Tag Archives: Feature

Raven:Daughter of Darkness #1 of 12- DC

Full disclosure. Not familiar with this character at all, other than really enjoying the look of Cover Artist Yanick Paquettes rendering for this title. Really Mythical looking cover that I suspect brought a few people to give this book a try. Another reason for me giving this book a read is , of course, a chance to read the writing of Comic legend Marv Wolfman (Amazing Spider-man, Daredevil, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Nightwing and much , much more).

I enjoyed the book overall, although I was bit lost to some of the references. If you have no background on this character, I would recommend doing a bit of research on her origin before diving right in. Some issue and serie’s references within the comic might have been helpful also. Mr. Wolfmans story was paced pretty well and parts of Raven’s past were illuminated via the storyline itself so some of the questions of the first few pages were answered by the end of the issue. I think it was Stan Lee who once said(correct me if not internet) to create a comic like it was the readers first experience. This book was a good example of that.

There were a few independently running storylines through out this issue that left the reader with questions for the second issue which is a good thing to me. Marv Wolfman did a pretty good job of introducing us to a supporting cast which is always important.I actually think it’s great that they have called this a limited series of 12 issues. We need more of these instead of running “series” that get to 7 issues and then the plug gets pulled(Hi Mickey!!) .”Limited series” are not bad words.

Artist Pop Khan has a nice style of art suited to this book.I can definitely see some Jim Lee influence in his renderings Facial expressions/reactions were done well and the paneling was well laid out for it. It felt a bit like a “70’s book ” in some parts in the vein of Marv’s Tomb of Dracula series. I’m not sure that was anything more than a happy accident but time will tell.

I’m not sure if I’d buy the second book but the art on this one brought me here so you never know. If you’re looking for a book with a supernatural vibe and a strong, though vulnerable, female lead this book may be for you. If you have a history with this character I suspect this would probably also be a series for you as DC seems to be gearing up a nice 12 issue run with Wolfman at the helm.

P.S Pop back by on Monday Jan.29th when I’m going to take a look at “Dissonance ” from the Image line.Until then.Cheers



X-Men Blue Annual #1- Marvel Review

After having had a not  very good read of the X-Men :Gold Annual, I wasn’t sure where this book was going to take me. Glad they are using this years annual as a story building component. Was pleasantly surprised, as it took me to the first chapter of a cross over between Venom and the squad from X-Men: Blue. It’s 6 parts in total and is called “Poison X”. If you familiar are with the Venomverse series you have probably already met the antagonists of this story arc. Give you a hint…Rhymes with “himbiote”

I enjoyed the prospect of this crossover, as Venom and the time displaced younger X-Men have never met to my knowledge(prove me wrong internet).They cover a lot of ground in this first part as they obviously had more pages to work with. Would love to see this done more often, even if they are debuting a new character which what many annuals tend to be used for. That, and debuting new artists and writers also. I do have a bit of symbiote fatigue after the Venomverse event from last year but this does have a unique look to it so we’ll see how it goes.

I enjoyed seeing how a cool part of X-Men lore in the “The Starjammers” played into the story. A unique position for them to be in as far as where they fit into the narrative. Writer Cullen Bunn paced the story pretty well, and I liked the fact that a few of “wilder’ members of X-Men Blue team got benched for this adventure(and explained away pretty well) to better show the contrast between Venom and the X-Men :Blue team. Also enjoyed the inner monologue interactions between Eddie Brock and the Symbiote as they struggled for a balance.  I was a bit disappointed in the hook for next issue as I feel this particular  plot device has been done to death.

Enjoyed Artist Edgar Salazars take on Venom. “Toothy but muscular” always suited the character well. Edgar had a 3 issue run in the Uncanny X-Men about 6 months ago that I suspect helped him get this job. His take on the younger X-Men made them seem less “minor leaguer ” in my eyes just from his presentation alone. The variant cover art for this series is pretty cool also. The second part of this cross over lands Feb.14th.

P.S Pop back by on Jan.27th as we take a look at DC’s Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1




Days of Hate 1# of 12 – Image

I had heard a bit about this title before I read it and really wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. It’s actually a very “down to earth” book. I mean that, in that there is a focus on relationships, and how they are effected by political ideology as opposed to just the ideology by itself. It’s set not too far in the future, and sadly enough you can see seeds being planted in this reality now for this type of timeline, possibly, to come to fruition.

This first chapter takes us to a world that is simmering with the tensions of a societal civil war looming over it. The characters that we are introduced to have the same type of lives in many ways as characters you would see in “the Walking Dead ” now. No black and white answers. Only shades of grey. One of the most pleasant surprises of the book is that it didn’t seem one sided.All the characters you encounter are “humanized ” in some way by writer Ales Kot .They may not be the most savoury of individuals, but you are at least introduced to their point of view even if you don’t agree with it.

Sadly enough, this may very well be where the U.S could be heading in the next 10 years. Many of the source elements in this book already exist within our society now. We have always associated large-scale bombings and targeted assassinations with other parts of the world.This book brings those apparatuses to local problems in the U.S to great effect. Ales Kot puts a very human face on a very violent solution.

Artist Danijel Zezelj compliments the writing with a shady, murky style befitting a shady, murky story. There is a “splash page” at one of the pivotal moments of the book I thought was beautifully done. Lots of “charcoal fingerprint” shading was done around the edges of the art that fit the tone of the book wonderfully.If your a fan of the X-Men books I can see some definite similarities if you are looking  to try some “non-superhero” reading with that same “us against the world” vibe.

There were a few comments made about enforcement apparatuses that I believe were a bit harsh, but they are not made COMPLETELY without merit, and this is a future alternative. I  enjoyed this first issue and will be putting in my pull list. Next chapter drops Feb.28th/2018

P.S Drop back by on Jan.25th .I’ll be taking a look at X-Men :Blue Annual #1



X-men:Grand Design #1 – Marvel- Dec.20th-2017

I didn’t have this in my pull list, and I picked it up on a whim as I liked the cover and the “old timey” vibe to it. I’m glad I did.It’s a bit pricier then your monthly books by $2.00, but it’s got a very unique feel to it, and that’s getting rarer these days. Also, if you have interest in the X-Men after the Disney purchase, and you have no desire to purchase Marvels back catalogue, this is a relatively good “jumping on” point to start from.

This first chapter was written and pencilled by Ed Piskor. Ed Piskor is someone who you might call an “Alternative artist”. He is a former student of the Kubert School ,and has done a variety of underground “minicomics”. I vaguely remembered seeing some of his previous work on a book called MACEDONIA about 10 years .He’s got an interesting style in that X-Men: Grand Design, actually felt like it was  written in the 1940’s and the art harkened back to the comic strip style popularized then.

The story itself is a pretty comprehensive “Re-telling” of X-Men lore from the very beginning. Obviously there are spoilers aplenty in these pages ,so if your new to the X-Men this may not be the best place to start your journey on their history. Having said that, if your a “X-Men completionist” this is a pretty cool gift of their history told in a very unique format. As alluded to earlier ,it feels like a 1960’s X-Men story told in a 1940’s comic strip style. Original in that aspect to say the least.

I’m not usually a fan of  comic “gimmicks”. I’ve seen enough Gatefold/Foil/Embossed covers to last me a lifetime, but the “yellowed” paper effect that they have brought to this book makes for a pretty cool reading experience. It even smells like older newsprint paper.Definitely brings a sense of history and reverence to the subject if nothing else.

If you’ve been an X-Men fan for years there’s not much new brought to this book ,other then the aforementioned presentation. I even noticed at certain points that were a few liberties taken with that documentation. Definitely more a book of “experiencing ” the X-Men then reading any new material from them. There is a neat bibliography in the back listing the timeline and issues in which these events took place.I thought that was a nice historical reference.

This book is Part 1 of a trilogy. Chapter 2 is already out, and the rest of series is expected out later in 2018  It’s not a “must have” for me at this point in time, but it was a cool read .


P.S Pop back by on Jan.23rd as i’ll be taking a look at IMAGE Comic’s “Days of Hate” which came out just this past week. Cheers for now.

Marvel -Two-In-One #1 – Marvel

Marvel Two – In- One originally launched in January 1974 and was one of my favourite series(along with Marvel Team up) growing up. There was constantly new guests, so you never got bored with the line up. When they announced a new series via the “Legacy” imprint ,I knew I had to give it a shot.

Overall , I really enjoyed the first issue. There were a variety of reasons behind this. I THINK this is going to be a beginning of a return of a book I had have been waiting a few years to resurface.(that FOX sale definitely boosted the idea I suspect).I was hoping they would start off with a strong story and great art . They didn’t disappoint.

First, the story. Great dialogue from writer Chip Zdarsky. Even the minor characters got some great lines which speaks volumes to story depth. The sense of loss he was able to convey in Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm over(and this really isn’t a spoiler since it’s been over 6 months)the loss of Sue& Reed Richards and the kids was very well written.

There’s no knock down, drag out fights in this chapter really ,and that’s a good thing as it helped establish a strong, forboding mood and backbone for the series. It felt like a good first chapter of a “Homecoming” adventure, and set the tone for the story arc very well. Through a few, well placed, Flash back scenes Zdarsky got across strongly why the Fantastic Four was also known as “The First Family”. They take care of their own.

Jim Cheung on pencils was top-notch, and his attention to detail portraying strong facial expressions(and that’s saying something for Ben Grimm)helped convey the sense of melancholy and remorse that both Johnny and Ben have been feeling. Heck , the inkers also deserve kudos for some well placed shadowing during key moments.

I did have a few issues with a the book. There was a key reveal that I think could have been held off for a few issues, but I also understand they had to come strong out of the gate .To balance that, there was some pretty cool nostalgia, and some interesting Easter eggs(Who knew the car racing world had that many coincidences in it?).

I do plan on putting this book in my pull list. The first issue delivered well, and I’m interested to see where the story goes. It was released on Dec.20th so you might still find some copies on the shelf. Recommend taking a look. Was a great read.

P.S Pop back on Sunday Jan.21rst when I plan on taking a look at X-Men :Grand Design. Cheers for now.

2014’s Hidden Gems by Grant R. Markham

Here we are. The New Year. 2015.  Which means another year has come and gone, and another mountain of movie gems were buried by blockbusters, misguided Hollywood big wigs, bigger budgets, and bigger name movie stars. Or just poor marketing. Sadly this happens each and every year. Movies that deserve a wider release and larger audiences are relegated to a small handful of theaters, VOD, and/or various streaming services. Such is the business of making movies. It’s always a crapshoot. But fear not! That’s why I’m here! I have been asked by The Pop Culture Cafe’s “Chief Barista” JohnGMBurke to help dig out the buried treasures and put them on display for you to track down and watch.

While this list is not the end all be all of hidden gems for 2014, (do you know how many movies were released in 2014?!) it is a great way to discover films you most likely missed because they simply didn’t have the exposure or word of mouth that other films had.  To wit, if you’re a cinephile and you watch as many movies as I do, some of these will not be hidden gems to you. This list is intended for the average movie watcher, not the above average movie lover. Because, let’s face it, if you love movies, you’ve seen a lot of what’s on this list!

Rather then do a write up of each one, I have linked trailers and descriptions from “Wild About Movies” for your perusal. I avoided RottenTomatoes, IMDB, and other sites that rate and provide possible spoilers. Seeing other peoples ratings/scores tend to instantly skew your perception of the films merits and quality. It’s enough to just say I enjoyed these films. So without further ado…

  1.  Open Grave (starring Sharlto Copely) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/open-grave/
  2.  Big Bad Wolves (starring Lior Ashkenazi) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/big-bad-wolves/
  3.  Enemies Closer (starring Jean Claude VanDamme so bad he’s good) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/enemies-closer/
  4.  The Returned – (starring Anne Consigny) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-returned/
  5.  Stalingrad (starring Thomas Kretschmann) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Da3EgZUA0Y
  6.  In Fear (starring Allen Leech and Ian DeCaestecker) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/in-fear/
  7.  Grand Piano (starring John Cusack, Alex Winter, and Elijah Wood)  – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/grand-piano/
  8.  Bad Words (starring Jason Bateman) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/bad-words/
  9.  Better Living Through Chemistry (starring Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/better-living-through-chemistry/
  10.  Cheap Thrills (starring David Koechner, Pat Healy, and Ethan Embry) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/cheap-thrills/
  11.  The Day (starring Dominac Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-day/
  12.  Afflicted (starring Jason Lee) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/afflicted/
  13.  Joe (starring Ty Sheridan and Nicolas Cage) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbWjxlhmlu0
  14.  Hateship Loveship (starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/hateship-loveship/
  15. 13 Sins (starring Marc Webber and Ron Perlman) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/13-sins/
  16. Blue Ruin (starring Macon Blair) –  MY #1 PICK! http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/blue-ruin/
  17.  Walk of Shame (starring Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/walk-of-shame/
  18.  APP (starring Hanna Hoekstra) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/app/
  19.  Chef (starring Jon Favreau and a lot of other people!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgFws3AoIUY
  20.  Cold In July (starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson) MY #2 PICK! http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/cold-in-july/
  21.  Age of Uprising (starring Mads Mikkelsen) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/age-of-uprising-the-legend-of-michael-kohlhaas/
  22.  Anna (starring Mark Strong and Taissa Farminga) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/anna/
  23.  Obvious Child (starring Jenny Slate) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/obvious-child/
  24.  The Signal (starring Laurence Fishburn and Brenton Thwaites) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-signal-2/
  25.  Witching and Bitching (starring Hugo Silva and Carolina Bang) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/witching-and-bitching/
  26.  Jackpot (starring Kyrre Hellum) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/jackpot/
  27.  Premature (starring Adam Riegler and Alan Tudyk) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/premature/
  28.  Life After Beth (starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/life-after-beth/
  29.  Frank (starring Michael Fassbender) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/frank/
  30.  The One I Love (starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-one-i-love/
  31.   Life of Crime (starring Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte, and Tim Robbins) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/life-of-crime/
  32.  The Longest Week (starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, and Billy Crudup) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-longest-week/
  33.  Honeymoon (starring Harry Treadway and Rose Leslie) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/honeymoon/
  34.  The Zero Theorem (starring Christoph Waltz) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-zero-theorem/
  35.  This Is Where I Leave You (starring Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll,  and Tina Fey) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/this-is-where-i-leave-you/
  36.  Automata (starring Antonio Banderas) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/automata/
  37.  Housebound (starring Morgana O’Reily) MY #3 PICK!http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/housebound/
  38.  Stonehearst Asylum (starring Jim Sturgess, Kate Beckinsale, and Ben Kingsley) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/stonehearst-asylum/
  39.  Horns – (starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/horns/
  40.  Jessabelle – (starring Sara Snook and Marc Webber) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/jessabelle/
  41.  The Babadook (starring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman) MY #4 PICK! –  http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/the-babadook/
  42.  A Long Way Down (starring Pierce Brosnan, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, and Toni Collette) – http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/2014_movies/a-long-way-down/
  43.  These Final Hours (US release) (starring Nathan Phillips) MY #5 PICK!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaoF6byFQFU
  44.  Predestination (starring Ethan Hawk and Sara Snook) TIED FOR 5th PLACE!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FcK_UiVV40
  45.  Snowpiercer (starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX5PwfEMBM0
  46.  The Guest (starring Dan Stevens) TIED FOR 3rd PLACE! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0E2Qh6wLS4
  47.  The Salvation (starring Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUJuQj5r8Kk
  48. I Origins (starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amFKzf4Lr5M

There are many more films from 2014, especially from the horror genre (which puts out more films each year than any other genre), as well from the festival and indy circuits that I am sure to have missed or inadvertently omitted from the list. Please feel free to add your own or scoff at and debate the merits of ones I consider the hidden gems and buried treasures of 2014.

About Grant R. Markham: Podcaster. Photographer. Sarcastic Smart Ass. Hater of Ham. Dedicated Procrastinator. American Idiot. Lover of all things cinema related.

I have viewed each and every movie on this list and stand behind them all for various reasons. Which is not to say they are all perfect! I’m a movie lover not a movie snob. I love movies. I love watching movies. I sit through so many it’s silly really… I love movies like people love their children. Even when they stink a bit, I can find something to enjoy. I actively watch movies rather than passively. When I sit down, there are not computers, cell phones, bathroom breaks, or interruptions. I pay attention and try to absorb the entirety of the film before me. I love to debate movies and have friendly arguments regarding them. If you like OR dislike my list and wanna chat, find me on Twitter @insta_grants2