Title: Warhammer 40,000- Damnation Crusade Paperback Collection
Publisher: The Black Library
Storytellers: Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton (writers) with Lui Antonio, Greg Boychuk, Daniel Lapham, and Kevin Chin (artists)
This large paperback collection tells the story of three different warriors of Black Templar, one of many chapters of Space Marines in the Imperium of Man. Brother Gerhart is well respected Battle Brother, but some believe that he seeks too much glory, while Neophyte Raclaw is a new recruit, from a barbarian planet, who is trying to prove his worth to his master and the Emperor. Lastly is the Dreadnaught Tankred, a venerable warrior, whose body is gone but his mind and essence is placed in a living sarcophagus-of-sorts, and is made into an engine of destruction, one which is rarely called on, unless the circumstances are dire. This story skips between the three protagonists, showing us different battles and military engagements, but never really giving us a sense of when these events occur or if, somehow our three heroes will ever meet. There are a lot of battles and many different enemies, from Xenos to Chaos, and our three heroes do their duty and protect mankind from these threats. It isn’t until the last issue that you come to understand that the three heroes will never meet, because they are the same individual, and that this story is being told out of order, hoping between the different time periods. Raclaw is his name when he was a barbarian and a neophyte and when he becomes a full-fledged Battle Brother, is takes his fallen master’s name of Gerhart and when he is grievously wounded, he is preserved and placed in a Dreadnaught and become Tankred and continues his service to the Emperor.
Wow, I did not see this ending coming! I had expected that the three separate stories would merge at some point, but I never guessed that they were all the same Space Marine. Up until the ending this was only an alright story, focusing heavily on battle with many different confrontations at that. The art is great, better than expected, because I’ve heard that some of the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 comics can be “hard on the eyes”.
I can not recommend this collection enough! I you love 40K or enjoy unique science-fiction, then this is the book for you. If I had two complaints about this collection, is that, first, the issues aren’t clearly defined, but if you’ve every read a comic or a comic collection, they you can probably guess where each issues ends and begins and second, you don’t get any additional content such as a cover gallery or behind the scenes art, but what you do get for $15 is well worth it. If they released this in a collector’s edition with some additional content and a hardcover, I would most certainly buy it!
I was able to find some of the covers online, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them!
Title: He-Man and She-Ra – A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures Hardcover Book
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Author: James Eatock
This is the third massive hardcover from Dark Horse Comics, featuring He-Man and She-Ra. This time, get an extensive episode guide, featuring tons of information and art based on the many episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power.
Each episode gets at least two pages devoted to it (some with more), and provides the episodes original air date (in both the US and UK), the writer and director and even when the script was approved. We also get a cast list for each episode along with some trivia and memorable quotes, as well as an episode synopsis, the episode’s ending moral, and a review. We also get some info (as well as some art) on deleted scenes and a segment called “Same/As”, where Eatock tells us were characters, items and places were reused for episodes. With all of that, they greatest aspect is the included art. I have a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episode guide by James Eatock, but because it was unofficial, it has no art, just the write-ups on each episode. It is also paperback and on lesser quality paper, than this guide. While I’ve found that most of the info in that book is the same here, this hardcover provides us with much more, including the added art and the inclusion of She-Ra, Princess of Power.
Even though I’ve already read a good portion of this book, this was a must have for my collection. The new layouts, and added art, add so much more to the enjoyment of this episode guide, which also includes episodes of She-Ra, which in my opinion, is the better series, make this one highly…
Title: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Hardcover Collection
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
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!
Title: The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover Artbook
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
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!
As a note, this is the only DC Absolute Edition I own and my favorite comic of all time!
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!