Sep 252014
 
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Welcome, comic fans, to another Four-Color Bullet, proudly, the only comic book review column whose cover doesn’t smell like pot.

From the folks at the Marvel Bullpen this week, Dr. Aaron Aikman, a.k.a. Spider-Man, must fend off Morlun’s arrival to his part of the Spider-Verse, in Edge of Spider-Verse #3; Deadpool is attacked by a Spider-Slayer, and– wait, what? What’s a Spider-Slayer doing in Deadpool’s book? The crazy continues in Deadpool #35; and Luke Cage and his Mighty Avengers take on the Deathwalkers for all the marbles. At stake? Humanity,  in  issue#14, the final issue of Mighty Avengers. Next stop: Captain America and the Mighty Avengers!

From DC this week, riots are breaking out all over Gotham, and martial law may soon be a reality whether Batman likes it or not, in Batman: Eternal #25; Superman’s fight with Doomsday continues from the pages of Superman/WonderWoman, leading up to one of the most talked-about endings in DC fandom, in Superman: Doomed #2; and Green Hornet has been pardoned! And now the Dynamic Duo must work with their adversaries to foil an attack on Gotham, in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #10.

Image/Skybound brings us Robert Kirkman’s fourth issue of his horror series, Outcast, in which Kyle’s journey takes a new direction, and who is Luke Masters, and what is his deal?

Valiant’s crossover event concludes as Earth’s heroes rally behind X-O Manowar to face the Armor Hunters in a final, no-holds-barred showdown, in Armor Hunters #4.

IDW’s Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War continues in issue four as the League of Extraordinary Villains  complete their robot army of the captive Powerpuff Girls, Dexter, and Samurai Jack, with plans to conquer the universe! But why aren’t there any Ed, Edd, and Eddy robots?

The Colonial Fleet gather together under Arch-Duke Adama’s leadership, Athena and Starbuck are captured by pirates, and Apollo and his team take on Baltar’s Cylonic Knights, in the second issue of the smash hit Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880, from Dynamite.

 

The Final Issue! Can the team save New York from the terror of Tiamat? And will the cost be one of their own?

Erik Burnham: Writer Dan Schoening: Artist Luis Antonio Delgado: Colorist IDW PUBLISHING

Erik Burnham: Writer
Dan Schoening: Artist
Luis Antonio Delgado: Colorist
IDW PUBLISHING

The end is here! The Ghostbusters series finale! Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening conclude the Mass Hysteria story arc with more of a whimper than a bang, taking more of an emotional ending than an action-packed one.  Oh, there’s plenty of creepy, ghost-busting action, and it is creepy, but a large portion of the story revolves around Winston Zeddemore, and his noble efforts at stopping Tiamat’s reign of terror on a personal level. As I was reading this, I was daunted at the task that writer Erik Burnham had before him. Over the last few years, the Ghostbusters have acquired some extra teammates. How do you conclude an epic storyline, find something for everyone to do, and say goodbye to everybody?

But he manages it nicely. Even if it’s only a one-word bubble, everybody contributes. But as I said earlier, the story is really focused on Winston, giving us some considerable emotional weight. The weight on his shoulders is evident, and in a very heart-wrenching and tear-inducing moment, we see Winston’s nobility, and the cost he pays to save humanity. But while we’re crying over Winston’s plight, Burnham provides some balance, splitting the action, giving us some “zap, cap, in the trap,” visual, trademark-bantering, popcorn-in-the-gullet-shoveling, ghost-busting action with one of the, as Ray called it, “gross-” est beasties the team has ever faced, giving us a twisted and hilarious battle. And artist Dan Schoening and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado’s work has been nothing but stellar throughout, and nothing changes here. The ghosties are creepy and weird, and everything is rendered in beautiful detail. I will follow this creative team wherever they may go.

However …

You know what? No “however.” I have nothing bad to say. This was at the top of my pile every month and it ended on a high note. And we even get a glimpse into everyone’s future, like in one of those “what happened next” post-movie scenes. And the final page is guaranteed to give the reader a dose of teary-eyed nostalgia.

 Ghostbusters was fun, and a well-done book from beginning to end, and as a reader, I am sad to see it go. Now, bring on the TMNT crossover!

 

Rori’s mysterious powers continue to manifest, leading her to a classmate with a dark secret. One he might be willing to kill to keep.

Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Steve Cummings IMAGE COMICS

Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Steve Cummings
IMAGE COMICS

Image’s new horror comic continues with its second issue. I’m really getting into this one. I like writer Jim Zub’s work on this. He’s really good. Giving our heroine Rori Lane, a Japanese/Irish teen who lives with her mother in Japan, was brilliant. She has her foot in Japanese culture, yet she’s also half-gaijin, or foreigner, and it’s through her gaijin eyes that we experience the spooky side of Japanese culture with her.

As an anime and manga fan, I notice that a lot of Western artists portray Tokyo as this futuristic city bathed in lights. There are areas of Tokyo that are like this, but as a whole, it’s inaccurate. Manga drawn by Japanese artists aren’t like this. Artist Steve Cummings actually lives in Tokyo, so the scenes are spot on and he gets what the city looks like. We get the naked truth. Spirits and ghosts are at the center of the series, so with the accurate and real depictions of Tokyo, we can perhaps fool ourselves into thinking it’s real. Unlike other artists, who draw, for example, New York without having ever seen the city. we have an artist who delivers Tokyo accurately.

As far as story goes, Zub takes us deeper into Japanese mythology and with this issue, Rori gets a mysterious new ally. The encounter with Rori’s new friend provides much of the action, and we get a further look into the powers that our Buffy-like hero is manifesting. Ayane isn’t present in this one, but Tokyo’s cat population is keeping an eye on Rori.

At the end of each issue, thus far, we’re treated to an informative essay by Zack Davisson on Japanese culture. Last month was ghosts of Japanese culture, this month was an essay on why high schools are so important in Japan, and why they’re an important part of anime and manga.

However, I’m hoping that Zub can pick up the pace a little, giving a little more insight on Rori’s powers and what’s going on.

This is fast becoming one of my favorite books, both for content, and a nice price tag.

And this brings Four-Color Bullet to a close. Email and comment if you so desire. If you’re a Krypton Radio fan near Tennessee, come by Wizard World Nashville Comic con and say “hi.” I’ll be roaming around Music City Center in the thick of it all, so I hope I see you there.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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Sep 202014
 
hplffla14_portalimaged

hplffla14_portalimagedGame designer Aaron Vanek of Seekers Unlimited makes his perilous return to The Event Horizon at 9PM this evening Pacific time, this time to speak with your hosts Gene Turnbow and Susan Fox about the Lovecraft Film Festival & CthuluCon happening September 26-28, 2014 in San Pedro, California. That’s just a week away! Aaron knows a lot about H.P. Lovecraft, his life and his work. If you love Lovecraft, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival ® promotes the works of H.P. Lovecraft, literary horror, and weird tales through the cinematic adaptations by professional and amateur filmmakers. The festival was founded in 1995 by Andrew Migliore in the hope that H.P. Lovecraft would be rightly recognized as a master of gothic horror and his work more faithfully adapted to film and television.

The festival alternates between its original venue in the Hollywood Theater in Portland, Oregon and the Warner Grand Theater in the Los Angeles area.  The convention features

Tickets for the 2014 Los Angeles H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon® are now available via Brown Paper Tickets here. Tickets will also be sold at the theater box office. Cash or credit card only.

The Event Horizon airs again on Sunday and several more times during the week if you miss it this evening.

But of course, that would be madness.

Consult our What’s On When page for showtimes in your area.

The Event Horizon – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wifi.

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Sep 182014
 
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Four-Color Bullet

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column that fans are waiting to show up in the New 52. Speaking of showing up … Spoiler! Is! Back! And she looks fantastic! But we’ll get to Stephanie Brown in a sec. Here are this week’s bullets.

DC Comics presents: Martian Manhunter’s plans for world domination come to fruition, in Futures End: Justice League #1; Wonder Woman loses her humanity and embraces her destiny as God of War to fight back Nemesis, in Futures End: Wonder Woman #1; Batman and Robin! Trapped in the Widow’s web! Penguin to the rescue?! It’s all in Batman ’66 #43.

From Marvel this week, Edge of Spider-Verse continues as the Superior Spider-Man takes the fight to Karn, the man leaving a trail of dead Spiders throughout the multiverse, in Superior Spider-Man #33; Havok and the remaining members of the Avengers Unity Squad are brought low by Red Skull and his S-Men, in Uncanny Avengers #24; and Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, joins the X-Men, in All-New X-Men #32.

In the Valiant Universe, Quantum and Woody, and Archer and Armstrong continue their insane, and ill-conceived team up to find the Hobo King, in The Delinquents #2; Following Livewire’s sacrifice, Unity rallies. And they have Armor Hunters in their sights. Last hope. Last stand. Unity #11

And from IDW, an abortion clinic bombing leads Mulder and Scully to investigate a right-wing extremist group led by a teenage girl who claims to hear God. But her actions are far from heavenly, in The X-Files; Season 10 #16.

 

The kids are not all right

Written by Mark Waid Penciled by Chris Samnee Colored by matthew Wilson

Written by Mark Waid
Penciled by Chris Samnee
Colored by Matthew Wilson

When we last saw Purple Man, he was being pretty darn scary in Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias. Now, he drops by San Francisco, and as usual, his terrifying, sleazy, mind-control powers are with him. Mark Waid’s work on Daredevil has been nothing short of fantastic throughout. And this tale, book-ended by some of the creepiest, unsettling events I’ve seen in some time, is no exception. In addition to that, Matt gets to meet his girlfriend’s parents, and is given a proposition that Matt may find hard to say no to. Keeping an eye on how that plays out will be interesting. This issue is light on the action, but do you see that cover? It’s exactly what you think it is, and Waid makes Purple Man, and the Purple Children, some of the scariest foes Marvel has to offer.

And the action isn’t prevalent, but that just means that we have time for some character development. Characters need to be able to emote, and express properly on the page. In this regard, Chris Samnee is top-of-the-line as usual, and shares a deserved storytelling credit with Waid. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and this book is the better for it.

And so, a new arc begins with a terrifying new villain for DD. How Matt handles what comes next will be worth biting my nails for a month.

 

 

 

 

Spoiler, Sweetie!

Written by Ray fawkes, Scott Snyder, and James Tynion IV Penciled by Andy Clarke

Written by Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder, and James Tynion IV
Penciled by Andy Clarke

Along with Wally West, Stephanie Brown, a.k.a. The Spoiler, has to be the most fan-demanded character in DC’s New 52. Before the universe-spanning reboot, she was popular in the pages of the Batman books, even becoming Robin for a very brief spell before she tragically lost her life in a Gotham City gang war.

Her father, the two-bit Riddler wannabe Cluemaster, always provided some tension as Stephanie played the hero game behind her criminal father’s back. Stephanie re-appeared in the New 52 back in Batman: Eternal #3, and now makes her long-awaited debut as she takes on her criminal father as The Spoiler in this week’s issue 24.

Thankfully, we’re given a bit of a New 52 backstory in that we see her as a kid, and that acrobatics are nothing new to her or her father. What I as the reader could have used more of was a little more background on her. And storytellers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with wordsmith Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley and Kyle Higgins in as showrunners of sorts, have made New 52 Spoiler just intriguing enough to have been worth the long wait.

Artist Andy Clarke shines here, perfectly providing the tone the writers have tried to convey. And the action is smashmouth, wallop to wallop, panel to panel.

All in all, it’s good to have Stephanie back and her reboot is off to a good start.

And that is it for Four-Color Bullet this week. Email and comment if you so choose. Are you a Spoiler fan? What do you think of her return? Sound off, already!

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!

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Sep 112014
 

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It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another Four-Color Bullet, the only comic-book review column not guest-starring Deadpool.

On the Marvel side of things, the Spider-Man of the 1930s returns, this time not only up against the man called Mysterio, but knee-deep in the multiverse-spanning event that will affect every known spider-powered hero in existence, in Edge of Spider-Verse #1 starring Spider-Man Noir; Captain Marvel and her cat, Chewie, must fend off an alien intruder. They will both discover that in space, no can hear you meow, in Captain Marvel #7; and in the march to Axis, Marvel’s next big event, Magneto discovers the Red Skull is hauling mutants off to re-education camps, and is in possession of Charles Xavier’s powers, in Magneto #9.

Over at the Distinguished Competition, Batman Beyond and his team must make their move on TerrifiTech, in Futures End #19; Amanda Waller’s covert war against the United States reaches the tipping point as the Suicide Squad takes the White House, in New Suicide Squad #1: Futures End; Batman and Robin are about to be turned into pasta thanks to General Gumm’s death trap, forcing the Green Hornet and Kato to bring in Gumm and the Joker on their own, in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #9. 

And from the Valiant Universe, Archer’s assassin-for-hire sister Mary-Maria takes center stage in a roller coaster ride into next month’s game-changer, in Archer and Armstrong #24

 

Written by Dan Slott Penciled by Humberto Ramos Colored by Edgar Delgado MARVEL

Written by Dan Slott
Penciled by Humberto Ramos
Colored by Edgar Delgado
MARVEL

When last we left our intrepid web-slinging hero, the now-psychotic Black Cat was about to unmask Spidey on live television while Spidey’s new ally Silk fought Electro, and good ol’ J. Jonah Jameson himself narrated the unmasking. I thought it was going to be a gimmick. That Amazing Spider-Man #6 would roll out and Peter had a mask under the mask, or something similar.

Friends, I was wrong. Spider-Man has been unmasked. Again.

The first story arc of Peter Parker’s return to life ends here, with him unmasked on live television, and he and Silk fighting off Electro and the Spidey-Scorned Black Cat. Writer Dan Slott is showing no signs of slowing down, actually keeping the action moving, moving, moving with virtually no time to rest. Black Cat is so ticked off she’s forming her own criminal empire just to take Peter down. Then we have Silk’s intense attraction for Peter, and some brewing trouble at Parker Industries. Thankfully, we’re not getting mindless slugfests every month, and Slott is developing plot threads in true Dan Slott style to keep the fifty-year-old character interesting, and fans coming back to the book. Penciler Humberto Ramos does some great work with his action scenes, keeping up with the frenetic pace of the story.

However, I am still having serious issues with Black Cat’s violent anger toward Peter. I get that when SpOck nabbed her while in Peter’s body, she lost everything. Wealth, credibility, all of it. But Peter and Felicia have history, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be that easy for Felicia to just develop a psychopathic anger toward Peter, when Peter has proven several times over, and again in a scene in this issue, that Otto was driving the body when he caused Felicia’s downfall. I’m left wondering if something’s up with her. Symbiote, mind-control, something.

Overall, I liked this issue and the feel of the series overall. There’s a lot building with Silk, Black Cat’s obsession with destroying Spidey, whether or not Peter’s unmasking comes back to haunt him, and the ramifications of the upcoming Spider-Verse event. There’s definitely going to be a lot to look forward to.

 

Written by Jeff Lemire Penciled by Jed Dougherty Colored by Gabe Eltaeb DC COMICS

Written by Jeff Lemire
Penciled by Jed Dougherty
Colored by Gabe Eltaeb
DC COMICS

I am not a fan of DC’s current need to run a line-wide event in almost all of their titles. This month, the Futures End event that puts the DCU five years in the future has gone through most of the titles as tie-ins and restarted them (sort of) as first issues. The one I picked up this week was Justice League United #1: Futures End, because for a couple of months, DC has touted the return of my much-loved Legion of Super-Heroes in the book. As I read my comics on Comixology, I pre-ordered the book, excited to the point of vibrating because the Legion was coming back. All of the solicitations said this was the return of the Legion! This comics geek was happy!

Then I read it. You know what I got? Dawnstar. Now, don’t get me wrong. Dawnstar is one of my favorite Legionnaires, and it was nice to see her in action as a member of the future Justice League, and it was nice to see she, and maybe the others, were still around after Legion Lost ended. This Legion fan was left wanting more. But it is a two-parter, so we shall see.

The Legion disappointment aside, it was a good story. I like writer Jeff Lemire, especially his work on Justice League Dark, which is probably my favorite DC title right now along with Batman. In the story, Equinox gets a telepathic call from Martian Manhunter, essentially warning her that super-powered criminals on a Mars prison complex have escaped. As this is five years in the future, Equinox rounds up what’s left of the Justice League to head to Mars and deal with the problem.

There’s some pretty good character development and world-building here, as we see what has become of the Justice League United team during the Futures End event. It’s well-paced, with snappy dialogue, and an interesting cliffhanger. What I didn’t like was the art. Jed Dougherty isn’t a bad artist, but his work with facial expressions are unusual and off-putting, and his action scenes aren’t my favorite either. I suppose the word is “static.” I’m not sure he was the right choice to pencil a Justice League title.

With all of that out of the way, I will say that there will be a big Legion/Justice League team-up in the pages of Justice League United in October.

Overall, a decent addition to the Futures End event that offered some much needed hope that the Legion of Super-Heroes will return.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments are always welcome, if you wish to sound off. Make your comics shop owner happy and clear those files out.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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