Jan 032015
 
Mark Waid: Writer
Carlos Pacheco: Penciler
Dono Almara: Colorist
MARVEL

Welcome to Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column not afraid to Force-choke that creepy Elf on the Shelf. My fellow Bulleteers, this will be a very abbreviated edition, due to the fact that the holidays caused the comic pickings to be somewhat sparse. But my pick of the week is S.H.I.E.L.D., the new series written by my personal favorite Mark Waid, with art by the brilliant Carlos Pacheco.

Mark Waid: Writer Carlos Pacheco: Penciler Dono Almara: Colorist MARVEL

Mark Waid: Writer
Carlos Pacheco: Penciler
Dono Almara: Colorist
MARVEL

This new series about the organization keeping Earth safe from super-powered threats both out-in-the-middle-of-space foreign and domestic pretty much mirrors the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, but places the team in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Agent Phil Coulson leads a team of agents into hot spots where super-powered threats pop up. Coulson is picked to lead the team due to his obsession with Earth’s super heroes, unfailingly knowing their strengths and weaknesses. It seems that Coulson has a knack for creating teams out of individual heroes to do the most good in a particular situation. Kind of like a game of Hero Clix. As an example, Coulson mentions in one particular scene that he knows how Quicksilver can kill the Hulk.

Joining Agent Coulson and his team are Leo Fitz, level five gadgeteer; Jemma Simmons, xenobiologist; and Melinda May, combat specialist. Their first mission: Rescue Heimdall from a Sharzhadian rebel with a sword made of Uru metal.

By putting heavy hitters like Waid, Pacheco, and different artists on the series as it goes along, it looks like Marvel is taking it seriously. It seems that Waid is free to pick and choose what heroes he wants to use from his bag o’ goodies. Waid does a nice job of giving Coulson some back story without bogging down the entire issue. Fans of the Cinematic Universe already knew he was a fanboy when it came to Earth’s heroes, and Coulson’s flashbacks do a good job of reiterating it. We also see his standing in the hero community, which I thought was pretty cool by itself.

Putting the Agents in the Marvel 616 universe certainly turns the heat up, and gives Marvel an unlimited budget, unburdened by television restrictions and so forth, to do what they want to do and tell the kinds of unfettered stories they want to tell. Bringing live action to the comics medium, with the “unlimited budget” can work, but as I’ve seen often, the writers take the characters way out of their depth and into wholly unbelievable situations. But sometimes it works, and I think Waid will bring Coulson and crew to a fun, comic book level, and tell great stories in the medium. Check out Waid’s work on Daredevil for more of his work and proof of his genius.

It’s nice to see Pacheco stretch his legs and cut loose, drawing some atypical Marvel settings. This one doesn’t take place entirely in New York City.  And if the book’s purpose is to showcase other heroes assisting S.H.I.E.L.D. outside their normal environments, this is going to be good.

I think this will be one to watch. There’s a lot of potential, here, and Waid is a proven storyteller. It’ll be interesting to see if anything else mirrors the series. But in the meantime, although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him on the 616, it’s good to see that Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. are going to stay busy.

And that is 4CB for this week. E-mail and comments are welcome as always.

It’s going to be a wild ride for comics fans in 2015. Buckle up, Buttercup!

See ya next week!

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Jan 022015
 
Oh-Hell-Ch5-cvrNEWf
George Wassil, creator of the award winning graphics novel, 'Oh, Hell'

George Wassil, creator of the award winning graphics novel, ‘Oh, Hell’

Tomorrow night’s show features George Wassil the winner of the 2014 Geekie Award for Best Online Comic or Graphic Novel. The graphic novel in question is called Oh, Hell. It’s the story of a troubled teenage girl who is sent to a special boarding school by her parents. The only problem is that the parents haven’t really done their homework, and the school is more – and less – than it seems.

Tune in Saturday at 9 p.m. to hear the program.  Gene Turnbow and Susan Fox host.

Set in a world that was created in a long ago unsold screenplay The Imp (not the Adam Sandler film) written by George Wassil and Michael Connell when they met at an UCLA extension course. Since then Wassil and Michael have collaborated in the development of several feature film scripts.

George Wassil has written eight screenplays over the past 25 years. Like many screenwriters, so far he has had none of his screenplays produced. Still, this hasn’t slowed him down much, and another screenplay he cowrote with Steve Lipscomb, founder of the World Poker Tour, is currently in development for production.

The artist for Oh, Hell is Dave Hamann. The colorist is Michael Birkhofer, and the letterer is Troy Piteri.

Visit OhHellComics.com to read the award winning graphic novel.

If you miss tomorrow evening’s program, you can hear it again on Sunday, January 4, 2015, and at various times throughout the coming week.  Check our What’s On When page for air times in your area.

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

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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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