Comics

Review: Heavy Metal Magazine #282- “Sci-Fi Special”

heavy-metal-282Title: Heavy Metal #282

Publisher: Kevin Eastman

Cost: $7.95

Storytellers: Grant Morrison (Editor-in-Chief and writer); Donny Cates (writer) with Ian Bederman (artist), Zeljko Pahek (writer and artist), Rian Hughes (artist), John Mahoney (designer), Jakub Rozalski (designer), Craig Wilson (writer and artist), Enki Bilal (creator), Leonie O’Moore (creator), Diego Agrimbau & Pietro (creators), Dwayne Harris (writer and artist), Donny Cates & Dyman Burnett (creators), Bill Sienkiewicz (creator), and Mozchops (creator).

I will not be reviewing each, individual story in this issue, but I will rather give an overview.

It has been sometime since I picked up an issue of Heavy Metal, an actually read everything within it’s pages. The last issue that I grabbed, was for an article on Jack Kirby’s Lord of Light contributions in issue #276. Once the article was read and the art absorbed, it was bag ‘n’ boarded and put away. Before that, I was in high school, some 20 years ago, and even buying the issue was a challenge, because Heavy Metal is known for it’s graphic violence and sexual content. However, since then, I have been interested in the magazine, but have never found a copy at my local comic store, instead, having to go to a Barnes & Noble to seek one out. What usual kept me from purchasing a copy, was that most of the stories inside were continuations to stories in previous issues, and I didn’t want to be lost or have part of a story. While this issue does contain stories like that, parts of a whole narrative, most of the content within this issue is self contained or art based.

I must say, that I’m definitely impressed with this issue of Heavy Metal! The issue has a theme, science-fiction, and sticks to that, providing almost a dozen tales with a sci-fi bent. There are also some cover galleries, entries in a cover contest, which are great to look at. In fact, the covers are the best part of Heavy Metal overall. I don’t mean to downplay the creators on the inside of an issue, but the covers always grabbed me, whenever I would see an issue in the “wild”. They provide me tons of ideas, which is great for a gamer, especially one who is the “Game Master” most of the time.

If you love the comic medium, especially one where any idea or art style is printed, then this is the magazine for you! I was never around for the days of the magazines, especially Marvel’s Epic Illustrated, and Heavy Metal is one of the only survivors. You get a lot of entertainment for the price of admission,  and in this day, that means something!

Recommended

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Monday Art Attack: Various Famous Characters by Jack Kirby and Michael Thibodeaux

darth-vader-by-jack-kirby-and-michael-thibodeaux

michelangelo-by-jack-kirby-and-michael-thibodeauxsorcerer-mickey-by-jack-kirby-and-michael-thibodeauxmickey-mouse-by-jack-kirby-and-michael-thibodeaux

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Tales from the Bargain Bin and Review: Last of the Viking Heroes #1

last-of-the-viking-heroes-1Title: Last of the Viking Heroes #1

Publisher: Genesis West

Cost: $1.50 (cover price in 1987), I got it for free!

Storytellers: Michael Thibodeaux (writer, artist, colors and letters), Jack Kirby and Michael Thibodeaux (cover)

At some point last summer, while back home in South Jersey, my friend, LabyB, found this little gem for her boyfriend, who has a minor swords-and-sorcery comic collection.

Well, fast forward to today, when I discover that he’s “trimming-the-fat” from his collection and he gives me this issue, because he noticed that it had a cover by Jack Kirby. I thanked him for the gift and flipped though it, disappointed that it didn’t have Kirby art or story on the inside, but having just read Silver Star, and getting myself in a Kirby-mood, I decided to read this issue anyway, and boy am I glad that I did!

While Kirby only provides the cover, the story and art belong Michael Thibodeaux, a name I wasn’t familiar with. This comic has fantasy elements and takes place at the end of the Viking Era and features a group of Viking Heroes that could rival the Warriors Three. This issue sets up our heroes and their conflict and does it by telling an interesting story with interesting characters and does it in an “old-school” manner that hasn’t been seen in a while. Even though it’s not Kirby, the art really holds up and pretty darn good for the genre, feeling like a marriage between the Marvel’s Conan comics and their Epic Illustrated magazine.

I’m glad that my friend was cleaning his collection and that this little gem could have landed in my lap, because I now on the hunt for the remaining issues, because I need to know what happens to our Last Viking Heroes! 

Recommended

 

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Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Hardcover Collection

9781616558772Title: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Hardcover Collection

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Cost: $29.99

Storytellers: Too many to list, with some going uncredited. However, the one’s listed on the back cover include Robert Kirkman and Bruce Timm.

This, novel-sized, think monstrosity, contain over 1230 pages of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe related minicomics, which were packaged with the original toys produced by Mattel. This hardcover collection includes comics from the Masters of the Universe (1982), Princess of Power (including the fashion guide), He-Man: The New Adventures, Masters of the Universe (2000), and Masters of the Universe Classics toylines, as well as some unpublished works and designs.

This collection is not for the faint of heart. It is a massive collection of some of the oddest and weirdest stories every told in the comics. The stories presented in the original minicomics are nothing like the animated adventures of He-Man or She-Ra. In fact, the first few issues of the ‘Masters minicomics aren’t even comics, they are more like a Golden Book, where there is one picture/scene per pages with some text underneath. This collection also includes some commentary, which is present at the bottom of the page, giving you more insight into these classic tales.

I find myself enjoying these versions of the characters better than their animated counterparts, as the comics come off more serious and less childish, if that can be believed. One thing that I found interesting, is how, in the early issues, He-Man talks about changing outfits or armors depending on the situation. They were definitely toying around (pun intended) with the ideal of He-Man having different accessory packs, where he could change armors depending on how you wanted to play with him, which is odd, because changing outfits is a feature of dolls!

Anyway, if you’re a ‘Masters’ fan or someone who wants to read, or re-read, these unique promotional items, which were used to flesh out a world for the toys to inhabit, then this is the collection for you. I loved everything about this one and it currently sits front and center on my book shelf!

Recommended

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Review: The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover Artbook

the-art-of-he-man-and-the-motuTitle: The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover Artbook

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Cost: $39.99

Writers: Alan Oppenheimer (foreword), Tim and Steve Seeley (captions) with James Eatock (captions chapter 4)

The first book of (so far) five announced He-Man collector’s books published by Dark Horse Comics, the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is curated by a host of ‘Masters’ experts and is a wonderful addition to the collection any MOTU or toy/animation enthusiast.

The book is broken down into 10 chapters, each focusing on one aspect of the ‘Masters’ Universe, from the classic toys, to the comics, the 80’s motion picture and the current collector’s toy line. With hundreds of pictures and captions, this book contains a wealth of information on everything ‘Masters’, no matter your interest in the property. I really enjoy the first chapter, which goes over the creation of He-Man and the development of the toy line.

Whether you love art books, coffee table books, actions figures or the ‘Masters’ property, you can’t go wrong with this book!

Recommended

 

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Thought Balloon/Review: Valiant Entertainment’s 4001 A.D Summer “Event”

4001-ad-summer-event

A few weeks ago saw the conclusion to Valiant Entertainment’s summer event, 4001 A.D.

First off, let me tell you that I loved this story! I enjoyed everything that Valiant published for the 4001 A.D series, but I just don’t feel that this really qualifies as an “event”, at least in the way that most comic fans are used to.

To start off, let me give you a rundown of how this “event” was organized. The main story, told in 4001 A.D, involves a conflict between Father, the AI the space station that is New Japan, and Rai, Father’s protector over New Japan and his weapon against any who oppose him. You can learn everything leading up to this event in the first 12 issues of Rai, which has been collected in an exquisite hardcover deluxe collection. Without getting into too many specifics, Rai joins forces with the future Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and together they battle their way back onto New Japan and defeat Father, who has succumb to a virus and is separating sections of New Japan and sending them crashing to Earth. If you just want to know about the 4001 A.D storyline, proper, all you really need to read are these 4 issues.

The second story is told within the pages of Rai. Spanning issue 13 through issue 16, we actually get a glimpse into the past and learn about the first Rai, a female Rai and the Rai before our current hero. Overall, these issues have nothing to do with the main “event”, but do help flesh out the setting and show us what some of the other Rai’s were like. Issue 16 is important, because it takes place directly before issue 1 and sets up the entire series.

The last, and mostly fringe, stories are told within the various one-shots that involve the other heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the X-O Manowar issue, we learn about the origin of the X-O Mecha that Rai and Gilad use to get back to New Japan. In the Bloodshot issue, you discover that Bloodshot’s nanites have evolved past their original intent and are being on their own. In the Shadowman issue, we learn about an Earth city with a connection to the Deadside, and the formation of a new Shadow person. Lastly, in War Mother, we’re introduced to a new character, a hunter and scavenger of New Japan tech with a sentient rifle. With the exception of the X-O Manowar and Bloodshot issues, I believe that the stories told in Shadowman and War Mother will become a bigger part of Rai’s world come 4002 A.D.

So, with a third of the “events” issues taking place in the past, and the other third taking place on Earth, in separate communities, I feel that this is not a normal comic “event”. While this doesn’t change my opinion of the overall story or my love affair with Valiant, I feel that comic companies need “events” to sell titles and get comic shops interested in buying odd, random one-shots and new mini-series. I wish comics were in a different place right now, but they aren’t. Marvel is constantly doing massive, for over-reaching “events”, many of which are never completed on time, dragging on for months, while DC keeps reinventing itself in hope of catching up to Marvel’s numbers and sales. With these two big juggernauts out there, I can see why Valiant calls this little story, which takes place in the future of their universe, an “event”, because they need that boost, just to get shelf space.

I’m really, really tired of “events”! I remember when they used to be fun and exciting and rare. I can get behind what Valiant’s doing here, making the “event” accessible, by breaking the story up into groups, so that you don’t have to go broke reading everything, I just wish they would save the word, “event” for something bigger!

 

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Review: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers 2016 Annual #1

MMPR 2016 Annual Cover ATitle: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers 2016 Annual #1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Cost: $7.99

Storytellers: Jorge Corona, James Kochalka, Trey Moore, Ross Thibodeaux, Kyle Higgins, and Marguerite Bennett (writers) with Jorge Corona, James Kochalka, Terry Moore, Rob Guillory, Rod Reis, Huang Danlan and Goni Montes (artists)

Yes, I’m a Power Rangers fan! While I haven’t seen an episode in years and have no idea about the current season of Power Rangers, I was really into the original team. I love the concept of sentai, which means team or force, and is the genre that Power Rangers belongs to.

I’ve been aware of this series, but new really found the issues on the shelves and decided to wait for the collection, which I will review. However, when I heard about this Annual, I thought it might be fun to pick it up and see if this will be something that I will enjoy, and I must say, it really, really enjoyed this issue!

This oversized, and a bit pricey, issue is an anthology, featuring multiple short tales, all with fantastic art, but a mix of serious, strange and just fun stories.MMPR 2016 Annual ToC

This issues gives us separate stories about the Red and Yellow Rangers, a Goldar origin tale, the adventures of Bulk and Skull, as they save the Power Rangers, a love-stricken Putty and a Megazord battle. As I said, tales that are all over the place, but are fantastic for Power Rangers fans! There is certainly enough in here to warrant it’s $8 price tag, which makes this issue…

Recommended

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Monday Art Attack: Pathfinder Worldscapes by Reilly Brown

Pathfinder Worldscapes by Reilly Brown

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Review: The Mighty Thor #6 & #7- The Strongest Viking There Is

The Mighty Thor #6The Mighty Thor #7Titles: The Mighty Thor #6 & #7

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cost: $3.99 each

Storytellers: Jason Aaron (writer) with Russell Dauterman (artist, present day) and Rafa Garres (artist, Viking era)

While working with his new ally in Roxxon Oil, Loki tells Dario Agger a story, from the age of Vikings! In The Strongest Viking There Is, we see Thor during the Viking Era, answering prayers for mortal, all the while brawling, drinking and womanizing. When one of his Viking followers doesn’t pray to him before a battle, Thor heeds the prays of another Viking, and decimates the follower’s army, leaving him to suffer. The Viking eventually prays to Loki, who turns the Viking into a primitive Hulk! Thor loses to the Hulk-Viking on multiple occasions, but the Hulk-Viking wants to die and Thor is able to turn him loose on Loki and sending him to the other side of the planet. Loki is humiliated and Thor is closer to becoming worthy to lift his future hammer.

I miss the days of one-shots and mini-series, and these two issues filled that need. I really enjoy the Thor/Loki stories that involve them in the past, during the days of Vikings. The thing that drew me to this story is the art! Once again, Marvel does this thing, where there is two different artist, one for the present day and one for the past story, and I really enjoy that. It elevates the issues to a higher place and shows off why comics are a great medium. While I would have preferred this to be a self-contained story, I do feel that these two issues, were set up for a future storyline, but that doesn’t take anything away from them!

Recommended

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Review: Timely Comics: Drax #1

TC- Drax #1Title: Timely Comics: Drax #1

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cost: $3.00

Storytellers: CM Punk and Cullen Bunn (writers) with Scott Hepburn (artist)

When all of the team members leave Drax to go off and do their own things, he decides to continue his mission to kill Thanos. Rocket Raccoon, lends Drax the use of a beat-down shuttle, so that he can complete his mission, but after being attacked by space pirates, Drax crashes onto a no-name planet. Looking for a way to rebuild the ship, he runs into Terrax, a former herald of Galactus and a mystery, that involves people and items from the planet going missing. In helping a mechanic and barkeep try to find the missing things, Drax runs into something unexpected… Fin Fang Foom!

I expected very little from these series, as Drax is one of the two-dimensional Guardians members, but I must say, these series is awesome! Drax on his own, actually shines, since he’s not being over shadowed by the other Guardians. I loved the art and humor in this book and really want to know what is going on and why Fin Fang Foom is involved! I’ve always loved Marvel’s cosmic stuff and this one is up there with the best!

Recommended

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