Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Marvel

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #1

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel

Summary from Comixology: “The most fearsome villain of all time returns with an all-new series! When Anakin Skywalker fell, both to the pull of the dark side and to the blade of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he rose back up, more machine than man. Having lost everything that was once dear to him, the former chosen one must take his first steps into a darker world…as Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith!”

This is a series I have patiently been waiting for since it’s announcement some time ago. If you have been reading this site for any amount time, you would know that Charles Soule is one of my top 5 current comic book writers, and if he writes something I’m going to pick it up. His work on Poe Dameron has been fantastic, and his mini-series Obi-Wan and Anakin was a refreshing look at the characters set between Phantom Menace and Clone Wars. It’s been a few months since we had a Darth Vader book (Kieron Gillen’s book ended in October of 2016), but this is already shaping up to be the most interesting book in the ongoing Star Wars series.

In the first issue of Charles Soule’s run on Darth Vader, we pick up immediately where Revenge of the Sith leaves us. Darth Vader is awaking from his surgery and operation that added his new armor, and in his rage he throws Emperor Palpatine into the wall and this sets Palpatine into a rage and he attacks Vader, forcing Vader to come to the realization that he no longer has his lightsaber, which Obi-Wan takes after his battle on Mustafar and later gives to Luke in A New Hope.

The first arc will more than likely focus on the story of how Darth Vader got his iconic red lightsaber, and this first issue goes into great detail explaining the significance of the red kyber crystal, and that alone is worth the $4.99 sticker price. I would love to go into more detail about that, but don’t want to risk spoiling anything.

Along with Charles Soule’s fantastic work, Giuseppe Camuncoli makes a triumphant appearance on a Star Wars book and his art style matches perfectly with a story exploring Vader’s quest for his lightsaber. Giuseppe Camuncoli has worked previously on other Marvel books such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man. His artwork is a little bit more animated compared to previous Star War books, but it works great with the story. I think one of the most memorable scenes of Darth Vader #1 would have to be towards the end of the issue when Vader is on a planet in the Mid Rim and he experiments with the different lenses inside his helmet and we see the planet through Vader’s eyes and it’s a truly unique view of the character.

Personally, I can not wait to see where this story is going to lead to. So much happened between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope that there is almost an endless amount of stories to tell. Nineteen years have passed and in that time, Darth Vader went from an unknown Sith to the most terrifying Sith Lord in the Galaxy, and I can’t wait to see the horrible things Vader has done in the unknown. Be sure to head down to your LCS and pick up a copy of Darth Vader #1. This is the perfect book for any Star Wars fan or any comic book fan, it’s also a great jumping on point because if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith, then you will be able to follow this series without a single hiccup.

Also, the issue has an extremely dark minimalist bonus comic by Chris Eliopoulos and Jodie Bellaire that pretty much consists of Darth Vader killing everyone he has an interaction with. It was much darker than I expected and it even had me laughing a few times. It is definitely worth the short read, you’ll enjoy it.

Music Pairing:

John Williams, Imperial Death March because come on, it’s a Darth Vader book. What did you expect?

4LN Comic Review: Darth Maul #1

Series: Darth Maul
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Nolan Woodard

462191._SX360_QL80_TTD_Summary from Comixology: “Bred on hate, fear, and anger…steeped in the ways of darkness…and trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. From writer Cullen Bunn (DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, WOLVERINE) and artist Luke Ross (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, HERCULES) comes a tale of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the Jedi.”

I remember being six when Star Wars Episode I: The Phanom Menace first came out, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever (I know… I know…). The movie starred a young kid, my age, podracing, and one bad ass Sith. From the minute I saw Darth Maul, I was intimidated. The black and red face, the horns, the double-edged lightsaber, and the fact that Darth Maul was extremely quiet just added to his brooding nature.

If any writer was born to write Darth Maul, it’s Cullen Bunn. Bunn is just one of those writers that just does a great job with a villainous and anti-hero characters. He’s written Sinestro and Lobo for DC, and he has worked on Magneto and Deadpool for Marvel. He just has a natural ability with capturing the darker and more brooding characters. In the Phantom Menace, Darth Maul doesn’t say much; but, in the first issue of the mini-series he has quite a bit of dialogue. Darth Maul struggles with some inner demons and frustration directed at Darth Sidious, since he feels Maul is not ready to complete his apprenticeship.

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When it comes to the art in this book it tends to, at times, look a little more cartoony than the rest of the Star Wars books (not including Princes Leia)  have looked, and I certainly don’t mean that in a negative context. The cartoon feel actually adds a great amount of depth to the book and makes some of the scenes all that more bad ass. The book actually starts with Darth Maul hunting two of the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy, Rathtars(space octopus eyeball looking things). Darth Maul takes two of these beasts down in a couple swings of an ax, and its a great start to the series and helps show vicious Maul truly is. Luke Ross does an incredible job with the character designs for the leader of the Trade Federation, and also background characters on Coruscant.

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Bunn and Ross make a fantastic team, and this is leading up to be one of my favorite Star Wars mini-series. As I mentioned before Bunn does a fantastic job capturing a villain and, with a character that so little is known about, this is his time to shine with the ability to be able to add more lore around Darth Maul. Ross’s art really fits the book and I definitely look forward to seeing this creative team run off with Darth Maul.

My only downside to the book is Marvel sticking a $4.99 price tag on the book. Yes, it’s a #1, and yes there is a small bonus story by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire but I really think the $5 price will turn people away. If I wasn’t pulling EVERY Star Wars book, I would have probably passed on this book, but I’m glad I didn’t. And despite the $5 charge, I think you’ll greatly enjoy it too.

 

Music Paring:

Duel Of The Fates by John Williams. Because, duh.

4LN Movie Review – Doctor Strange (SPOILER FREE)

Doctor Strange was the first comic book character that I loved beyond just fantasizing about flying, or being super-strong or fast. I loved him for existential reasons. I mean, I was a kid so it wasn’t like I understood it that way at the time, but I was drawn to the way he saw into realms that no other “superhero” could. He protected the world from invisible threats, and that fascinated me. The idea that he spent day after day risking his life to safeguard the world from things it never even knew existed, and it was mostly a thankless responsibility. I also was drawn to how he earned his powers through a process of learning to open his mind, rather than just through some accident or experiment. To add on top of all that the fact that he spent his entire life as an arrogant prick before being humbled by an accident and then going on to be the Sorcerer Supreme… It was like this “Saul to Paul” story, and for a kid who grew up in church, that resonated with me. (Also, his real first name is Stephen, and I’m pretty narcissistic so…)

Before I go any further, I will say that, while this isn’t a spoiler review and I will not reveal any specific plot points from the film, there will be some vague references and generalizations, as well as a few comparisons, that could still divulge more than you want to know. Read on at your own risk.

Film Synopsis: “Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.”

The film is pretty much a straightforward origin story (think Captain America: The First Avenger). We learn about the threat the motivates the second and third acts, and we meet Stephen Strange and get a sense of how incomparably talented he is as a surgeon and as an egotistical dick. Then we follow him on his journey through humility to reclaim his former glory, but along the way he realizes he’s destined for so much more.

I understand that the basic plot structure and story development feel a little… safe… for some people, but I comprehend it a little differently. Remember I mentioned “Saul to Paul” in the intro? Well, if you’re not familiar with that reference I’ll explain. The Paul spoken of is the Paul from the Bible. The one who wrote anywhere from 8 – 13 books of it (depending on who you ask). The story is that, before becoming a passionate apostle for Jesus Christ, Paul was named Saul and actually spent his life punishing those who claimed to follow Christ until one day he’s blinded and hears the voice of God telling him to quite being such a dick (I’m paraphrasing here). He then goes on to be what some would say was the greatest evangelist of the Christian gospel. The parallels between his story and the one given to Stephen Strange are quite apparent (and I would imagine that it could be on purpose, but that’s something you’d have to ask Stan “The Man” Lee). Stephen is a man of great talent, who puts his entire trust in science and reason, but finds himself crippled and unable to continue living the life he’s built. He goes in search of anything that could restore him but ends up discovering a whole new, more purposeful fate. I’m not staying it’s an exact replica, but there are many similarities.

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So, you’re probably thinking, “Dude, what’s with the f***ing bible story?” First, you should be ashamed of yourself for using that off-color language. Second, I’m getting to it, so don’t get your f***ing panties in a wad. The main reason I spent so much time on the Biblical comparisons was to better explain why Scott Derrickson was not just the best choice for director, he was the only choice. You see, Scott, from what I can tell, seems to have a legalistically religious background, which is something I share in common with him. From Wikipedia: “He graduated from Biola University (the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles) with a B.A. in Humanities, with an emphasis on literature and philosophy, and a B.A. in Communications, with an emphasis on film, and a minor in theological studies.” (Afterwards, he went on to earn a Masters in film production from USC School of Cinematic Arts.) He made The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which isn’t like any other demonic possession horror film out there, and he also made the tragically underrated Deliver Us From Evil. As I mentioned in my review for the later, Scott is very, very good at blending the supernatural with reality because he genuinely comprehends both of them differently than the average person, and Doctor Strange is proof that he perceives the possibilities and literal application of their coexistence. Scott also grasps the nature of Stephen Strange better than any other director that could’ve been considered because I think he sees those same biblical similarities that initially captivated me.

I understand that by using words like “biblical” and “religious” I could potentially be frightening you on what awaits in the film. I assure you, as someone who is no longer religious in any way, there is no propaganda or indoctrination. I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to show you why this guy was the clear choice to take on the project.

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OK, so moving on to the acting performances. They’re all fantastic. There isn’t one weak link in the entire cast. I rarely make the right call when it comes to speculating on who should take on a comic book character role, but I actually called Benedict Cumberbatch early on and he didn’t let me down. I’d even go so far as to say that this is his least Cumberbatch-ian performance to date. I know that his Sherlock Holmes would probably make you think he’s perfect for Strange but they really are very different characters. The way he plays Sherlock is more smart and socially awkward. Sherlock isn’t really an asshole, he’s just so brilliant that his intellect dominates his personality. Stephen Strange, while also very brilliant and intellectual, really is just an asshole. Like, he could choose not to be, but he doesn’t. Benny (I call him that), also nails the emotional range for the character. There’s a moment when Strange is meeting The Ancient One for the first time and he begins to realize that, even though he was told to forget everything he thinks he knows, this is nothing like what he imagined it to be and he begins to lash out in a way that anyone who’s ever lost hope or faith can relate to 100%. In that scene, Cumberbatch makes you feel in your own soul the level of hopelessness that Strange is experiencing. I was moved by it.

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Aside from ol’ Benny, there’s Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, who in the comics is mostly Strange’s adversary but here we see him in more of a co-mentor role. He does a great job of playing the strong compatriot to Strange’s ever-questioning student. Tilda Swinton really shines as The Ancient One. She’s wise and unaffected by Strange’s skepticism, but even though you know there’s more to her than what’s on the surface there’s still more you don’t expect hiding underneath that. The character’s layers run deep and she shows each of them to us with authority and grace. Mads Mikkelsen plays Kaecilius, a zealous former student of The Ancient One. I love Mikkelsen in pretty much everything he’s in, and he serves his role well here. Kaecilius is harded and angry, he fights with merciless fury, but there is a moment that you briefly see the vulnerability that forged the path he chose and it’s easily Mikkelsen’s best performance of the whole movie. I’ve heard people say that Rachel McAdams’ role as Strange’s colleague, and former girlfriend, Christine Palmer was underused, but I argue that she served a very crucial element of the film, which is Strange’s remorse for his past behavior. They already have a rocky past, but after his car accident and ensuing spiral into depression, he treats her very cruelly and comes to regret that. Her forgiveness is a key element in shaping him into the man he becomes by the end. Easily the best standout in the film, though, is Benedict Wong as… well, Wong. In the comics Wong is more of a manservant/butler type, which is an unfortunate representation of the time in which the story was first created, but here he’s the librarian for Kamar-Taj, which is the name of the monastery where The Ancient One and the other sorcerers train and reside. He’s a no-nonsense dude with an invaluable wealth a knowledge. Also, he helps to make the movie so damn funny. His serious, “straight-man” performance to Cumberatch’s “awkward white guy” moments make for comedy gold.

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Probably the most compelling aspect of the film is the visuals. There are no words in any language that I’m aware of that when strung together could accurately and sufficiently describe what you’re seeing in this movie, but by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth I’m gonna try. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like the cinematography in this film, and I’m pretty certain that no film up to this point has ever been as ambitions as it is with the CGI. There’s never a moment where you think, “That looks fake.” It all looks completely real, every rotating building and collapsing floor. Even the mind-bending alternate realms have this structure and layering about them that make them feel almost believable. There are moments where you have to look down at the floor or at something else in the theater just to remind yourself that no one spiked your slushie or Twizzlers with LSD. It’s that hypnotizing. (I imagine that anyone who dropped acid while listening to “Led Zeppelin IV” or “Dark Side of The Moon” has already encounter most of what’s on display here.)

I saw the film in the IMAX 3-D format, and I know that most people don’t love the price tag that comes along with that, I sure don’t, but I would strongly encourage you to see it this way. I don’t think I’ve ever recommended the IMAX 3-D over the standard format in all of my time writing reviews, but this one was made to be seen this way. It’s not just a movie, it’s an experience. There were times that I found myself completely entranced with the depth and scope of the film. As someone who puts zero faith or interest in industry award ceremonies, if this movie doesn’t at least get some recognition for it’s cinematic visual achievements, then there is absolutely no justice in the world.

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All-in-all, Doctor Strange is a visual achievement, not just within the Marvel Cinematic Universe but the whole of film in general. The acting is superb, with Benedict Cumberbatch delivering what is maybe his most diverse performance to date, and the rest if the cast standing very strong alongside him. Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios have crafted a magnificent film that threatens to consume you with astonishing visuals, but keeps you firmly grounded with a story that attempts to imagine the perseverance of the human condition on a realistically emotional level.

Also, when you head out to see the movie this weekend, make sure you stick around after the credits start to roll because their are 2 scenes you’ll miss if you leave early, and they’re both clues to what the MCU has in store going forward…

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Podcast, Episode 4: Do The Big 2 Just Not Cut It Anymore?

This week we discuss the differences in tone of story & content between The Big 2 and independent/creator-owned comics. Specifically, I share why, for the most part, I just can’t get emotionally invested in Marvel and DC comics anymore, and how that’s helped me fall more in love with lower-profile series’. How about you? Do the superhero stories of characters like Batman and Captain America just not do it for you? Let us know in the comments!

4LN Comic Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation #1 (of 5)

Series: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation
Writer: Chuck Wendig
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology:

It’s true—all of it! The biggest movie of the year jumps from the big screen to the comic book page! It’s been three decades since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star and toppled the Galactic Empire…but now, on the remote planet of Jakku…there is a stirring in the Force. A young scavenger named Rey…a deserting stormtrooper named Finn…an ace pilot name Poe…and a dark apprentice named Kylo Ren…Their lives are about to collide as the awakening begins.

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When I was a kid, my dad took me to a comic book shop in Nashville.  It was an awesome store on Broadway that was full of old comics, records, collectibles, and all sorts of riff-raff.  While I was digging through the long boxes (not really sure what I was doing), I happened upon a random copy of Marvel’s official comic adaptation of “Return of the Jedi.”  I was so excited that I had bought a piece of the story with my own allowance.  Come to think of it, that might have been my first comic book purchase.  This was in my formative fanboy years of my love for Star Wars, and I read through that part of the story multiple times, just reliving the movie (which I could’ve easily just watched on VHS).

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Personally, that is one thing that drew me to this book.  It was like reliving that moment when I was eight digging through boxes, but I also enjoy what this book is.  It allows the reader to view one of their favorite stories in a different medium.  It lets you linger on an image, flip back and forth, and just absorb more than you would simply watching the film with a group of friends.  Trust me, people get really annoyed when you skip back a few scenes to catch a piece of dialogue again.  I did the same thing with the book adaptation.  You just catch different things viewing a story from a different perspective.

All of that baggage aside, this book is solid in its own right.  It’s written by Chuck Wendig, who previously penned Star Wars: Aftermath – a novel that was a part of the “Journey to The Force Awakens.”  I wasn’t a huge fan of his brusque style in Aftermath.  Don’t get me wrong, his writing is great, as was the story, it just wasn’t my particular taste.  That being said, his ability to give a lot of information if very few words works out well in this book.

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Since this is an adaptation it is basically the key moments of The Force Awakens, with minimal introductions by the writer.  His main job is making sure the lines from the movie make a good transition from screen to panel, and it matches up perfectly.  This particular issue starts with Poe on Jakku kneeling before Kylo Ren, and ends right before the heroes jump in the Millennium Falcon to escape the planet.

One thing that really stood out to me was Frank Martin’s color art.  They are just so vibrant and really pop off the page.  Luke Ross’ characters match their onscreen counterparts.  It did seem that sometimes the artist paid more attention to the details in the environment and vehicles than he did the characters faces, which leads to some of the panels having simplistic caricatures, but overall he is spot on.  Another thing I noticed is that Hux is depicted as a little more manly than Mr. Weasley portrays him, not that it matters either way, he just has a more intimidating presence under the hand of Luke Ross than in the film.  Oh, and can we just talk about how awesome Esad Ribic’s cover is?  Sweet Maker, that thing is pretty.

Like I said earlier, this book will appeal to fans of the film, Star Wars in general, and comic lovers.  It is always fun to see something in a different art form, and this book didn’t feel like a cheap adaptation for a quick buck.  They took their time, really found the meat of the story, and adapted it to a new medium.  I give this book 4 and a half severed limbs out of 5.  Make sure you head down to your shop and grab yours today!

 

Music Pairing: The Force Awakens Official Soundtrack

Or at least the first part of it.

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Han Solo #1

Series: Han Solo
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Mark Brooks
Colors: Sonia Oback

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Summary from Comixology: “Everyone’s favorite scoundrel gets his very own series! Han is given a top-secret undercover mission for the Rebellion- rescuing a number of informants and spies. His cover for the assignment? Only the biggest and most infamous starship race in the galaxy! You know- the race Han has dreamt of winning his entire life. Will he keep his mind on the mission? And can he manage to pull it off while keeping the lead? Best-selling author Marjorie Liu (X-MEN) comes to the Galaxy Far, Far Away along with superstar cover artist Mark Brooks (ULTIMATE X-MEN) in his return to interior art! Face it, readers- there aren’t enough scoundrels in your life!”

I’ve been fairly excited for this book.  Ever since the announcement of the new Star Wars books, I think everyone has been anxiously waiting for a new Han Solo story. After the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens I personally feel like I need to know even more than I already do about the life and times of Han Solo. Han Solo #1 does a wonderful job capturing the mood, look, and attitude of our favorite scoundrel.

Marjorie Liu does a superb job at matching the tone the original movies. The book takes place after he was awarded his money for rescuing Leia and then destroying the Death Star, which has made him one of the most wanted men in the galaxy.  This is why Han remains so reluctant to help the Rebellion again. After some convincing, Solo decides to help save three rebels under the disguise of being a pilot in the race he’s always dreamed of winning: The Dragon Void.

Mark Brooks, this books artist, is absolutely incredible. His work looks almost identical to the characters in the movie, it’s great seeing such realistic looking characters in a comic book. Brooks also does a wonderful job with his attention to details and character designs. With such a vast universe of life forms, Brooks makes each supporting and background character look truly unique and rare, which is much needed in a Star Wars book.

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If Han Solo is a character you love, or you are just looking for a new book to read, you are going to want to jump on this book. Liu and Brooks make a fantastic team, and do a wonderful job at capturing the tense and unknown feeling of watching the franchise for the first time. This is going to be one hell of a ride, and we are going to see if the Millennium Falcon will be able to run the Dragon Void as quick as it ran the Kessel Run.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, Star Wars theme.

DC Rebirth, Captain America, and Other Possible Changes To Your Favorite Comics

Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk

This New Comic Book Day has brought about many revelations to comic readers. Apparently, Steve Rogers is, and always has been(?), an agent of Hydra (Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016-) #1) and the reason for DC Comics’ reboot (DC Universe: Rebirth (2016) #1) is explained as being the result of some villainous(?) actions by the Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan. (Also, the Joker has really been 3 different people?) Should we really be surprised by this stuff though? I mean, pretty much nothing these two publishers have done with comics in the last few years has made much sense. There have been so many continuity inconsistencies and character changes. Nuke was dead, and then he miraculously and inexplicably… wasn’t. Falcon is Captain America. Lobo isn’t actually Lobo, Deathstroke de-aged, Jane Foster is Thor, etc. etc. (With the one exception being X-23 as the new Wolverine. That actually makes all of the sense.) It’s a wonder they don’t just come right out and say, “Yeah… we just want your money, we really don’t care about the characters or maintaining cohesive plots and stories.” Obviously, with the new Cap and Rebirth being #1 issues, there are plenty of places the stories could go and we”ll just have to see how it all plays out, but it got me to thinking… what other big changes could potentially be on the horizon for our beloved comic characters? Here are my speculations on what we might see in the future of the Marvel and DC comic book universes.

 

Galactus has been Daryl Hannah from the remake of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman this whole time.

 

Killer Croc will discover that he actually has some alligator in his family ancestry and it will shake him to his emotional core.

 

Power Girl has actually been a drag queen all this time. (Consequently, millions of neckbeard fanboys are forced to reevaluate their sexual identity.)

 

Uncle Ben faked his death and became Uatu the Watcher (who was subsequently also murdered…)

 

Frank Castle begins seeking anger management therapy and, after finding a more fulfilling life in organized religion, decides to hang up his Punisher skull to take on a new moniker… The Youth Pastor.

 

Poison Ivy discovers that there has been a poison ivy cure for like ever and changes her name to Poison Oak. Zatanna starts to tell her that this also has a cure but is quickly stopped by Catwoman who urges her to “just let it happen.”

 

H.E.R.B.I.E., the Fantastic Four’s faithful robot… Servant? Sidekick? (Sex Toy…?), is revealed to be the driving force behind infamous government-intelligence-secrets leakers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

 

Doctor Doom forgets to renew his medical licence and is henceforth known as “Grumpy McMetalface.”

 

Aunt May, Martha Kent, Peggy Carter, and Frigga the All-Mother begin living together in a condo in Florida (yes, like the Golden Girls) and it becomes the highest and fastest selling comic book of all-time.

 

Unable to go on fighting crime due to succumbing to crippling scurvy, Batman is forced to retire and choose a replacement who can go on protecting the city of Gotham. In a delusional state, and with no one close to stop him, Bruce chooses 8 raccoons to succeed him as Batman. That’s right, just 8 raccoons in a Batsuit. One to work each arm, one to work each leg, one to work the head, and three in the torso, mostly for load bearing but also because an empty abdomen area would be a dead giveaway during fistfights. (Follow up: The raccoon’s turn out to be an even better Dark Knight than Bruce and Gotham actually becomes a city of flourishing promise for awhile, but then ultimately is brought down again because of gentrification, which, let’s be honest, not even 8 raccoons in a Batsuit can stop.

 

Now, I’m not saying that ALL of these things will happen, but it’s 100% likely that at least 90% of them will. I guess we’ll just have to keep shoveling our cash into Marvel’s and DC’s pockets until all is revealed. Now, get out to your local comic shop and pick up some comics! While we’re worshiping The Big Two with our monetary offerings, how about grabbing some indie publisher comics too! You can pick up new issues of great series like East of West, Tokyo Ghost, and Bloodshot Reborn, as well as trades for Symmetry, Ninjak, and Day Men!

4LN Comic Review – Darth Vader #20

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca, with Edgar Delgado on Colors
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology – “New Story Arc! “END OF GAMES” begins this issue! Inspector Thanoth returns with some startling information. Vader may have passed his master’s tests…but will his own schemes prove his undoing? PLUS: A bonus tale of Triple-Zero and Beetee!”

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Marvel’s STAR WARS titles have, for the most part, been phenomenal, with STAR WARS and DARTH VADER being the best of the bunch.  Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca continue the streak with issue #20, which kicks off the “End of Games” story-line.

When I initially started reading this issue, I wasn’t planning on writing a review of it, but I just loved it.  There were so many reasons fans of STAR WARS might be interested in this issue, even if they haven’t been reading this series regularly.  First and foremost, we get to see the Super Star Destroyer “The Executor” under construction at the Kuat Drive Yards, which is Darth Vader’s capital ship as seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.  I’m not going to lie, I nerded out for a while staring at that panel.  I mean, Larroca’s artwork on that two-page spread was worth the price of admission alone.

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Most of the issue is centered on a one-sided conversation between Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine.  Sheev details how he rose to power and purged the galaxy of weakness, destroyed the Jedi, and how he forced a traitor to overplay their hand in order for Vader to cut him down.  Despite having very little action (other than the short story in the back, which I will get into later) Gillen, and the rest of the creative team, are so good they make a conversation about political subterfuge entertaining.

I was also really impressed with Larroca’s ability to depict the Emperor’s most popular, facial expressions.  The way his piercing eyes stood in contrast to his simple, black robes was unnerving, and there were several expressions that were pulled right out of the films.  Oh, and if you are a fan of Triple Zero and Beetee, this issue includes a solo story featuring the two murderbots as well.  It’s always fun to see Triple Zero and Beetee since they are the antithesis of of Threepio and Artoo.

This issue was one of the best issues in Marvel’s modern STAR WARS titles.  Despite having almost no action, and practically running solely on dialog, I loved every second of it.  Gillen and Larroca make a great team, and they get it.  They aren’t heavy handed with their references, but add just enough to keep STAR WARS devotees excited.  Make sure you pick this issue up.  It’s not imperative that you read issues 1-19 to understand what’s going on, and it just might make a believer out of you.

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