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4LN Comic Review – Harbinger Renegade #1

Series – Harbinger Renegade
Writer – Rafer Roberts
Art – Darick Robertson, Juan José Ryp, and Raúl Allén
Color Artist –Diego Rodriguez, and and Frankie D’Armata
Publisher – Valiant Entertainment

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

ANYONE YOU KNOW COULD BECOME A PSIONICALLY POWERED “HARBINGER” WITH THE POTENTIAL TO RESHAPE THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY. YOUR NEIGHBOR. YOUR BOSS. YOUR BEST  FRIEND. YOUR KIDS. Six months ago, a secret team of renegade whistleblowers leaked the existence of these extraordinarily dangerous individuals to a stunned world. Today, all across the country, crude, DIY psiot activation attempts have left hundreds brain damaged…or worse. The emergence of a new psiot in a community often leads to riots and mass violence. Gun sales are through the roof. America is terrified of what could happen next. With this revolutionary upheaval now in motion, Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek are about to discover their calling. Together, the HARBINGER RENEGADES are moving from town to town, building their ranks, and subverting authority one mind at a time…and setting out to prove once and for all that behind their power, there has always been a purpose. This November, the most fearless superteam in comics is going underground for AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES from Harvey Award nominated writer Rafer Roberts (Plastic Farm) and superstar artist Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan,The Boys)!


Harbinger Renegade has to be one of my most anticipated books of the year. Ever since the book was teased, my internal clock has been ticking down the days until it hits the stands. The previous 25 issue run of Harbinger was a terrific story with great characters, and it appears the superteams reemergence is going to pick up the torch and run with it.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the book, let’s start off with the cons: there aren’t any. This is one of the strongest debut issues I’ve read in a while. I really like Rafer Roberts and his work on A&A has been really fun, but the tones of these two series are vastly different. I was curious to see how his writing style would adapt to the darker tone of the Renegades.

Well worry not Valianteers, this issue was awesome.


Roberts gets each member of the Renegades right, and the cult leader, Enfuego (because he has fire powers), is sufficiently crazed. I really enjoyed seeing how the now-disbanded Renegades deal with the less-than-stellar consequences at the end of the first series. It certainly wasn’t a storybook ending, and each member is dealing with it differently. As we’ve seen in Jody Houser’s Faith on-going, Faith is one of the only Renegades still wearing the superhero mantle, while Torque and Kris are each handling it inline with the personalities of the characters (which shows that Rafer did his homework and is staying true to the characters).  Oh, and there is a new villain on the block, and I am interested to see how he challenges both the Renegades and Valiant’s original big bad Toyo Harada.

Now lets talk about the art. This issue has a several creative teams, and all of them are terrific.  The book opens with a cool minimalist looking introduction by Raúl Allen, who has been doing some great work on Valiant’s Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.  The introduction gives a quick recap of the original run to get the reader up to speed on the main players and terms of Harbinger.  Then Juan José Ryp gives us a brief look at Harada trying to take down his mysterious competition.  Like all of his work, Ryp’s art is strong and visceral.  Finally, the main story is illustrated by Darrick Robertson, who has a cool style vaguely reminiscent of 90’s art to my untrained, casual comic reader eye.  His panel breakdowns on each page are really interesting, and the last few panels in space are just beautiful.


Like I said, I have been waiting on this book since it was first teased last year.  A lot of times, the anticipation can lead to a sense of being let-down since you kind of over-sell the idea of the book to yourself BUT Rafer Roberts and company deliver on every level.  Make sure you head down to your local comic store and pick up Harbinger Renegade today!

PS. make sure to save the coupons in this series to mail in and get a copy of Harbinger Wars 2 #0!.


4LN Comic Review – The Unworthy Thor #1

Series – The Unworthy Thor
Writer – Jason Aaron
Art – Olivier Coipel, with recap by Russell Dauterman
Color Artist – Matthew Wilson
Publisher – Marvel

Summary from Comixology: “The Odinson’s desperate search to regain his worthiness has taken him out into the cosmos, where he’s learned of the existence of a mysterious other Mjolnir. This weapon of unimaginable power, a relic from a dead universe, is the key to Odinson’s redemption — but some of the greatest villains of the Marvel Universe are now anxious to get their hands on it as well. Can The Odinson reclaim his honor, or will the power of thunder be wielded for evil? The quest for the hammer begins here.”


So Jason Aaron’s God of Thunder run is one of my all time favorite series.  It not only reawakened my love for comics, but cemented Thor as one of my favorite heroes.  Everything about it – from the villain, to plot, to the art (especially Esad Ribic’s) just clicked on every level.  When my local shop put up their poster for The Unworthy Thor, my interest was piqued.  I mean, Aaron just gets the character of Odinson (the god previously known as Thor), so I was looking forward to another series centering on the Thor from God of Thunder.

Let’s just say that Aaron knocks this book out of the park.  I haven’t been following the most recent Thor series, but I’ve kept up with the overall story.  This book opens with Odinson in a Sisyphean struggle to regain a Mjolnir (I say a Mjolnir because the cover shows the hammer carried by the Ultimates Thor), before going back three months to show us how he got in this predicament.  Both the recap and the main story have that sense of epicness that I felt was lost when the title transitioned away from Odinson.  I am not saying the other Thor was not good, just that Odinson has that extra mythological oomph that really pulls me in.


Aaron is not the only Thor alum on this creative team either.  Olivier Coipel worked on several issues of J. Michael Straczynski’s run – the one that features Asgardia hovering over Broxton, Oklahoma.  This little geographical tidbit endears me to that title.  Because my family is from Oklahoma, and I love that fact that some podunk town in the Midwest had the gods of Asgard living alongside them.  Seriously though, I was reading that series while visiting my family in Oklahoma and thought about going to Broxton just for fun, but Google Maps showed nothing but farmland.  I didn’t even see a small-town diner.  Aaaanyway, it’s really awesome to have Coipel back in action.  I loved to see his take on this new version of Thor, and it’s fantastic.  There is a lot more realism in the art this time around, which is a necessity with the overall style, and Coipel just nails it.  The fight scenes are visceral, and the moonscape is damn near mythological in scope.


The art team also includes Russell Dauterman who is responsible for the pages in the preview.  His art is freaking beautiful.  The small battle scene that opens the book is almost worth the price of admission in and of itself.  In a lot of ways, his art reminds me of a less stylized Juan Jose Ryp, and I love his art too.


When it’s all said and done, The Unworthy Thor #1 is a great start to a new series.  There have only been a few books that immediately grabbed me and had me texting my comic shop owner to add it to my pull before the pages have shut.  Kudos to Aaron and the rest of the creative team for bringing the thunder in Thor’s continued quest to regain his hammer.


Music Pairing:
I am not as well versed in music as my fellow 4LNers Stephen and Bill, but I did find listening to Immediate’s Trailerhead:Saga a good fit for the mythic scope of this title.

4LN Comic Review: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 1 TPB

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 1 TPB
Written by Kyle Higgins and Steve Orlando
Art by Hendry Prasetya and Corin Howell, with colors by Matt Herms and Jeremy Lawson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Summary from BOOM! Studios:

  • Dive into the first collection of our best-selling, modern, ongoing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series.
  • After escaping Rita Repulsa’s mind control, Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, joins the Power Rangers to combat the onslaught of evil attacks plaguing Angel Grove. Any semblance of a normal life is gone for Tommy now, but with his newfound family there lies hope for a brighter path.
  • Collects issues #1-4, plus the prequel issue #0.


Like many kids born in the late ’80s, I was obsessed with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers growing up.  Many a recess was spent fighting Rita’s putties, and can we just talk about merchandising?  I had the 8″ figures, the Megazord, Dragonzord, the figures with the heads that flipped out of a compartment in their chest, various bedspreads/blankets, and the still-good Mighty Morphin Power Rangers videogame for the Sega Genesis (which I play with my three-year-old now).  What I am trying to say is that I was a bit of a fan of the first batch of Rangers, and the nostalgic part of my brain (a majority of my brain) was very interested to see what Higgins and Co could do with this colossal franchise.

Red Ranger

Previously on 4LN, I reviewed the first issue of MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS and thought that it was a great first issue filled with nerdstalgia from the original show.  The next three issues (and the #0 that I missed) fit well into that narrative.  Kyle Higgins does a fantastic job capturing the tone of the old episodes, while also updating them a bit so they don’t feel dated.  Like, the characters reference servers, have cell phones that aren’t the size of bricks, and even deal with more modern issues like the way PTSD effects people, but also talk just like they did in the ’90s.  While that might be jarring to some MMPR purists out there (and you know they are out there), I felt it was handled in a way that was respectful of the original content.  Higgins is a good writer, and he brings his A-game to this series.

This particular arc finds Tommy, still haunted by his actions as a pawn of Rita Repulsa, dealing with his struggle to find his place in the team.  Jason and Zack don’t yet trust him, and Rita is constantly in the back of his head causing him to doubt himself.  It would have fit perfectly as a multi-part episode that took place directly after the “Green With Evil” five-parter from the original show.  The characters interactions with one another feel spot on, and we see all sorts of notables from the show, like Scorpina (who plays a pretty big role), Finster, the putties, an exiled Goldar, and, of course, Bulk and Skull.

Moving on, let’s talk about the art.  There are some panels in this volume that are just fantastic.  The art teams absolutely nails the Rangers, the monsters, and the Zords.  While the scenes that take place out of uniform are light-hearted, for the most part, and almost cartoony (not in a bad way), the fights are gritty and paced perfectly.  There was never a moment where the action was confusing.  The best part by far is when we see the team morph for the first time.  I could just hear that opening guitar riff playing in the background, and it was perfect.  I was also excited to see all of the awesome cover art included in this trade paperback.  The regular covers, as well as the variants, include some amazing takes on the Rangers, and would’ve been plastered all over my bedroom walls when I was a kid (and probably would be now if my wife would let me).


Look, if you are a fan of the original show, you need to check out this series, and the first volume is the perfect place to start.  This creative team is in tune with what made the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers a cultural phenomenon in the 90’s, and this just might be one of BOOM!’s best series out right now.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers vol. 1 hits the stands on September 14, 2016, and will be sure to bring back a little magic from your childhood.

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Series: A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: David Lafuente
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary: GET SMASHED…OR BE SMASHED! Valiant’s (somewhat) dynamic duo are going “IN THE BAG” for AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES from rising star Rafer Roberts and comic book superstar David Lafuente!

Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus! (Okay, so, Armstrong went into the satchel himself to get a bottle of whiskey that he kinda misplaced and got stuck. It’s like the Amazon warehouse of arcane treasures in there…and he doesn’t exactly have a maid service.)

Imprisoned in Armstrong’s satchel for centuries, Bacchus now commands a legion of monsters, goblins and golems bent on escaping back into the world of man and enacting revenge on their captor… Can Archer single-handedly combat the godly embodiment of intoxication himself – and rescue his best buddy – without becoming lost amongst Armstrong’s endless repository of bizarre artifacts and historical oddities in the process?


Last week we were honored to be able to interview Rafer Roberts, writer of the upcoming A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG.  Today we’d like to bring you and advanced, spoiler-free review of the first issue.

Like its predecessor, A&A is joyfully absurd.  There’s just no way to know what to expect when you pair the socially repressed Archer with the 6,000 year old hedonist that is Armstrong.  Maybe it’s because I spent many a year in a fundamental southern Baptist private school, but I relate to Archer in some way (you know, minus the ability to master any martial art just by observing it).  Anyway, Rafer Roberts’ debut issued carried the torch and carried it well.  Archer & Armstrong has always dealt with the fantastical.  In the previous run the pair faced off against ninja nuns, dead musicians, dinosaurs, and the filthy rich.  In this issue we meet alien-looking monsters that are fascinated by what I assume is the Valiant Universe’s answer for Maury, Davey the Mackerel (a walking/talking mackerel in a suit fit for Dustin Hoffman in “Death of a Salesman”), and Bacchus – the Greek god of wine – who has been stuck in Armstrong’s bottomless satchel and plotting his revenge for over three millennia.  Oh, and Mary Maria is back, which means so are the ninja nuns, also known as the Sisters of Perpetual Darkness (which is a badass name).


He might look ridiculous, but it works.

It would be really easy for a book with that sort of absurdity to go off the deep end and diminish the reading experience, but Rafer Roberts nails it.  The whole time I was reading this issue I had a smile on my face.  This arc finds the titular heroes inside Armstrong’s magical satchel.  Armstrong misplaced something dear to him, and Archer realizes he is in trouble and enters the bag to save him.  As it turns out, Armstrong has collected a LOT of stuff over the years, and Archer must work through the infinite maze to find his friend.

One thing that immediately stood out to me is how well the art works with the story.  David Lafuente’s art with Brian Reber’s colors is just a pleasure to look at.  The way it pops reminded me of the cartoons of my youth, but in much better definition.  The characters and locations are fun to look at, and it’s even more fun trying to see what kind of stuff is lying around Armstrong’s mammoth space.

Valiant has done it once again.  Everything they’ve been doing lately just works, and this is no different.  Rafer Roberts and David Lafuente met my high expectations and more with A&A, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  A&A #1 will hit the shelves this Wednesday, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve read everything Valiant has put out, or none of it, this book is just phenomenal.  Head on down to your local shop and snag an issue before they are all gone.


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4LN Advanced Comic Review – Faith #1

Series: Faith
Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Francis Portella and Marguerite Sauvage
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Valiant:


Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicles about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!

But flying solo is going to be tougher than she ever thought when Zephyr uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?

Rising star Jody Houser (Orphan Black) and explosive artists Francis Portela (Green Lantern) and Marguerite Sauvage (DC Comics Bombshells) pilot a new chapter for Valiant’s high-flying hero right here in Faith’s first-ever limited series!


Faith is one of Valiant’s most anticipated titles this side of their 4001 event later this year.  In an industry full of unrealistic body types and over-sexualized heroines, Faith sets herself apart in both appearance and attitude.  She is a major fangirl with a heart of gold that loves comic books, Dr. Who, and sci-fi.  Her love of these nerd culture staples is what helps her decide to dive headfirst into her superheroism.  Faith got her start in Valiant’s fantastic Harbinger series, which follows her and four other psiots that take on Toyo Harada, one of the most consistent and powerful villains in the Valiant universe.  Faith follows the titular heroine as she settles down in LA, comes up with an alter ego, and even tries to get a job as a reporter (because that’s what superheroes do), but settles for “pop culture blogger” when she realizes reporting has kind of gone the way of the payphone (though she gets an office – we at 4LN do not have offices unless you count the couch).


So how does it stack up?

The comic itself is self aware and pokes fun at both the current superhero genre and the people that make fun of it.  There were several jokes that had me immediately texting Stephen because the jokes are things we talk about on a weekly basis (in between bouts of pleading with our kids to not do whatever destructive thing they are doing).  What I am trying to say is Jody Houser and Francis Portella do an incredible job on this debut.  The story and the art are both fantastic, which makes this culturally significant book a delight to read.

I was hoping for a good story when I saw that this book was announced however long ago, but I am surprised by just how well it’s was done.  You cant tell that Jody Houser understood both the relevance of the subject and the source material.  Faith #1 will hit the shelves on January 27, 2016, and it should definitely make its way into your hands.  Five out of Five Zephyrs!

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4LN Comic Review – Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger #1

Series: Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Art: Kano
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Valiant Database:

A showdown. An apocalypse. An ending.

Many years from today, Peter Stanchek, the Renegades, the Harbinger Foundation, the Bleeding Monk, and Toyo Harada’s Imperium all reach their terminus, as the entire planet becomes the battlefield for the most devastating psionic combat humanity has ever seen. The Great Destroyer, long prophesied and foreseen, comes to Earth at last. Who will survive…and what will be left of them? New York Times best-selling writer Joshua Dysart (IMPERIUM, HARBINGER) and blockbuster artist Kano (THE DELINQUENTS) journey to the far end of the Geomancer’s BOOK OF DEATH to reveal the final, unavoidable end for two of the Valiant Universe’s most powerful foes.


The Book of Death series has been one of the most consistent events I’ve read.  Each issue has been top of the line and Fall of Harbinger carries on that tradition.  Fall of Harbinger follows an elderly Peter Stanchek, one of the most powerful psiots alive and the main character in the Harbinger series, as he faces his arch-nemesis, Toyo Harada, one last time with the fate of the Earth on the line.

The previous one-shots, Fall of Bloodshot and Fall of Ninjak, were each strong in their own way.  Fall of Bloodshot was a incredibly poignant and, as weird as this sounds, fittingly anti-climactic.  Fall of Ninjak was a little more lighthearted and had plenty of action, but was still incredibly strong.  Needless to say Fall of Harbinger had a lot to live up to with the previous issues setting the bar so high.

So how did it stack up?

Fall of Harbinger might be one of the best single issues from Valiant I’ve ever read.  It was one of those books that once you finish it, you just sort of stare out the window for a while and ponder the fragility of the human experience… or at least that’s what I did…  Joshua Dysart, who wrote the first 25 issue run, writes a fantastic story that shows an almost perfect futuristic society on the edge of destruction, and one hero’s gambit to save the world.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the fate of Faith, who warrants a read of the previous run just because she’s such a great character.

While the story was excellent, I absolutely loved the art also.  Kano really outdoes himself on this issue.  The last several pages are cosmically beautiful, and very nostalgic.  I really enjoyed how the colors popped in this issue, the space scenes were beautiful and the futuristic Earth looks amazing.  The art and the story combined form a really powerful single issue, that is as pretty as it is heavy.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed this book.  Valiant is putting out some strong stories that deal with heavy issues, and Fall of Harbinger is no different.  Now if you haven’t read the previous 25 issue run of Harbinger there are a few spoilers, but it would still be relatively easy to follow thanks to the writing.  The good news is even if you haven’t read the previous run, this issue might just make you want to rectify that situation because it is so good.  This is definitely an issue people need to check out.  Head on down to you local comic shop, or visit our friends at Comic Collector Live and pick up a copy as soon as you possibly can.

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4LN Comic Review: Bloodshot Reborn #1

Series: Bloodshot Reborn
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan and David Baron
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Comixology:

From New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Green Arrow) and red-hot rising star Mico Suayan (HARBINGER, Moon Knight), VALIANT NEXT delivers an all-new ongoing series for Valiant’s most unrelenting hero!

Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well.

Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.



When Valiant first announced this book a while back, I wasn’t all that excited.  It’s not that I didn’t love Valiant (if you’ve been reading this website you should know that I am a pretty big Valiant fan), it’s that I didn’t really know much about Bloodshot.  I head read a lot of the other Valiant titles, but Bloodshot hadn’t been one of them (I had a LOT to catch up on).  After reading Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt’s The Valiant, and catching up on the first Bloodshot run thanks to the marvelous Scribd app, I had a new appreciation for the nanite-powered, killing machine.  The Valiant laid out an awesome groundwork for who the new Bloodshot could be — a hero — and I was really excited to pick this up when it hit the stands on April 15, 2015.


All of the action in this book occurred in either flashbacks or hallucinations, and that is absolutely alright with me.  This issue focuses on a recently de-powered Bloodshot (aka Ray) who is dealing with the tragedy that occurred at the end of The Valiant, and coming to terms with the life he led for so long.  Lemire does an awesome job showing us Ray’s struggle to cope with his past while working as a nobody in a small Colorado town.  The story is mostly told through inner-dialogue with very few actual conversations, and it totally works. After all of the stylized violence that Bloodshot is known for in his earlier series it’s almost jolting seeing him as a normal guy working as a handyman, but I loved it.

Suayan’s realistic art style plays well with Lemire’s thoughtful story.  A lot of the panels showing Bloodshot/Ray dealing with his inner demons, along with the small town setting, reminded me of True Detective.  He really captures Ray’s despair and struggle to figure out who he is in light of the previous events.  The last panel, when it looks like he’s about to get back in the game, is also really cool and very reminiscent of the Punisher.

Also, if you haven’t read a single book in the Valiant Universe, you should have no problem following along thanks to the succinct recap found in the opening pages.


There aren’t really any lows in particular.  I will say that some might find the tragedy that occurs near the end of the book a little too similar to another tragedy in Colorado, but it didn’t seem distasteful to me.  It also might seem a bit slow to some people, but I think that’s where this book gets it’s charm.

Final Say-

Bloodshot Reborn was a strong start to what is shaping up to be a great addition to the Valiant line.  Lemire was able to take a killing machine, make him vulnerable and depressed, and still tell a poignant story about coming to terms with oneself in the face of tragic events.  This book earns a strong 5 out of 5, and it makes me excited to see where the Valiant Universe is headed.  Head on out to your local comic shop and pick you up a copy!

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4LN Comic Review: Descender #2

Series: Descender
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: Image

Summary from Comixology:”As the brutal robot hunting Scrappers close in on TIM-21, the events that first brought him to the mining colony on the outer edges of space are revealed.”

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I thought the first issue of Descender was absolutely fantastic.  It laid the groundwork for what seems to be an epic, science-fiction tale that is one part Mass Effect (the Harvesters) and another part A.I. (Tim-21) with post-apocalyptic space drama thrown in for good measure.  That being said, if you try to read this second issue before reading the first, you are going to be so very lost.


Lemire and Nguyen are crafting a beautiful, thought-provoking story that happens to be set in space, which is refreshing with the myriad of space westerns that seem to be lining the shelves lately. I loved the way the creators weave Tim-21’s creation/back-story in with the current narrative.  The left pages show Tim’s attempted escape from the robot-hunters known as “Scrappers,” while the right pages show snippets of his creation and upbringing with his adoptive family (he is a companion bot, which is like a really advanced Tamagotchi except he is actually helpful and you don’t stuff him under your mattress after a day and a half).

The storytelling is striking, and the tone is matched perfectly by Nguyen’s art.  The back-story is laid out in beautiful, sepia-toned black and white, and the way the panels are laid out is fantastic (which is something I rarely notice).  This might not make sense unless you enjoy this book, but the scope of Descender is both epic and intimate at the same time.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoy pretty much every aspect of this book.


I couldn’t find anything wrong with this book. If you aren’t into beautifully executed science-fiction, then this might not be the book for you, I guess?

Final Say-

If you aren’t on this title yet, good news – it just started!  Your local comic shop almost definitely has a few Descender #1’s lying around, so you can pick up both issues at the same time.  Only two issues in, this book is already becoming one of the books that I can’t wait to read each month.  5 out of 5, I couldn’t recommend this book more.  Do yourself a favor and go get it.


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4LN Comic Review: Star Wars: Kanan – The Last Padawan #1

Series: Kanan – The Last Padawan
Writer: Greg Weisman
Art: Pepe Larraz & David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology: “Kanan Jarrus: In Star Wars Rebels, he’s a cocky, sarcastic renegade fighting against the Galactic Empire alongside the ragtag crew of the Ghost. But years before, at the height of the Clone Wars, he was known as Caleb Dume, Jedi Padawan under the instruction of Jedi Master Depa Billaba. Neither master nor apprentice ever suspected that the Clone Troopers they commanded would turn on them upon the issuing of Order 66-the order to execute all Jedi. How did Caleb Dume survive? How did he learn to survive on his own? And how did he become the man we know as Kanan Jarrus?”

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Out of the first wave of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, this was the one I was the least excited about.  I don’t follow the show, but not because I dislike it. It’s mostly because I have an apathetic relationship with television.  It looks fine, I just don’t really feel any attachment to the crew of the Ghost.  To be honest, I wasn’t even planning on reading this book since I haven’t watched but two or three episodes of the show and figured I’d be lost the entire time.  As I was quickly browsing the new releases at my local comic shop on my lunch break, I grabbed a copy just to pacify my inner Star Wars nerd that would’ve been embarrassed to not have a #1 of a Star Wars series.  I generally don’t have a lot of expectations when it comes to consumption of entertainment, but I have to admit I set the bar so low that you could barely stub your toe on it.

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This book shattered my expectations, and not just because my expectations were lower than an average Stormtrooper’s accuracy with an E-11 blaster rifle.  I was worried that I would be lost because the book would focus on the events happening during the show, but Weisman writes a damn good story that focuses almost exclusively on Kanan’s days as a padawan.  This prequel of sorts was moving because we know that it’s just building to Order 66.  Kanan’s master, Depa Billaba, is very much like how Qui-Gon Jinn is depicted in Ep. I: wise, present, and a free thinker.  The great story is matched almost perfectly by Pepe Larraz.  Larraz’s art flows back and forth between dark and serious, and light-hearted.  The fight sequences have a very Japanese feel to them, and in some cases the lightsabers actually resemble katanas more than their theatrical counterparts.  The last few panels show Kanan around the campfire with his master and their Clone commanders, and even though you know what’s going to happen eventually, it is a very light hearted scene that contrasts well with the relentless action of the first several pages.

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Surprisingly, nothing was all that bad about this issue except my horribly misplaced preconceptions.

Final Say-

When I initially picked up this issue, I figured I would be telling you that “this is a great book to get for a 10 year old who loves the show.” I was wrong.  This book was a fantastic first issue that, despite not knowing anything about the show.  The first thing I thought about when I finished this issue was, “Damn, looks like I’m adding another book to my pull list.”  It also made me interested in checking out the show, which I will do when the first season comes out on DVD.  Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 because it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water.

Musical Pairing

John Williams?