Tag: Staff-Picks (Page 3 of 5)

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol 01

star_wars_darth_vader_tpbWritten by:
Kieron Gilles

Illustrated by:
Salvador Larroca

Reviewed by:
Tyrone Burns

 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.potw-vader-1

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.darth-vader-2-1

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.vader1b

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.

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!

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

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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

Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm review.

Written by Bill Willingham 

Illustrated by Mark Buckingham

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Volume 1 teased ‘The Farm’. We know it was a place where fabled creatures who cannot pass as humans go to live. The Farm was praised by Snow White and other enforcers but always seen as a prison to the fabled residents.

Well in Volume 2 we get to see the farm up close and personal.

Twice a year Snow White visits the Farm to check on the fable community. This time on her visit she brings along her sister Rose Red and Colin (one of the 3 little pigs). Rose Red is forced into visiting the Farm with her sister as a type of community service because of her involvement in the antics of Volume 1. Colin however is being moved to the Farm because… he is a talking pig and can no longer be in New York without us Mundies (Nonfabled folk) noticing.
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All is not well however as once they reach the Farm, it becomes clear that many of the residents are not happy, some feel like prisoners so much that a rebellion was started against the fabled community. The leader of the rebels is non other than Goldilocks, with the 3 bears as her minions.They are willing for heads to roll to reach their goal and their target becomes Snow White.

The more I get into the series the more I’m seeing writers freedom. Each character is portrayed in fresh ways and again Bill isn’t afraid to show some fan favourites in shocking new lights. No fable is safe both physically and morally. Goldilocks for example, in her original fairy tale, she is shown as a happy-go-lucky kind of girl who happens to make friends with a family of cute bears. In the Fables comic series however, she is a bit of a psychopath. Sure, what she wants for all fabled creatures is fair but her means to achieve that dream is filled with blood and murder of anyone who feels differently.

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Bigby Wolf takes backstage here, this is a story of two sister’s Snow White and Rose Red and the events that take place in this story could end up killing their relationship forever. What makes things interesting is that you can relate to both, Snow White is like the fable government telling the fairy tale creatures what is best for them, and Red Rose is like the fairy tale creatures telling the government what is best.

The art is beautiful here with each character illustrated exceptionally. In some ways they look so much like the way you remember from childhood that when they are either displayed in a darker tone or are murdered in gory detail, it takes your eyes time to adjust to what your seeing.

I enjoyed Volume 2 just as much as the first and I look forward to what happens next.

Written by Tyrone Burns

East of West Volume 1 Review

Written by Jonathan Hickman.stk617091
Illustrated by Nick Dragotta.

When I picked up East of West, I admit I mainly chose it because of its cover. I am going through a western phase and I’ve been watching a few old classic movies.
So when I started reading East of West I expected to read a comic version of something like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and well.. I was wrong.

So very wrong.

What you get instead with East of West is a futuristic world with heavy biblical/mythological themes in a ‘dystopian version’ of the United States as the backdrop. You have to concentrate on every page, on every bit of dialogue as Jonathan Hickman the writer throws you right into the thick of it, expecting you to grab your bearings right of the bat.

The story is centred around the four horsemen of the apocalypse; Conquest, War, Famine and Death. Death has gone rogue and the other 3 horsemen are on the search to find him.

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Hickman once said in a interview that Death is a Clint Eastwood type with the suit and cowboy hat whose character feels “betrayed”, while the other 3 horsemen are described as feeling “abandoned”. It’s clear to see, especially later in the Volume that the horsemen are multidimensional and in someways, their titles do not completely represent the personalities within.

The story is made even more interesting with the introduction of a newly formed group called “The Chosen” who are elites from Seven Nations with the sole purpose to bring an end to the world.

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So what you get with East of West is a sci fi western story that though highly based in fantasy hits home about human imperfections. It looks at the world half empty with “the end of the world” becoming imminent because everyone hates each other to much to solve the biggest problems. Yet with all that doom and gloom it paints a glimmer of hope, coming from the most unlikely of places.

The start of this adventure is well told and cleverly paced. It doesn’t hold your hand but it makes the characters and the world so compelling that even if at first your as confused as I was, you want to keep reading, keep piecing together the puzzle and when things do start to become clear, you may smile as I did, in excitement for what could follow.

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For me the most intriguing character was Death, yes we have seen a thousand interpretations of him but somehow this version was fresh, even a little ‘human’. Though killing may be his job, it isn’t all there is to him. He is moved by something, willing to fight with all he has for it, and reach the dream he feels was snatched away from him.

The art is well suited and displays each of the four horsemen brilliantly, all of them given distinctive features to compliment their name’s. East of West’s world is made of greed, lust, fear and darkness and it shows well on every page.

If your wanting to flex your comic reading muscles and try something a little different then I couldn’t recommend a better book. I am gladly going to add this to my ‘must collect series’ list and find out more about the apocalypse.

Written by Tyrone Burns

Chakra the Invincible: Secret Origin review.

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Written by Stan Lee, Sharad Devarajan, Ashwin Pande, Scott Peterson.
Illustrated by Jeevan J. Kang

“The only thing worse than failing is not even trying.” That is Chakra’s motto in the same sense that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ is Spider-Man’s.

The phrase really sets up the theme of the story, eventually motivates Raju to become the superhero Chakra and let’s be honest, Stan Lee is great at catchphrases.

Chakra the Invincible is the first Indian hero from the mind of Stan Lee. Meant for all ages and the story doesn’t disappoint.

Before becoming Chakra, Raju was just a boy trying to live a normal life with his brother, Sameer. Sameer has had to take the responsibility of bringing up Raju since their parents’ death and therefore he has become like an idol to Raju. At one point, Raju was trying to defend a man (who is obviously a nod to Stan Lee) from a group of young bullies but failed miserably. He had the heart but not the strength to deal with the group, but just when things got really bad for Raju, Sameer appeared and made quick work of the ruffians. Raju sees his brother as a hero and that inspires him.
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Raju spends most of his time with a funny, eccentric scientist named Dr. Singh who, for the life of him, can never remember the boy’s name. One night, a group of thugs come to steal Dr. Singh’s work and in a hurry, he gives Raju his most important invention of all: the chakra armour.
From that moment on, we see Raju learning what the suit is capable of and how the suit can be used for good.

What we get onwards is an exciting accessible story that contains adventure, action and heart. Sure it may be too lighthearted for some but what lays deep in this story is a message that applies to the best of superheroes. Never give up. There are times, especially towards the end that Raju feels overwhelmed and alone. However, it is the symbol of what Chakra is that encourages him throughout to keep on trying.
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The story is mainly centred around Raju and his brother but we do get to meet a few other characters. One that stands out to me is Leela, a neighbour to Raju who shows her affection through punches and teasing.

The comic is advertised for all ages and for the most part I would agree, though containing a few adult themes, they are more implied than shown. Chakra the Invincible does lightly deal with death and murder but nothing really steps into an area where I wouldn’t recommend it to parents for children. Just as long as the parents are aware of some adult themes similar to Uncle Ben dying in Spider-Man.

Though I do not know how much of the story came from Stan Lee, you can’t help but be amazed with what he has accomplished in his early 90’s.
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The art is fantastic, think Ben 10 but with bold outlines that draw you into the picture and what’s happening in the scene.

I genuinely enjoyed this. Though sure it may not be as dark as other comics out there, it has a light spirit that is refreshing in a world full of such darkness.

Excelsior! Stan Lee has another hit with Chakra the Invincible.
Review by Tyrone Burns

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