Category Archives: Comic Reviews

Radical Review: Time Bomb

It turns out the Mayans were right, the world does end in 2012. How they predicted that Hitler’s top-secret doomsday device would be discovered and then accidentally triggered is beyond me though. Fortunately for the human race the “New World Order”, a CIA/FBI/Interpol type of organization, has put together a crack team of special agents to go back in time to prevent the world-wide disaster from happening. This is the setup of Radical Comics graphic novel Time Bomb. Time Bomb is actually the name of the time travel device, which operates by harnessing a small nuclear explosion, not the name of the Nazi created missile that spreads an unstoppable virus throughout the world’s atmosphere.

Radical Comics is a publisher that, according to their Wikipedia page, produces only products that they think would be directly translatable to the big screen. Essentially, by this definition, Radical comics are jazzed up screenplays. With that in mind Time Bomb is, in movie terms, Armageddon meets Inglorious Basterds meets Timeline. While it’s true that I could see this story being made into a movie, it would likely be a B-movie starring the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and whoever is the modern equivalent of Lorenzo Lamas.

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Dark Horse Review – Star Wars: Agent of the Empire #1-3

After trying to catch up with the Star Wars comic scene over the last month, I’ve come to the conclusion that Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse may be one of, if not the best one out there. Sure, Knights of the Old Republic is excellent so far and Dark Times is cool and very…dark. But Agent of the Empire is an awesome blend of Star Wars and James Bond.

Star Wars has been delving into different sub genres with it’s books and comics as of late, starting with the successful Joel Schrieber written Death Troopers and Red Harvest in the horror department. Shadow Games by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff is a mystery of sorts involving Dash Rendar and a famous ‘holo star’. Agent of the Empire is an espionage tale in the galaxy far, far away that succeeds at almost every level. It’s almost what the Knights of the Old Republic: The Lost Suns wanted to be but just sort of fell flat. In my opinion, as much as I love them, it’s a story that doesn’t have to rely on Jedi and Sith constantly being in the picture. There actually hasn’t been one in the first three issues and I doubt that there will be since it takes place after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and at the height of Imperial power in the galaxy.

The story follows Jahan Cross, a no-nonsense undercover Imperial Agent who is busy at the beginning investigating a fellow Imperial who turns him onto a lead involving a project called Iron Eclipse. The project just so happens to be a project started by ex-pirate and veteran of the self titled Stark Hyperspace War, Iaco Stark. At this point in the Star Wars universe, Iaco is now dead and his business and fortune tended to by his son Iaclyn. Jahan falls into a web of treachery and deceit that with any luck will lead him to the Iron Eclipse, which we as a reader are still not close to figuring out by the end of issue three. However, by the end of the issue we are promised that it shall be revealed in the next issue. Jahan is in dangerous territory as his investigation takes him to Iaco Stark’s surviving family’s home in the Corporate Sector where they deal with their own problems without Imperial intervention.

Agent of the Empire is just an altogether fun ride for any Star Wars enthusiast and even for those only a little into Star Wars. It has some familiar faces in it, but none that you as a reader have to know much back story on to enjoy the series. Aside from Han and Chewie showing up, die-hard fans will notice Armand Isard is the head man in charge of Imperial Security at this point. And for those who remember Iaco Stark, I myself don’t believe that he is actually dead. His “widower” Dah’lis mentioned that he was decapitated working on his Eclipse project but the head was never found. Could it be that Iaco just lives on in a different way such as Darth Vader and General Grievous did? Or is his brain being used for some other reason? I may be wrong, but I don’t count anyone out in Star Wars unless there is a body present and accounted for. Or in Iaco’s case, a whole body.

I was surprised at one point where Jahan is trying to get in good with Iaco’s widower Dah’lis and obtain information about Eclipse, not because there is the mere mention of sex, but because it was one of the most revealing scenes in Star Wars that I’ve seen in all of the years. Not that I am complaining, more power to them just as long as they don’t go into full-blown porno-mode. This is Star Wars after all. But then again, maybe that is the next genre they’ll make the foray into…

I give Agent of the Empire a five out of five grizzlies, whether it’s single issues or the first three issues together.

The series has a great storyline going, multiple intriguing characters throughout it besides Han and Chewie, not to mention some great action scenes. I honestly can’t wait until issue four and the reveal of Iron Eclipse, whatever the hell it is.

DC COMICS REVIEW – PENGUIN: PAIN AND PREJUDICE #1-5

These five issues were a fairly fast read and they were quite excellent. In this limited series we are treated to quite the introspection of one of Batman’s more prominent rogues; Oswald Cobblepot A.K.A The Penguin. The whole thing almost read like a non-crappy version of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns movie, showing us bits and pieces of Penguin’s birth and childhood intermingled with some of his more ruthless crimes against the people of Gotham, all for the sake of a piece of Oswald’s past that I wasn’t even aware was still around. Yes in this series, Penguin had not only a mother and a father, but three older brothers as well. Oswald was born a bit ugly for his father’s taste, but his mother treated him like her spoiled baby until the day she died, which is much later than you’d think.

Oswald Cobblepot is shown as a ruthless Gotham crimelord in the series and one who takes great pleasure in taking away the things closest to those who slight him. And by slight I mean slight. He completely ruins the lives of a couple people just for saying the wrong thing to him. He is a far cry from the information source to Batman that he has been portrayed as over probably the past decade. Oswald is essentially a bully, taking his aggression out on others just because he has the means in some twisted way of paying back the world for his brothers and others picking on him as a child. He’s one sick puppy this time around, save for the biggest bully of all who Oswald still fears and hates with a passion… Batman. It’s not clear if the Batman in this series is Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson but it almost doesn’t matter. To almost the degree of the Gotham Central series, Batman is more of a plot device and background character that anything.

Most of the story focuses on Oswald’s past and his present with a certain woman named Cassandra who is, wouldn’t you believe it, totally blind. Who else could legitimately get with the Penguin besides a blind woman? Cassandra thinks the world of Oswald in this book and it’s actually a little tragic how the whole thing ends up.

Oswald’s mother was also a very interesting part of the story, as several of Penguins brutal crimes in the story revolve around getting his dying mother gifts of jewelry. The art and story of the series were both brilliantly executed, though sometimes I had to look hard at what was drawn in a couple panels. Some of the art like the subject matter itself was very dark. I can’t actually believe I’m saying this, but is it possible that a Batman story be too dark? Though this was a great character study of the Penguin through his own eyes, it was ultimately depressing and a little sick at times. Like in Batman Returns, Penguin targets children with his rocket weapons and has multiple people executed for world famous jewelry. The flashback scenes where it was revealed what really happened to the other three Cobblepot brothers was just downright twisted, but made for a damn good bit of story telling.

I guarantee that you’ll never look at the Penguin the same again when you read a Batman comic. I give Penguin: Pain and Prejudice a 4.5 out of 5 grizzlies and recommend it to any bat fans out there.  As long as your old enough to handle the violence. Maybe the younglings can stick to Batman animated comics. I would have given it a 5 out of 5 but it was just way too dark, even for a Batman comic.

Dark Horse Review – Knights of the Old Republic: War #2

Another issue, another planet! Zayne Carrick is reluctantly helping to fight a war on the planet Halthor, but this time it’s for the Mandalorians! After being captured last issue with Captain Morvis, Zayne and his not so close friend find themselves on the front line with the only other choice being imprisoned as a slave for the Mandalorians. I think Zayne said it best himself that it’s pretty unusual for someone to help invade two planets in one week for two different armies.

The issue was a little bit light on the action once the beginning battle was over. We are introduced to the Devaronian Mandalorian whose child Zayne saved in the last issue. This issue kind of shows you how the Mandalorians operate during the war if you’re not too familiar with them. First off, Mandalorians take prisoners either to make them work as slaves or to fight for them in battle. This leads to the fact that Mandalorians are not just humans, but a mixture of many species. Being Mandalorian is not only based on race but more on the culture itself. Not to mention that was is their way of life. You come to see that the Devaronian that Zayne helped last issue, Ko Sornell, has her entire family in the war zone with her including husband, son and infant. Crazy bunch of buggers.

Nothing was more interesting than the concept of Jedi Knights siding with the Mandalorians in the war. I thought Dorjander Kace was pretty cool in the last issue but he kind of lost some credibility at the end of the last issue when he revealed that he and his Jedi followers were “Mandalorian Knights”. They all wield the same yellow-orange bladed lightsaber which reminds me of the Imperial Knights from the Legacy Era comics where certain Jedi follow the will of the force as guided by the will of the Emperor. This is the same concept except I’m not sure exactly what kind of code these Mandalorian Knights follow. Dorjander Kace explains that he and his Jedi joined the Mandalorians to balance the fact that the Jedi were entering the war against the Mandalorians. This idea kind of gives me a newfound respect for Dorjander Kace, even though I can only see him falling to the Dark Side eventually while fighting for such a brutal army. He is simply arguing as the Jedi council did against the Jedi entering into the war against the Mandalorians and he believes that the Jedi shouldn’t be fighting a war for a “corrupt” Republic. And after Revan and his Jedi joined in the war, Dorjander is just trying to balance things out. He almost reminds me of Dooku during the Clone Wars and it almost seems like this war is something the Jedi did not learn from and is repeated during that war. Only time will tell if Dorjander’s intentions are pure.

I give the issue 4 out of 5 grizzlies. It just about followed the same pace as the first with a battle at the beginning, story in the middle and a cliffhanger at the end, but I’m completely fine with that. Zayne is going to have his hands full with Dorjander revealing that there is to be a mass invasion of Phaeda, his home planet and where his family and “girlfriend” live. Is his girlfriend Jarael and does that mean we may get to see her in the upcoming issue? I sure hope so.

And on an artistic note, I’m really starting to take a liking to Andrea Mutti’s pencils in the series thus far. Her art has the right tone for this storyline with her gritty feel and attention to detail. I hope she stays on board at least for this first story arc and I wouldn’t complain if she stayed on after either. Stayed tuned for issue 3!

Dark Horse Review – Knights of the Old Republic: War #1

First off, yes this review is extremely late, but it’s hard to keep up with all of the Star Wars comics out there nowadays. You’ve got a couple of them following the now red hot MMORPG ‘The Old Republic, one taking place amidst the comic underexposed New Jedi Order/Vong War era and there’s even a few that take place during, a little before and a little after the Original trilogy timeline. It’s a lot to take in I know. But one that I’ve been waiting for and had actually almost forgotten about until I saw it at the comic shop was Knights of the Old Republic: War. This isn’t an Old Republic online game tie-in though, this takes place before and continues the story of wayward Jedi Zayne Carrick that author/comic writer John Jackson Miller started back in 2006.

The series took place before the events of the first Knights of the Old Republic Xbox videogame, chronicling the adventures of the fugitive Jedi “washout” Zayne Carrick who witnessed the deaths of his classmates at the hands of their Masters who were trying to preempt the return of the Sith. As Zayne struggles to avoid his crazy ass Master Lucien and his band of psycho Jedi, he runs afoul of corporate criminals, an essence transferring Sith Lord, Mandalorians and not to mention the two most notorious Sith Lords of the time: Darth Revan and Darth Malak. This is of course before they have fallen to the darkside and before the Mandalorian Wars have truly been unleashed upon the Republic. At this point in time the Mandalorians are simply stockpiling resources from their plundering of the Outer Rim worlds and gauging the Republic’s military prowess in skirmishes here and there. Darth Revan, know at this time simply as ‘The Revanchist” is busy recruiting Jedi eager to step in against the Mandalorian aggression in the Outer Rim, including Jedi Knight Alek who is soon to be jawless Sith Lord Darth Malak.

As KOTOR: War begins we are finally able to get a glimpse of the era directly before the events in the video game, where the Mandalorian invasion of the Republic is in full swing and Zayne Carrick once again finds himself unwittingly drawn into the conflict. I’m hoping the series will show us more of Revan and Malak, possibly leading up to their fall to the darkside and the final battle of the Mandalorian Wars at Malachor V, which by all accounts is pretty epic. The issue itself was pretty decent. Zayne Carrick is just kind of hard not to like. He’s the good hearted hero without being a complete tool about it and still accomplishes to be kind of a badass. The story picks up on the planet Essien where Zayne explains through narrative that he was drafted into the Phaeda militia, Phaeda being the planet where Zayne was born and his family resides. As fate (or the force) would have it, Zayne ends up under the command of a certain man named Morvis… yes it’s the douchebag who made Admiral from the first volume of KOTOR. The issue is big on action, the planet Essien not being very unique in any way as of yet. There is also the introduction of a new Jedi character named Dorjander Kace, who I found to be pretty cool, though by the end nothing is as it seems with him or his little group of Jedi.

The art was decent for this issue, but I’m definitely missing the art of guys like Dustin Weaver and especially Brian Ching who did a good amount of issues from the first volume. But that is not to take anything away from Andrea Mutti because she’s a fine artist. I definitely can’t wait for the next issue to get some explanation for the last page of this current one. Also, I’m all for the introduction of new characters but I’m sure that there are more fans than me out there wondering what happened to Jarael, Gryph, Rholan and Camper. Did Camper stay out in Wild Space with those stupid exo-gorths? Did Rholan ever find out anything about the truth behind the current war as he intended to? Time will tell as KOTOR: War continues, though we may not get answers anytime soon. I give the issue 4 out of 5 grizzlies because it’s off to a promising start. And check out the picture below the rating for a glimpse at the next issue. Ridiculous!

DC Comics Review: Batgirl #1 – New 52!

Of all the new DC titles relauching, this is the one I was most curious about. How were they gonna get Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair and not destroy the impact of The Killing Joke? Well, I read it and I have to say, I can’t complain. It’s 3 years later and the effects of the bullet Joker put in her spine are still being felt. She is freshly out of her chair, and out of Jim’s house. The much younger Barbara is trying to get back into the swing of things as Batgirl, but remains a little rusty.

 In the issue Babs is forced to deal with sadistic home invaders who like to kill the fine folks they rob. She handles them ok for the most part, but the real intrigue is the mysterious ‘man with the list’. This guy has, you guessed it – a list. And on said list are a bunch of names of people he intends to kill. Barbara Gordon’s name is on that list.

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DC Comics Review: Red Lanterns #1 – New 52!

One of the new titles of the New 52 DC titles that I was most anticipating was Red Lanterns, so it only stands to reason that the one I was most excited for didn’t deliver to me on all fronts. That is not to say the first issue was bad, it was just average.

The story takes place in the same continuity that the War of the Green Lanterns ended in: Krona is dead and on Ysmault as a trophy of sorts to Atrocitus who has nearly lost all of his fervor due himself not being able to finish the renegade guardian himself. And his Red Lanterns seem to be able to sense Atrocitus’ wavering attitude…. Bleez in particular who seems to be a rallying point for the other Red Lanterns. We know that Bleez will have a larger role to play in the New Guardians so it will be interesting to see how things play out between her and Atrocitus in this series. Is she going to get the Red Lanterns under control for Atrocitus? It seems like their main function is just be on Ysmault looking pissed off and fighting one another. On the other hand she might just challenge Atrocitus for leadership, which seems more likely to me.

A few things were revealed about Atrocitus and his past life on Ysmault which were a pleasant and interesting surprise. We were able to see his wife and child’s death at the hands of the Krona re-programmed Manhunters. Also Atrocitus’ used to simply be called Atro. And before his planet’s destruction his occupation was as…. a psychologist. Can you imagine that counseling session? And he looked pretty scary before his family died!

Dr. Atrocitus “AND HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL MR. JORDAN?”

I give the issue a 3 out of 5 Lanterns.

The art was average and the story itself felt like nothing that deserves an ongoing series. I’ll reserve final judgment until the next couple of issues, but I’m worried about where this story could possibly be going.