Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Logan Legacy #2 : X-23 Dealing with Death

Wow, I actually didn't hate it. HA! Tim Seeley, excellent artist took on comic book role of writer for this one and manages to entertain me with a character I don't even particularly like. Best known to me for his work on Revival (which I'm actually a very big fan of despite waiting on trades), flexes his fingers over this short story and shows X-23 clubbing it in Toronto. Gotta love the Canadian influence. Well, I suppose I'm biased. BUT we do get to see a member of Alpha Flight. I won't spoil it for you.

I am actually happy that this series has changed up the artist. Color artist Oback remains but that wasn't my problem with issue one. If you had read my review, I was pretty disgusted with the work and whatever was going on with Sabertooth's head. That's not to say that I'm in love with the artwork from Kristantina, I'm not. It's not the type of artwork that impresses me but she clearly has talent. The cover of issue 2 is a VAST improvement from issue one. I mean, comparing the two, what were they thinking??? Issue two is quite lovely and I enjoy the coloring.

All in all, I was shocked that this issue was actually readable for me. I can't stand X-23 although she did praddle on a few times about her past, teh, Seeley did manage to get a few giggles out of me through some of her dialog. I wonder what's in store for next week's issue 3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Arkham Manor #1

Immediately when I had begun to write the title to this article, I wrote Arkham Asylum. I guess I'm going to be calling it that every time I write about the series which I intend to cover pretty extensively. I received my copy in the mail yesterday and decided I'd wait till today to post my review since it officially hits the shelves this morning here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Last night I was super excited to finally take a look at Shawn Crystal's inside artwork for this new on-going Batman series. I contact Shawn last week because after seeing the cover that was just it for me. I know I had to read the series. I loved the released artwork. I have to say I found it sort of funny when I tweeted him to ask for an interview as I was blown away with the cover. He said that he guessed I was looking at Eric Canete's variant cover. I had seen that cover. It's cool, I'm a fan of Eric's work but that's not the cover I was talking about. I was talking about the perfectly timed October release. I felt more dark and Halloween-ey every time I looked at it. I guess Shawn is a bit on the humble side! I was so happy he agreed to talk to me. You can read the interview right here.

There were subtleties throughout the issue that I enjoyed. One such subtlety was the bat silhouette in the narration boxes whenever Batman was speaking. I think it's important to take a look at Batman himself. Shawn Crystal has given him an extremely gaunt look. How old is Batman right now anyway? I don't know. He's certainly Year 100 old but he does appear to be more warn in this depiction.

This issue sets up the story and all the excitement to come. Batman is no longer welcome in Wayne Manor. He lives with Alfred in an apartment in Gotham, but he must go back and investigate now that the inmates have moved into his beloved family home. There's been a murder. I'll leave the spoiler out of this article. I have to give this issue some hands together and maybe a fist pound because its going in a direction that is not simply Batman on the streets. I think it'll force Batman to use more of his cunning and wit. It might force him to use more brute force and not to rely on the typical Batman gadgets we all know and love. Maybe this is a sort of Batman outside of the box.

You should probably just go get a copy and read it right now before I spoil it for you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Q&A with Shawn Crystal on DC's New Series: Arkham Manor

I was flipping through the new release lists last week when I saw this cover. This ridiculously haunting cover for a new Batman series. I've been looking for a new Batman series for some time now and I've struggled through the current runs. Really not enjoying any of them. I like my Batman dark like a lot of adults do. So I googled the title Arkham Manor #1 and found this gifted artist Shawn Crystal. I've seen his work before. It stuck me and it was time to send him a message. I had to ask him a little bit about this series that I'm so excited for. Arkham Manor #1 is a new on-going Batman series where Bruce Wayne gives up his manor temporarily to house the criminally insane of Arkham Asylum. Some sort of catastrophe has struck the hospital! This sounds like a bit of Maddness (sorry had to Dan Slott reference there), exactly what's missing from all the recent Batman I've been reading. Arkham Manor #1 hits the shelves tomorrow!
Here's my Q&A with the artist Shawn Crystal:

TFQ: How did you come to work on this project?
Shawn: Kismet. Gerry and I had been trying to get a project going together, we’re friends and wanted to jam on something creative. At the same time, Mark Doyle was looking to get something going with me. It's just coincidence that Gerry had a pitch in his office and then the cards fell into place.

TFQ: What was your inspiration for the artwork in this story?
Shawn: Years and years of aching to draw Batman. When I was finishing up Fantomex, and getting ready to leave my full time job (Running the Sequential Art dept. at SCAD Atlanta), I started to experiment with a loose/grittier style. It’s something that was boiling inside of me. Fantomex was so clean and precise, it started to feel cold to me. I had become so comfortable with the brush, I felt this yearning deep inside for me to let go, throw the brush around, let the beast loose! Batman lined up at the perfect time for this new style to evolve and grow.

TFQ: Can you compare this series to any other Batman story from the past? How does it differ?!
Shawn: We are doing more with the Batman cannon in this first six issue arc than I have ever seen done before. We’re adding new characters and playing with the mythos. It’s not far from The Killing Joke in terms of tone. Dark, haunting, gritty.

TFQ: Can you tell me your favourite Batman story and why? Hard question for many to answer.
Shawn: Ok, in order to answer this, I need to first say “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: Year One”. The works of Frank Miler and David Mazzuchelli got me into comics and continually teach me how to do this thing we call comics. BUT, those are typical answers. Bruce Timm did a short story for the original Batman: Black and White mini series. It was called “Two of a kind” and it’s flawless. It's a brilliant story that uses panel to panel storytelling in extremely clear and innovative ways. I just LOVE that short. You can hand it to anyone who knows nothing of Batman and they’ll get it. 8 pages of pure awesome.

TFQ: Will this story be suitable for all ages or a mature audience?
Shawn: I'd say this book is PG -13. My kids will be reading it!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Royal Jelly: Top picks for October 22nd

This week is going to be pretty interesting to a lot of people. I'm excited to grab the third issue of POP! The plot thickens and our test-tube celebrity went on a pretty wild trip in the last issue! We also the second issue of Logan's Legacy. This series is a weekly release so grab em while you can. Try not to pay too much attention to the artwork (I can't believe I have to say that but ... you'll see what I mean.) If you were wondering about the run, read my impressions after I read issue #1 RIGHT HERE. 

POP! #3
Arkham Manor #1
Bodies #4
Colder Bad Seed #1
Starlight #6
Logan Legacy #2
The Walking Dead #133
Butterfly #2
Nightbreed #6
Memetic #1

Silver Surfer Vol 1

It's important to mention that the final issue of Starlight is being released this week. Cover by John
Cassaday and a variant by Cliff Chiang. It's a big issue so you'll be pleased with the wrap up but sad that it's over.

One of my favorite on-going series releases the first volume this week! Mike Allred and Dan Slott's Silver Surfer trade comes out featuring the first story arc of the much loved series. I have covered The Silver Surfer extensively on my blog. Here's my latest interview with Dan Slott about the series. 

As for debut issues, I'm actually interested in this Arkham Manor #1. The premise kinda wonky. Problems at Arkham Asylum force Bruce Wayne to house the convicts. That strikes me as ridiculous but it's Batman. The art is what caught my attention. Artist Shawn Crystal has something really interesting going on there. The fall colors behind that menacing faced Batman is pretty perfect for Halloween.

Boom! Has three titles out for me this week. Nightbreed #6 which I've been reading dutifully. Wonderful covers by Riley Rossmo. A debut mini-series called Memetic from James TynionIV and Eryk Donovan.There will be three over-sized post apocalyptic editions! Finally, the second issue of Butterfly about a sexy female assassin and her troubled past. I was very partial to the artwork in the first issue.

Notable Mentions: Edward Scissor Hands, Last Unicorn Trade Paper, Lazarus 12, Revival 24

These are notable mentions due to the fact that I either wait for trade, or I already have the singles. The Last Unicorn for example was put out at least two maybe three years ago and they are just NOW releasing a trade. It's sooo beautiful, I highly recommend it as it is done in the style of the original animation from 1981 which was based on the fantasy classic by Peter S. Beagle. You should probably grab that if you don't have the singles.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Starlight #6 : FINAL ISSUE !

Six issues and it's all over! Mark and Goran are off to do other things. Goran goes off to work on an origins story for the Punisher and Mark goes to further expand the Millarworld. The new Punisher which has not yet been been given a release date, sounds amazing because of Goran. Obviously I'm bias. The series is known to me as The Punisher: Platoon. I'm told it'll end up being around 5 or 6 issues. I can't wait. With Starlight over I'm without the one thing that really made the book stand out for me - Goran's amazing work.

It's those damn pink and blues. The colors pink and blue have been heavily researched by the science type crowd and found to provide comfort to the viewer. Perhaps that is why I love the works created by Parlov, Brandan Graham, Mike Allred.. people influenced by the great Moebius. For me, color has a lot to do with it all but it's not everything... OBVIOUSLY. There is also a lot more going on than color and clearly, each of these artists have a voice of their own. If you can't spot it then please, go back to comic book school. Joking..sort of.

I really wish I could spoil this ending for you but I promised no spoilers suffice it to say the final issue is long. It also pleased me to be as unspecific as possible. I do feel that the series as a whole is suitable for children and now having read it all, I think that I would allow some youngsters to read it. I will be turning over a copy to my sister when the trade comes out and she can read it to her girls if she agrees with me. Perhaps the pink hair of Duke's young friend will have a calming effect? LOL not so sure.

The final issue of Starlight will be release October 22nd at a comic book shop near you!

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1

Let me start by saying I preemptively made a decision to pick up all the Death of Wolverine fall-out that was chucked on the shelves. I made this commitment by reading the damn Death of Wolverine story which is now good and done. Wolvey went out kind of like Hans Solo. Instead of being encased in carbonite though, he's encased in adamantium. I dunno why I made this decision but I'm an all or nothing kind of gal for the most part.

I didn't know how to feel about the whole Logan Legacy thing. Seven issues of what I guess are recanted stories from Sabertooth, Deathstrike, X-23 and Daken. Oh and some odd guy dressed up as Wolverine with cutlery tapped to his hands that we're told to read about in issue #3. I'm getting the idea that this is sort of a "where were you when" sort of story but instead of Princess Diana's Death or 9/11, we're talking about Wolverine going bye bye.

We're told where to look for each piece of the story. I dunno why.. presumably because some people might not be interested in say X-23's side of things. Especially if she's still into self mutilation and blood letting? In addition we also are be told to acknowledge X-23's new hair-do. She's got a yellow streak on one side of her face and a blue steak on the other. A tribute obviously but kinda... I dunno. It's kinda lame. My friend Ben explains this as "X-23 is a kid. Kids do stupid things." Fine. I guess I'll accept that...

See, I have a difficult time even talking about X-23 and being positive about her. I was really excited back in the day. The prospect of a female Wolverine character was great for me ...back then... unfortunately they fucked it up by creating fucking X-23. But I digress...Going back to my original thoughts on telling everybody what issue to grab to see which details of who's story... marketing wise, I don't think it was a great move but hey, it's been done before.

I have always been a fan of Lady Deathstrike so I'm most excited to see the issue with her story. There's something about a sword. Daken's side of the story? Meh, I'm sure it'll be... violent. I don't really care. Sabertooth should provide some decent comic relief.

Crafty Charles Soule tricked us with the appearance of Charles Xavier and stupid me almost believed him for a page. I'm easily taken in by writers and my own wishes to simply return my beloved professor to the world of the living. So I was pretty happy with the initial set up for this mini series simply because Soule managed to keep me entertained. I am upset however by the unremarkable artwork. As you can see from the attached image of the cover, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Sabertooth looks like he has spikes growing out of his face... anyway the whole book is like that. It's pretty terrible.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Q&A with Riley Rossmo on debut series Rasputin!

I'm always excited to get my hands on anything by Riley Rossmo. When I caught wind of Rasputin I had to run to Riley and beg to read it. Okay, I didn't really beg... He's a nice guy so I got to read it and ask some questions. This is one of the best debut's I've read in a long time. I didn't know what to expect from the story and it just shocked the hell out of me. It's rage on the page, completely visceral and not for the faint of heart. In these pages, Rasputin becomes this beautiful, complicated character, I think I might have fallen in love with him. Here's my conversation with Riley Rossmo:

TFQ: How was this project initiated?

Riley: Alex and I have talked on and off about doing something for a long time. After Proof he got busy writing novels and I kept making comics. Earlier this year Alex mentioned that he was interested in making comics again and pitched me Rasputin. Alex had been thinking about the story for years he showed me some old drawings he’d done for it and pitched me his idea. I was sold almost instantly.

TFQ: How did you begin to picture Rasputin in your mind and how did you come up with his appearance?

Riley: Rasputin’s often depicted as evil, menacing, or grotesque. We decided a to depict him in a positive light. I wanted our Rasptuin to be attractive, charismatic, and approachable. As the narrative progresses his appearance gets wilder. Our Rasputin is a mix of young Johnny Depp, Nick Cave, and Dr. Strange,

TFQ: What's it like to develop the appearance of a character from youth to adulthood? How do you do it?

Riley: My process developing characters usually starts with a dozen portraits experimenting with different head shapes, noses, hair styles, etc. I choose my favorite of those and do 30-40 little drawings showing the characters expressions. After that I’ll do some figure thumbnails to figure out the characters silhouette. Once I had Rasputin figured out I had to make another version of him that was still recognizable but 20 years younger. I tried to keep his head shape and hair the same and let the story fill in the blanks to connect the young Rasputin the old one.

TFQ: Rasputin is a violent story. Violence is no stranger to comics but how do you feel about telling this story with your art?

Riley: There's some violent content in Rasputin that was uncomfortable to draw in much the same Green Wake. I think in both cases they’re in the service of the story and contribute to the narrative.
way as issues 4 and 5 of

TFQ: Are there other historical characters you'd love to draw?

Riley: Joan of arc, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Jimi Hendrix, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Nicola Tesla, Karl Yung , and Lenora Piper. There is a ton more those are just off the top of my head.

Rasputin #1 hits the shelves on October 29th!