Dec 202014
 
shotgunArcana

Tune in tonight at 9:00 p.m. PST for this week’s episode of The Event Horizon featuring science fantasy novelist R.S. Belcher, author of The Shotgun Arcana from TOR Books. Join your hosts Gene Turnbow and Susan Fox as we discuss this sequel to his previous work, Six-Gun Tarot. It’s an ensemble cast in a wild twisting tale of a small godforsaken town called Golgotha, in which everybody has a secret. Sometimes that secret is just one of lineage or bad behavior, but often it’s metaphysical or arcane. There are men of science, practitioners of mystical arts, and at least one severed living head in a jar. Did we mention that the town sheriff is a were-coyote? You get the idea.

 

About R.S. Belcher

Science fantasy author R. S. Belcher

Science fantasy author R. S. Belcher

R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter. Rod has been a private investigator, a D.J., a comic book store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s done Masters work in Forensic Science at The George Washington University, and worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for the Virginia General Assembly. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia with his children: Jonathan and Emily.

If you miss tonight’s broadcast, you have another opportunity to hear it again tomorrow at 5:00 a.m. PST and 4:00 p.m. PST, as well as additional times throughout the coming week. Consult our What’s on When page for show times in your area.

The Event Horizon – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wi-fi!

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Dec 192014
 
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain
IMAGE COMICS

Four-Color Bullet

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to another Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column with its own sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

This week, from DC, Endgame continues as the Joker turns Batman’s allies against him, in Batman #37; the world is on the brink of evolutionary armageddon, and the Justice League must stop it, as The Amazo Virus continues in Justice League #37; Mister Miracle takes on Darkseid, with Earth-2 at stake, in Earth-2: World’s End #11.

Inside our giant bag o’ Marvel, we have Sam Wilson and Nomad in big-time trouble as they take on a powerful new Hydra led by Baron Zemo, in All-New Captain America #2; the All-New X-Men continue their adventures in the Ultimate Universe, in All-New X-Men #34; Battle Royale! The Avengers vs. the X-Men for the fate of New York, in Avengers & X-Men: Axis #8.

 

Revelation and sacrifice. Weavers and tapestries. Forces of evil take stage. First chapter of Rori Lane in Weird Japan concludes.

Writer: Jim Zub Artists: Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain IMAGE COMICS

Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain
IMAGE COMICS

The first story arc of Image’s new supernatural sensation ends here. Wayward #5 finds our Irish-Japanese heroine Rori Lane and her allies against a sinister force from Japan’s dark mythology. Wayward has been a must-read since the first issue. Jim Zub’s writing has been fantastic. Spooky and fun without losing intelligence.

Steve Cummings’ artwork has been, in my opinion, the linchpin of this thing. I’m a story-oriented comics guy. While comics are visual, and bad art can indeed break a comic, I can swallow some bad art for the sake of story. So, for me to say that Cummings’ art is a big deal is me saying something. His art, coupled with Tamra Bonvillain’s colors, makes the book beautiful.

But it’s the fact that Cummings lives in Tokyo and has intimate knowledge of the city that gets my attention. He adds the Tokyo that he knows and the rest of us never get to see, bringing some definite authenticity to the scenes. Tokyo is a city of lights, the city that we know, but it’s also so much more. Or less, depending on your point of view.

This final issue of the first arc was heavy on the tension and had plenty of action. Rori and her allies engage a ruthless enemy after a pretty devastating loss, and we see how important Rori is to her friends. Rori gains an interesting new ability, and we’re left with a pretty serious cliffhanger, which really sucks because the book will be on hiatus until March 2015.

Wayward is a great book, especially if you’re interested in the darker side of Japanese culture. Zack Davidson treats the reader to a couple of pages of Weird Japanese Culture, stories and myth that inspired Wayward. The first five issues will be released soon in a collected volume, but you won’t have those neat Davidson Japanese myth lessons in those. Wayward is easily one of Image’s new best.

And that wraps up Four-Color Bullet for this week. Be sure and comment or email me. I’m always interested in knowing what you guys are reading.

I got involved in a discussion this week about whether or not Watchmen was the best superhero movie made to date. I said no, that that award went to Guardians of the Galaxy. I can’t remember the last movie I sat through where I laughed all the way through, and the whole theater broke out in thunderous applause at the end. What do you guys think? What’s the best superhero movie to date?

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

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Dec 052014
 
Writers: John Carpenter and Christopher Sebela
Artists: Diego barreto and Marissa Louise
BOOM! STUDIOS

Four-Color Bullet

It’s Four-Color Bullet time again, and I have read all of the comics in my pull list. Now I’m going to select my pick of the week, be it good or bad, and give my take on it. But first, this week’s honorable mentions, or as I like to call them, the bullets.

Beginning with the folks at Marvel, Angela must strike out on her own after being cast out of Heven and wanting nothing to with Asgard. The adventures of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin begin in her first issue; the trials and tribulations of a galactic playboy. Can Peter Quill keep his date with Kitty Pryde, and keep one step ahead of Mister Knife and his crew, in Legendary Star-Lord # 6; and who are The Stark, and can the Guardians survive meeting them, in Guardians 3000 #3.

Over at the hallowed halls of the Distinguished Competition, Gail Simone returns with Secret Six #1, the debut of the New 52 version of the fan-favorite team. Six strangers are brought together for a mysterious purpose that will have everyone asking, “What is the secret?”

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are back! Is the 31st century ready for them? Justice League 3000 #12 features the long-awaited return of two of DC’s fan-favorite characters; Dick Grayson is on a mission to stop Paragon from assembling the parts of dead villain to create something more sinister, in Grayson #5

From IDW Publishing, a government plot leads Mulder to reminisce about his days as a cadet at Quantico, and how he found the “I Want to Believe” poster, in The X-Files: Season 10 #19

From Dynamite, Guardians of the Galaxy writer Dan Abnett crafts a tale about the Battlestar Galactica’s journey to Earth, and a milestone in Battlestar continuity, in Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1; and who’s the baddest private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks? He’s a bad motha– “WATCH YOUR MOUTH!” I’m just talkin’ ’bout Shaft #1.

 

Writers: John Carpenter and Christopher Sebela Artists: Diego barreto and Marissa Louise BOOM! STUDIOS

Writers: John Carpenter and Christopher Sebela
Artists: Diego Barreto and Marissa Louise
BOOM! STUDIOS

BOOM! Studios has done it again. They got John Carpenter to help with the popular and crazy-good Big Trouble in Little China comic book series, and Carpenter’s not content to stop there. Now the film legend has let BOOM! give anti-hero Snake Plissken his continuing adventures in Escape from New York, a direct continuation of the cult-classic film starring Kurt Russell.

One of the things I didn’t like about Big Trouble in Little China: The Series was that it wasn’t readily accessible to new readers. If you hadn’t seen the film, you were going to be confused, and there was virtually no exposition to get the reader up to speed. It’s the same with Escape from New York. The first issue starts right where the film ended, with the President having been made a fool of as Plissken walks away with his pardon. The first issue begins with the President furious over Plissken’s actions, thereby revoking his pardon, and sending him on the run yet again.

If you haven’t seen the film, especially our younger readers, here’s a recap. In 1997, the world has pretty much gone to crap. Famine, war, and every other bad thing run amok. To combat the crazy, the United States has formed the United States Police Force, and Manhattan has been turned into a maximum-security prison. The president is on his way in Air Force One to deliver a message that might calm the world’s anger issues and avert a war, when the plane crashes inside New York City. Ex war-hero Snake Plissken is railroaded into going inside the prison to rescue the president  in time to deliver the speech. Plissken does so, not without some difficulty, and the president is free to play his speech, which has been pre-recorded on a cassette tape. In a moment of spitefulness, Plissken replaces the president’s speech with a tape of random music. Plissken walks to his waiting ride, a free man.

Until now …

This was a great first issue. Not only do we get some great Snake Plissken action, nicely drawn by Diego Barreto and Marissa Louise, but  Carpenter, who returns as Executive Producer, and Eisner award-winning writer Christopher Sebela pound out some solid story, including some exposition on exactly what shape the world, while delivering an action packed story that never misses a beat, and is heavy on the action that the film is known for. We’re treated to new characters, and the reader is given the scoop into other areas as Plissken makes his way to sunny and deadly Florida. But don’t expect the same Saturday-morning kind of art on EFNY as we’ve seen in BTILC. The art in Escape from New York is grittier and much more serious.

“After bringing back Jack Burton, we knew we had to revive Snake Plissken,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “The new stories we have in mind for Snake are going to really excite longtime fans …  It’s a great time to be a John Carpenter fan!”

Agreed. Again, a solid first issue that left me hungry for more, and will elicit grins from fans of the film. I think fans who haven’t seen the film would also like it, but they would do themselves an injustice by not seeing the movie before reading the first issue

And that concludes Four Color Bullet for this week. Email and comment, if you so desire. And I’m always eager to know what comics you guys are reading, so chime in.

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

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Nov 302014
 
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Ben Templesmith
DC Comics

fourColorBullet1

Welcome to Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column not affected by tryptophan. That stuff in turkey that makes you sleep. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, let’s get to some comics!

From Marvel this week, the Spider-Clones of the Multiverse band together to take on the Inheritors in Scarlet Spiders #1, a Spider-Verse tie-in; the Axis Effect has inverted heroes to villains and vice versa. Now, Tony Stark has put down roots in sunny San Francisco and he’s going to make everybody better by giving them all Extremis. Unless, of course, a certain red-clad, horn-headed, blind lawyer can stop him, in Superior Iron Man #2; and the New Warriors’ series comes to a shocking end, in New Warriors #12.

From DC this week, Earth-2 welcomes John Constantine to its end, in Earth 2: World’s End #8; Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr. continue their run on Superman, with the Man of Steel and Ulysses teaming up to face every super-bad out there … except for one that Superman refuses to fight, in Superman #36; Flash is trapped in the Speed Force and Central City is left without a hero. Or is it? Find out in The Flash #36.

From Dynamite,  Starbuck and Athena face a terrifying enemy under Carillion, Apollo, Boomer and Jolly face Baltar’s Cylonic Giants, and the Aethership Galactica heads to Gemini to stop an invasion! But will it be their greatest battle – or their last, in Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880 #4

From Dark Horse Comics, the Sunnydale homecoming becomes less than fun as Buffy, Spike, and Willow realize that Andrew is in over his head with the Vampyr book and a terrible plan, and the demon they’re up against has a grudge against Slayers and a penchant for eating souls, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #9

And from Image, while a storm rages throughout Tokyo, secrets are uncovered beneath the city streets, in Wayward #4

 

The ghost of an evil sorcerer is loose in New York. He’s out for world domination and he’s creating warriors for his army of the damned. A possessed Casey Jones is among them. Who ya gonna call? Well, you’re half right.
Writers: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz Artists: Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado IDW Publishing

Writers: Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz
Artists: Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado
IDW Publishing

Issue two of this nerd-tastic team-up that children of the ’80s have been waiting for is slower-paced than than the first, but still just as good. Seeing Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening’s work has me missing Ghostbusters yet again. The action wasn’t really here with this one, but now the fun is in watching the Ghostbusters and the turtles interact. There were some great moments, one of which stems from Egon and Donatello sparring back and forth about the existence of ghosts. Donatello is a non-believer, while Egon scoffs at Donnie’s insistence that there are aliens. All of that is fun and it really only exists to give the reader the difference in mentality between dimensions. Erik Burnham and Luis Antonio Delgado’s art is gorgeous as always and I haven’t seen the TMNT rendered as beautifully as they are here. It really made me sad and lamenting the end of the Ghostbusters series. But I said that already, didn’t I? See how miserable I am? *snif, snif*

I could totally get behind this creative team working on the TMNT as a regular thing, some time in the future.

Our villain, Chi-You, a ghostly Chinese sorcerer hell-bent on world domination, is kind of one dimensional and furthers an expected plot, but the writers are handling it with so much fun and amusement, it’s interesting in spite of itself. And that’s really the only negative thing I have to say.

If you’ve ever wondered what a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters team-up would be like, you won’t find a better answer than this. And kudos to writers Burnham and Tom Waltz, who keep every character’s personality alive and their own. Each character has a distinct personality and it never gets lost in the shuffle. This is going to be a really fun romp. If you’re not reading this, you’re seriously missing out.

 

 

Meet the detectives of the Gotham City Police Department’s 13th precinct. They investigate the things that go “bump” a little louder in the night.
Writer: Ray Fawkes Artist: Ben Templesmith DC Comics

Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Ben Templesmith
DC Comics

I was honestly surprised by how good this book was. Aside from the Bat-titles, I largely remain unimpressed by anything coming out of DC these days. But this was so radical, I had to give it a shot. Plus, all of the Bat-titles are batting 1000. They’re just really good. Gotham by Midnight felt like a Hellblazer story without John Constantine. That said, there is a Constantine series currently at DC, and it’s being written splendidly by Ray Fawkes. Who, by the way, is also the writer for this brilliant piece of work I’m reviewing right now.

Without giving too much away, Gotham by Midnight is about the detectives at GCPD’s 13th precinct, led by Jim Corrigan, and their mission to investigate the supernatural. In this first issue, the detectives investigate two girls who may be possessed, and speak no known language. It has a Gotham Central vibe to it, and readers may stay away for fear that it sounds too gimmicky. But the first issue is a pretty solid police procedural with a small twist about halfway through.

Now, if you’re like me, the only reason you’re even going to pick up this book is because of Ben Templesmith’s art. Templesmith puts down some solid creepy artwork that cements itself in your mind’s eye long after you’ve put the book down after that final eerie page, and he and Fawkes go together on this like bacon and eggs. Peanut butter and jelly. Pancakes and syrup. Phineas and Ferb.

This was another great book this week. Fawkes and Templesmith introduce us to a different, scarier Gotham. I’m game.

And this concludes Four-Color Bullet this week. After a brief hiatus and a schedule change, your favorite comic book review column will be back on Thursdays, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See ya next week. Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. Bring on Christmahanukkwanzaaka!

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