Wednesday’s Loot [4-28-10]

Some random thoughts on some books I bought.

Thor #609

I picked up the Iron Man By Design variant which says “Iron Man does not appear in this Issue” on the back.  Neither does Thor.  Much like Gillen’s ‘Loki’ one-shot, he shows a deft touch and dealing with the god of mischief and finally resolving story arcs set up by JMS.  Recent previews have shown the Fractions debut on Thor has been pushed by a an issue or two, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Walking Dead #71

Again, I have to heap more praise on this book.  Kirkman delivers a pretty wicked twist and not one zombie appears in the issue.  Evil really is in the eye of the beholder and we finally enter a phase were we get a new perspective on the crew we’ve been following and  just what sort of toll these people have paid.  For the first time you realize just how deeply affected Rick and his son really are, and it’s a brutal scene.  TWD is easily my second favorite title after Scalped, do yourself a favor and don’t miss this issue.

Iron Man #25

As much as I love what Matt Fraction did with this volume of Invincible Iron Man, it seems a bit odd that what took several issues to undo is practically redone in a few pages.  Worse, the best part, the new armor (Mark MMXVIII?) is all a ‘secret’, Tony just has an epiphany and rolls to Reed Richard’s lab and now has Super Extremis Armor, but we are invited to keep reading to see all the new capabilities of the armor.  As a huge Iron Man fan, new armor is something you look forward to, and I feel shortchanged on what we are given in this oversized issue.  Stark’s new company direction (I like the fact that Stark turns down an Asgardian bail-out) harkens back to the Circuit Maximus days and the whole issue feels like an homage to the late 80′s Invincible.  Hopefully, Fraction is only using some of these rehashed beats to set the table before he sets off in a new and fresh direction.

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Win a FREE Copy of ComicZeal v4 for iPad!

Win a FREE Copy of ComicZeal v4 for iPad!

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of years, and you have an iPhone, chances are you’ve used ComicZeal. In my opinion, it’s the best comic reader out there for reading comics that you own yourself, in the .cbr/.cbz formats. Comics companies like IDW and Marvel put out their own comic storefronts and comic-issue-specific apps, but they don’t allow you to read these kinds of files. ComicZeal does, and it does it well.

Enter the iPad, comics’ brave new hope. Again, Marvel and IDW put out their own storefronts. So does comixOlogy. All are very good iPad comic reading apps, with a rub — you have to use their storefront. When I went searching for a .cbr/.cbz reader the other day for my iPad, I found that there are a couple, but was heartily glad to see ComicZeal, my reader of choice on the iPhone.

I’ll be taking this baby for a spin this week, and hit out a review of it soon. I’ll be using some .cbr files of my own, to comics I have bagged and sealed in plastic tubs — no use opening them up just yet. See the gallery below for some screenshot love.

BUT BEFORE I GO…comment below and tell us why you should get a FREE copy of this $7.99 iPad app. We have five of these bad boys to give away, courtesy of ComicZeal, so get your comments in early. We’ll give it a week from today, and then choose five random winners fromt eh slew of comments. Enjoy!

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One Live Beast – Book One

One Live Beast – Book One

Book: One Live Beast
Publisher: Arzynart
Author: Jeff
Art: Jeff

The distopian storyline is important. It gives us portents and lessons, disguised in the dramatic struggles of the individuals and society. Which is why this trope shows up so often in literature, movies and even comics. Our fears manifest on screen and pulp, our hopes entwined in the fates of heroes and outcasts.

And this is how One Live Beast begins, with the possible conclusion of events from our own history. The fear of terrorist attacks creates the environment needed for an authoritative government to take away the liberties of its people for their own good. Although we saw the start of this in the 9/11 attacks and passed laws, in Jeff’s America their are other attacks, far more devastating, which lead to martial law,  isolationism and an Internet propaganda-machine.

There is no doubt that Jeff is an intelligent and well-read man who wants to write an epic warning to those who will listen. And within his world there are at least a dozen important lessons that he could have written volumes on. However, Jeff brings them all to bear on the reader at once, making it difficult to focus and learn from just one.

The progression of the protagonist, Chris, is as rushed and complex as the world he survives in. At first he is a standard repairman who is in reality an underground hacker. This character profile alone would make him great: the whitehat hero against the technological oppression of the government. But when hacking into the government’s virtual-reality-based network, something goes wrong and now he has the ability to access technology with telepathic ease. And here as well this takes him from an ordinary hacker to a superhero level, able to match the advanced technology of the government with his own powers. But it doesn’t stop there. Chris’s abilities develop into energy based attacks, flight, strength and durability. Astounding, but so far still normal for a superhero comic. But finally Chris ascends to an even higher level of heroism, the story gains an entire mythos of Earth and aliens, of history and influence, that makes Chris a prophetic being in the same realm as Jesus. Another great idea, but one that should be developed on its own without over complicating the already well written story.

The art in One Live Beast has merits and drawbacks. There isn’t any color in the graphic novel, which is understandable since it was self published. The black and white works well for the stark realities of the book. The environmental details are extremely well done. The destroyed infrastructure is realistic and the newly constructed wall is domineering. The artistic portrayal of people isn’t as realistic and seems more amateurish. Perhaps their is a reason for this as his other collection, God Hates Us All, has some well-done abstract mixed-media art portraying highly professional representations of human beings. After reviewing some of the examples from the upcoming Book Two, there does seem to be some improvement in the style.

It is important to note that this is just book one and I hope that Jeff is able to produce the rest of his opus for our benefit. There is a lot of interesting story to be told, perhaps more than can be told, but I for one look forward to watching this mythos unfold.

Want to win a signed copy of this Trade Paperback? How about a signed “God Hates Us All” comic? Comment below and we’ll send it out to a random winner!

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Monday’s Picks (4-21-10)

Staff Picks:

Ultimate Comics Avengers #6

Say what you will about Mark Millar, but this was one of the better books out of the Ultimatum fiasco.  I came this far, so I have to see how this all wraps up with Father Cap vs. Son Red Skull.  This incarnation of Red Skull is pretty brutal, and Millar seems to be juxtaposing how far a moral man like Cap will go against a nihilistic and amoral man like Skull.  If Cap kills Red Skull, you have a pretty good idea of how a Millar Batman/Joker finale would end up.

X-Factor #204

Peter David has long been one of the better writers around, and his X-Factor has been consistently one of the better X titles.  While the other books recycle the race war story line (which is stupid, since humans would be worried about any metahuman, regardless if they were born with the power or had a freak accident), David was doing his own thing and it was very entertaining.  Well, they have sucked him into the latest X-event, but it’s worth taking a look at to see how David puts his own unique signature on it.


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Wednesday’s Loot (4-14-10)

My take on a few books I bought last Wednesday.

Secret Six #20 (DC)

Man, Gail Simone is no joke, flirting ever so close with the limits of a non VERTIGO title.  After the cliffhanger ending of #19, the premise plays out in a sort of Mel-Gibson-Witness “Give me back my son!” (or for you youngins, Liam-Neeson-Taken) style, and it is very well done.  Catman is front and center and like the legend of Keyser Soze, he shows these men of will what will is.  Highly recommened.

Powers #4 (Icon)

Brian Michael Bendis decides to turn in his David Mamet (or Garth Ennis) issue of Powers (count the ‘number of f-bombs) and it’s actually a pretty gripping read.  The premise here, one that seems tangentially related to Marvel’s current retelling of the WWII era Marvel, is where do you go for thrills when you have already saved the world from war.  Bendis’ is weaving a noir mystery that streches back a centrury using the newly revealed immortal status of Walker.  This book is going bi-monthly, which is a shame as it starting to really get interesting.  Also recommended.

Siege Loki One-Shot (Marvel)

One thing I didn’t like about Siege was that it seems a sudden and unoriginal way to end Osborn’s Dark Reign.  All of a sudden, an Asgardian blows up a football game (didn’t we do that to kick off Civil War?  Stamford, anyone?) and Loki decides to tell Osbourne to take on Asgard.  Just seemed very forced to me.  Well, thank Odin that Marvel has Kieron Gillen on the payroll, because this guy just made the whole thing seem plausible.  While I dig Matt Fraction, I don’t think they should pull Gillen off Thor for him.  Gillen really gets the tone of these gods and all I can say is that if you were on the fence about Siege, this book goes a long way to making that sudden swerve way more plausible and sets the stage for what could be the most insane version of Loki yet.

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Kick-Ass on PSN Comic Store

PlayStation Comics Store Update – PlayStation Blog.

Now a major motion picture, Kick-Ass is set in a world very similar to ours, where superheroes only exist in comic books, movies and (of course) the PSP. From the Wolverine: Enemy of the State dream team of Mark Millar (Civil War) and John Romita Jr (Amazing Spider-Man, World War Hulk), 8 foul-mouthed issues of Kick-Ass arrive on the Digital Comics store today.”

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Staff Picks (4/14/10)

Punisher MAX #6

Since Jason Aaron reset the Punisher MAX universe, it’s been highly entertaining.  After getting a pretty brutal Keyser Soze-esque Kingpin origin story, Aaron gives us his take on Bullseye.  If his version on Daredevil’s arch-enemy is in the same vein, this book should not be missed.

Green Lantern #53

Regardless of how you felt about Blackest Night, there is no doubt that the landscape of the Green Lantern Corps has been seriously altered and this is the jumping off point of the new status quo.  Johns (not to mention Tomasi) has done an admirable job of corralling all of these characters and story threads up to this point, and for those that have come this far, this looks like the beginning of the payoff.  I’m hoping Brightest Day fills in some of the gaps and compliments and completes what has come so far.

Posted in DC Comics, features, headlines, Marvel Comics, NEWS, staff picks0 Comments

Rick Grimes Cast in AMC’s “Walking Dead”

Good news Walking Dead fans, the book’s main protagonist Rick Grimes, the one armed bad-ass, and all around good guy considering he’s been living through the zombie apocalypse, has been cast, and he’s a Brit. Andrew Lincoln has been tapped to portray the sheriff turned survivalist.  This usually means good things, as HBO has shown us (see Generation Kill), so my already high hopes for this mini-series are now beginning to reach unrealistic levels.

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IDW Publishing Draws First Blood

via IDW Publishing

Seriously? This might make me buy a $500, 16G device with no 3G and no storage expansion capabilities. DO. WANT. Can’t wait to see what the other companies do. Might be a great opportunity for a re-seller like ComiXology, as well.

IDW Publishing is proud to announce that the hugely anticipated Apple iPad will feature four IDW comics applications today at launch. Taking full advantage of the iPad’s full-screen, full-color capabilities, each IDW store front will offer the next level of reading experience to fans. The free IDW iPad comic shop apps each include a selection of comics with the initial download, and offer more comics as in-app purchases. Fans can choose apps for their favorite brands, like Star Trek, G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS, or download the IDW Comics app for access to all the company’s iPad releases.

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Staff Picks (4/7/10)

My Picks:

Ultimate Comics: X #2

While it’s unfortunate that Loeb is on such a crappy writing streak, this book is the least of his offenders and the gorgeous Art Adams artwork is worth it.   Here we are doing the mystery thing again of what seems to be the second coming of the reset Ultimate universe’s Wolverine and his friends.  This issue tackles Karen and the question is what’s really going on with her.  Did I mention Arthur Adams is drawing this book?

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Jonathan Hickman, who in my opinion has been doing some nice work on Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four, is launching anew S.H.I.E.L.D. book.  I’m a huge fan of Nick Fury (Just picked up Nick Fury: Agent of Shield #7 with a sweet Steranko cover) and the premise here is sort of on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tip: great minds of the past such as Imhotep and Gallileo were O.G. agents of shield and there is a legacy here that affects the shield of today.  This sounds cool and is definitely worth a look.  Hickman hasn’t let me down yet.

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