Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review - Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

I just got done watching the new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and wow. Read on for a review, keeping in mind there will be spoilers. The story is what drove this movie as they made Lex Luther the freaking President of the United States. With that power, he gets a sort of superhero registration act going to single out Superman. They didn’t go around arresting people who resist the registration, but Lex Luther frames Superman for killing a guy and putting a one billion dollar bounty on him to be captured and brought to Mr. President. Needless to say this new twist to the story helps the action ramp up into a sort of all out brawl of Superman and Batman fighting just numerous superheroes. It is a pretty sweet fight to watch. Batman especially since he doesn’t have any powers but he still kicks some ass using batarangs and smoke bombs, managing to hold it down and even messing up Captain Marvel. It's a no-holds barred match they have going on and I like that they show this. Lets you see the two of them in action basically beating people to a pulp...what more could you ask for? Plus Lex Luther is juicing himself with a mixture of steroids and liquid kryptonite and is up to no good the entire movie while seeming like the good guy. The backstory features a giant Kryptonite Meteor hurtling towards the earth that is going to destroy everything. Lex Luther is so sure of himself that he devises a plan to blow it up with a bunch of nukes. Should work right? Well his idea sort of doesn’t work in that the radiation destroyed the nukes before they hit the rock. Batman and Superman have a plan to destroy the meteor their own way and need Luther’s data to stop it. Eventually the end fight happens between Lex, Superman and Batman at a workshop in Japan where the rocket they are going to fire is. During the fight they are having the navigation coordinates inputted so the rocket can fly without help. Lex doesn’t like that and proceeds to destroy the computer and the data making the rocket useless unless it is piloted. Well bet you can guess who decides to pilot it. Yup Batman. It is that crazy, piloting a huge rocket to crash it into a meteor and blow it up in the process. Superman basically flips at this turn of events and proceeds to beat the crap out of Lex Luther saying he is losing his only friend and beating everything he can out of Luther. When the meteor explodes Superman holds back and doesn’t kill Lex but tosses him aside to be arrested by other superheroes. Superman receives a message that there might still be time to save Batman and races to the wreckage where he finds Batman sitting in a escape pod. There is tons of fan service with some of the finer things they put in the movie to make it right in the eyes of the fans. For starters they got the best voice actors to play the lead roles, as Kevin Conroy once again reprises his role as Batman and Tim Daly reprises his role as Superman. Two of the best voice actors for the characters. The fact that these guys lent their voices makes it a better movie as Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman in the animated series which rocked and recently in the Batman Arkham Asylum game as well. This movie was a really good and I suggest it to any comic book or cartoon fan. You'll enjoy it. I was thoroughly blown away by the entire thing. The movie sort of felt like DC’s very own civil war with how they had bands of people chasing Superman to collect a bounty, making the stakes a lot higher. They did a lot of good things with this movie and I was impressed with the lengths they went to to make a spectacular comic movie. If you are a fan of DC comics then most definitely pick this movie up. You'll enjoy it. Trust me.

Astonishing X-Men: Episode 1 preview

This motion comic thing may be taking off. Marvel has struck it rich with the Spider-Woman motion comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Next on their motion comic docket is Astonishing X-Men by none other than Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. The actual episode will be available October 28, but today you can get an exclusive look at the motion comic. It's actually directed by Neal Adams and Beast looks like a giant cat. Check it out after the jump.

David Petersen touring Southern California

Mouse Guard is wrecking it right now. David Petersen's work is tearing up the bestseller charts and that of course prompts the necessity for a signing tour. The tour will be all of five days, so if you want to get in some signing time with him then you better pay attention. Petersen will start his tour with signings at Comickaze in San Diego today and then Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles tomorrow night. He'll then move onto the Long Beach Comic Con at the Archaia booth (#265) on Saturday. At the Archaia panel he'll give one lucky audience member an original Mouse Guard sketch. An exclusive print will also be available for sale at the Atomic Apple booth (#555) for #20(only 75 will be made, 25 for each day of the convention). Petersen will also be at the Live Art and Music Party in Room #204 on Friday at 8:30 PM where he'll draw as a band plays. The party is sponsored by Atomic Apple, ComicVine.com and Archaia. Full press release and sketches after the jump. ‘MOUSE GUARD’ CREATOR DAVID PETERSEN TO CRUISE THROUGH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA THE CREATOR OF THE ACCLAIMED ‘MOUSE GUARD’ SERIES HEADLINES AT THE LONG BEACH COMIC CONVENTION, STOPPING FOR TWO SIGNINGS AT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COMIC BOOK STORES ALONG THE WAY Los Angeles, CA (September 28, 2009) – For five days only, Eisner Award winner David Petersen will tour Southern California, providing fans the opportunity to meet the man behind the small but valiant swashbucklers of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152. Three of those days will be spent at the Long Beach Comic Convention, taking place October 2nd through 4th, where Petersen will sign a limited number of exclusive prints each day. Petersen will begin his tour with signings at two comic book shops: Comickaze in San Diego on September 30th, and Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles on the evening of October 1st. From there, he will proceed to Long Beach, where he can usually be found at the Archaia booth (#265), plus he will participate in several panels. Most notably, he will sit on the Archaia panel on Saturday, October 3, from 11 to 11:45am in Room B alongside other Archaia creators, where he will give away an original Mouse Guard sketch to a lucky member of the audience. An exclusive Mouse Guard print will also be available for purchase at the Atomic Apple booth, #555, for $20. Only 75 of these prints are being made, with 25 allotted for sale during each day of the convention. Petersen will be available to sign the prints at the Atomic Apple booth each day at 4 p.m. Petersen will also participate in the Live Art and Music party on Friday, October 2nd, at 8:30pm, in Room #204, where he and other artists, including Jim Mahfood, will draw as a band plays. The party is sponsored by Atomic Apple, ComicVine.com and Archaia. Here are further details about David Petersen’s appearances in Southern California: Wednesday, September 30, 4-7 p.m. Comickaze Comics Books and More 5517 A/B Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117 Thursday, October 1, 7-9 p.m. Secret Headquarters 3817 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, Ca 90026 October 2-4, 4 p.m. daily at the Golden Apple Booth #555 Other times check at the Archaia booth, #265 Long Beach Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center 300 Ocean Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90802 Live Art and Music Party, Co-Sponsored by Atomic Apple, ComicVine.com and Archaia Friday, October 2nd, 8:30 p.m. Room #204 Long Beach Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center 300 Ocean Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90802 Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, and its predecessor, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, convey the tale of a noble group of mice fighting to thrive in a land plagued by harsh conditions and brutal predators. Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 spent six weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Graphic Books. Amongst various accolades and awards, Mouse Guard has received a slew of positive reviews. Steven Surman of ComicNews.info lauded, “Creator David Petersen’s passion for his story and characters glows from page to page, carrying readers along for the ride. I wasn’t simply reading a great story; I felt that Petersen was sharing with me an authentic piece of his creativity, yearning for me to understand and enjoy it as much as he does. And I did.” Ed Sizemore of Comics Worth Reading raved, “Mouse Guard is perfect. There are no flaws in plot, character, design, color, narration, or world building. This is a must read for any fan of high fantasy. It’s also a must read for lovers of great comics in general.” The first two volumes of Mouse Guard and the award-winning Mouse Guard: Role Playing Game are available as hardcovers. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 was also created as a beautiful black and white hardcover limited to 1,000 printings. Follow David Petersen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mouseguard David Petersen’s website: http://www.davidpetersen.net/ Mouse Guard website: http://www.mouseguard.net/ Long Beach Comic Con website: http://longbeachcomiccon.com/ Ordering Info Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 Diamond Order Code: MAY09 0647 ISBN-10: 1932386742 Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 Diamond Order Code: MAY09 0648 ISBN-10: 1932386572 Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Diamond Order Code: APR09 8450 ISBN-10: 1932386882 About Archaia Founded in 2002, Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds. With a slate including such popular Eisner-Award winning titles as Mouse Guard and The Killer, as well as Awakening, Gunnerkrigg Court, Robotika, Killing Pickman, Artesia and the Publisher’s latest additions of Titanium Rain, God Machine, Roddenberry Productions’ Days Missing, The Jim Henson Company library and Mr. Murder Is Dead and Lucid with Zachary Quinto’s production company, Before the Door Pictures, Archaia has become synonymous with quality content. For more information on Archaia or any Archaia titles please visit www.Archaia.com. Archaia can also be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/archaiacomics), MySpace (www.myspace.com/archaiacomics) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/archaiacomics).

Top Cow at Long Beach Comic Con

This Long Beach Comic Con is quickly becoming a big deal. Yesterday I posted what to expect from Boom! Studios at the convention. Today, here's what to expect from Top Cow. The bovine comic book publisher will be conveniently located at Booth #365 at the convention and will have their own spiffy exclusive. The Long Beach Comic Con wraparound variant of Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #2 by Eric & Rick Basaldua and Blond. That's not enough for Top Cow though. There will also be an epic, super-rare VIP exclusive of the same cover merging the inked lineart with the pencils. The VIP exclusive is limited to 250 copies and is available for purchase at the show. Publisher Filip Sablik and Managing Editor Phil Smith will be available throughout the show for portfolio reviews for aspiring artists. Other Top Cow folk that will be there include Michael Broussard, Eric Basaldua, Sheldon Mitchell, Nelson Blake II, Ryan Winn and Rick Basaldua. Full press release and the VIP exclusive are after the jump. JOIN THE HERD AT THE FIRST ANNUAL COMIC BOOK CONVENTION IN LONG BEACH TOP COW AT LONG BEACH COMIC CON LOS ANGELES, Calif., September 29th, 2009 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that they will be exhibiting at the first annual Long Beach Comic Con. The event will open to the public on Friday afternoon, October 2nd, 2009, and run through Sunday, October 4th, at the Long Beach Convention Center located at 300 Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90802. Fans are encouraged to stop by the Top Cow booth (#365) to meet their favorite creators and shop for limited edition convention exclusives as well as their favorite Top Cow comics. Among the artists appearing at the Top Cow booth (#365) will be pencillers Michael Broussard (The Darkness, Unholy Union), Eric Basaldua (Witchblade Annual, Hunter-Killer), Sheldon Mitchell (Trinity: Blood on the Sands, Witchblade Annual), and Nelson Blake II (Pilot Season: Murderer, The Darkness) from the world renowned Top Cow ‘Pit.’ Top Cow inkers Ryan Winn (The Darkness) and Rick Basaldua (Witchblade Annual) will also appear for signings. The publisher also teased at a few surprise appearances by Top Cow creators and alumni. The artists will be available to draw sketches for fans and autograph copies of their comics. Sketch tickets will be given out at the beginning of each day at the Top Cow booth (#365) on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to one per fan, per day. Fans are encouraged to check the Top Cow booth (#365) for signing times. Special guests Randy and Sarah Queen will be in attendance at the Long Beach Comic Con to promote the upcoming Darkness/Darkchylde/Witchblade: Kingdom of Pain one-shot, which will mark the return of Queen’s character, Darkchylde, to comics. Additionally, the Queens will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process during a special panel on Sunday, October 4th in Room B from 12:00pm-12:45pm hosted by Top Cow Publisher, Filip Sablik. The publisher will be offering an exclusive Long Beach Comic Con wraparound variant cover to Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #2 for the event by Eric Basaldua, Rick Basaldua, and Blond. An additional, super-rare V.I.P. Exclusive to Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #2 featuring the pencils merging into the inked lineart will also be available. The V.I.P. Exclusive is limited to 250 copies and can only be purchased at the Long Beach Comic Con. Fans will also be able to pick up numerous free promotional items, posters, and free comics at the Top Cow booth (#365). Publisher Filip Sablik and Managing Editor Phil Smith will be available throughout the show for portfolio reviews for aspiring artists. The inaugural Long Beach Comic Con kicks off at 3 P.M. on Friday, October 2nd and runs to 7 P.M. The convention will be open Saturday, October 3rd from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Sunday, October 4th from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Arrivals: September 30, 2009

It's always great in the middle of a silent room to just yell out "Go Joe." Not only will break the tension, but it will also prove to those around you that you know your 80s cartoons. This week is a great week to use that battle cry, as G.I. Joe: Cobra Special # hits stores this week from IDW Comics. The one-shot finishes off the current story arc in the G.I. Joe comics. The story is by Mike Costa and features art and cover by Antonio Fuso. Enjoy! New Arrivals: September 30, 2009

Defense with the BoomPick

Tuesday is here finally and you know this day is good because you are over that Monday hump and are moving towards the middle of the week (the next hump). It also means that new comics come out tomorrow. I was reviewing the list and I saw this comic and couldn’t believe what I saw. My pick is also a series of movies that are freaking awesome and this comic is called Die Hard: Year One #1. Backstories are all the rage these days when dealing with your favorite characters. From Wolverine to the whole Batman reboot showing how the great heroes of comics and movies begin. Well John McClain is no different now. Yes, we do get to see how he started as a young cop in the New York Police Department. This series is set 10 years before the first movie showing John as a rookie cop in the summer of 1976 Bicentennial celebration. Which also happened to be the same time that one of the most famous serial killers was around in the Son of Sam, making life none too easy for the rook. Pick this one up tomorrow to see how it's all going down and how John transforms from young rookie to badass cop. This comic is brought to you by the fine folks at Boom! Studios by writer Howard Chaykin and artist Stephen Thompson. It'll set you back 3.99 for the backstory of one of the most crazy and kickass cop ever around.

Spider-Woman motion comic - Episode 4

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are hard at work on the Spider-Woman motion comic, available on iTunes. The fourth issue will be made available tomorrow, and today you can check out a quick clip from said issue. The clip is after the jump.

Boom! Studios at Long Beach Comic Con

Boom! Studios will be at Long Beach Comic Con. Will you? Situated nicely at Booth #464, the studio named after a sound effect will feature a LBCC exclusive The Incredibles #1 signed by Mark Waid, limited to 500 pieces. Want to know who else from the studio will be there? Check the full schedule after the jump. BOOM! STUDIOS @ LBCC '09 BOOTH #464 DON'T MISS LONG BEACH COMIC CON EXCLUSIVE THE INCREDIBLES #1 BY MARK WAID THE INCREDIBLES #1 LONG BEACH COMIC CON EXCLUSIVE $10 LIMITED TO 500 BOOM! STUDIOS GUESTS INCLUDE: IRREDEEMABLE/THE INCREDIBLES's Mark Waid 28 DAYS LATER's Michael Alan Nelson DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?'s Richard Starkings MUPPET PETER PAN's Grace Randolph SCHEDULED SIGNINGS & PANELS Friday, October 2 All Day – Signing with Michael Alan Nelson at BOOM! Studios Booth 4:00 – 5:00 – Signing with Grace Randolph at BOOM! Studios Booth 5:00 – 6:00 – Signing with Mark Waid at BOOM! Studios Booth Saturday, October 3, 2009 All Day – Signing with Michael Alan Nelson at BOOM! Studios Booth 12:00 – 1:00 – Signing with Richard Starkings at BOOM! Studios Booth 1:00 – 1:55 – 50 Questions in 50 Minutes with Mark Waid Panel ROOM B 2:00 – 2:45 – Editing in Comics with BOOM! Managing Editor Matt Gagnon ROOM C 2:30 – 3:30 – Signing with Mark Waid at BOOM! Studios Booth 3:00 – 4:00 – Signing with Grace Randolph at BOOM! Studios Booth 5:00 – 6:00 – Signing with Mark Waid at BOOM! Studios Booth 6:00 – ?:?? – BOOM! Studios celebration with Mark Waid (details pending) Sunday, October 4, 2009 All Day – Signing with Michael Alan Nelson at BOOM! Studios Booth 11:00 – 11:45 – BOOM! Spotlight ROOM B 12:00 – 1:00 – Signing with Richard Starkings at BOOM! Studios Booth 3:00 – 4:00 – Signing with Grace Randolph at BOOM! Studios Booth About BOOM! Studios BOOM! Studios (http://www.boom-studios.com) is a unique new publishing house specializing in high-profile projects across a wide variety of different genres from some of the industry's biggest talents. In its inaugural year, Wizard Magazine named BOOM! "Best New Publisher." Founded by the creator of the TV show EUREKA, Andrew Cosby, and his partner Ross Richie, BOOM! Studios continues to be on the leading edge of comic and graphic novel publishing.

Review - Heroes: Chapter 3 - Ink

Heroes started up again last week and delivered a solid but not spectacular season premiere that brought viewers up to speed on last season while at the same time set the groundwork for the season. Lots of potential here if the writers can keep things going. Has the second chapter kept up the momentum? Or has the mid-season swoon already kicked in? Read on. Samuel can apparently control the Earth, which extends to ink as well (not quite sure how that works but I'm sure we'll find out). This ability works well when say you need to strangle someone with a tattoo fist or change some newspapers. Why? To sue Peter Petrelli. See, Samuel thinks that Peter will be beneficial to him "at his table" and comes up with a scheme to sue Peter for malpractice. Except Peter knows that Samuel wasn't on the bus until he heads back to his apartment to check the newspaper clipping. Surprise! Samuel was on the bus! At least, that's how it looked when Samuel hero-shopped (the superhero version of Photoshopped) himself into the clipping with his ink power. Peter will now be helping Samuel in some way, however we don't know what that way is yet. And he's got a tattoo compass spinning on his forearm. Gretchen is "pushing" Claire to reveal herself. That's what she does afterall: push. I really hope they're not making it that easy by implying that Gretchen pushed Claire's roommate out the window to get her to "come out." Anyways, she dines with Claire and her dad, the entire time needling Claire about her ability to heal, thinking that Mr. Bennett doesn't know. Of course he knows though, and uses her bathroom absence to start calling the Haitian. Claire promises him if he does call that she'll cut him off completely, meaning he doesn't call. Gretchen comes back and mentions to Claire that she was made fun of in school for being bulemic, most likely the reason she excused herself to the bathroom. What comes next is a pseudo-lesbian scene between the two of them where instead of sharing a kiss they share Gretchen plunging scissors into Claire's hands to watch it heal. I really don't like the tone of this storyline. Claire is off at school discovering life and what not until Gretchen moves in and forms an unhealthy obsession with her. I've never been a big fan of any storylines involving Claire and this one's not doing her any favors. It's only a matter of time until Gretchen pulls a single white female and things really escalate. Parkman and Sylar are easily my favorite parts of this season so far. I've always felt that those two are truly the most powerful characters in the show, and what Sylar is doing to Parkman is downright insane. Literally. Parkman is on the job looking for drugs until Sylar convinces him that there's more than drugs in the house. There's a little girl being held for ransom, as evidenced by the pink bunny Parkman finds in the house. It isn't until Parkman beats the crap out of the guy does he realize there is no little girl. It was all an illusion. Sylar can still use his powers from inside Parkman and convinces him there's more there than drugs, prompting Parkman to lose it. Afterwards, Parkman gives in and wipes the memory of his partner, convincing him that Parkman wasn't out of line and was defending him from the attacker. Parkman has officially lost it. If this show keeps up with Parkman and Sylar I'll be looking forward to every week's episode. The idea that either Parkman or Nathan will lose it any minute is going to be great. And when either of those two lose it, Sylar will be unleashed and pissed. Hopefully we're moving towards an epic battle between Sylar and Samuel, but knowing this show's past it'll be some muddied alliance against Sylar. I really hope I'm wrong. Next week's episode shows more Nathan hallucinating via memories and slowly unraveling himself. It's like Parkman, Sylar and Nathan are three different aspects of the same person and it's really fascinating. No Hiro, Traci or Nathan/Angela this week, which is fine by me. Episodes where the characters involved are kept to a minimum are great because they really let the viewer focus. The deaf nurse that sees sound could either be really cool or a huge waste of a character. Knowing the track record of the show I'm leaning towards the latter. My intrigue for this season is slowly building, but I'm not ready to fully commit to this season just yet. You're working on borrowed time here Heroes. Overall score: 75 out of 100

Monday, September 28, 2009

Defense with the BoomStick

Wow Monday just comes around to quick sometimes. I remember back before all this hell on earth happened about that 9 to 5 job sort of schedule that made you dread Monday morning. Well even with zombies roaming the earth it is still feels like a chore when Monday rolls around. Let me get to it since that is what ya'll are listening for. Hey everyone Brandon here with the news and tip of the week coming at ya. To start us off today let us see what sort of news has been brewing lately. According to my contact in the Northeast they're soon to open up Nantucket Island for refugees to arrive at.

They are just starting with this area and since it's an island it will be a more controlled environment. When a person gets screened and approved they will be ferried to the main land. I haven’t heard when they are planning on starting this program but when I hear you will as well. For those stuck out in the Midwest and West Coast side not too much going on. I did hear that a group of fighters landed at the end of the Baja Peninsula and are working to clear that area and move up. Be on the lookout for them if you are traveling in that area. Now onto the tip of the week.

Today I am going to talk about knowing when a situation is so dangerous and unwinnable that you have to make a run for it. Everyone living and fighting today has had that feeling or situation where they are under siege or out of supplies and has hit the point of no return and have to bail out. Now this can be smart and bad at the same time as you are lot more vulnerable out on the road then behind walls. Yet you might find better pastures to make your home or make a stand then where you were. If you do decide to make a run for fit then make sure you are properly prepared for a journey and if possible know where you are going. You don’t want to just hop into a vehicle and head off somewhere without direction as you could end up out of gas surrounded and that is not good for anyone.

Sometimes holding out just a little bit longer might be the smarter call for your survival; it all depends on what's causing your dilemma. Is it bandits, a horde of zombies or lack of supplies? Some issues can be fixed with holding out or going on a recon mission looking for supplies or killing every zombie you can. These are some of the toughest calls you have to make while trying to survive in this zombie world. Always plan and have a way of escape and know where you are going to help improve your survival. That's it for today. Time for me to do some more planning and coordinating myself. Until next week this is Brandon signing off.

Review: Old Man Logan series

This past Wednesday, Wolverine Old Man Logan Giant Issue #1 was released that completed the storyline. Now this series has been a long time in the making as this last issue was delayed a few months from when it was originally supposed to come out, but no matter now as it's out and was freaking awesome. Before I get into the end as part of the review let me give you a recap of what has happened before. The tale is set 50 years in the future from the night all the superheroes died and focuses on Wolverine, who goes by simply Logan now; a simple farmer living in the territory controlled by the Hulk Gang with his wife and kids. After the superheroes died all the villains carved up America into different controlled territories: the Hulk Gang out west, the Kingdom of the Kingpin in the Rockies and Red Skull is in charge of the entire Eastern Seaboard (it's not a good time to be a former hero). The Hulk Gang comes along and wants rent from Logan for his farm, which sets up the story for Hawkeye to appear and offer Logan a deal to get some money. They are driving cross country to deliver a package to a rebel group that wants to start a new hero squad with the cargo they are carrying. The only catch to the trip was that Logan would not do anything that had to deal with violence, leaving it all on the blind Hawkeye to defend them. Read on for the review, keeping in mind spoilers abound. Driving Spiderman’s suped up Jeep, Logan and Hawkeye head across the wasteland of the former United States and encounter one hazard after another. If it's not running into a Underground dwelling people that sink cities and feed on people then it's cloned dinosaurs and Alien Symbiotes. Logan reveals to Hawkeye why he vowed to never pop his claws again is a horrid story of violence and a mistake. During the war Logan was tricked into thinking that he was surrounded by all of the worst supervillains ever and he proceeds to kill them all. It isn't until after killing the last one that it's revealed that Mysterio has tricked him into killing the entire X-Men team. This leaves him utterly empty and he turns his back on everything, vowing never to act in violence again. The unlikely duo make it to their destination only to find out that their contacts are undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives setting Hawkeye up (by order of the President Red Skull). They kill both Logan and Hawkeye and take Logan’s body to the White House. Logan wakes up and rages hell on everyone there because they killed Hawkeye and gets himself locked in with the Red Skull. In the ensuing fight Logan kills Red Skull and then dons Iron Man’s old armor to fly home as fast as he can. He makes it home only to find his entire family dead and at that moment he goes from being Logan to being Wolverine. This last issue just kicked it up a huge notch in terms of being awesome: basically Wolverine goes on a rampage on the entire Hulk Gang. Taking out two alone in the river by simply dicing them up, and absolutely destroying three of them at a bar in a gut wrenching and satisfying way that makes you just root for Wolverine to exact revenge. Then he proceeds to take on the entire camp of Hulks, just killing everyone single one of them. Eventually he gets to Bruce Banner himself and after beating him around he becomes the Hulk we all know and love. After a short fight the Hulk eats Wolverine and the lone surviving adult Hulk shows up. Needless to say the Hulk gets a little indigestion and Wolverine bursts out from within killing him in the process. He then decides to take the little baby Hulk that is left and venture the country to bring law and order back. One of the best parts of this series is the visuals that invoke nostalgia with the reader. I liked the direction Mark Millar took because you always wonder what sort of world it would be without superheroes fighting for good. I really liked the old west theme prevalent throughout the entire comic, which Steve McNiven drew perfectly. McNiven took care to draw all the characters in a way that shows them as they've always been known yet aged and it was pulled off quite well (especially Logan- he looked pretty badass with the shaved head and old demeanor). One of the great things about this series is when the Millar kicks up the action McNiven really kicks it up visually; especially at the end when Logan takes on the entire Hulk Gang. A freaking amazing ending to a great story which I really hope Marvel decides to bring back for more. If you are a fan of Wolverine and have read this review don’t let this discourage you from picking these comics up because you just have to read them and enjoy the awesome pictures and vicious details they put on them. The last issue is so freaking great that you will want to read it again just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Go pick these up and be ready for an awesome read.

Preview - The Darkness #80

The Darkness #80 is the first of a two-part story called "Bog" and features a triple dose of Phil Hester (writer/art/cover). Jackie Estacado and his crew head to the swamp to destroy every representation of The Sovereign. Swamps tend to have somewhat unconventional protectors however, usually of the monster variety. Check out some interiors after the jump. The Darkness #80 will be available in stores September 30.

Radical collects Hotwire

Everywhere you look these days there are zombies. Not in real life, as if that were the case then I'd most likely be holed up in my attic with the stairs burned and listening to Brandon on a crank radio instead of posting news in the comic book industry. But I digress. Radical Publishing has just collected some zombies of their own in the hardcover collection of Hotwire in Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead. The harcover edition tells the story of the living and dead sharing the same space, where the "Blue Lights" (non-living) roam the streets in shadows. They start appearing as ghostly weapons of destruction and it's up to Metro Police detective Alice Hotwire to figure out what's going on. The collection is written and illustrated by Steve Pugh and was co-created by Warren Ellis. The collection also features new pages and art, a gallery showcasing the evolution of the character and a spotlight gallery of artwork from artists such as Steve Pugh, Stjepan Sejic, Jelena Djurdjevic and Garry Leach. The 128 full-color book should hit stores in November for $19.95 and is available to order in the September 2009 Diamond Previews catalog (Diamond order code: SEP090956). Full press release after the jump. RADICAL COLLECTS THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HOTWIRE September 24th, 2009, Los Angeles – In the near future, the living and the dead share the same space. Known as “Blue Lights,” the non-living are mostly harmless, roaming the streets, hiding from city lights, scuttling in the shadows. But when they begin to appear as ghostly weapons of mass destruction, Metro Police has only one person for the job: Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist. Underfunded, undermanned and under investigation, her department is the only thing standing between the city and certain destruction. Radical Publishing is proud to announce a hardcover edition of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, available this November. Written and illustrated by Steve Pugh (Preacher: Saint of Killers) and co-created by legendary writer Warren Ellis (Planetary, Transmetropolitan), Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead tells the story of a detective exorcist who must uncover a supernatural mystery and a new form of ghostly terrorism. Called “an all around phenomenal book,” by Ain’t It Cool News, and “one of the most entertaining bangs for your buck,” by Newsarama, the hardcover edition of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead collects all four issues of the critically acclaimed series in a special “director’s cut” edition with additional story pages. Also included in this collection are newly remastered tales from Alice Hotwire’s past, featuring never-before-seen pages and amazing newly painted artwork, as well as newly unearthed, previously unreleased pages written by co-creator Warren Ellis; an extensive gallery showcasing the evolution of the character; a spotlight gallery of artwork from celebrated artists Steve Pugh, Stjepan Sejic (Witchblade), Jelena Djurdjevic (The Immortal Iron Fist) and Garry Leach (Judge Dredd, Marvelman); an in-depth interview with co-creator Steve Pugh as well as a dustjacket showcasing an all new cover by Steve Pugh Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead hardcover trade will be 128 full color pages for $19.95 and is available to order in the September 2009 Diamond Previews catalog (Diamond order code: SEP090956). About Radical Publishing Radical Publishing is founded by Barry Levine (producer for Hercules, Caliber, Freedom Formula, Shrapnel, Abattoir, Oblivion and executive producer for the in-development Rex Mundi movie for Warner Bros., written by Jim Uhls and starring Johnny Depp) and his protégé Jesse Berger (executive producer for Hercules, Caliber, Freedom Formula, Shrapnel, Abattoir and Oblivion). For their quality and excellence in 2008, retailers voted Radical Publishing the Gem Award for “Best New Publisher of the Year” from Diamond Comic Distributors. Radical brings the best writing, storytelling and fully painted cover and interior art to the global comic book market, from prominent international talents such as Yoshitaka Amano, John Bolton, Luis Royo, Jim Steranko, Steve Pugh, Warren Ellis, Arthur Suydam, Steve Niles, Jimmy Palmiotti, Flint Dille, Marko Djurdjevic, Ian Edginton, David Hine, Rick Remender, Joseph Kosinski, Nick Percival, Steve Moore, Sam Sarkar, Stjepan Sejic, Dave Wilkins, Tomm Coker, Clayton Crain, Bill Sienkiewicz, Nick Sagan, Clint Langley, Nick Simmons, Patrick Reilly, Weta Workshop, Zombie Studios and many more. Radical Publishing currently has production deals with Universal Studios, Spyglass Entertainment, Peter Berg’s Film 44 and Radical Pictures for Hercules; Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil and Radical Pictures for Caliber; and New Regency, Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry Productions and Radical Pictures for Freedom Formula.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Okay SO- Never let it be said that when I commit to a wildly extravagant endeavor- such as annotating Jim Krueger’s Earth X trilogy- that I don’t wholly go after my intended goal (albeit, sometimes with short delays). Without further ado- the notes for Issue # 1 of Earth X. Page 1- Most issues start with this printed dialogue bit. Usually, it’s between Uatu and Machine Man, and serves as a nice prologue for the upcoming issue, although later the dialogue is picked up by varying cast members. Page 2-3- The little bit of dialogue on the bottom of the far left panel MIGHT be the only continuity error in the entire damn trilogy (and given the scope of this story, that’s frickin’ impressive). As X-51 ‘watches’ the American nation struggle and fracture through Uatu’s equipment, he responds with “I…don’t believe it. How could…it’s only twenty years I’ve been away. How could…?” This doesn’t quite follow. Has X-51 been on the moon for twenty years, learning to use Uatu’s equipment (between issue 0 and 1)? Or had he withdrawn from humanity for twenty years before Uatu contacted him? Weird. Maybe just a bit from an early draft they meant to edit out or something. X-51 emphasizes Uatu’s choice of words here, in regards to Captain America: “New race?” Again, the discussion turns towards Hitler and an attempt to genetically ‘enhance’ humanity. Uatu’s tone is unsettling, condescending- the unspoken subtext here is: “Isn’t Cap the creation of an attempt to genetically bolster humanity? Is it that different than what Hitler was doing?” Creepy. Uatu talks about humanity like spoiled adolescents who can’t make up their mind about what they really want, framing Cap’s background in a nihilistic light. Shots of the Red Skull and Bucky here shouldn’t be surprising. I love the shot of Steve Rogers drinking the formula in the middle panel though- why? Because he’s scrawny. People forget- before Rogers’ took the formula, he tried to enlist in the military and didn’t even pass basic training. Cap was a patriot though- he was willing to do anything to help his country, even volunteer for a risky experiment. But part of what makes Cap- well, Cap- is that he knew what it meant to struggle, to be the underdog, long before he ever became a war hero. Page 4-5- More recaps of Steve’s life. Bucky’s death in the Skull’s trap, Namor freeing him from the ice, shots of the original Avengers’ team he joined. The two right panels are interesting. That’s the ‘cosmic cube’ the Skull is holding, and Sam Wilson (A.K.A. the Falcon) is running into battle at Cap’s side. It’s a classic story, one in which the Skull almost obtained omnipotence. After Cap beat the Skull, he left the cube with Wakanda’s ruler T’Challa (The Black Panther). Cap asked T’Challa to promise- no matter how hard he begged- never to let Cap have the cube back. The temptation to use it was too great- Cap didn’t think anyone should have that kind of power. The dialogue on the far right panel refers to another famous Cap story, where he was briefly nominated for president. Cap stepped down though, stating that he couldn’t represent a ‘generation’ of American citizens- just American ideals. This is actually one of my favorite bits about Cap too. It isn’t that Captain America runs around telling the world that America is perfect. It’s that he represents what America COULD be on its best day. Captain America, believe it or not, struggles with flaws he sees in the government and the country- just like everybody else. Page 6- Some of the royal court may appear a little more mutated than last we saw them, but that’s the Inhumans- Black Bolt (as Uatu says ‘Ah, so the Silent King has returned at last), Medusa, Karnak (his head was always big, but…), Triton (even more black-lagoon-creature-ish), and Gorgon (he’s a frickin’ minotaur! Kind of works for him, I think). We don’t know what the Inhumans are after, although Medusa mentions a plausible cover story- a wedding. The wedding is for Luna. Luna is the HUMAN daughter of Medusa’s sister, Crystal, and the mutant, Quicksilver (Magneto’s son). While being human is actually something of a stigma to most Inhumans, the royal family have always made it clear that Luna is one of them. (Interesting sidenote- some hardcore Magneto-zealots, like Exodus and the Acolytes- weren’t quite so accommodating. Seen as a sort of ‘blight’ on Magneto’s bloodline, some mutant factions have actually attempted to kill Luna, even when she was just an infant. Sick.) WHO Luna is getting married to is another mystery however. Medusa’s dialogue is mysterious: “…we have returned for the royal wedding of Luna and my…OUR son.” Medusa and Black Bolt are actually cousins, albeit distant ones. Luna appears to be slated to marry a family relation herself. NOW, before you get all up in arms about how sick that is, remember- lots of royal bloodlines in feudal Europe had the same kind of ‘just barely not inbreeding’ thing going on. And hell- they ARE called the ‘Inhumans’, right? Page 7- Attilan is the name of the Inhuman City-State that has been kept secret from the human race for thousands of years. Originally, Attilan was founded in the Himilayas- but at one point, I know Reed Richards’ helped the Inhumans move their home to the Blue Area of the moon. Apparently, they moved it back, at some point. The Inhumans arrive to find it covered with vegetation, apparently deserted. Page 8- I love how Luna looks like her mother. Even her outfit looks like something Crystal would wear, although the color scheme is different. Medusa continues to be cryptic: “My son…he would be considered a hero here. We must go to where the heroes are.” The bottom right hand panel breaks my heart. An actual mutated Inhuman, Lockjaw was a big dog that teleported the royal court around. That’s his headpiece that Medusa pulls out and uses to teleport to New York. Lockjaw’s fate is unspoken here- although in all likelihood, this bit indicates that he’s no longer alive. Page 10-11- The big spread here features Cap and a Falcon-lookalike-sidekick named ‘Redwing’ fighting a bunch of zombified people that have strange squid things attached to them. The squid things are actually alien parasites, now known as ‘Hydra’. In the past, Hydra was a fictional terrorist organization which had a habit of installing zealot-like loyalty in their operatives. No explanation for this new Hydra is given really, although in all likelihood it’s some sort of alien parasite. In some ways, it’s just a tangible representation of what the terrorist organization was known for- it spreads its tentacles into tons of people and converts them to its cause. You take one out, another grows to take its place. Page 12- Cap’s sidekick and the ‘Hydra Queen’ recognize each other: Redwing: “Oh hell. It’s you.” Queen: “I’ve missed you, Wyatt. I’ve missed your touch. We were so close, once. We could be together always. Please stop fighting.” Redwing: “You may speak with her voice…but you are not Jennifer. Do you HEAR me, you crazy Hydra queen?!?! YOU ARENT HER!” The green woman with the massive Hydra attached to her- the ‘Hydra Queen’- is Jennifer Walters, A.K.A. She-Hulk. Cap’s sidekick is actually Wyatt Wingfoot, Johnny Storm’s college roommate and one of Jennifer’s love interests. I like how Wyatt’s costume is kind of like the Falcon’s, but with a slightly Native American touch. Page 13- Sam, the original Falcon, is part of the Hydra too. Wyatt’s comment that you have to WANT to be taken over by the Hydra is demoralizing- it means Sam and Jennifer just gave up one day. And Cap gets dangerously close himself here to doing the same. Page 14- The stranger in the alley with the red sunglasses look familiar? Page 15- Yup. Scott Summers, with the good old optic blasts. I love his thought here, when the guy he saves suddenly breathes fire: “…was that how you felt, Charles, when I first looked you in the eye?” Page 16- Wow, Peter Parker has seen better days, huh? That’s Luke Cage in the NYPD uniform. Kind of interesting, since Luke was so often WRONGLY accused of breaking the law. He’s actually the perfect guy to uphold it. Actually, this scene is a lot like Parker’s origin story. Remember- a cop comes up and says: “Hey, you should have stopped that burglar!” and Parker responds: “Not my problem.” Kind of the same here right? Cage: “Thing is, I could use someone like you on the force. Someone who knows how to use his powers. Someone who believes in…” Parker: “Sorry, Mister. Not interested.” The bottom right hand corner has a Venom-and-Carnage-symbiote looking female figure. Mysterious. Page 19- The Falcon’s line here always strikes me as eerie, as he and all the other Hydra-zombies get wiped out by ‘Stark’s purge’. Sam: “The War ENDS, Steve. It really ends.” Page 20-21- The ‘Iron Avengers’ are Tony Stark’s robotic versions of the ‘classic’ Avengers lineup- Giantman, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Wasp. The final member, the Vision, is the actual Vision from the team that the Iron Avengers’ resemble. Wyatt alludes to ‘president Osborn’. Norman Osborn was a shrewd business man…and the Green Goblin, a lunatic who made Peter Parker’s life hell. America isn’t what it use to be. Page 23- Cap’s griping about the Iron Avengers, stating ‘Death should MEAN something’, should become clear by the last panel. Wyatt looks at the emblem he pulled off a Hydra-captive and comments that it looks like the Punisher’s insignia. Cap states ‘It’s a skull. It’s a red skull.’ Appendix Page 2- Some notes here on ‘President Osborn’s’ rise to power and the replacement of Democracy with industry. As Uatu points out, Norman has become the ‘Goblin King’. I love that the flag is Red, White, Blue, and Green. Appendix Page 3-4- Other interesting character notes, all related to Cap’s story in one way or another. The idea that Nick Fury doesn’t exist, but that tons of Life Model Decoys are running around believe they ARE Fury, might be something of an inside joke. They used the whole ‘Fury dead, just kidding that was a LMD’ so many times that it’s become an expected storyline by now. Sharon Carter, long time love interest of Cap, doesn’t make a big appearance in this series. She’s ‘part of the Hydra’ X-51 explains.

Review - Swordsmith Assassin #2

Swordsmith Assassin #2 picks up right where the first one left off. Which works well when you’re reading a sequential story. Toshiro continues his quest to find the swords he crafted in an effort to allow his family to rest in peace. The first two issues so far have been a solid telling of one man’s quest to bring peace to his family (in addition to the world) despite his actions being the cause of much violence. Does the second issue continue the story of a lone samurai effectively? Read on to find out. The first issue ended with Toshiro in the presence of a mighty warlord seeking the sword he crafted for him. General Rennier has the power to pretty much drop Toshiro instantly (because of his sheer numbers), but he’s intrigued by the swordsmith’s story. Who wouldn’t want to at least here why a seemingly harmless swordsmith would want a sword back that he himself crafted? Cue a flashback. Toshiro tells the story about how he was weak. Sure, he knew how to make swords that became de fact tools for killing. But he was probably the last person you’d want using one to defend you. This became readily apparent in his quest to find all the swords he created. Sure, some of the owners were quite willing to part with their sword for the right amount of money. Others however were not quite as willing to part with their prized possession without a little bit more persuasion. One such owner was a great warrior named Musashi. Musashi was especially fond of his Toshiro sword because of its usefulness in quelling a peasant rebellion. Musashi was intrigued by Toshiro’s desire to reclaim the sword, but it wouldn’t be such an easy task. Instead, Musashi takes it upon himself to train Toshiro to use his own machinations for pain. What entails is a sort of comic book montage (just play a song in your head while reading) where Toshiro learns to effectively use the sword. After intense training, Musashi offers up the sword as a sort of reward for being persistent and learning. The ability to effectively use his own swords greatly helps Toshiro in his quest to collect all his swords. Those that would previously have been apt to simply laugh in the face of Toshiro at his request would not be laughing anymore when they lost an arm. Toshiro’s offer of exchanging the sword peacefully was limited in its duration, as Toshiro would eventually kill those bearing his sword if they didn’t “come peacefully.” I’m a big fan of this book so far. The story really isn’t anything that’s revolutionary or anything. If you’ve seen any of the Zatoichi films then you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen when a samurai doesn’t get what he wants. But the artwork fits the story really well and adds a unique perspective on such a timely subject. It’s a little unclear at this point if General Rennier will go quietly without a fight in offering the sword back to Toshiro. What is clear is that Toshiro will get the sword (and all others) even if he has to go to great lengths.

Preview - The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 2 TPB

Jackie Estacado is all over the place right now. He’s got his own series in The Darkness, is working alongside Pitt in The Darkness/Pitt and was a key player in the recent War of the Witchblades. So he knows his way around the Top Cow universe and is pretty much friends with everybody. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some of his more recent adventures in his own book compiled? Ask and ye shall receive. Released September 23, The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 2 TPB collects The Darkness Vol. 3 #7-10 and the double-sized The Darkness #75 (which is actually #11, but they decided to get funky with the numbering). The collection looks at Jackie after a conflict with The Darkness itself as he flees Sierra Muñoz for the States. His road trips are a little more complex than your road trips, as he encounters Mexican witches, wannabe gangsters and Aphrodite IV. “Bold, uncompromising and utterly thrilling. Under the skillful direction of Phil Hester, Michael Broussard and Jorge Lucas, The Darkness has risen to the top of my read pile.” – Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible) Phil Hester is the writer for these adventures, which are compounded by the fact that his soul has been cast into Hell while his mind and body remain on Earth. The Sovereign promises to return Jackie’s body and soul, but such an offer doesn’t come for free. The art is done by an all-star cast featuring Jorge Lucas, Michael Broussard, Joe Benitez, Dale Keown, Ryan Sook, Steve Firchow, Lee Carter, Matt Timson, Stjepan Sejic . Michael Broussard is the lone cover artist. Check out some interiors after the jump. The book should be available in stores so keep your eyes open.

JSA All-Stars #2 preview cover

Freddie E. Williams II is feverishly working on the cover for JSA All-Stars #2 and DC's The Source has a preview. It's only pencils and it's not final, but it's still eye candy nonetheless. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pilot Season: Declassified $1

One dollar isn't nearly what it used to be. I'm not going to go all "back in my day" on you because I'm really not that old. You have to admit though that a dollar doesn't go as far these days, so when something like a comic is priced at $1 you should take notice. The 2009 year of fan favorite Pilot Season kicks off on October 14 with a 32-page color preview of what to expect from the following books. For $1. “Pilot Season is something I look forward to each year and a unique event for the comic industry,” commented Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik, “With two creative masterminds like Robert and Marc at the helm, I have no doubt we’ll get some of the most unique and stunning creations we’ve seen in the competition to date.” Five new comic book properties will debut, vying to be the one that becomes a regular, ongoing series. The secrets behind each property will be revealed in trailer pages, secret documents, and design sketches from the pages of Marc Silvestri’s sketchbook. Pilot Season: Declassified is a way to preview what those five books will be. There are much worse things you could spend $1 on. Full press release after the jump. FROM THE TOP SECRET FILES OF ROBERT KIRKMAN AND MARC SILVESTRI PILOT SEASON: DECLASSIFIED ONLY $1 LOS ANGELES, Calif., September 23rd, 2009 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that the 2009 year of Pilot Season will kick off with Pilot Season: Declassified. The 32-page full color preview book is expected to be available in stores on October 14th, 2009 and will retail for one dollar. Five brand new comic book properties born out of the collaboration between Image partners Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible) and Marc Silvestri (Dark Avengers/X-Men: Utopia, The Darkness) will compete against each other to win the votes of the fans who will determine the winning property that will be rewarded with its own full series. This highly anticipated year of Pilot Season begins in November, but fans will get a first look at all five of the new properties this October in the $1 Pilot Season: Declassified. The secrets behind the inception of each property will be revealed in trailer pages, secret documents, and design sketches ripped from the pages of Marc Silvestri’s sketchbook. For only $1, Pilot Season: Declassified continues Top Cow’s recently established annual tradition that gives fan the final say in what comic books they want to read. Since 2007, Top Cow has given fans the power to choose a Top Cow series based on a selection of one-shot Pilot Season “pilot” issues through online voting. The inaugural Pilot Season initiative garnered more than four million votes from fans across the globe. “Pilot Season is something I look forward to each year and a unique event for the comic industry,” commented Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik, “With two creative masterminds like Robert and Marc at the helm, I have no doubt we’ll get some of the most unique and stunning creations we’ve seen in the competition to date.”

Prelude to Image United

Image United is setting up to be epic. If you looked at just the talent alone involved in the project you have a who's who of comic book heavyweights. Robert Kirkman, Whilce Portacio, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane. Only Jim Lee isn't a part of the project. Still enough there to turn a few heads. So how about a four-part prelude that sets up the main story? "These backups are not a preview, this is completely original material not collected in the upcoming mini-series," writer Robert Kirkman said. "The IMAGE UNITED PRELUDE will debut Whilce Portacio's new character, FORTRESS, and set up his role front and center in the overall Image universe. Plus, there's a surprise that's going to shock an awful lot of fans. It'll be your first hint the crossover isn't limited to the seven characters we've seen." The prelude is (as mentioned above) a four-part adventure featuring some of the characters in the crossover. The four chapters will be presented alongside full-length issues that correspond swimmingly. Savage Dragon #153 sets up the Dragon War storyline (due in stores October 7 for $3.50), Witchblade #131 starts the new Witchblade universe (due in stores October 7 for $2.99), Invincible #67 is the conclusions to Cory Walker's contributions (due in stores October 21 for $2.99) and Spawn #195, the series farewell to Whilce Portacio (due in stores October 21 for $2.99). Full press release and other covers after the jump. PRESS RELEASE - IMAGE UNITED PRELUDE TO GIVE SNEAK PEEK AT THE UPCOMING IMAGE FOUNDER CROSSOVER EVENT! October's IMAGE UNITED prelude to reveal the secrets behind the crossover event of the century! 23 September 2009 (Berkeley, CA) - This October IMAGE UNITED begins with a four-part prelude backup feature revealing the secret history of the highly anticipated Image Comics founder crossover in SAVAGE DRAGON #153, WITCHBLADE #131, INVINCIBLE #67 and SPAWN #195! "These backups are not a preview, this is completely original material not collected in the upcoming mini-series," writer Robert Kirkman said. "The IMAGE UNITED PRELUDE will debut Whilce Portacio's new character, FORTRESS, and set up his role front and center in the overall Image universe. Plus, there's a surprise that's going to shock an awful lot of fans. It'll be your first hint the crossover isn't limited to the seven characters we've seen." The IMAGE UNITED prelude will be a four-part adventure featuring participants of IMAGE UNITED illustrating in the unique jam comics style the crossover is already known for. All four chapters come in addition the full-length features of each issue, starting with SAVAGE DRAGON #153's set up for the upcoming 'Dragon War', WITCHBLADE #131's all-new status quo, INVINCIBLE #67's conclusion to the Cory Walker illustrated two-parter and finally SPAWN #195's series farewell to artist Whilce Portacio. SAVAGE DRAGON #153 (AUG090362), a 32-page full color comic book for $3.50, will be in-stores October 7th, 2009. WITCHBLADE #131 (AUG090388), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, will also be in-stores October 7th, 2009. INVINCIBLE #67 (AUG090355), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.99, will be in-stores October 21st, 2009. SPAWN #195 (JUN090393), a 32-page full color comic book for $2.95, will also be in-stores October 21st, 2009. Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. Visit www.imagecomics.com.

New map pack for Batman: Arkham Asylum

I finally finished Batman: Arkham Asylum. If you're playing it and haven't finished it yet stop what you're doing right now and get back on it. The final fight is pretty awesome and is a fantastic end to a very worthy story. Having beaten the main game (after which you can still run around and find all the riddles) I moved onto the challenges. Which are challenging. And the list is about to be expanded yet again. Rocksteady Studios has been working on new DLC in the form of a new map pack called "Prey in the Darkness." The map pack will be available on September 24 and feature a Freeflow Combat map and a Predator map. And it's PlayStation 3 exclusive (at least here in the US). Cue the outrage. The "Heart of Darkness" FreeFlow Combat map will let you battle a mob of relentless enemies at the Arkham Pumping Station. The "Hothouse Prey" Predator map requests that the player silently take down enemies at the Abandoned Glasshouse. Both are free. Now onto the outrage part. The DLC is available for both PSN and Xbox Live for those gamers outside of the US. But if you live in the US and happened to get the game for the Xbox 360 instead of the PS3 you're out of luck. This is no doubt tied to some exclusivity agreement that Sony has with Warner Brothers that is the second part of the Joker exclusive. There are plenty of available challenges already available so it's not like these two will make or break the game. Still sucks though for the Microsoft folks out there. Full press release below. EIDOS INC. AND WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE THE PREY IN THE DARKNESS MAP PACK FOR BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM™ New Map Pack Available September 24 Exclusively in North America for PLAYSTATION®3 Redwood City, Calif. – September 23, 2009 – Eidos Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced the Prey in the Darkness Map Pack, a new downloadable map pack offering two additional Challenge Maps for the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum™ action adventure title. The new content will be available beginning September 24th in North America as a free download exclusively on the PlayStation®Network. Outside of North America, the Prey in the Darkness Map Pack will be available on both PlayStation®Network and Xbox LIVE™ Marketplace. In the ‘Heart of Darkness’ FreeFlow™ Combat map, players will battle a mob of relentless and maniacal enemies at the Arkham Pumping Station. Even the most seasoned Batman: Arkham Asylum player will enjoy stepping into the boots of BATMAN to take down increasingly difficult waves of insane inmates. In the ‘Hothouse Prey’ Invisible Predator™ map, players will have to rely on their Predator instincts to silently and effectively take down enemies at the Abandoned Glasshouse. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, developed by Rocksteady Studios and based on DC Comics’s Batman license, the DARK KNIGHT takes on his greatest challenge yet when he becomes trapped with all of his most dangerous villains inside the insane asylum of GOTHAM CITY - ARKHAM ASYLUM! Since its release on August 25th, Batman: Arkham Asylum has garnered the acclaim of gamers and critics alike, achieving an average score of 92 from reviews around the world*, earning it a Guinness World Record for ‘Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever.’ Batman: Arkham Asylum is rated “T” for Teen and is available for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION3 for the suggested retail price of $59.99. Batman: Arkham Asylum is also available for Games for Windows at retail outlets for the suggested retail price of $49.99. For more information, please visit www.batmanarkhamasylum.com. *Compiled by Metacritic.com, one of the web’s best resources for critical information about film, video, games, books and television. About DC Comics DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN and the SANDMAN. These DC SUPER HEROES and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics’ Web site is located at www.dccomics.com About Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a premier worldwide publisher, developer, licensor and distributor of entertainment content for the interactive space across all current and future platforms, including console, handheld and PC-based gaming for both internal and third party game titles. About Eidos Interactive Ltd. Eidos is the creator of some of the world's leading videogame properties, consisting of several development studios including Crystal Dynamics, IO Interactive, Beautiful Game Studios, Eidos Game Studios, Eidos Hungary and Eidos Montreal, plus sales and distribution offices in Europe and the US. The Group has a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: Tomb Raider™, Hitman™, Deus Ex™, Championship Manager™ and Just Cause™. Eidos is a wholly owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

Spawn awesomenss

Just because I like you, check out the above page from the latest Spawn comic. Penciled and inked by Mr. Todd McFarlane himself. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review - The Darkness/Pitt #2

The Darkness/Pitt #2 is the second of three in the series and definitely does more in the way of setting up an epic finale than anything. If you haven't read the first issue then really this review won't do you any good (and the first issue is free to read on comiXology). If you have read it and want to know if Tim, Pitt and Jackie spend the evening together drinking tea and regaling each others with tales of heroics then read on for the review. Most of the issue takes place at Jackie's mansion, where Tim is eagerly taking in gangster films and pizza. Jackie even makes the offer of all the pizza he wants to order. Pitt isn't too keen on Jackie's actions and uses it as an opportunity to lay into humans. Pitt doesn't appreciate that humans are very narrow-minded in their view of the world. They fail to acknowledge that there are more species out in the universe other than just humans. This means that Jackie won't possibly understand what he's facing, a theme that is prevalent throughout the issue. Essentially, the alien invasion is a virus that is rapidly consuming everything. It settled on Earth for a few reasons. The first is the that the climate is perfect for gestation, meaning they can propagate themselves rather quickly. The second is because humans are stupid (and I say this being one). As Pitt mentioned earlier, their views on life make them susceptible to charging into situations with reckless abandon. This works well for the alien virus because if they even touch a human the virus is spread in sort of a zombie-exponential way. As Pitt tells Jackie all this the FBI are observing the entire conversation, but Jackie knows and decides to get a move on. The trio reach what appears to be an abandoned frigate. Not quite abandoned though as it's serving as a home for the alien virus. Remember that reckless abandon in humans mentioned above? Yeah Jackie proves Pitt's point well. He charges head first into the darkness expecting it to allow him to use his power until he realizes that the aliens are a tad smarter than that and it's all an illusion. It's not dark at all. All the while the FBI have followed the trio to the boat and have set up a perimeter around the frigate. A perimeter that's useless when the aliens create their own perimeter and add some more to their ranks. The issue ends with Tim, Pitt and Jackie surrounded by a slew of infected. As mentioned above this was one of those "let's set everything up" issues, which isn't a bad thing. What Jenkins and Keown are crafting in this series is a somewhat poetic view of the things humans take for granted. Pitt emerges as the sane and rational thinker while Jackie reflects everything rash about people. The last issue should feature full doses of Darkness and an enraged Pitt kicking alien ass and hopefully staving off the infection. I've never really gotten into the Darkness and it's been ages since I last read Pitt but I really like what's happening here. Hopefully Top Cow revives Pitt in some way so that he becomes more of a regular. Will they be successful? One could assume yes, but you've got to read the next issue to find out. I'd highly recommend it. Use the below interiors as a basis for your opinion when you're staring at this one in the comic book shop.