Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D #35 Preview

It’s a shame that Terrence Howard won’t be back in Iron Man 2 as Tony Stark’s buddy, pilot  Jim Rhodes, despite his apparent desire to be.You can still get your War Machine fix though in the comics, particularly the upcoming Iron Man #35. The issue goes on sale November 19 and features War Machine AKA Rhodes, deep in enemy territory in this Secret Invasion tie-in. It’s written by Christos. N. Gage (Civil War: House of M) with art by Sean Chen (X-Men: The End) and a cover by the always awesome Adi Granov. Writer Greg Pak and artist Leonardo Manco are also launching a War Machine series, spinning out of the current Iron Man arc, and you can get an exclusive look at the first issue here at Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited service. Rhodey’s solo series kicks off on December 17.

Leprechaun vs Warlock

The late 80s and early 90s was the prime time for unashamedly entertaining horror and action films. Two such franchises familiar to Gen Xers like me are now becoming comic series thanks to Bluewater, who seem to be getting some surprising licenses as of late. I suppose IDW have manged to gobble up the all best ones (G.I.Joe, Transformers,etc) and there’s not many left, but any publisher that can boast William Shatner, Ray Harryhausen and Vincent Price titles has got to be doing something right. Leprechaun’s first film in 1992 featured a young Jennifer Aniston, alongside Warwick Davis (The Ewok Wicket, and an amusing episode of The Extras) as the short evil guy. 2 of the 3 Warlock films starred  Julian Sands (the experimental Mike Figgis film, Timecode, which is probably a film only for art students) as the titular character. Anyway, from Bluewater’s press release…

In 2009, Bluewater and Lionsgate will be developing a line of comic books based on the cult/ horror favorite films “Leprechaun” and“Warlock”.  After their successful series “Vincent Price Presents” Bluewater delivers more horror to comics.

“Working with Lionsgate on this end is like coming back full circle for me.  I worked on the marketing for “Leprechaun 4: In Space”, said Bluewater publisher Darren G. Davis. “I loved this little character and have always wanted to do something with him.  As for “Warlock”, this was another cult film that I enjoyed, so having this opportunity to partner with Lionsgate again is going to great”.

The “Warlock comic series is described as, The Warlock is on a mission to destroy a book that contains a spell which imprisoned six other Warlocks. If the book manages to be destroyed, the dangerous Warlocks would be released back into the world free to cause chaos and destruction. It’s up to a rag-tag group of people to prevent the Warlock from carrying out his plan.

“Warlock will appeal to both fans of the franchise and readers who know nothing about the horror series”, said writer Nick Lyons.  The book will be drawn by Jacob Bear and colored by John Hunt.  Matt Bellisle will be doing all the alternate covers to this title.

“Leprechaun” will be written by another Lionsgate alum Zach Hunchar, who just finished writing Insane Jane for Bluewater.   “Leprechaun” is an immensely popular horror franchise and I’m excited about expanding the mythos. It takes two of my favorite things … Ireland and horror. I’m extremely excited to continue to explore the things that scare me and entertain me. I’m very happy Bluewater chose me for this task.”

“Leprechaun” the comic series is a tale of revenge and mayhem. This is the tale of Lubdan, the king and sole survivor of the Leprechaun. The last of the Leprechauns! A treasure dealer stumbles across his pot of gold and steals it. In this modern age, he finds buyers all over the planet through on-line auctions. Iubdan finds the thief after the gold is shipped to humans across the globe. Unbeknownst to Iubdan, the Cluracan, a war-like race intent on genocide, helped the human find the gold. A new curse is discovered that weakens Iubdan while he is not in possession of the gold and will eventually kill him if he does not recover them all in enough time. He quickly realizes he cannot locate the gold without help. The treasure dealer’s last sale was to a computer expert, who agrees to help Lubdan, in exchange for his life. Together, they race against time to learn of the gold’s locations. Lubdan’s quest takes him all over the planet, across time and space. Battling greed, the genocidal Cluracan and new mystical adversaries, Lubdan must save all life to save himself.

Kris Carter will draw “Leprechaun”. And Micheal Kingston will be writing the 2nd story arc.

Dear Dracula and New Krypton Reviews

Both my reviews are up for these, over at Broken Frontier. Dear Dracula is from Image and is strucured more like a comic than a children’s book, but with its great cartoony artwork and story (young Sam writes to Drac instead of Santa) it’s entertaining for parents and kids. There’s not enough books like this out there, so if you’re a fanboy with kids this might be a cool way to introduce them to comics.

The Superman: New Krypton Special #1 one-shot is the kick-off for the New Krypton arc that has earth welcoming 100 000 new Kryptonians, thanks to Superman’s rescue of the city Kandor, from Braniac’s clutches. It’s heartfelt, action packed and the start of something big.

Never Back Down & The Mist Reviews

The comparisons to The Karate Kid, Fight Club and The O.C are obvious ones with the skinny teens surrounded by babes beat-em-up that is Never Back Down. Anyone who grew up loving Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita in The Katate Kid will see many similarities, with a single mother raising an outsider while moving to a new town and quickly getting on the wrong side of the popular jock/bully. It’s not new. It’s just a lot flashier. Character motivations are weak, the ending is way too happy and the statements about the YouTube generation are none too subtle. It starts strong with a rather disturbing portrayal by Cam Gigandet of mixed martial arts champ Ryan McCarthy when he first challenges newbie Tyler to a brawl at a party. Sadly it’s all downhill from there. Lots of training montages, stealing the bully’s girl – that sort of thing. The unusual highlight for me though was the music. Both tobymac and Mute Math, two of my favourite artists both feature, though I’m sure it was their record companies that allowed this, not the artists themselves. Still, hopefully they might find a greater audience through this average film.

The Mist is much better. Starring The Punisher himself (Thomas Jane why aren’t you in the sequel?) it’s an adaptation of a Stephen King novella about a trapped community facing a strange mist, inhabited by stranger creatures. Written and directed by Frank Darabont who also worked with King on The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, this film is a chiller. Highly entertaining, with just enough blood thrown in. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies and Dawn of the Dead, but here the humans are just as scary as the monsters and it has some interesting statements about what fear does to us. Apparently the book had no ending, but the film sure does. And how. It’s an ending you won’t see coming, but the ending after that ending you probably will. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

24 Hour Comics Day Movie

Last weekend 24 Hour Comics Days were held all over the globe. I was in Fremantle, Western Australia. Here’s how it looked. There were some very impressive creations knocked up, and you can buy copies of them at the Northbridge Festival which is on November 1 and 2. In the meantime, you can cast your peepers on some of the groovy finished goods at deviantART here and here.

Wolverine Trailer

Well, this is exciting. The first (shaky) look at the Wolverine trailer, right here. If you can move past the bad English, the blog may very well be the first place to see this. The film, entitled X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a spin-off set in the X-Men movie universe and a prequel starring the hairy Canadian, played again by Hugh Jackman. It’s not released until May next year but the trailer may be enough until then. With a look at the Weapon X programme that gave him an adamantium skeleton, to his days in WW II and meetings with other Marvel characters such as Blob, Deadpool (if Ryan Reynolds can’t play The Flash at least he still gets to play one red-suited comic character), Gambit (for whom the greatest cheers were reserved for), Emma Frost and old pal Sabretooth, played by a surprisingly mean Liev Schrieber. I’m sure the film will end with someone asking him to meet “some guy named Xavier,” or perhaps it will even tie in to the upcoming Magneto spin-off. My greatest hope? That Captain America will appear in the WWII scenes. Go here for a full cast list.

Cyblade #1 Review

Well, at least the covers are attention grabbing – all 3 of them. Mixing elements of Alias (pretty young female spy and her male handler) and X-Man Psylocke (blades of psychic energy) on the surface this seems like yet another seen-it-all-before concept in comics. However, this series was successful enough with the right voters last year in Top Cow’s smart Pilot Season program, enabling its current ongoing series. By the summary page that sets all the newbies up with enough info, its obvious that this book has hints of enough unique twists to distance itself from the concepts mentioned above. In this new storyline (set before her joining superhero team, Cyberforce) that twist involves Cyblade’s orders to kill her handler.

Cyblade is teenager Dominique Thiebaut, an expert sneaky operative working for the Cyberdata Corporation, and is implanted (as are many others) with a Brain Box device that keeps her in, and her awkward teen/professional thief personalities separate, even from herself. Joshua Hale Fialkov may seem an odd choice for writer, considering his odd writing style on the odd Punks series, but he adapts to more standard fare remarkably well. He, along with artist Rick Mays is one of the creators who worked on the original book, so they know what they’re doing with this title. The titular character doesn’t appear much, apart from primarily a shower scene with appropriately placed steam covering all the naughty bits. Mainly it involves her handler, Steven Rashell trying desperately to free the agent (whom I assume he’ll become romantically entangled with eventually) and escaping from all the wrong people. Rick Mays’ art is fine and his pacing works well enough to give the feeling of Rashell’s increasing desperation, and like you’d expect, all the characters look like supermodels. Dominique wigs out in said shower, and her last line is something from Wolverine’s mouth of recent years, ie, “I remember everything.” This, plus the penultimate scene where Rashell is approached by the inventor of the Brain Box to help him destroy it may take this series in an intriguing direction. So far, its not Top Cow’s best effort, but one thing they know how to do is slowly build characters and concepts from seemingly simple concepts centered on powerful pretty ladies.

Pretty Pics

Hare’s a slew of Marvel art. First up is Clint Langley’s funky cover for Ghost Rider #29 and a few interior pages from Tan Eng Huat (DC’s Doom Patrol). After that are covers for Secret Invasion #7 and Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1, which are also on sale this week. Finally, the poster for the new Super Hero Squad: Hero Up! One-Shot. Both the poster (which is a combo of last week’s two teaser posters) and the comic itself go on sale on January 7. The one-shot will be written by Paul Tobin (Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes) with art from Marcello DiChiara and Chris Sotomayor.

Hexed Preview

Hexed is a new, December debuting mini-series from BOOM! Studios that follows 19 year old Brazilian thief of the supernatural, Luci Neves. It’s written by Michael Alan Nelson with art by Emma Rios, and you can check out one of the two covers, and two preview pages from the 4 ish series below.

24 Hour Comics Day

Here’s the challenge –  create a 24 page comic within the same number of hours. It was held at Fremantle’s FTI (Film and Television Institute) for the 3rd year in a row and had a good turn out. I was not one of the admirable participants. I was there to take photos, some of which are below, and to do some filming. FTI also posted some photos up on their blog. Expect a video of my time there up here in the next couple of days.

I’m glad I went. I was encouraged by all the young creatives and managed to have a few laughs and make some new friends. It’s a global event, so if you’re keen, you can see if there’s a venue near you for next year.

Doomsday and Eagle Eye Reviews

There’s not much to say about either of these films. They’re both…passable. Doomsday is written and directed by Brit Neil Marshall, whose two previous films as director are far better than this. Both Dog Soldiers and The Descent are great genre-twisters with genuine surprises and suspense. Doomsday is like a Michael Bay film without all the pretentiousness and glitz. It does have the Marshall marks of brutal violence, English lead characters, high-speed action and lots of brown, grimy world creating. These were used to great effect in his past films, but here there is nothing truly original. With elements of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, the recent BBC Robin Hood series and 28 Days Later all thrown in, it screams familiarity. It is entertaining, just not stimulating. There are also some thrilling chases and Rhona Mitra has never seemed like such an impressively scary woman. With it’s plague centred story that brings about the end of the world, sort of, plus two different tribes, an isolated London and the military that turns its back on its people, it just isn’t as intriguing as I’ve come to expect from Marshall. His next film, Drive, is released next year and stars Hugh Jackman as a Hollywood stunt performer who has a contract put on his life. Let’s hope it’s better than Doomsday.

Eagle Eye has the same, “Haven’t I seen all this before?” vibe. If you’ve seen Tony Scott’s (Ridley’s brother) 1998 film Enemy of the State starring Will Smith as a lawyer on the run, then, yes, you sort of have. By the way, watch Tony Scott’s great Brad Pitt/Robert Redford film Spy Game for some genuine drama and action. Anyway, Eagle Eye is directed by D.J Caruso (the far better Disturbia) and involves Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan running and shouting a lot and being amazed at the tech gone awry that constantly saves their lives while killing everyone else around them. The plot is almost laughable, as is one scene that involves a guy being killed by wayward power lines, and vanishing in a puff of smoke. The simplistic plot involves a computer that gains sentience and wants to rule the world (again, not an original concept). Its voice is female however and seems like 2001’s Hal’s sister. Apart from the, “yeah, right” moments the other annoyance is the extreme close-ups. Billy Bob Thornton has never looked so old and Rosario Dawson has never looked so pale. The usually attractive cast looks quite different here, with every pore and bump and blemish visible. It won’t be so noticeable on DVD of course, but certainly is on the big screen. If you can switch your brain off and accept everything that big budget cinema can throw at you, including cars that explode on the smallest impact, then these two films may be your cup of tea.

Liquid City Competition

Draw robots and win. Maybe. To celebrate Image’s upcoming robot-centric Liquid City anthology editor Sonny Liew is opening up the floodgates to fans and allowing users of to submit their own robotic creation – or a rendering thereof.

“The variety of robot designs is practically limitless,” said editor Sonny Liew. “I hope we’ll see lots of fun and interesting ones sent in for the contest.”

Take part in the Liquid City: Draw-A-Robot Contest and you could win one of three signed copies of Liquid City, or the grand prize  of an actual page of original art from the story by Liew and Mike Carey’s “Faces.” To enter, just design an original robot (ie, no fan art) and submit it by November 2nd 2008 (EST). Winners will be notified on Liew’s DeviantArt journal on November, 5th. For more information and contest details, go here.

Image’s Liquid City is a full-color 326-page anthology for $U.S 29.99 and will be in stores on November 5.

BOOM! Reviews

Here are my latest reviews at Broken Frontier, for two titles from BOOM! Studios.

First up, the debut issue of a new series set in the Warhammer fantasy realm, Crown of Destruction, involving rats with canons and weird wizards. Also at BF is my look at the second issue of the creepily effective horror series Necronomicon. This is certainly the better pick and has some great visuals by artist Andrew Ritchie. I got chills, I tell ya. Chills.

If you’re a fan of horror, pick up this issue, even if you don’t have the first one. It’ll still make sense and create a sense of foreboding that will have you hungry for future issues.

Free Witchblade Anime

From now until October 26 you can download the first episode of the crazy Witchblade anime. Press release below.

From the renowned anime studio GONZO, Witchblade is the saga of a woman who must bear the burden of a terrible force of destruction known as the Witchblade. Based on the comic book series from Top Cow Productions, the anime series goes into the future to tell the tale of a new bearer of the Witchblade and the conspiracy that surrounds her burden. Witchblade is the first U.S. comic book property to be made into an anime.

Masane Amaha is a woman on the fringe of society, bouncing rootless from town to town with no memory of the past and no clue as to what the future holds. But upon her arrival back in Tokyo, chance and circumstance conspire to unleash the fury of the Witchblade. The ancient weapon stirs. Conscripted into the service of the Doji Group and hunted down by the emissaries of the NSWF, Masane will find herself an unwilling ground zero for the swelling chaos fast approaching.

A new bearer of the Witchblade has been chosen. As she stands on the brink of destiny, she is forced to seek the balance between ecstasy and ruin.

The link to download the free episode is right here.