The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis Vol. 1

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The Wild Storm Vol. 1 – Warren Ellis is a remake of one of the premier Image titles, WildC.A.T.S. In its inception, the original comic was flashy with large glossy artwork and comic pages that barely contained two panels of story. This was very typical of the early Image books as they were driven by the art and not so much by the story. WildC.A.T.S. was then sold off to DC Comics in 1999 and published under one of their smaller publishing houses; Wild Storm and after several runs, may have done the title and team right with The Wild Storm, written by Warren Ellis.

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Angela Spica, sick and disillusioned from being a subject of transhuman implants buried in her body notices everyone on the street looking up. She can see a man falling to his death and she knows she is the only person who can save. In a moment she transforms and flys up to save the man. What she finds out is that the man was thrown out the window of this building and that the man is the mult-millionaire Jacob Marlowe. This act sets in motion a chain of events that will both terrorize and thrill Angela as she is brought into the world of WildStorm.

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This book will re-introduce us to fan favorites, Grifter, Voodoo, The Engineer and Zealot.

Where the initial WildC.A.T.S books were flashy with the alien/supernatural entities of the Daemonites taking center stage; this book is far more gritty as would be expected from a Warren Ellis penned book. The panels with Zealot calling in a clean up crew from a bloody bathroom interrogation sets the tone for what is to come.

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Ellis is one of the best at creating alternative storylines and universes for established comic book characters. He does this and yet remains true to the characters as they were first presented to the comic book world at large. His take on the WildStorm squad is at once intriguing and entertaining. I look forward to seeing where this book goes!

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Batman volume 3: I Am Bane

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Batman, Volume 3: I Am Bane by Tom King is amazing. Not in the geeky teenage arachnid boy kind of way but in the grown ass man with a midlife crisis but has a family to protect and suddenly finds himself facing the only man that has ever broken him kind of way. Oh and by the way, the only man that has ever broken him is pissed. This is Batman vs Bane, the rematch. The real one.

After the events on Bane’s island stronghold of Santa Prisca, Batman has returned home. His mission, as it has been for sometime is to find a way to save the new superhero, Gotham Girl and not let her suffer the same fate as her brother. But to do so, Batman had to take a team of criminals, including Catwoman, into Santa Prisca and bring out the only man who might be able to save Gotham Girl. To do he had to face Bane and defeat him on his homecourt.

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Now Batman has returned to Gotham, but he knows his actions would not go unpunished. Bane is coming to Gotham, to destroy Batman and everyone he loves. To protect his family, Batman must face Bane and break him, once and for all.

“…No? No?! Do you know who I am?! Do you think you can come to my home and take my life from me?! You think you can run away?! You think you can hide behind this miserable city?! You think you can say no to me?! Do you know who I am?! I am not a joke. I am not a riddle! I am not a bird or a cat or a penguin! I am not a scarecrow or a plant or a puppet! I am not your broken friend! I am not your regretful teacher! I am not a child’s fairytale! I am not some circus act here to amuse and frighten you! I am not another one of your madmen howling at the moon! And I…am not some rich boy playing dress up! I AM BANE!…”

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Now I must steal a line, or in my innocence, simply quote a line from that great film, that perfect example of modern art in film; Dirty Dancing. “…when I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong…” and Tom King I was so freakin’ wrong about you. Granted (here is where I insert my weak ass excuse) after the tour de force of a run on Batman comics that was the Snyder and Capullo team, and after another DC reboot, I was sure this was doomed for failure. Then in the first few issues you introduce two new characters into the world of Batman, the Gotham twins that hearkened back to the days of sadness of Saturday morning watching the Super Friends and those two mauve colored costume geeks that were part of what should have been the Justice League. Then came the iconic Batman the animated series and the world become right again and my love for the caped crusader was returned to its true level of coolness. Then came Snyder and seriously, can you blame me? Then came Rebirth and no more Snyder and then Gotham’s version of the Wonder Twins and I was contemplating never buying a Batman comic book again for at least a year or two.

“…When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong…”

Batman’s I Am Bane is a well written, insightful and courageous take on the psyche of the caped crusader. But more than that, it really kicks ass!!

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Grand Passion by James Robinson

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Grand Passion by James Robinson is a terrific throwback to the crime noir novels of lust and violence that makes for a wonderful and misspent childhood. This is cops and robbers and a dirty romance no one is ready for.

James McNamara is a cop, fresh blood in this small town. He thought a new start would be all he needed to put his past behind him. Only he isn’t fitting in with the established station house and finds himself even more of an outsider.

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Mabel is a bank robber. With her lover and partner in crime, she is cutting a path of blood and crime in her wake. Then she sees James and finds her whole world changed. She is at once filled with a lust for sex and blood that is uncontrollable. James feels it too. But then he shoots and kills her partner and Mabel is torn between lust and murder.

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This is the kind of comic book that you would have kept hidden from mom, hell its the kind of comic book that dad would have kept hidden from mom. The book that as a kid you would find in his secret stash along with his other dark and way too cool secrets. Grand Passion is like a really fun B Movie. The kind you will watch over and over again and even quote from but that stuffy critics will pan.

Its just good dirty fun.

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Monday’s Mutant is Birdy

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Birdy is a telepath and sidekick to Sabretooth. She used what she referred to as the Glow to enter his mind and separate his memories so that he could be more man than animal. Under the influence of the Glow, Sabretooth was able to control his aggression and murderous intent. Together they formed their own supervillian team and hired themselves out as assassins and would also wreak havoc on the X-Men.

In addition to telepathy, Birdy also operated a number of firearms. The most of them seemed to be twice her size. Though they teamed together, their alliance was never an easy one and Birdy was constantly in fear that one day Sabretooth would turn on her.

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When it became apparent someone was out to kill Sabretooth, Birdy accompanied him on the hunt. They tracked down Mystique and found out from her that the person trying to kill Sabretooth was actually his own son; Graydon Creed. Birdy confronts Graydon and dies, stabbed to death.

 

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte by Joe Benitez

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Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte by Joe Benetiz proves beyond a doubt that this is Benetiz’s character and he has a firm handle on developing Lady Mechanika into one of the few Steampunk characters that will transcend into the mainstream. Whether that be in comic form only or in all literature.

Reeling from the death of her closest friend and confidante, Lady Mechanika leaves England for a small town in Mexico where she can hide away and find solace. She needs time to grieve and deal with the guilt she feels. She finds that she has arrived just in time for a festival and though she would like to stay alone in her room, she is enticed by the family she is staying with to take part in the celebration for the Dia de los Muertos. The festival for the dead. It seems just the thing to ease her pain.

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But the festival turns into a time of horror as a young bleeding boy wanders into the town. He is the lone survivor of the Jinetes del Infierno, the mythical Hell Riders. They are on their way to take thier payment from the village. They cannot be opposed but Lady Mechanika cannot sit back and allow them to pillage the small town. But can even she stand against these supernatural creatures?

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One of the more put together and well plotted stories so far from Benitez and crew. Lady Mechanika flows seamlessly into Mexican culture and takes the helm as the Lady of Death during the time of Day of the Dead. Benitez has actually humanized her more than ever for this book, allowing her humanity to outshine her mechanical attributes for this tale.

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The villains are well constructed and evil beyond reproach. The horror they do to the weaker townspeople is repugnant and even more so as we learned their past and their secrets. This is an old west kind of comic, with the lone hero protecting the village from the oncoming marauders. Benitez has adapted this tale well into his comic and Mechanika is terrific.

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Another well written and beautifully drawn series.

X-O Manowar: Soldier

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X-O Manowar (2017) Volume 1: Soldier by Matt Kindt is another example of what makes Valiant one of the better comic book publishing houses around today. There is such a commitment to the integrity of the character and the story; it is unyielding to the trends of the marketplace. That may have hurt them from time to time, but overall it has resulted in some of the best comic book stories you may have never read.

Aric of Dacia was born under the rule of the Roman Empire and was taught the art of war from an early age. It was during this time he was abducted by an alien race and forced into slavery. He escaped from bondage with the aid of a weapon of immense power. The X-O Manowar armor. With the armor he returned to modern day Earth.

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But that was long ago and Aric has tired of war and battle. He has left Earth and the begun a new life as a farmer on a faraway world. With the armor put aside he believes he has found peace. But war once again finds him and he is taken into slavery to fight for a new and tyrannical regime. The peace Aric has sought eludes him and once again he takes up the armor and once again he becomes a weapon of power. They thought they could control him and make him battle for them but they were terribly wrong. Aric was a weapon, but now he is the embodiment of war.

Created in 1992 by Jim Shooter, X-O Manowar is a character that is far to intricate for the larger publishing houses to carry and is one of those brilliant and detailed characters that can only come from an independent publisher.

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Soldier is a good starting point for new readers to get to know Aric and with such strong writing and classic artwork, one they will not only follow but hunt down back issue tales!

A really good comic!

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Old Man Logan #25 – Days of Anger

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The original tale of Old Man Logan, written by Mark Millar, first came to light in June of 2008. It told the story of Wolverine, now turned pacifist, living out his remaining days farming with his wife and children. He has vowed to never release his claws again or to cause anybody harm. Haunted by his actions during the takeover of the world by the supervillains. But farming is a rough life and Logan is finding it tough to make ends meet and soon enough the rent is due on his farm. Due to Bruce Banner and his descendants. The Hulk Gang. He takes one final mission, with his old friend Hawkeye and they set out on a quest across the wasteland that was once America. When he returns, with enough money to pay the rent due, he finds his family horrifically slaughtered. The blood on the hands of the Hulk Gang. This drives Logan to finally unleash the Wolverine and what follows is perhaps one of the greatest Hulk vs Wolverine battles ever to hit the comic book page.

Now to the current rash of Old Man Logan books. After the confusing dimension hopping of Marvel’s latest Secret War, Old Man Logan finds himself awake in the current time, the X-Men still alive and a young female Wolverine having taken his mantle. That is fine with Logan, it is a new opportunity for Logan to put right what he lost in the Wastelands. Another chance at a family.

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But in Old Man Logan we find out that Logan is not the only thing to make the leap across dimensions and to his horror, he finds that the Hulk family from his time and his desolate world, have followed. Now Logan knows what he must do. For the Hulks, they are hiding until they become strong enough to take on the world. They know they are hunted, having just seen Bruce Banner of this time murdered by the Avenger known as Hawkeye. But for some of them, the opportunity to exact vengeance on their nemesis is too much to let go.

Now the battle will begin. Now are the Days of Anger.

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Wow, really freaking wow. This is one of those books that most comic book fans will miss. But for those of us who recognize the genius of Millar’s Old Man Logan, we recognize this as the first in what is hopefully a series of books that will bring this character back.

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Then add to the Hulk Gang. A gang of vicious rampaging Hulks.

Yeah, get ready for a bloody damn war!

Silver Sable

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Silver Sable was created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz back in June of 1985 and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #265. Sable is often an ally to Spider-Man but occasionally, her methods and who is paying her will put her at odds with Spidey and the other heroes of Marvel Universe.

Silver Sable, born Silver Sablinova, is a mercenary, war criminal hunter, leader of the Wolf Pack and CEO of Silver Sable International. She witnessed the killing of her mother by her father’s enemies. Her father, Ernst Sablinov, was a Nazi hunter. After her mother’s death she trained her body and mind into that of an elite assassin.

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Sable’s activities as a mercenary, along with her team the Wolf Pack support the European state of Symkaria, her homeland. Symkaria is bordered by the country of Latveria, the home of Dr. Doom. Sable is known for her ice cold persona and absolute control over her emotions. Sable has worked not only with her own team but alongside such notables as Spider-Man, the Punisher, Captain America, Luke Cage and the Daredevil. As well as having formed unlikely alliances with Venom, Sandman and Deadpool. Outside of mercenary work, Sable continues her father’s work and hunts down war criminals. The very kind of people who murdered her mother.

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After the Avengers are defeated by the Sinister Six, Sable recues Spider-man and the Black Widow, but is drowned in a final battle with the Rhino. But this being comics, she is later discovered to be alive and using her death as a cover so that she can hunt war criminals in anonymity.

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Upon a closer look, Silver Sable is actually the closest Marvel has come to Batman. No superpowers, dead parent and an obsessive need to punish evil doers. A highly skilled fighter who is also a CEO of a major conglomerate with funds to wage a personal war.

A movie is in the works from Sony right now called Silver and Black. It is to go along with the Spider-Man film franchise that is kicking off and will feature Silver Sable and the Black Cat. That should be fun!

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