My Thoughts/Review Blog
Delta Dogs 16-19 by V. Young
One of my favorite yet frustrating series is finally back. I literally wrote this sentence last week but it's true with the following 3 issues I got from them recently. There was a sales glitch and the owner gave me a free #19! Let there be more sales glitches!
We continue with the battle against Grey Sox and the other Sox gangs. The power pills put the Delta Dogs at a disadvantage that forces Quan to take on a dangerous plan. But the Deltas got that dog in them and want to fight as well. Can Quan complete the mission and set the battlefield against the Grey Sox and the other powered gangs to their advantage? Or will the team family fall apart due to their resentment?
We also got a side story with Vonnell the 12-year-old beginner struggling to stay with the team. His powers are hard to control. Challenged with a fire rescue, he sees a victim with a story much like his own. Can he overcome his fear and lack of understanding of his powers to finally save the way?
The art remains as good as it was, though it looks like the company has decided on their character models and general looks by now. The pacing needs a bit of work because it feels like the story needs more than 5 episodes to resolve. But the panel work has seen some improvement. I think these 4 issues will make any fan of the story happy. The cover art's not as poppy as the first issues but at this point, you're not buying for the cover art.
You can find Delta Dogs on their website https://millennialcomic.com/
Scorpio #3 by John Robinson IV
One of my favorite yet frustrating series is finally back. I wrote about this series in 2019 and while I wasn't a big fan of issue #2, I was pretty psyched when I heard #3 was coming out. But is it any good?
This issue continues the storyline of the zodiac...people? They look like people. Anyway, we learn of a dangerous conspiracy that seeks zodiac relics, like the one in Shim's possession. In the aftermath of the break-in, the company's in chaos and Shim is forced to confront his CFO, who now has his relic box. Can he unlock the relic and save Naomi before the monster slays her? Can he square his love triangle before all 3 sides learn of each other? What other drama will come his way?
The art team changed since #1 first came out and I certainly notice the difference. The characters are drawn better and the action is crisper, plus the framing looks much less blocky. There's a lot more CGI effect in this issue, which you'd expect in an exposition scene. An overall improvement.
Story-wise, I feel it's a bit too short and without a followup message regarding the next issue, I worry that this might be the last issue. I liked the ending and the way it built suspense. Robinson's always had good worldbuilding skills and it shows in this issue, especially with the ending. It's not a deeply flawed series, and while it doesn't have the depth of Saga or the clout of Niobe, it's still an interesting read.
I'll update this site when the issue hits the stores. Until then, check Kickstarter.
Here's a new one for me, readers- a webtoon! I haven't covered a webtoon from Webtoons.com before. The writer asked for reviews so let's get to it!
The cover painting makes me think of a Dungeons & Dragons board game cover. From the cover and the title, you can tell this is an epic fantasy of some sort with a slight religious bent to it. I typically don't read epic fantasy so I can't think of any novels in this subgenre, but Niobe comes to mind. Is this another Niobe, you're wondering? Perhaps.
The story focuses on an 'underworld' realm of sorts, where we follow elf-like beings Nina and her twin sister Kara, along with their friend Dwain. Kara and Dwain are members of the town guild but Nina has yet to pass the test. Nina feels her sister and friend leaving her behind and tries desperately to get in. However this puts her loved ones at risk. Meanwhile there is a side plot of demonoids escaped from a local jail and heading for the way back to Earth. A demonic prison warden chases after them. How the two plotlines merge will be revealed in future episodes, since I only read up to issue 12.
Now we must talk about the art. Those unfamiliar with Webtoon might feel it jarring to have full color in the first few pages but not the rest of the first issue. I liked this because it enhances the importance of the scene. Also I am a little familiar with Webtoon's requirements and they like this sort of thing, whereas I feel some readers wouldn't like the inconsistency. Me personally, I liked the shifts in art style throughout the story.
What I didn't like was some of the paneling. Some scenes had a lot more 'dead space' over character's heads than I liked. This is a common webtoon design flaw, since you're reading top-to-bottom rather than pages like a comic book. Thus, you're always going to have some dead space. When I draw my own webcomic some day, I'll use frame edges to remove some of the dead space and make the reading much tighter. Creator Marc Blair does a good job of making tight panels here, especially during dialogs, but some of issue 9 had the problem. Also, the art doesn't "slap" like a real comic book or even other webtoons like Perfect Hybrid. Some scenes lack definition, while others are well-defined and have fully formed backgrounds. You'll see the Colosseum in one scene and a very tightly stenciled Korean hanok village in another. While I like this, I worry the author might get into a copyright fight if the design is too much like the inspirational piece.
Overall, I'd say this story is a cut above many webtoons out there, but it lacks the artistic flavor of the more famous toons. The plotline doesn't tightly pull in the reader, unless you like heroes and fantasy arcs. But as I read the graveyard scene and the end of issue 12, I could see the plotlines and general story arc starting to form. He's got a good block of 14 issues so far and has started publishing after a long delay, which I find a good sign the story will stick around. That gives me hope in Marc's artwork and paneling for future issues.
I give UnEarthed a gravely concerned score of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Get out the shovel, folks! We've found silver in these webtoon hills!
Your can read UnEarthed at Webtoons here.
Iron Infiniti Vol 2
Here's a series I wasn't sure would get a sequel. I felt the art was a little too pedestrian to warrent a sequel. The storyline was a little cliched as you can tell in my review of vol. 1 but I felt there was enough to maintain reader interest. Apparently there was enough, since Mindless Designs made this sequel as well as a few others.
In this volume, the alien-human suit team of CJ and Elz spent time training under Scavenger the eye-patched mentor (not a stereotype, trust me) but isn't at his full potential. Renisha returns as Ms. Makeshift, having gone through training herself in the time-skip. Together they learn about the threat posed by the King of Aces, the gang leader using alien tech to dominate the streets. But another threat appears- literally, she's on the cover. What does she have to do with the King of Aces, or does she portend another alien threat coming for the Earth? Tune in and find out!
Improvements in the art and paneling were obvious. More manga-styled work appeared in this issue (like running with arms out for balance) which I considered appropriate and helpful. But some of the art seemed unpolished.
Overall, a good sequel with a decent storyline and lead-up to an intense finale. Or so it seems? I hope they stick with the series. It's a bit YA in some ways but hey it's comics not Shakespeare. I give Iron Infiniti 2 a 4.0 out of 5 stars. You can pick it up here.
Dark Side of Seoul Volume 1 and 2
I admit that it's a bit late in the year for scary stories, but as you might already know, February is a common release time for horror movies. So, why now for horror comics as well? Actually, it was late, but better late than never, eh?
I read the first issue two years ago. and while I didn't cover it, it made a big impression on me. I've read and heard various ghost stories related to actual events in Korean history, and while only a few have been made into movies/Netflix shows, the ones in these comics have not. They are tales from the ghost walk of Seoul, something I recommend for any tourist in the city.
The tales are part morality and part historical fantasy. Vol 2 seemed to cover more abusive men than Vol 1 did. There was definitely a change in art as well, with new artists in Vol 2. I think B&W comics do not lose anything, for in the colored medium we expect greater things. As such, Vol 2 seems a big more Manga-ish than Vol 1 did. While the art was better overall, I liked the paneling a bit more in Vol 1.
Overall the stories are not particularly scary in vol 2, but I wouldn't recommend them for young children. They might get ideas, you see? Ideas about...revenge...
If you're interested check out the website Dark Side of Seoul for comics and podcast, or to book one of their tours!
Odina is one of the signature Konkret characters, and likely their star character, but can she carry the franchise? Let's find out. I read issues 1-4 to answer that question.
The art, especially the covers really pops out of the screen and the issues have that glossy new-comic look. The first issue had some art erorrs and mistakes in plotting that were corrected in future issues. But we don't really get the origin of Odina we could use. We get some hints, like her demon-based powers. Her origin seems related to the main threat she's fighting with the Kush gods to defeat the evil hybrid queen. But will she survive against Lady Tiye to find out? She got some training but Lady Tiye is a powerhouse.
Odina's a bit of a snarky jerk which is different from other woman-power comics. It's a little off-putting considering her age, but there's some charm to it. Don't let it put you off from her comic, though.
You can find Odina and others at https://www.konkretcomics.com/
RANDOM COMICS DAY!
Not sure when I picked this one up but it's been in my collection for awhile. I was hoping that a second issue would be out by now, but no luck. So it's been on the backburner for reviews while I wait for Kickstarters to come in.
It's an interesting but only partially explained story. Dr. Nir Yeboah wakes up in a hospital after 3 month coma with barely any idea of how he got there. The last thing he remembers is getting out of his car to go to work in the lab. When he came in, he had terrible burns on his right side, with his hand terribly mangled. But now he can bench 900lbs and run 8 miles almost breathlessly.
But the story ends before any clues come in for his mysterious transformation. And like the art, it's inherently forgettable.
You can find this on Amazon or the Amaranthine Comics site here.
Here's another forgotten one, but with worse art. Though I am a fan of 3D rendered comics, this one had more downs than ups.
There's a lot more action in this one, with Jai and Elbie rescuing abducted humans from an alien ship light-years from Earth. One of the rescued is Ophelia, a crabby teenage girl with an attitude. I guess she's supposed to be the main character in future issues, but none were released.
It's a shame because the story had an interesting premise- abducted humans banding together and using alien tech to stop their enemies. Gives it almost an XCOM feel.
If you wanna see for yourself, it's at Amazon here
It reads like a Wonder Woman copy, but it isn't. It reads more like a mix between Black Adam and Malika, to be honest. But is it a fun read, or serious historical critique?
Amani Renas, the last surviving Kandake warrior of the ancient kingdom of Kush, starts the issue wandering the ruins of the capital. Her kingdom destroyed, she was in purgatory, but it doesn't quite show that in the issue. She stumbles across a village being attacked by a new enemy- the militia.
She has some sort of magically enhanced strength though its range is not clear. She's part of the Konkret universe but is not certain of what her role should be. She needs to find herself in this modern world of new heroes and forgotten gods.
The art of the comic is pretty impressive. The framing, the action moves, the stills all give the comic a polished, semi-modern look. The way they draw is very 90s and pre-heavy digital era look. I think fans of that era of comic (the good ones not the bad ones) would like the artistic spread and angle of this one. Fans of African focused comics will like the focus on Kush and other ancient kingdoms.
There are other comics in the Konkret line that I've covered before. I've covered Akolyte on Talk About It Tuesday and liked it enough that I might buy more in the series. I'm not 100% this will be as successful as their other comics, but they're treading new ground with her, so we'll see. Odina's been around for awhile too so we'll see how they separate her from Kandake.
You can find Kandake and others at https://www.konkretcomics.com/
OLAJU THE EDGE OF ORIGINS VOL1
Here's something markedly different. Not a single human character in this story. Think of "origins" as the origins of human life on Earth. The characters are wood-spirits(?) I think, assigned by the god Ashari to prepare the Earth for humanity. However, Barkuzu the elder decides not to ascend and wants to control Earth for himself. The new chosen and his friends must learn the secrets of the power system and stop Barkuzu's invasion before the biosphere collapses. It's a wild fantasy adventure, no doubt about that.
The art reminds me a lot of cosmic series like Silver Surfer and Guardians, especially of Groot the tree alien. The colorful creatures clash with the dark setting of the bad guy's lair, thus heightening the contradictions. Some of the animals are drawn in a cute way to give younger readers something to be excited about, besides the talking tree people of course.
As far as the story goes, in some ways it's interesting and in others it's a bit long and slightly boring. The characters are pretty well written but the villain went from purporseful to Skeletor halfway through the story. I think the plot could have used a bit more polish. I liked the references to Yoruba and Igbo culture in this comic, giving it a cultural life of its own.
If you're interested, or have young advanced readers who are, then you can find it on pre-order at their site here. I got it on Kickstarter 2 weeks ago so it might be a minute or two before it's on sale.
IYANU: CHILD OF WONDER Vol 2
Another great work from YouNeek studios finds its way to my blog! I was quite happy with this sequel to Volume 1, though the art was a bit lacking at times and I wasn't a big fan of some framing. Still we got a lot of good story to complement the art and give us an idea as to what the hell is going on in Yorubaland and how the Corrupted animals got that way. Iyanu gets the obvious student choice: Complete the mission or save the beloved master? But first, she needs training at the hands of Biyu's village matriach. Answers will fly out of the page in this issue, but it isn't a lot of infodumping like other works.
You can find Iyanu at the links here. In fact, you might even see it on TV soon.
Kisha the Demon Eater Vol.1
Haha! Spotted a continuity error! There's no train to Vicksburg! Let's just say I'm proud of my Amtrak knowledge!
Anyway, Kisha has two parts- a prologue which introduces the demon Kisha and the main story which introduces Kisha. They are not the same person, and then they are. It's not that complicated.
Basically, Kisha the human goes with her friends into a demonic portal and she accidentally gets possessed by Kisha the demon. Now she must fight against the evil demons and demon hunters while trying to figure out her own powers and spirituality.
Is this a New Orleans story? Yes, in fact it is. It's kinda set in the same world as the Crescent City monsters. The Grunch monsters are in the story and there's some mention of characters but the mains of both have yet to interact. That might happen in Vol 3, whenever the Dream Fury crew gets around to it. Vol 2 will certainly have our Nawlins schoolgirl killing machine fighting for her life in Kansas,
I found the art to be great in quality and framing. The mix of color in some pages really helps the scenes in which it appears. I'm not sure as to why they only colored some objects and not others but it did not distract from the story. This comic reads like a Big 3 produced work in terms of art. I hope they can keep up their high quality in future works.
You can find Kisha and Crescent City Monsters at this link
Crescent City Monsters Vol 1
This is the comic I talked about last time I wrote a review. It's quite large, at 128 pages, which gives the reader a lot to work with. Some people dislike B&W comics but I find the lack of color highlights the mystery and "off-ness" of a story.
We start off with Jonas, a talented young musician playing the guitar in a blues band in Crescent City in the 1950s. I think it's the 50s. He has some magic powers but those powers go a bit out of control and then he gets captured by the Grunch- some sort of magical creature that lives in the hidden recesses of the city. There's a lot of those in the Crescent City.
We jump to present day and follow two kids Brittany and Box, two magically gifted kids who play the trumpet for cash on Bourbon street. They want to contact their long-dead parents but instead get to go on a magical adventure which leads to Jonas' escape. Missing for 50 years and zombified, Jonas must find himself again in Volume 2.
There's a lot going on and the artistic direction enhances the scariness and magical realism of the setting. Having lived around New Orleans, there are lots of superstitions I've heard over the years, most of which are nonsense BTW but it overlaps with some of the real-life horrors people have endured there. Life the racism, especially the racis cops.
I think most anyone into horror comics would like this. 4.5 out of 5 stars. You can find a physical version on Blerd-ish
Kickstarter Comic Reviews: #thebigbatchpt1
Dream Fury Presents! Vol 1
A few big books came in the mail today. They were real big, too! 86 pages and 114 pages! Too many for me to read tonight. Therefore, I’m gonna focus on a preview issue that came in the mail, Dream Fury Presents!.
This one reminds me of some preview comics Marvel released from time to time to promote the upcoming year in comics and preview some big events. I usually skip these, but when I saw the Daybreak guy, I instantly locked in. Daybreak is one of my favorite indie comics because it’s deliciously weird and good. The story was a bit short and kinda leads up to action in a follow-up issue, with Daybreak Merce having dreams again and following up the clues to New Orleans. While in New Orleans, he meets Jonas, the sorcerer type in Crescent City Monsters. Naturally, they don’t like each other. Wonder what will happen? 5 out of 5 stars.
The other story relates to Jojo, the younger brother of Jonas in Crescent City Monsters. He tries his hand at magic, and being the younger brother, it goes…poorly. Very poorly. The story and the art were great, though. 4 point 5 out of 5 stars.
I’m not sure where you can find this, as this came with the Kisha Kickstarter bundle. I’ll talk about it later when it appears on a sale site. But I believe you’ll only find it in giveaways for Kickstarters. Speaking of which, I’ll talk about Crescent City Monsters next week. See you then!
Kickstarter Comic Reviews: #Vengeance
Mrs. Vengeance finally made it to my inbox. I admit I’d forgotten about this as I was more psyched for Nightfall and Horsemen. But I was happy as soon as I opened this up. I’m familiar with Limitless Comics because I’d reviewed a few of their works for the review show.
The art is amazing. The B&W styling goes well with the noir-ish theme of the story. The “Black” the “White” the shades of gray of morality, are all reflected well in the art. I think a color issue would have hurt the mood since it was such a dark story.
I wasn’t a big fan of the framing and some of the shading. It made some parts harder to understand than others.
I’m not sure of the story. There might be easter eggs to other Limitless Comics in this series (there were 3 on kickstarter) but I didn’t notice any. I liked the plot point of a ghostly human working with others to stop crime. I wasn’t a fan of the whining about DeBlasio cutting back on the NYPD. Maybe in the comic book universe the NYPD is more competent, but in ours they ain’t exactly good regardless of their funding levels. They certainly weren’t a factor in this series. So why are the characters complaining about them when even Jon Oliver can point out how bad they are?
The story itself revolves around a kidnapping ring hitting the Big Apple and the main character Eddie and others forming a team working for a ghostly character who can phase through walls and shoot guns. Eddie and his colleagues are suicide victims who got a second chance of life thanks to Mrs. Vengeance’s help. It’s a unique story point which I haven’t seen before. Props to them for that.
If you like Sin City style comics with ghosts doing John Woo stuff, you’ll like this comic. 4 out of 5 stars.
You can find it at Kickstarter.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews: #lightitup!
The Horsemen Birth of A Spark
Once again, I find myself impressed with the Horsemen series. Although, I wasn’t as impressed with the artwork, especially the faces. I am impressed with the fact Griot Entertainment’s been publishing this series for 20 years! I wasn’t impressed with the stories, but I am impressed they’ve kept the lore consistent.
The thing about Horsemen is that it is not quite a linear story. You got a lot of beginning, a lot of middle, but not a lot of ending. You also got the fact that they don’t do a lot of framing, preferring to use the whole page to tell the story. It makes some stories seem more like pinups than a cohesive narrative, though you won’t forget the characters. I think it works well given the godly highest-fantasy elements in the story.
But the faces, though. I had hope they’d improve the way the faces are drawn. Especially women’s faces. They had a tendency to look like they’re about to sneeze. I just don’t get it.
I found the essays written by fans and experts to be quite nice and the soundtrack to be bangin’. A lot of love went into this, as with previous books. It’s 80 pages of wild afrofantasy that might confuse you at times. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
It'll be awhile but this will appear on the Griot webpage. I'll post a link.
Meta 6 takes place in a futuristic Lagos in which a secret organization is kidnapping people and turning their bodies into cybernetic war machines. Think Terminator and Black Widow. Luara aka SPECTRE fights against the Bio Force to rescue her brother. Joining her in the fight are the Blue Man akak Worgen a human/alien hybrid experiment and Dami a citizen turned into a war machine by the Bio Force but he escaped, triggering the events of Meta 6 chapter II.
For a self-made comic I think the art’s pretty good. It’s not as polished as E.X.O was. The story lacked a deep panache but the characters have interesting backstories and good motivations. Sometimes heroes lack a deep motivating factor for being a hero. Here we see the reason clearly- they want revenge and want to preserve public safety against a deeply dangerous organization. I think the crew has made greater strides in their work and you can expect greater attention to detail and a more polished look in their graphics.
I’m not sure of Cosmic Lands will return to the story but they’ve got a great foundation. 3 out of 5 stars.
The next free comic on their site is Gold Bullet. It looks like a modern ninja story, what with the weapons and seriousness of the cover. But as you delve in, it turns into modern tragedy and THEN a sci-fi ninja story. A very good story choice, if you ask me. Harrison Ikenna is your typical city teenager- good at heart and cares for his family. One day after leaving college classes, his sister asks for help. Apparently she rejected some gang members and they tried to rape her. He takes on the gang but this leads to a fatal decision. A nightmare of a life awaits him as he is then forced into a secret organization known as the Chameleons, where he gets the code name Gold Bullet. Gold Bullet meets Spectre and the incident forces him to confront his crimes. Will he give up his life of murder? Or will the mysterious stranger who looks like him end him first?
These comics are a bit newer than Meta 6 and it shows. More attention to detail and better framing. Still not as polished as E.X.O or other full crew works. One thing I really liked in this comic (though he also did it in lesser amounts in Meta 6) was the inclusion of Nigerian slang and patois/dialect with translations. For non-Nigerians, it makes the dialog a lot more accessible and “real” than not including the translations. I also liked how the story linked with the Meta 6 storyline with the inclusion of Spectre. I wasn’t too fond of the ending and the new threat. It’s called “Harrison Prime” but I’m not sure if the story needs a Jet Li-esque “The One” storyline. Fighting the evil government assassin chain should be good enough. 3.8 out of 5 stars. If you want to read them, they’re free at this link here.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews #nighthasfallen: Nightfall #4-5
And so, we come to a well-deserved conclusion to the Nightfall Saga. The forces of…Chaos, I think, unleash an eldritch abomination (kinda evil godlike being) in issue 4 after Justice and Lux get captured. In issue 5 they fight off the god of Chaos or whatever. It’s kinda hard to understand.
What I really liked were the cameos. Because the god of Chaos or whatever broke the multiverse, other characters appeared. Aceblade and LumberJax made an appearance along with a few others I haven’t seen in a few years. But sadly, they didn’t get to move the plot. Now I don’t expect that since they’re not A-tier heroes like Thor or Her, but they could've made a B plot or something more substantive.
And now we should talk about the art. Let’s take apart this page here as it’s a great example of what to expect. Now you might find it a bit unpolished and blurry in some respects. And you might be a bit correct, however pay some attention to the faces in the scene. In a complete reading of the series, you’ll know the characters will make these expressions at this particular time in the story. Crossbow guy (forgot his name) is stoic and focused, which shows up in the way he speaks the final line in the page. Everybody else is a bit panic and roughed up because of all the fighting and the desperate situation they’re in. You can tell its serious because even Her looks shook. I think the way they drew the emotions on the faces should be commended. I wasn’t a big fan of their framing, though they had the right idea throughout the comic especially on this page.
Are there comics with better art out there? Certainly, yes. But I believe the Nightfall series makes its unique mix of storyline and character cameos to overcome any art deficiencies.
One thing I liked about issue 5 was the setup for other events in the comic company. Sometimes books or comics end too abruptly without important closure but Nightfall did it well. That’s as much as I can say without giving away the ending. 4 out of 5 stars.
You can find Nightfall at: Wingless Comics Constant Hustle
Kickstarter Comic Reviews #Legends: The Legend of Azure
It’s rare that I get a hefty novel to review, but finally I do! Today we take a look at Book 1: The Sapphire Blade.
It’s not your standard fantasy faire, though it has a lot of repetitive elements you’ve seen in other works. Seeing the same monster set is getting a bit old, plus the whole ‘demon lord is bad’ thing is becoming a bit worn-out. And yet, I don’t think this story is worn out. Instead, I saw some clever innovations the writer made.
Azure is a young adult who wants to become a renowned hunter and restore the honor lost to his family. Almost typical fantasy stuff, I know. But there’s a twist: A year before he’s born, his father slew a dangerous demon but the castle blew up and Azure’s older brother managed to rescue their pregnant mother. The magic blade blew up in the battle but Oswald found it again, somehow. Armed with this magic blade, Azure must travel to Yath city and join a hunting party. Unfortunately, his taking of the blade alerts the demon lord’s followers and they want the blade for themselves. Can Azure find a hunting team and learn enough about the mysteries of the blade to prepare himself for the coming war?
While some of the plot seemed overdone the characters and minor characters showed potential. They weren’t “obsessed’ with fighting for the hero but they weren’t super-reluctant either. With Epic Fantasy, you get the extremes more often than a cleverly written middle ground and I think we got that here. In the limited time for character building the story had, we learn a bit about the party and some of the reasons why they’re in a party. With a comic it’s a bit hard to build backstory because you’ve got action you need to draw. In the 4 chapters that compose the book, the writer made just enough of an introduction to make the reader want to see how they develop and interact with the hero.
And now… we must talk about the art. In some scenes it’s thrilling. In other scenes, not so much. I mean, there was only Mr. Easley doing everything so he didn’t have any help or guidance. I think with a proper art team, he could have made the art much better and polished. In some ways, it reminds me of a highly polished webcomic rather than a shop comic. The framing was very good and certainly better than a webcomic so at least he got that skill right. I didn’t like the way he drew many of the faces. They lacked detail and definition.
I just think about fantasy comics in terms of Niobe/She is Life these days and anything not as polished as that doesn’t attract me as much. The fantasy market’s saturated and if you can’t be as good as Niobe’s art, then you can be at least as good as Niobe’s story. I think Mr. Easley’s laid the foundation for that. Let’s hope the art can keep up. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Look for Legend of Azure here on Indyplanet.
Shout out to my fans in Chicago and St. George Utah!
I’m thinking more time is needed for the comic to find its bearing. I think it’ll get the chance as a sequel was mentioned on the last pages. So, count me another mostly satisfied customer. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews #Forgotten: Fangernails
I was going through my Kickstarter projects list when I found this one that I didn’t receive in the mail. I thought I had received it but apparently I did not. Thankfully Mr. Carroll is a helpful creator and he was able to zip me over a copy. See, creators? Always help your customers!
Fangernails is a supernatural adventure comic set in modern-day New Jersey. She is an Atum- a kind of protector (I think) of the spirit world. To make a little chedda, Eni teams up with her cat Khem, a ghost named Savannah, and her sister Mercedes to run Fangernails Supernatural Investigations. She’s a teenage ghost hunter with wings.
In this case, she gets a call about a leprechaun sighting in the suburbs and flies out there. The leprechaun isn’t there but a man is- a Reaperator. Think of him as a member of an anti-KKK task force. Anyway, Eni is now tasked with protecting the pot of gold the leprechaun/twa man left for him, since he’s getting up there in age. Can Eni keep the pot of gold safe or will the twa man has something to say about this?
If you’ve read any of his other comics you’ll easily pick up on some of the references to other settings. Even Planet Alkebulan gets a shoutout here. I think it’s a good touch because it sets up an expanded universe, even if the settings are very distant and hardly related.
And now we must talk about the art. I’m not sure why my copy was so pixelated. Perhaps I got sent a screener? Anyway, I didn’t find the art particularly compelling and that’s a problem. It’s not as much as a problem compared to the art in Alkebulan but there’s a noticeable drop in quality compared to The Antagonists and Malika. I’m not familiar with Shoo’s work but I feel like his backgrounds were better than some characters in some scenes. This kind of story can carry subpar art though I consider subpar to be the wrong word for this comic. The art doesn’t ‘pop’ at you compared to glossier and more modern comics but the framing and the focal points worked really well. Therefore, it’s more in the decent category rather than subpar.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews #great:
The Antagonists #4-6
The Antagonists are back with a thrilling sequel! Ultima killed her boss but that led to the authorities tracking her down and attacking the family home. There was a bit dancing around in the first episodes as to how well the kids understood their powers. It turns out that they understand pretty well, but they never knew their parents past. They’re going to the need to learn quickly as their parents face the might of the vengeful government and its superpowered agents. They might be a bit salty about the death of The American Hero when Destructo and Ultima took out the President. Our ‘heroes?’ if you wanna call them that, left behind a trail of carnage and bloodshed that they ran from to have kids. So, a bit of this arc is about the consequences of their actions and their unfinished business.
The art was top-notch with some really good framing and the action reflected the writing philosophy really well. It’s not a rare thing in comics but when you spot it, it makes the comic a joy to read.
In issue #6, the heroes? or our heroes anyway, created a villain team to pursue their geopolitical goals but lost touch when they disappeared from the world stage. Some of those villains are on the cover here for #6. As you can see, Destructo didn’t exactly pick the brightest of the bunch for his villain team. Wonder if they’ll appear in future issues? Anyway, I found all their covers to be really good and showcase a bit of what the story is about. I’m not the biggest fan of vague covers so I found their covers for episodes 4 to 6 to be quite impressive and gives me quite the leadup to the story.
Overall, I think the kid characters and antagonists are coming into their own. I don’t know how much the author wants to release of the main plot since the comic is optioned to a network for a live action version. But I hope to keep reading it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews- The Return: #PlanetAlkebulan
If there’s one thing I like about Kickstarter Comics it’s the consistency in returns. Maybe I just pick consistent Kickstarters? This is another example of a consistent Kickstarter.
I read #1 a while ago, like last year long ago. Basically there’s this redunculously large planet with many fantasy and fantastical creatures and of course there’s a great evil to fight. In this issue, the King is trying to bring peace to the lands by stopping the evil Queen. Aiding him his task is his royal guard, and the Conan expy Shabaka and his friend Quhala, who is pictured above. It reads a bit like Lord of The Rings to be honest, although with a LOT more hostile wildlife. Can Shabaka and Quhala get the King across the dangerous swamps literally controlled by the evil queen?
This is one of the few Kickstarters that mentions when the story ends, so I’m expecting a blockbuster final issue next time on Kickstarter. In doing so, I hope he doesn’t feel rushed and gets the spelling and page numbers right. This copy has some issues to say the least. The art and framing are a bit hard to decipher and it makes the story more confusing than it needs to be.
Creator Carroll talks a lot on his podcast on Youtube about making quality products. But I’d wish he’d take his own advice as this comic misses the mark in many ways. Perhaps the pandemic slowed his editing process? I give it 3 out of 5 stars. You can find Planet Alkebulan and other Jeff Carroll works at www.hhcnf.blogspot.com and https://www.amazon.com/author/jeffcarrollscifi
Next week we wrap up The Antagonists with issue #6. I’m digging it so far so I’m hopeful it’ll deliver. It literally arrived in my mailbox today so I have no excuses. See you until next week!
A shout-out to my fans in Mugla Turkey and Skelmersdale Lancaeshire and Phoenix Arizona!
I have mixed feelings about Gumroad. Gumroad is a comic selling site that many independents use to sell their comics and other things. Most of those things I can’t understand- like, what is a Instagram Family? Do you get like 50 strangers DMing you about their bad boyfriend? I don’t even…Anyway, one positive is that Urban Shogun’s been on their platform and now I can finally complete my review- of sorts. I reviewed Urban Shogun Volume I and II for Talk About It Tuesday a few years ago here and I liked it. Naturally I got busy with other comics and missed out when vol 4 came out but this oversight has been corrected! At long last, VOLUME IV! The art remains good and the story has a great mix of action and drama. We learn about a few new characters and the blood feud between the 2 ATL ninja (?) clans kicks off. The team started with a race between clan members and a fight broke out as Snake Venom the Korean fighter from Vol 3 was waiting in ambush for Crane but she got Cheeta instead.
The art looked crisp and the frames really focused on the actions of the martial arts. It’s a pity the story was only 19 pages as I find it a little difficult to completely consider their action vs static scene writing. Anyway, this leads to another point I liked- the characters are super-human but not super-hyper human. In Marvel they’d be mercked by essentially every minor character but they’d give a S.H.I.E.L.D agent a real challenge. But this makes the writer focus on the fighting technique rather than the flashy graphics. I saw their game is also on sale on Gumroad, which is something I like about the platform. Anyhoo Vol 4 seems to be the end, since they started making the Sankofa Sci-fi line. But who knows? If enough folks buy it, they might shift back to Urban Shogan. So, swing on by here to give them a shot, especially if you’re a fan of Martial Arts comics. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Yes, it’s my Wu Tang Comics style.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews #usual: Galaxy Heirs #1
Maybe it’s the summer heat getting to me. Maybe it’s the end of the rainy season. Maybe it’s really me? No matter the cause, I can’t quite get into this story from Rubyn Warren II and Evoluzione publishing. It just seems so…done before, if you know what I mean.
Stop me if you heard this one- young man (or woman) on Earth (or whereabouts) is living their live unbeknownst to the chaotic intergalactic civil strife in the skies above them. Until one day the forces of one side (or the other) show up and want to take the young person into space because they are secretly the king/emperor/chosen one or whatever. Yeah you’ve probably heard this one before.
Galaxy Heirs #1 plays this trope almost as straight as a train track. The only major difference is the main character Desmond Jones having a life he’s proud of. Adopted at a young age after living in a group home until the age of 6, he went on to become a talented youth counselor (I think). Until alien humans show up and things get wild. Naturally, he’s space royalty and assassins try to kill him and a pirate crew has to save him. They’re dressed like pirates or like the X-Men’s Corsairs.
It’s kind of a meh story but the art and framing is surprisingly good. I liked the first cover the most so I didn’t pay for the variant but the second variant looks the best. Here, I really like the shading and the sci-fi framing of the scene. Not every scene in the book is like this but it shows what the art team can do with artistic license. It brings out the emotions and the tension of the scene really well.
Fundamentally, is Galaxy Heirs a worthwhile read? Kind of… At least Kickstarter thought it was worthy of Projects We Love backing. I have some feelings regarding that in that this is not a project I love but one I mildly respect and decently enjoy. If you want to read a “run of the mill” space epic, this is a good choice. If you’ve seen enough of those kind of stories, you might feel this one is just generic space-adventure-but- with-Black people. Me, I’d wait to pick this one up until issue 3 is out, because Evoluzione has a habit on subverting expectations.
Check on the Evoluzione sale page here for if it gets sold. As of this writing, it’s not available, but it’ll probably appear as a giveaway in their next big comic release.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews: #Villains: The Antagonists 1-3
So, what would happen if people mad at the world (for good reasons) get powers and become heroes, then become villains? Would they take over the nation? Or would they…settle down and hide from public view? That is the premise behind The Antagonists, a family of supers that hides their powers and tries to raise their powered children right. Which as any parent can tell you, it ain’t easy, even with superpowers.
The art improved dramatically from issue 1 to 3, and while these frames are from issue 1, the placement of the characters really sells the scene. Art doesn’t have to be perfect to make a scene great and the sequence of frames here really captures the tension. It also helps that the story works with the audience’s knowledge of stereotypical scenes we’ve all seen or heard about. You’ve got the back-talking asshole boss, the racist board members, and the good ole’ boy club of business conspiring against the immensely talented black businesswoman to hold her back.
I would’ve liked to continue this sideline story for a bit longer, but it leads to the A-plot when she kills him. Did I mention this is a superhero story? The art on the death scene really comes alive. You can feel the heat roasting off the page.
The creative time does a really good job of juxtaposition of character growth. In the first scene we see the characters getting what they want. Destructus wants social change and governmental change, and Ultima the Nubian wants payback. But… they change. Maybe when seeing themselves as parents changed them? You’ll have to tune in and see.
The only two things I disliked in the series were the ending to issue 1 because it felt cut-off or forced. The other I didn’t like were the kids. They seem like stereotypes, but I’ll probably withdraw that opinion as the story shift more to them in issues 4 and 5. We’ll talk about it next week.
You can get your own copies at Godhoodcomics.com
Here we go- a big name comic drops in my lap at long last! Is it as good as Saga? Why do people keep asking that? They haven’t published in like 2 years or something. Etan’s been active for at least that long! Before I get into the story, I wanna talk about the art. It looks and feels like a professional comic from one fo the big 3. The first comic had good art but not great and they upped their game in #2 and 3, especially in framing and blocking. I really liked the way they drew some parts of the powers introduction scene in issue 3. But another reason why I included this frame above was to talk about the story and how the art paces and enhances it.
So in the frame above, Enmet is the main character on the left and the woman on the right is her friend and coworker at this lab. Naturally they both understand how us English speakers butcher non-English names. We really need to add phonetic symbols to our writing. Yes, you’re probably saying “But Steve- you were calling her Emmitt the whole time.” And you’re correct but it was funny. At any rate, this is a comic from Ethiopia and the storyline takes us through her struggles to find her past and her mother when she gets kidnapped by the bad guys in Addis Ababa.
Now it’s time to be more clear about my feelings for the story.: I find it a bit tried-&-true and took greater interest in the scenery of the “other world” Enmet’s father came from and the Ethiopian folklore sprinkled throughout the story. That’s not great, per se, as most people are drawn to characters than background and scenery. But you really breathe in the world in the early comics anyway and develop a fondness for characters along the way. Perhaps you will grow to like both, assuming you can figure out how Legasse survived.
If you want to check out the Hawi series, you can find info on the comics here. They’re a good company and I certainly look forward to seeing more of their works. Of course, they put my name in their supporters page and that always makes me happy, lolz.
As I mentioned last week, some of my Kickstarters were coming out. This comic Zufan #1 came from the Hawi #1-3 set that just came out. I haven’t gotten to Hawi yet since I’ve been busy. But a quick #1 issue fits my budget for this week and so I took a look.
Set around 150 years in the future, an African republic faces a stark challenge- partner with aliens to get weapons tech that matches the other nations around them, or be left behind and become easily conquered. Unfortunately, this is the plan of the colonial aliens.
Think of the story as a futuristic take on the early “Scramble for Africa” that the continent went through after the 16th century, with a better focus on the 1885 Berlin Conference. This shot here represents the conference in a Sci-Fi setting. If you’ve got 3 hours to spend on learning about the Scramble, I suggest this video from Jabzy. This is the playlist to all of his Scramble history videos. Instead of a dry historical telling, this comic is more of a history-thru-the-news and history-thru-character story. Zufan is a rising politician who recognizes the risks to her republic if they don’t get alien arms. Her husband rightfully recognizes that the aliens are no different from colonialists in the 1880s and partnering with them would make the republic a puppet state or worse. Zufan wins the election but signs a treaty with one of the alien races, the last one to sign with a human race. Think of the this part of the story as how African kingdoms must have felt when budding European powers started showing up with new weapons. The art was pretty good, though the cover doesn’t quite match what the point of the story is. I think the second image I shared is the more accurate cover of what is to come. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the paneling because it made reading difficult.
I give Zufan a hopeful rating of 4 out of 5 stars. An interesting concept meets historical realities. You can find it on sale here at https://etancomics.com/shop/
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the art, though the best-drawn story was The Date, whereas the best story was The Bond. This story had the best character work out of all the others and gave more insight into their mindsets and what they get out of crime-fighting. I’m not sure of how much canon this anthology is but if you’re interested, more stories in the series are up at Gumroad.
Now I’m back on the independent grind and a few of my kickstarters have come through. The industry’s been a bit shaky because of the China backlogs, the floods in southern China, and the paper shortage. A few of my kickstarters are behind schedule also because of illness. Probably COVID.
So my attention turns to the ones that have come through. Though I can’t remember where I got this one from. It wasn’t in my kickstarter list so I’m thinking it came from a giveaway pack. That’s fine with me- though this anthology has given me a lot to process.
As you readers probably know, I like to show frames from the comics I read. NOT THIS TIME! Hoo boy all of this is NSFW or home! It’s hero-kink and I don’t have a problem with that, but you might. So I don’t recommend this one for the kids.
Set in a city with a high crime problem, a group of spider-themed heroes do their best to stem the tide of crime. And afterwards, they bang each other. Heck, sometimes they bang DURING the stakeout. Things get lonely on the job, what can I say? The main protagonist is Dark Spider, a college student turned hero who somehow got enhanced abilities; the story’s not exactly clear on this. Fighting alongside him on the streets (and without the sheets) are Lady Arachne, Scarlet Recluse, and Queen of Widows. Each of the stories is a one-off that ends with the clothes off. No that’s not a joke, that’s the story.
Comic Reviews #4 Shuri 1-10
Shuri got her own series for a while after the events of the Black Order invasion of Wakanda and died for awhile, then it ended when Empyre started up. So, think of it as a "sandwich series" between the 2 big Marvel events. I think that limited the storytelling output of the series a bit, but how much depends on your understand of Empyre and Wakanda World. Helmed by Nnedi Okorafor, she takes Shuri on a whirlwind tour of Wakanda's majestic plains, terrifying mines, the Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot's mind, and Brooklyn. Basically, Shuri is running the country while her brother and possible mutant boyfriend are stuck in space. The elders want her to take on the role of Black Panther again, which made her a bit of a jerk last time, and she died. So she's like "Yeah, no, sorry. I've got ancestor powers now and super-science. Miss me wit that BP crap." Unfortunately, her attempts to rescue her brother lead to a space insect causing problems for the kingdom and Storm gets called off the bench to help her out.
I found the art to be pretty good and quite colorful. Though, I wasn't a fan of the way they drew Storm, I enjoyed her flowing white hair a bit here. Some paneling was really good but some of it was bleh and I felt myself rushing through to get to better parts of some parts. I liked the interactions with other heroes, especially her team-up with Miles Morales and Ms. Marvel. Another thing I liked was the mention of various real-world african foods and places. It would certainly entice a reader into looking up some of the things mentioned by the characters, and how Wakanda's isolationist style is seen by the struggling African nations.
I wasn't so fond of the end of the comic book, which kinda clashed from what I remember of the previous iterations of Shuri. I think she would've iced the space cricket rather than try to save it. That might be how Marvel wants to play her character like her movie counterpart, or how Nnedi Okorafor decided to portray her. I don't know- it's just something that bugged me. Either way, the author made a compelling ending and hinted at the rough events to come. Did make me want to read about the other BP comics? Hmm, kinda, but I already read the bulk of them and the movie changed so many things.
Perhaps I need to accept that this is a Shuri for the next generation of readers, not for my generation. Maybe when BP2 comes out, Marvel will produce more Shuri comics, assuming it does well at the box office. I think, if you're a patient reader, you'll probably enjoy that series- especially if Nnedi Okorafor is helming it again.
I was going through my emails when I realized I bought this sometime last year. I didn’t talk about it? Wow! What was I thinking? I really missed out on something. Or did I???
It’s a Shonen style graphic novel with the usual high school protagonist, but the setting’s a bit different than the usual story. Set 4-5 years after a failed alien invasion, C-Jay finds a sentient alien weapons system in his garbage can. Together they team up to fight crime…no, they don’t! As C-Jay learns to live with this snarky alien weapons platform, ostensibly with the goal to get it home, they encounter anti-alien forces and a mysterious man called the Scavenger. The key to the recent mystery that ensnared Elz in the city revolves around Renisha, a local kid who somehow wound up with electrical powers. You’ll have to read it to find out how.
Will you want to read it? The art’s kinda…webtoony, to be honest. The angles and action scenes look better than expected, even with the less polished feel. This is no Miles Morales or Niobe, and it feels more character-driven than art-focused. Honestly, it reads more like an western-style Soul Eater, especially with the jokey relaxed conversations between C. Jay and Elz. I think fans of Soul Eater or Were-Spider might dig into it. I’m certainly happy to read it, and look forward to expected improvements in the next volume.
I’ve been a fan of this series ever since the first strips appeared on the BlackScienceFictionSociety facebook group. It’s a tale we can all relate to- a high energy munchkin and their always-one-step-behind father. Reading this story makes me think of all the times I babysat my sister’s kids. I point at the pages and say “THIS WAS YOU GUYS! Y’ALL WERE JUST LIKE HER!”
Think of it like a Sunday comics strip. The stories are self contained with an inciting set of blocks at the start, usually involving the girl, and the joke that explains the plot at the end.
s George Gant continued his strips, his storylines and artwork became more complicated and fleshed-out. How much of the storyline is from his own experiences and from others is hard to say, but anyone who remembers their toddler days or early childhood can emphasize with her. You’re figuring out the world and when things happen you don’t understand, your mind jumps to bizarre conclusions. Like she does here.
Anyway, if you want a comic to share with loved ones that’ll make you laugh, I suggest you take a look at his website here: BewareOfToddler.
Also a special shoutout to my readers in: Baguio City Benguet, and San Bernardino California and Columbus Ohio! Thanks for stopping by!
We start with a cold open to a family escaping from a plantation in pre-war Charleston. Obviously a difficult endeavor at any time gets compounded by the husband being afraid of horses. His child makes fun of him for this, which adds humor to the dark tone of the story. When the wife arrives with a carriage, they’re primed to escape. Which, of course, is when vampires employed by the plantation owner show up. Because of course they would hire monsters of the night! They’re plantation owners so they’re automatically evil (it’s true).
Harriet Tubman shows up to save the besieged family from the pack of four vampires, but they’re not the only vampires out there tonight. Harriet is cold, sassy, and tough as nails- everything you’d want in a vampire killer. Her gear is quite interesting, but I have a feeling we’ll get into that, if she survives book 2.
Recently, according to the NY Public Library, the comic has been greenlit for a TV series. Hopefully not TNT; they screw everything up. I get the sense from the comic that the show could be a mix of Supernatural and Buffy. But we’ll see when the final product makes it to the small screen. 5 out of 5 stars. If you’re interested in reading this comic, swing by Kickstarter or his website.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews Part XI:
The Fox Chronicles
The Fox Chronicles gives us a unique take on the ‘golden child from space’ origin story. Unlike Superman or Darth Vader, the ‘hero’ crash landed on Earth and its persona split in half on impact, residing in the…uh, genes, of one person in Africa and Asia. Eventually, the persona’s hosts meet up and have children around the year 2060, after 10,000 years apart. Yeah, no Tinder in the ole days *joke sting* Anyway I don’t recall Asians prehistorical people like the Turks having white hair. Might wanna check the history books on that one. *joke sting* Now born complete, the persona hides within the mind of Autumn Fox, our titular hero. Yes, you looked at the cover and thought Oh he meant Foxy Chronicles. Well yes, but actually no. Guided by the persona, Autumn trains and learns of the powers of her birthright, but her parents are worried she might be getting sucked into the wars the persona escaped from all those millennia ago.
For an origin story, it left behind the inciting action of the story for next issue, which isn’t a common thing. Usually parents die in the first issue when the first miniboss appears. I don’t think it’ll be a slow burner, but the side story of women being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery might be related to the main plot and become the hero’s first action. The art is really good with pretty fleshed out backgrounds and action scenes. The spaceships look pretty nce and tight, the armor suits looked intimidating. The slave rescue scene had such great framing it felt like it came from the storyboard of a cop show. I didn’t like some of the framing, with the stretch frames along the left and right. It made it a bit harder to read on PDF but print might be different. I don’t collect prints so I can’t say anything about the look and feel on paper.
Overall I’d say this was a really good first time effort by Tony Cade and the crew at Prime Direction Studios. Is it as good as Saga, you’re wondering? Not in story depth but it’s new and there’s a lot of time on the clock before we can make that judgement. It’s certainly better than some Marvel origin stories (looking at you, Star Brand). So I have hope it will continue to impress me. If you want to check it out, swing by this link. Challenge or this one Facebook
Kickstarter Comic Reviews Part X: Manifest Destiny
A good Kickstarter comic rolled into my mailbox this week. I should probably put ‘good’ in quotes like this.
The Horsemen saga is what I think would be considered “Epic Urban High Afrofantasy” because it covers the turning of men into gods to fulfill a complex destiny to change the world and/or fight Ragnarok. It’s a little bit confusing at times because new characters keep appearing and it seems like every page brings in one.
Basically, the US tried to invade Nigeria and got stomped because the Horsemen hero team was there. A special agent wants to stop the Horsemen from making Africa great because it’s harming USA’s pride or something. So, both sides are confronted with the rise of the Manifest, humans turned super from the activation of a hidden gene that gives 1% of humans demigod abilities. This is all leading up to the big event…next issue. It’s always next issue.
I have mixed feelings about the artwork. The faces just don’t seem…right. They’re really off and in some cases, awful. The costume game’s on point, though.
However the action effects are a bit hard to read at times. The art team adds a lot of smoke effects and the art of the smoke effects doesn’t resemble the art of the background nor the characters. It’s a bit jarring and hard to read at times. Though the lettering itself is much better and the story/plot made a bit more sense this time.
All in all, a solid continuation of the saga. 3 out of 5 stars. Would certainly pledge again.
You can find Manifest Destiny and other comics in the genre at Griot Enterprises.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews Part IV:
Ruby from Planet Oz
At first glance, it looks like an interesting space opera/low fantasy mashup. Upon opening the book, I learn that it is a sci-fi redo of the Wizard of Oz. It’s certainly different enough to avoid copyright issues. There ain’t no singing and dancing in this one, no sir.
Ruby (the woman on the cover) was kidnapped from Earth and gets liberated by the Wizard. Together, they met up with the usual assortment of rebel characters from the original story. But it isn’t a one-for-one copy of the original story. Sure, they are going to kill the Wicked leader of the East of Oz, but hey she’s terrible. Who wouldn’t?
The art was really good, even better than I expected. The action was pretty well-framed, though the characters were a bit too chatty during the final fight. I wouldn’t have had an existential conversation in the middle of a firefight, but at least the text is easy to read. It reminded me of some Marvel & Image comics from the 90s, but without the glossiness or the blurriness common in those eras.
You can get a copy at Taurus Comics here.
Kickstarter Comic Reviews Part VII: Aceblade Edition
Aceblade’s back, like Vegas, baby~!
Unfortunately, the art’s not as good as previous works in the series. The story was easily one of my favorite indie comic stories in a long time, though it had a few plot holes.
In a nutshell, Aceblade visits a crook (Gutshot I think) in a rathe posh jail (or office) who proposes they set up fights between him and the crook’s stable of villains. Aceblade predictably wrecks them. Some of the fighters are those from the mini-comics and other series I haven’t read yet. Gutshot (let’s just call him that because I don’t want to get up from my chair and check Aceblade #4), thinks he has Aceblade over a hot plate- either he loses or the betters will go bankrupt, but if he doesn’t fight the citizens will fight the villains and get killed like Squid Game vs MMA for that 1 million dollar payout. How will Aceblade get out of this situation?
At the end of the comic, there’s a new character who’s come for a fight with Aceblade. He looks VERY familiar. If it’s who I think it is, I am quite impressed. That’s a good ‘get’.
The smeariness of the art doesn’t quite match the story but it does help with the mood. I wasn’t fond of a lot of the art in the fights either, though it wasn’t hard to follow. Not their best work by far, but I like the framing and pacing more here than in the first Aceblade comic. Naturally, as a Danny Quick Kickstarter, it was late (haha) but he always delivers. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Non-kickstarter comic review:
I think this is a kind of ‘tribute' comic’ meant to memorialize a person or group. Sometimes comic book companies memorialize an event or an industry great. There’s some kerfuffle over DC and whether they’ll make a tribute or fundraiser for the creator of Static Shock. Anyway, in this delightful action-filled short, we follow Marvels? I didn’t see the character’s hero name. Marcie is the character’s name. She plays a young woman who fights crime after school with mutant powers and a super suit given to her because…reasons…
The main focus of this comic’s action is the search for missing kids in the Chicago area. Some kinda Russian gang is kidnapping kids and the police are stumped so a desperate cop contacts Marcie and gives her some tips. Marcie flies around the city following the leads until she encounters the main villains. Unlike the Hulk and other bulletproof or hard-to-hit heroes, she has to think strategically to avoid taking many hits. So we see a bit of that in action but as is common in comics and real life, plans don’t survive first contact with the enemy.
I’m not sure what the plan was for this comic- whether it was for the MJR’s press pack or a tribute or for future sale. Regardless, the art was really good and the styling and plotting made me think of some classic crimefighter comics from the 40s, minus the cheesy dialog.
I can’t say I ever met Marcie, the comic in whose honor this was written, but I think she would be proud and honored to have something so nice, compact (in a good way), and satisfying made with her in mind. Now it is up to the rest of us to be the Marvel in our village children’s lives, to step up and save them from danger, and keep the dangerous people away. If this comic inspires you to child advocacy, click the picture above and read to the bottom. The link to the group is there.
Kickstarter comic reviews Part VI
Another one of my kickstarter comics cleared their hurtle and hit the presses. Today’s comic is Nightfall #3, a continuation of the Nightfall series. I don’t think I’ve talked about Nightfall or Constant Hustle before. Anyway, they’re a frequent flier on the Kickstarter funding site and some of that is because they deliver an above average product.
TL:DR- there appears to be an apocalypse event between the Wingless Comics line and Constant Hustle comics. Justice, an angel who fell to earth and now fights demons running around the planet, faces off against an old friend who’s very, very VERY mad with him over being stuck on Earth. He’s also working for Evil Merlin because he wants to destroy the world. But Mr. evil angel, sir, if you blow up the Earth, where are you gonna go? Meanwhile Avery (She’s the one with the A on her chest) catches up with the mysterious Lux but before they can make a plan, Blaqfire shows up. The race is on for the heroes to stop the Senator and Merlin from unlocking the portal to hell or something.
Let’s take a look at this scene. We get to see Her, the big shot of the Wingless Comics line, in action. The art here looks quite good. It’s got the character in the center but not dominating the frame and you get a good idea of her power in this scene. You feel the hero literally holding back the ocean as people flee from the attacking creature and the rising waters. The next frame is also really good, even though it’s brief. Justice is foreshadowing things to Kaliburn, and the way their faces are drawn shows the tension and confusion matched by their voices really well. Justice spends a bit of the next page fighting with Baleor and can’t explain things to Kaliburn, which leaves us out of the loop and wanting to see what he meant. Props to the writing team for adding foreshadowing. Problem is they added a bit too much foreshadowing and not enough story. I think the issue would be better if they went with the full 48 and showed a bit more how Her, Avery, and that book tie into the story. We got a lot of plot pieces but we don’t know the full frame of the puzzle yet. Some people might enjoy this style of storytelling but I’m not the biggest fan. Nonetheless it’s still an engrossing series.
If you turn to the back, there’s a side story called Immortals that may or may not have anything to do with the rest of the crossover event. No spoilers but some of the characters in Nightfall kinda look like the characters in Immortals. If you’re a Christian looking for interesting comics that reflect some of your beliefs, then you’re in luck. It’s certainly better than Left Behind but that’s not saying much. Even if you’re not a Christian and have high standards, I think you’ll like this series. Heck even Kickstarter itself thought it was pretty boss.
Kickstarter comic reviews Part V
Another of my Kickstarter orders came through recently and so I’d figure I should talk about it. I’d almost forgotten about this one but was reminded when I got a Kickstarter message saying the comics would be shipping out soon. I was pretty psyched when I backed it, but upon reading it, I’m a bit less psyched. But I’m not disappointed and here’s why.
The Kickstarter description has this interesting line:
put it in the hands of people who are looking for something different beside the same cookie cutter stories of the typical heroes.
Well, I’m glad they’re sufficiently bold, but that’s not quite what happened here. It reads like an interesting take on a young Spider-Man than a uniquely new take on comics. It’s got the usual comic book tropes of Teenage superhero, difficulty balancing life and superhero responsibilities, nebulous villains and sketchy yet sexy female ninja allies. It’s a mix of Miles Morales with Wu-Tang An American Story with Ghostbusters snark.
Even with a bit more cliches than the creators intended, the story kind of works well. The music production scenes and the way the storylines combine work better than you’d think. A lot of heroes have split lives that later merge or collide, that is an inevitable consequence of the hero lifestyle. It’s a cliche but why fight it? I think it’s one of the better cliches in the genre.
Is the art amazing? Not really, but it does improve between issue 1 and 3 as the creators have panned out their blocking arrangements and overall style. It’s not polished like Saga or as digitally impressive as EXO or Iyanu, but for a small team, they did alright.
Two of the side characters in the comic are actual singers! This guy Kravitz is an award-winning R&B singer and Jaquees is backup on this song. The main character Chaz aka The View is a production assistant and it works well with the story. Sure it ain’t rocket science but kids do rocket science too, you know? So seeing a teen make hit songs and fight demons is a way new take on the Peter Parker style of hero.
Kickstarter comic reviews IV
This is Delta Dogs, an African-American superhero family fighting for truth & justice—- well they want to, but most of the time they’re fighting for survival.
One of the themes in this story is Expectation vs Reality. The characters are not in a comic book universe- well OK they are, but they’re not in a soft universe. Heroism and how each member responds to the challenge is different and difficult for each member of the reluctant family. They didn’t grow up with powers- they got shoved onto them (literally) by an unknown entity and they have to make the best of it. The leading gangsters in their city also have powers, training and combat experience on their side. Things don’t go according to plan, and since they’re teenagers, albeit streetwise teenagers who take the threats seriously, they still make dangerous miscalculations seasoned heroes wouldn’t. But to be fair, sometimes seasoned heroes ‘drop the ball’ or get put out by the unexpected villain trick.
But the gangsters aren’t the only threat the family of heroes has to deal with. The military/government agency is looking for them. There are hints and scenes in the issues that there are other superhumans in the series, which colors how the Delta Dogs think about how to help the city. I haven’t read any other comics in the Dogverse nor have I seen any. I believe Young’s got plans for an extended universe and he drops hints throughout the comics that he might go in that direction. But the direction of the comic is steadily focused on the family and their trials in their normal life and fights as newbie heroes.
Anyway, I really liked this cover, even if it doesn’t quite accurately reflect the story in the issue. The cover’s focus on DR. Zinc (should be Dr.) with the main characters surrounded in full view just sings and makes the issue worth buying. The characters in the distance are supposed to be a bit blurry as part of the effect so I don’t dock the artist for that. The cover also does a good job highlighting the theme of racial strife in this series. The family knows by his uniform this guy is going to experiment on them. Sure they may not know the entire history of Tuskegee Experiments but they know they’ll be on the cutting block if this guy catches them.
The Kickstarter sent me issues 1-15, which for the most part, make for a good binge read. The training issues don’t drag, a few arcs seem a bit stereotypical, but the art’s consistently good. I think I got more than my money’s worth and so would you. They don’t only do Kickstarters and you can find all their issues at their website. It’s something I really appreciate and I wish other Kickstarter artists would do the same. Give ‘em a go if you’re into superhero family comics, or young-adult focused comics in general. Sure, it’s not Saga or Fantastic Four but I think it’s a top contender for best family comic.
My month playing Elite Dangerous. HINT: I wasn't very 'elite'
June 2, 2021
Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a space exploration MMO that I’ve taken to playing lately. It reminds me of my volunteer work on the PlanetHunters website, since I helped find many of those planets Kepler data had spotted. It was a team effort (more than 1 person had to acknowledge the find) but yes readers I DID MOST OF THE WORK!~ everyone else just copied off me. But they never respected MY GEINIUSSSS!
Anyway, Elite uses the real-life map of the Milky Way as the basis of the worlds. There are human factions and aliens and planets to land on, that kinda stuff. Also there are space stations and asshole pirates that knock you out of supercruise and hassle you for stuff. I mean, seriously? You really wanna pick a fight with me over my 1 ton of scrap?
I haven’t purchased the Odyssey DLC yet, but I will after they add more features and hopefully a Rimworld-esque experience. So I’ve been cruising the bubble 200 light years from Sol, making…a lot of funny mistakes.
This is the diary of Old_man_Steve, a divorced pilot running from the problems he caused on Tau Ceti and the 15% monthly alimony check he owes.
Incident 1: Tried Autodock. It crashed me into the rings of the station twice. I got billed for it. I don’t see why I should be forced to pay for damages that Autodock caused. Hell I can barely park the ship at this point in a Coriolis station but I don't hit anything.
Incident 2: I got yelled at for scanning government ships. But I’m in a damn Sidewinder! I don’t pose a threat. A Sidewinder is the starting ship and it's basically made out of thoughts & prayers.
Incident 3: I was using the Full Spectrum scanner when I found something called a Convoy Dispersal Pattern so I zoomed in. I heard man grunting sounds in the convoy signal and a woman saying “take it, take it like a boy”. Alright...found the freak fleet.
Incident 4: DSS probe hit a station that I aimed at by accident. Look I was trying to aim it at the planet but got a bit carried away. I guess it was cheap because I didn't get fined when it hit the station.
Incident 5: Couldn't blow up the drone in the practice round because I forgot to click H to target the drone. I spent 30 minutes shooting at this thing and couldn't figure out what the hell I was doing wrong. I bet the test examiner was shaking his head the whole time.
Incident 6: Ship bumped into my rooftop while I was trying to enter Coelho Station. Hey can’t you see I’m trying to park here? How do I get his number? I'm FLYING HERE I'M FLYING HERE! I want an insurance payout!
Incident 7: Went to bathroom in Supercruise mode. Came back 10 minutes later and I was going 1,350c and 10.2 light days away from the system I just finished exploring. Look I set the damn thing to 0.15c when I had to take a dump.
Incident 8: Got cocky and tried to fight an entire wing by myself. It didn’t go well.
Incident 9: I left the Pilots Federation District by accident because I thought the next world was part of the district. There was no sign. So there I was, with only 5.5 million credits to my name and a Sidewinder I forgot to fix, to face the Milky Way all by my lonesome. Sure hope this goes well. I'm sure the instructor doesn't want to see my dumb ass again.
Incident 10: Parked in wrong hanger deck and got yelled at by the station. Look I couldn't see the damn numbers! Gimmie a break!
Incident 11: Crashed into a nav beacon and now it’s ‘compromised’. Whoops...
Incident 12: Some jerkwad tried to fight me over 1ton of scrap I found at a degraded signal source. It's scrap! There's still plenty of it at that spot. Don't throw your life away over this, man.
Incident 13: While playing ED I was listening to Anton Petrov on Youtube and the ad came on so I looked away and clicked skip. Rammed a criminal in the Weapons fire zone. Started the fight. Boy was he or she confused. I won the fight, too.
Incident 14: Got interdicted 4 times in a system run by a gang but they couldn’t stop me. Look if this is too hard for you, then maybe you should leave me alone. Stop embarrasing yourselves.
Incident 15: Became allied with the Communists by accident. All I did was donate a little cash. They also seemed super stoked about all the planetary data I sold them. Hmm did I just start the Cold Space War?
Incident 16: I was about to swear at someone in the chatbox and the screen went from fullscreen to halfscreen somehow. I had to have hit some wrong button.
Incident 17: Pirates kept failing to interdict me. So now they wait until I’m scanning planet to get at me. They are really starting to get on my nerves.
Incident 18: Crashed onto the landing bay a few times. Why is it so hard to get the autodock to stop bugging me? Look I had the proper altitude and everything.
Incident 19: It took me 10 minutes to land because it never dawned on me that I was circling the base! Planetary landing are not easy for beginners!
Incident 20: There was a shootout in front of the Misfits of Science coriolis base. So I started shooting. Then they fined me. Hey everybody else was shooting! I want to challenge the ticket! Officer this isn't fair!
Incident 21: Almost crashed into the outpost because I was reading the Road to Riches site while cruising. Think I knocked over another lightpost.
Incident 22: The autodock tried to correct my landing on an outpost but instead got stuck on some sort of fixture. Took me a minute to unjam the thing. Autodock you're supposed to be HELPING me land, not getting stuck or smashing into rings!
Incident 23: I got 10 million for selling exploration data to a prison. I wonder what that really means...
Incident 24: Forgot to buy limpet transfer controller and limpets. I accepted to help someone and tried ramming him. But no fuel was transferred so I gave up and went somewhere else.
Incident 25: I used a lot of probes on that Earth-like world with lots of lights. They hit the planet at mach 50 or something. I'm sure there was no damage....maybe...
Incident 26: I was going too fast and the fuel transfer limpet bounced off the other ship. Look buddy, you wanted help. You didn't say 'competent help'.
Incident 27: The space communists really seem to like me. Seems like I get top credit every time I sell exploration data to their affiliated stations. Hey I got a lot of bills to pay. Why not?
Incident 28: Some punk Novice tried to fight me. So I flew by the space cops and they were VERY Happy to fight him for me.
Incident 29: I tried the same trick again in a Low Security system, this time shooting a lot of seeker missiles at the target hoping for an alpha strike. It worked...kinda... But I forgot which group my main weapons were and got beat up pretty bad. Good thing I was in the Diamondback Explorer.
Incident 30: Speaking of the Diamondback Explorer. it is REALLY loud with throttling the engine. I'm thinking of landing just so I can go outside and put in some sound masking foam. With a 4A thruster it sounds like someone shoved a Halo Elite into a bus engine. Whomp Whomp Whomp! That ain't soundin right...
The Surgeon #1: a more exciting than average post-apocalyptic story in which America was nuked 15 years ago and a British surgeon survived the blast and travels the wasteland helping the afflicted. She encounters Turtle Island, a well-run community without a pro doctor and helps out along with dishing snark and dealing discipline. But her enemies show up and she must lead the community to victory. Good art and exciting storyline. 4.2 out of 5 stars. I checked and there’s a sequel.
Wildcard Chronicles #1: A motorcycle gang story with magic and futuretech takes places in dark Tekhen City as rival gangs seek to overthrow a House led by the father of the main characters. The father went missing in an explosion soon after bankrupting sleazy casinos and empowering the lower classes. Dunno why there’s magic or magictech involved but here we are.
3.7 out of 5 stars.
The crew behind Is’Nana always bring great comics and this one is no exception. It’s geared more towards teens but not as heavy in messaging as their previous issues. It continues the ongoing storyline but doesn’t move the plot. 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Route 3 reminds me of Champion a lot in some ways. Instead of weird science, Sean Anderson (boy in picture) gets super powers from a weirdly defined incident in 1690. At the beginning of the comic they think he’s going to blow up Stone Mountain, but another superhuman enters the scene. It’s a bit confusing but the plot tokens help with the good art. 3.8 out of 5 stars.
La Mano Del Destino is about a luchador that went the Spider-man route but wound up like that character in Ready to Rumble, getting beaten up and unmasked. Being unmasked is the ultimate shame to a luchador. A ‘friendly’ promotor gives him a new identity and a chance at revenge against the evil promotor. Art looks good but the plot is weird. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Contrast is a B&W comic from the mind of Jiba Anderson. You’ll remember his work Konkret Comics. He always produces cool stuff but I found this one a bit hard to read in spots. It feels more like a collection of book covers with storyline than a comic storyline. I also think it’d be better in color. 3.5 out of 5 stars. You might find it in Kickstarter giveaways.
Avery the Astonishing #1: A…. not sure…gender fluid or transgender former soldier encountered some menacing enemy during a mission and interrogation. Kicked out of the military, she goes into the ring and challenges a man for the title, but the evil forces return after the fight. Included in this comic were previews to 2 other comics. I like the concept and thing it’s got potential. Avery’s…orientation isn’t really a driving force in the story, though it is there, which makes the story compelling in some ways. The main focus of the plot is how the evil force she first encountered has entered her life once again. 4 out of 5 stars.
A homeless man is a hero in the city of Boston. He takes us for a ride on a literal plane while he explains his past. He also wants to stop the people who recruited him as a kid and made him fight for the US. A different way of looking at comics that reminds me of my own, and Hancock the movie. 3.8 out of 5 stars.
A Sword & Soul fantasy set off the coast of East Africa (somalia+Kenya) as an emir’s son has rescued a family heirloom from a group of crazies. The crew of the ship is besieged by the crazies’ navy that operates on the orders of a ‘witch’, forcing the ship’s sorceress to use the magic family heirloom. It reminds me of Indiana Jones in a way. 4.2 out of 5 stars.