Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thoughts On Marvel's "The Defenders"







I just finished "The Defenders," and here are my thoughts:

1. Simone Missick (Misty Knight) is dreamy. Every move she made raised my temperature. 😍 I loved her assertiveness and confidence. She oozed power, and it wasn't emanating from the badge. I can't wait to see how her character develops with Collen as the Daughters of the Dragon. Or maybe Iron Fist will teach her, and they'll be The Friends of the Dragon, LOL. I wonder if he and Misty will end up together, like in the comics? Where would that leave Colleen? Can't wait to see her new, enhancement. 

2. Jessica Jones came to be a lot more likable, relatable and fun to watch. I actually found myself caring about her this time around. And she added a LOT of comic relief to an otherwise serious show.

3. Daredevil shines as the scrappiest, most daring character of the group. He is all heart and fire - a true scene stealer. His fights scenes are insane. As a bit of a romantic, I loved how Matt just couldn't give up on his lost love - he would do nearly anything to have her back. That was really moving. 

4. Luke Cage emerged as the group's moral compass - he is a man who knows right from wrong. He's a wrecking ball on the side of justice (which doesn't necessarily mean siding with the law always). After all he's been through, Cage is still righteous. I dig it.

5. Iron Fist...Oh, me. He was a lot more focused, and a little more mature and heroic this time around. So, I liked him a bit more. His fight scenes were better, but he was still eclipsed by Daredevil at every turn. He was the weak link and even had to be subdued and protected by the rest of the group. He spent probably 75% of his fight scenes losing. Maybe he should change his name to reflect his abilities - not Iron Fist..Maybe Aluminum Fist. -Jk I am sure he'll grow into the part and only get better. I definitely thought he was better this time around.

6. It was great to see how much Colleen and Danny had in common. They are both just lost kids looking for a family. It explains Their inferiority complexes (evidenced on how Iron Fist always needs to broadcast that he's "The Immortal Iron Fist," and Colleen has to prove she can hang with the big dog superheroes). I like their mutually supportive relationship. Sometimes only someone as messed up as you are can feel your pain.

7. Claire Temple is amazing as the glue that binds them all together. She is brave, altruistic, put upon, perpetually exhausted, and the most mature character in all of the MCU. She doesn't deal in lies, beat herself up over other people's decisions, mince words or try to be anything other than who and what she is. She is definitely the character most grounded in reality in the show.

    "The Defenders" was really a lot of fun to watch. Not too realistic and gritty, and not too fantastical - Defenders was just right for a two-day binge-watch to take my mind away from the social and political unrest that weighed heavily on my mind for the last two weeks. Keep working on Iron Fist, but bravo, Marvel! Overall, you did a bang-up job on this series. Can't wait for more. 

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TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE 60 (The Defenders)



Well,
 
    It's finally here! Season one of "The Defenders" has finally hit Netflix! I only have two episodes left to watch, and so far I'm enjoying it very much - mostly. The first two episodes were pretty slow for me, and Misty and Colleen kind of got dropped off the scene for some time; however, Elektra as The Black Sky has been very exciting, as well as finding out the mechinations of The Hand, and seeing the Defenders come together on the small screen.

   How about Iron Fist? Well, he is bit more mature than the last time we saw him in his own series - he's more of a hero and less of an annoying, whiny crybaby - and his fight scenes are a lot better...Even if they are still eclipsed by Daredevil's (which is kinda sad). But, all in all, I think this Finn guy may just become a pretty good Iron Fist.

   To celebrate "The Defenders" hitting Netflix, I figured that I'd do a short article giving a brief of the group and members and show you the corresponding comics in my collection. What do you think? Shall we? Let's shall. LOL.


It's Marvel Feature #1 published by Marvel in December of 1971. This comic features the first appearance of the original comics version of The Defenders: The Hulk, rage-monster with supposedly limitless strength, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, and Namor, The Sub-Mariner, sometime King of Atlantis, and Marvel's first mutant. In this issue, The Defenders take on Yandroth, a villainous super-genius, and his creation, Omegatron. Yes. I said Omegatron.




Here, we have The Defenders #1, published in 1972, in which the original Defenders get their own title. In this issue The Defenders take on powerful sorcerers, The Nameless One and Necrodamus (first appearance), as well as the vicious Demon of the Dark (first and only appearance).

But, sometimes it's out with the old stuff we know and love, and in with the new, so let's take a look at Marvel's current Defenders:


It's Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #1! Yep. I have two. This comic feature the first appearance of Carl Lukas, AKA Luke Cage, the first African American superhero in his own title. Cage is a hard man from Harlem who decided to go straight, but ended up railroaded into a Georgia prison for his efforts - set up for a crime he didn't commit. There, he is recruited by Dr. Noah Bernstein for a secret experiment which, due to the interference of a racist, sadistic guard, goes horribly wrong, leaving Carl Lukas with super strength and nearly impenetrable skin. Thought dead by the system, Lukas returns to Harlem under the name Luke Cage, and sets up shop as a super-powered hero/problem-solver...For a price. 




Here, we have my three nice copies of Marvel Premiere #15, published in 1974, featuring the first appearance of Iron Fist, lovingly rendered by one of the greatest comics artists to ever hold a pencil, Gil Kane. Iron Fist is Danny Rand, son of Wendell Rand, adopted son of Lord Tuan, ruler of the hidden, magical land of K'un L'un. Wendell left K'un L'un and became a very rich owner of a corporation in the USA. Years later, Wendell tried to return to K'un L'un with his wife, Heather, his son, and his best friend and business partner, Harold Meachum. While on a steep mountain path, Danny falls taking his mother and father with him. Meachum betrays Wendell, forcing him to his death and saves Danny and Heather. Heather refuses Meachum's advances and flees with Danny eventually succumbing to a wolf attack, but Danny is saved by monks from K'un L'un and raised as the grandson of Lord Tuan, learning the mystic martial arts of K'un L'un and defeating all contestants for the prize of fighting the dragon, Shao-Lao The Undying, whom he defeated, plunging his hands into the dragon's molten heart to become The Immortal Iron Fist, defender of K'un L'un.




Here's my copy of Alias #1, published in 2001, it features the first full appearance of Jessica Jones, and her detective agency, Alias Investigations. Jessica Jones was once the super-powered costumed hero, Jewel. As a youth, her family was killed in an accident with a military convoy carrying top secret chemicals. She was left in a coma, but when she awoke, she eventually found that she was gifted with superhuman strength, durability and the power of flight. Later, she would become a costumed hero, until her will was overpowered, and she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a mind-bending villain called The Purple Man. After becoming free from The Purple Man's influence, she tried her hand at being a more ruthless vigilante, but her emotional trauma caused her to set aside the garb of a superhero and become a private detective instead. In Alias #1, she wins up a Luke Cage's bar - attraction lead to a sexual encounter which eventually blossomed into a powerful relationship which culminated in their marriage and the birth of their baby daughter, Danielle. 




Since, unfortunately, I don't own a copy of Daredevil #1, I figured I show what I DO own: Daredevil #7, published in 1965, featuring the first appearance of Daredevil's more iconic red suit. Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a lawyer from New York City's rough-and-ready Hell's Kitchen. Matt is blinded as a youth by radioactive chemicals fallen from a truck. Matt heroically placed himself in harm's way, pushing an onlooker to safety, but Matt was caught in the truck's path and blinded by the chemicals. Not long after, he discovered that the chemicals that had taken his eyes had left him with a precise radar sense that far exceeded the abilities of normal sight, allowing him to hear at superhuman levels and "see" through sound. Matt encountered the blind ninja, Stick, who helped him hone his acrobatics-based combat abilities to near perfection. Some time later, his father, boxer, Jack Murdock, was killed by mobsters for not throwing a fight. Matt dons a costume to take revenge on the killers becoming the costumed vigilante, Daredevil.

   Fellow QUESTERS, I give you the old and the new DEFENDERS!! As I said, I'm digging the show so far, but how about you? Give me a shout out in the comments and let me know how you felt about the article, the Netflix series...Or BOTH!! Thanks for reading!!

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Calexit #1 Review



Calexit #1 from Black Mask -

    When the current president was elected, much of California wasn't happy. It erupted in mass protests and contempt - vitriol was directed at both sides of the political spectrum as California's more liberal cities decried the unfairness of the election process and California's more rural conservative areas celebrated one of their own in the Big Chair again. The president lashed out, issuing a disastrous executive order calling for the immediate deportation of all those not identified as U.S. citizens. California responded powerfully, declaring itself a sanctuary state, a declaration which led to near civil war between California's liberal metropolitan areas and its more conservative rural enclaves, as well as all loss of any support, or recognition as a state, from the federal government. Years later, the president has been re-elected, and he's making a big push to reclaim California by any means necessary. Zora Donato, a beloved freedom fighter who has somehow gotten in way over her head, has been targeted for elimination by the president, or someone in his administration. They've sent a monstrous functionary by the name of Father Rossie to get the job done, and he'll kill, with a simmering psychopathic glee, anyone who gets in his way. Zora's only hope is a morally questionable smuggler named Jamil. Can Jamil get her safely into the hands of the Resistance, or will they both wind up as rotting corpses in the beautiful California sun?

    Matt Pizzolo pens a powerfully frightening comic about a very possible dystopian future in Calexit #1. This story hits all the perfect notes of paranoia to make the reader cringe - Calexit just might keep the well-informed, politically-aware reader awake at night. Much of Calexit seems snatched from actual headlines and synthesized into a harrowing fictional nightmare of a story that could actually someday creep stealthily into the real world. I shudder just to think about it. With the current political climate of our country, Calexit left me haunted, praying that this work would remain one of fiction, never entering into the realm of political prophecy. In Zora Donato, we find a protagonist who is a much-loved freedom fighter - many are willing to sacrifice everything for her; however, as tender and beloved as she may be, she is also headstrong, focused and flawed. She sees the big picture of resistance only - sacrifices are acceptable to her as the reasonable cost of freedom. Jamil is a cocky free-spirited smuggler with a devil-may-care twinkle in his eye and a wit sharp enough to cut your heart out. Basically, we've got Han and Leia here, so I can't wait to see how their relationship evolves as this highly charged political thriller unfolds. And the main antagonist? He's a menacing, calculating, evil, true-believer - a fanatic that somehow reminds me of Hugo Strange with more hair. He relishes getting his hands dirty in service to his party and his president. Amancay Nahuelpan's pencils hit all the right notes too - they are precise, busy, and emotive with a daintiness and fragility to them. It's a beautifully rendered book about a very ugly subject - the irony wasn't lost on me. Calexit is, in every aspect, a truly magnificent work. It's relevant and chilling but hopeful with a bit of humor thrown in. It comes as no surprise that it is published by Black Mask, a comic company publishing works that seem to be the most tapped into the current social issues. Calexit just may end up being the comic book of a generation of politically embattled Americans. Don't sleep on it. 

RATING: 10 out of 10. 

PS - Don't miss out on reading Pizzolo's editorial essay, and his conversations with Amanda Weaver, Lexi Alexander and Bill Ayers in the back of the comic. 


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Diablo House #1 Review



Diablo House #1 from IDW - 

     Riley is the creepy surfer dude, that puts you in the mood...The mood the to get scared straight out of your mind. He's the host at Diablo House, an eerie tourist attraction that's part Gaudi-inspired, part Aztec temple, all horrifying hijinks, all of the time. Diablo House is a nightmarish menagerie where behind the door of its seemingly endless rooms lies a story so tragic, so frightening, that you just can't help but open it up to witness the fear inside. In this first episode, Riley tells us the sordid story of doomed couple, RC, and Angie. When Angie gets tired of being unable to live high on the hog, she visits Diablo House and makes a dark deal that is just too good to refuse. Unfortunately for these poor souls, they'll learn that money truly can't buy you happiness - Angie REALLY should have read the fine print. Notorious BIG famously said, "Mo' money, mo' problems" - well, RC and Angie are about to have BIG problems...And they just might be ETERNAL!

    From the twisted mind of Ted Adams, comes an anthology comic so full of fright, it'll keep you awake at night. Well, not really. But it is chock full of hilarious dark comedy capped off with a really spine-chilling ending. What it lacks in explicit gore, it makes up for in fine storytelling. It's easy to see that Adams loves the oldies - Diablo House is a loving homage to those great horror comics of yesteryear, comics like EC's Tales From The Crypt, and Warren Publishing's Creepy. Riley, our host, is a cool, revamped version of Tales From The Crypt's creepy Crypt-Keeper - he's a kooky, far-out, surfer-type with a thirst for mayhem and a darkly comedic bent. This guy just can't hide his glee when souls are set for suffering...Especially when it's time to pay the piper for demonic services rendered. Santiago PĂ©rez DomĂ­nguez, AKA SantipĂ©rez, lays down the pencils and inks, and it is a wonder to behold. SantipĂ©rez's art shows heavy shades of horror greats, Bernie Wrightson, and Mike Kaluta - it's been a long time since I've seen horror done with such care - from the supple female forms to the intensely expressive faces to the elaborately rendered Diablo House itself, SantipĂ©rez's pages are a feast for the eyes, page after wonderful page. It's as if we've returned to the heyday of Warren Publishing's lucrative partnership with Selecciones Ilustradas, days that saw Spanish artists like Esteban Maroto, and Luis Bermejo become the reigning kings of horror comics. Definitely all kinds of AWESOME. Holding to the old-school flavor that runs through the book, Ted Adams opted for classic newsprint paper and he even asks for actual snail mail for his letters column. WOW! I can't wait to get my hands on the next issue of Diablo House. It's a total blast.

RATING: 9 out of 10. CAVEAT: FOR MATURE READERS ONLY.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Redlands #1 Review



Redlands #1 from Image Comics -

    It's 1977, and the small town of Redlands, Florida is in the throes of a horrible nightmare; it's on a precipice, precariously dangling over the gaping jaws of its own annihilation. The Sheriff and his men have run the town as long as anyone can recall, interpreting the law as they saw fit, as it benefitted them and their ilk, killing whenever and whomever they saw fit to maintain their brand of "justice." But then the three women appeared, and they would not bend, break nor acquiesce, corrupting the townsfolk and giving a voice to those who had none. So, the Sheriff and his men took matters into their own hands - they hunted the women down and hung them...And in doing so, they have unleashed a dark, hellish fury upon the town that cannot be stopped with fire, bullets or begging. The three women have come for vengeance, and hell is coming with them. The hunter becomes the hunted...Run, rabbit...RUN!

    Award-winning colorist, Jordie Bellaire, sweeps into the scripting game with this supernatural gore-fest, Redlands. And it's a doozy. We come right into the action, just after the attempted murder of the three mysterious women who have turned this small town upside down. From the first page, Bellaire crafts a dark, oppressive, nightmarish atmosphere that creeps more into the reader's psyche page after creepy page. The Sheriff and his men are making a last stand at the Sheriff's Department, conveniently in front of the craggy tree on which they just tried to hang the town's three most undesired undesirables. But the problem is, these women won't die. We follow the Sheriff and his men through some grisly, brutal deaths to a crescendo of a finale that leaves the reader wondering exactly what the heck they just read. Ultimately, I found this book to be a ball of anger vomited onto page after page of wish-fulfilling fright and death. It's about women's liberation. It's about revenge for oppression and suppression. It's about having the power to create your own destiny and decimating the old guard. This is anything but peaceful protest. Vanesa Del Rey lends her sketchy, frenetic pencils to Redlands, making the characters always seem tense and terrified. Bellaire pulls double duty as the colorist as well, piling on the blacks to add heft, horror, and hopelessness to the already suffocating atmosphere. Fans of gory, horror supernatural thrillers are going to love this book - Bellaire's catharsis is sure to be a lot of creepy fun. 

RATING: 8 out of 10. 

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Legend of Everett Forge #1 Review



The Legend of Everett Forge #1 from About Time Comics -


    In a dusty world that mirrors the American Wild West, the year is 1889, and a lone cowboy stalks the plains of the Machine Territory, striking fear in the hearts of both man and robot. He is...Everett Forge. And he's out for vengeance. In a world where robots have become sentient, humans are not always welcome. One such sentient robot, Omega, has become a force to be reckoned with, strong-arming the robots to unite under his heavy-handed rule, working them to destruction while filling his coffers with the profits. Everett Forge, half-man, half-legend, and his two blazing guns are the only things that stand between Omega and total domination. Omega is determined to put Forge down in the dust - he's just sent his most powerful enforcer to end Everett for good...A mechanical, winged nightmare that will not stop until Forge's blood is spilt. Legend versus nightmare...Who will survive when they clash?

   Scott Wilke makes his debut in comics with this action-packed, weird western tale, The Legend of Everett Forge!! Wilke serves up the classic western protagonist in Everett Forge - he's strong, silent, cool, calm and collected, with a twinkle in his eye, fire spitting out of his guns, lightning fast hands, a deadly aim, and a quick trigger-finger. The Legend of Everett Forge #1 is a fun, slick mash-up of a steampunk tale, and a weird western actioner headed up by a protagonist that is just as much a composite as the story he inhabits. Forge is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name in Sergio Leone's much-beloved spaghetti westerns, mixed in with elements of everyone's favorite robot-smasher, Magnus, Robot Fighter. And, much like Magnus and his mentor, 1A, Forge seems to have some deep connection to Omega, but one which has gone horribly wrong. Interesting. The Legend of Everett Forge #1 is rendered lavishly by Jojo Trinidad and Rai Caran, with Ochie Caraan and Mon Ramirez providing rich colors that just make this book look GORGEOUS. If you're looking for straightforward action, and a weird wild-western/steampunk good time, then this book is for you. I like what About Time Comics is doing with their properties, properties like Godsend - they are breaking comics back down to the simple science of creating fun, clean comics that you and your kids can enjoy. I sure can dig that.

RATING: 8 out of 10 for un-convoluted, un-politically-charged, wild-west fun.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Skin & Earth #1 Review



Skin & Earth #1 from Dynamite

      In the not-too-distant future, mankind has nearly consumed all of the Earth's resources and ruined much of our planetary home in the process. Yet, still, they dig further and further into the world's crust and recruit young minds in University to help continue their relentless rape of the planet. Not many habitable areas are left - but one such habitable place is a futuristic paradise called the Oasis, and Tempest is the powerful corporation that runs both it and Tempest University, a bastion of higher learning...For those that can afford it. En Jin is a student there, but she is not like all the rest. She is an outsider from the contaminated Red Sector, a vast, and still growing, area to which the poor and undesirables are relegated - a toxic mess caused my human pollution and drilling. She is alone, treated like a plague by the other students and inhabitants of the Oasis; she is rejected by all but one: an enigmatic young man called Priest. He teaches her love, desperation, and courage...But who is he really? What does the strange tattoo that he gave her mean? And where has he gone?

    Canadian music artist, Lights, makes her first foray into comics with this melancholy sci-fi love story, Skin & Earth. En Jin is a very moving protagonist, a bit angsty, a bit lost, very vulnerable, but still striving to find her dream, and keep the promise she made to her deceased mother. She's walking through a world where she is marginalized, rejected, maltreated and looked down upon - it only makes sense that she would cling to someone who shows her love and yet is in the unique position of representing the same part of privileged society that disapproves of her. In Priest, she finds love, and acceptance from him and by extension, his privileged group. But he's so enigmatic, so flighty, so mysterious. She can't quite hold onto him - her desperation is totally understandable, touching, and just a bit pathetic. She is a very complex, fleshed-out character - very human. The protagonist is quite captivating, even though this narrative feels much like so many of the other melancholic dystopian tales that teens and young people have been devouring the past few years; yet, it does have an especially strong human story. I really couldn't help but be enraptured by the emotionality of En Jin's journey, even though I'm not really quite sure exactly what the point of it all is just yet. Light's artwork is quirky, simple and expressive - as much as her pencils reveal her lack of polish, they reveal even more the depth of her commitment and emotional attachment to the story. Sure, Skin & Earth may just be a companion comic to accompany/publicize the release of her new album, but it honestly feels like a lot more than that. This type of lovey-dovey tale is usually not my cup of tea, but I think I'll stay with this one a few issues to see where it's headed. I dig it, man.

RATING: 9 out of 10. 

Extras - Here is the teaser that Lights made for the comic:




Here is Lights' video, "Skydiving" (She's cute, innit?):


     
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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Genius TPB Review



Genius Trade Paperback from Image Comics -


     Alexander The Great. Hannibal of Carthage. Napoleon Bonaparte. Genghis Khan. George S. Patton - the greatest military geniuses of their times. What if the greatest military genius of our time was born into a life of poverty, crime, discrimination and overt and covert oppression? What if that mind was honed in the flawed social services system, and through a hard-knock life on the mean streets of one of our country's most violent cities? Meet Destiny Ajaye, a 17-year-old super-genius. Her loving mother was wrongly slain by the LAPD in a botched drug bust when she a young girl, so Destiny was raised in the system and on the streets. She watched, she saw the corruption of both worlds and she learned to manipulate it to her advantage. She's dreamt it, plotted it, and now she'll realize it: the most shocking rebellion to take place on American soil since the Civil War. The minority gangs - the Chinese, the Latinos, the Blacks - she has united them, trained them, and set before them a common goal: freedom and safety to live their lives as they see fit. But they'll have to fight. And some will die. Welcome to all-out war; NO freedom, NO peace.

    Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman pen this explosive tale of corruption, injustice, and revolution. The winner of Top Cow's 2008, Pilot Season, and printed years before the Ferguson riots, Genius follows the life of complex protagonist, Destiny Ajaye, a brilliant teenage tactician, who has decided to unite the most oppressed elements of society against a common, corrupt foe: the state. From the death of her mother to the deaths of innocent minority children, to the extortion of drug-dealers - all done by those hired to protect and serve the community. Destiny has watched and experienced these injustices first-hand, and she has decided that the time has come to stand up for the rights of those like her to enjoy the same freedoms that all Americans do. It's time to make a statement. What's most brilliant about Genius is that Bernardin and Freeman do an amazing job of weaving complexity and contradictions into their story. Is it a heroic rebellion, or a revenge story? Are the cops trying to keep order, or keep disenfranchised people underfoot? What's the difference between Destiny and her troops, and George Washington and his? Place, time, power and race? Is Destiny really a hero if one of the motivating factors for her armed rebellion is her need for an outlet, a proving-ground for her tactical brilliance? What about the blood on her own hands? From time to time, I found myself conflicted, asking myself hard questions, and feeling more than a tinge of fear. This is an American horror story - there was a time in which our Founding Fathers found their situation untenable and so chose the route of armed rebellion. We proudly speak of our rights as Americans to do the same, if our government put us in the same position of oppression. What would happen if all the marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed people in our nation did the same? I feel the icy fingers of fear creep down my spine, and any story that can do that to me, that can make me ask so many questions, and tap into a fear I didn't even know I had, deserves to be called MAGNIFICENT. Genius also describes Afua Richardson's gritty, urban artwork - from faces that gush with emotion, to the sensual female form, to gory battle scenes - Richardson's art truly makes Genius pop. Love it, or hate it, agree with it, or disagree with it, Genius will make you ponder some things about our society, and it definitely will make you feel some type of way. And that, to me, qualifies it as high art. 

RATING: 10 out of 10. This book is a sleeper-hit in the making. I'd be surprised if Genius didn't eventually make it to the big or small screen. 


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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fantomah #1 Review





Fantomah #1 from Chapterhouse -

      Paz Gallego is a girl in the barrio, braving the mean streets, working full-time to help her absentee dad pay the bills. Add to all this the fact that she's acting in loco parentis for her two young sisters, and you'll find that Paz is one twenty-four-year-old with a lot on her shoulders. That might explain the horrible nightmares and headaches she's been having, dreams of a lonely bridge in the night being overcome by a creeping watery deluge. When her sisters disappear from school, Paz bravely confronts one of the lieutenants of the local gang - she ends up face down in the river for her courage. They think they'll get away with her murder. They think they won't pay. Well, they better think again. Sometimes, dead things won't rest until there is a reckoning...Sometimes, things that should not RISE, cannot REST. The screams have just begun. 

    Out of the dusty, dank dungeon of superhero history comes a thrilling reimagining of the FIRST female superheroine in comics...FANTOMAH!! That's right, before Wonder Woman, before Miss Fury, there was, Fantomah, a superheroine, and "Mystery Woman of the Jungle." Out of publication since the mid-1940s, largely forgotten and stuck in public domain hell, Fantomah returns in her own series penned by Ray Fawkes. Fawkes takes Fantomah out of the jungle, gives her a monstrous twist,  and resurrects her in the body of Paz Gallego, a gutsy young woman doing her best to take care of herself and her little sisters on the roughest side of town. Haunted by eerie nightmares and searing headaches, Paz does all she can to survive, but the dark hand of Destiny has her firmly trapped in its clutches. Paz is likable, relatable,  tough and tender - she'll do anything for her sisters, despite the fact that their father, off somewhere distant, cannot be bothered to answer her calls. Compelling as Paz may be, she is really the only character in the story that captures the eye - the others seem to be just one-dimensional characters used only to drive her story forward. The art, like the story, has its weak points too: the characters are sometimes stiff, and it often looks like heavy inks and shadows hide pencils that are wanting. But where there are weaknesses, if you look, there are bound to be strengths. Soo Lee's pencils are kinetic, unusual, and they have a light touch of contrived urbanity to them that makes them appear highly stylized. And he really kicked up the creepy at the end. Sure, Fantomah #1's got its problems, but Fawkes' Fantomah is just fascinating enough to make me want to read more - especially after the jarring last few pages. I definitely have to see where this horror/superhero mash-up is going. 

RATING: 8 out of 10. 

FUN FACT 1 - Fantomah is the first female superhero.

FUN FACT 2 - Fantomah first appeared in 1941 in Fiction House's Jungle Comics #2.

FUN FACT 3 - Fantomah was a beautiful blonde, whose face transformed into a frightening blue skull went she went all superhero-y.

FUN FACT 4 - Fantomah's alter-ego has never been revealed. 

FUN FACT 5 - Fantomah has been in the public domain for over 55 years...Which explains why she has been known to be swiped for appearances in comics from time to time.

FUN FACT 6 - The Woman In Red is the first female vigilante in comics (1st app, Thrilling Comics #2, 1940); however, she is NOT a superheroine because, unlike Fantomah, The Woman In Red has no superpowers. 


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