Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Batman Incorporated #2 - Review

Batman Incorporated deviates from the shocking scene at the end of the last issue, and instead gives us a look into Talia al Ghul’s life as she grew up under the guidance of her father and the League of Shadows. She has a plan to punish Batman once and for all, and somehow the assassination (or fake assassination) of their son Damian is at the heart of it.

Grant Morrison changed the game with Batman and Robin after Bruce Wayne’s alleged death, and this issue reminds us what that title would have been like if he stayed on it. The story takes us deeper into the minds of some of Batman’s greatest enemies, and sets up a payoff that is surely coming down the road.

Chris Burnham’s art is vibrant and incredibly fun. The pages where we revisit some of Batman and Talia’s most important moments are all full of life and play well into the story that Morrison has woven. It’s a distinct look that belongs in a Morrison comic.

With all that being said, this definitely isn’t the Batman series for everyone. It’s a much more out-of-the-box title with a story that isn’t afraid to deviate from the current continuity. If you’re looking for some signature Morrison bat action and enjoyed his run on Batman and Robin, this is a surefire way to enjoy a quick but deep read.

RATING: 8/10

Justice League Dark #10 - Review

John Constantine and the JLD arrive at their new home away from home – The House of Mystery! It’s a magical house that exists and moves through limbo, and is even more mysterious on the inside. With shifting rooms and strange magic behind every door, the JLD try to decide what to do with the powerful map they’ve been given to hold on to. The question now is whether they should go after the sacred magical texts that the map leads to, or destroy to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands?

This is the second issue of Justice League Dark that’s been written by Jeff Lemire and that’s exactly what it feels like, a second issue. Lemire took the team and the series in a very different direction in the last issue, and it almost feels as if it’s started back at number one. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s almost as if it’s been rebooted. There are certain story elements that have to be addressed now, so it feels like some ground is being covered again in order to catch people up.

Though those are a few problems in terms of storytelling, I did enjoy the issue on the whole.

It reads well, it has great artwork from Mikel Janin, and furthers the Dark regions of the DC Universe. It’s on the way to getting its footing, and it’s not there yet, but you can tell that it’s definitely closer. Constantine’s personality hasn’t fully come out yet in this series, but it can’t be easy taking a character with over 200 issues in his own series and attempt to plug him into the mainstream superhero universe.

RATING: 6.5/10

The Manhattan Projects #4 - Review

The wonderful thing about Jonathan Hickman’s The Manhattan Projects is that I never know what I’m going to get when an issue comes out. Just when I thought that I had a grasp on the twists and turns that this series is filled with, Hickman and Nick Pitarra throw another curve ball.

This issue is filled with aliens, inter-dimensional gateways, and a new development in the realm of Einstein that raises the stakes even further than before. The pages and panels move so seamlessly that I found myself at the end of the issue before I knew it. The dialog and imagery is enough to make even a new reader want more.

Pitarra has a very definitive style. At first glance it seems very similar to Frank Quietly’s work on All-Star Superman, but as extraterrestrials are added to the mix, the originality shines through. The creatures in this issue are striking and compliment the human characters in a very retro way.

There are few comics that can deliver surprises in every single issue. Hickman and Pitarra are building toward something huge in the future with this title at Image, and issue four is another thrilling installment.

RATING: 9.5/10

The Flash #10

Barry Allen AKA The Flash has his hands full with the Weather Wizard as he terrorizes a small village with a devastating flood. Meanwhile Allen’s flame, Patty Spivot, is being held captive with another man in a cartel’s basement. As her execution draws near, Flash will have to put a cap on the Weather Wizard and solve a murder mystery that’s gotten everyone into this jam in the first place.

I’ve tracked back through the premise of each issue before this, and I think I’m missing something big. I wasn’t able to follow the whole first storyline from 1-5, so I may have missed the murder that this is based on. It does show the murder in the beginning of this issue, but then jumps right into a fight against the Weather Wizard without any big introduction. I also don’t really see how we get to this point, or how the story is setup in terms of the past issue. The dialog tries to make up for it, and I do get what’s happening, I just wish we would get to see it unfold for ourselves.

What I loved about The Flash #6 was the introduction of the new Captain Cold to the New 52. In this issue the Weather Wizard’s debut is a little flat and feels like it could have been a bit more fleshed out. It is cool to know that he has to evoke different emotions in order to produce weather events, like depression in order to create rain, but we don’t see much of it in this issue.

The characters still ring true, and the art by Marcus To is pretty solid despite it not being by Francis Manapul, but this issue is just a little less magical than the others. It’s not a reason to pull out of the series, but it is an issue that doesn’t live up to the scarlet legend in the previous installments.

RATING: 5/10

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Insufferable - Weeks 1 - 8 Review

If you’re a fan of digital comics, chances are you’ve heard about If you haven’t heard about before, I can give you the rundown. Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Kingdom Come, Irredeemable) has created a place to distribute dynamic digital comics that he produces for the very reasonable price of absolutely free.

Insufferable is the story of famed superhero Nocturnus and his fall from grace as his former sidekick Galahad takes the spotlight, outs his identity, and builds himself as a media tool instead of a hero. The relationship between the two characters seems lost, but when a message from the past targets the two of them, they’re brought together to solve the biggest mystery of their lives.

Waid is exploring another avenue in the realm of superheroes with this latest digital title. Where Irredeemable and Incorruptible explored absolute good and evil, Insufferable explores the relationship between hero and sidekick.

Though it is worth noting that this does not take place in the same universe as those stories.

Every week the website updates with a new short chapter that can be downloaded or viewed directly on the webpage. The webpage offers a reading experience much like the Marvel Infinite comics, where panels can change, word balloons can appear, and a much more immersive experience blooms on the screen.

The artwork is just as powerful as the reading experience. Peter Krause did a knockout job on Irredeemable, and he continues that work here. It’s no small feat drawing in a style that might change on the page with the click of an arrow, but Krause’s artwork is more than up to the task. The characters are expressive and feel alive in every panel.

This might very well be the future of digital comics. The price tag, the reading experience, everything about it is cutting edge. Waid isn’t afraid to try something different, and neither should fans of comics.

I read many great comics this week, all of which deserved their high reviews, but this one was the only story that made me excited about the medium as a whole.

RATING: 9/10

The Punisher #12 - Review

I’m new to The Punisher. I’ve seen the horrible movies that they’ve made, I’ve owned t-shirts with the skull logo dozens of times throughout my life, but I never actually sat and read an issue or trade that featured the character in the lead role. After reading PunisherMAX by Jason Aaron, a series that takes place in a much more violent alternate universe, I was ready to get another dose of the character as fast as possible.

I was lucky that Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto are continuing that same magic in the traditional Marvel Universe.

This issue drops us in on the story of Rachel Alves as she searches for purpose in avenging the deaths of her family and friends at her wedding. Frank Castle (The Punisher) has taken her under his wing, but she’s letting her emotions get the best of her. What follows is one of the coolest silent sequences I’ve read in a long time.

Rucka writes Castle as a determined man who walks the earth “dead” in order to complete the mission at hand. Rachel is a girl who wants to use her emotions to fuel her crusade, and it’s a method that Castle just can’t abide by. The tension in the way the two characters interact is thick enough to bleed off the page, and it shows in the silent scenes more than anything.

Checchetto is an artist I’d never heard of before. His sequence in the rain where Rachel and Castle settle their differences is one of the best fight scenes I’ve read this week. It’s all about anger and frustration, and Checchetto conveys it all with no help of dialog from Rucka.

The Punisher isn’t the most popular hero in the Marvel Universe. He has his method, and many people don’t agree with it. But what can’t be argued is just how well Rucka and Checchetto do with a character that is sometimes associated with just shooting without any substance.

These bullets have backbone.

RATING: 8.5/10

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saga #4 - Review

The Will is in need of some rest and relaxation, and travels to a world where any sexual desire is possible. Marko and Alana explore their pasts a little more thoroughly, and end up face to face with a danger so great, even Marko might have to make a final stand.

This is one of those books where, every time an issue comes out, I have to find a new way to say how incredible it is. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have already proven that Saga is a force to be reckoned with, but this issue gives us a bit more. We get more of Marko’s back-story, and a bit of how far The Will is willing to go when it comes to morality.

If there’s something I can give just to Staples, it’s that this issue is full of very original and very dense material. The brothel planet alone must have taken a level of imagination that I’m not prepared to venture into.

I mean that in the best way possible.

I would write more, but I feel like I’d be doing the book a disservice if I tried to drag this out. It’s a knockout. It’s an issue that I read twice in a row, once for the story, once for the art, and now I’m tempted to read it again after writing this.

Saga is an example of a comic that makes you feel like you should have paid twice the amount for it.

RATING: 9/10

Wonder Woman #10 - Review

Wonder Woman is knee deep in trouble as she stands at an altar in Hell, waiting to be married. But when her lasso is turned on her, a surprising answer startles not only her monstrous suitor, but anyone reading the issue as well.

Brian Azzarello, Kano, and Tony Akins deliver a Wonder Woman issue that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I haven’t ventured into the realm of Diana since the launch of the New 52, but I’m glad that I finally made the effort.

I will admit that Cliff Chang’s beautiful cover for this issue initially drew me to the book, and it’s completely reflective of the quality behind it.

Wonder Woman is often criticized as being “just a girl” in the Justice League. This new take on the might Amazon is the antithesis of that statement. She’s courageous, strong willed, and has a moral code that she refuses to let go of. This is what should have been done with all of the Justice Leaguers after the New 52. If they would have taken this route with Superman he might have made a bigger splash.

The artwork is very stunning, even though it’s done by a large number of people. I’m a little sad that Cliff Chang didn’t do the interiors of this issue, but Kano and Akins don’t disappoint. I found myself wanting more after reading this issue, and I’ve never said that about this character before.

It’s sincerely doubtful, but if they do a movie adaptation of Wonder Woman, it should be this version. It blends the mythology aspect so seamlessly that it’s on a whole different level than the other DC books.

RATING: 8/10

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Planetoid #1 - Review

Garing's sci-fi fills the gap

Science fiction is a genre that's been lacking in the comic book medium, and Planetoid is a wonderful solution to that problem. This new first issue is published by Image Comics and is both written and drawn by creator Ken Garing, who gives us a wonderful and imaginative view into a whole new world.

Silas is a smuggler who crashes on a small planetoid that isn't registered and has a strange magnetic field surrounding it on all sides. He finds an abandoned industrial world where many ships and other pieces of metallic junk in space have been pulled down to the surface. But the rust and junk piles aren't the most dangerous thing on the planetoid. It's the robotic creatures that crawl across the landscape.

The writing in this story is really intriguing. It comfortably throws you in and keeps you reading even though it's a brand new character on an unknown world. It can be likened somewhat to Image's Prophet, but only in the inital opening. It takes a much different direction that keeps it fresh and original, while calling back to some of cinema's great dirty future epics like Alien or Blade Runner.

The artwork is breathtaking. The detail in the abandoned factories and techincal layouts is really something to revisit over and over. And the designs of the robots are some of the coolest I've seen in American comics. There's a giant serpent-like robot that really showcases Garing's ability to come up with metal monsters.

Image has had no shortage of intriguing new series to put on the comic book stands. Planetoid is a series, much like Saga, that really ignites and embraces science fiction in the comic book medium.

RATING: 8.5/10

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Superman vs The Elite - Review

Black is the new red, yellow, and blue

A new breed of hero has arrived on Earth. They don’t let the scum and villainy go unpunished. There are the good guys, and the bad guys. And if you’re a bad guy, you’re surely going to die. The age of Superman and his Boy Scout attitude are over. This is the age of The Elite.

The Elite - Menagerie, Coldcast, Manchester Black, The Hat

This film is based on Action Comics #775, “What’s so funny about truth, justice, and the American way?” The issue was written by Joe Kelly and was an oversized edition in which Superman fought the new wave of heroes that didn’t wear costumes, loved to be brash, and enjoyed killing. Many of these types of heroes were taking over the mainstream in comics and movies, and Superman seemed like a thing of the past.

What this issue did, as well as the new animated feature that’s based on it, is prove that someone with the power of Superman needs to be guided by morals in order to co-exist with humanity. The Elite represent the “cool kids” that you’d side with at first. After all, who wouldn’t want to punish the worst war crimes of the Earth with suitable deaths for those that are guilty? But it’s not a hero’s place to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

The animated adaptation is just as fun as the comic, and is actually a bit more developed in terms of story and characters. We get the back history of Manchester Black, the punk rock British leader of The Elite who has a powerful case of telekinesis and telepathy. Black’s new backstory and his initial idolization of Superman make Black a more sympathetic character, it also makes his darker turn even more satisfying. We also get a side story about Atomic Skull.

Atomic Skull
The voice acting by George Newbern (Superman) and Robin Atkin Downes (Manchester Black) are superb. The banter between the two of them is fast paced, full of philosophy, and never gets old. I’d even go ahead and give it to Downes that he kind of stole the show. His personality that he brought to the role was so full of vigor that Black feels like more of a DC Comics staple than he really is. Newbern wasn’t phoning it in either. His Superman and Clark Kent were iconic and as soon as he spoke I nodded and said to myself, “that’s Superman.”

The animation style looks a bit fun and whimsical, but you soon realize that this is a movie where people's heads are twisted backwards and monsters are ripped half. It has some great emotional moments and incredible fight scenes. Superman really isn’t fun unless he’s getting the snot beat out of him, and this is one of those moments. It’s also really satisfying to see The Man of Steel snap and start doing things just like The Elite.

Superman loses it.

I’ve been a huge fan of the DC Universe animated films. Each one I’ve seen portrays the characters in a very different way while staying true to the source material. Truth be told, I get more excited about these than I do the live-action movies. Marvel may have the overall market when it comes to the movie theaters, but DC knocks animation out of the park.

RATING: 9/10

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spider-Men #1 - Review

The Spider-Men meet in the Ultimate Universe

Peter Parker is out on a routine patrol of the city when a mysterious light distracts him. Before he knows it, he’s in an alternate version of New York City where everyone hassles him for wearing the deceased Peter Parker’s costume. Just as Parker is struck with confusion, another huge bomb lands in his lap – Ultimate Spider-Man!

Parker travels to the Ultimate Universe in this new mini-series by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli. Which, from the rumblings of fans, has been a long time coming. It’s definitely a fun idea to see Parker and Morales team up in the Ultimate Universe, and there’s a big opportunity for stories down the line with these two characters.

The overall book was okay, not great. It didn’t have the kind of wonder or big jolting effect that a crossover should have. It’s a pretty routine story that’s mostly told in captions. I might be the only one who feels this way, but it just felt a little flat.

I haven’t been following Ultimate Spider-Man, but I did enjoy the first few new issues with Morales at the helm of the wall crawler. The fact that he never met his universe’s Peter Parker is ripe for conflict, and I’m sure once he meets the MJ and Aunt May of this universe, Parker is going to have an emotional field day. But so far, it’s a pretty mild start.

RATING: 5/10

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1 - Review

Lindelof and Lemire deliver digital Batman

It’s been six months since Batman first appeared on the streets of Gotham. He’s got his method, his means, and apparently no weakness. But someone decides that The Dark Knight needs some humility in his life. On a routine patrol, Batman soon learns that he’s not as indestructible as he thought.

Written by Damon Lindelof and drawn by Jeff Lemire, this issue of the newly revived Legends of the Dark Knight was a very dark and interesting look at Batman’s ego. Lindelof gives us a very gritty Batman, much like the one from The Dark Knight Returns, and shows us what it would be like to have your head grow large underneath the cowl.

Lemire’s art was really fun in this issue. I’ve been a fan of his creator-owned series for a long time, and it was a delight to see him tackle a mainstream character like Batman. We even get a great shot of the rogue’s gallery, showcasing Lemire’s ability to draw all of the greatest Gotham villains.

The absolute best thing about this issue is the price tag. At only .99, you can’t afford to miss this digital first series.

With all that being said, I did have a problem with how Batman was portrayed in one scene where he’s apparently drinking with Alfred. It isn’t clear at the end of the scene whether he’s drunk or not, but Batman/Bruce Wayne doesn’t drink. At least, that’s always been my understanding. This could be a rare occasion when he does, when his ego is getting the better of him, but it seemed a little out of character to me.

Despite that one problem it’s still a really good read. And considering that it’s just under a dollar for a 23-page comic, it’s well worth your time. To be honest, it's getting its rating because of the strong art. The story was good, but the art was a bit more fun.

RATING: 7/10

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1 - Review

Something wicked returns to the world

Agent Hobbes has a meeting with a mysterious stranger outside of a cafĂ© in London in 1954. Hobbes has his doubts about the vague threats that the stranger makes to him, but he’s soon thrown into a nightmare he couldn’t dream of when a secret containment facility housing one of the most powerful creatures in existence is destroyed. Now mankind’s oldest enemy has been released, and it’s up to half-blood American Vampire Felicia Book to step into the ring.

I’ve said this numerous times about the American Vampire series, but it’s the only vampire story worth reading. The boom of vampire stories in the theaters and in teen paranormal romance books has taken away the glory that the monster once held in the realm of horror. Scott Snyder has effectively brought that monster back to the forefront of horror and pop culture and given it back its terrible fangs.

This new story gives new readers a chance to enter in fresh if they’ve never read American Vampire before, along with giving established readers an expanded base for the main story. The promise of the new villain, based on what we’ve learned about the various vampire species, is going to no doubt be the most fun revival of this classic monster.

The artwork by Dustin Nguyen is well suited to the time period and tone of this book. There’s a real mood of horror that can be found in old movies just set up in his backgrounds and how the characters interact with each other. On top of that the story is laid out and paced so well that I found myself at the end of the issue before I knew it, thirsty for more.

I may roll my eyes at most vampire stories, but Snyder’s work is the only one that I can get excited about. American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares is going to join the ranks of the great vampire fictions, as well as the other American Vampire mini-series in no time at all.

RATING: 8/10

Prometheus - Thoughts and Recommendation

A side story, not a prequel

I set out to write a review, but this is more a discussion and recommendation. It holds my thoughts on the film, the story, and its relation to Alien.

Ridley Scott’s Alien was a game-changer in terms of science fiction and horror storytelling. It featured a unique look and atmosphere that made it believable and all the more terrifying. The design of the Alien (or Xenomorph as they’ve been called), has become iconic in pop culture and might be one of the most popular science fiction monsters, if not the scariest.

Prometheus has been called a prequel by the movie masses, but I’d like to suggest a different term – side story. I’m a huge fan of the Mobile Suit Gundam anime franchise, which specialized in creating short side story series that took place during the main story line, had elements of the original plots, but were isolated from the main characters. That’s what this movie feels like.

If you go into this movie looking for a direct link to Alien, you’re going to be somewhat disappointed. Not completely disappointed, because it’s there. There are clear representations of who the Space Jockey was and how the ship he was flying worked. There are no scenes on LV-426, the planet that the first movie took place on, and this movie doesn’t end with that ship crashing there. What we do get are the implications that the Xenomorphs exist and that the may come into play later.

The story has confused some people, but I’m going to go ahead and give my take on it in the broadest way possible so as not to spoil it for everyone else.

Many moviegoers feel like they weren’t given enough answers as to who The Engineers were and why they created us. We do learn that its’ the race that the Space Jockey belongs to, and that they’re wizards when it comes to creating new life, but no answer to “why” is ever presented. My revolutionary theory – there isn’t one.

There are some vague hints as to what was really going on, but the thing that I instantly thought when watching the opening of the movie was that we were a mistake. It’s easy to completely compare this movie to the myth of Prometheus, hence the title, but I think it’s easier to compare it to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

This is somewhat spoiler territory, so I apologize. The opening scene has an Engineer, on a planet, making the ultimate sacrifice to create life on that planet. He’s not dressed like the other members of his species, and he seems to be much more gentle in nature. My best guess is that he sacrificed himself in the name of science to try and create life on a grand scale. This would include all life on Earth, but especially humanity.

When the other Engineers find out about his creation, which has been abandoned by its creator, they decide it must be destroyed. That’s where the Frankenstein comparison comes into play. We were like that Engineer’s monsters that he left unattended and was shunned by the rest of society. Instead of being welcomed into the arms of our creator race, we’re objectified as a mistake of science that needs to be wiped clean.

That’s my take anyway.

In terms of the actual movie it’s very stunning, has wonderful performances from Michael Fassbender (David) and Noomi Rapace (Dr. Elizabeth Shaw), and feels like a good old-fashioned science fiction movie. It’s got that creepy discovery tone that’s really lacking from modern movies.

We’ve been trained to think that science fiction means exploding buildings and giant robots. But this movie proves to us that a science fiction story should always be about the “what if” and the horrors of the possibilities of technology and humanity’s decisions.

I really enjoyed this movie and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the Alien franchise or science fiction in general. It’s not a Xenomorph story, but it’s successful on its own. It leaves a ton of unanswered questions, but that’s what most of the really riveting science fiction stories always do. If you’re not talking about what happened, then the movie isn’t worthwhile.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Double Barrel #1 - Review

The Cannons get a direct hit

There’s something that’s been missing in digital comics. We’ve gotten day-in-date online publishing, guided views, and a huge catalog to download to our mobile devices for anytime reading. But few creators are taking leaps and bounds to make the digital experience more worthwhile and fight back those dreaded words every issue-based comic writer cringes at – “I’m waiting for the trade.”

Kevin and Zander Cannon (no relation) have created a monthly anthology series that gives instalments of their latest graphic novels. Not to mention a load of bonus material that makes this a steal at the price of $1.99.

Zander’s story, Heck, is about a washed up high school football player who discovers a gateway to Hell in the basement of his father’s home. Kevin’s story, a continuation of his smash hit Far Arden, is Crater XV. This story features the continued adventures of arctic adventurer Army Shanks in frosty aquatic adventures. Both stories have very distinct cartooning styles and are entertaining to the last page.

This is the kind of thing that can really take digital comics to a different level. These two creators could have waited to release the trades and collected editions of their stories, but instead opted to try an experiment with serialized storytelling in a digital format.

It worked.

Double Barrel gives you 122 pages of content for just under two dollars. You can’t find a comic book deal like that anywhere else for brand new material. Here’s hoping that more companies try ambitious new methods like the Cannons and Top Shelf.

RATING: 8.5/10

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Earth 2 #2 - Review

Wonders return to Earth 2

The bold new direction of DC’s Earth 2 continues as Jay Garrick is given the power of a god and Alan Scott makes a bold move in his relationship with the love of his life. But what role does Mister Terrific play when he stumbles onto Earth 2? Can he survive an attack by the universe’s self-proclaimed smartest man on Earth?

Earth 2 continued to surprise me this month with another wonderful issue from James Robinson. I can feel that Starman magic on this title with the mix of modern and Golden Age superheroes. This world has it’s own problems that will need unique heroes to tackle them, and it’ll be interesting to see a DC Universe with none of the Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) still alive and kicking.

The artwork by Nicola and Trevor Scott was strong on this issue. The new costume that Garrick wears was a little weird at first, but I realized that it would be the most logical way to update the original costume.

This is one of those mainstream books that are removed far enough from the norm that it can surprise me with every development. I’m excited to read Scott’s transformation into Green Lantern, and whether it will be more magical based (which was hinted at) or science based.

RATING: 8/10

Before Watchmen - Minutemen #1 - Review

The Nite Owl flies again

This has been a huge couple of years for comic book news, and DC has been one of the frontrunners for the most shocking. One of their biggest announcements was a series of stories called “Before Watchmen,” which would serve as prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s epic story of crime fighters in the real world.

In Minutemen, Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl, starts to write his book and describe the team of masked adventurers that came together to help thwart the growing crime problems in the 1940’s. His tale seems to be full of excitement and wonder, but the more he tells the darker everyone’s future becomes.

Darwyn Cooke is writing and drawing this entire series, and that’s what really brought me to the book. I’ve always been a fan of Cooke’s storytelling style and his art screams Golden Age adventure. Together the story and the artwork are both dynamic and intriguing, and I found myself completely entertained the entire time.

The simple idea of more Watchmen stories not done by the original art team has sparked a lot of negative reactions in fans and readers. Not just long time comic book fans, but fans of all famous epic stories. I think I might have been one of the few people who were on the fence about the idea.

Alan Moore has created some incredible literary work. His comics all have strong characters, powerful themes, and deliver on so many levels that entire courses could be dedicated to them.

The problem with working in the mainstream in comics is that your characters aren’t often your own to control after you leave them. DC Comics owns the Watchmen property and characters, and they can continue or expand on their stories if they’d like -- its just part of the business. I do believe that creators should have control of their own properties and characters, but that battle can’t always be won. If a publisher has the right to do more stories about characters published under their banner they're going to do it. You just have to hope that people put in the same about of care and love that the original creators did when they created the source material.

So how does this book measure up to the original source material? Well, here’s something that is definitely going to fuel my decision – I like Darwyn Cooke more than I like Alan Moore. It’s just personal taste. For taking an impossible task, Cooke has written and produced a very good comic that expands on the Minutemen without changing anyone’s core history or backgrounds.

I’d recommend it for fans of masked heroes of the 1940’s, and people who always wanted a little more Minutemen in the Watchmen story. I can’t say that the other “Before Watchmen” books will lure me in, but Cooke’s unique style did.

RATING: 7.5/10

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ink Ribbon - Press Release

My first comic gets a new release


Michael Green is an art thief who thrives on self - reliance. But when the biggest job of his career leaves him fatally wounded, he soon realizes that his lone wolf mentality might be the death of him.

This title is currently available on the Drive Thru Comics website and will soon be available through Graphicly, Panelfly, and Ave Comics.

Drive Thru Comics:

A Brief Interview with INK RIBBON creator Ken Porter

Tell us what got Ink Ribbon started?

I've always been a fan of both American and Japanese comics. Both have very different ways of telling a story sequentially, but both are really effective. What I wanted to do was merge some of the aspects together to try and tell a crime story that had a fable-like morality story to it. I took the art style and pacing from Japanese manga and melded it with America's love for crime stories.

What one thing about the story would you like most to point out?

The thing I'd like to point out most is that Michael Green isn't supposed to be taken as an example of someone to idolize. Not entirely at least. He's great in the sense that he's a survivor and that he's been able to take care of himself since he was young, but it's also his biggest flaw.
We want to add, Aly Sasagawa's art provides the perfect blend of crime-noire and Manga, giving us a solid world of shadowy crime, mixed with dynamic energy!  Any thoughts on bringing this to Visionary?

I'm really excited to be working withVisionary. Every person that I've worked with has been more than helpful at making "Ink Ribbon" the best it could possibly be, while also making sure my voice and intentions remained in the story.