Comic Reading Review: Star Wars: Lando #1

 

Lando #1

  • Writer: Charles Soule
  • Artist: Alex Maleev
  • Published by: Marvel Comics
  • Publish Date: July 8, 2015
  • Notes: The first in a monthly series,

Synopsis:

“You know him, you love him…now, join him for his biggest caper as master of charm Lando Calrissian gets his very own comic book! Before he joined the rebellion, before he ran Cloud City, Lando made his way in the galaxy getting by on some swindles, some swagger, and a smile. Lobot at his side, Lando has a plan to steal a very valuable ship, but has he bitten off more than he can chew? Writer Charles Soule (Death of Wolverine, Inhuman, She-Hulk) and artist Alex Maleev (Daredevil, Spider-Woman, Moon Knight) bring us the tale of a scoundrel in his natural element-trouble!.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

“Hello, what have we here?”

A new comic series for Lando Calrissian has arrived, and it’s about damn time.

I say this not so much about Lando being one of the many staples of Star Wars pop-culture, but for something fresh and different in our intergalactic male-protagonists out there. We got enough of the usual stereotype of mercenaries, soldiers, ex-soldiers, space-wizards, etc. shooting and swinging around. The galactic storytelling frontier needs more scoundrels, tricksters, persons looking to beat the system not through guns and laser swords but with brains and style.

What I like about Lando here, is him as not necessarily the hero type. There is one inside of him, as he has a conscious and a drive to not see others suffer as a result of his actions. But, he is still a man who seeks a better way in taking chances by climbing the social ladders, making deals, paling with Sith Lords. He does not always win. After all, movie fans know he lost his Millennium Falcon, Cloud City, and probably more. But, they know he gains from it too, with Rebellion glory a bit later.

The comic starts fresh, reintroducing his character through an intimate moment, as Lando explains his true intentions to a high-ranking Imperial woman. Rather than simply steal an item or go off running, he feels the need to explain himself to a woman who may have felt more for him than realized. There is an odd sort of fairness to make things right, but also take a gamble in that. Is there more to this moment? Perhaps there is more, as that scene cuts off to the main story of the issue.

Photo Jul 30, 5 34 10 PM

Throughout the book, we get more of this side of Lando; man driven to succeed and looking for himself. Yet, there are consequences, as Lando strives for balance in his lifestyle, as he looks to the present future one day at a time. The fun for us, is this crazy setting of a galaxy under tyrannical rule which establishes a sense of order but still allows for organized crime to continue. If someone is going to get hurt from one’s success, we hope it’s the right people.

But unlike Lando’s comic version from film, we have a nearly different character in Lobot, the headplant wearing man who we met briefly in The Empire Strikes Back. From there, we see only a man who takes orders and mute, almost robotic . Here, we have something far more human and sentient, with opinions and a little dry wit. Lobot is now a fellow comrade with a more fleshed out relateable every-man to his demeanor. A bro, perhaps.

The overall story is nothing major or on the epic scale just yet. However, we do get some interesting moments, as Lando puts himself in constant danger. He sort of welcomes it, and takes chances. To put the odds in his favor, he uses words and takes on ideas. This leads to some unwanted attention at the very top of the Imperial order, as revealed at the end.

Photo Jul 30, 5 33 19 PM

The pencils, inks,and colors are fantastic, for this type of storytelling. a galaxy under Imperial rule can be cold, unforgiving. So, we have a lot of darkness and dirty colors. Yet the settings of fantastic, otherworldly architecture and vehicles are all over, reminding of the grandness of the Star Wars universe..perfect for venturous gambler and scoundrel types.

So, I think this is a great opening issue to an intriguing character. But, hard to foresee if this series will be powerful or lacking. It has a lot of potential, with a fantastic character to explore for our Star Wars fans and casual science fiction lovers. That’s enough for me..

– Orion T

Favorite Comic Covers this Week 5/6/15

My choice favorite covers for comic books released this week…

Featured below…

 Dead Drop #1 (Valiant Comics), by Adam Gorham

Dead Drop 8

Afterlife with Archie #8 (Archie Comics) by Francesco Francavilla

Archie 8

Afterlife with Archie #8 variant cover (Archie Comics) by Francesco Francavilla

afterlife with archie

Bandette #10 (MonkeyBrain Comics), by Colleen Coover

Bandette 10

Arcadia #1 Cover D variant cover (Boom! Studios) by Scott Pfeiffer

Arcadia b

Convergence: Superman #2 (DC Comics) by  Brad Anderson

Convergence: Superman #2

Feathers #5 (Boom!) by Jorge Corona

Feather 5 Boom

Halogen #3 (Boom Studios) by Afu Chan

HALOGEN 3

Angel and Faith: Season 10 #14 (Dark Horse Comics) by Scott Fischer

Angel and Faith: Season 10 #14

Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #1 (Dark Horse Comics) by Ben Stenbeck

Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #1

Names #9 (DC Vertigo) by Christine Duart Peter

Names #9

Punisher #18 (Marvel) by Mitch Gerads

Punisher #18

Kanan: Last Padawan #2 (Marvel Comics) by Mark Brooks

Kanan: Last Padawan #2

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 (DC Comics) by Steve Pugh

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2

Special thanks goes to the r/comicbooks Reddit board, originally featured some of these covers sans titles and other text. Link to more textless comic covers here.

Check out your local comic stores and digital outlets for the great stories inside!

– Orion T

Comic Reading Review: Starlight – Volume 1

Photo Feb 15, 8 59 10 PM

STARLIGHT

  • Writer: Mark Millar
  • Artist: Goran Parlov
  • Published by: Image, Feb 2015
  • Pages: 168
  • Notes: Collects the monthly series, issues 1-6

Synopsis:

“Forty years ago, Duke McQueen was the space hero who saved the universe. But then he came back home, got married, had kids, and grew old. Now his children have left and his wife has passed away, leaving him alone with nothing except his memories…until a call comes from a distant world asking him back for his final and greatest adventure. Collects STARLIGHT #1-6.”

Personal Thoughts (no big spoilers):

I enjoyed the story, though very simple and basic as far as good vs. evil plots go. The only straight difference is the hero, who reluctantly returns from retirement from his space-faring younger days of a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers swashbuckling time of life. Now Duke McQueen is back, where all is predictable in stopping an evil warlord. Kingfisher, as the villain is called, rules the once-protected planet as an overly evil ruler who enjoys filming executions, with no sense of remorse or redemption. The hero must band with the rebels and save all that is good here. I keep wondering if there is something more to all this.

I wonder if there is something more to all this. But then again, it’s Mark Millar (Kickass, Wanted) writing, who tends to have fun with some surprising gore (a little light for this series so far, but it’s there). That’s not so much a bad thing, which adds charm for the light readers who enjoy some pulp action.

Photo Feb 15, 9 14 27 PM

I also enjoyed the humorous tidbits of culture reflecting back to our hero’s world..the late 20th century pop culture, and how nobody cared on the far-fetched exploits of our hero. Mainly in the first issue, we get some great exposition of our hero’s past exploits; something that would have made a great series in itself, if not mistaken for Buck Rodgers. But what sets him apart is a kickass spirit within, not slowed by his age. The book at times almost has a Galaxy Quest vibe, especially when we see how dependent (and non-dimensional) the Tantalus people are. Our aged here must inspire them, as to the question becomes..how would they live after he saves them? I hope there is something more to all this in future volumes.

Where the book truly shines as worthwhile is the artist, Goran Pavlov. His work is breathtaking and probably heavily influenced by the classic fantasy work of Jean “Moebius” Girard. This is a good thing and sets the book apart from other space fantasy tales. The coloring is also quite grand and stylistic.

Photo Feb 15, 9 10 16 PM

The pulp era costumes and architecture is awesome, with sharp detail only when needed. The facial expressions and posing of the characters are also well done, with a bit of all era science fiction thrown in. Some I see is with the spiky hair boy sidekick reminding me of modern anime, and Kingfisher reminiscent of Ming the Merciless and every other 80s cartoon villain personality. The kind in me is very gratified, to see where all this turns out in the end.

I will be reading on for more story, enjoying the art and hoping for more in literary depth. For those out there, I would recommend to those who enjoy simple fun, with gorgeous art.

– Orion T

COMICS: Image Expo 2015, many new series announced

Recently announced at the Image Expo 2015 show. New coming series coming:

A.D.

AD

  • Creative Team: Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire
  • Coming: November 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site):

“AD: AFTER DEATH will be set in a near future where death has been cured and one man must come to grips with what comes next.”

Black Road

Black Road

  • Creative Team: Brian Wood and Garry Brown
  • Coming: September 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Set in Viking Age Norway, BLACK ROAD follows Magnus The Black, a fixer for the Christian Church who loses a Roman official to bandits on the infamous Black Road. Heading north to fix the problem and complete his contract, he uncovers a secret, something so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe. But with one foot in the world of the pagans and the other in that of the Church, who can trust where his loyalties lie?”

Heaven

Heaven

  • Creative Team: James Robinson & Philip Tan
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “HEAVEN introduces readers to a distant future where the forces or man and alien combined have used religion to conquer this universe and are now ready, about to invade the next one — Heaven itself. The “Good War” between man and angel will span galaxies and dimensions, building to a final conflict that threatens to negate all of reality itself. Along the way many players on both sides of the war will be featured; soldiers, spies and politicians all with different goals and agendas even as their two distinct and differing realities explode around them.”

I Hate Fairyland

I hate Fairyland

  • Creative Team: Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
  • Coming: Fall 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Bestselling artist Skottie Young (Fortunately, the Milk, Rocket Raccoon, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz) and Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz) would like to introduce you to Gertrude, a snarky, slightly deranged 40-year-old with a battle axe who happens to be trapped in a Shirley Temple-esque body and confined to the technicolor funworld that is Fairyland. I HATE FAIRYLAND is an all-new series full of morbid, dark humor and snark—perfect for fans of Invader Zim and Fight Club.”

Island

Island

  • Creative Team: Various
  • Coming: June 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “ISLAND, a collaboration spearheaded by Ríos and Graham and featuring a murderer’s row of the most interesting artists in comics, will be an oversized 72-page monthly magazine, scheduled for June 2015. “The idea is to make longer-form stories in each issue than you get in many anthologies,” explained Graham. “The chapters will be 20 to 30 pages each. So it will be like a bundle of several comics in one book.” “

Kaptara

Print

  • Creative Team: Chip Zdarsky & Kegan McLeod
  • Coming: April 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “KAPTARA follows Keith Kanga, a young bio-engineer flung across the universe onto a strange planet filled with weird danger. And if he doesn’t get home then Earth—the place where YOU live—is DOOMED!”

The Ludocrats

Ludocrats

  • Creative Team: Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Davide Lafuente, & Ricardo Venancio
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “The Ludocrats is a decade-in-the-making opulent fantastical comedy,” said writer of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE and PHONOGRAM, Kieron Gillen, “This is a book which has hyperbole as its baseline, and considers the impossible as an aim only fitting for underachievers. It’ll change your life. Primarily by letting you own a comic called The Ludocrats, where BARON OTTO VON SUBERTAN and PROFESSOR HADES ZERO-K are the last defenders of a ludicrous aristocracy against the insipid forces of normalisation.”

Monstress

Monstress

  • Creative Team: Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “In MONSTRESS, readers are transported into the early 1900s, where immense Leviathans roam the Earth, wielding unimaginable powers that many have long desired to exploit. When a teenage girl with a mysterious past forms a tenuous psychic bond with the most dangerous of all the Leviathans, she becomes the target of both human and otherworldly authorities who will stop at nothing to possess her—to control her, and control the Lord of the all the Leviathans. What they don’t count on is the courage of the girl herself—and the fact that she is slowly becoming more than human..”

No Mercy

No Mercy

  • Creative Team: Alex De Campi & Carla Speed McNeil
  • Coming: Spring 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “It was just a trip, before college. Build schools in a Central American village; get to know some of the other freshmen. What could go wrong? After tragedy strikes, these once-privileged American teens must find their way home in a cruel landscape that at best doesn’t like them, and at worst actively wants to kill them. No phones. No passports. No mercy.”

Paper Girls

Paper Girls

  • Creative Team: Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, & Matthew Wilson
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “PAPER GIRLS is the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who experience something extraordinary one day..”

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl

Phonogram

  • Creative Team: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matthew Wilson
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Emily Aster’s the hyper-acerbic cover-queen whose one liners are sharper than her fringe; she’s been the one people love and love to quote. In this new chapter of the PHONOGRAM series, readers discover how she got that way, and where it got her. She sold half her personality for power. This is what happens when that faustian deal catches up with her, and what that half her personality has been doing all these years.”

Plutona

Plutona

  • Creative Team: Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, & Jordie Bellaire
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “PLUTONA follows the story of five suburban kids who make a shocking discovery while exploring the woods one day after school… the body of the world’s greatest super hero, Plutona, laying dead among the mud and grass.”

Revengeance

Revengeance

  • Creative Team: Darwyn Cooke
  • Coming: June 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “REVENGEANCE is a psychological thriller with darkly humorous overtones. When Joe Malarky is faced with a criminal tragedy, he sets out to make things right on his own. What follows is Joe’s odyssey through the underside of the city and the madness that seems to drive his crazy world. REVENGEANCE takes place in Toronto in the mid-eighties and is part crime story, part psychotronic melodrama, and a wholly fond look back at the author’s hometown.”

RUNLOVEKILL

RunLoveKill

  • Creative Team: Eric Canete & Jonathan Tsuei
  • Coming: Spring 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “The story follows a wanted woman in hiding named Rain Oshiro. The narrative style will prominently feature two very different but significantly connected moments throughout her life: “The Past”—which will explore her history as an impressionable student, an abiding soldier, and a wanted fugitive; and “The Present”—which will show her as she is now and how she copes with (and runs away from) the decisions made in her past. At its core, the story is an exploration of choices—both good and bad. And now, how her choices have formed her into the person she has and will become. Set against a background of a futuristic world as only artist Canete can imagine, Rain has just 24 hours to escape a barricaded city while trying to evade a military force determined to either capture or kill her.”

Savior

Savior

Creative Team: Brian Holguin, Todd McFarlane, & Clayton Crain
April 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “A man appears with no background, no memory, and no place to call home. But this much is clear—this individual possesses certain powers, abilities that harken from the Old Testament… Could he possibly be this corrupted world’s SAVIOR in the flesh? Or will he be the world’s undoing?”

Sons of the Devil

Sons of the Devil

  • Creative Team: Brian Buccellato & Toni Infante
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “SONS OF THE DEVIL is a dark look at a blue collar 25-year-old orphan who learns he is the son of a cult leader. Like True Detective and The Following, SONS OF THE DEVIL is an exploration into the dark side of human psychology. It’s a grounded take on cults that balances the real world with the supernatural. It’s gritty, character-driven, and tonally lays somewhere between SOUTHERN BASTARDS and NAILBITER.”

Starve

Starve

  • Creative Team: Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, & Dave Stewart
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “STARVE is set in a world where chefs are practically royalty, and access to them is the ultimate status symbol. Chef Gavin Cruikshank, back from self-imposed exile, finds his little foodie television program “Starve” transformed into a gonzo arena sport where chefs slice and dice rare and endangered species for their super-rich patrons. Since his personal life is as much a shambles as his professional career, Chef Cruikshank works to repair his relationship with his grown daughter while dismantling the monstrosity that Starve has become.”

Tadaima

Tadaima

  • Creative Team: Emi Lenox
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Throughout childhood, Emi visited her Grandmother in Japan frequently. But through the years of high school and after, she hadn’t been back in nearly twelve years. Sadly, within those twelve years, both her Japanese grandparents passed away. TADAIMA is a travelogue documenting a trip back to Japan with her mother for a memorial service to renew the sobota, a wooden grave marker, at her grandparents’ tomb in Fukushima. Touching on Japanese spirituality and cultural differences, TADAIMA is more than a book about landmarks and foreign cuisine. It’s about family.”

We Stand On Guard

We Stand on Guard

  • Creative Team: Brian K. Vaughan & Steve Skroce
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “WE STAND ON GUARD is an action-packed, military thriller set in the 22nd century. The series follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians-turned-freedom fighters who take up arms against a violent invasion of their country by a technologically superior nation: the United States of America.”

COVER ART: Greater Comic Cover Art of Dec. 2014

Here is some favorite comic book cover art, published in the past month of December 2014.

Also, special thanks goes to the r/comicbooks Reddit board for originally posting many of these covers sans titles and other text).

Now, on with the show…

Grayson #5 (DC Comics), by Mikel Janin

Grayson 5

Drifter #2 (Image Comics), by Nic Klein

Drifter 2

Rocket Raccoon #6 (Marvel Comics), by Skottie Young

Rocket Raccoon 6

Secret Six #1 (DC Comics), by Dale Eaglesham

Secret Six 1

Wolf Moon #1 (DC Comics, Vertigo imprint), by Jae Lee

Wolf Moon 1

Catwoman Annual #2 (DC Comics), by Gary Brown

Catwoman Annual 2

All New X-Men Annual 1 (Marvel Comics), by Andrea Sorrentino

All New X-Men Annual 1

Trinity of Sin #3 variant (DC Comics), by Cully Hamner

Trinity of Sin 3 (variant)

Green Lantern Corps #37 (DC Comics), by Bernard Chang

Green Lantern Corp 37

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #3 (IDW) by Gabriel Rodriguez

LittleNemo-03-cov-d0777

– Orion T