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Archive for September, 2010

Reviewer: Ian Mintz

Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: Erich Hoeber
Artist: Diego Olmos
Story: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99
Release Date: Available Now

Call me a conspiracy nut but I believe the numerous theories that the United States military has been attempting to create the perfect solider are true. Imagine a soldier who is skilled enough to carry out any and all missions without ever questioning an order. What if the project was a success and the solider in question was just too good that he becomes a threat to everyone? This is what we get in Red: Marvin, a story that introduces us to an operative who proves that perfect isn’t often a good thing.

As part of a special series of comics that serve as an introduction to the characters of Red, the Marvin Special recounts the beginning of one operative’s dangerous slide into paranoia. Then again, Marvin has every right to wary. You see, Marvin is the type of operative that sets out to accomplish a mission without questioning orders … even if said mission makes no sense whatsoever such as the mission breaking into a building with high security for a mere pen.

While he silently wonders what’s so special about the pen, Marvin notices a crack in the ceiling with what looks like a camera lens. Instantly, Marvin’s mind begins to work overtime as he tears up the place looking for more surveillance equipment. He finds camera everywhere as well as microphones and the toilet contains a small hose that leads to a bottle with his name on it. Who is spying on him and going as far as collecting his urine? Even his cereal has been tampered with so his first objective is to find out who is behind this.

Immediately, Marvin notices that there are eyes on him on the streets but Marvin is not only able to lose them but also trail an obvious operative to a secret hideout. So, late at night, Marvin takes a look at a few files that concern him and an experimental program. Perahps that’s why he starts hallucinating, seeing everything from spiders to dead targets he had killed.

So begins Marvin’s mission for revenge but when Frank Moses (see our review for Red: Frank) shows up at the door, Marvin isn’t sure if his old friend is here for a social visit or to kill him. A misunderstanding – thanks to paranoia as well as the aftereffects of the experiment – Marvin does something rash. In fact, he also sets his revenge in motion.

Marvin’s tale is certainly a memorable one with the interesting part being the program that Marvin is unsuspectingly a part of and the results that led to his delusional behavior that made him do what he did to Frank. It’s a nicely written story and with great art from Diego Olmos.

The Marvin Special of Red is refreshingly fun and crazy just like the character and this makes it a comic you will certainly enjoy from start to finish. Thanks to some great writing and wonderful art, we feel Marvin’s paranoia and relish the twisted road to revenge he takes. I highly recommend you pick this one up.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
Marvin is the type of operative that carries out his mission no matter what but, when he discovers surveillance equipment in his hideout, he becomes a dangerous paranoid weapon of destruction as he trails those responsible for keeping a tab on him. What he discovers is shocking as he can no longer tell friend from foe.

ART: A
Watching Marvin’s descent into paranoid madness is half the fun of this story and Diego Olmos does a great job with the visuals.

OVERALL: A+
Marvin is, by far, one of the more original and delightfully demented characters in Red and it’s great to see him in his early days in the Marvin Special of Red. Funny and delightfully crazy, the story is a treat to read even if you’re not familiar with the series. This is a comic well worth picking up, trust me.

Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)

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Reviewer: Evelyn Finch

Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Story: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99
Release Date: Available Now

Before the movie opens October 15, WildStorm and DC Comics brings us a prequel four-part series the concentrate on four very interesting CIA operatives that also includes Joe who is played by Morgan Freeman in the movie. In this Joe special of Red, we get a look of what it was like for Joe during the most troublesome decade and deep in enemy territory.

It is 1981 and Joe is heading to the heart of the Soviet Union with a mission to do a personnel review of the Station Chief secretly headquartered in Moscow. With three deep undercover CIA agents successfully installed in the Cold War era Soviet Union, something has been done right. With a briefcase chained to his wrist, Joe knows that KGB eyes will certainly be on him.

Using a driver named Brue that he is comfortable with and knows rather well, Joe isn’t surprised that he is being tailed by two cars. However, after having lost his pursuers, Bruce stops for a very pretty woman who ends up being nothing more than just a distraction for the car that rams into them. Injured from the accident and with his driver dead, a group of armed men take the briefcase containing all information on the undercover agents and disappears.

Now, what began as a mission the evaluate the Station Chief turns into a race against the clock to find all three agents before the KGB locates and assassinates each one of them. From memory, Joe tracks down Hammond who happens to be the closest in the area. He manages to reach Hammond who is young but good at what he does. It doesn’t take long for enemy agents to show up at the door and starts shooting. As I said, he happens to be young but good at what he does and so is Joe.

Joe heads to the next agent, Youssef, whose cover is working as an electronics repairman. It doesn’t take Joe too long to figure out that Youssef has been compromised and things get ugly. Nearly killed by the very thing that took out Youssef, Joe is dragged into a black car where a Russian who Joe knows very well has already captured the last undercover operative.

I won’t ruin the finale or what happens to the last agent but it will not fail to take you by surprise and make you think of the things that happened during the Cold War. Joe’s story is one that certainly has a ring of truth and the idea that sometimes it takes great sacrifices to get what you really want. Leave it to Doug Wagner to write a deeply engrossing and riveting story.

In the end, what we have in Red: Joe is exactly what we would expect from the Red series. For those who are new to it, picking up this issue wouldn’t be such a bad idea as the four-part series is starting to look like a great way to get to know these intriguing characters. Joe’s special issue, so far, is one of the highlights complete with great writing and perfect artwork from Bruno Redondo.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
In the height of the Cold War, Joe heads to Moscow to see to three deep-cover CIA agents working in the Soviet Union but when his car is taken down and his briefcase stolen by KGB agent it becomes a race to save the three agents before they are taken out.

ART: A+
You cannot go wrong with amazing art from Bruno Redondo and a striking movie poster-like cover from Cully Hamner. I just love it when art this good is complemented by great inking and coloring work.

OVERALL: A+
The Joe special issue of Red is an intense and fast-paced story that will make a fan out of you before the story is even over. Not only is this a great look into a great character but a fascinating glance at the espionage game and how its played. Believe me, Red fans, you do not want to miss this one.

Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)

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Reviewer: Emma Coverdale

Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: Gregory Noveck
Artist: Jason Masters
Story: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99
Release Date: Available Now

If you’re a Red fan, like me, then you’re probably already excited about the upcoming movie hitting the big screen starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and the always amazing Morgan Freeman. However, for those who don’t know the Red series, WildStorm has a great introduction to the characters by way of a four-part mini-series special that concentrates on the four main characters of the film. We begin with Red: Frank, a special one-shot story that introduces us to this black ops agent who is good at what he does.

Frank Moses does not like Cairo. He has clearly been here before and remembers getting shot at each time he visited so he doesn’t expect anything different this time around. His contact in Cairo happens to be Joe who tells him that the target for elimination is Peshar Tarkani, a nuclear technology proliferator that been peddling his wares to some dangerous people. Tarkani is in town to meet some buyers so now is the perfect time to put an end to the man.

There’s just one condition that Frank doesn’t like and that is he must take a green agent under his wing by the name of Jordan Lustig who has been helping the agency track down Tarkani. Frank is the kind of operative that likes to work alone so this is a pain but he knows that he has no other choice but to work alongside and amateur who is still learning the ropes.

Jordan, as it turns out in his first meeting with Frank, is indeed very green. He’s young man who already has a chip on his shoulder and an air about him that reeks of overconfidence. Jordan doesn’t even know the man giving him the eyeball is a spy … who Frank takes care of in a most brutal way that surprises even Jordan. Frank also gives him some sound advice; rules that helped him survive the game for so long. One of the rules is no attachments whatsoever and he directs this rule at the young man because Frank guesses that Jordan has a female companion in Cairo.

Of course, Jordan’s overconfidence in his skills and the fact that said female companion is beautiful and interested in him has Jordan ignoring Frank’s advice. Meanwhile, the KGB is in town and one of Mother Russia’s best operatives knows Frank Moses very well. In fact, the Russians might be here to eliminate Tarkani as well but they figure they might as well take out Frank as well out of revenge for the numerous Russian agents Frank had killed in the past. This time, Moses does not get out of Egypt alive.

Things get rather interesting when Jordan and Frank are set to spring their trap on Tarkani only to have Frank chance the plan in the very last minute. The reason for the change in plan is this story’s intriguing plot twist and the result is an action-packed battle in the streets of Cairo that now includes the Russian agent hell-bent on killing Frank.

If you thought the twist in the mission objective is great, it’s the ending that will not fail to surprise as well as we finally come to realize what type of agent Frank Moses really is and what he is willing to do to carry out his mission. Gregory Noveck definitely knows how to tell a tale and Jason Masters is a talented artist who outdoes himself in this book.

If you’re not a fan already, Red: Frank will definitely do the trick thanks to its great writing and gorgeous artwork. Most of all, though, you will be quickly drawn into the world of dangerous, back-stabbing espionage and Frank Moses who happens to be one of the more interesting black ops agents you’ll find in comics.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Accepting an assassination mission in Cairo, Frank Moses is also placed in charge of a very green young operative who just doesn’t seem to get Frank’s rules of survival. As he attempts to carry out his assignment, his young protégé continues break one of Frank’s rules … no attachments.

ART: A+
Jason Masters’ art is – simply put – absolutely jaw-dropping as he not only displays some beautiful backgrounds but also characters that actually look a lot like Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman.

OVERALL: A
While technically not the first issue in the special issues for the Red series, Frank’s story is a good place to start as it give a good idea of how Frank operates and what he’s willing to do to get the job done. Masterfully written and sporting some brilliant artwork, Red: Frank is the best companion piece and a good introduction to Red.

Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)

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Reviewer: Faith McAdams

Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Scott Snyder, Stephen King
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Genre: Graphic Novel (Hardcover)
MSRP: $24.99 U.S.
Release Date: September 29, 2010

Like the master of horror Stephen King says in his introduction, vampire stories have taken the wrong turn to heartthrob territory thanks to the likes of the Twilight saga but lending his talents to a project created by comic author Scott Snyder, King and Snyder takes us back to a vampire story with some bite. Volume 1 of American Vampire is a fresh new vampire story about a new kind of vampire.

Told in two different timeframes, American Vampire’s two connecting stories are two sides of the same coin. While the series was conceived by Snyder, he concentrates on one story while author Stephen King tells an origin story of a character who plays a big role in the other story. The story begins in Hollywood of 1925 as struggling actress Pearl Jones is trying to make it in showbiz while maintaining two other jobs. Thankfully, she’s not alone seeing as she has a great friend in a fellow actress named Hattie and a handsome musician named Henry is interested in her.

Suddenly, during a movie shoot, the leading man of the picture makes Pearl and offer that is too hard to pass up. Just about the only one who sees the invite to the film producer’s house as a bad idea is a mysterious man in a hat who tries to talk her out of going. Of course, nobody listens to a stranger and Pearl goes only to find herself in a room filled with creatures of the night posing as men.

The thing that is discovered wandering the outskirts of the city is barely alive. It doesn’t take too long before Pearl Jones is reborn as something else entirely different thanks to the mysterious stranger who gives her his immortal gift. Interestingly enough, Pearl Jones rebirth as a vampire is nothing like the vampires that attacked her. You see, Pearl isn’t like the European vampires that bit her. She’s what you might call an evolved version that is stronger, faster and able to walk in the daylight.

In order to understand Pearl’s transformation into a different kind of vampire we must first understand the first of her unique kind. The year is 1880 and the biggest manhunt in history of the Old West has finally come to an end. Having been caught by a Pinkerton agent named James Book, Skinner Sweet has been a notorious bank robber, murderer and all-around psychopath until he finally met his match. Being transported from a train leaving Colorado, Sweet shows us just how diabolical he is when he reveals to Book that he has sent his lady love a poisonous surprise and that he will walk away a free man.

As it turns out, Skinner Sweet does manage to escape Book and his deputy, Felix Camillo, in what would have been an amazing getaway but Skinner runs into the banker who hired Book and Camillo. He is Percy who turns out to be a European vampire who finally puts an end to Skinner Sweet. The only witnesses to this vampire attack is Book, Camillo and a scribe by the name of Will Bunting who not only writes a novel about the events that will soon transpire but also tells his story during a book signing several years later.

Sweet’s story doesn’t end there, however, as we soon discover as the vicious outlaw returns from the grave some years later when his grave becomes submerged after a flooding. As it turns out, Sweet is reborn into an American vampire. Powerful and able to walk in the daylight, Skinner Sweet is even more ferocious than before as this killer with a sweet-tooth goes on a quest of revenge against the vampire that transformed him and the lawmen that caught him.

In the meantime, Jim Book, his deputy and the writer try to live their life. As the years passed, Camillo not only got married and had a child but also lost his wife. It is this daughter, Abelina, who comes to join Book, his father and the scribe into investigating a news wire that says the town where Camillo’s father governed has been destroyed by Skinner Sweet.

As Jim Book begins his battle against Sweet, the story shifts back to Pearl Jones who begins her own quest for revenge. Unfortunately, the vampires who attack her use Pearl’s friend Hattie as bait and Pearl falls for it but Henry – the man who fell for her – learns the truth about Pearl and decides to help her get her final revenge. The mystery man, who happens to be somebody very familiar, was right … Pearl is tough and not a vampire you want to mess with as we can see in the finale of her chapter.

While Pearl’s revenge is one of the many highlights of this graphic novel, what happens between Jim Book and Skinner Sweet is breathtaking. I won’t go into detail as to what happens but by the end you’ll be praising Stephen King for not only closing this chapter in a delightfully surprising manner but for fleshing out Skinner Sweet in a way that he’s a genuine bastard you can’t help but love. On top of the great writing from both Snyder and King, Rafael Albuquerque’s art will not fail to amaze.

Volume 1 of American Vampire is the kind of graphic novel you don’t just read but devour, digest and demand more of the minute you finish it. Yes, vampire stories are a dime a dozen but when a story is done right the way this one is you will not help but love the bloodsucker all over again. Count this as another triumph for horror master Stephen King and yet another great success for a brilliant storyteller like Scott Snyder. This is but the start of a bloody good vampire series.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Hollywood is the kind of place that will chew you up and spit you out as Pearl Jones is about to find out when fate deals her a bad hand and she finds herself transformed into a vampire after surviving an attack by a group of Europe’s deadliest in 1920s America. This is also the story of sadistic Old West outlaw Skinner Sweet who becomes something unexpectedly different … an evolved American vampire.

ART: A+
If you’re not familiar with Rafael Albuquerque’s artwork you will be after American Vampire. His artwork is not only stunning but, together with Dave McCaig’s coloring, it stands out in a way that it won’t fail to chill you to the bone in the best possible way.

OVERALL: A
A bloodsucker tale with true grit, American Vampire is a dark, edgy and smartly written. Really, this is how you do a vampire story right and believe me when I say that you will not be disappointed by what you will see the very minute you open this graphic novel. Snyder and King, we will definitely keep our eyes open for a follow-up to this first volume.

Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)

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Marvel is pleased to announce that Halo: Fall Of Reach – Boot Camp #1, from Brian Reed and Felix Ruiz is on sale now! Travel back to the origin of Master Chief with the tale of John, the boy who would one day become the greatest human warrior the galaxy has ever known. Humanity is on the brink of galactic civil war and one woman, the brilliant Dr. Catherine Halsey, understands the terrible price that must be paid in order to ensure the survival of mankind. Witness the birth of a legend, the warrior who will come to be known as Master Chief, in Halo: Fall Of Reach – Boot Camp #1!


HALO: FALL OF REACH — BOOT CAMP #1 (JUL100514)
Written by BRIAN REED
Art & Cover by FELIX RUIZ
17 & Up …$3.99
ON SALE THIS WEEK!

© 2010 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Microsoft, 343 Industries, the 343 Industries logo, Halo, the Halo logo, Xbox, Xbox 360, and the Xbox logos, are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit http://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 http://www.marvel.com

Our Take: Marvel had us at “the birth of a legend, the warrior who will come to be known as Master Chief …” As massive Halo fans as well as admirers of the graphic novels, Fall of Reach – Boot Camp looks right up our alley.

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Reviewer: Ian Mintz

Publisher: WildStorm (DC Comics)
Writer: T.J. Fixman
Artist: Adam Archer
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $3.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now

Being hardcore gamers ourselves, we have certainly seen our share of comic books based on gaming franchises whether it’s Resident Evil or Tomb Raider and a lot of them are actually quite good. There’s another gaming franchise making its debut as a comic and, fortunately for us, it’s actually true to the games that have lit up our screens on Sony’s PlayStation 2, the PS3 and even the PSP. Ratchet and Clank #1 is a six-part mini-series that is starting out to be just as fun as the games themselves.

If you’re not familiar with Sony’s Ratchet and Clank series, you are certainly missing out on an action-adventure-platform gaming series that features the heroic Ratchet and his diminutive and wise-cracking robotic friend named Clank. Together, the pair have seen their fair share of action across Sony’s consoles and handhelds. For those who do know them well, Ratchet and Clank #1 takes place after the events of Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time and finds Ratchet living the retired life in the planet known as Veldin.

Having opened his own garage, Ratchet is cheerfully working as a mechanic … although he still has a few things to learn about repairing ships. In the middle of making repairs on a client’s ship, the mismatched pair get a visit from a very familiar face who they have run into many times throughout their many adventures. No longer going by the name of Captain Qwark, the newly elected Galactic President Qwark has come to Veldin to speak to Ratchet and Clank and what he has to say is disturbing.

It seems that entire planets on different solar systems are vanishing as if somebody had just snatched them away without a trace. So far only four planets have disappeared but already the entire galaxy is in a panic and want the Galactic President to do something about it. So President Qwark has come to ask the two to help him unlock the mystery behind the disappearances and help restore the planets in their rightful place. Imagine his surprise when Ratchet says no and storms out of his own garage.

As it turns out, Ratchet is tired of being the one to help save the galaxy. To him, nothing good came from being a hero and he tries to make Clank understand. All he wants is to do is live in peace but trouble always has a way of finding this pair and it does when invaders approach the friendly planet. Threatening Veldin’s citizens with slavery, the invaders launch an attack on the planet in the name of President Zogg. To prove they are serious, the invaders drop spheres that contain battle robots that begin attacking.

Ratchet starts taking down the big robots in true Ratchet fashion and Clank does his best to back his furry buddy. Still, it doesn’t take long before the enemy gets the upper hand and takes them prisoner where they are taken aboard the enemy flagship. Just who is President Zogg and what are his real plans?

This being the first issue of the six-issue series, the story takes off rather interestingly and it’s also filled with a great action sequence. The story so far is intriguing enough thanks to T.J. Fixman’s writing … after all he knows the Ratchet and Clank well due to his involvement with Ratchet and Clank Future. The art is also quite stunning so kudos to Adam Archer.

Issue 1 of Ratchet and Clank is already shaping out to be a video game-based comic that is destined to be a classic and if you’re a fan of the games you will certainly be a fan of this mini-series. True to the games, the story and art also play a big role in making this a very fun read and one we will continue to look forward to as the story continues. Even if you’re not a gamer, this is still a series you might want to check out anyway.

COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN

STORY: B+
Our heroes Ratchet and his robot friend Clank are comfortably living the retiree life when Galactic President Qwark looking for their help. It seems that planets are mysteriously disappearing from different solar systems but Ratchet doesn’t want to help. It isn’t until strange invaders come to his planet that the pair find themselves back in trouble.

ART: A
You just have to love Adam Archer’s art that adds his own unique art style without sacrificing the visual appeal of the games or its characters. His action sequences and attention to details just makes this a visually appealing series. The cover is also gorgeous.

OVERALL: B+
Staying true to the humor and style of the beloved game franchise, the first issue of Ratchet and Clank proves that it is very possible to do game-based-comics right. It’s good to see Ratchet and his robot pal Clank outside of the games and this story has enough possibilities to please fans and those new to the characters.

Review copy provided by WildStorm (DC Comics)

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Now get your first look at the stunning new variant cover to the hotly-anticipated Incognito: Bad Influences #1, from superstar artist Sean Phillips! Eisner Award-winners Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips return with the most hard-hitting, super hero noir series of the century, as Zack Overkill heads deeper into the criminal underworld for one final mission that’ll change his world forever. Don’t miss an issue of the sequel to the series that Esquire called “the rebirth of comic book noir” as Incognito: Bad Influences #1 hits stores this October!

And get caught up on the Eisner-winning original limited series in Incognito TPB, on-sale now!

INCOGNITO: BAD INFLUENCES #1 (JUL100652)
INCOGNITO: BAD INFLUENCES #1 PHILLIPS VARIANT COVER (JUL108169)
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art & Covers by SEAN PHILLIPS
Mature Content/No Ads…$3.50
FOC—9/16/10, On-Sale—10/6/10

INCOGNITO TPB (SEP090494)
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art & Cover by SEAN PHILLIPS
Mature Content …$18.99
ON SALE NOW

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.

OUR TAKE: This looks to be yet another tasty slice of pulp fiction pie with coffee just the way we like it … dark as sin. We look forward to this noir comic.

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