Irredeemable #3 Review

Irredeemable #3 CoverBasically all you need to know about this series is that it is centered on The Plutonian. He used to be a great goodie and he’s turned into an evil baddie. It’s a great and simple premise, but writer Mark Waid has fashioned it into quite the complex tale. As any scribe knows, or is at least told, no-one wakes up in the morning and decides, “I think I’m going to be evil today!” Every well crafted villain, especially in comics is motivated by what they see as a genuine cause. Lex Luthor is motivated by his ego, Magneto is motivated by belief in mutant superiority, and so on.

The beauty of Irredeemable is that we are given glimpses into The Plutonian’s reasons for turning evil; the emotional erosion that gradually forced him to turn from humanity. As he says here he lives in “a world of miserable, bitter, ungrateful paramecium who lash out at you in a state of perpetual rage for not solving their problems fast enough.” It’s part of a great speech and gives concrete words to the years of frustration he’s obviously felt as the world’s most loved superhero.

This ish opens with a voyeuristic, though unrevealing, sex scene. Apparently the ex-hero likes to watch, and has lost someone dear to him. Like the previous issues, there is carnage here as his former team-mates from The Paradigm discover a Batcave-like hideout of Inferno, one of The Plutonian’s friends. After Inferno’s death, his secret identity became public, so the Paradigm members go there in the hopes of finding some clues as to how to stop The Plutonian’s rampage.

A few supervillains have the same idea, and just when it looks like The Plutonian will team up with them, he shows that he’s not really that interested in making any friends.

Peter Krause’s art is freshly realistic, but not overly so. Some of his costume designs seem somewhat outdated, but it must be difficult to come up with new superpowered analogues. We’ve seen a lot of them, and Mark Waid has created a many over the years.

This isn’t the best issue of the series, but it does move the tale forward. The danger would be in not humanizing The Plutonian, while only throwing us tantalizing glimpses of the past, a la Lost. However it’s obvious that Waid has thought about the past, present and future of Irredeemable and is having as much corrupted fun throwing it at us as we are with reading it.

Astonishing X-Men #30 Preview

That Astonishing X-Men sure is one pretty series. The final issue of its Ghost Boxes story arc by writer Warren Ellis and awesome artist Simone Bianchi hits shelves on June 24. Below are a few random pages.




City Cyclops

I just ran in to the rather humorous comic strip below on Dark Horse’s site. There’s plenty more at creator Jon Adams’ site. That’s the joy of the internet for ya. There’s so many hidden gems that it’s like Christmas every day.


Obama vs Monkey

ObamaStory1That Barack fella just shows up all over the place these days. He’s the biggest hit in comics since the zombie craze. He’s shown up with Spidey, Youngblood and has had a few biographical stories from various publishers too. Even his dog is showing up in Marvel’s Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. Now he’s got his very own children’s book. This 207 page book written and drawn by T.S Lee comes to a hapless world from Korean publisher Dasan Studios, and their new U.S imprint, Joyful Stories Press. It’s titled The Obama Story: The Boy with the Biggest Dream! and is the first in a series of manga biographies.

See below and cringe, or be inspired to make your own dream come true. Or perhaps ponder what the next page will be as “Barry” fights a wild monkey. Now that’s entertainment.

Obama vs Monkey

The Aliens of Olympus

Aliens #1 CvrI’ve been working my way through the excellent 8 disc Alien Quadrilogy box set as of late. Every film in the franchise is so distinct yet it manages to tie-in to an overall story structure, which is impressive. This year is the 30th anniversary of the first Alien film by Ridley Scott and to celebrate, long-time holders of the franchise in comics form, Dark Horse are releasing a new Aliens series. Written by John Arcudi (who also launches next month’s new Predator series), with art by newcomer Zach Howard, I was impressed by this premiere. It wasn’t until the last page that I realised, very little of the aliens were shown, yet I didn’t care. Arcudi creatively introduces us to a new crew and in a shock that made me laugh with its audacity, dispatched them all in a swift  bloodbath. With its references to the events on the planet LV-426, where the first two films were set, it may very well become more closely linked with the mythos. It looks great, and as always in any Aliens story, the humans are the main players and there’s a scientific/military conspiracy at play, but this is only set up here. 

Howard’s art is is clean, yet murky and dark when it needs to be.  I suspect this tale may read better in completed Trade form as the plot appears disembodied at this point. Not being a huge fan of licensed properties in comics however, this bold entry made an impression. Go here for a neato preview of this issue.


olympus1Olypmus is a new 4 ish mini from Image. Written by Nathan Edmondson with art supplied by Christian Ward, it’s focused on two brothers who are now eternal, thanks to the greek god Zeus. It reminded me of another new series by Image, the great Viking. That series also has two brothers coming to grips with the warring world around them and is daring in its visual approach. Whereas that tale is gritty and medieval, Olympus is light and sleekly modern. Some may be turned off by Ward’s art, which is kind of like Tommy Lee Edwards (who supplies the variant cover) in it’s sparseness, but it works well within the rambling, yet coherent, nature of the story.

It starts brilliantly with Pollux and Castor casually shooting each other at a New Year’s celebration, before flashing back to the pair chasing the winged Hermes and his staff through the city streets.  Most of the dialogue is centred on leaving Olympus, what immortality really means and defying the gods, but it never appears as high-falutin’ exposition. The brothers aren’t really immortal apparently, but they do get a free vacation every year in the underworld, ie, where you and I reside. This is a refreshing take on Greek mythology and the crazy shenanigans that go with it. It’s the pared down concept of  Blade Runner with a healthy does of mythology, and the extra pages consisting of Ward’s sketches and a well written prose piece assumedly by Edmondson complete this ably crafted adventure. This series is off to a grand and rollicking start.

Preview of this issue here.

Olympus #1 Prvw

Archaia Returns

They used to be known as ASP or Archaia Studios Press. Now it’s just Archaia. They’ve been out of regular comics production for over a year, but are now back, with new and resumed series, such as The Engineer and Robotika, and that’s good news. Right now, on Broken Frontier, there’s a couple of cool Archaia updates. I reviewed David Petersen’s Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #6. It’s the first issue I’ve read and I was quite impressed. It’s beautiful to look at. There’s also an in-depth roundtable interview with 3 of the guys behind the revamped Archaia, which offers some good (and rare) insights into the decisions behind an indie publisher.


Die Hard at BOOM!

DieHard_001AThose whacky funsters at BOOM! Studios seem to have a knack for headline grabbing (at least on the comics interwebs) franchise acquisitions. Cars, The Incredibles, Muppets, Farscape, Eureka and now Jennifer’s Body (the upcoming Megan Fox film written by Juno’s Diablo Cody) and the classic Die Hard. That’s a diverse line-up. The Die Hard promo is in the latest Previews, for release in July. It stars a rookie John McClane and is written by Howard Chaykin. This could very well work. Here’s the official lowdown on the new series.

BOOM! Studios is proud to present America’s greatest action hero translated into the sequential art form for the first time! Every great action hero got started somewhere: Batman Began. Bond had his Casino Royale. And for John McClane, more than a decade before the first DIE HARD movie, he’s just another rookie cop, an East Coast guy working on earning his badge in New York City during 1976’s Bicentennial celebration. Too bad for John McClane, nothing’s ever that easy. Join legendary industry creator Howard Chaykin on a thrill ride that’s rung up over $1 billion in box office worldwide and become the gold standard for classic action! Yippee Ki Yay!

Jennifer's Body OGN

The Spirit Review

The SpiritFrank Miller is a legend in the comics biz, and rightly so. As writer/artist he re-invigorated Daredevil for Marvel and Batman for DC in the 80s then went on to give the world his own creations such as 300 and Sin City. The film adaptation of the latter is the most faithful comic movie ever made, and Miller used his co-directing credit to launch a career in Hollywood. With The Spirit, it’s Miller’s show all the way, as both writer and director he helms this film. The trailer made it look like Sin City 2, with it’s black and white imagery and over the top action. Sadly, that’s exactly what this film gives you. It’s not individual in its approach, because it’s been done so much better with Sin City. That film is fun, funny and adventurous. The Spirit has none of that. It’s just – dull.

Will Eisner was a legend in comics long before Miller and when he gave the world The Spirit, he used the strip as a groundbreaking tool for sequential storytelling. This film is the opposite of that – disappointing and uninteresting, only because Sin City has already taken the similar green screen manipulation approach and wowed us. The story here is also flat and involves resurrected cop Denny Colt AKA The Spirit and explains his origins, tied in with arch enemy The Octopus and his chase for immortality. Bringing the tale to the modern day doesn’t help. Staying in the 1940s would’ve cemented its noir influence more effectively. There’s a bevy of beauties  with cool names, such as Sand Saref and Lorelei, but even Scarlett Johansson lacks any charm and Samuel L. Jackson as baddie The Octopus (a character whose face was never revealed in the original newspaper strip) is typically boisterous. Nothing saves this film. The CGI backgrounds have been done before, the dialogue is bland and strangely repetitive and The Spirit, played by Gabriel Macht, has the annoying propensity to offer gruff voice-overs, and talk straight to camera. If you want to really know what The Spirit is like, check out DC’s collection of archive editions, or their new Spirit series by new creators.

The best thing about the DVD is a 15 minute feature called Miller on Miller, in which he discusses his comics career and gives a brief history on the artform, with beautiful art dispersed throughout. Here’s a tip – hire the DVD and just watch this doco instead. Miller’s next film project is another adaptation of a classic character – Buck Rogers. I wish he’d just leave Hollywood and come back to comics.

The Unclothed Man

Don’t be scared off by that title. Writer/artist Dash Shaw’s breakthrough book was last year’s  Bottomless Belly Button and now he’s teaming up with IFC (the Independent Film Channel) for his latest project. Press release and funky art below.

Five -Episode Series will Premiere Exclusively on in Conjunction with Fantagraphics Books Release in November 2009

shawifcteaser1THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35th CENTURY A.D., by DASH SHAW, will be promoted at the 2009 Book Expo America in New York City, May 29-31, with an appearance by the author on Friday, May 29, at 1:00PM at the Fantagraphics Booth and 4:00PM in the Autographing Area. announced today that it will premiere an original animated web series based on graphic novelist and comic book artist Dash Shaw’s latest book The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D., set for release mid-November, 2009 with the web series following. Shaw’s animation has been widely praised for its eclectic style, innovative design and emotional depth.

Each short episode of this five-part web series chronicles Rebel X-6, a man who works for a well-funded anti-droid organization. The fifth episode will provide behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the series. The premiere on marks Dash Shaw’s first animated series and will be based on a story line he has developed for several years.  Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books is set to publish a book by the same name and characters.
“Dash Shaw is a known entity in the comic book realm with a cult following.  We’re excited to bring him, his art and his fans to, a platform that recognizes and broadens the reach of up-and-coming, independent content makers,” said Craig Parks, vice president of digital media at IFC. “Shaw’s work on will offer a fresh and completely unique take on the animation genre; the type of approach that defines our brand.”
The series features an animated hero, Rebel X-6, and his quest to bring out change in the 35th century A.D.. Rebel X-6 works for an anti-droid organization that opposes the use of droids in all sectors of modern society.  An artist guild that opposes the use of droids in art class hires Rebel X-6. They believe living people should model for life drawings.  Rebel X-6’s assignment is to enter Art School 46 posing as “Model-Droid #343.”  Model droids appear life-like but do not laugh, cry, swear or exhibit other human shortcomings.  His mission is to subvert the school’s ban on drawings of real humans by tricking the students into drawing him.

Bluewater’s Logan’s Run Comic

Logan's Run ComicIt’s a good time to be a fan of classic sci-fi novels. BOOM! Studios are releasing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which became Blade Runner) and now Bluewater are turning their attention to another dystopian future that was the basis for a much loved film. Press release below.

Bluewater Productions proudly announces an exciting new partnership with bestselling author William F. Nolan. The Washington based comic book company has contracted to do three titles with Nolan including the iconic “Logan’s Run”. Bluewater’s new franchise will also include another of his timeless novels “Seven For Space”, and an exclusive new title that Nolan will create specifically for the publisher.

William F. Nolan’s masterpiece of dystopian future once again races into the 23rd Century with an all-new comic book adaptation of “Logan’s Run”.  Working in collaboration with William F. Nolan himself, “Logan’s Run: Lastday” re-imagines the classic trilogy and continues forward with all new adventures. The new ongoing series written by Hollywood screenwriter Paul J. Salamoff with art by Daniel Gete is a terrifying look at a world gone mad. When Lastday comes, will you lie down and die…or run!

“I’m excited to be partnered with Bluewater on this latest trek with Logan,” said William Nolan “It has the potential to be a successful new chapter in the Logan saga. Logan lives!”

“Having been a lifelong fan of “Logan’s Run”, it’s a dream come true to not only be asked to re-launch and re-imagine the trilogy of classic books as Graphic Novels, but to collaborate with William F. Nolan himself.” Said writer Paul J. Salamoff.

“Logan’s Run: Lastday” is scheduled for a 2009 release. “Seven For Space” which features Nolan’s futuristic private eye, Sam Space and the new untitled series are scheduled for 2010. 

Impaler #3 Review

impaler3At Broken Frontier is my review for this week’s Impaler #3 from the fine folks at Image. What’s it all about you ask? Basically, Vlad the Impaler comes to our century to help the overwhelmed military kill as many vampires as possible. This has been a great series so far, and certainly not one for the kids. Blood and profanity flow freely, and it looks superbly gothic thanks to artist Matt Timson. This is the kind of comic you read while listening to Metallica, if you’re into that sort of thing. Here’s a peek at my review.

Vlad’s stoic resolve seem to project an aura of confidence, but never arrogance. Harms writes him as the only man to rely upon to escape the bloody mess and his old school, low-tech existence doesn’t jar at all with the gung-ho military boys. His inclusion is more than a gimmick, but as he’s connected so deeply to the menace attacking his new home, he’s essentially the subtle driving force behind this series. Vlad appears very little, considering it’s his name on the cover, yet when he does appear it’s always at just the right moment.

Read the rest here and see a few pages of the art here.

Perty Pics For You

For your ocular pleasure, below are a few of this week’s new release covers from Marvel, as well as the variant cover for Image’s Olympus #2 out late next month, which is by new Batman and Robin artist, Frank Quitely.





James Jean Art Book Preview

PR3 CoverFrom AdHouse books (purveyors of fine looking arty books) comes another impressive product. Arriving in July is The Hallowed Seam PR Vol. 3. If you’ve seen James Jean’s delicious Fables covers for DC/Vertigo or his other PR (Process Recess) books, then you’ll drool over this. 284 pages of sketches, experimental paintings and more. I’m a sucker for these kind of journal/sketchpad/creative process books.

See a few pages below and you may understand why. Perhaps it’s my fascination with the creative process or my fond memories of art school. Either way, I like the look of it. There’s also a limited edition (of 200) available, with more details to come.














The Art of Top Cow Book

Art of Top Cow HCWho doesn’t like pretty coffee table books adorned with prettier art? That’s a rhetorical question. Top Cow have released a few of these books already focused on certain characters, but come July 29 they’re unleashing a 320 whopper of a Hard Cover with even more art. Press release below.

Top Cow Productions, Inc. proudly announced today that they will release The Art of Top Cow, a 320 page hard cover coffee table book. Scheduled to be released in July 2009, The Art of Top Cow celebrates the artwork of Top Cow CEO and founder Marc Silvestri as well as alumni of the famous Top Cow Artist “Pit.” This definitive art collection chronicles the visual impact that Marc Silvestri’s artwork and his personal training of the in-house artists of Top Cow had on the face of comic art.
    The Art of Top Cow reproduces the best artwork from 16 years of Top Cow’s publishing legacy, featuring fan-favorite properties such as The Darkness, Witchblade, and Cyberforce. Famous alumni of the Top Cow “Pit” included in The Art of Top Cow are artists Michael Turner, Dave Finch, Joe Benitez, Eric Basaldua, Dale Keown, Stjepan Sejic, and many, many more. 
    Never-before-seen photographs and behind-the-scenes stories compliment the artwork in The Art of Top Cow, illustrating the rise of Top Cow’s place in the comic market.

“Marc Silvestri is one of the greats among comic artists and this volume will showcase that, but the true impact Marc has had on the comic industry is in the legacy of artists he has trained,” commented Filip Sablik, Top Cow Publisher, “You only need to look at top projects in the industry to see alumni like Finch, Benitez, Turner, Tan, Manapul, Choi, and many, many more.”

The Art of Top Cow hard cover is presented in an oversized 10” x 12” hard cover with a two-sided dust jacket that folds out into a unique poster and features a new cover collaboration between Silvestri and long time colorist & painter Steve Firchow.