The Weirdos in the Sky: The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer of awesome

To be clear I mean weirdos in the best possible way. Seriously, I love these guys.

This trailer debuted on Monday so there’s a good chance you’ve already seen but just in case you haven’t I thought I’d post it here.

Earlier this year I read Volume One of the current Guardians of the Galaxy series by Brian Michael Bendis. And I fell in love with it – with the characters, with the world, with the sarcastic sense of humour. The whole lot of it.  I’m not sure how much the movie is going to use from this series versus older plot lines but there’s one thing I can say for sure – this is one endearing group of outlaws. If you’re not excited about this movie yet, you should be.

What did you think of the trailer? Have you read any of the Guardians of the Galaxy comics? Do you have a favourite?

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Reviews: Battling Boy & Gambit Volume 1

Battling Boy (2013). First Second. Written and illustrated by Paul Pope.

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Monsters roam through Arcopolis, swallowing children into the horrors of their shadowy underworld. Only one man is a match for them – the genius vigilante Haggard West. Unfortunately, Haggard West is dead. Arcopolis is desperate, but when its salvation comes in the form of a twelve-year-old demigod, nobody is more surprised than Battling Boy himself.

Magical t-shirts, space, crazy monsters? What’s not to love about this book?

Battling Boy is a demi-god who has been sent to Acropolis to prove himself. He’s been told very little about what he’s supposed to do and is only given some magical t-shirts with which to accomplish his goals. He goes in just as blind as the reader and together you discover just how crazy this world is and how much work needs to be done. This is the kind of story that I would have inhaled as a kid (and frankly still is). It’s action packed, dangerous and above all a little crazy. The villain is also incredibly creepy.

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In terms of the artwork, I applaud Paul Pope’s unique style but found it a little abnormal for my taste. Sort of like how Ren and Stimpy used to make me feel – a.k.a unsettled. That’s not to say it was bad, just not my style.

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Given my affinity for awesome super-heroines it should be no surprise that I was most enthralled with Aurora West, so I am very excited to see she is getting her own book later this year. However upon giving my copy to a nine year old boy I was quickly informed that in fact the t-shirts are the coolest part (and a trip to school for show and tell finds that others agree – I’m outnumbered!)

Gambit Volume 1: Always a Thief (2013). Marvel. Written by James Asmus. Illustrated by Clay Mann & Diogenes Neves.

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When Marvel’s premiere thief sets his sights on his biggest score yet, he may just end up over his head. Desperately searching for a means to destroy the pilfered artifact that’s cursed him, Gambit journeys deep into the Guatemalan jungles in search of a lost temple – but finds an ancient god-monster accidentally loosed on Earth! It’s going to take more than just playing cards and southern charm to get out of this one!  Then, coerced by a criminal mastermind, Gambit is sent to the United Kingdom to heist the greatest weapon in the history of man: Excalibur! How will Marvel’s premiere thief manage to dupe his extortionist while also escaping with a clear name? Be here as the X-Men’s ragin’ cajun kicks off his all-new solo career!

Gambit and Rogue were my OTP before that was even a term people used. I remember watching them on the old X-Men cartoon before school and loving every line of their Southern dialogue. And Gambit’s absence from the X-Men movies (let’s just pretend the Wolverine origin movie doesn’t count) was one of my biggest disappoints. So when I saw he was staring in his own comic series I knew I had to check it out.

I thought this collection started out on a strong note. Gambit is a lot more mature after everything he’s gone through but he is still himself and he is dying to return to his old ways (if only for a little while). But as it continued I began to lose interest. Primarily because he hardly interacts with any of the other X-Men. I know this is his solo series but I have a hard time believing the team/the school wouldn’t be a central part of his life/thoughts. The second reason was that this reads just like an Indiana Jones story, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but doesn’t feel particularly “X-Men.” This could have been any generic thief in my opinion. And finally the love interest. She fell completely flat to me. Her actions didn’t make any sense and ultimately she is completely forgettable.

Despite how initially excited I was for this series I don’t think I will be continuing with Volume 2.

Cover Comments February 2014 – DC & Dark Horse Edition

Welcome to cover comments! A monthly feature where we break down what we think are the best and worst covers the month has to offer.

DC Comics

I am really digging what’s going on with the various Superman covers this month. So eye catching. But two definitely stood out as especially awesome.

Action Comics #28

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Superman #28

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I just love what they’ve done with the titles and the old fashioned look to Action Comics. They look classic but with an edge.

Batwing #28

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As always I adore the Batwing covers. The colours are so unique and pop right off the page.

Batgirl #28

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Talk about jumping out at you. The painted cover, the dark shadows, Batgirl as a vampire…I need this comic! It’s dark and disturbing and different from what you normally see on Bat-books.

Sandman Overture #2

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We may have lost J H William’s gorgeous art on Batwoman but at least there is still Sandman. And in Sandman he can let his creative flag fly. There is so much going on in this cover, I’m curious to know what every little bit represents even though I have read the main Sandman series.

Dark Horse

Creepy Comics #15

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This was probably my least favourite cover of the month. Not because the art is bad. The art is fine. But it’s just so silly. What she’s just running around the jungle naked but yet ready to kill things? And if she doesn’t care what she’s wearing why even bother with that stupid strip of clothing that covers nothing? But of course Jungle Women still have time to style their hair.

Tomb Raider #1

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If the last cover was an example of what not to do, this is an example of them getting it right. Lara Croft looks bad ass here! She’s wearing logical clothing, she has not one but two weapons, she is not looking over her shoulder so that her butt is the first thing we see, and despite being wounded she is not depicted as “in distress.” Love everything about this.

Mind MGMT #19

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I always love the art in Min MGMT but the last few month’s I’ve found the covers kind of blah. This feels like a return to the truly bizarre nature that is this series.

Occultist #5

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I love the mixture of styles going on here – from the fluidity to the red cloak to the neon sign reflection of his adversary. I’m not familiar with this series but this cover makes me want to dive in.

Star Wars #14

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Favourite Dark Horse cover of the month. Just gorgeous. (Plus I’m such a Darth Vader fangirl). I bet it looks even more amazing in print.

Looks like we had better luck this month with DC & Dark Horse titles than we did back in November. Which ones were your favourites?

Reviews: Rachel Rising, Superior Spider Man + The Manhattan Projects

I’ve been pretty lucky recently. A lot of the trade paperbacks I’ve been picking up have been absolutely excellent. Here are three of my new favourites.

Rachel Rising. Volume 1 The Shadow of Death (2012) Abstract Studios. Written and illustrated by Terry Moore.

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Rachel wakes up at sunrise on a shallow grave in the woods and discovers the freshly murdered body in the dirt is her own. With events of the previous night a blur, Rachel seeks out her boyfriend Phillip. But Phillip has a new girl now and Rachel is beginning to suspect she rose from the grave for a reason… revenge! Collects issues 1-6.

This is without a doubt one of the most underrated comics on shelves right now. It’s a dark and mysterious tale and it had me captivated from the very first few pages.

Rachel Rising is unsurprisingly about a girl named Rachel. Rachel is not your average girl though. She was dead and now she’s not. However before you get any wrong ideas, this is not a zombie comic. Rachel is not undead. She is alive again, with only a scar around her neck and bloodshot eyes as evidence of what happened to her. She’s a very mysterious character, you don’t find out a lot about her write away, revelation are slow and deliberate building onto the overall suspense of the story.

This comic is extremely dark. There is a lot of death and destruction and it will shock you. BUT it is not gory by any means, which is an impressive feat – to make me gasp in surprise without resorting to gore. The art is also completely in black and white. I wasn’t sure about this at first. It’s normally not my thing, but in this case I couldn’t imagine this comic in colour. The black and white and simple style really add to the creepiness of this story. It’s something terrible happening in the most normal of places.

If you enjoy horror, ghosts stories or simply comics with a lot of suspense I highly recommend Rachel Rising. It’s one of my new favourites.

Superior Spider Man Volume 1: My Own Worst Enemy (2013). Marvel. Written by Dan Slott. Art by Ryan Stegman & Giuseppe Camuncoli

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THEN!…Peter Parker spent a lifetime living up to the responsibilities his powers foisted upon him, but his story finally ended dramatically in the historic Amazing Spider-Man #700. NOW!…The new Amazing Spider-Man has arrived, and he is better in every single way. Smarter, stronger…Superior. And he’ll prove it, both to himself and the world, when he faces down the all-new Sinister Six! But is this all-new Spider-Man in cahoots with J. Jonah Jameson? And has Carlie Cooper figured out the Superior Spider-Man’s secret identify? Plus: Spider-Man and Mary Jane…reunited?! All this and the return of the villainous Vulture! It’s an all-new era of web-slinging excitement, and it all starts NOW! Collecting Superior Spider-Man 1-5.

The problem with characters that have been around for decades is that often times their stories can feel recycled or repetitive. So I really have to hand it to Dan Slott from bringing us a unique and daring new Spider Man plot arc.

Peter Parker is dead. That alone is enough to throw this series through a loop. But to make matters even more interesting, Doc Oc has taken over his body and taken up the mantel of Spider Man. And of course, being the self-important, genius that he is, Doc Oc believes he can be a superior Spider Man. And for a little while he manages it.

I like Peter Parker. I really do. I think that he is funny, and good natured and an all around great character. But I also love reading things from the villains point of view. I love when writers allow readers to really get inside the villains head and find out more about them, and that is exactly what Slott has done here. Is this new Spider Man a nice guy? Not really. He’s still helping people sure, but his motivations are a little more suspect. But he is an interesting character, who faces his own challenges, desire and obstacles.

I know this plot arc is rather controversial but I actually think it’s a nice change. It’s already been announced that Peter Parker will be returning eventually, so why not sit back and enjoy this look into the psyche of one of his most famous villains?

The Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science, Bad (2012). Image Comics. Written by Jonathan Hickman. Art by Nick Pitarra. 

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What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? Collecting the coolest new series of the year into one super science package. Collects The Manhattan Projects issues #1-5.

This is one of those comics that I feel like everyone is reading and yet I knew almost nothing about the story (except for the line above) before I cracked open Volume One. I actually thought it was about aliens. Like Area 51 inside the Manhattan Projects.

And there are sort of aliens. But there is much much more to this comic than that. Jonathan Hickman is incredibly good at making me believe the incredible. The Manhattan Projects centres around real people, but he takes some major liberties with their biographies. For example, Robert Oppenheimer. In the context of this story Oppenheimer is a twin, and his twin brother, Joseph, is also quite brilliant. However Joseph’s brilliance is more along the lines of Dr. Moreau or Dr Jekyll and he’s goes more than a little mad. The way this is written was so realistic I actually had to google it to make sure there wasn’t actually a Joseph Oppenheimer. I think that’s what makes this series so compelling. It may be filled with over the top science fiction but it is twisted up with real life people and facts and it makes you want to believe (like the X-Files).

The art is also quite unique. It has a way of throwing you off balance, and making you feel a tad uncomfortable. In this way it adds to the bizarre nature of the story.

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The end of this volume will leave you desperate for more. You’ll need to know what else this group of mad scientists were getting up to behind closed doors.

New Comics Day: Our January 15 2014 Pull List

ARDO’S LIST

Rat Queens #4 (Image)

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This comic is awesome.

 

Coffin Hill #4 (Vertigo)

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Not enjoying the pacing of this story. This issue will determine whether I continue reading it.

 

Velvet #3 (Image) 

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Ed Brubaker!

 

Marvel Knights: Hulk #2 (Marvel)

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LOVED issue #1.

 

Alex + Ada #3 (Image)

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I’m enjoying this so far. Let’s see where this issue takes me…

CHRISTA’S LIST

Amazing X-Men #3 (Marvel)

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I’m still really enjoying this series. Although my Nightcrawler bias might be showing.

Batgirl #27 (DC Comics)

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Batgirl Wanted is over. Now let’s see what gothtopia is all about.

Coffin Hill #4 (Vertigo)

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The witches of Coffin Hill may be my favourite witches.

Rat Queens #4 (Image)

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Just love this series so much.

Velvet #3 (Image)

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Ed Brubaker ❤

Image Expo Recap

This past week Image Comics held their annual expo to showcase all their new and upcoming comics. These days quite a few of my monthly comics are Image titles (Pretty Deadly, Sex Criminals, Rat Queens…) so I was pretty excited to see what they have up their sleeves for 2014.

And they did not disappoint. There are some AMAZING comic stories being published in the coming months and some of my favourite creators are attached to them. Here are some of my highlights.

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C.O.W.L

Creators: Kyle Higgins (Batman, Nightwing), Alec Siegel (Captain America, Avengers), and Rod Reis (Justice League)

Expected Release Date: May 2014

C.O.W.L takes readers back to 1960s Chicago, in a time when the once-celebrated superhero labor union C.O.W.L. struggles to maintain their public image and regain the confidence of the people. A rise in “super powered” individuals dates back to the closing days of World War II after the deployment of the atomic bomb. In response, Geoffrey Warner (then known as The Grey Raven) spearheaded the campaign to bring heroes together in Chicago…and struck a contract with the city for the heroes’ services. But while C.O.W.L. once stood as a beacon of hope against an epidemic of organized crime and a loose “brotherhood” of villains, the organization is now in a position where it must prove its worth to an ever more disillusioned public…while overcoming great threats from both inside and outside its offices.

Why I’m excited: This sounds like Mad Men meets Watchmen. I love the time period, I love the Chicago setting  and I love the idea of a superhero union.

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Bitch Planet

Creators: Kelly Sue DeConnick (PRETTY DEADLY, Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) and artist Valentine De Landro (X-Factor)

What’s it about?

Sure to be a campy, kick-ass adventure, BITCH PLANET is the story of five leading ladies ready to bust out of their prison cells (but you know in space).

Why I’m excited: Kelly Sue is an auto-buy for me. I currently read Avengers Assemble, Ghost and Pretty Deadly and think she’s beyond talented. Plus not one, not two but five leading ladies. Bring it on!

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The Fade Out

Creators: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

What’s it about:

It’s about the death of a Hollywood starlet in the 1940s that’s described as being “epic” in scope and dealing with World War II, suggests a return to more straightforward crime fiction from their current horror series Fatale

Why I’m excited:

Ed Brubaker is king of the noir. And he is a comic god. Another auto-buy.

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Casanova

Creators: Matt Fraction (SEX CRIMINALS, SATELLITE SAM), Fábio Moon (Daytripper, Serenity), and Gabriel Bá (Daytripper, The Umbrella Academy), Micheal Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Klay)

What’s it about?

This is actually the return of an old character – Casanova Quinn. Casanova escaped the complicated and stressful life of a dimension-hopping, identity-shifting, sexually voracious killing machine and we last saw him wandering out of the wreckage of a UFO that landed in the Hollywood Hills.
It’s our Los Angeles. It’s our Earth. And he remembers absolutely nothing of his past. I have to admit I’m not familiar with. But Fraction promised this would be a great jumping on point for new readers, especially since the character himself can’t remember what happened in the earlier books.

Why I’m excited: Did you read that creator list? I love Micheal Chabon’s novels and Daytripper is one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. And of course everybody’s favourite Matt Fraction. I’m not 100% sold on the premise but with this team I’m willing to give it a shot.

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Ody-C

Creators: Matt Fraction and Christian Ward

What’s it about:

A reinterpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey that takes place in space, and gender swaps every character in the story.

Why I’m excited: More Matt Fraction! Also gender swapped classics are my jam.

image expoLow

Creators: Rick Remender (BLACK SCIENCE) and artist Greg Tocchini (Uncanny X-Force, Last Days of American Crime

What’s it about?

Low is a science fiction adventure set in the distant future after the Earth has been ravaged by solar radiation and humanity has retreated below the sea and surface to survive.

Why I’m excited: That cover was what initially caught my eye. I hope that’s actually what the internal art is like because it is gorgeous. I’m also on a huge science fiction kick right now and I think this could prove to be an incredibly thought provoking story if done right.

Restoration

Creators: Bill Willingham (Fables, Elementals) and Barry Kitson (Batman, Fables)

What’s it about?

On Restoration Day, magic comes back into the world. This is not good news. The magic and gods of legend and lore are not just oral history, but real…and now they’re back.

Millennia ago, a group of some of the more forward-seeing movers and shakers in the world got together and decided to remove magic from the world—our world. They called themselves The Brotherhood of the Cauldron, because, in the first stages of their massive project, they would feed captured magical items and beings into a large magic cauldron, which would render them down into their most basic magic essence, which could then be bottled and stored away, much like we store the unwanted residue of our nuclear programs.

The world settled down into manageable natural laws that were always the same for everyone. Magic was gone. Until one day something terrible went wrong and the gods and monsters broke loose. Suddenly, all at once, magic came rushing back into the world. Now the gods wish to keep their freedom—and magic—while the rest of the world seeks to imprison them. Will there be war? And who will win?

Why I’m excited: Magic, gods, a secret brotherhood, Bill Willingham….need I say more?

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Shutter

Creators: Joe Keatinge teams up with artist Leila del Duca

What’s it about?

Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer on Earth—an Earth that’s far more fantastical than the one we know, filled with demons, gorgons, phantom ninjas, and various other monsters of lore—is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.

Why I’m excited: Female led comic, female artist on board and they’ve described it as a contemporary Indiana Jones

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Wytches

Creators: Scott Snyder (Batman, Superman Unchained, SEVERED) and Jock (Batman, Wolverine, SNAPSHOT)

What’s it about?

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying.

Why I’m excited: I think Scott Snyder is doing a great job on Batman but I think he is at his absolute best when he is writing horror comics like American Vampire and The Wake and now Wytches.

 image expoThe Wicked & The Divine

Creators: Kieron Gillen (THREE, PHONOGRAM, Young Avengers) and Jamie McKelvie (PHONOGRAM, SUBURBAN GLAMOUR, Young Avengers)

What’s it about:

Twelve gods will be briefly reincarnated in order to perform miracles like superheroes and bask in celebrity fame. But for the first time, there may be a thirteenth god reincarnated, and lucky number thirteen is tipping the delicate balance.

Why I’m excited: This is the announcement I am the most excited for. This week I am mourning the end of Young Avengers so it was a huge pick me up to see Gillen and McKelvie will be reuniting for another fantastic, drama packed series.

What announcements from this year’s Image Expo caught your eye?

Review: Before Watchmen – Minutemen/Silk Spectre

Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre (2013) DC Comics. By Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner.

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The critically acclaimed and Eisner Award-winning creator of DC: THE NEW FRONTIER Darwyn Cooke lends his talents MINUTEMEN. As the predecessor to the Watchmen, the Minutemen were assembled to fight against a world that have more and more rapidly begun to spin out of control. Can these heroes from completely different backgrounds and with completely different attitudes on crime come together? Or will they fall apart before they begin?   SILK SPECTRE takes an introspective look at the WATCHMEN feature player’s struggles with her overbearing superhero mother and her scattered path toward taking the mantle of the Silk Spectre. With gorgeous art by co-writer and illustrator Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL, The Pro), SILK SPECTRE takes a very different perspective at the world of BEFORE WATCHMEN. Collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN 1-6 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: SILK SPECTRE 1-4.

I was wary of reading any of the Before Watchmen comics after hearing how strongly Alan Moore was opposed to them. I love the original and I wanted to respect the creator’s wishes. But ultimately curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check out at least one volume. I chose this one because I always wanted to know more about Silk Spectre (since it seemed like she got a raw deal overall) and I enjoy Amanda Conner’s artwork.

The first half of this collection is the story of the Minutemen – the group of heroes that proceeded the Watchmen. It’s narrated by Hollis Mason, who has decided to write a first hand account of their adventures and wants to make sure it’s ok with the rest of them. I found it a bit hard to follow at first but before long I was caught up in all the twists and turns and scandals. Seriously so much scandal.

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The Silk Spectre half is significantly less dark and is really more of a coming of age story than a superhero tale. We watch her grow from just another flower child to the hero she was trained to be. It’s a interesting story, though a times a bit fluffy and the secondary characters are a tad forgettable. The artwork is fantastic thought – bright and energetic and it makes up for the weak spots in the story telling.

If you enjoyed Watchmen and aren’t ready to leave the world and the characters behind this collection is worth a shot. It’s not as brilliant as the original but it is a compelling and fun read, and much better than I expected it to be.

3.5 out of 5

– Christa