Monday, May 30, 2016

Some Gave All



As a former member of the U.S. Army and a war veteran,

    I would like to honor those who paid the highest price in defense of our country and its ideals. America is not perfect, but we have come a long way. We could not have arrived at where we are, nor continue to where we are going, if it weren't for every brave person who has laid their lives down for this country...And there have been many...



    (Chart courtesy of the Washington Post)

      Memorial Day is observed the last Monday of May, and it is done in remembrance of all servicemen and servicewomen who have died while in the U.S. Military. It originated as Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War - many cities and towns in America had begun holding springtime remembrances of their fallen servicemen by the late 1860s, often visiting cemeteries, decorating graves and offering prayers at gravesites. Originally, Decoration Day was to honor only the fallen of the Civil War, but as we joined World War I, it was changed to include all military personnel who had perished in wars. Memorial Day was observed on May 30 for decades until Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act in 1968 declaring Memorial Day a federal holiday, and making Memorial Day the last Monday in May. This act didn't take effect until 1971.

    Today, to honor our fallen, I figured I'd show a comic book from my collection that I think is perfect for the occasion:


It's my copy of War Heroes #1 from Dell Comics, printed in 1942. On the cover, we see the likeness of military legend, General Douglas MacArthur. This comic is filled with stories of those who heroically lost their lives in defense of their country and fellow servicemen. I will share just a few pages, but before you read on, I want to remind you that we were at war, and this was the 1940s - not all images are for sensitive readers:









CPT. Cassin Young


Cant, Franklin Valkenburgh


Seaman James Ward


Machinist's Mate Robert R. Scott


Ensign Francis C. Flaherty


Ensign Herbert C. Jones


Chief Boatswain Edwin J. Hill


Read Admiral Isaac C. Kidd





Time fails to tell all the heroic stories of those whose lives were lost in this terrible war. Lives of heroes like Doris "Dorie" Miller:



  Miller was a mess attendant, and former football player and boxing champ, who, during the attack on Pearl Harbor, first helped the injured to safety, including his mortally wounded ship's captain. He then returned to the deck and manned a 50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until all his ammunition was spent.

   In every war, America has produced heroes that will fight to the finish, men and women who will heed their country's call. My sincerest hope is that we humans will become better beings that cast off war to set our sights fully on higher things, like exploring the stars; however, I an confident that in whatever capacity, America will continue to produce heroes, explorers, people of valor who will stand for what's right and good, and who will not back down from the challenges set before them.

  If you are interested in reading the entire Dell comic, War Heroes, click here: War Heroes. Comic Book Plus offers War Heroes and a huge selection of other great comics that you can peruse at your leisure. They provide a wonderful service to comic book fans.

  Please enjoy your Memorial Day with the people you love, holding in your heart the remembrance of those who gave all so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have. And please don't forget to pause at 3pm today to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

  God bless you all. God bless America. God bless our world.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Mantle Vol 1 Review


The Mantle Vol 1 from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -


    A few hours ago, Robbie and his girlfriend, Jen, left a punk rock show stoned. Intent on finding other ways of getting high, Robbie was suddenly hit by a burst of lightning that gave him powers beyond his wildest dreams. And now Robbie is dead. 

    The Mantle is an enigmatic force, a power given to those it chooses to defend humanity from evil. But the Mantle has an enemy, The Plague, a vicious, murderous and extremely powerful monster-man that has systematically and relentlessly murdered everyone who has been chosen. Robbie is his latest victim, lasting only hours after gaining his powers, leaving his girlfriend, Jen, to mourn him. However, The Mantle throws everyone a curveball, and selects Jen as the next in line to be mankind's protector and to fight The Plague. With help from a small group of superhumans bent on taking The Plague down, Jen must find a way to master her abilities in order to defeat the plague once and for all.  There is no running. He will find her, and everyone she loves. To avenge her slaughtered boyfriend, to protect her family and friends, to shield humanity, to stay alive, Jen must face The Plague and win. Does Jen have what it takes, or will she be just another victim to meet her doom at the vile hands of The Plague?

    The Mantle is a fun superhero journey with interesting characters, and rather cool artwork by Brian Level. Ed Brisson has done a pretty good job here of building a world for these characters, and an intriguing backstory for The Mantle itself. The Mantle is a bit reminiscent of Jim Shooter's and John Byrne's Star Brand, just with a strong female lead, which already gives it plenty of cool points in my book. The characters are pretty engaging - I actually liked, and cared about just about every one of the good guys in the story, and I was pleasantly surprised at the reveal of the motivations of the antagonist towards the end of the story. I only found one part of the story questionable: having a superhero who needs to be drunk or high to use their superpowers best sounds a bit irresponsible and suspect to me; it kind of reminded me of those guys who swear they drive better when they are drunk - and we know how that ends many times. I just cannot fathom a person wielding the most powerful, most dangerous weapon that mankind has having to be stoned in order to use it properly. Other than this, The Mantle is a good, fast, fun read for adults. I enjoyed it.

RATING: 7.5 out of 10. The rating might have been higher if not for the promotion of casual drug use - that sucked quite a bit of fun out of the story for me.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Faster Than Light Vol 1 Review



Faster Than Light (Vol 1) from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -


     "Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state and more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole."
-William S. Burroughs


     In the not too distant future, a brilliant scientist, Dr. Saul Fredricks, has cracked the problem of long-distance space travel. He solved the FTL problem; we can now travel faster than the speed of light itself. This has made interplanetary spaceflight a reality, and put interstellar travel within the grasp of humanity's trembling hands. William Forest is the Captain of the spaceship, Discovery; his task: the first long-range exploration mission. Captain Forest, his friend, Dr. Malcolm Ritchings, his salty first-officer, Commander Grissom, his chief engineer, Sally, and the rest of his bold crew, are making the last preparations for the most daring leap that mankind has ever taken. However, unbeknownst to the crew, Captain Forest has a secret side-mission, a mission so important that the very survival of humanity hinges upon its success. Captain Forest's secret mission is undergirded by support from his pal, Rick, Captain of a another ship, a secret ship, with a much shorter, but equally dangerous mission: first contact with bizarre alien life-forms that could be valuable allies in the dark times ahead... You see, in the 1940s, we received a transmission that not only gave us the keys to FTL travel (finally deciphered by Dr. Fredricks), and amazing technological advancements, but it also gave us an ominous warning: "It is too late for us. Use our knowledge and flee your world. They are coming..."

    Brian Haberlin pulls double duty on this fun sci-fi/horror adventure - he both writes and illustrates the entire volume  which collects issues 1 through 5 of the series. At first glance, Haberlin's story shows many similarities to Gene Roddenberry's creation, Star Trek, yet a deeper look reveals dissimilarities that make them stand apart. Most notably, Star Trek has an optimistic streak running through it that is a light-year wide. As a Trekkie, I have always loved that about Star Trek. Haberlin's Faster Than Light replaces that optimism with paranoia, and it's easy to understand why, as they are beginning their journey scrambling under the imminent threat of destruction at the hands of an unknown, world-destroying foe. Honestly, Captain Forest and his crew don't stand out as much as Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise; that is part of the appeal of these characters. They seem like real, everyday people who become pretty extraordinary as they rise to meet the threats they encounter on their maiden voyage into the cold reaches of our solar system, taking on a monstrous enemy with only their human ingenuity, and pure, raw courage. This comic has everything a fan of old-school sci-fi would love...Sure, the solutions to some of the crew's problems seem to be overly simple, but that doesn't take  away from the journey. And believe me, this IS a journey.  

   By the way, Haberlin offers an app that allows the reader to turn parts of the adventure into a 3D experience unlike any I have ever seen before in comics. Take a look here, and check out the cool video: Faster Than Light 3D. Now THAT is pretty awesome. 

   What's even more awesome? According to deadline.com, Faster Than Light is being developed for television: Faster Than Light Developed For TV.

RATING: An enthusiastic 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Halcyon Vol 1 Review


Halcyon vol 1 from Image Comics -

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight (2008)


    The fight is over. The superheroes have finally triumphed over the super-villains, who have been so thoroughly routed that they have fled to an alternate reality. Halcyon's members: Zenith, the mightiest woman - the mightiest of the superheroes; Sabre, the dark, brutal warrior for justice (and Zenith's lover); Jarhead, super-soldier and one man army; Transom, speedster; Enos, a mutated ape and one of the greatest known intellects alive; Triumph, mighty and nearly invulnerable warrior-woman; Agni, god of Light; and Null, the faceless, voiceless king of unarmed combat. These mighty heroes have withstood the onslaught of Oculus, leader of the world's super-villains, a megalomaniac, and possibly the greatest mind on the entire planet. Halcyon has done the impossible: won the eternal fight for truth and justice...Or have they? Oculus has returned with a plan so sinister, and so wicked, that it is impossible to believe that it just might be the best thing to ever happen to mankind. Will the superheroes stop Oculus' plot, at the cost of Utopia? 

     Marc Guggenheim teams with his wife, Tara Butters, to bring us this tale that asks us the question, "What happens to the super-heroes in a world where the fight for truth and justice is won?" This comic collects the series, Halcyon (issues 1-5), is packed with some very familiar archetypes. Sure there are changes, but the basic framework that we have seen in superhero comics since the beginning is still there, and the archetypes are easily recognizable. The difference in this book is that the overall humanity of the heroes is spotlighted - their desires, hopes, dreams, paranoia, pain, and yes their damages (mental, emotional) are right there near the surface for the reader to see. Once the super-villain threat is removed, most of these super-people, want to try to be just people, although it is obvious that they are more than just a bit different from everyone else, and that pains them. Some more than others. Some need to fight, or they need a war to help them define their place in the world. Others are content to try to fit in, to let things be, let the fight be over, and this is where the internal turmoil begins. Guggenheim and Butters masterfully explore some interesting themes in this comic, and reflect the stories of our favorite superheroes in a darker, more human mirror. 

   If you're looking for high-powered superhero tales of derring-do, this comic won't be your cup of tea; however if you're into superhero deconstruction Alan Moore-style (Watchmen, Marvelman), this book is sure to make you as pleased as punch.

RATING: 10 out of 10. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 24 (CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN)


Hello brothers and sisters!

   Welcome to another episode of TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST! 

    Today, we talk about one of Jack Kirby's most unsung creations:



   Here is my copy of Showcase #6, published in 1957, featuring the very first appearance of the Challengers of the Unknown!! The Challengers of the Unknown are Walter "Prof" Haley, master skin diver; Matthew "Red" Ryan, circus daredevil; Lester "Rocky" Davis, Olympic wrestling gold-medalist; and Kyle "Ace" Morgan, jet pilot and war hero. All are on their way to speak on a radio program called Heroes when their plane is caught in a sudden and deadly storm. The plane crashes, but miraculously, they all survive almost unscathed. All four men, acknowledging that they should be dead, and that they are living on borrowed time, agree to work together as a team to seek out, and challenge, the unknown!

   In the years after WWII, superhero comics had largely lost their popularity. In their stead horror, suspense, and sci-fi stories had taken over the comics medium. Kirby had taken to drawing a few of these types of stories in titles like Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery for Atlas Comics. When Kirby went to work for DC in the late 50's, he decided to call on his previous experience drawing regular humans, in the aforementioned types of stories, battling monsters and alien threats with only their wits, their skills and their courage as their weapons. Usually, he had done it with one protagonist, but this time he gave us four - and so was born the Challengers of the Unknown! On to the fun facts:

FUN FACT 1 - Stories vary, but Kirby either co-created the Challenges with his old partner, Joe Simon, or with the writer credited for the story: Dave Wood.

FUN FACT 2: The Challengers of the Unknown were the Suicide Squad before there was a Suicide Squad. In "Comic Books and the Cold War, 1946-1962,"Kirby calls the Challengers "a suicide squad...They are the men who take the risks." The Suicide Squad that we know today would have it's origins as Task Force X in 1959.

FUN FACT 3: Kirby only stayed on the Challengers for twelve issues - he was constantly fighting with editors and publishers. He returned to Atlas Comics, which soon would become Marvel Comics, and began the Marvel Age of comics with Stan Lee. 

FUN FACT 4: In 1961, just four years later, Kirby and Lee created the Fantastic Four which are obviously inspired by the Challengers of the Unknown - the F4 had a similar origin, similar jumpsuits and a similar physical appearance to the Challengers of the Unknown, the obvious differences being the added superpowers, and the switching out of one male hero for a female hero, Sue Storm - see FUN FACT 5.

FUN FACT 5: But wait! The Challengers had a girl teammate named June Robbins (1st app in Showcase #7), a computer genius and archeologist. Hmm. The F4 similarities are piling up. 

FUN FACT: If you love Silver Age DC Comics, a sure bet for collecting would be Showcase vol 1. The Silver Age of superheroes begins with the first appearance of Barry Allen, the Flash, in the pages of Showcase #4 in 1956. The Challengers of the Unknown appear in Showcase #6. Space Ranger debuts in Showcase #15. Adam Strange debuts in Showcase #17. Rip Hunter bursts on the scene in Showcase #20. Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, first appears in Showcase #22. The Sea Devils enter the DCU in Showcase #27. Showcase #30 gives us the first origin story of the Silver Age Aquaman. In Showcase #34, Ray Palmer, The Atom, first appears. The Metal Men grab the stage for the first time in Showcase #37. And there is so much more, but TEX is tired of typing. LOL!

Check out the Challengers of the Unknown. Whether fighting huge  monsters, or the occult, or time-traveling, these daring adventurers are the tops.

Thanks for reading!

   


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Satellite Falling #1 (IDW)



We have very cool looking satellite with 100 species & 75,000 beings on board. Lilly is a bounty hunter posing as a cab driver. She longs for her girlfriend who died some 2 years earlier on earth. So she came to the outpost to get away from her memories as there aren't many humans on the satellite.

She is hired to by the police department to catch some illegal slaves employed in a work house. The chief a shape shifting dude who makes himself look like a alien babe convinces her to take on the operation.
Using advanced camouflage tech Lilly see's a kid in pain crying that is shackled with chains she loses it & compromises the operation, The chief yells to her to get out now!

Sweet artwork by Stephen Thompson (some Boom studios & DC work) Written by Steve Horton (Dark Horse work) has given us a great sci-fi book, Hope it stays this good. Think Transmetropolitan & The Fifth Element. Only problem is it's way too short a read, Seems to be a disappointing attribute these days.

Rating: 8/10.

Penny Dreadful #1 Review

Penny Dreadful #1 (Titan Comics)



Based on the dark gloomy Victorian horror TV show created by John Logan (can be a little too much for some). With the greatest fearful characters in history shown within the episodes, It is a must watch for anyone who dare watch.

Great first issue from Titan (this could have been done much earlier) But it's now here & i'm excited to have a copy. There are a few variants of this book (the reg. cover is one of the best) I have cover c above. They all show Vanessa in one way or another.

After Vanessa has been talking to her ghostly sister (she tell Vanessa to save her from the master, As he feeds on her blood). Sir Malcolm Murray reluctantly hear's Vanessa's plea for help & decides to help.
A pack of possessed wolves attack the stage-coach, Kill the drivers & bite the legs out from under the horses. Sir Malcolm shots & kills the majority of them, One gets away & returns to it's masters. A group of vampires rip the lone wolf apart.

Brilliant artwork by Louie De Martinis although it is very dark but true to the TV characters & written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Nothing new here really but those who are new to PD then it would be a good start.
Mature readers only.

Rating: 8/10



Black Road #1 Review


Black Road #1 from Image Comics -

    In medieval Norway, Christianization is well under way. A hulking Icelandic mercenary, Magnus the Black lives out his days after the loss of his beloved wife trying to survive, not siding with those resisting the Christian conquest, and too intrigued by the Christians and their God to side against them. When an intriguing Christian cardinal approaches him for help to secure safe passage north to the Hammaruskk Coast, Magnus begins a journey that can only be filled with danger, destruction and death, because the only way north is along the treacherous, deadly Black Road, a road from which none return. What could be so important that the cardinal would risk his life, and Magnus', to travel alone to the barren wastes of the northern lands? Will they be consumed by the cold, biting death that awaits on the Black Road?

   Brian Wood writes this moody, atmospheric Icelandic mystery tale. He provides us with a protagonist that captures your imagination in Magnus the Black. Magnus is powerful, but in him you sense loss, desperation, and weariness, all of which are amplified by the cold, barren, unforgiving lands that he inhabits. It all works together to create a sense of longing which is palpable. Wood gives us just a bit of backstory on Magnus, and fills in a bit more about him through deft internal dialogue - Magnus is a man of deep thought, but few actual words. He is wary, but intrigued by Christianity, and the little, unassuming cardinal who has just been thrust into his care. Nearly the perfect type of protagonist, Magnus attracts me: strong, silent, one who bears his pain well and is more that meets the eye. Garry Brown's kinetic, sketchy artwork is perfect, laying down deep expressive, weary lines in the faces of people, and along with Dave McCaig's colors, gives heft to the atmosphere of the oppressive world that Magnus and his supporting cast inhabit. This book attracts me, and piques my curiosity. I think that I'd like to travel with Magnus along the Black Road.

   This book is deeper than it seems, and asks many questions that I would love to see answered.

RATING: 9 out of 10.
 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gold Key Alliance #1 Review


Gold Key Alliance #1 from Dynamite -

        A Secret Service in a special unit takes with monitoring the rise of AI on the planet - he's tough as hell, with deadly hands that can be harder than steel; a young female doctor is in Africa to make a difference against brutal warlords - she possesses the power of the sun itself; a mighty hunter and tribal park ranger with matchless skills and deadly aim - he guards the last of the dinosaurs; a homeless man, and seemingly insane - with the strength of 1,000 men. Who are they? And what deadly power plots to destroy everything they hold dear? They will be drawn together to keep their universe from being torn apart.

      Gold Key Alliance brings some of the most beloved Gold Key characters together for the very first time in the same world and time! This alone is VERY exciting for someone like me who loves Gold Key comics, and who just happens to own three of the four first appearances of the stars of this book. The dazzling cover stimulates the imagination as to what could be inside of this much-anticipated book...Unfortunately, while not horrible by any means, this book is a bit lackluster for a first outing. We are introduced to each character one after another; each character commands a few pages in order to give the reader a small taste of who they are. Turok's story is, by far, the most entertaining of the stories. And while we get a glimpse into the lives of the characters, we get no back stories, no clear motivations, nor origin stories for the characters at all. It's like, "Ta-dah! Here they are!" And afterwards, nothing. Brent Peeples' artwork is more than competent - very clean, straight-forward and uncomplicated, like Hester's story. Both just left me very unsatisfied, presenting characters with sparse personalities which was a huge let-down because I really wanted to love this book, and I hungered for the return on the charismatic Gold Key legends of days gone by. Crap.

RATING: 6 out of 10. 

PS - For more information on the greatness that was Gold Key, see my article here: Valiant Goes To The Movies

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 23 (BOOSTER GOLD)


Good news for fans of Booster Gold!!

    It was just recently confirmed that Booster is getting his own live-action feature film!!

    YES!!

     For those who don't really read comics, who Booster Gold is might be a bit of a mystery. Good ol' TEX is here to help you with that! Let me start off by showing you his first appearance:



Here are my two copies of Booster Gold #1! Booster Gold, vol 1 #1, features the 1st appearances of Booster Gold, AKA Micheal Jon Carter, Skeets, Trixie Collins, and the villains Mindancer and Blackguard.

    Created by Dan Jurgens, Booster was born in the 25th century, Micheal Jon Carter was a football star, that turned to fixing games to pay for his sick mother's treatments. Soon he was caught and jailed. Upon paying his debt to society, he was released and got a job as a security officer in Metropolis' Space Museum, where he discovered information about the superheroes of the 20th century. Longing for a second chance (to get pizaid), Mike stole artifacts from the museum, including the power-suit, and the security robot, Skeets, and used Rip Hunter's time machine to return to the later 20th century to become a superhero...And get rich and famous in the process. 

   On to the fun facts!

FUN FACT 1: Skeets is a BX9 security robot that uses data from headlines in the past to help Booster stop disasters that once occurred, making Booster wealthy in the process. 

FUN FACT 2: Booster was a key player in Maxwell Lord's Justice League International

FUN FACT 3: Booster's best friend is Ted Kord, the Silver Age Blue Beetle. 

FUN FACT 4: Booster and Blue Beetle are ALWAYS good for lots of laughs and action when Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis are involved. They are two of the best comic book writers to ever do the job.

FUN FACT 5: Mike's nickname was Booster back in his football days. He meant to used the superhero name, Goldstar, but got nervous on live TV and botched it. Not to worry. The name was still used. Booster's assistant, Trixie, briefly became a superhero named Goldstar to save Booster's life. 

FUN FACT 6: The time-traveling adventurer, Rip Hunter, star of Legends of Tomorrow, was revealed to be Booster Gold's future son in Booster Gold, vol 2, 1,000,000. 

FUN FACT 7: During 52, Booster Gold faked his own death and adopted the identity of a superhero called Supernova

FUN FACT 8: Supernova was very cool. 

FUNNY FACT: Batman once knocked out Green Lantern, Guy Gardner. Booster, having left with Captain Marvel, missed out on the hilarity by one panel:



   You can find out more about Booster Gold's powers, equipment and abilities here: Booster Gold's Powers and Weapons.

   I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to the Booster Gold film! 

   Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST ESPISODE 22 (THE ATOM)


Hello comic book fans!

     Welcome to today's episode of TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST! My back-issue quests are episodes of my blog in which I have the pleasure of showing you little gems from my collection of back-issue comics. And speaking of little, today, we'll be talking about the smallest hero in the DCU:


This is my copy of Showcase #34, published in 1961! This comic features the first appearance of Ray Palmer, the Silver Age Atom, and his then fiancée, Jean Loring. Created by writer, Gardner Fox and legendary artist, Gil Kane, Ray Palmer is a immensely brilliant, highly driven professor of physics, who was studying the compression of matter. After finding a fragment of a white dwarf star, Palmer figured that by grinding a lens from the fragment and passing light through the lens, one might be able to shrink objects down to a fraction of their original sizes; unfortunately, every test failed, ending with the objects exploding. After being trapped with some friends in a cave, Palmer decided to use his lens to shrink himself to a size small enough to squeeze between the rocks so that he could save his friends, accepting that in doing this he would die, exploding just like every object that the light from the lens had touched. Ray was able to save his friends, and to his surprise (and delight), he did not explode. Fashioning his bio-belt, a control system to help him shift his size, Ray embarks his career as the size-shifting, evil-smashing Atom!

I've shown this before, but it just doesn't seem right not to put these in the same post:


This is my copy of The Atom #1 printed in 1962, this book marks the first appearance of  Jason Woodrue, also known and the Plant Master, and later, Alan Moore's Floronic Man. On to the fun facts!

FUN FACT 1: The first Atom in the DCU was the Golden Age Atom, Al Pratt, who first appeared in 1940. He has no powers (at first), other than the abilities of a superb boxer. He was called the Atom because of his diminutive stature: 5 feet 1 inch.

FUN FACT 2: The Silver Age Atom was not the first shrinking superhero, that honor belongs to Quality Comics' Doll Man, AKA Darrell Dane, created in 1939 by the late, great, Will Eisner, under the pen name of William Erwin Maxwell, with art by Lou Fine.

FUN FACT 3: The second size shifting superhero was Doll Girl who appeared as Doll Girl for the first time in 1951. Of course she had been around since 1939 as the love interest/sidekick of Doll Man; however, she didn't gain her abilities until twelve years later.

FUN FACT 4: TEX loves Quality Comics, especially Kid Eternity.

FUN FACT 5: Ant-Man, Hank Pym, a very similar superhero to The Atom, would be created by Marvel just one year later in 1962.

FUN FACT 6: Ray Palmer is a metahuman. His body has a gene that keeps him from exploding as he manipulates his size and mass with the dwarf star material.

FUN FACT 7: The Atom's nickname is The Mighty Mite.

FUN FACT 8: Ray and Jean didn't last. Jean Loring eventually suffered a mental breakdown, and desperate to have Ray back in her life, she used one of his old suits to shrink down and enter the body of Ralph Dibny's (Elongated Man) wife, Sue, giving her a stroke. Jean had hoped the incident would bring the heroes closer to all of their loved ones; unfortunately, Sue was killed and Jean was eventually exposed as the murderer. She was incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, but eventually, she became a host for the powerful villain, Eclipso.

FUN FACT 9: Once, in The Brave and the Bold vol 1, #115, Batman becomes brain-dead after being electrocuted. The Atom enters Batman's skull and dances about expertly on specific areas of his brain, controlling his body so that Batman can continue fighting crime after death. Luckily, Batman is revived by the end of the story. I can't even make this up.

FUN FACT 10: The Atom can travel at the speed of electricity. He can ride the electric pulses in any landline to the destination of the call. Unfortunately, he cannot do the same with cellphones.

FUN FACT 11: The Atom is WAY more powerful than he appears - his power is limited by his will to apply it. There are only three superheroes in the entire DCU than can control EVERY MOLECULE in their entire bodies. Ray Palmer is one of those, with The Flash and Plastic Man being the other two.

FUN FACT 12: The Atom killed Darkseid once...With SCIENCE! In JLA vol 1 #14, Darkseid cannot be defeated due to a supposedly impenetrable force field that surrounds him. Ray Palmer deduces that the force field is not impenetrable...Because Darkseid can see them! Light can get in! Palmer has Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) fire an arrow at Darkseid which he rides, shrinking down small enough to ride a photon on a beam of light right into Darkseid's eye and into his brain, where Palmer sets off a wicked explosion, killing Darkseid, and himself.

   Yessir. Ray Palmer's Atom is as consistently heroic as he is consistently underrated - which makes him one of my faves in the DCU.

    Thanks for reading! Hit the +1 below if you like this article. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rough Riders #1 Review



Rough Riders #1 from AfterShock -


    Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly, hopeless child, ailing with asthma - a once-deadly disease. Never one to retreat, nor surrender, Teddy's father pushed him to build a magnificent body to match his brilliant mind. Now, possessed of the wealth and teachings of his father, Teddy spends his nights as a vigilante, searching the dark, dirty, dangerous streets of early 1900s New York City for the forgotten ones, the hopeless ones, the ones who need saving. He puts his fists, his body, his brilliant mind and his wealth to the service of those who need it most. But Teddy's secret has been discovered by the Four Horsemen, the most powerful men in the Gilded Age: Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Carnegie. They wish to recruit Teddy for a dangerous mission - a mission so important that failure could mean the end of the world was we know it. Teddy is going to need one hell of an elite team to pull this off, and he knows just the right folks for the job...

    Rough Riders #1 is a sleeper-hit from AfterShock! Written by Adam Glass, this comic hits all the right notes: action, intrigue, historical figures, great dialogue, great artwork by Patrick Ollliffe, and a bigger-than-life protagonist based on a real bigger-than-life person! Part steampunk adventure, part A-Team, with a little Mignola flavor (mixing of fiction with historical facts), this comic was pure fun and awesomeness from cover to cover. We don't get to see them all in the first issue, but Teddy's putting a team together that includes some giants from the American past: Jack Johnson, champion fighter; Harry Houdini, escape artist and magician; Thomas Edison, scientist; Annie Oakely, marksman; and Monk Eastman, tough-as-nails gangster. This first issue was a delight, and if all goes well, the series will be a thrill-ride! Sign me up. I need this series.

RATING: An enthusiastic 10 out of 10! I definitely want to mount up with Teddy's Rough Riders!

Joy Ride #1 Review



Joy Ride #1 from BOOM! Studios -

     Uma is not buying what the government is selling. In the far future, the threat of alien attack has brought Earth under a unified government called the Triumvirate. The Triumvirate controls all, knows all in the lives of the citizens the planet. In order to keep the planet safe, the Triumvirate has enclosed Earth in a metal shell called the SafeSky, and planted an enormous and prodigiously powerful gun on the moon. But Uma cares nothing for this - she doesn't buy the alien threat. Uma wants to explore, see the stars and live her life the way she sees fit. So, her and her pal, Dewydd, hatch an elaborate plot to escape, first to the dark side of the moon, then away into the stars. But will a motivated soldier named Catrin, and an alien slaver ruin their trip, or worse, get them killed?

      Joy Ride #1 is a comic drawn beautifully by Marcus To - it kinda reminds me of those great 70s and 80s sci-fi anime shows, like Robotech, that I loved as a kid. Jackson Lanzing has penned a story that seems like it might have been the beginnings of a great sci-fi adventure...If not for the fact that the characters were a bit flat, and sometimes, insufferable. Uma is supposed to be a feisty wild child, a dreamer, a hero for individual freedoms and rights; however, she just comes off as self-centered, a person who just uses people like pawns to get what she wants. Dewydd is obviously in love with her - she doesn't seem to care in the least, and poor Dewydd just ends up as a device to move the story. He's not quite a love-interest, but more a a loyal pet that will do anything to please his red-headed master.  Catrin is supposed to be a loyal soldier, but through one little feisty speech from Uma and she also hops on-board with Uma's plot. It makes no sense. Uma is the only one who matters in the story, everyone and everything else just seems throw-a-way.

   Again, this is only the first issue, and it isn't a bad comic. The art is great, and the story is interesting, and there may be great adventures ahead for Uma and her gang. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one character in the story that I liked, or cared enough about, to continue journeying with them. Some will find Uma and her gang to be brave, I found them to be dangerously clueless.

RATING: 6.5 out of 10.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Heads Up Episode 2


Straight to it...tell me your getting these (all due out this month) or one shall miss out on world changing events.

And here we go...
Vikings #1 Titan (based on the show) i don't watch it but i'm told it's good.
Satellite Falling #1 IDW A young lady who has escaped a corrupt earth & is now a bounty hunter on a satellite full of aliens. Hmm this sounds cool.
House of Penance #2 Dark Horse Get this book it's most entertaining.
Future Quest #1 DC oh boy! this looks exciting, Just had to have it. (Space Ghost, Johnny Quest & a host of Hanna Barbers's characters, Get this book as it's destined to be awesome).
Mae #1 Dark Horse This will be a good book, Think Alice in Wonderland. A girl has been visiting a secret world for years defeating mad scientists & cruel monsters. After turning 21 she decided to return home. her sister Mae does not believe a word of it until they (monsters) come through into our world looking for her sister.

And the pick of the week... no.. Month no that's not good enough..."Year" Oh yeah! Penny Dreadful #1 Titan (now sold out at my LCS), Based on the show  (Victorian horror, The best horror) I do watch this & it's crazy awesome. Get it, Get it, Get it!

That's it my friends, Till next time...Enjoy!








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DEPT. H #1 Review


DEPT. H #1 from Darkhorse Comics -

    Mia Hardy's father is dead. Hari Hardy, the most brilliant scientist on the planet, and founder of Dept. H, a deep sea research base, has been murdered seven miles under the surface of the ocean. No one knows why, but Mia is determined to find out. The base is so remote, it is all but impossible for the killer to have escaped, which means he, or she, is still down there. Six suspects await her arrival, all are familiar to Mia, including her ex-best friend, and her own brother. A brilliant scientist and astronaut herself, Mia means to put all of her considerable intelligence to work to bring her father's killer to justice...But Mia shouldn't forget that the hunter can soon become the hunted in such an enclosed, remote space where help is so far very away, and the killer is so very, very near. No mystery is as deep or dark as one at the bottom of the cold, cold ocean. 

     Matt Kindt is back again, and just as brilliant as ever. A modern master of the comics medium, Kindt, recruits his wife, Sharlene Kindt to bring the panels of this comic to gloomy life. Kindt writes a tight story, masterfully mixing exposition and character development with a forward moving story that is absolutely compelling. Kindt introduces the world these people inhabit, and he introduces each and every interesting character so well that the reader soon begins to investigate each suspect, right along with the protagonist. Sharlene Kindt's simple but expressive artwork and somber water-colors move the reader to experience the heft of the emotional weight on Mia's shoulders, and the physical pressure of being in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. This is a stellar beginning to genre-bending sci-fi/mystery whodunit. Sign me up. I can't wait to journey with Mia into the deep, and solve the mystery of who killed the smartest man on Earth.

RATING: 10 out of 10. DEPT. H is 20,000 leagues out of this world!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (One-Shot) Review

Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged in (one-shot)



This was...Awesome!
It is the first i've read of this entire world that Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson have created. And it's suffice to say i am impressed. Great artwork by Jill & even the the lettering works well (Jason Arthur).

Dymphna (CAT) has been caught out killing a kings shaman (MOUSE), She left too much evidence behind. Upon explaining as to why she did it, They all end up at a creepy house that Dymphna can't get into where her mistress & partner used to live.

They ask the help of a very funny Raccoon & he says no!...

...the raccoon helps them open the door & what awaits them is a gross musty rotting interior. Down stairs is the problem a summoned demon Dymphna has summoned herself some time ago when she was a witches familiar. She tricks the demon into thinking that she has given her soul away to save the others including two trapped cats within the house (that ripped out there own eyes so they could not see the demon)...

I don't wish to say anymore as it's a fantastic read. One can see the Mignola influence & reminded me of Coraline. Even has a touch of Fables happening here. I for one will be looking out anymore Beasts of Burdens books in the future.
Get this book now before it sells out, It already has at my LCS.
Rating: 10/10.




Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bloodlines #1 Review



Bloodlines #1 from DC Comics -

    Eddie and Graham are two high-school best friends, and thick as thieves. Graham is one of the coolest, most popular kids in town, and Eddie...Well, Eddie is just not what he used to be. Understandably, Eddie has been really down since he lost his ability to use his legs. He used to love to wake up, get going, hang out with his friends and shred on his skateboard; however, those days are long gone. Eddie is just trying to ride out his senior year, but he just may not get the chance. A weird alien entity has fallen in the mountains near his town, an alien entity that can possess organic life, and fill it with an insatiable bloodlust. Will Eddie, Graham and their town fall prey to the parasitic predator from outer space, or will Eddie find that he isn't what he used to be...because he's more?

    J.T. Krul pens this revival of the 1990s DC event series. In the original series, a parasitic race of aliens comes to our dimension to feed on the spinal fluid of humans. Those lucky few who don't die end up with amazing new powers, like the popular 90s anti-hero, Hitman. Krul serves up a what seems to be the beginning of one of those neat 80s sci-fi/horror mash-ups that I loved as a kid. Krul kicks off with a touch of action, then there is a VERY long exposition, and we end with action.  This isn't always a bad formula, but in this case, exposition was not interwoven with any spectacle at all, leaving me to wonder when if anything was going to actually happen. When things got moving in the last few pages of the book, it was over quickly, and with absolutely no explanation for what had transpired. It just left me feeling confused and sort of cheated - only one of the characters on the front of the comic appeared as they are on the cover - I was not happy about that. It should be mentioned that V. Ken Marion's artwork with Andrew Dalhouse's gorgeous colors on top made the book nice to look at.

   This book has potential if Krul can get the ball rolling in the next issue. Who doesn't love those crazy, cheesy alien invasion films of the 80s that were featured in Fangoria Magazine? I do. And if this comic is going there, it just might end up being a great ride; however, the fact remains that whatever potential the comic might have, this first issue just didn't pack enough of a punch, or make me care enough about any of the characters to continue buying it. Maybe I'll pick up the TPB when it comes out.

RATING: 6 out of 10.

PS -  If you're into comics speculation, picking up the first few issues might be worth it - I'm sure there'll be some new blood in the early issues of the series.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 21 (Black Panther)


With Civil War opened in the USA,

    And with the debut of Ta-Nehisi Coates' new volume of Black Panther, I thought I'd break out two of the best of my Black Panther collection from the ol' TEX archives. 

    What d'ya think? Shall we? 

     Let's shall. :D




It's my copy of Fantastic Four #52, published in July of 1966, which features the very first appearance of T'Challa, The Black Panther! The Fantastic Four are sent are sent a flying vehicle (the Magnetic Wave Rider), a gift from the ruler of Wakanda, a mysterious and prosperous African nation. The Fantastic Four take the invitation, arriving only to be defeated one after another by a mysterious masked man, dressed in a black Panther Habit.

This Silver-Age key showcases not only the the first appearance of the Black Panther, but it also has several other first appearances: Wakanda, Wakandan vibranium (in the mesh of the Panther Habit), the Heart-Shaped Herb, the Techno Organic Jungle and the Panther Habit and Idol.

and


Here is my copy of Fantastic Four #53, the second appearance of the Black Panther! It also features the first appearance of Ulysses Claw and his Sonic Disruptor, as well as the first actual appearance and mention of Wakandan vibranium. In a flashback, the we also see the first appearance of T'Challa's father, T'Chaka. 


I have some other goodies, but we'll just leave those for a later date. Now...FUN FACTS!

FUN FACT 1: Black Panther's name predates the founding of the Black Panther party by more than 2 months. The character was even briefly called the Black Leopard to avoid any connection to the Black Panther Party. 

FUN FACT 2: There was a Black Panther Battalion, the all-African-American 761st Tank Battalion, that served during WWII. Although not permitted to serve beside white troops, the battalion fought valiantly, earning  the Presidential Unit Citation. There is even a recipient of the Medal of Honor among the men of the battalion. 

FUN FACT 3: One of the names that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with for the character was Coal Tiger. It wasn't used. However, the name was later used for an alternate reality version of T'Challa, and for his son in the now-defunct MC2 universe. 

FUN FACT 4: A derivative of Wakandan vibranium appeared in Daredevil vol 1, #13 as Anti-Metal. 

FUN FACT 5: Black Panther being the first black/black African superhero is a fact that I like to dispute. I like to think that honor belongs to Lothar, best friend and partner to Mandrake the Magician who first appeared in 1934:



Lothar was "The Prince of Seven Nations" in Africa and definitely the strongest man on the planet. He performed great feats of superhuman strength, which, in my opinion, makes him the first black/black African superhero. He and Mandrake are the first interracial superhero team, and Lothar was the first black person to be treated seriously in comics. Lothar and Mandrake appeared beside Flash Gordon and The Phantom in the awesome 80s cartoon series, Defenders of the Earth:




Ahh. Good times.

That's all for today! Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Black Panther #1 Review


Black Panther #1, Vol 6 from Marvel Comics -

     In dishonor, they called him Haramu-Fal, the Orphan-King. But he has not forgotten who he is. He T'Challa, son of T'Chaka; he is Damisa-Sarki...The Panther. To the heart of his country, the Great Mound, T'Challa has come to give honor to the vibranium miners; however, what he finds is hatred, destruction, and chaos. A dark force has reached into the hearts of the Black Panther's subjects, and released all of their rage, a rage brought on their deep resentment towards their king for his failure to protect them from deadly past invasions. The dark force is wielded by a woman, Zenzi, who, with her partner, Tetu, seeks to undermine and overthrow the great Panther-King. With his country on the brink of rebellion, his sister and once Black Panther, Shuri, dead, and his most loyal captains turning against him, how will T'Challa regain the confidence of his people and restore peace and security to his lands? Will the Panther-King rise to new heights...Or will he fall forever?

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, makes his first foray into the world of comic books with this long-awaited first issue of the new volume of Black Panther. From the first page, it is clear that Coates respects the much-loved character of the Black Panther and his history - Coates does not desire to reinvent this wonderful Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, rather to enrich the mythos of the Panther King itself. We delve deep into the politics and troubles of great Wakanda, and the forces that seek to protect it, and those that seek to tear it apart, and remake it in their image. The first issue is more a loving, well-written, lengthy exposition that seems to promise the reader that this story will take our hero to limits, attacking his very heart: Wakanda and his family. While the issue is short on action, it sets the characters up nicely, revealing their hearts and motivations, and putting the protagonist in the hottest of fires. The Black Panther has his entire country against him - he's losing it all. If Coates can bring it all together, this is the type of vertical-struggle story that can bring out the best in a hero and make him legend. As usual, Brian Stelfreeze's pencils are uncomplicated, but elegant. Stelfreeze's art coupled with Laura Martin's deeply saturated colors make this book a lot of fun to look at. All in all, Black Panther #1 is a high quality product - Coates is definitely giving it his all. Again, it is short on action, but so was Ultimate Spider-Man in the first issues, so perhaps Coates is aiming for that slow burn that leads to a big payoff. As long as the story is great, I'm cool with that.

RATING: 9 out of 10. The Panther is on the prowl!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Power Lines #1 Review



Power Lines #1 from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -


     Thirty-One Thousand years after the Earth's geomagnetic polarity reversed, a mysterious triangle, three lines of power, is revealed to exist in the area that would one day be called California. Eight-thousand years later, the indigenous people learned to harness the lines to defend their lands, but by 1830, the Native Americans have been defeated and relocated, and all knowledge of the power lines is lost. 

    In 2016, California has its own power lines - racial and economic power lines. A street tough from the wrong side of the tracks called Tight is taking his crew into Benicia, CA, to cause a little mayhem and make some very fast, very illegal cash. When the police catch him in the act, Tight legs it. Finally cornered, he stumbles upon a force that gives him powers he can only dream of. What will Tight do with his newfound power? Become some type of villain, or a new type of hero? He better decide soon. Another has gained access to the power...And they both are being watched by ominous, shadowy figures whose intentions may be less than benevolent.

    In an age that adores flawed heroes, or outright anti-heroes, Jimmie Robinson serves up a story for our times in Power Lines. At first glance, it's easy to think that this book may contain just another run o' the mill superhero origin story, but it is much more than that. It seems to be a social commentary, wrapped in a character study, wrapped in a superhero shell. Power lines are more than just ancient sources of mystical power in this book, they mirror the racial and economic lines of power that divide up our neighborhoods, cities, our country and our world. What is interesting is that the power is just that, power - it has no preference to who possesses it, no interest in their character, or intelligence. It is just there for the taking, for whomever accesses it first. It reminds me a bit of the ideas on the spread of civilization put forth in Jared Diamond's powerful work, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Fascinating. 

   Robinson is Mr. Do-It-All, creating, writing, drawing, inking, coloring and lettering this comic all by his lonesome. The art is clean, simple, yet expressive and serves as a great vehicle to tell the story. There are so many layers to this comic, so much to explore...This book has serious potential to be poignant, relevant, and to be a starting point for some brutally honest discussions. Be advised, there is harsh language, and there are mature, sensitive themes in this book. If you are into the heavy, thought-provoking stuff (which I think this book will become in future issues), this book is for you. If you just want a fun, action-packed superhero comic, best to steer far clear of this one. As for me, I need to see what happens in the next issue.

RATING: 9.5 out of 10. This character-driven superhero drama has lots of potential. 

Aliens Defiance #1 (Dark Horse)



If your not a fan of the proverbial Alien freight-train...Then stay away.

What art by Tristan Jones (this dude can draw horror) & the story by Brian Wood was also good.
This tale revolves around a Lady that goes by the name of Zula Hendricks, Who is a tough marine that works for Wayland-Yutani. The story is very familiar to the movie's but with different Characters & objectives, The old school computers are seen with in these pages & one can automatically hear the shuttering tapping sound that they give (awesome). After a group of synthetics are destroyed by the Aliens & Zula just gets out alive she is finally told the truth that the "company" wants the organism returned to base.
Zula with help takes control of the ship same style gunship from "Aliens". Goes out to the LV-44-40 to kill everyone of them that she can find.

It's another sweet book from Dark Horse (what a cover) there is a variant for this book but it kinda sucks, This one rocks. Not one swear word in the whole book, The horror isn't over the top either. Nice read & loved how they kept with the 80's themed technology as well, Good Stuff Dark Horse.

Rating: 8/10.