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Tag - Brian Reber

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Series: 4001 A.D.
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Tomás Giorello
Colors by Brian Reber
Publiher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “Witness the battle-scarred debut of Valiant’s top-secret new hero! As the war for 4001 A.D. rages, the coming of War Mother starts now in all-new standalone adventure torn from the pages of the summer’s biggest comics event! In the 41st century, much of the planet has been reduced to a barren wasteland. New Japan orbits the Earth as a floating oasis that towers over the ashes of the old world. The survivors of this desolate new age, robbed of the planet’s once-lush natural resources, must endure great hardships to survive. Amidst the devastation, one outpost of scientific knowledge has thrived by adhering to a strict code of isolation. But even the denizens of this walled city must venture out into the wasteland to gather supplies from the remnants of what was. This task is designated to one and one alone: War Mother. But all is not peaceful, even in New Japan. When the space-faring empire begins jettisoning city-sized sectors to Earth during the onset of a civil war, War Mother is called upon with a new mission: mega-salvage! Armed with a newly born sentient sniper rifle, War Mother is a one-woman army bent on sacking the crash-landed sector’s technology-laden debris for anything of value to her tribe. But, as calm turns to chaos, Sector 8146 will reveal a telling secret about Earth’s true order that will collide War Mother against her community, her code, and her calling?and bring destruction down upon one of humanity’s last surviving outposts of order. Out of the ashes of the summer’s most ambitious crossover event, New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (GENERATION ZERO) and spectacular rising star Tomas Giorello (Conan) introduce the Valiant Universe to the boldest new hero of this century or the next when War Mother makes her history-shattering debut!”

4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Cover A by DAVID MACK

Of all the 4001 A.D. one-shots, I anticipated this one the most. Well, maybe it was a tie between this and Shadowman, but nonetheless I have been eagerly awaiting the release of War Mother. There’s just something about a strong female character who kicks ass and vanquishes her foes. I don’t know how to explain it, or why it captivates me so much. It just does.

I love that the title is War MOTHER, and not something obvious and cheesy like, Lady Murder, or Death Queen, or Warrioress. (Yes, Autocorrect, you’re right. That isn’t a word.) I appreciate Valiant having the foresight and intuition to let the characters banner reflect the most powerful thing about women, which is their ability to give life. I mean, they’re f***ing superheroes for Chrissake. (No, Autocorrect, you’re wrong. That is a word, and I googled it to be sure.) Women grow humans inside of their body and then birth them. I’ve watched my own wife go through it three times and it is by far the most incredible human attribute and we dudes just sit there like, “Uh, I… I can pee standing up…?” The idea of a War Mother, a woman built and designed to birth war, or at the very least be the sole protector of an entire city, is deeply and profoundly satisfying.

Cover B by JELENA KEVIC DJURDJEVIC

War Mother feels like a flawlessly original character influenced by some iconic classic characters. I’d say there’s a little bit of Frank Castle in there, crossed with some Furiosa, and even a little of Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior. But I noticed a little Ghost Rider maybe too. That sounds like a stretch, right? I’ll explain. So, War Mother’s “sentient sniper rifle”, which she calls FLACO, is fully brought to life when she partners it with her targeting interface, which a small device that looks similar to an iPhone. When that is locked into the rifle it becomes aware and she can communicate with it. One of the things I love about the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film is when Johnny uses the spirit to take over a giant mining machine and proceeds to lay waste to all the guys attacking him. I like the idea of him being able to utilize the spirit to take control of any vehicle, not just a motorcycle. I see the same possibilities here with War Mother. You could put a bazooka in her hands, or a drop her in a big-ass tank and she could turn all her ensuing enemies to ash.

I’ll say this though, I look forward to more from this character because I’d really love a story-arc where she has to manage a tough situation without Flaco or her targeting interface. I know I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here, but I just thing it would be exciting to see how she handles things without those two at her behest.

 

Cover C by CARY NORD

The artwork of War Mother is handled by Tomás Giorello, who’s previously done work on Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, and the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. He’s also done covers for Bloodshot Reborn and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, so some of you Valiant fans may recognize his work from that. I really love his style. It seems like it’s got a little John Romita Jr. influence to it, but it doesn’t feel blocky like JRR’s form does. There are some absolutely beautiful panels, one in particular where this huge, underground dwelling creature comes erupting from the dirt to attack War Mother, where Giorello’s detailed line-work is perfectly accentuated by Brian Reber’s colors and the whole page feels like it’s jumping out at you. It makes you hope to see more from this team in the future.

Character Design Variant by ANDRES GUINALDO

If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, then I strongly urge you to head down to your local comic shop and pick up all the issues, but even if you don’t read it, you can still read this story and not be lost. There’s enough of a recap to let you know what’s going on so that you don’t feel lost. The story is self-contained as much as it can be, and even leaves some mystery in the past so that not only could we get some great ongoing stories from War Mother, but Valiant has left themselves room to explore her origins as well.

Do yourself a favor a pick up this comic. Fred Van Lente nails the story and the tone, and the art team of Giorello and Reber paint a gorgeous scenery and cast of characters. 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 hits comic shops tomorrow, or you can click the link at the top of the page to get it digitally from Comixology.

 

Music Pairing –

I recommend pairing Danish black metal songstress Myrkur with War Mother #1. Her music makes for a fantastic soundtrack to the story.

 

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot

Series: 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Braithwaite, with Brian Reber on Colors
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

“Once upon a time…in the year 4001 A.D…

Centuries ago, Bloodshot was the man called Ray Garrison. Now, in the year 4001 A.D., Ray Garrison is no more…but the nanites that once thrived inside him endure still. With their master long since gone, the microscopic machines that once drove Bloodshot through every firefight, healed every wound, and calculated every outcome have one final directive left to execute…but what could it possibly be? And how will the forces of the future react when the infamous man-turned-machine called Bloodshot returns to fight another day?

The future starts now as New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (BLOODSHOT REBORN) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) bring Bloodshot barreling into the 41st century of the Valiant Universe with an all-new, standalone tale at the epicenter of 4001 A.D.!”

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Overview:  The 4001 A.D. event has been incredible thus far.  If there is one thing Valiant knows, it’s how to pull off a great summer event, that is neither contrived or money grabbing.  Lemire’s 400l A.D. BLOODSHOT continues this tradition.

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the new look for Bloodshot I was a little hesitant.  The amorphous, nanite body with the Bloodshot head seemed a little far-fetched, even in a world with timewalkers, hive-mind aliens, and beings with the power to manipulate time, space, and matter.  After reading it though, I have to admit that it’s pretty damn cool.  Lemire’s story is great, frequently pulling scenes directly out his work on BLOODSHOT REBORN and last years BOOK OF DEATH: FALL OF BLOODSHOT book, and even providing a sense of closure after what happened at the end of FALL OF BLOODSHOT.  As far as the art is concerned, Doug Brathwaite and Brian Reber pull off some KILLER panels throughout the course of this book.  There were several pages where I just stared at the page taking in every little detail – and there is a LOT of detail.

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Bloodshot is just such a cool character, possibly even one of the greatest in Valiant’s pantheon of heroes, and Lemire has him dialed in.  His stories are frequently introspective, which is hard to pull off with a character who’s primary purpose is murdering people to death in a variety of ways.  His run on BLOODSHOT REBORN shows us a more subdued Ray Garrison, who is still trying to find his place, and 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT gives this fantastic hero both closure, and a possible new beginning.

If you are a fan of Bloodshot, sci-fi, or stories about artificial intelligence, then this is the book for you.  Not that it is a contest, but I liked this one-shot even better than X-O Manowar’s, and that book was also fantastic in its own right.  Make sure you head over to a comic shop (or Comixology if you prefer digital comics) and pick up 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT (out June 8), as well as the rest of the 4001 A.D. event books.

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4LN Comic Review: Ninjak #10

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Doug Braithwaite & Juan José Ryp, with Brian Reber
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! A SPECIAL FOUR-ISSUE EVENT! “OPERATION: DEADSIDE” STARTS HERE! In December of 2015, a covert military intelligence unit sent a team of 20 agents and one special operative into a parallel dimension. Only one came back. The purpose of their mission was classified. Now, out of options, MI-6 has recruited their most elite operative – codename: NINJAK – to follow the doomed mission’s sole witness back into the dimension called Deadside…and bring her missing teammates home. What will they find there? And who will be waiting for them? Jump on board here as New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (DIVINITY) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) reunite for a terrifying journey into an unknown plane of existence…and bring NINJAK head-to-head with SHADOWMAN in the all-new, four-part epic “OPERATION: DEADSIDE”! Plus: an all-new chapter of “THE LOST FILES” begins, featuring explosive artwork by Juan José Ryp (Clone)!

Ninjak (2015) #10: Digital Exclusive Edition

Ninjak is, without a doubt, one of the absolute best comics being published right now. Since the launch of the series earlier this year, the story has been exciting and captivating, with some pretty amazing twists along the way. This brand-new story arc “Operation Deadside” kicks off with a blast. Literally. A secret MI-6 facility is attacked and a villain previously captured by Ninjak is taken to the Deadside, somewhere Ninjak has been before but isn’t really in a hurry to get back to. I mean, he’s going back, he just doesn’t want to. He’ll have some help this time, though, from the obdurate and incomparable Punk Mambo. They go together about as well as… well… about as well as an anarchist hippie and an agent of the state.

click for super-sized previews of Ninjak (2015) #10: Digital Exclusive Edition

For me, personally, Ninjak has been my favorite of the new Valiant comics from 2015. Don’t get me wrong, I like pretty much everything that they put out, but Ninjak just has something about it that makes it stand out. It’s more accessible than a lot of other current comics. What I mean is that you can very easily jump into Ninjak and it’s even easier to get sucked into the story. “Operation Deadside” picks up sort of where the previous story arc ended, but not in a way that requires you to read it. However, you should read it because Matt Kindt has been crafting an absolutely compelling plot-line that leads you all the way up to here. The way Kindt writes Colin King (Ninjak) reminds me of a mix of Bruce Wayne and Danny Rand. He’s wealthy, classy and headstrong, but still sarcastic, and even a little reckless at times. Not imprudent, just a tad careless; in a “let’s see what happens when I do this” kind of way.

click for super-sized previews of Ninjak (2015) #10: Digital Exclusive Edition

Moving on to the art… It’s phenomenal. Doug Braithwaite is a fantastic artist who has an incredible talent for drawing detail without being overly complex with his panels. A lot of artists today try to be too complicated and/or too abstract and that can make the story hard to follow. Braithwaite does not suffer from that misguided philosophy. He draws damn good comics and that’s that. Additionally, each issue of Ninjak includes a Lost Files bonus story at the end of the main story that all connects. Previously the story had been about the origins of Colin as an agent but Operation Deadside changes that and seems to be about a new Shadowman. Now, Shadowman is definitely in my top 3 favorite Valiant characters so I’m eager to see how that side story develops and connects to the larger plot, but the thing I’m most excited about when it comes to the Lost Files story is that the art is done by Juan José Ryp. I freaking LOVE his style. It’s super detailed and kind of gruesome at times. It’s just so incredible and I’m really glad that he’s doing it.

 

click for super-sized previews of Ninjak (2015) #10: Digital Exclusive Edition

If you’ve been looking to jump into a Valiant published comic, this is a great jumping on point. Hell, if you just want a really great series to jump into PERIOD, this is one I highly recommend. The writing is high caliber. The art is top notch. There’s nothing to dislike about Ninjak, and I stand behind that statement 100%. Ninjak #10, the beginning of the “Operation Deadside” arc, is a 4 star book if I’ve ever read one. Head down to your local comic shop and pick up a copy today!

 

Music Pairing –
Well if you’re gonna jam something while you read a Valiant comic, then you HAVE to make that jam A Sound of Thunder. And while reading this particular issue, that specific jam NEEDS to be the track “Punk Mambo” from their new album “Tales from the Deadside“.

4LN Advance Comic Review: X-O Manowar #39

Series: X-O Manowar
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art Team: Rafa Sandoval, Ryan Winn, and Brian Reber
Publisher: Valiant

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

ALL-NEW ARC! ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “EXODUS” BEGINS NOW!

Aric of Dacia is X-O Manowar, hero to humanity, leader of the remaining Visigoths, and a husband about to start a new family. He is also the bearer of Shanhara, and tantamount to a God in the eyes of the alien race known as the Vine. Now, in the aftermath of DEAD HAND, the Vine need a new home and have chosen Earth – tearing Aric between two races that worship him, but each despise one another. New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (BOOK OF DEATH) and red-hot artist Rafa Sandoval (Ultimate Hawkeye) unite here to begin a bold and tragic new era in the life of X-O Manowar!

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Overview-

As my fellow 4LN writer Bill Clark said in his recent Green Lantern review, Robert Venditti is a hell of a writer.  His scope in this series has been grand, and this issue is no different.  The Vine, having barely survived the destruction of their home-world during Dead Hand initiative attempt to take refuge on Earth in order to be near their god-figure, Aric of Dacia (X-O Manowar).  Some of those that survived the Armor Hunters that nearly destroyed LA aren’t all that keen on aliens of any kind showing up unannounced leaving Aric in the middle between those that see him as their deity and those to which he has sworn his allegiance.

The art team (Rafa Sandoval, Ryan Winn, and colorist Brian Reber) does some really amazing work in this issue.  The tense standoff between the Vine and American fighter pilots with Aric caught in the middle leads to some pretty epic panels.  And, as always, I was very impressed with colorist extraordinaire Brian Reber who’s skills are utilized on a majority of Valiant’s titles. The colors are just so vibrant and unique, it’s hard to anything like it on the shelves right now.

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Like it says in the summary, this is a great jumping on point for new Valiant readers.  The title page gives you all of the context needed to understand what was going on.  If you do want to go back and read Valiant back-issues (which I would actually highly recommend), a Scribd subscription and an tablet or computer will get you access to a majority of their titles from the beginning up to about a few issues ago.  Oh, and the first month is free which gives you the chance to binge-read as much as you possibly can in a month.  There are also several Valiant fans on Facebook and Twitter that would be more than happy to help out a new fan.  That is, after all, how I ended up with an ever growing long box filled with comics from my favorite new publisher.

I know it can be really difficult to jump on a book that is hovering near 40 issues.  Luckily this issue should be accessible to anyone looking for something new to read.  X-O Manowar is a man out of time.  He is a 5th century warrior who possesses one of the most powerful weapons in the universe.  So if you are a fan of sci-fi, man-out-of-time stories, or even to a degree sword and sorcery stories – X-O Manowar might just be your new addition to your subscription list.  Head on down to your local comic shop and give X-O Manowar #39 a shot. Also take a look around, they just might have some of the Dollar Debut issues of X-O Manowar #1 lying around.