Four Letter Nerd

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4LN Comic Review: Skybourne #1

Series: Skybourne
Written and Drawn by: Frank Cho, with Colors by Marcio Menyz
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Summary from Comixology: “A new, original series from celebrated creator Frank Cho (Totally Awesome Hulk, Savage Wolverine)! Full of fast-paced action, Skybourne is Indiana Jones meets James Bond with fantasy elements thrown in. Cho describes it as “one of the most cinematic stories I’ve envisioned.” The legend of King Arthur is alive and well in modern day. Only one man, Skybourne, can stop the evil Merlin from destroying the world.”

Skybourne #1


Frank Cho is one those creators whose reputation oftentimes precedes him. Whether it be his “Outrage!” sketch covers, or his much publicized exit from doing Wonder Woman variants due to… we’ll say, “creative differences” with Greg Rucka. He’s maybe a little like the comic industry’s Quentin Tarantino, right down to the infamous foot fetish.

(Editor’s Note: There is no evidence that Mr. Cho has a “foot fetish” and the suggestion thereof by this writer reflects his baseless opinion only, and not that of Four Letter Nerd.)

(Writer’s Note: YOU’RE a f**king nerd, Gary.)

What I mean is, regardless of your opinion of him, he’s undeniably talented, and he’s not afraid to be himself and speak his mind without concern for how people will perceive him.

Skybourne #1

Skybourne is his newest creator owned project about a family of not-so-immortal’s who end up on the business end of some mysteriously dangerous circumstances. The majority of this first issue focuses on Grace Skybourne as she attempts to collect a mystical sword from a deal-breaking prick who fails to comprehend how much of a badass she really is. Let me see if I can help you comprehend it. One of the very first things she does when the deal goes south, is put. her arm. THROUGH… a man’s BODY. His whole f**king body. And if that’s not badass enough for you, she proceeds to do it like 18 more times and even karate chops a dude trough the mouth and separates most of his head from the rest of his head. I presume this is a move that Frank is very familiar with since he spent time working covert operations for the CIA. There’s even a rumor that he may have been a linchpin in the operation that took out Gaddafi.

(Editor’s Note: There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that Mr. Cho ever worked for the CIA, let alone had any involvement in the overthrowing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Again, these claims are of the writer alone and do not reflect the opinions of Four Letter Nerd.)

(Writer’s Note: THERE’S NO EVIDENCE BECAUSE IT’S THE F**KING CIA, GARY! They don’t want you to know the truth! Read a book, you pathetic sheeple!)

Skybourne #1

This is the part where I’m supposed to go into the artwork of the book, but I mean, this is Frank Cho… what can I say about a the guy’s work that hasn’t been said before? It’s hugely recognizable for how flawless it is. Every panel is like a painting, and he perfectly captures details like wrinkles around the eyes and blood splatter on… well, on everything it splatters on. His ability to capture facial expressions is incredible. The aforementioned scene of body impalement by lady-arm is made all that much better because the look on the guy’s face is priceless. Like the last thing that crossed his mind was, “Holy s**t. I was just punched all the way through the chest.” I imagine it’s a facial expression Frank saw many times when he took out terrorists for the CIA.

(Editor’s Note: On behalf of Four Letter Nerd, I would like to apologize to Mr. Cho for the outrageous accusations made by this writer, and 100% guarantee there will be consequences for his behavior.)

(Writer’s Note: Hey Gary, can you tell your wife that I left my watch in her car the other day and that I’ll pick it up from her when we meet at the Marriott off of highway 70 on Friday? Thanks Boss.)

Skybourne #1

Skybourne is a very, as Frank describes it, cinematic story. Epic, even. It’s full of mystery and big action moments that will keep you glued til the very, surprising, end. Head down to your local comic shop today and grab a copy of Skybourne #1, or click the Comixology link at the top of the page to read it digitally.


Music Pairing –

I’m going with Detroit rock ‘n roll/metal band Wilson here. There’s just something about their brand of crazy, fast-paced jamming that feels right when partnered with this story.

4LN Comic Review: The Backstagers #1

Series: The Backstagers (8 issue Limited Series)
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Rian Sygh, with Colors by Walter Baiamonte
Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios

Summary from Comixology: “James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredible yet earnest story about finding a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast. When Jory transfers to the private, all-boys school St. Genesius, he figures joining the stage crew would involve a lot of just fetching props and getting splinters. To his pleasant surprise, he discovers there’s a door backstage that leads to different worlds, and all of the stagehands know about it! All the world’s a stage…but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic!”

The Backstagers #1

I wasn’t in any clubs in high school. It wasn’t really my thing. I once did this debate club type presentation at an inter-school competition that I lost. I was also in a play once, actually. A full-on stage production of the story of the Bible. And I had a pretty high profile role. I played the kid who gave Jesus the fish and bread that he used to feed, like, five-thousand people. I sang a solo and everything, and it was broadcast on television WORLDWIDE. Stick that in your mascara tube a suck it, drama nerds.

I may not have been in drama club, or worked the stage crew for high school plays, but I after my previously mentioned “15 minutes of fame” chewed me up and spit me out onto the cold, hard concrete of life with an empty bottle of Jack and empty pockets, I ended up doing stage crew and behind-the-scenes work for TV shoots. I loved doing that too. The camaraderie you have with your fellow black shirts* cannot be rivaled by the people you’re making look good.

*A solid black t-shirt is a requirement if you’re working crew for any type of production of shoot

The Backstagers #1 art by Rian Sygh

I think my favorite thing from James Tynion so far has been his work on Talon, which spun out of the “Court of Owls” New 52 Batman story-arc. The Backstagers is a different style of comic, but one equally as likable. I appreciate the genuine emotion that comes across in the story. Jory, the main character, is terrified of being in a new school and desperately hoping he can just stay afloat amidst his hesitation and anxiety. He attempts to join a specific group and discovers it’s not a good fit for him, but at the same time realizes that he’s most comfortable with a group he hadn’t even considered before. I think it’s a great lesson in that… we often see ourselves as puzzle pieces who have to find the place we fit. When we can’t find that place we get despondent. We never stop to consider that maybe it isn’t our job to find a puzzle to complete. Maybe, it’s the puzzle’s job to complete us… (That’s some “self-help poster” shit right there.)

One undeniable quality of Backstagers is its character diversity. Black, gay, short, chubby, etc. All types of dudes are represented here. It’s refreshing to see it all presented without any stigma. No one cares or acts as if it it matters. Like, these are all just traits of the characters and not what defines them. That’s infinitely more valuable than anything you’ll take away from a Big 2 comic.

The Backstagers #1 art by Rian Sygh

The art of Backstagers fits the tone of the story perfectly. Rian Sygh’s style is fantastic. It’s fun, and quirky, and a little abstract at times, but never too serious. I love the cartoon-ish look with embellished facial expressions and bizarre creatures that just don’t seem out-of-place cause, hey, it’s comic books! There’s one page in particular where we’re seeing the space that hold the doorway to other worlds and it’s just so grand and exciting. You really have to study the page to take it all in. A big part of what makes it so wonderful too is the color-work of Walter Baiamonte. The colors just… pop. I wish there was a bigger, better word to describe it but that’s just how they are. Maybe “luminous” would work. They’re luminous and beautiful.

Rian Sygh is not only the artist, but also the co-creator of the series. I like that structure. It shows that the writer and artist are equals and not just uneven associates, and that the artist has a balanced amount of creative control. It’s very common in the comic industry for readers (and, unfortunately at times, even  publishers and other creators) to downplay the role of a co-creating artist and I think that’s what makes it so important for us at 4LN, and other comic sites, to acknowledge it when we run previews and reviews.

The Backstagers #1 art by Rian Sygh

The Backstagers #1 is a funny and enjoyable beginning to a series that is sure to please fans of all ages. The emotion is real, but never heavy, and it speaks to anyone who’s ever had to seek out there place in the world, which, let’s be honest, is pretty much all of us comic book readers. I think I would especially recommend it for middle school kids, so if you have one of those around then maybe think about picking this up for them. It hits comic shop stands this Wednesday, 08/17, or you can get it at the Comixology link at the top of this page.

The Backstagers #1 art by Rian Sygh

Music Pairing –

Once you grab your stack of comics on Wednesday and you need to cue something up to listen to while you read, make sure you put The Backstagers at the top of your pile and jam the new album from Moose Blood, “Blush“. It’s a fun explosion of 80’s-tinged pop-punk that pairs perfectly with this issue.


4LN Comic Review: Sombra #1

Series: Sombra
Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Raúl Treviño, with Juan Useche
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Summary from Comixology: “Justin Jordan (John Flood, Spread) tackles a provocative topic-the violent drug cartels of Mexico-partnering with artist Raúl Treviño, who lives in Mexico and is drawing on his first-hand experiences to inform the story. A DEA agent, who disappeared in Mexico years ago, has resurfaced and is now out-brutalizing some of the cartels he was sent to investigate. His daughter has been tasked with stopping him by any means necessary. Perfect for fans of Scalped, the novels Heart of Darkness and Savages, or the film Apocalypse Now.”

Sombra #1

I knew practically nothing about Sombra before I read it. I knew that it was about drug cartels and that Justin Jordan wrote it. That dude can do no wrong in my book. I love so many of his series; Dark Gods, Spread, Luther Strode, and his run on Shadowman is one of my favorite things that Valiant comics has ever published. So I may have already been a *tad* biased, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still as little unsure as to what the pages of Sombra held in store for me. Luckily, hope won out and it’s turned out to be one of the most captivating comics I’ve read this year.

Sombra #1

As you can read in the summary above, the story is essentially about a DEA agent having to go to Mexico to track down her own father who went rogue, after being subjected to witnessing the violent cruelty of the Cartel first hand, and decided to take matters of justice into his own hands. And boy does he make them pay. There’s some dismembering, some partial crucifixion, a little light impalement. To put it in basic comic terms… I guess it’s like watching Barbara Gordon (pre-wheelchair) hunt down The Punisher. It puts you in a tough spot. Who do you root for? Obviously the Cartel are pieces of s**t who deserve a;; the aforementioned torture, but as a U.S. law enforcement officer it’s still her responsibility to bring him in to answer for going AWOL and, you know, mass murder of human lives.

Justin Jordan knows how to tell a story, and he knows how a story needs to be told. Sombra is a very interesting story for him because it uses the reality of Mexican drug cartels, and the subsequent corruption generated by their mere existence. Many of his past works use a lot of fantasy and imagination to conjure the atmosphere, but here the guy can just do some Google searches and boom, inspiration abounds a plenty. It only goes to show that his form and style are extremely versatile.

Sombra #1

The artwork of Sombra fits perfectly with the story and tone because it’s art that feels intentionally like a comic. What I mean is, these days many comic creators come across as if they’re trying too hard to have their series taken seriously as a piece of literature, forgetting (or deliberately ignoring) the fact that they’re a comic. I’m not saying that comics shouldn’t be taken seriously, or that their not legitimate artistic literature. I’m saying that creators betray their craft by behaving as if it needs to be something else to be more credible. Comics are credible. They’re valuable to culture, and they don’t have to be convaludedly abstract to be taken seriously. (I seem to have gone off on a tangent there. Sorry about that.)

Raúl Treviño knows exactly who he is as an artist and the art of Sombra is a reflection of that. He’s drawn a beautiful comic that juxtaposes the dark, brutality of the underlying plot with bright, manga-esque artwork. His line-work is on point, and his attention to detail never suffers. Throw in the fantastic color-work from Juan Useche, and you’ve got a comic that feels completely and satisfyingly balanced.

Sombra #1

Look, if you’re reading the same 5 or 6 books from the same 2 publishers all the time, then you need to mix it up. Sombra is a great new mini-series that you can read from the beginning. It’s only going to be 4 issues long which is just the right amount of story for you to get addicted. Jordan and Treviño have created and crafted a great story that’s off to an enthralling start and I guarantee you won’t be able to wait for the next issue.

Sombra (Spanish) #1

4LN Comic Review: Lucas Stand #1

Series: Lucas Stand (1 of 6)
Writer: Kurt Sutter & Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Jesús Hervás
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Official Synopsis:
“What’s to Love: Ever since we first saw Sons of Anarchy, we knew creator Kurt Sutter had an amazing comic book story in him. Now we’ve got it in Lucas Stand, his first, original comic book series. If you’ve been looking for a new antihero like Jax Teller to root for, Lucas Stand fits the bill.

What It Is: Lucas Stand is a military vet who can’t reintegrate into society and has emotionally cut himself off from the people he loves. At his lowest, Lucas does something he can’t take back. Hell comes calling, offering him the opportunity to make things right. Demons escaping Hell are upsetting the balance of evil, and now Lucifer has recruited Lucas to send them back. It doesn’t matter in what era the demons escape—World War II, old-timey Hollywood, Vietnam, present day—he must learn to fit in both the past and the present. Given new purpose, Lucas starts to rebuild himself and his life, even as he struggles at the human cost that comes with it.”

Click the cover image to download a review PDF. Do not post any portion of the PDF without permission. Click here to download preview pages. You may post these on your site immediately.

Main Cover by Lee Bermejo

If I could only use three words to convince you to read a comic, what three words could I say to you, you personally, to persuade you that this book had immeasurable potential? Something like, “Action, intrigue, and excitement”? Or, “Fun, suspense, and adventure”? OK. That’s all well and good. All of those words are things you’d find in good comics. However, I’m going to choose to use three different words to express to you why you need to read Lucas Stand. Those words are: Demons, Nazis, and Time-Travel. Yeah yeah, I know “time-travel” is two words, but I hyphenated it so I win. Still though, doesn’t seeing those three things make you go, “I’m listening…”?


If you only glanced at (or skipped over entirely) the official summary above, this comic was conceptualized and written by Kurt Sutter, most famous for creating “Sons of Anarchy”. The common thread between those two shows is their brilliant use of moral ambiguity, so if you’re aware of that difference and enjoy the exploration of gray areas it won’t be hard for you to make the leap to this story. Lucas Stand is a whiskey chugging, hardened former soldier with a bad back and a sailors mouth. He’s painfully aware of his insignificance and figures no one on Earth will miss him when he’s gone. Little does he know he’s completely underestimated his importance on a separate plain of existence.


The plot has a lot of grit, and the story takes enough dark turns that if you’re the kind of person (like me) who shamelessly indulges in stories with debatable levels of redemption you’ll be hooked. There’s one twist in particular, just under half-way through the issue, that took me completely by surprise. That’s what Sutter is good at though, throwing a wrench into the plot and making you wonder just how in the hell they’re gonna come back from that. Caitlin Kittredge co-writes with Sutter, and if you’re not familiar with her work, she is the creator and writer of the beautifully morbid Coffin Hill, from Vertigo comics. That series was built on the dark side of supernatural concepts so by partnering Sutter’s knack for gritty characters with Kittredge’s penchant for writing unnerving stories about underworld creatures I think BOOM! Studio’s has a real hit on their hands here.


Cover B: Frazer Irving variant

The artwork here is great, solid comic art. Jesús Hervás (Hellraiser, Hitman: Agent 47) has a very 90’s-esque style and it works perfectly for these characters and the world being built. There’s a page near the end that has a building as the background and when I first saw it I thought to myself, “Wow. He drew all those lines.” His attention and commitment to detail is extremely noteworthy, and that very final page… Man. It is a sight to behold. (Also, how about that main cover by Lee Bermejo? It’s like a damn painting or something. I love it so much.)

Colorist Adam Metcalfe (The Tomorrows) completely knocks it out of the park also. He’s incredibly versatile and carefully changes the color tones of each section of the story so that it flows well and as the reader you’ll barely even notice. This is the worth of a truly talented colorist.


Cover C: Riley Rossmo variant

All in all, Lucas Stand #1 is a bad-ass first issue in what is certain to be continually explosive series. The story is crazy enough to grab your attention and the art is engaging and accessible. The ending will leave you desperate for the next issue, which is the mark of a great comic. Pick yourself up a copy of Lucas Stand #1 at your local comic shop today, or find it on Comixology.


Music Pairing 

I think the perfect musical accompaniment to this comic is a little Black Label Society. Something rough and hellish, but not completely without heart.


Saturday Morning Comic Review – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1


What’s to Love: With over four million viewers per week watching episodes that air three times a day, seven days a week; an awareness of above 90% for men and women ages 7-54; and a new film coming in 2017, the Power Rangers are more popular than ever. Dive headfirst into our original, modern ongoing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series that will appeal to both nostalgic fans and new readers who enjoy epic, action-adventure fantasy stories.

What It Is: Based on the long-running Power Rangers franchise, five teens from Angel Grove High are granted superpowers and giant robot dinosaur Zords to defend Earth against the alien villain Rita Repulsa. When Repulsa creates an evil Green Power Ranger by brainwashing recent transfer student Tommy, the team is able to free him from her grasp and get him on their side. But with remnants of Repulsa’s control still stirring in the back of Tommy’s mind, he must confront the fact he may be more of a danger to his new team than a help. This is “Green Ranger: Year One.”


With a three year old at home, Power Rangers (in all its forms) is a staple at the Clark household.  When my firstborn was barely a toddler, I introduced him to the original Power Rangers from my own childhood.  This was both awesome for me (I got to revisit one of the favorite TV shows from when I was a kid), and not so awesome (how many punches and kicks to the Goldar can I take?).  After finishing the first and second seasons, he has since moved on to Super Mega Force, Dino Charge, Mystic Force, and Super Duper Action Ninja Pirates, but he still loves the old series and loves playing as the Red Ranger – just like I did when I was a kid.

When Boom! Studios announced that Kyle Higgins (co-creator of C.O.W.L.) was going to be in the pilot seat for a MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS comic, I was very excited.  I might have a problem with my nerdstalgia, but going back over those original episodes was a lot of fun, and I was interested to see more from my favorite era in Angel Grove.

The book opens with two classics from the original Power Rangers – Bulk and Skull – interviewing Angel Grovians about the Green Ranger joining the Rangers after nearly ending the Rangers, which places it right after the events in the popular “Green with Evil” episodes.

Higgins does a good job playing the nostalgia card without beating the reader over the head with it.  A lot of the time, books based on the the nerdity of our youth can feel like the writer wants you to know that he/she gets it.  They cram as much as they remember being popular in the source material into every issue and you can feel them exaggeratedly winking at you the whole time.  I see this a LOT in the Star Wars novels of yore.  All of that to say that Higgins skillfully avoids the pandering trap and delivers a fun experience that adds to the mythos rather than just repeating it. I particularly enjoyed the way the characters interacted.  The dialogue felt true to the characters in such a way that I could almost hear the original actors saying the lines.

At first I thought the art was a little too anime-ish for my taste, but then I remembered that the Power Rangers are pretty much anime incarnate so it’s kind of hard to hold that against it.  In fact, Prasetya’s Rangers and locations are magnificent, especially the Command Center and Rita’s Palace.  There’s one sequence that follows Kimberly and Tommy on a training mission, and the action plays out really well.  Overall it flowed very well and all the characters were recognizable (a problem with some comics based on TV or movies), although I am sure it helps that they are all color coordinated.

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS is a fantastic read that’s full of nostalgia without beating you to death with it.  Higgins and Prasetya are a great team and put out a well made first issue.  If you loved the original Power Rangers and want to see new stories in Angel Grove, you should definitely head down to your local comic shop and pick up MIGHT MORPHIN POWER RANGER #1.



4LN Comic Pre-Review: Broken World #1

Series: Broken World
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Illustrator: Christopher Peterson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Summary from BOOM! Studios: “With a meteor days away from causing an extinction-level event on Earth, time is running out for Elena Marlowe. While most of the planet’s population and her family were approved by the government to escape on one of the giant spaceships headed to another planet, her application was denied due to her mysterious past. With the meteor fast approaching, Elena desperately tries to find a way to fake her way onto.”

THE END IS NEAR! Or not… but maybe? Who knows. And honestly, would you want to know if it is? How would you even handle that? Well, those are just a couple of the questions asked in this new series from writer Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts, Avengers World), and illustrator Christopher Peterson (Grindhouse, Mayday). What would it look like if the human race had sufficient time to prepare for the coming apocalypse, and how would we behave?

Among the deep philosophical questions that Broken World raises, it also does a fantastic job of crafting a captivating story about a family who is preparing to board the last of the spaceships headed for safety just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Elena, the mother, has a secret and, while we don’t find out what that is quite yet, it’s clearly one she’ll go to extreme measures to keep hidden.

After reading the first issue, I can confidently say that I’m very eager to read the rest of this series. The last few pages were nerve-racking. Those were some if the most intense and thrilling comic panels I’ve seen in a long time and I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

This series is off to an exciting, enthralling and extremely enigmatic start, and I strongly encourage you all to get on board before it’s too late!

Tell your local comic shop that you want to read Broken World #1!



Translucid: Issue #1 Wild Horses Review

Translucid: Issue #1 Wild Horses

Writer: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert

Illustrator: Daniel Bayliss

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Translucid: When you thought you had read every super hero tale to be told, you may need to

think again.


As an avid fan of Claudio Sanchez’s work with Coheed and Cambria, The Amory Wars, and

Key of Z, Translucid had automatically drawn my attention. However; Does Sanchez’s and his

golden haired counterpart, Chondra Echert’s first venture into the ever popular world of super

heroes live up to the competition? Yes, yes it does.


Translucid tells the story of The Navigator, a self-made hero who seems to rely on his evil

counterpart, The Horse, for his feelings of self-worth. A story of how co-dependence on

someone else is never a good thing (remember that ex-girlfriend that made you feel like a

man, then slept with your best friend and shattered your self-confidence? Well, it’s kinda like

that).I was immediately attracted to the beautiful art of Translucid, and Daniel Bayliss did a

phenomenal job from the character design to this holy-sh*t-I-just-ate-some-shrooms visuals, it is

phenomenal. Flipping panel to panel, I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was so wrong. I felt

my heart racing page to page, then before I knew it I was already rooting for the Navigator to

kick some horse a**.


The script is beautifully written, and executed perfectly with every panel.

Twists and turns around every corner kept my interest peaked the entire time, and if my instincts

are right, this is not going to be like any other good guy versus bad guy tale I’ve ever read, and

that is not a bad thing. I’ll be waiting for issue #2 with open arms.


Translucid receives a 4 out of 4.


(Editor’s note: This review was written by Austin Carter)