Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mosaic #1 Review

"Mosaic" #1 from Marvel Comics -

     Morris Sackett is one of the best ballers that the game has ever seen. Nearly single-handedly, he has taken his pro-basketball team, the New York Stride, to new heights - he's brought home five championship trophies, and he's earned the coveted Most Valuable Player Award five consecutive years running. Morris is the best of the best; he knows it, he owns it. He's got no time for doubts, no time for haters, no time for worrying about what others think. He's too busy winning, looking good and dating the FINEST pop star on the planet, T-Fleek. But Morris' world is suddenly shattered when he is engulfed in the Terrigen Mists that the Inhuman king, Black Bolt, loosed upon the world. To his horror, Morris succumbs to Terrigenesis. He emerges from his cocoon changed, a monstrous vision to all who loved and once worshiped him. Seeking to escape containment, Morris plunges to his death from his hospital room window, or so he thinks. He finds that he can inhabit the body and minds of others, merging, becoming one with them, sharing their hopes, their dreams, their knowledge and...Their pain. Morris' body-to-body odyssey begins as he seeks to find his way back to his father, the only one who will understand, the only one on whom he can rely. But when Morris jumps into the body of a troubled teen named Beto, he begins a journey that will end with a young man's death, and begin anew with the birth of a hero.

   From writer Geoffrey Thorne, and artist, Khary Randolph, comes "Mosaic" #1, an introduction to the most original, exciting character that Marvel has produced in quite some time. Thorne nails this origin story, giving us a protagonist, Morris Sackett, that is interesting and attractive well before he emerges from Terrigenesis with his cool new powers. He's got it all: money, fame and the woman all men would kill to have; however, at his core, Morris is a bit lonely. He is aloof, in a class by himself, alone - how ironic that he gains a power set that forces him to merge with other people and be caged by their limitations. But Morris doesn't just merge with people physically; he merges with them down at the core of their very being - he feels what they feel, knows what they know. His identity intertwines with theirs fully. It's really a quite beautiful thought, but also quite frightening. To be fully one with another person is an attractive thought until the idea of losing your own personal identity rears its ugly head. Morris is fighting to maintain his identity, fighting to get back to his father, fighting to return to the life he once knew. If this character is handled correctly, we could see some of the most touching and endearing stories that the superhero genre has ever seen. Imagine a superhero comic in which every issue takes us on a new journey as our hero inhabits a new host. The possibilities are endless! Khary Randolph's pencils are moody and a bit cartoony, with a little urban razzle-dazzle to them. This book is just pure fire. I adore it. Sign me up for Mosaic. This might be the shot in the arm that my pull-list needs.

RATING: A wildly enthusiastic 10 out of 10! Mosaic is must-read material!

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"Solo" #1 Review

"Solo" #1 from Marvel Comics -

    Solo is a one-man war on terror...Or so he likes to think. After terrorists killed the love of his life, he chose to war against them. Mostly. Since terror-smashing doesn't pay the bills, Solo supplements his income as a second-rate mercenary. He uses the money to finance his war on terror...And to pay child-support. Currently, he is on a job to steal a cute little dog from on of the Mad-Thinker's top-security, secret laboratories. There's no telling what gruesome deaths await him there. But wait. It gets worse. Dum Dum Dugan, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., has tasked two if his best agents to find Solo in order to hire him for a job that needs a special touch from a particularly expendable asset. For Dugan, it's all about the deniability. For Solo, it's all about that cash. This won't end well for someone.

   This is gonna be a short one, folks.

   Gerry Duggan and Geoffrey Thorne give us Solo's first, uh, solo outing in "Solo" #1. While Paco Diaz's pencils and Israel Silva's colors make this book absolutely pop, sadly, the writing leaves much to be desired. Solo is basically a depowered, way less funny version of Deadpool. If he were a professional wrestler, I think the word, "jabroni" word be appropriate in Solo's case. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it's too derivative, and it lacks a compelling plot or any compelling characters. I have no idea why Marvel did this. Like, at all.

RATING: 5 out of 10.

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Surgeon X #1 Review

"Surgeon X" #1 from Image Comics -

     Since the discovery of penicillin, and its implementation in World War II, antibiotics have become  the foundation of modern medicine. Before antibiotics, a huge percentage of patients were lost to infection, but antibiotics have saved billions of lives. However, no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered since 1987, and by 2010 the overuse of antibiotics was rampant - they were even used to treat livestock. Soon, the bacteria had begun to fight back, developing resistances to our most powerful antibiotics, and by 2036 over nine million people per year were dying due to infection by antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. London of 2036 is on the brink of chaos because of fear, and the wildly unpopular Antibiotic Preservation Act which seeks to stem the flow of the use of antibiotics until new classes can be found. The problem is that the Antibiotic Preservation Act is based upon a mysterious Productivity Contribution Index - an ambiguous guideline which denies "less productive" members of society any access of life-saving antibiotics, even in the direst situations. One surgeon, Dr. Rosa Scott, is willing to stand up to this monstrous proposal, and the powers behind it. Rosa's mother was a renowned microbiologist with a heart as big as London itself; and like her mother before her, Rosa is willing to go to extremes to save human lives...Even if it costs her her own. The mysterious death of her mother still haunts Rosa. But what she doesn't know is that her mother's death and the Antibiotic Preservation Act that she hates may be linked. How can a masked surgeon and her small team of rebels hope to fight back against big pharma, backed by the power of a state quickly devolving into fascism?

   Sara Kenney writes this absolutely brilliant, well-informed, and quite relevant dystopian science-fiction tale set in London of 2036. We have all heard the rumblings in the news about the growing threat of strains of bacteria becoming resistant to out best antibiotics brought on by our overuse of them and our addiction to antibacterial soaps; however, Kenney uses the comic-book medium to present the problem powerfully, and sound the alarm before it is too late. And it is quite obvious that Kenney is sounding the alarm - "Surgeon X" can be a bit preachy at times. Dr. Rosa Scott, the protagonist, is clearly a burgeoning revolutionary, and revolutionaries can indeed be a bit preachy. But Scott is indefatigable, bold and loyal. That loyalty shines through in her relationships with her mother, her siblings, and her patients - she is a true protagonist, a person who has advanced into the highest stage of Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development, a person willing to break unjust laws to do what is morally right, even at the cost of her own life. This makes her infinitely attractive to me. She is surrounded by a great cast: a schizophrenic brother, and twin sister, both brilliant and loyal to Rosa, and a father who is equally brilliant, but estranged from his daughter...And quite possibly a part of the problematic system Rosa is fighting. John Watkiss' art works great in this book - sure, his pencils can be a bit stiff at times, and a bit cartoony for a story with such weight, but it is evident that Watkiss is working hard in each panel. Kenney's dialogue-heavy writing makes this book informative and enthralling, but Watkiss's artwork takes the edge off and makes it enjoyable. This book has something to say. I can dig it.

RATING: 10 out of 10.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Tarzan On The Planet Of The Apes #1 Review

"Tarzan On The Planet Of The Apes" #1 from BOOM! Studios - 

     A horrible new threat loomed over Earth at the time of the dominion of the apes. The Doomsday Weapon threatened to do again what the humans had done so long before: wipe out nearly every living thing on the planet. But Dr. Milo had a plan. He salvaged the ship of the human astronaut, Taylor, the man from Earth's past, and Milo planned his exodus along with the kind-hearted Zira, and her loving mate, Cornelius. Escaping the planet in the nick of time, and slipping through a blazing white rip in the fabric of space/time, the refugees arrived more than two thousand years in the past to the late 19th century. There, they became the leaders of the Mangani, a troop of apes living Equatorial West Africa. Lost in time, they raise their young son, Milo, and Tarzan, a human boy who was shipwrecked and found by the Mangani. They had peace for a time, but now it seems that fate is about to test them once more. The white rip in time is appearing once more, bringing with it strange species of animals lost long ago in the pages of Earth's history. And there are the hunters - white men come to take the lives of the denizens of the jungle for the thrill of the hunt, and for the pride of a trophy. What does fate hold for Zira, Cornelius, Milo, the Mangani and Tarzan? Adventure, heartache...and rage...The rage of the future Lord of Greystoke...The rage of the future King of the Jungle!

   Writers Tim Seeley and David F. Walker collab on this new twist on the adventures of Edgar Rice Burrough's beloved classic creation, Tarzan. Seeley and Walker construct a very interesting alternate Earth timeline, a timeline quite different from the alternate timeline we have come to know with "Planet of the Apes" properties. Raw jungle adventure meets science-fiction in this genre-bending mash-up, and for the most part, it works pretty well. Seeley and Walker do an adequate job of reintroducing familiar characters in a wild new timeline. The backstory is both shown and told by Zira in a quick and dirty series of pretty panels on one page. The tension begins to build around page three or four, the point in which all of the players appear and begin their obvious collision course. As a fan of both Tarzan and PoTA, this was definitely a fun read for me - a little bit of a dream come true actually. However, if you aren't really super-familiar with both properties, you are surely going to be lost, and probably disenchanted with this issue. The writers just assume that the reader knows so much already that it really just doesn't give enough backstory to help anyone along who is new to the worlds of PoTA and Tarzan. With that said, Fernando Dagnino's pencils are absolutely phenomenal from start to finish in this book - from expressive faces to wild, bloody action, Dagnino's pencils make this book GORGEOUS to behold. This man can do it all - his pencils display shades of Russ Heath - clean and realistic but highly dramatic. "Tarzan On The Planet Of The Apes" #1 is a really good first outing for this series, but something special is missing from the book that stops it well short of great - but the potential is there. I'll pick up issue #2. I'm holding onto hope for that old PoTA and Tarzan magic.

RATING: 8 out of 10. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seven To Eternity #1 Review

"Seven To Eternity" #1 From Image Comics  -

     Zhal is a planet where the magic burns bright. It is a world where the Mosak, an ancient high religious order, has access to immense mystical powers because of their strong connection to the spirits of the dead who guide and empower them. But now the Mosak are no more. Garils Sum has usurped the Mosak and taken the entire Kingdon of Zhul. Sum is known as the God of Whispers, because of the power of his words - they twist and bend people to his will with the strength of fear and paranoia. No one can trust anyone any longer. The people, in their cowardice, exchanged their freedom for safety. Only one man stood against the God of Whispers, refusing to hear his offers, and exposing Sum's lies in the hopes of trying to stir the people to stand against his tyranny. That man was Zebadiah Osidis, a powerful Mosak - and for his bravery, he was accused, abused and maltreated by his friends and neighbors, all under the sway of the God of Whispers. Zebadiah took his family and fled far from the cities of Zhal, into the mystic, green Voltk Mountains where the ancient spirits still held power. There he raised his family in the ancient Mosak way. For many years, it seemed like the God of Whispers had forgotten Zebadiah and his kin - but it was not so. When the wicked hand of the God of Whispers reaches out to crush Zebadiah, his son, Adam, will leave his family behind to seek to destroy the God of Whispers, knowing that if he fails, all hope for his family, and his world, is lost. But Adam is running out of time...He has a deadly illness that is advancing, and soon he too will join his father and the ancients in the well of souls...

     Rick Remender is back with a dazzling, a new science-fantasy work: "Seven To Eternity!" Remender is in top form - he creates captivating characters with clear, seemingly just motivations, and he gives us a master class in world-building at the same time. We get an effective one-page exposition in prose, and then Remender gets right to the action. Zebadiah Osidis brings to mind the stereotypical southern, midwestern or western rural-dwelling religious fundamentalist: he is unshakable in his faith, clinging to his ancient beliefs and sounding the warning on the encroaching powers of the secular government, a government that absolutely doesn't have the best interests of the people at heart, and probably has a hidden dark force as its head. However, on Zhal, Zeb seems to be right, as the God of Whispers has no problem with destroying whoever and whatever stands in his way to power. Zeb's family has fled from the city in hopes of finding space to live as they please, and practice their beliefs in peace - they want to be free; however, even in the far reaches of the wilds of Zhal they cannot hope to escape the oppressive hands of an unwanted ruler. Brilliantly, Remender has taken the fears and core beliefs of an increasingly disgruntled American demographic and processed them into this stellar beginning of what I hope is going to be a sweeping science-fantasy epic. I suspect that Zeb's son, Adam, who has set off to avenge his father, may soon find himself at the head of a rebellion - just think...The American Civil War fought on Zhal, not just with guns, but with magic and mystical weapons! Adam has one hell of a vertical struggle ahead; I would love to see how he fights it, and if he actually can win it. I also cannot wait to find out more about the antagonist, the God of Whispers; I suspect his motivations may run deeper than just power for power's sake. Co-creator and artist, Jerome Opeña, is on fire, as usual - his artwork is bold, refined, gorgeous, and as always expressive, busy and VERY cinematic. Opeña is without a doubt, one of the best artists working in comics today. "Seven To Eternity" #1 is must-read material. I dig it!

RATING: 9 out of 10.

Let me know if you agree, or disagree in the comments - after all, I'm just a comics fan like you. I'd love to read your opinions. If you like the article, hit +1 button and share the article with your friends and fellow comics fans. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 22, 2016


I'm back in the place to be!!

    I hope that your week went well my brothers and sisters of the funny-book phenomenon! Mine was hectic, so I'm sure glad to have a bit of a breather before we kick off with another manic Monday! 

    Today, we're here to talk about another superhero making his small-screen debut on the CW's hit show, "Supergirl." Let's talk about...Mon-El!!

   Here is my copy of Superboy #89, published in 1961, featuring the first appearance of Mon-El!! Isn't it SWEET?!

   So who exactly in the heck is Mon-El? Glad you asked - I'm sure if you're more of a fan of DC shows than DC Comics, you probably won't know who Mon-El is.

    Mon-El is the given Kryptonian name for Lar Gand, a Daxamite (from the planet Daxam) who while exploring the galaxy, landed on Krypton right before it went Ka-BOOOM!! Jor-El warned the kid to get off the planet as quickly as possible, but before Lar left, Jor-El gave him a map to Earth, the same place that Jor-El had sent his infant son, Kal-El. However, when Lar got to Earth, he was suffering from amnesia; however, he and Superboy became fast friends, mostly because both Daxamite physiology and Kryptonian physiology responded similarly to the radiation of Earth's yellow sun. This led Superboy to believe that they were both refugees from his dead home planet, and that LAr Gand was even more: Superboy's unknown, long-lost brother. Since Lar couldn't remember his name, Superboy gave him the name Mon-El, honoring him with the auspicious last name of Superboy's own family, the family whose blood Superboy thought Mon-El shared. Eventually, Superboy realized that Mon-El / Lar Gand wasn't Kryptonian when Mon-El failed to demonstrate a susceptibility to kryptonite. Superboy proved his theory in a way that almost killed Mon-El, but you'll have to wait for the fun facts for that.

   Mon-El struck out on his own, eventually ending up in the 30th century and joining my favorite superhero team, The Legion of Super-Heroes. There, he really came into his own, becoming one of their heaviest hitters, and he even served a few times as Team Leader:

On to the fun facts!!

FUN FACT 1: Mon-El, the name that Superboy gave Lar Gand, is simply a mix of Superboy's family name, "El," and the day that Lar arrived on Earth, Monday.

FUN FACT 2: Lar Gand / Mon-El has used several other names: Jonathan Kent (as Clark's cousin from London), Marvel Lad, and Valor. And we can't forget ol' Bob Cobb (Thanks, Danny Quizon).

FUN FACT 3: Lar Gand / Mon-El has been both possessed by Eclipso, and the possessor of a Power Ring of the Green Lantern Corps.

FUN FACT 4: Actor, Chris Wood, portrays Mon-El on season 2 of "Supergirl," which marks Mon-El's first live action appearance.

FUN FACT 5: When Mon-El didn't display a weakness to Kryptonite, Superboy began to suspect him of being some type of malicious trap for him, playing on his desire for a connection with his Kryptonian family. Superboy painted a chunk of lead green thinking to pass it for kryptonite to catch Mon-El in his wicked act. Imagine Superboy's surprise at finding that Mon-El was immune to kryptonite, but he WASN'T immune to lead! Superboy nearly killed Mon-El with lead-poisoning! Unlike Superboy, who could recover from Kryptonite exposure, lead exposure can be fatal to Daxamites!

FUN FACT 6: Superboy had no cure for Mon-El's lead-poisoning, so he put him in the Phantom Zone, where he spent over 1,000 years. He was released in the 30th century by the LoSH, first for short periods of time given a temporary antidote, then permanently, when Brainiac 5 created a permanent antidote. 

FUN FACT 7: Old DC continuity was nuts (but fun). With retcons, it was established that Mon-El met Superboy in a pocket universe created by the Time-Trapper,. Later, one of the Time-Trapper's minions, Glorith, would take her master's place and create another pocket universe in which Mon-El would become Valor, a hero that took the place of the Superboy that never was in that universe.

FUN FACT 8: Cured of his weakness to lead, some say Mon-El took the place of Superboy as the LoSH's most powerful asset.

And that is it Mon-El / Lar Gand in a nutshell!! I'm looking forward to seeing what role he plays on "Supergirl!"

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Romulus #1 Review

"Romulus" #1 from Image Comics -

     Ashlar is a Wolf, an assassin of the highest rank of the Order of Romulus, an ancient sect that guides the fate of the planet through economic power and physical, murderous might. Ashlar was born to the most deadly of all the Wolves, Axis, who trained her, honing her mind, body, and spirit to a sharpness only surpassed by the sharpness of her own. For a while, they were happy, content to serve the aims of Romulus, entirely faithful to the Order, and its wolf-god. But when Axis is ordered to murder an innocent child, her faith is shaken after the act, and her loyalty to the Order is broken beyond repair. Older than recorded history, and more powerful than any nation or empire that has ever arisen, the Order will not be denied. The Order of Romulus destroys every existing Wolf, save Axis and her cub, Ashlar. As Axis and Ashlar prepare to take on the most terrible power in the history of mankind, the Order of Romulus grooms new assassins - The Hunters - nearly unstoppable, drug-enhanced men who succeed in destroying Ashlar's beloved mother and leave her licking her wounds like an injured animal. When the Order sets its sights on dominating a brilliant scientist who has just invented planet-saving technology, Ashlar attacks, intent on stopping them and taking the blackest vengeance against the sect that robbed her of her life, and her mother. The Order of Romulus is about to discover that nothing is more dangerous than a lone wolf. 

    Bryan Hill writes this pulse-pounding first issue of "Romulus." From the very first page, I was captured by Hill's new mythology as he guides us through Ashlar's origin in her own words, provided in the caption boxes. In the first seven pages, Hill gives us a succinct, effective and captivating origin story, builds a mythology around his protagonist, establishes a frightening vertical struggle for her, and introduces us to his alternate-history Earth. It's all pretty spectacular. Ashlar's training and thirst for vengeance make her a fun action-hero, the love that she had for her mother makes her interesting, human and hopeful, even though the hope is not apparent on the surface. You would think that one of the world's greatest assassins would not open herself to loving a mother that trained her with a singular purpose: to kill. You would think that Ashlar would know better than to surrender to an emotion that makes her vulnerable; however, Ashlar loved her mother deeply, which tells me that understands a strong bond and that she may be able to empathize or even fall in love herself one day. Very interesting. Nelson Blake II turns Hill's story into visuals with elegant, uncomplicated pencils and great action panels that are not very busy at all. It seems that the characters and the action are the focus for Blake, which leaves his backgrounds pretty much made up of one or two solid colors. Be that as it may, this is a pretty stellar showing for "Romulus" - the first issue is MORE than solid; it's outta sight! 

RATING: 9 out of 10.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, hit the +1 button below and share it with your friends. Also, HERE is a link to my first short sci-fi story! Please check it out and leave some comments if you can! Thanks again.

Friday, October 14, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST Episode #40 (Night Nurse)

Hello, brothers and sisters!

   I am back again with the comic-book knowledge that you can't get in college!! I hope that you had a great week and that you have an even BETTER WEEKEND!! 


   I have plans with Mrs. TEX, and Li'l Miss TEX, so let's get this engine hot and smoking! Time for some TLC with...NIGHT NURSE!!

It's "Night Nurse" #1, published by Marvel Comics in 1972, featuring the return of Linda Carter, and the first appearances of Christine Palmer and Georgia Jenkins. 

"Night Nurse" #2!

"Night Nurse" #3!

    Above is my full collection of the 70s "Night Nurse" series from Marvel, I only need one more, and it will be complete.

     "Night Nurse," along with "The Claws of The Cat" and "Shanna The She-Devil" were comics that Marvel put out to attract more young, female readers in the 1970s. "Shanna The She-Devil" was able to limp along to five issues, while the other two ended with a run of only four issues. What made "Night Nurse" special was that it was not about any super-powered individuals; it showcased the love lives, struggles and heroism of three roommates, all nurses, who worked at the fictional Metropolitan General Hosptial in Manhattan, NYC. In issue #1, Linda Carter is trying to decide whether to give up the career she loves to marry a successful businessman; Georgia Jenkins, an African-American woman from the slums, strives to be the best nurse she can be but worries for her missing brother (who we see later in the issue causing big problems for Georgia and the hospital); and Christina Palmer tries to make her own way as a nurse, even though her affluent father begs her to give it up and come back home to an exclusive Midwestern suburb. These three women come from different backgrounds, shoulder different struggles, and are different one from another as they could possibly be. At first, this causes problems, but soon the intrigue, stress and sometimes, the danger of being a nurse at night in the big city helps them form an unbreakable bond. 

   "Night Nurse" was filled with wonderful characters, and great, socially relevant stories. These stories were penned by Jean Thomas, wife of comics legend, Roy Thomas, and penciled by another comics legend, Winslow "Win" Mortimer. Unfortunately, the comics sold REALLY poorly, and the series was canceled after just four issues. "Night Nurse" was all but forgotten until Brain Michael Bendis revived Linda Carter in Daredevil Vol 2, #58 (2004), in which she helped Daredevil recover from his injuries received from a fight with the Yakuza. Since then, Night Nurse has helped several super-heroes recover from possibly deadly wounds and ailments - these include Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nomad, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange who became romantically linked with Night Nurse for some time. On to the fun facts!

FUN FACT 1 - "Linda Carter, Student Nurse" #1, published by Atlas in 1961, was the first appearance of Linda Carter (they are believed to be the same character, even though their appearances are a bit different).

FUN FACT 2 - Night Nurse's phone number is 917-616-6XXX, which is funny because she is in the Marvel 616, and the "XXX" reminds me of how Doctor Strange disliked the name "Night Nurse," because he thought it "sounded like the title of an adult film" (Doctor Strange: The Oath #2). 

FUN FACT 3 - The "Night Nurse" is a bit challenging to come by in high grades, thus the high going prices for issue #1. 

FUN FACT 4 - The Netflix series, "Marvel's Daredevil" and "Marvel's Luke Cage," both feature a character named Claire Temple who seems to be a hybrid creation merging both Dr. Claire Temple (from "Luke Cage, Hero For Hire" vol 1) and Linda Carter. On the Netflix shows, Claire Temple is portrayed by the beautiful Rosario Dawson. 

FUN FACT 5 - During Civil War I, Linda Carter joined Captain America and his anti-Registration Act Secret Avengers.

FUN FACT 6 - Linda Carter is now a fully trained physician and probably one of the most brilliant in the 616. Despite this, she still uses the alias, "Night Nurse." 

FUN FACT 7- Linda Carter, Night Nurse, has no affiliation with the eternally GORGEOUS Lynda Carter who portrayed Wonder Woman in the 70s TV series.

FUN FACT 8 - Of the three nurses, Georgia Jenkins was the only one never seen again in Marvel comics. 

    Well, that's it for tonight folks!! I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoy writing them. Please hit the +1 button at the foot of the article if you enjoyed it, and please share with your friends! Thanks for reading!!

   Happy Trails.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Skybourne #1 Review

"Skybourne" #1 from BOOMStudios! -

    In the Bible, Lazarus was raised from the dead by the Son of God. But no one wrote anything about his children. This is their story.

    Abraham, Thomas, and Grace Skybourne are the children of Lazarus. They are mighty beings possessed of immense strength, unbreakable skin, and...They cannot die. Abraham's whereabouts are unknown. Thomas is world-weary, heartbroken and ready for death's sweet embrace. But Grace, she works as an agent for The Mountain Top Foundation, a foundation currently searching for an artifact of immense power: King Arthur's magic sword, Excalibur. The Mountain Top Foundation will stop at nothing to have the artifact, and neither will Grace Skybourne. She and her team gain possession of the sword in a vicious and gory battle. However, when Grace and her team are attacked by an extremely powerful wizard, Grace finds that not only is she in danger of losing the newly-acquired Excalibur, but she also finds that for the first time, she is in danger of losing her very life. 

   From the brilliant mind of Frank Cho, comes this action-heavy thriller, "Skybourne!" "Skybourne" is captivating from the very first page, starting out with a snippet of backstory on the inside cover which leads us to Thomas Skybourne's botched suicide attempt, and straight into Grace's rip-roaring, thrilling adventure. The small bit of exposition on the lineage of the Skybournes was enough to suck me straight into the story - I love it when familiar historical, biblical or mythological characters show up in stories in [respectful] unfamiliar ways. The characters themselves are very interesting as well - Thomas has had enough of life, while Grace is all aflame; she is beautiful, intelligent, and nothing short of war-machine. She is a thrill. Watching her wreck her way through page after bloody page reminded me of another wonderful, forgotten, magnificent series named "The Sword" from the Luna Brothers, a series that should already be a film or TV show...But back to "Skybourne." Frank Cho is in top form; there is no need to heap praises on his artwork, anyone who has been reading comics for more than a couple of years knows that Cho is a modern legend in the industry, with an uncanny eye for both power and beauty, especially when it comes to the female form. This book looks MAGNIFICENT. There are still many unanswered questions, and the hard gut-punch ending that leaves us on a cliff-hanger, but "Skybourne" #1 is simply a great first issue, and honestly looks to be another series that we'll hear about being optioned for the big or small screen. Loved it.

RATING: 10 out of 10. I can't wait to know more about these characters!

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

ReincarNATE #1 Review

"ReincarNATE" #1 from Heavy Metal, Inc. - 

      Nate McCoy is a hard-nosed, cynical gumshoe, an ex-cop turned private-eye. This fact alone doesn't win him any likability points with his ex-crime-fighting colleagues...Especially not the ones that are in the pockets of the local big baddie, El Panda. El Panda's got the cops so shaken, that they don't even want to say his name. But Nate? He's not shaken. Not by a long shot. When Nate takes a case to find one Tatiana Kreschen, the trail leads straight to the dead body of her bowling coach, a trail that points Nate right in the direction of El Panda. However, before he can follow the breadcrumbs, a would-be assassin puts a bullet right between Nate's eyes - a bullet that should have ended both the investigation, and Nate's life. But it didn't. Nate awakens in the hospital under the watchful eyes of a cowboy sheriff, and a hitman, both of whom talk to Nate, both of whom no one else can see. Has he gone nuts, or can these two spectres help him do what no one else can: find Tatiana, and take down El Panda once and for all? 

    "ReincarNate" #1 is an intriguing hard-boiled detective story, with either a supernatural twist or a psychological twist. Which one manifests remains to be seen. What we do know is that the protagonist, Nate McCoy is fun character - he is a smart-mouthed, cavalier, brave do-gooder who is all about finishing the job, saving the girl, and taking down the bad guys. I dig that. The story itself has an interesting premise - I wonder if the author, Michael Moreci, has ever read A.J. Lieberman's and Riley Rossmo's "Cowboy, Ninja, Viking" which showcases a protagonist with a similar ailment/power. "ReincarNate" #1 quickly recalled "Cowboy, Ninja Viking" to my mind, and how much I missed that series. I love stories that explore the human psyche and its flaws, and how those flaws just might be made to benefit the protagonist or antagonist. What I absolutely did not like about the comic was Keith Burns' artwork, not that it was bad, just that it was stiffer and more basic than anything that I was expecting to find in the pages of a book published by Heavy Metal, Inc.. "Heavy Metal" magazine (along with the French magazine that spawned it, Métal Hurlant) is synonymous with avante-garde sci-fi stories, and masterful artwork, such as that done by legendary French artist of the bande-dessinée, Moebius. Artwork aside, "ReincarNate" gave a strong enough showing to bring me back for a second issue - it's got a simmering coolness to it that I really dig. It has potential; if it is done right, I could see it on the big or small screen. 

RATING: 7.5 out of 10 (but only because of the art). Better pencils would bump it up to a solid 8. 

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DC Rebirth (Salvo 4) Rapid-Fire Review

Hey my brothers and sisters!!

     Guess who's back! It T-E-X, with a rapid-fire review of more of DC's Rebirth with Salvo 4!!

     Let's skin this smoke-wagon:

1. "Teen Titans: Rebirth" #1 - Tim Drake is dead. After the events in "Detective Comics" #940, the Teen Titans are on their own. Beast Boy is partying hard in Hollywood, Starfire and Wally West are trying to get on with their lives, defining themselves by continuing their vigilante work, and Raven is emotionally lost, trying to find herself, hoping she's not the monster that her father, Trigon, is. What they don't know is that each of them is being taken down, one by one, by a shadowy figure that has his own plans for them.

   Ben Percy writes this cool little comic that basically all about putting the band back together, and not much else. In the process, Percy gives us some really cool insight into the inner working of each of the Titans. It is an effective (re?) introduction to each character. Jonboy Meyers' dainty pencils and Jim Charalampidis' make this a really pretty book.

RATING: 7.5 out of 10.

2. "Cyborg: Rebirth" and "DC Universe Rebirth: Cyborg" #1 - A powerful, dangerous new enemy lurks in the shadows of Cyborgs life, testing him from the shadows, waiting for the chance to help Vic evolve into everything that he could be...If not for that pesky human side of him. While the enemy seeks to dispossess Cyborg of his human weaknesses, Cyborg struggles to find his own humanity after discovering data that questions the very nature of his existence...Data kept secret by his very own father!

   John Semper, Jr. retells Cyborg's origin story, introduces a chilling new villain, and re-kindles Cyborg's search for his own humanity all in just two comics. That's just good writing - good writing backed up by Paul Pelletier's ability to draw insane action sequences. I was partial to the Ultimate-Spider-Man-like slow burn David F. Walker's and Ivan Reis' run - and time will tell if this will be just as good - however, Semper is starting off on a good track; hopefully, Cyborg won't lose the ability to return to human form that Walker and Reis gave him.

RATING: 8 out of 10.

3. "DC Universe Trinity: Rebirth" #1 - Since the death of the New 52 Superman, both Batman and Wonder Woman have struggled to deal with his loss in their own unique ways, and the appearance of the Post-Crisis Superman on their world has made things even more challenging. It doesn't help that this new Superman is cautious, feeling his way in this new world with a bit of trepidation - he not only has to protect his secret identity, but the lives of his wife, Lois Lane, and their young son, Jon, whose Kryptonian powers have begun to emerge. Lois steps up to try to bridge the gap between the three super-allies - allies who seem to be worlds apart. Can the Trinity be rebuilt, or is it a bridge too far?

   Francis Manapul does triple duty on the script, art and cover, of this really fascinating character study of the DCU's Trinity - Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Manapul does a great job of revealing their inner workings, as well as that of Lois Lane, whose insights drive the story, narrating from the caption boxes with brilliant observations on her family, and on life. Tender and open dialogue also drive this book - you can feel the bond begin to form within this new Trinity, and it seems like Lois and Jon may be the ties that bind them, carrying the Trinity past the line from friends to family. Apart from a masterful job of writing a character-driven first issue, Manapul provides art that is elegant, and simple, yet powerful. It takes one hell of a writer, to make a character study feel like it's action-packed. I love this book.

RATING: 10 out of 10.

4. "Batman Beyond: Rebirth" #1 - Terry McGinnis is back from the dead, and freed from the mind control of Spellbinder (see "Batman Beyond" vol 5 #16). He has tried to restart his his life, raising his little brother Matt, and re-taking the Mantle of the Bat. But Terry has avoided revealing his resurrection to some of the people that he most cared about, one being his high-school sweetheart, Dana Tan. When Dana is taken prisoner by The Jokerz, Gotham's own murderous misfits inspired by the memory of the Clown Prince of Crime, it looks as if a reunion between Terry and Dana is unavoidable. Also unavoidable is a showdown with one of McGinnis' old foes, Terminal, who is attempting to resurrect the greatest enemy that Batman has ever faced: the original Joker!

   In "Batman Beyond: Rebirth" #1 Dan Jurgens is doing what Dan Jurgens does: writing entertaining comic book stories for people of all ages. The story is fast-paced, action-packed, and still manages to give us glimpses into the mind of the protagonist, his struggles, and a succinct, but good, retelling of his origin story...Not to mention, the the threat of the return of the Joker! McGinnis has got his hands full. Ryan Sook goes wild with the art here, giving us great action scenes, a very cool, explosive spread, and some lovely panels that are often quite busy. It looks like this series is starting off with a bang!

RATING: 8.5 out of 10.

   All in all, this salvo of DC Rebirth first issues was a LOT better than the last! 

    Well, that's it for today comics fans! Please hit like if you enjoyed the reviews and PLEASE comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with my reviews. Hey, you just might learn me sumthin'! And feel free to share my page with your friends!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Black #1 Review

"Black" #1 from BlackMask Studios –

"The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men." -W.E.B. DuBois

      Officer Ellen Waters has just seen the unimaginable, and she is having a tough time processing it, let alone trying to explain it. She grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) borough of Brooklyn, NYC. She knows it inside and out, she knows the streets, she knows the people, and she also knows that things aren't always as they appear to be. She knows that sometimes the bad guys wear expensive suits, and the good guys wear loose-fitting jeans, tee-shirts, and hoodies. Unfortunately, some of the cops who patrol the area don't know this, they don't know the people, and some don't even care to. When a black teen, Kareem Jenkins, is mistakenly gunned down by police officers for a crime he didn't commit, Officer Waters' heart breaks for the loss of another innocent life on the streets; however, what Officer Waters thinks is the end of the story is only the beginning. When Kareem miraculously heals and escapes from police custody, performing feats the likes of which she has never seen, she is left befuddled, and drowning in questions. And Kareem? He is about to embark on a journey of self-discovery with others who have found him, others who are gifted like him. But what Kareem doesn't know is that there is a group that wishes to exploit him and others like him, a dangerous group of people who will not stop until they have either unlocked the secrets of Kareem's powers, or destroyed him, and all his kind. Kareem is young, gifted, and black...With a target painted on his back.

    From the mind of writer, Kwanza Osajyefo, comes "Black" a poignant story, and one that is, sadly, extremely relevant for our times. This story comes spinning out of our country's current racial crisis, seemingly ripped from one of today's headlines, black teen, Kareem Jenkins, and two of his friends are brutally killed in a botched arrest attempt - all three are innocent and completely unarmed. Osajyefo uses this all-too-familiar tragedy as a catalyst for a superhero story for the current age, a journey from poverty and impotence to power, and the assumption of responsibility that bridges the gap between. As Kareem finds that there are others who are gifted like he is, and he takes on the task of finding and protecting them, Kareem's character echoes the ideas of great black activists and writers, ideas like those of W.E.B. DuBois in "The Souls of Black Folk." While Booker T. Washington argued for blacks to earn equality through hard work, and economic independence, DuBois disagreed and argued that equality should not be earned, but demanded through agitation and protest. One is able to clearly see a bit of the beginning of this argument in this book, along with something akin to a black nationalist sentiment of racial solidarity and self-determination. The fact that all the people who are gaining powers in this newly created universe happen to be a small part of the black population recalls to my mind the idea of "The Talented Tenth," the idea that exceptional black men, leaders of great ability, should be developed to reach their full potential to create social change. Still more, this comic reminds me of Marvel Comics' X-Men, created by Stan Lee and the Great Jack Kirby during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, in which the mutants, who just want to live peaceful lives, are oppressed, marginalized, feared, and hunted because they are different and because they are powerful. I suppose that this comparison isn't far off, as it has been confirmed that Lee and Kirby used civil rights leaders, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., as the inspirations for Magneto and Professor X.

    There is no doubt that "Black" is going to explore many social issues, many of which will challenge the reader, and make some very uncomfortable. I am looking forward to the journey. Also, I have to give BIG props to Jamal Igle for his stellar artwork here, all done in big sprawling panels that move the story along smoothly at a wonderful clip, and give it a very cinematic feel. I chose to buy this striking "Red Hoodie" variant cover done by Khary Randolph, which seems to be a nod to The Red Hoodie Foundation, which spun out a movement commemorating the fallen victims of racial or stereotypical profiling, most famously identified with the tragic story of Trayvon Martin. "Black" seems to be attempting to create an updated, more relevant X-Men for a new generation of comics reader, and so far, I am captivated; however, I realize that everyone will not be, and that is totally fine.  Politics aside, "Black" serves up interesting characters feeling their way through a new, intriguing, and often painful world. This is the main reason that I enjoyed this book - bravo for "Black."

RATING: 10 out of 10. I cannot wait to see where this is going.

CAVEAT 1: This book covers themes, and has language that may not be suitable for young readers - especially the preview for the new series, "Tomorrow's Ashes" in the rear of the comic.

By the bye: If you would like to read a great analysis on the racial politics of X-Men, there is a great article in "Psychology Today" here.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

The History of Luke Cage

Hello friends!!

    In case you missed TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST #39 (link provided), which expounded on the origins of Luke Cage, here is a great video that explains it very well!


I am loving the Netflix series, "Marvel's Luke Cage." How are you liking it?

(PS - If you enjoy these articles, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends! Thank you.)