Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The New Game Plan

Yeah, so I’m still not updating this blog nearly as much as I like, but I think I have worked out a remedy for that. You see, my erratic Clone Saga posts have made me think that it would be fun to go pick up old runs and start reading them, one issue at a time. I will blog about each series one day a week until I have came to the point where they aren’t so enjoyable anymore. And unlike reading old Clone Saga issues, hopefully I won’t get the urge to cut myself while reading them. So expect the first of those updates a week from tomorrow as we go back and look at the work of Walter Simonson as we start the first installment of what I like to call “Thor’s Day”.

Stay tuned.

(Oh, and I should have my next installment of Diamond Destinations up sometime between now and then.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Official Handbook to the Quadrant Universe: The Sword

The second man to take the name of the Sword is Lance Larter, the sidekick to the former hero. He first popped up at the beginning of Living Legends, but he only made his second appearance as we flashback to his story in the last chapter of the same story. As Living Legends goes on hiatus, he moves in to these pages on a new quest to save his friends.

Real Name: Lance Larter
Aliases: The Lance, The Lancer
Identity: Secret
Citizenship: United States of America
Place of Birth: Lakeville, Minnesota
Known Relatives: none
Group Affiliation: former partner of the Sword I
Education: High school graduate
First Appearance: Super Mystery Comics vol.3 #4, (modern) Living Legends: The Return (chapter one)

In his early teens, Lance Larter discovered that his friend Arthur Lake secretly held the legendary sword Excalibur. Arthur used the blade to battle local criminals as The Sword (see Sword I). When Sword ran in to trouble, Lance was granted the power to become the Lancer, a similar attired sidekick to his friend. With his magic lance, he assisted his friend in battling numerous supernatural threats to Lakeville.
Lance and Arthur would eventually join the Mystery Army (see Mystery Army) to battle the forces of Nazi Germany in Europe. Among the contingent of mystery men on the team, secret identities were a nonissue. His name shortened to Lance among the Mystery Army, a name that stuck upon their return to America.
In 1947, Sword and Lance joined a contingent of mystery men to travel to Brazil and attack a Nazi stronghold. During the attack, the mystery men were transported seventy years in to the future. Upon arrival in the modern day, Sword instantly grew sick. With the aid of a reborn Merlin, Lance took Sword to Avalon (see Avalon) to meet the Lady of the Lake.
He learned that his friend and the one true King Arthur were both poisoned by the magic of long-time foe Faye Morgana (see Morgana, Faye). The Lady of the Lake granted him Excalibur’s sister blade Caliburn and sent him out in to the world to find a cure.

Height: 6’              Weight: 181 lbs.
Eyes: Blue             Hair: Blonde

Sword possesses the mystical blade Caliburn, sister of King Arthur’s Excalibur. He can summon the blade with just a thought, and upon its appearance he is covered in silver and blue chainmail. Both the blade and armor are nearly impenetrable, though blunt force trauma can still cause the Sword much distress.
Much like Excalibur, Caliburn is reputed to have numerous secret abilities. The Sword has yet to unlock these powers however, and their nature remains to be seen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Official Handbook to the Quadrant Universe: Libertad

Libertad is the weakest character art-wise from this upcoming project, as Fabrica De Herois. But she is one of the character’s I am most looking forward to writing. While Annabelle Montalvo was a major player throughout Freedom Patton, this will be the first time I am writing her as a full-fledged superhero. I get to develop the hero / sidekick relationship between her and Freedom as well. It should be fun.


Real Name: Annabelle Montalvo
Aliases: None
Identity: Secret
Citizenship: United States of America
Place of Birth: Marshalltown, Iowa
Known Relatives: Jeannie Cruz (mother, deceased), Aurelio Montalvo (father)
Group Affiliation: partner of Freedom Patton
Education: High school dropout
First Appearance: Freedom Patton: A Dangerous Place to Live (chapter one)

Born to a high school dropout and an illegal immigrant, Annabelle Montalvo’s life started out on rocky footing. Her mom developed a drug habit when Annabelle was a small child. After her father left the family to return to Mexico, Annabelle ended up with social services. Her mother would wind up in jail on drug charges just a few months later.
Annabelle grew up in a variety of foster homes across the state of Iowa. By the time she became a teenager, Annabelle’s mother had served her sentence and got clean. But despite her mother’s best efforts, Annabelle remained in foster care in the small town of Tudor.
Her foster parents were good, but uncaring people. She started a relationship with Richie Williams, the town bad-boy. She helped Richie stay straight in school, even though both found themselves on the outs in the insular community.
The two teenagers stumbled upon a meeting of the World’s local faction with the group’s leader, Atlas (see Atlas). Richie showed up late for their liaison and was captured by the twisted super-patriot Liberator (see Liberator). She could only watch from her hiding place as Richie’s father, the town’s mayor, murdered his son in cold blood. She ran away from the city shortly after.
Agents of the World pursued her across southern Iowa. She would eventually be captured by Liberator and subjected to experiments based on his steroid-enhanced blood. Though all previous test subjects died as a result, Annabelle somehow survived. In the process she gained increased strength and endurance to match Liberator’s own.
She would soon be rescued by Freedom Patton and his allies (see Patton, Freedom). She used her new powers to aid them in defeating the World’s plans to take control of the state of Iowa. In the aftermath of the battle, she decided to join Freedom as he continued to travel across the country, in the hopes of learning more about using her new powers for good.

Height: 5’ 4”         Weight: 142 lbs.
Eyes: Brown         Hair: Black

Libertad’s muscle mass is far denser than a normal human. This grants her increased endurance. She suffers only surface burns from most small arms fire. Her strength is also greatly increased. She can bench approximately 1.5 tons though continued exertion will result in muscle fatigue and exhaustion.
She has received limited hand-to-hand combat training from Freedom Patton, though she seems to be a natural brawler.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Official Handbook to the Quadrant Universe: Freedom Patton

As a preview of the characters starring in the upcoming series Long, Hot Summer I am taking a look at the origins and histories of some of the main players. Thanks to Fabrica De Herois for their designer used to make the illustrations in this and subsequent posts. We start with Freedom Patton, the character that's story originally opened Metahuman Press. 

Real Name: Freedom Patton
Aliases: Frank Palahniuk, Mick Foley, Wayne Pilgrim
Identity: Public. The general public is unaware of Patton’s heroic activities.
Citizenship: United States of America
Place of Birth: Denison, Texas
Known Relatives: George S. Patton (alleged grand-uncle), Dwight D. Eisenhower (alleged grand-uncle)
Group Affiliation: partner of Libertad
Education: High school graduate.
First Appearance: Freedom Patton: A Dangerous Place to Live (chapter one)

Born on the 4th of July, the young Freedom Patton’s parents were both career military. The family moved from town to town throughout his youth, rarely staying in one place for more than a year or two. Because of the constant moving, Freedom rarely made friends. He quickly learned to close himself off from those around him, while still putting on an air of cool bravado. He quickly developed a bad boy image wherever he went, but despite the image he excelled in his high school education.
Upon graduation, Freedom left his family’s home and moved to Springfield, Illinois. He quickly fell in with a young woman named Leah while working in a fast food restaurant. The relationship was rocky from the start and was further strained by an unplanned pregnancy followed by a miscarriage.
Just a few months after his twenty-first birthday, Freedom was at work during the attack on the World Trade Center. Upon the first explosions, Freedom collapsed on the job. Hundreds of voices suddenly flooded his head. Despite all indications to the contrary, Freedom became the new Spirit of America (see Patriot). After escaping confinement at a local asylum, he set out to answer the calling and went to New York City.
In New York, he quickly fell in to a situation that mirrored his life in Illinois. He met and started a relationship with a psychic social worker named Iniri Granatella (see Granatella, Iniri). With her help, he got a job clearing rubble near ground zero. He soon ran afoul of a foreman with criminal ties named Vincent Santangelo. Accountant Frank Giordano embezzled millions of money belonging to crime boss Michael Santangelo, Vin’s uncle. Frank died when Tower One exploded. Freedom answers Frank’s call at a strip club, when he rescues two young women named Renet Ng and Eriko Tanaka from mob assassins. Renet and Frank had a relationship before his death, and Santangelo targeted her for the money. Freedom confronted the Santangelo crime family and the murderous rampage of Vin. He rescued Iniri and Renet from Vin, but not before he killed Eriko. His life in New York in shambles, he set out across the United States to answer the calls of the dead.
During his travels he ran afoul of federal marshal Joseph Edward Tilby (see Tilby, J.E.). Tilby hunted him across several states before he went too far and lost his badge.
Later Freedom teamed with the military-created metahuman Defcon 4 (see Defcon 4) to battle a crime ring in Denver. The two would become fast friends until Defcon betrayed him to the city’s crime boss. Defcon would disappear from the city. Freedom would survive the trap and eliminate the crime boss despite the criminal’s best efforts to the contrary.
When Defcon joined the Supergeneration (see Supergeneration) in Federation (see Champion City), Freedom followed him. He would quickly become embroiled in a battle with Supergen leader Powerhouse (see Powerhouse) over the Signet Stone (see Signet Stone of Nyarlothep). He would form an allegiance with Backoff and later Legend (see Backoff, Legend) as well as several other local heroes to defeat Powerhouse and expose the criminal empire he secretly controlled. But it came at the cost of Backoff’s life. After a vicious argument with Legend, Freedom left the city.
He would start on foot across Iowa, but would soon find himself in conflict with the domestic terrorist group known as the World (see World, The). He reunited with Iniri to rescue a young woman named Annabelle Montalvo. Along with now-Sheriff Tilby, they exposed the presence of the World in several small towns across the state. During her captivity, Annabelle was exposed to steroid-based drugs derived from the blood of Liberator, the twisted son of the Patriot (see Liberator). After the defeat of the World’s plans and the apparent death of their leader Atlas (see Atlas), Annabelle Montalvo would join him on the road as Libertad (see Libertad).
The pair continued to adventure across the country for the next year, though those adventures remain largely unknown.

Height: 5’ 10”      Weight: 182 lbs.
Eyes: Blue             Hair: Brown (usually dyed)

Possessed by the Spirit of America, Freedom Patton can hear the voices of all American martyrs, no matter the reason for their demise. Most of these martyrs will depart for the other side quite quickly, but occasionally a spirit will hold on and force Freedom in to action. He can resist such compulsions for a limited period of time, but continued resistance will cause sickness, possibly even death.
The spirits also give him a degree of protection, as they will warn him of dangers surrounding him, even if Freedom can’t see or detect it normally. As the carrier of the Spirit of America, he also has enhanced agility and dexterity, as well as strength and endurance at peak human levels.
He carries twin .45s, inspired by the old radio shows he often listens to on the road. In his hand, the guns rarely need to be reloaded do to the Spirit’s protection. However, anyone else using the guns will empty the weapon of ammunition. Once empty, Freedom will have to reload the weapons in order to continue using them.
Freedom’s travels over the last nine years have taught him numerous survival and combat skills. Further training with former mystery man Hit Higgins increased his basic fighting prowess. In addition, he can sometimes call on specific spirits to help him complete tasks which they possess knowledge about.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's going on with Take the Helm and Metahuman Press

Many of my regular readers may have noticed my sudden silence last month. I only managed to get three posts up for the month of May, and for any of my regular review readers, I apologize. But I did have good reason for my sudden silence. I have been working on a top secret project that debuts later this month at Metahuman Press! It is the culmination of a project I have been plotting for over a year.

Entitled Long Hot Summer, I will be unveiling more information about it over the next couple weeks. For now, I will just promise that it will take characters from pretty much every story I have produced at the MHP. As to who those characters are... well, that you will just have to wait and see.

This does mean that last month’s Living Legends and this month’s Out For Vengeance will bring each series to a close temporarily. Both will be back some time in the next year: Out For Vengeance sometime in late 2010 and Living Legends early next year. But in the mean time, check out Long Hot Summer and what comes in its wake.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Super-Powered Comics: Diamond Destinations June 2010 (for August)

Not the cover to Guardians of the Globe
p. 68: Superman Earth One HC: First announced around New Years, DC finally brings one of its two Earth One books to fruition. This hardcover by the team of J. Michael Straczynski (also the regular Superman writer) and Shane Davis promises to recreate the origins of the Man of Steel for the twenty-first century. I don’t know quite what to expect here. We have had at least three different origins of Superman in the last twenty-five years, and that’s not counting Smallville. But we will see how this “Ultimate” Superman takes off in the long run.

p. 87: Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #1 (of 3): Outside of surprise to see Elseworlds back at DC, I am excited to see more Cary Bates comic writing. The classic Superman scribe and more recent writer of Marvel’s excellent True Believers has shown that he has really stepped up his A-game in recent years. it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

p. 145: Dungeons & Dragons #0: IDW has picked up the D&D license now and I have no idea how good or bad it will be. But I do know one of the two universes they are debuting is a new Dark Sun book (to tie in to the re-release of the setting this year). Dark Sun is easily the most original (and over-powered) D&D setting ever and I am excited to see it in comic form for the very first time.

p. 168: Guardians of the Globe #1 (of 6): Robert Kirkman finally gives Invincible’s super-team a brand spanking new book of their own. With co-writer Benito Cereno and artist Ransom Getty, I trust these characters are in good hands. Now if we can just get an ongoing....

p. 172: Morning Glories #1: Nick Spencer really impressed me with his recent series Forgetless and this series about a private academy with hidden secrets and the six troubled kids that must unlock them looks to be one of the most promising new comics of the year.

p. M34: Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (of 4): Normally a retelling of the Infinity Gauntlet as an all ages title would probably not appeal to me. But when written by Brian Cevinger (Atomic Robo) and drawn by The Anchor’s Brian Churilla, my interest rises. And unlike most Marvel limiteds, this one still runs only $3, so I’ll be sure to pick it up.

p. M44: Shadowland: Power Man #1 (of 4): I know nothing about this new Power Man, though his costume reminds me a little too much of Rocket Racer for my taste. Still the creative team of Fred Van Lente and Dynamo 5’s Mahmud Asrar has potential. Unfortunately for my budget, the book runs $4.

p. M71: Namor: The First Mutant #1: I have been a big Namor fan ever since I discovered John Byrne’s book in 1990, followed shortly by back issues of Invaders. Normally, I would be all fired up for a new book starring the character. But his new X-universe book written by Stuart Moore, a solid but as yet unimpressive writer to this reader, and drawn by Ariel Olivetti, an artist whose current style I am less than fond, dampens my mood a little bit. The $4 price tag doesn’t help much either.

p. 252: Dracula: The Company of Monsters #1: Boom continues its attempts to expand its marketshare with this series developed and plotted by Kurt Busiek. The high concept is that it’s Dracula vs an evil corporation. If actually scripted by Busiek, I would almost certainly give this one a try despite the somewhat tired concept. Instead I’ll probably be giving this 4 buck book a once over at the store first.

p. 264: The Last Phantom #1: Dynamite’s take on Lee Falk’s Phantom debuts this month. And outside a lackluster cover by Alex Ross(!), I see very little to sell me on this book. I’m honestly a little disappointed to see the company let this book’s debut go so unheralded.

My costume is blood! I'm so 90's!
p. 298: Airfighters #2: Just when I was afraid we had seen the last of this great anthology book, Moonstone gives me issue two. Let’s hope it is 72 pages of awesome just like issue one.

p. 360: “Multiple Mang” t-shirt: Is this the first time Madrox has had a t-shirt, at least in this design, the same as the characters regular t-shirt. If so, isn’t that really strange?

p. 436: DC Adventures RPG: Hero’s Handbook: DC returns to table-top RPGs and it does so with the Mutants & Masterminds game system. I still am known to play the occassional game of the classic DC Heroes game from Mayfair, so I am more than interested in this combination of my two favorite super-hero RPGs.

p. 437: Smallville RPG Core Rulebook: And the same month the DCU gets a new RPG, the CW series based on the Superman mythos gets its own game as well... from a completely different publisher. Margaret Weis Productions brings this game to the market. They are known for high production values, and it should be interesting to see how they play out the show’s combination of superheroes and normal mortals.