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Star Wars: Princess Leia

star_wars_princess_leia_1_coverWritten by:
Mark Waid

 Illustrated by:
Terry Dodson

 Reviewed by:
Tyrone Burns

The Star Wars original trilogy should be praised for having a strong female leader in a time of Hollywood where such a thing was almost unheard of.

However, we have come along way since then and the freedom in how a woman’s strength is shown has greatly expanded.

This five-issue volume has a contained story that though small, offers the best look at Leia’s personality and mental drive (in the existing cannon.)

The story starts literally straight after A New Hope.  The award ceremony over the destruction of the Death-Star has ended and sadly the Rebels rest is short lived. They need to start preparing to look for a new base of operations, since Yavin is obviously a bigger target than ever for the Empire.

Some of the Rebel’s feel bitter towards Princess Leia, calling her the “Ice Princess” for her visual lack of empathy towards the loss of Alderaan (her’s and many rebel’s home world.) We see that Leia isn’t a person who uses grief to feel sorry for themselves, but rather uses it to fuel them into action. But considering the massive bounty price on her head, she has been refused by one of the Rebels big honcho’s “General Dodonna” to go out and help look for a new base.leia4

After personally hearing a few Rebel’s murmur behind her back regarding Alderaan’s destruction, Leia realised what she must do.

Going against General Dodonna’s orders, Leia goes on a personal mission- to find and protect the last Alderaanians throughout the galaxy before the Empire pick them off, thus reaffirming her position as Princess of Alderaan.

With her is “Chief Advisor Evaan”, a loyal soldier and fellow Alderaanian. At first she is the biggest doubter of Leia’s love for their planet, so their time together makes for some interesting and sometimes comedic moments where the two are trying to hold back their initial distaste for each other.princess-leia-2-page-004

It was refreshing to see multidimensional characters among the Rebels. Loyal as many of them are, some are doubtful of the direction their leaders are taking. This was something hardly touched on in the movies, so it was a treat to witness it here.

However, this is a story about Leia. About her leadership, her loyalty and especially her humanity.

There is a cute flashback to Leia as a child, learning the ways of a good queen and how important it is to eat your vegetables or in this case “Ruica”. The art here is beautiful as we see through the pictures that Leia “even as a child” isn’t someone who wants to be a stereotypical queen who sits on a throne all her life listening to problems from the people. She wants to be in the thick of the action, helping with her own hands, rather than ordering someone else to use theirs.

starwars-leia01The extent Leia goes to rescue her people from the clutches of the Empire is admirable. We meet Alderaanian’s who are paranoid doubters and even some who are betrayers and yet her loyalty to her people never faults. Leia has a code she has set for herself and she will do everything and anything so she never has to break it. She is still so young and yet we see her power as a leader. Leia is able to persuade the most doubtful of Rebels to lay down their arms and follow her.

This is exactly what any Leia fan would want out of her story:  adventure, strength, love, action, humor; it has it all.

You have to give it to Mark Waid and Terry Dodson, they are excellent together. They both understand what the other wants and therefore the final product is master-class.

If your a fan of Princess Leia or if you felt she was a little to one dimensional in the movies then pick this up. You won’t be disappointed!

Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes review

 

Written by:stk677493
Jason Aaron

Illustrated by:
John Cassaday

Reviewed by:
Tyrone Burns

When describing this comic, I feel like the old grandpa in “The Princess Bride” expressing the book to his grandson. While asked if the book “The Princess Bride” has any sports, the Grandpa replies: “are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles…. ”

The first volume of Marvel’s Star Wars has all that too.  Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

Set between the events of “A New Hope” and ” The Empire Strikes Back”, volume one’s story is split into two halves. The first is an undercover mission led by a group of Rebels on a Correlian industrial cluster called Cymoon 1. Their objective  is to destroy one of the biggest weapons factory’s in the galaxy. The second half swaps action for adventure. Luke while soul-searching is also on a quest for clues Obi-Wan may have left him in his quest to become a Jedi.

With the covert mission, it starts with a welcome surprise. Han Solo reveals himself to the Empire unit in charge of the weapons factory. He is pretending to be part of a envoy still working for Jabba the Hutt. This checks out as no one other than the Rebels would know that Han had a part in bringing down the Death Star. The Empire has planned a meeting with Han to ‘negotiate’ terms involving weapon materials in exchange for pay. However, the real reason for the Rebels presence is to destroy the factory’s energy core and thus destroying one of the biggest weapon supplies used by the Empire.
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Along for the ride with Han is the whole gang. Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2. The comic does a wonderful job of giving each of them purpose and a notable presence. Its impressive how just in this first volume, each member is given good page time.

What we start to see even early on is character growth. There are moments where Han and Leia’s famous love/hate relationship is on clear display. Where (like the movies) they go from dismissing each others skills and talents to then fearing for the others life. Each drawing perfectly reflects the contradiction of emotions the both of them are feeling. It works fantastic because “The Empire Strikes Back” is so etched into our brains that everything in it makes sense because our mind tells us it must. Perfect example is how Han and Leia’s romance was barely touched on in “A New Hope.’ Yet at the beginning of “The Empire Strikes Back” they already seem to have strong feelings for each other (even if they were not ready to admit it). So now because of this comic book, there is more context to their eventual romance.
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It’s not just Han and Leia’s relationship that is given more colour. Vader learns that the boy who destroyed the Death Star is none other than a Skywalker. You have to give this comic some credit. It’s just volume 1 and yet it’s clear Marvel are not holding anything back. Being the big Star Wars fan that I am, I can’t express how much of a relief that is.

A lot more could be said about the first half, but I want to leave you with some surprises.

What makes the second half of “Skywalker Strikes” so intriguing is seeing how Luke’s coping with the death of Ben.

Luke currently lacks any real Jedi skill, so he starts to question why Ben would die for him. Surely Ben would have left something for him, something that could help Luke continue his training. It’s here Luke goes on a mission to look for what ever it is Obi-Wan would of wanted him to find. Of course, things do not go smoothly on this journey and a fan favorite character ends up appearing whose story coincidentally interlaces with Luke’s mission. Without giving away the character’s name, bringing this player in shows what the comic is doing great. It’s bringing more life into the Star Wars universe! Especially on characters that many of us would have loved to seen more of in the movies.
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I never read Dark Horse’s Star Wars run. So unlike some, I have nothing to compare this to. Even so, I still think this was marvelous. The fear is that with Star Wars movies coming out every year, the comic series would be afraid to delve deep into existing stories just in case they bring out a movie that contradicts the comic. But it looks like Marvel is smarter than I give them credit for and that’s awesome.

Remember, everything now is cannon. Do you want to see characters you have grown to love in more fun, exciting stories that are just as cannon as the movies themselves? Check out Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes

The Totally Awesome Hulk Volume 1: Cho Time review

Written by4926848-hulk2015001_dc11-0
Greg Pak

llustrated by
Frank Cho and Mike Choi

Reviewed by
Tyrone Burns

The quickest distinction between Amadeus’s Hulk and Bruce’s Hulk is the mindset. Where Banner’s Hulk is mainly an aggressive weapon that needs to be aimed, Cho’s Hulk for the most part is just a larger representation of Amadeus himself; albeit a funny, relaxed and cocky Hulk.

For those who know me, I am “a little bit” of a Hulk fan. I have heaps of Hulk merchandise from a sideshow statue to some awesomely cuddly Hulk plush toys. So when I saw that they took Bruce out of the Hulk equation and replaced him with Amadeus, I was a little skeptical, but also excited.
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For the uninitiated, Amadeus isn’t a new character. He has been in and out of Marvel for the last 30 something years. Though his character never reached the popularity of other Marvel heroes, he is known for something pretty special. According to the Pym-Von Doom raw calc scale, Amadeus is ranked 8th smartest person on earth.

Now where most of Marvel’s geniuses intellect is often only shown on scribbly giant white boards or in metal suits, Cho’s intelligence is displayed often over the years in his ability to quickly think of every solution to a problem in just a fraction of the time it would take us dumdum’s to think of one. This has enabled Amadeus to get out of some rough situations in Marvel’s history. So when I saw that it would be him that would become the Hulk it seemed rather fitting, as Bruce has also one of the smartest minds on earth. However, that is where the similarities between the two stop.

The first volume of The Totally Awesome Hulk tells a simple story that involves Lady Hellbender hell bent (cough) on acquiring the strongest being from earth to become her mighty prize. Naturally then, the Hulk is brought into the equation. Being a fairly generic story offers Greg Pak the opportunity to flesh out the “New Hulk”. We see the Hulk in situations we could never imagine before. Like quipping, not just quipping but flirting, not just flirting but accidentally flirting while naked. Obviously then, this comic is a lighter read for us Hulk fans. But the funnier/lighter tale does not make it bad. No, in fact this is one of the best Hulk reads I’ve had in a long time and it’s Amadeus’s quirky personality that really does it for me.
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Helping him along the way is She-Hulk, Miles Morales’s Spider-man and Amadeus’s own sister Madame Currie “Maddy” Cho who so happens to be a genius herself. The interplay between Maddy and Amadeus is fantastic and is a big factor to making the comic so enjoyable to read. She is doing everything she can in helping her brother be the best Hulk he can be, meanwhile Amadeus is finding it hard taking things seriously. Their chemistry seems genuine and you really get the idea they mean everything to each other, which makes sense considering they are each other’s only family.

The new Hulk isn’t one dimensional though, as each issue in the Volume concludes, we see there is something looming in the Hulk’s subconscious, something darker and full of rage. Things become clearer as eventually we see more and more into the back story on how Amadeus gains the power of the Hulk and the current status of Bruce. I won’t spoil anything here but I will say that while the origin of the new Hulk makes sense, I wish it was told a little bit more extensively. It’s only ever teased throughout the volume and though we do get some closure towards the end, it just felt a little short on detail.
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It’s possible that many of the audiences current negative view on origin stories is hitting the writers and they themselves are looking for less generic means of introducing new characters.

I am a huge fan of the art here, especially Frank Cho’s portion. Say what you will about the man, his art is exceptional! The new Hulk looks fun and chilled while still remaining the look of ‘incredible’. Being that Amadeus Cho is Korean, I was nervous that Frank would overdo it on the whole Asian stereotype and thankfully, I came away relieved. Each panel is beautifully drawn.

I loved the humor in The Totally Awesome Hulk and the art brought everything up to 11.

If you have found Hulk in the past to be a little one dimensional, or if you’re like me and have been a Hulk fan for years, pick this comic up. It guarantees a good time!

The Greenlight Webcomic S2EP02 – ABN

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Heart of Millyera: Prelude review

Written by:
Jess Cate

Illustrated by:
Jana Hoffmann

Reviewed by:
Tyrone Burns

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Often with new comic book writer’s and artists, their first issue is an experiment. A test to see how well the team works together and how well the writer’s vision translates in the artist’s work. The writer must adapt normal storytelling to the comic format and sometimes that means the first issue can become overloaded with words

I’m happy to report that is not the case with Jess Cate’s “Heart of Millyera”. The opening pages trade lengthy word bubbles for appropriate art that has the reader in suspense. You will be grasping the early situation through the pictures instead of the words around them.

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Set in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, three geology students and friends- Ida, Gilbert and Celeste go on an assignment trip to a lake that had flooded a town thirty years ago. Their hope is that deep down within the lake lays treasure worthy of a good grade and recognition.

Ida and Gil (Gilbert) put on a pair of custom diving suits (that Gil made) and venture deep into the lake, while Celeste stays up on land in case anything happens to goes wrong.

What Ida finds down below will obviously set up the basis for the upcoming story.

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The art by Jana is warm and yet understated. There are a few pages that reveal bits of humour without dialogue at all. Every panel has a reason to be there and I was actually surprised with how much had happened in just a few pages and yet it never felt rushed. The art’s tone properly compliments Jess’s story and leaves us excited and intrigued about the events that could follow.

Though the beginning hints at darker things to come, this comic had a few funny moments throughout. There is good chemistry between the three main characters and their ‘back and forth’ made each interaction very entertaining.

This may just be a prelude, but there is so much hinted and teased that it’s no wonder Jess and Jana had a successful Kickstarter with this title.

Congratulations to them both! This comic deserves the praise it has been getting. I can’t wait to read more!

Interview with Mike Cooper

Interviewed by Tyrone Burns

For the uninitiated who are you?image

Mike: During the day I’m a computer game developer. I’ve been doing that for 16 years and I now teach it. But then, when I go home at night I become Doctor Mike 2000 and I make comics. I’m the writer/artist for Universe Gun which is a psychedelic superhero comic that I’ve been making for the past 3 years. Prior to that I used to make game mods.

What games did you mod?

Mike: I did superhero story driven missions for “Freedom Force” back in 2002, with a very Stan Lee, Jack Kirby sort of vibe. Freedom force was made in Canberra and I met some of the people who worked on it. It was my first taste of creative fame in many ways.

I started making my own storyline with my own characters. I was competing with people who were making mods with the X-men and Fantastic Four and other known characters. Word started to get around that mine was kind of good. Being a game developer meant I could do a lot of the technical stuff. A lot of people thought it was really cool because it had good lines of dialogue and character voices and so on.

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I ended up making a mod called The Strangers which ended up being longer than the original game. I got a bit carried a way there. Then I made a couple of more artsy mods. There were Tales of the Navigator which was kind of meta-fictional on how the superhero universe was created and then I made an expansion on that game. It got about 10,000 downloads.

I eventually ran out of steam, I was making this in my spare time while I was working insane hours in Ratabag Games. I would get home at 9pm and then start coding the mod into the night, making character textures, or writing some new dialogue. I was doing it all by myself. That was from 2002 through to 2005. I went back for a brief return where I was working with an artist I had met in the forums. I did a mod called The Amazanauts featuring 7 versions of Ms.Amazing all working together, which is actually going to be my next comic series. I’m going to be revisiting that stuff again after Universe Gun is finished. I’ll probably make a note in the comic that you can actually play with these characters or prototype versions of them.

So you can still use your mods on Freedom Force today?

Mike: Yeah it’s still on my website, I’ve got a little games tab down on the bottom of the website where you can get all the Freedom Force stuff. You can get Freedom Force for like $3-5 dollars on Steam and my mods should still plug into it.

Let’s talk more about what you’re currently doing. Namely your comic series Universe Gun.

Mike: Universe Gun is going to be a 12 issue series. 7 of them are out now. I’m currently in the middle of number 8 and drawing that.

What are the main themes of Universe Gun?

Mike: It’s a superhero comic set in the 37th century. Whilst it’s brightly coloured, psychedelic and very silly in places, it’s very politically driven as well.

What types of political drama do we see in the story?

Mike:The X-men for example always compares to the civil rights moment, the mutant rights was similar to black rights and so on. What I’ve tried to portray and discuss in Universe Gun however, is the war against drugs. Since the 1980’s when the Reagan administration decided to get tough on drugs, the American prison population soured dramatically and it’s actually disproportionate with black people who are getting locked up for possession of drugs for recreational use. I’ve mirrored this exactly in Universe Gun with superpowers. Superpowers are illegal; people get locked up for it; low grade ones are referred to as recreational superpowers.

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With the character “Kid Identity,” who you first meet in prison, has been sort of hassled by the police for minor misdemeanors with his power- a malleable face. So I tried to cover it all, “Recreational nonviolent offenders,” using phrases like that.

The other big one is wealth and equality. In the same time period since the 80’s, wealth and equality has been massively polarized on our planet. The rich have been getting incredibly richer, all with this lie of trickled down economics. So I try to apply that to a superhero universe. Imagine if you could buy and sell superpowers. These rich hoarder types would basically gather them all for themselves.

I believe the main villain who gets revealed in issue 5 is the epitome of this wealth polorization. In the comic we have the Life Star. An alien satellite that brought superpowers to our universe. It’s like a natural resource that just turned up. It’s now being strip mined. All the good stuff from it is being taken and locked up in a tax haven. It’s this “woman’s jewelry cabinet” where she’s keeping power rings, some of which used to be people. She’s got a machine that takes people with superpowers, disintegrates them and turns them into a ring that she can wear.

“What was the story I heard?” It was about some oil sheik type dude suffering severe depression. Having this big downer for months because he only became 29th in the Forbes rich list that year. The previous year he had been number 27.

It just made me think, if your incredibly rich and you have a giant bank account, money that goes in there does absolutely nothing to your tangible lifestyle. You wouldn’t know any difference unless you keep looking at that number on your phone or your computer.

That money, these millions that have been diverted from tax dodgers into the wealthy one percent pockets could do massive change. What would happen if it were applied at ground level? Where talking about people not being able to afford medicine;  people not being able to live normal lives;  people not being able to afford food and shelter. So yeah I’ve tried to apply the superhero equivalent of that. What if your very life was taken from you so someone could have your superpowers sitting in a cupboard?

I could tell when meeting you that you didn’t want to just create a comic fluff piece and that you really wanted to say something important.

Mike: Yes I do! When you look at the superhero genre in general, nearly every superhero that has ever been created is either a policeman or a soldier and we actually do a lot more in our world than that. What would the world be like if you had superheroes who were hairdressers, or if you had superhero programmers? For that reason half the cast in Universe Gun are basically non-combat characters. The first two you meet, Princess Amtora is a games programmer. Kid Identity is a street kid but he doesn’t really have the ability to fight or anything, yet he does still have useful powers.

In Issue 2, I introduce Coriolis Boy and Star Girl. They are kind of the strong arm of the team who actually think like superheroes because they have been raised in that lifestyle. I tried to show how inapplicable that is in some ways to a more complex world. You can’t just go out and fight evil everyday with your fists.

How has the series changed since you started?

Mike: It evolves. I did have it fairly well planned out, like the overall storyline when I started. Things keep changing here and there though. There was an entire character who I’ve had to ditch. I’ve had to jettison certain other things because it just didn’t fit anymore. I was going to do space but thought “yeah this story can be told without introducing certain complexity.”

Every now and then something occurs to me and I think “oh my god that fits really well!” If I just move these little pieces around then I’ll actually have something that makes more sense than what I originally envisioned. So yeah, it kind of morphs a bit. There was a lot of planning that went into it. I originally came up with these characters in 2006. I started making the comic around 2013, and I’ve played most of the characters online in mmo’s (massive multiplayer online) and workshopped them in that way. So I actually had plenty of time to figure out who they are and come up with a story for them.

Who is your favourite character?

Mike: (Laughs) That’s a really hard one!

If I didn’t like any of the characters I wouldn’t have put them in there.

Possibly Princess Amtora. She is the first character you meet and in many ways she is the biggest stand-in for me in this comic. She is a games programmer like me. I’m an identical twin. There is generally two of her because of her self duplication abilities. By page 14 she falls in love with herself. She was searching for her ideal programming partner. On Mars they have a total lack of work life balance. Everyone just works all the time which is making the great database smarter and it finds arranged marriages for them. Her ideal programming partner it turns out is herself. That’s a kind of veil reference to a writer looking for an artist. For ages I thought of myself as a writer looking for an artist until I realized the best artist to draw this stuff is actually myself. So I just kept practicing at the art.

What have you learned over the years of writing and doing art?

Mike: I’ve learned about the art of stringing a story together in a comic. I look back on the first couple of issues and I wince a little bit. But “never look back or you’ll turn to stone!” So I’ve learned a lot about story structure. I’ve had a fairly decent understanding in place from making games before, that were narrative driven. “What does the player or the viewer or the reader need to know? What facts do they know by this point? If your going to set up a twist, what facts do you need to reinforce before hand?”

I think I’ve learned more on how to apply that in comics. One of the first pieces of advice you always seek as a first time comic creator is, don’t start with a massive series.

I’ve always thought, “yeah I’ll be ok.” The two downsides I’ve found to that are that I look back on the first two issues and I think they could have been better and if I got that practice out of my system before then, I would’ve had more consistency. Also, I’m now trying to sell seven issues at one time to people at markets and corners. “Hey, spend $30 dollars on me whom you’ve never heard of on these characters you don’t know.” Having a smaller bite size intro piece would be nice.

Why did you decide to write comics?

Mike: It’s a lifeboat for these characters. I’ve had them in my head since 2007, and I think it occurred to me that basically I was going to die with all these characters in my head. I always toyed with the idea of making comics.

I’ve always thought “argh, it’s a lot of hard work”, but then I just thought “my daughter’s moved out; I have fewer responsibilities than I used to when I was making games and being a single parent. Now is the time I thought “right ok, I’m just going to do this! I’m going to make a page every week.” I went to a friend of mine (David Williams), who runs a West Australian course on how to write comics. He introduced me to perspective. I think that was the final piece of the mission. It was like “ok now I’ve got all the skills I need to tell a story, rather than just drawing characters with a vague background.”

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What’s your advice on time management?

Mike: Just set yourself a goal, one page a week. You will be amazed what you can fit in around a day job and everything. Don’t feel depressed! “Oh it’s Thursday, I haven’t done the inking yet. Oh it’s Sunday, I’d better finish this off before I go to work tomorrow.” It works wonders!

Quick questions:

Who is your favorite writer?

Mike: Grant Morrison

Who is your favorite artist?

Mike: My favourite artist is a guy called Seth Fisher who died in 2006. My current favourite artist is Philip Bond.

Where do you see comics going in the next 10 years?

Mike: I don’t see comics changing in a lot of ways. Just telling new and different stories.

Where would you like the industry to go?

Mike: We have things like comiXology which is great, I would like to see that get better in some ways, so that it can be easier to broadcast the comics you’ve made. So, not so much change the way you make them, but change the way people find them.

Who is an overrated writer?

Mike: Geoff Johns. I’ve never really clicked with him.

Who is the most overrated comic character?

Mike: I easily think it’s Wolverine.

Who is underrated as a writer?

Mike: Peter Milligan, he did X-Static which is like a reality TV take on the X-men. No one writes young love like Peter Milligan. He is currently doing Brittania.

Who is the most underrated character?

Mike: Wonder Woman has the most untapped potential. But I think Black Canary is a character who is absolutely fantastic.

Marvel or DC?

Mike: I follow writers, but if I had to then it’s DC.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

Mike: It would have to be an artist I think. I would really like Mike Allred to draw my characters; the guy who did X-Statix.

What’s your advice for new writers and artists?

Mike: Just do it and practice! There is no better time than now. There is never going to be a perfect time to start a comic. Treat your first comic as practice. Drawing a comic makes you draw all sorts of weird stuff that you don’t get to draw just drawing pin-ups or characters. When do you ever draw someone going underneath a desk to fix some wiring on the bottom? Never! Unless the story calls for it.

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The Greenlight Webcomic S2EP01 – RECAP

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Chrononauts review

Written by Mark Miller and illustrated by Sean Gordon Murphy.

Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.

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Think Back to the Future with Bill and Ted having a baby, then that baby gets reported to police because its on steroids. That’s Chrononauts!

Have I got your attention?

If it isn’t clear, Chrononauts is a blast. Just sit back, open the pages up and switch off that part of your brain that acknowledges what could and couldn’t happen if this was in real life. Chrononauts is for the reader that wants fun and action over realism.

Lately, I’ve not been able to finish a comic book volume in one sitting, but Chrononauts demanded it. It keeps a smile on your face from beginning to end and for myself that makes it a must read.

Let’s talk more about the story.

Two best friends:-

Corbin Quin: one of the smartest minds on earth and the main creator of the time machine.
Danny Reilly- hot shot, acts first, thinks later kind of guy.

You can see even early on that these two guys are each other’s world. Its top gun bromance to the max and it’s awesome. The quickness in how each other reacts to make sure the other is ok is commendable (I have to start being a better friend).
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Corbin in cooperation with NASA has created a type of satellite that can go back into anytime in the past. With specially designed suits he is able to go back into time himself. When testing his baby out and diving back in time in an attempt to record Christopher Columbus founding of America, he encounters a hitch. Veering off course in time and space its up to Danny to go in an rescue his best friend.

Not everything is as simple as it seems though, and what follows is a crazy roller coaster ride that jumps through time to monumental moments in history.
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You get the feeling Mark Miller is having a lot of fun when writing this. Compared to his more darker comics in the past, Chrononauts is more of a light, short tale filled with the kind of sensibilities of old. Where a lot of comics today are heavily based around politics and proper science, Mark Miller embraces comics of yester-year with fun/action made first priority.

What would you do if you could travel through time and space? Would you stick with the ‘prime directive’ and change as little as possible?

Chrononauts plays with the reader’s keen eye as we get to witness along with Corbin and Danny some pretty significant moments in time. At one point they have a rather humorous encounter when witnessing the birth of Christ.
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It’s in these great moments that the art shines. If the art wasn’t on point with some of these time periods encountered, then the excitement would of been lost.

Thankfully though Sean Gordon Murphy does a fantastic job of drawing backdrops. Whether it be a beautiful vista in Paris or ancient Egypt, he manages to draw the scope beautifully.

After a stressful day it’s nice to sit down and read something that just takes your mind off things. Plus after reading I guarantee you will feel better for it.

Doctor Strange Volume 1: Way of the Weird Review

Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo

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This was my first taste into Doctor Strange’s lore. (About time right!)
Luckily then, what I had was the perfect introduction to Doctor Strange. This isn’t exactly an origin story, however some of his earlier time as a magician and his training under the Ancient One is displayed, but only to help us readers understand Doctor Strange’s revelations and the story itself.

Normally I get straight into the story, but I feel I should first comment on the art. It’s fantastic! I can only imagine how fun though frustrating it would of been for Aaron (the writer) to convey his mind’s eye to Bachalo (the illustrator).
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The title for this volume is called “Way of the Weird” and if you skim through almost any page in the book you are bound to find some highly unusual imagery.
We see characters with mouths and eyes protruding out of their heads, and Strange himself isn’t just an observer to the weird.. he is often at times the one doing it.
One page has him eating what is described by another character as ‘culinary afterbirth’. The book isn’t afraid to go strange (no pun intended) and I have to give both the writer and illustrator the thumbs up for that.
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The story was highly enjoyable. We are introduced to Zelma Stanton, a librarian who comes to Strange for reasons she can’t well explain. After an unusual first meeting, Doctor Strange offers her the job to be his librarian.. of sorts. He shows her and us as readers the side effects of being earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the outright crazy world he has to contend with on a daily basis. We see glimpses into magical horrors that lurk in some of his hidden rooms and it becomes clear how much Doctor Strange is sacrificing to keep the world we know from being destroyed from the face of existence. The weird he has to deal with face on would drive almost anyone mad. He even warns Zelma at one point not to think too much about it all otherwise it could turn her mind crazy.
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Though we are not shown too much of the main villain in this first volume, it seems his mission is this: To rid every dimension of magic. It isn’t long into the story that we learn whoever this antagonist is, he means business and is well on the way to his dream becoming a reality. His reasons and motives so far are unknown, but in order to stop him Doctor Strange has had to assemble every magician and every Sorcerer Supreme he can to help stop this destroyer before magic is taken forever. No magic means every existence would just collapse in itself. Thus ending many if not all universes.
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The story isn’t all doom and gloom, there are parts that had me smiling and parts that had me squirming.

I genuinely could not have picked up a better first read of Doctor Strange. Almost 100 percent of what he does in the marvel universe is unseen by others. He really is in some ways Marvel’s biggest unsung hero. The weird isn’t just something he faces, it’s something that has taken its toll on him and yet, there he is doing all he can to keep the earth from being destroyed. The book does a wonderful job of explaining Strange’s personality without giving us a history lesson.

If your new to Doctor Strange, do what I did.. pick up this comic and delve deep into the weird.

Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.

Doctor Strange Retrospective

doctor-strange-title-banner-3

Created by Artist Steve Ditko

Also known as: 1242100-doctor_strange_2

Sorcerer Supreme
Master of the Mystic Arts
Stephen Sanders
Captain Universe
Vincent Strange
Strange

Real Name:

Stephen Vincent Strange

First Appearance:

Strange Tales #110 (1963)

Powers:

One of the most powerful sorcerers in existence.

His power is drawn from one of three sources: an entreaty with powerful mystical entities or objects, the bending of the universe’s ambient magical energy and his own psychic resources.

The list of Strange’s magical influences include energy projection and manipulation, matter transformation, animation of inanimate objects, teleportation, illusion-casting, mesmerism, thought projection, astral projection, dimensional travel, time travel and mental possession.

He is constantly learning new powers, thus the full list of what he is capable of is unknown.

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Abilities:

Skilled athlete and martial artist.
Great knowledge of medical and magical spells.
Expert surgeon (with the help of magic).

Rogues Gallery:

Baron Mordo – expert of black magic and mystic arts. Can summon demons. Often classed as the biggest rival and arch nemesis of Doctor Strange.

Dormammu – Ruler of the Dark Dimension. Immensely powerful. Conquerer of universes.

Mephesto – Emperor of Hell, an immortal extremely powerful demonic entity.

Nightmare – King of the Dream Dimension, nigh-omnipotent, nigh-omniscient and nigh-omnipresent, tormentor of anyone who dreams.


The Hood
– can go invisible, has limited levitation abilities. Corruption and power has overtaken his mind.

Group affiliation:
Avengers

The Order
Defenders
Midnight Sons
Former disciple of the Ancient One

Highlights:
1972- Helped form The Defenders

1973- Earned the title Sorcerer Supreme
1988- Strange Tales Volume 2 featuring Cloak and Dagger
2004- Origin remade
2007- Animated Movie
2008- Left the Avengers
2016- Marvel Blockbuster Movie

doctor-strange

History:

Origin Story:

Stephen Strange was born in 1930. He was the eldest child of Eugene and Beverly Strange. At age eight, Strange was attacked by demons working for apprentice sorcerer, Karl Mordo, only to be rescued by Mordo’s mentor, the Ancient One, protector of Earth with the title the Sorcerer Supreme. At age eleven Strange, after aiding his injured sister Donna, was inspired to pursue a medical career.

Whilst home on vacation from college for his 19th birthday, Strange and his sister went swimming. While in the water, Donna suffered a cramp and tragically drowned. Unable to save her, Stephen felt a sense of personal failure and guilt for not having the medical prowess to perform a miracle.

After earning his medical degree in record-breaking time and while having a five-year residency at New York hospital, Strange started to become highly arrogant. Near the end of his 5-year residency, his mother Beverly died. Soon after that tragedy Stephen started to become distant. While his wealth and ego grew and before he turned 30, Strange turned into a celebrated neurosurgeon. Two years after his mother passed away, Stephen’s father Eugene became severely ill. In fear of dealing with another family members death, Stephen never visited his father’s death bed. This infuriated Victor (Stephen’s brother), and while leaving Stephen’s apartment one night in a fit of anger, he rushed out on to the road and was accidentally hit by an oncoming car. Blaming himself, Strange put Victor’s body in frozen storage hoping that the future would hold an answer to revive the dead.

In 1963 when Strange was 33 years old, he was involved in a car accident that causedstephen_strange_earth-616_from_strange_tales_vol_1_110_0001 major damage to the nerves in his hands. Thus his surgical career came to an end. Stephen’s ego would not allow him to accept any positions as a consultant or assistant, so Strange desperate as he was, sought out and pursued all possible treatments for a potential cure for his hands. In time his fortune dissipated and he became a shadow of his former self.

Soon however, Strange began hearing rumors of the mystical Ancient One and with his last bit of money he bought a ticket to the East where he found the Ancient One’s Tibetan palace.  While asking the Ancient One to fix his hands, to which he refused, an attack was brought upon the sorcerer. It was soon after that, Strange learned that the Ancient One was Earth’s magical and mystical defender and that the head of the attack came from none other than the sorcerer’s pupil Mordo. For the first time in years Strange acted unselfishly and tried to warn the Ancient One, but Mordo mystically prevented Strange from doing this. For the sake of the world, Stephen made a vow to learn the ways of magic himself and counter Mordo and his ilk. Becoming a disciple of the Ancient One he spent years being instructed in the art of sorcery, learning how to tap the innate mystic powers of both himself and the world around him, as well as how to invoke the power of awesome entities or principalities, who resided in their own realms, most notably the three benign beings known as the Vishanti. Some years after Strange became a student, Mordo left to seek greater power and in the future he would often clash with Strange in an attempt to prove he is the greater disciple.

Thus over the course of his comic history, Stephen Strange would go on to learn the great powers of the universe while battling entities from other realms.

Written by Tyrone Burns

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