with any re-launch I find. Is this a good jumping off point, as much as it is a jumping on point?Overall the groundwork JONATHAN HICKMAN has begun to lay feels like this is for folks who have not been long time followers of the X-Men, and it seems continuity from the previous X-Men series was not a high priority in his mind. There’s was one glaring example of this, but it was not anything I really minded and made for an interesting new direction for the character.

There is a much different vibe to this re-launch then previous ones in that it seems the mutants seem to feel they are on much more equal footing with the human race then ever before. Magneto’s demeanor through the entire book is not one of fear, hostility or divisiveness. I could say the same for Cyclops. It’s simply a statement of -this is how mutants are going to exist with humans and this is how their idea(and a brilliant piece of story telling idea that it is)is going to work. Take it or leave it. This first chapter  feels as much a societal story , as a political one and the point, counterpoint dialogue between humans and mutants in the story over mutants place in the world and the distrust that is still there makes for some wonderful conversation.

PEPE LARRAZ’S art was a wonderfully detailed addition to this story. I’ve noted before that facials expressions can say so much and they had plenty of opportunity to do so this issue. From Cyclops firm stance with some old friends, to the last panel of the story, some beautifully rendered art told a secondary story without words. The X-Men felt both gritty and elegant this issue which suited the story. Also, of note, Beautifully done illustrations of the landscape of Krakoa also. I felt this was also a pretty cool nod to Giant Size X-Men #1 which also felt like the beginning of a new era.

If you’ve been looking to get back into the X-Men your probably not going to get a much better opportunity then this. JONATHAN HICKMAN seems like he has a long term plan in mind. I’d be pretty happy if we could get 50 really good issues out of this run. Time will tell.

Til next time

Scott

 

VALKYRIE #1 – MARVEL COMICS

Writers – Jason Aaron & Al Ewing
Artist- Cafu
Colorist – Matt Wilson
Letterer- Joe Sabino.

I’m very fresh to this Asgardian comic universe after many years of being away. I figured with Jane Foster being announced for the new movie “THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER” I should catch up with the goings on in her universe. There’s a nice write up at the beginning of the book, briefly outlining her life up to this point and throughout the story there are more then a few references to the past to give you a good sense of where she is at. On to the review.

Other than curiousity, the art was a strong factor in me picking up this book. From the detailed, magnetic, youthful, looking cover by artist Mahmud Asrar to the strong, angelic inside art of artist Cafu(The first panel is worthy of being a portrait on any wall. Beautiful crafting),I thought the art was on par with the writing in this book, and that is a rarity for me. Facial features, background landscapes, costume renderings, Realm stylings, you name it. All of it really worked for me. Was pleasantly surprised by this. Though in retrospect I shouldn’t be, as Jane Foster is going to be playing a big part in the MCU so it would make sense she is getting” A” talent treatment here.

Jason Aaron & Al Ewing’s writing was also pretty strong in this premiere issue. I love dialogue driven books and this one held up nicely. The first person Jane Foster dialogue gave us some insight as to what came before, so the reader never really had a large amount of questions about why certain things were the way they were. The story some very interesting secondary character introductions(new to me anyway)that I suspect will make for some interesting conversation and storylines down the road. A large key to me for this book will be keeping a balance between the God and the girl(I know she’s not a girl but it’s rhymed and it’s my review).Strong secondary earth bound characters will help with that.

Other then the strong art , the other unexpected surprise of this book was the down to earth feel it had to it. If you liked the Don Blake/ Thor “balance” trials and tribulations of the original series you might feel a bit of nostalgia for this first issue. That and just a pinch of Peter Parker/ Spider-Man life balancing is in there also. For a “Goddess” book I found this ingredient very well done and dispensed through the book. Every good first issue needs a hook to bring you back. This one ended with a page turner, and brought in a villain I would not have associated with this title, and that’s a good thing. Far too many times the arch nemesis is trotted out to pop a first issue and I feel many times that is done too soon. Add to the fact that this villain is now “amplified ” and it’s going to make for an interesting second issue.

I did have a few issues with the overall story. There seems to be a bit of a clique’ to send the hero up against (insert D level villain here) to get the issue started off with a bang. There was more to the story this time, and it recovered nicely, but would have been cool if it could have been avoided completely. Also I found the scene transitions with a few of the characters a little too cut and dry. Overall , I enjoyed the story a lot more then I thought I would. If your looking to try something new, I’d recommend giving it a read. Between the art and writing I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Til Next time

Scott

SERA AND THE ROYAL STARS #1 – VAULT COMICS

Writer – Jon Tsuei

Artist – Audrey Mok

Colorist -Raul Angulo

Letterer – Jim Campbell

Whenever I’m flipping through books at my local comic shop, one of the first things I look for is lots of dialogue on the pages. Even if the subject matter looks like it may not interest me, a good story can reel me in .That’s pretty much what happened here. That, and a beautifully coloured cover that matched the archers “pull” strikingly well.This was my last pick up of the week. Glad it made the cut. Onto the review.

Overall , I enjoyed the book. It’s a story of magic, of family, of legacy and of loss. Relatable characters help any story and there was plenty to relate to here. A fairly ambitious first issue, to set the stage for a journey for chapters to come. I had seen some of the themes before, but when they are well done I really have no issue with it. The general character development was spot on for this first issue .Main character(Princess Sera) gives you an essence of her family bonds, and the stress that comes from that, along with how each of us might deal with an unwanted burden we have no choice but to deal with. There were a fair amount of cast members introduced this chapter ,but there was enough there to make their introduction relevant  and to move the story along.

The art by AUDREY MOK was hit and miss for me .Fleshed out facial features can tell a story all by itself. Would have liked to have seen more development of the characters facial features .Some of the panels it was there and sometimes not. Lots of background  details in the panels though, which helped give the story the sense of adventure that it was. Colorist Raul Angulo gave the panels great finishes with some beautiful shades of yellow and orange which completed the journey of a trek through the desert, and dark blues and purples to signify dreamscape, the coming of the gods and the cool night sky. Bit wordy, I know, but I couldn’t draw a bath so that will have to suffice.

If you enjoy stories in the vein of Aladdin, Gladiator(yes, really), Elizabeth, Joan of Arc, Brave ,or others with strong , adventurous female characters, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It’s a well written, well paced story. One thing that did crack me up a bit was hearing a princess say “shit”. I’m sure they do say that, it just seemed a bit out of place, but it’s a minor thing. I’m not sure I’m giving the second issue a try(I’m “princessed” out. Why can’t the heroine be a courtesan who dives into adventure after her last client of the day?)but you should give the first issue a try and go from there. It’s worth the read.

Til next time

Scott

 

 

 

DC Collectibles Shows Off The First Of Dark Nights: Metal Batman Line

DC collectibles show off the first of the new Dark Night: Metal Batman series. The first in the line is comes the twisted but awesome “The Dawnbreaker”. The statue brings a dark and twisted hybrid of Batman and Green Lantern. Sculpted by Adrienne Smith.

I have to say that this is a beautiful looking piece. I have started to collect more statues especially since PVC is being used. The detail on some of this figures look amazing. Plus sell at a reasonable price of 65 Canadian and 50 U.S.

Source: DC YouTube

The Trailer Park: The Oath Teaser Trailer

Coming from Topic Studios and Roadside Attractions, The Oath. Written and directed by Ike Barinoltz.

“A controversial White House policy turns family member against family member in THE OATH, a savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism. When Chris (Ike Barinholtz), a high-strung 24-hour progressive news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife Kai (Tiffany Haddish) learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the President, their reaction is disbelief, followed by idealistic refusal. But as the Thanksgiving deadline to sign approaches, the combination of sparring relatives, Chris’s own agitation and the unexpected arrival of two government agents (John Cho and Billy Magnussen) sends an already tense holiday dinner gathering completely off the rails. As timely as it is outrageous, THE OATH is a gleefully wicked reinvention of the traditional holiday comedy for our divisive political
times.”
The idea for the film came to Ike Barinholtz a couple of weeks after the election of Donald Trump. “Right after Trump won, I had Thanksgiving at my house,” say Barinholtz. “And after dinner, my family and I got into an argument about the election. The strange thing was that we were all pretty much aligned politically. So I thought if we’ve getting this angry at each other, I can only imagine what’s happening to other people around the country.”
The Oath comes to theaters October 12, 2018
Source: EPK.TV, Roadside Attractions

Oats Studios – Volume 1 – Firebase

Neill Blomkamp has been a very busy boy. Earlier Neill release to short film through Oats Studios, titled “Rakka.”  Now this time an 26:52 short film called “Firebase”.

Neill Blomkamp along with independent production studio, Oats Studios are producing some great experimental filmed content. Then  through various online platforms they will be able to raise additional funding by sale of more original digital content on Steam.  Their hope is that they will be able to then give what the fans want by financial support and feed back.  So in a small way each financial backer is a producer.

If you enjoy this short film and would love to help support Neill and Oats Studios follow the links below.

Oats Website:
http://www.oatsstudios.com

Steam Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/633…
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/oatsstudios/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oatsstudios/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oatsstudios

ALTERNA COMICS – SCRIMSHAW- 1#

 

 

The world is underwater. Al Gore’s worst nightmare has come true.The ice caps have melted .Governments have fallen ,and the world is a very different place now. This is conveyed very succinctly in the first few pages. Broken politics and corporate iron fists are the voice of the day now, and that’s where the story begins.

SCRIMSHAW has kind of a swashbuckling feel to it. Somewhere between WATERWORLD,PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN with a nice undercurrent of some of Wolverines time in Japan. Writer Eric Borden is able to Mesh this together into the beginnings of an adventure where the “good guys” aren’t necessarily that good, and the bad guys need a worse name because of their actions.

Eric fleshed out the characters as much as one can in a first issue and you receive introductions to a fair amount of personalities that can expanded on in further issues. Some I found more interesting than others but time will tell whether they are intended to be bit players or main roster characters. He also provided a nice hook for issue #2 in the “There be Whales here captain!!!” vein.

Artist Dave Mim’s work reminds of a cross between Jae Lee and Whilce Portacio. Jagged and demonic, which fits nicely in with the characters of this series. The backgrounds seemed a bit too busy for me but the more I thought about it, it would make sense that the backdrops for this story would be crowded and very hustle and bustle.

This book is a 4 issue limited series and I’m going to order the other 3 parts. If I did have one suggestion for the book, it would be the lettering. The point size could stand to be a little bigger. I found myself more than once squinting to read it and you lose some story flow when you have to do that. Also, Do yourself a favour and google “Scrimshaw”. You’ll learn something new. I did.

Next Issue is out Aug.2017

Written by Eric Borden

Artist -Dave Mims

Letterer-Spike O Laochdha