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Archive for August, 2010

Reviewer: Frosty McKenzie

Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Writer: Mark Evanier
Artist: Sergio Aragones
Genre: Graphic Novel (softcover)
MSRP: $17.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now

Those who know Sergio Aragones’ work know Groo very well no matter publishing company the series landed on throughout the years. Thankfully, Dark Horse Books continues to do justice to everyone’s favorite mindless barbarian as they did with the brilliant Groo graphic novel, Hell on Earth. Well, add another amazing collection with Sergio Aragones’ Groo: The Hogs of Horder … yet another great title Groo fans should pick up right away.

The graphic novel covers all four issues that make up The Hogs of Horder storyline as the walking disaster that is Groo and his trust dog Rufferto wanders through another land in search of employment. He joins an army but, as always, ends up slaughtering even the soldiers he had come to fight alongside him so you can believe the army that hired him wants him to leave … badly. He wanders again but this time he stumbles upon the kingdom of Horder where he is about the witness an economic downfall and the ugly face of greed.

You see, in the kingdom, greedy merchants try to tell consumers what to buy rather than give them what they want and the owners give themselves big salaries while their employees work for a meager salary. On top of that, most merchants sell goods that are made cheaper in the neighboring kingdom of Khitan and sell them for double in the markets of Horder. Then there are the bankers that give loans but demand a high interest and the King talks of raising taxes.

So when Groo finds employment in Horder, he not only manages to stop production by breaking merchandise but he also destroys the factories as well. This has the factory owners turning to the banks for a loan, which they happily do until they realize that nearly every business in Horder is asking for a loan. With nobody producing – thanks in part to Groo – the employees lose their jobs.

The King of Horder sees no other alternative but to claim another neighboring kingdom to dispose of their reigning king and claim whatever good that kingdom possesses. That means money is spent on a war and Groo gets in on the action. Of course, he ends up accidentally sinking every ship he happens to board and ends up wondering who he should really fight. The kingdom of Mesopia also happens to be locked in their own little dispute between two religious factions and thus confusing the easily confused warrior to no end.

Meanwhile, Horder’s men of business are back in the game with new loans but now the people of the kingdom are complaining that workers from another kingdom are stealing the jobs from Horder citizens. They way the businessmen see it; why not hire the workers who will toil for less money. Meanwhile, the Sage arrives in time to see Horder in economic ruin. His wisdom is great enough that the King commands him to work for the King as his economic advisor.

With Groo and the Sage on a mission to obtain a loan from Khitan (where all goods seem to come from anyway), the pair discover a King who is equally driven by greed but far more composed than the King of Horder and their deal helps shape a surprising ending. While Groo just doesn’t understand what is going on half the time (what else is new, right?), he watches as the people of Horder move on with the wisdom of the Sage who imparts some of the best advice in the end.

The Hogs of Horder makes a strong political statement that covers everything from the economy, the loss of employment thanks to cheaper labor and even the declaration of a war nobody really backs. It talks of greedy bankers and of men in power whose interests aren’t the people but rather their own agenda. The graphic novel is never too preachy, though, and the jokes will not fail to make you laugh out loud a number of times.

Dark Horse Books even includes some Rufferto short stories that are worth the read and a Groo By The Numbers extra that has a number of interesting and hilarious facts about the Groo series. There’s even the covers for the original four comics.

What we have in Sergio Aragones’ Groo: The Hogs of Horder is a graphic novel that deserves to be read not only by true Groo fans but by anyone who has picked up a comic book. It’s a truly convincing, funny and intelligent graphic novel that says a lot about our world without losing its comedic touch that Groo fans have grown to love over the many years. Picking this one up is a definite Must.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
The kingdom of Horder is heading for some hard times as its hardworking citizens are losing their jobs and businesses are shutting down and now things are going to go really bad for them now that Groo has arrived. As Groo tries to find work in a jobless kingdom, the Sage discovers the ugly truth about Horder and the kingdoms surrounding it.

ART: A+
Sergio Aragones is known in the comics world as one of the genuine greats and this is clearly no exaggeration. He’s also one of the funniest artists around as you will see from the visual gags scattered throughout this graphic novel.

OVERALL: A
The Hogs of Horder is yet another achievement for Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier and Groo fans everywhere. The Groo series has always been hysterically funny and this story is no different and while it contains an obvious political message, the story never gets preachy or loses sight of its real goal and that is to entertain from start to finish.

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Reviewer: Evelyn Finch

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Inverna Lockpez
Artist: Dean Haspiel
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 U.S.
Release Date: September 14, 2010

Having always been fascinated by history, especially the rich history of Latin America, the revolution in Cuba has been something of an interesting subject to me. As touchy a subject that is that of Fidel Castro’s rule over the beautiful island country, Cuba: My Revolution is a bold, beautiful and mesmerizing story that needed to have been told and you will not regret reading it even if you find the subject matter controversial. It’s a true to life story that makes this an amazing reading experience and one of the best comics we’ve read so far.

The story is taken from the life and memories of artist (and now writer) Inverna Lockpez who recounts her life in the days before Castro and the revolutionary troops marched into Havana to the aftermath that made her slowly question the direction her country is heading in the late 1960s. We see Cuba through the eyes of 17-year old Sonya who, in January of 1959, witnessed her country change right before her eyes.

As Fidel Castro marched into Havana, dictator Fulgencio Batista quietly boarded a plane and left the country he had reshaped with the help of the American government that supported him and the Sinatra-era gangsters that owned casinos, clubs and hotels. Sonya, like so many others, saw Castro’s arrival as a breath of fresh air and the beginning of a new Cuba that was made with the people in mind. During a televised speech, Sonya was even convinced that Castro was the “chosen one.”

So putting aside her aspirations as an artist, Sonya – the daughter of a physician – leaned more towards the medical field in order to help the revolutionary cause. Even her mother and stepfather feel moved by the revolution and Castro’s promising words as Sonya becomes a surgeon. Haunted by the absence of her boyfriend named Flavio, who left for the United States, Sonya tries to bury herself in her work supporting the revolution that needs her now that Castro is worried that the United States would invade.

As it turns out, there is an American invasion that quickly becomes known as the Bay of Pigs incident and Sonya is smack in the middle of the battlefront as a physician and member of the military. Having been trained to fire a rifle for combat purposes and trained to use a scalpel in her role as surgeon, Sonya sees the horrors of the violent confrontation until she comes face-to-face with the person she never thought she would see fighting against Castro … her boyfriend Flavio. What happens to him is tragic enough that Sonya doesn’t quite recover after it.

The worst part of Sonya’s life comes when she tends to an injured enemy who turns out to be yet another American-trained Cuban mercenaries. Doing it out of her duty as a physician to help an injured human being, she ignores the guards and bandages the mercenary who – out of gratitude – gives her a pendant of the patron saint of Cuba. As a result, she is immediately whisked away to a cell where she is accused of being a traitor working for the CIA. Stripped of her clothes, she is constantly sprayed with hot and cold water until Sonya’s spirit begins to break.

It is her father who comes to her rescue and, despite this horrible ordeal, she continues to believe in Castro’s Cuba. She tells herself that all the changes are for the good of the people but it is hard not to ignore the tyrannical rules that have turned friendly neighbors into spies for the new Cuban government and the country turning Communist. It becomes harder to find something as simple as nail polish and the freedoms they once enjoyed have been replaced by censorship.

The graphic novel dives into Sonya’s family as well, especially her mother who almost died giving birth to Sonya’s stepsister and, later, tries to convince Sonya to leave to the United States with them. Her mother even makes two failed attempts but Sonya is still convinced that Castro has Cuba’s best interests in mind. She returns to her love of art, attending art school where she meets Carlos (who becomes the new love in her life) as well as other art students.

What she finds is a government that censors art that doesn’t praise Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara or the revolution. It isn’t until an art exhibit turns sour and a chance meeting with one of the masterminds of the revolution, Celia Sanchez, that doesn’t go as well she thought that convinces Sonya to make a very bold move.

There is sincere affection in Lockpez’s writing as well as genuine emotion in the way she describes the changes her country goes through. She unflinchingly goes through some painful moments through Sonya such as the panic attacks she gets after her imprisonment or what she had to do to get some money to help her mother get out of the country. Then there’s Dean Haspiel’s art that never ceases to impress or show true emotion in his characters.

In the end, what we have in Cuba: My Revolution is a passionate, profound and compelling piece of work that will stay with you long after you put this graphic novel down. Through the eyes of Sonya, we experience a revolution but also disillusionment of a people’s movement that she so passionately believed in until its reality showed her the truth. This is an unforgettable story and a graphic novel you need to read.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Taken from the memories of Inverna Lockpez, this true to life story revolves around a young woman named Sonya who strongly believes in Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution until – very slowly – she becomes disillusioned by the way Castro’s regime has transformed her country into something else. While taking part in key moments after the revolution, Sonya throws herself into her love of art but the new Cuba forces her to see that some changes aren’t all good.

ART: A
Dean Haspiel’s art has always been impressive and, together with Jose Villarrubia, they make the art in Cuba a truly visceral experience. This is one attractive-looking graphic novel.

OVERALL: A+
Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel recount a story that is powerful, shocking and utterly mesmerizing to the point that you will not want to put this book down. For anyone who ever wanted to know about the Cuban revolution through a different viewpoint, Cuba: My Revolution is a graphic novel that you definitely need to pick up right away.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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Marvel is pleased to present your first look at X-Force: Sex And Violence #3, from acclaimed X-Force scribes Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost along with acclaimed artist Gabriele Dell’Otto. The conclusion to the sexiest, bloodiest X-Force adventure is here! Wolverine and Domino make their last stand against the Assassin’s Guild. Can the mutant heroes survive long enough to find some alone time? Find out in X-Force: Sex And Violence #3!

And for fans who missed out on X-Force: Sex And Violence #2, X-Force: Sex And Violence #2 Second Printing Variant hits store shelves this September!

X-FORCE: SEX AND VIOLENCE #3 (JUL100647)
Written by CHRISTOPHER YOST & CRAIG KYLE
Art and Cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO
Parental Advisory …$3.99
On-Sale – 9/9/10

X-FORCE: SEX AND VIOLENCE #2 SECOND PRINTING VARIANT (JUL108104)
Written by CRAIG KYLE & CHRISTOPHER YOST
Art and Cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO
Parental Advisory …$3.99
FOC – 9/2/10, On-Sale – 9/22/10

X-FORCE: SEX AND VIOLENCE #1 SECOND PRINTING VARIANT (JUN108118)
Written by CRAIG KYLE & CHRISTOPHER YOST
Art and Cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO
Parental Advisory …$3.99
ON SALE NOW.

OUR TAKE: If you haven’t caught the first two issues of this series, you are seriously missing out of one of Wolverine’s most violent (and actually very sexy) story. The chemistry between Wolvie and Domino is so scorching hot that it will make you look at these two in a whole new way.

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Reviewer: Eden Zacarias

Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: Stuart C. Paul
Artist: Christian Duce
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99
Release Date: Available Now

If you’re like me and think that vampire stories have already overstayed their welcome thanks to the already overcrowded genre sparked by the “Twilight” movies and books or the “Vampire Dairies” television show then who can blame us, right? Sure, vampires are sexy and interesting but there’s a limit to how much exposure they should get before we grow tired of them. Oh, but Ides of Blood #1 drew me back into the arms of the undead and I am so loving it.

Stuart C. Paul and artist Christian Duce spin a fascinating story set in Rome circa 44 B.C. in a Rome ruled by Julius Caesar who has – at the end of his impressive military career – set his sights on the Transylvania kingdom of Dacia. As it turns out, all the legends of vampires (or, as it is written, vampyres) are true and Caesar has made slaves of the undead and put them to work as such in Rome. These are strange times, indeed, and they’re about to get even stranger still.

You see, citizens – especially the vampire slaves – are not content with Caesar and the human elite that serve Caesar are being drained of their blood by a killer known as the Pluto’s Kiss Killer. In the first issue, Caesar’s right hand man, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, is the recent victim as he is chased into a bathhouse and is drained by the mysterious vampire. Called in to investigate is a handsome young Praetorian who calls himself Gaius Valens who shares his bed with a beautiful lover very close to Caesar himself. Donning his armor, Valens joins the investigation by orders of the Emperor.

What he finds is a ghastly sight with the body floating in the bath and a message scrawled in blood is clear that the now famed killer means to send a message to Caesar about the treatment of vampire slaves. Unfortunately, Valens’ investigation is cut short by Marcus Antonius – brave warrior once and now a miserably drunkard of a Senator. With what little clues he obtained, though, Valens begins his search through the slums where free-vamps true to survive.

Before he does look into the case, though, Valens is confronted by a soothsayer who gives the young soldier a cryptic message of the coming future of Rome. “Beware the ides of March,” he says. “Beware the ides of blood!”

As it turns out, Valens has a secret of his own that is revealed rather quickly. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that the handsome young solider is actually a vampire himself and, yes, even a slave who once served Julius Caesar well enough that the Emperor has a fondness for the undead Praetorian. We witness the interaction between the two that – interestingly enough – seems to be based on mutual respect. Interested in vampire history and lore, Caesar has no real hatred for the vampire and even considers them citizens of Rome.

Then Caesar makes the young vampire an offer that is too hard to refuse and accepts it quickly enough despite the consent of his closest advisors or even his adopted son. The offer leads Valens into a much deeper investigation as they follow a single lead that takes them to a blood brothel that caters to human men who like the company of vampire women. Armed with a bite sample, Valens confronts a possible suspect who proves to be troublesome.

Ides of March shows us a lot in this premier issue but still manages to be shrouded in mystery as this story goes from a supernatural story of an alternate version of history to something of a police investigation tale complete with forensic science. This could have been hard to swallow if it wasn’t for the great writing filled with even better dialogue. Christian Duce’s art is also easy on the eyes and he adds just the right touch of dark elements and a nice dash of sexiness.

What we have in the first issue of Ides of Blood is an interesting blend of genres that make this a very unique and very promising vampire series. It’s a smartly written tale that is topped off by great artwork but, more importantly, offers a refreshingly new take of history and vampires. This is a great start to what is surely going to be a comic well worth reading and one I will happily recommend.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
In the Rome of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire has conquered Transylvania but also a new breed of undead creature that is the Vamyre. When men of great importance to Rome start dying in a horrifying way, all fingers point at the Pluto’s Kiss Killer so a former vampire slave named Valens begins his investigation of the killings as an even darker conspiracy begins to take shape.

ART: A+
Duce’s art is actually quite exquisite enough to make the atmosphere creepy and is complemented beautifully by colorist Carlos Badilla to make the art work superbly for this dark series.

OVERALL: A
Judging just by the first issue of Ides of Blood, this isn’t just another vampire tale but an alternate look at history that makes this a swords-and-sandals tale with a unique bloodsucking twist that actually works. Topped off with great writing and gorgeous art, this is a series that shouldn’t be ignored even if you’ve exhausted your taste for vampire stories.

Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)

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Marvel is pleased to present your first look at X-Men #3 by the jaw-dropping creative team of Victor Gischler and Paco Medina. After back to back sell-outs, the red-hot Curse of the Mutants story continues! In a desperate attempt to end the vampire outbreak, the X-Men do the unthinkable – they resurrect Dracula! Will the former Lord of the Vampires play nice with Cyclops’ plan to take down Xarus? Find out this September in X-Men #3.

X-MEN #3 (JUL100621)
X-MEN #3 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (JUL100622)
X-MEN #3 MEDINA VARIANT (JUL100623)
Written by VICTOR GISCHLER
Penciled by PACO MEDINA
Cover by ADI GRANOV
Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Variant Cover by PACO MEDINA
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC – 8/19/10, On Sale – 9/9/10

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 5,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com.

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While the movie might not set the comic book action-comedy flick genre afire, Kick-Ass is an excellent entry that does comic book action-comedy flicks justice based on Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.‘s graphic novel. It’s a perfect blend of black comedy, social commentary and over-the-top violent action that makes this an entertaining jaunt well worth taking if you’re the type who lost hope in seeing a good comic book-themed movie.

The movie follows the exploits of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a High school student who is largely ignored by everyone except for his two fellow comic book loving friends. He’s about the only one who wonders why somebody doesn’t become too frustrated with doing nothing while good people are hurt by bad elements that they’re compelled to don a costume and fight crime. He’s also the only one who actually does something about it so he buys a cheap green costume online and decides to begin his life as a costumed crime fighter with bad results.

However, Dave’s life changes as a result of his failed attempt as he not only becomes close friends with the girl he likes (she thinks he’s something he’s not) and his next attempt gets him some attention from a large internet following after his battle with a group of thugs is recorded and posted on YouTube. Thus begins the career of Kick-Ass, the costumed hero.

Meanwhile, a father (Nicolas Cage) and his pre-teen daughter (Chloe Moretz), are fighting crime their own violent way as they target a crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) as Big Daddy and Hit Girl. When he hears that a costumed vigilante is messing with his business, said crime boss assumes that it’s Kick-Ass and puts a hit on him. When that fails, the mobster’s son (played by Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse), assumes the role of a fellow crime fighter named Red Mist to win Kick-Ass’ confidence and thus set him up for a hit.

Befriending Big Daddy and Hit Girl, though, Kick-Ass discovers that he’s not alone as they go up against an entire crime family.

The best parts of the movie belong to Hit Girl who is not only a great character but also a small destructive force that is surprising. Kick-Ass’ alter ego is also a likeable kid who suddenly gains the confidence to tell the girl he likes his true feelings as well as reveals his secret identity. Even Red Mist’s alter ego is interesting as he tries to become a part of his father’s crime syndicate and yes his character leaves room for great sequel possibilities.

The Blu-ray release comes with the DVD version of the film as well as a digital copy that makes it easy to install on an iPod or other portable player. The extra features are worth a view, especially a comparison between the movie and the graphic novel. There’s an audio commentary track as well by director Matthew Vaughn and featurette about the filming of the movie. Sadly, there’s no digital copy of the graphic novel as it was rumored so we highly recommend you pick up the graphic novel either way.

Kick-Ass on Blu-ray is a worthy watch and a worth watch if you like a your superhero-themed movie with plenty of black humor as well as plenty of blood. It’s hard not to sound like a fan boy when talking about this movie but if you give it a chance and have fun with it, Kick-Ass will not fail to entertain.

OVERALL BLU-RAY GRADE: A-

Reviewer: Ian Mintz

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As news of our demise lingers through the blog-o-sphere, I do not blame the comic book-loving comrades who have abandoned us in our long absence. I mean, who can blame you since we haven’t really posted a review for way too long.

I won’t give any excuses except for the fact that we have been restructuring and the owner of this blog has finally given me all the publishing rights and ownership rights to the name of this site. That means the comic book and graphic novel news, reviews and new extra features are a part of my propaganda spewing views and that of my new crew. Yes, the revolution is back and we’re staying for good.

Ok, for starters, I would like to thank my Managing Editor who is none other than Faith McAdams who is better known for her work on our big brother site, Animanga Nation. She has helped in the proceedings that had given me control of this site and the ownership rights. Thank you, Faith, you are simply too awesome for words. Plus, a special thank you to my brother, Eduardo Zacarias, for his loving support and nominating me as Editor-in-Chief of this site. I will not disappoint you, big brother.

So, in case you forgot, we are Comic Revolution … a site dedicated to not only bringing you the usual posts of news and reviews but also some extra features I wasn’t allowed to include under our old regime. We are big supporters of comic book-themed everything so that includes games, movies and other cool extras so don’t be surprised if you’ll find reviews for games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance or DVDs such as Iron Man 2.

As I mentioned above, we have a new crew I handpicked myself. Most of the old crew has gone off to bigger things and I can understand that but I need a crew who will follow me into the fires of our little revolution.

So thank you all for your kind e-mails or encouragement and the support you have given this site. It means a lot to a girl and her crew of misfits who are obsessed with comics and graphics novels.

Your Revolutionary Girl,
Eden Zacarias
Editor-in-Chief

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