Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living Legends 25 Notes

Living Legends

I am going to remain mostly mum for this one. But we do finally meet the villains of our first volume in the flesh and I think I should go in to more detail on the members of the Cabal.

Dominique is, of course, the Sorceress of Zoom, an adventure of whom can be found on Tales of the Living Legends. A villain turned Nazi fighting anti-hero, she seemed perfect for the story.

American Crusader has popped up repeatedly over the course of the series, and we can clearly see here that his goals go well beyond just apprehending Atoman. His motivations still remain vague however.

Manowar (or Man Of War) in his original incarnation was a warrior literally created by Mars to fight during World War II.

FaceThe Face makes his first appearance in Living Legends here. Reporter Anthony Trent hated crime and donned a fright mask to fight against it. We will quickly learn over the course of this and the next chapter that it is far more than a simple mask. In a team of corrupted heroes, he is clearly the worst. He revels in causing pain and misery now.

And Lash Lightning’s true intentions finally come clear.

Next month, we hit our big climax as the heroes and the Cabal finally face off once and for all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Complete Clone Saga 7: Smoke & Mirror

“Smoke & Mirror” brings the separate stories back together as the deadly Jackal begins to show he is just as alive as Ben Reilly! During a terrible snowstorm, Scarlet Spider comes under attack by the Jackal’s genetically engineered minions and is left unconscious.

Part two in Amazing-Spider-Man 399 opens with a brief scene expanding the mystery of Kaine as the killer vigilante speaks with the mysterious Scrier. Spider-Man finds the downed Scarlet Spider and helps him get his wits about him. The Jackal finally appears and claims that both men are in fact clones. Any fight gets broken down as Jackal takes another figure out of suspended animation: a woman he claims is the original Gwen Stacy!

Part three erases the erasure of the Clone Saga in an earlier “Evolutionary War” annual. The High Evolutionary’s revelations were all fabrications, but to what purpose we do not learn. Peter hugs Gwen, but she quickly suffers a case of clone degeneration. Jackal escapes and leaves the two Spiders with still more questions about their own identities.

Up Next: “Players & Pawns”.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Super-Powered Comics: Batman Private Casebook

Batman Private Casebook goes back and picks up the stories that DC skipped when they rushed “Heart of Hush”; to the stands. Like most of Paul Dini’s run, this is made up of mostly done-in-ones, with the exception of a 2 part Zatanna guest shot.

The book opens with an epilogue to the recently completed “Resolution of Ra’s Al Ghul” that turned out better than that entire crossover combined. Batman’s way of disabling Al Ghul is sheer genius in this one.

“The Wonderland Gang” follows. It features a long necessary but never used team-up between the Mad Hatter and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. They recurit an entire gang of Wonderland inspired characters. Once again it comes with a great twist ending.

Peter Milligan takes over for a one-shot prequel to the new Azrael book detailing the abilities of the Suit of Sorrows. Meh.

The two-parter follows and it not only introduces Zatanna back in to Bruce’s life, but also gives us the origin of the new Ventriloquist. I am still not a big fan of the original Ventriloquist, but the story works as what it tries to do.

“The Riddle Unanswered” closes the book with another story of the detective rivalry between Riddler and Batman.

A short Zatanna Halloween story does little more than fill pages at the end of the book. Still, it is an exercise in solid story, and I would argue the first two tales are well worth it to all comic fans. The trade is reasonably priced and worth it to anyone looking for some fun Bat-tales. Recommended.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Out For Vengeance 8 Notes

Honestly, this is a transitional chapter. It is all about getting from the first part of our story with Vengeance reestablishing ties to his past and in to the second part, where we start learning the mysteries of what exactly happened to him over the last several decades.

We have a few big clues building this month, but more will revealed in the next few months!

Be back next month as Vengeance and Rancor head to Brazil and meet a certain (and somewhat obscure) literary figure of the early twentieth century!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tales of the Living Legends returns!

Hey folks! Today is the big day for the return of my golden age webcomic Tales of the Living Legends! We have started a whole new collection of stories that will play out over the next few weeks with the “Many Lives of Sally Lincoln!”. This will give us more details in to the identities that Ghost Woman has put on over the years to mask her presence over the decades.

And with that we will fall silent for the next few days as I take a brief reprieve from the internet. Please keep an eye out for more news and reviews at the end of the week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Super-Powered Comics: Diamond Destinations January

I am a bit late on this one, simply because I haven’t been in the comic shop for a couple weeks. But let’s hurry up and see what looks good:

p. 52: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #33: This issue features the big reveal that is all over the internet now. Still not sure how I feel about this one, but I would guess this issue will be a huge seller for Dark Horse.

p. 80: First Wave #1: DC’s revival of classic pulp characters under the pen of Brian Azzarello begins in full force this month. This follows directly after the events of Batman/Doc Savage, and will apparently pick up plot points from that story. With art by Rags Morales this book should be a real beaut, but it remains to be seen how much Azzarello can bring to the table for the classic pulp characters.

p. 116: American Vampire #1: Another series promises you Stephen King actually writing a comic and this one seems to actually be delivering it. However, I still strongly suspect that writer Scott Snyder is doing little more than working from King notes for the book’s back-ups. The book does seem to have an intriguing concept, and it does have 40 pages for its $3.99 price tag.

p. 142: Image United: Interlude #1: Well, invariably Image United was going to have some delays and for the second month we get no new issue here. But we do get a book that is potentially even more interesting, as several other Image characters make appearances in this special issue, all drawn by their artists. Invincible leads the pack, but from those shadows, I am guessing we will also be seeing at least Pitt in this book. Any guess on the other folks?

p. M85: Millar & McNiven’s Nemesis #1: I am by no means Mark Millar’s biggest fan, but this combination of the Batman and Joker in to one character leaves me intrigued. We will have to see how they play out on the printed page, but I suspect this could be the buzz book of 2010.

p. 229: Incredibles #8: I just wanted to point out the most recent issue of the Disney/Pixar/Boom book simply because one of my all time favorite writers and extreme Fantastic Four fan Karl Kesel is writing the most recent issue. Hopefully he will stick around for a long time to come.

p. 238: Green Hornet #1: The other huge release of March is the arrival of Kevin Smith’s take on the Green Hornet. This could either be an amazing book akin to his Daredevil run or more akin to the mediocre Batman: Cacophony. We will have to wait and see, I suppose. He has submitted every script though, so no worries of delays on this book.

p. 263: four different A-Team books: IDW wasted no time getting a hold of this license. I think the preview of the film looks excellent, but I think IDW is overdoing it with 4 titles in one month. This may be a huge gamble for the company.

p. 290: WWE Heroes #1: Wow. Just wow. Wrestling comics have always been an iffy prospect, and this one looks to be just a step above those terrible WWF books Valiant released in the early nineties. And by that I mean it makes even the worst of the Chaos! Comics titles look like a Gaiman masterpiece. It’s sad, because I think there is a potential market for wrestling comics, but this is not the way to do it.

p. 312: Back Issue #39: Every other month, this magazine brings retrospectives on some of the best comics of yesteryear. This month it brings you the funniest with an April Fools themed edition, complete with a Spider-Ham cover. And we all know Spider-Ham is worth the price of admission alone.

p. 316: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: It is Seth Grahame-Smith’s next novel after Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. Do you need to know anything else?

p. 354: TNA Impact! figures: They have nothing to do with superheroes (except for maybe Sting), but I have to say I found it amusing to see the ads mention the show was on FoxSportsNet, even though it has been on SpikeTV for about three years now, I believe. Time to update your info, ad guys!

p. 358: Did you ever want to spend $200 for a non-moving Thundercat? Well now you can with the Cheetara statue!

p. 398: You know DVDs are coming out too fast after the movies initial release when Previews lists Daybreakers, Book of Eli, and Legion all on DVD prior to their release dates this month.

There you go, my look at this month’s Previews.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Living Legends 24 Notes

Not going to say much this time around, as most of this chapter is build for the explosive conclusion to our first book.

This is the one and only chance in this book to really get a good feeling for the young heroes in action. But the Newgen will get some more face time in book two (and possibly a spin-off). Manowar is the golden age Man of War, a Centaur character revived once before by Malibu for their Protectors series. I am going back to the original concept of a figure literally created to serve war with this incarnation, but his origins are a little more complicated than they first appeared back in the early forties.

I do love the idea that Fire-Eater can turn his spit into napalm. Honestly, I am surprise how much fun a fire-breathing character can prove to be.

The heroes finally start to come together again this chapter. Expect more to arrive in a couple weeks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Evolution Comics returns!

As you (hopefully) know, Jay Rainford-Nash and I have been producing a page a week of our super-powered webcomic Arc. We are fast approaching the end of our first issue with the next well underway.

But elsewhere on the comics front, my other comic work, Tales of the Living Legends returns with “The Many Lives of Sally Lincoln!” in just one week. The gear-up is well underway and unlike volume one that just told adventures of our heroes and villains from the prose story Living Legends, this one will reveal new details about the mystery of Sally Lincoln’s strange identity.

I highly recommend fans of Arc and Living Legends head over and check out the announcement. Or you can catch up with the first volume of Tales, past chapters of Living Legends and all of Arc! Just read and be sure to let us know what you think!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pulp Empire is back!

In a move I have been working towards for a few years now, I am proud to announce the return of Pulp Empire to the computer screen. The former Pulp Empire ran as a sub-site to the defunct Wei Empire and Metahuman Press for a couple years before it was retired to move focus further on to MHP. But with nearly 100 years past since the early days of the pulps, I think the time is back for some new pulp for the new century. And a new logo:

Right now, we are actively searching for pulp story submissions. Please view the guidelines at our submissions page. The best part of this project is that we will be making a print edition available for every 3 to 4 months of stories! That means the potential for actual money going in to the hands of our contributors, something MHP has yet to be able to offer. Check the aformentioned submissions page for more details.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Super-Powered Comics: Meet the Charlatan!

I am always out to review new independent superhero comics. They often seem few and far between, and unfortunately, often come in a format I am not willing to immediately shill out the cash for. Thank goodness for my local library. They allowed me to check out a fun new book called Charlatan: Preludes.

Published by independent (and oddly named) studio General Jinjur Comics, Charlatan is the story of Augie Halford. The story revolves around an object of power and its user and the sudden transformation of Augie by that power. When under the power, he turns in to a golden clothed and skinned hero with an Iron Man-like chest plate.

Augie, his wife, and daughter find themselves dragged in to an international conflict that only the mysterious power can help defeat. It feels like any number of other superhero stories, but the family situation serves to give the tale a unique twist. It’s exciting and it’s fun.

And that is the keyword with Charlatan: fun. It reminds me repeatedly of eighties Marvel and DC. Real world situations are always present and the heroes often are in rather dangerous situations, but writer Gil Lawson never lets it get in the way of the book being fun. It’s a quality sadly lacking in most mainstream titles these days. BUt for other fans of good quality comics from that era, you will find a lot to love with Charlatan.

Charlatan isn’t quite perfect. Artist Eliseu “Zeu” Gouveia either rushes pages or has an assitant somewhere as figures will often alter in facial features section by section. The first collection was clearly originally designed to be three individual issues which were (I assume) combined in to one trade for savings purpose. But any number of plot threads back on earth pop up, many featuring completely new characters, and all of which remain totally unresolved by book’s end. It does a lot to subtract from the cohesiveness of Charlatan: Preludes.

One last comment: Why the heck is this book called Charlatan. Is that supposed to be his super-powered form’s name. If so, it might be wise to point it out in the future.

Even with its foibles, there is a lot more to love in Charlatan. Sadly, not enough of this kind of comic exist anymore. But to quote Levar Burton, #8220;You don't have to take my word for it.”. This link will take you straight to a thirty page preview of the story. Read it. If you can tell me you didn’t enjoy yourself after finishing that, then you don’t have to buy it. If you did enjoy it, pick this up. It’s a good time and it is definitely Recommended.