If the name Paul Dini isn’t familiar to you then the man’s body of work certainly will be. He is one of the driving forces behind Batman: The Animated Series, considered by many to be the greatest animated adaptation of a comic character that we have had to date. He is also credited alongside Bruce Timm with creating Harley Quinn, arguably one of the most popular characters of the modern era.
John Belushi is known to many as an American Icon. Dying at the young age of thirty three, John had one of the most respected comedic portfolios in Hollywood. Not only was he one of the original members of SNL (Saturday Night Live) he also went on to star in the cult classic Animal House and soon after he became everyone’s favourite ‘Soul Man’ in The Blues Brothers.
Alberto Schiavone does a wonderful job of telling the story of a man never without talent and yet always without happiness. For all of John’s skills, he was not deprived of personal demons and though we may never truly understand what they were, this telling of John’s life by Schiavone does a good job of not hiding the elephant in the room… that is, his life battle with drug consumption.
Sure, this comic book may not show John Belushi fan’s things they haven’t seen before, but it does a fantastic job of expressing (what seems) all the important pieces of Johns life in a small bite size story.
One aspect that may throw many people off from buying this is the art style. I’m sure to some it is just heavily stylised. However, it sometimes becomes unnecessarily difficult to understand what is happening on the page. It’s unsure whether this was happening because of the strong art style or just bad drawing on the part of Manera.
Some panels are well brought to life though, like the famous scene from Animal House where John gives the camera a cunning smirk while he stares at his college class mate getting changed. People like Dan Aykroyd are drawn beautifully but ironically it’s John Belushi himself that is drawn poorly to the point I couldn’t work out which person on the page was him.
Even with the non consistent quality of art, I still found this a worthy read and one that many should pick up for themselves.
John’s career work is full of moments that would make anybody laugh, but his personal life was anything but jolly. Often times instead of working or attending important meetings, he would be at a bar drinking or somewhere else snorting cocaine.
It’s clear he did highly value things in his life, like his wife Judy who even herself could never understand John’s lack of happiness. The most positive this book describes John is when he befriends Aykroyd. The both of them quickly form a bond of friendship and thus the Blues Brothers dynamic was born. Though Johns personal battles would continue and get worse, it is clear John held great value in many things, just never himself.
This biography of John makes you wonder how someone like him would get on today. With mental illness being understood and respected on such greater levels, the obvious question is; would he still be around if he had the help we have now? Would he of accepted it?
These are the questions that were left with me and I’m sure you will be left with your own, but one thing is clear, John Belushi had a beautiful mind most likely not compatible with the type of world the 70’s offered and yet his work (as short as it was) will be remembered for a long time.
Belushi: On a mission from God may not be perfect but neither was John. Instead it’s in the imperfections that lay a beauty and that’s why I give this comic book a thumbs up!
If you were not a fan of Darth Vader, “you will be… you will be.”
What a brilliant read this was!
On screen, Darth Vader is intimidating and ominous. A big reason is because of the legendary James Earl Jones. I can’t think of another actor who equally demands your attention and respect with their voice.
So when picking up a Darth Vader comic, it has to make up for the absence of audio with a story that is both compelling as it is riveting. That is exactly what you get with Darth Vader: Vader.
The comic starts with Vader cowering to the Emperor after a list of events occurred that put the Empire back some big steps. With each problem having Darth Vader as a key component, we know the Emperor is going to have some strong words.
The conversation sparks doubt in both their minds whether they are one hundred percent loyal to each other in their quest to rule the galaxy.
What follows is Vader going on a personal mission, secret from the Emperor, to find out who the rebel pilot is that destroyed the Death Star and who The Emperor has been commuting with behind his back. All the meanwhile building a personal army again.
We meet quirky “Doctor Aphra” – A rogue Archeologist who finds and fixes weapons for private contractors.
Aphra is in support of the Empire but what writer “Kieron” expresses so well is her humanity. She is not a one dimensional character, but rather an Indiana Jones type, who happens to be on the other side of good. There is literally a scene that is obviously in high tribute to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Currently she has a type of hero worship with Vader and her loyalty for the moment is unquestionable. She is willing to die for Vader but would prefer not to.
Given her specialty, her business with Vader is to help find for him a respectable droid army. Along their travels they are also accompanied by two droids who are literally like the evil doppelgänger’s of R2-D2 and C3PO.
The Protocol Droid’s name is “Triple Zero” (0-0-0.) he is sarcastic, evil but such a joy to read. Where C3PO is a wimp who would rather just live his life in an oil bath, Triple Zero enjoys watching the painful cries of his tortured victims.
“BT-1” is a Blastomech prototype but passes as a Astromech (which is what R2-D2 is.) He is a “shoot first ask questions” later droid who says rather little. But whenever he is on the page, expect explosions and laser fire.
Vader’s little group works so well because it mirrors appropriately the Rebel heroes we all know and love, right down to the two droids.
Throughout the story we see glimpses into Vader’s mind. It’s already clear that Darth Vader isn’t all machine. Deep within his subconscious, his memories as Anakin still linger and surprisingly they are having an effect on how Vader is handling the events around him.
He reminds me of famous pirate Blackbeard who became one of the most feared pirates of all time. He knew how to use his brutal reputation to his advantage while often avoiding confrontation all together. He used fear and spectacle to intimidate his enemies and achieve what he wanted. Often times his enemies would surrender without there being a fight.
Salvador’s art is so impressive! Darth Vader’s outfit consists of the colour black… black and black, but he still intimidated the heck out of me while reading. It must be a number of factors; the lighting, the shades, the prospective. All of it together made every scene with Vader intense and thrilling.
One scene in particular has Darth Vader remembering a moment with Padmè. It was an emotional memory and after all we see is a large panel showing an up close shot of a Vader’s mask. It works wonders as it paints the perfect picture of what Vader want the world to see, not of a man in doubt or confusion but a relentless symbol of fear and order.
The ending involving the Emperor was visually impressive but if I am honest, it wasn’t the ending I was looking for. However, this is only Volume 1. There are so many new factors presented within that make up for the lacklustre conclusion. I can’t wait to learn what will become of Doctor Aphra!
Overall the comic was a joy to read! I luckily have Volume 2 right next to me to get into which is what I will do right now.
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.
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.
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.
The 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!
Reviewed by Tyrone Burns.
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:-
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.