Tag Archives: Comics books

Mystery Comic 3: War Heroes 1

Comic (3)

War Heroes is a six part mini-series written by Mark Millar (writer of Wanted and Kick-ass). It was released in 2008 by image comics. First of all let me say that image comics does a great job with this issue in presentation, not only does this book have a nice hard stock cover but it also doesn’t have any ads within the story. At first I thought it was a fluke but there really aren’t any ads in the book until the end, and even then there isn’t an ad on the back cover. I can’t remember the last book I have seen without an ad on the back cover! Hell DC is even putting ad banners on the front cover of a lot of their books recently so it’s nice to see a company give a shit out their product looks.

So the basic premise of this book is an alternative world take on the war on terror. Past the 9/11 attacks the USA has been attacked several more time in increasingly devastating attacks, starting with an attack on the capital. As the attacks escalate the response of the USA has increased as well. Martial law was declared after the being attacked in Washington DC and within six weeks the USA has invaded Iran. Later the USA has sent responses to Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. While increases in recruits occur after every attack the war is extremely unpopular and the government is having a hard time getting new recruits. In an effort to get new recruits the government has been giving new recruits super soldier drugs which give them comic book like super powers. Super strength, speed, and flight are included in some of the powers. The book ends with a small glimpse of several new recruits on their last evening at home before being sent to boot camp.

So it’s a little disconcerting that the first page has a Muslim with a bomb strapped to his chest blowing up Washington DC. That being said this book is definitely not pro-war propaganda such as Frank Miller’s Holy Terror. There is clearly some stuff going on under the surface and it is apparent that some of these attacks on US soil were clearly inside jobs.

“Even black Tuesday when two and a half thousand Americans died in three separate chemical attacks, failed to bring the country back together like the president expected”.

Clearly more is going on and I’m assuming it gets into all of this throughout the series. I have been a big fan of Millar’s work on other series and this seems on par with some of his other works. He often likes to mix genres and which comic books. This really fits along those lines of what if soldiers had super powers. He’s done stories like this before with Superman Red Son, Wanted, Kick-ass, and Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s repeating himself for sure but he also does a good job and each one of these stories feels pretty unique and deals with different issues.

It wasn’t enough really to peak my interest into reading more but it does seem like an interesting story.

I did some digging on wikipedia and this series is famous for never completing.  It was suppose to be a 6 part series but ended abruptly after only 3 issues without a conclusion (it made it on Newsarama’s list of Comic Book Cold Cases).  The first issue was released in June of 2008, the second in September of 2008, and the third in October of 2009.  The series was optioned by Sony in 2008 for the film rights but being its been 6 years since any word we can safely call this series dead.


Spider-Gwen

Spider-Gwen 1

The first issue of Spider-Gwen finally came out as part of its own new on going series this past Wednesday.  Now you might remember Spider-Gwen from her first appearance in Edge of Spider-verse 2.

Let’s back it up a little further.  Over the last couple of months there has been a spider-line wide crossover event at Marvel called Spider-verse.  The core series of Spider-verse takes place in Amazing Spider-man Issues 9-15, however it spans across every spider-man related book that is out right now in Marvel (Superior Spider-Man, Spider-man 2099, Scarlet Spiders, Spider-verse Team Up, Spider-woman, Spider-verse, Edge of Spider-verse).  I think

I’ll write a separate blog post just about the Spider-verse but the long and short of it is the Inheritors are killing Spider-men across every parallel universe and in order to stop them a team of Spider-men from across the multiverse team up.  So because this event involves many different versions of Spider-man Marvel released a five part series to re-introduce and in some cases introduce for the first time, some different versions of Spider-man.

Issue 2 of the Spider-verse introduced the world to Spider-Gwen.  It’s been the break out issue of the series.  As of right now it is entering it’s fifth print run and on Ebay 1st print run issues of Edge of Spider-verse 2 are going for as much as $150.  So it was no surprise that Marvel decided to spin out a on going series based on Spider-Gwen.  The series is written by Jason Latour with art by Robbi Rodriguez, who were the team that wrote and drew the Edge of Spider-verse issue 2.  So before we talk about Spider-Gwen let’s catch up, and they even provide us with a foundation of her on the first page of Edge of Spider-verse 2.

Edge of Spider-verse Previously On

So in this universe our Spider-gwen is thought to be responsible for the death of Peter Parker.  She is actually thought of as a villain, all though she is actively helping people out.  Because of this Kingpin sent out a goon to help recruit Gwen to join his forces.  A fight ensued and Gwen was forced to reveal her Identity to her dad.

The Mary Janes

Not only does this world’s Gwen have spider powers but she is also in a rock band “The Mary Janes” which has a hit single “Face it Tiger”, which is the most adorable thing ever.  The first issue of Spider-Gwen picks up right where Edge of Spider-verse 2 left off.  Gwen is trying to prove to her New York that she is a hero not a villain while trying to balance life as a teenager.  The art is fantastic and makes a lot of use of the secondary color pallet.  The sound description words have a cool stylization and make the pages really pop.  We get a lot of interesting stories threads in this issue, we get the one going struggle with Gwen and her dad, the infighting between Gwen and the band, a new threat of the Vulture, and ongoing thread of the King Pin.  The first issue was really fantastic and keeps the spirit of what they started in Edge of Spider-verse 2 and the lightness and fun that makes Spider-man such an enjoyable character.  Spider-Gwen is on my pull list and I can’t wait to get the next issue.  If you would like to buy a copy go to your local comic book shop (soon it’ll sell out) or pick it up here at Comixology.

As a little added bonus I tracked down all the variant covers I could find.  I’m still finding variant issues as there were a lot of retailer specific ones out there I didn’t know about.  I’ll update this as I find them.


New Comic Book TV Part V: Constantine

Constantine TV Logo

Constantine marks the last of the new Comic Book inspired TV shows to come out this year. You may have noticed I haven’t made a post on The Walking Dead yet. I will, it’s just I’m way behind on the series (currently only half way through season 3) so I’d like to catch up a little more before I write about it. However that reality is looking less and less likely so I’ll probably just go into it not knowing how the last season and half turned out. But we aren’t here to talk Walking Dead, we are here for Constantine.

Most of the new TV season came out during September with Constantine the only straggler premiering in late October. I think this was probably to coincide with the spookiness of Shocktober but also probably to get it a little breathing room from all the other shows coming out this year. Constantine is the only comic book related show on NBC and honestly the way they have premiered it late and have it showing on Friday nights (the night that TV shows go to die) shows the lack of confidence they have in it. I’ll never understand putting all the money and effort to get a show produced and then actively trying to harm it once it’s released but whatever…

Ravenscar Asylum

The show starts off with Constantine in the famous Ravenscar insane asylum. We get the impression that he has committed himself here during the aftermath of something that occurred in Newcastle. While in the asylum he performs an exorcism on demon which gives him a warning and leads him to Liv Aberdine. Liv is the daughter of Constantine’s mentor who is unaware of the entire supernatural world which Constantine introduces her to. They come across the demon Furcifer which after a fairly impressive CGI battle Constantine sends back to hell. Some things are revealed and due to a little intervening by Constantine Liv decides not to get into the exorcism business but leaves John with a map speckled with locations where supernatural events will soon occur.

Hellblazer 11

Overall this was a great first episode. We get an already battle worn John Constantine who we get the impression has been in the exorcism business for a while. We get the impression that the business has taken a toll on him and that mistakes have been made along the way. The early introduction of Newcastle is a nice little easter egg of the Newcastle Incident that appears in Hellblazer Issues 11 and 12. At first it’s mostly smoke and mirrors that something bad happened there but we get a better explanation of what went down during the end of the episode. We also meet Hellblazer regular Chas Chandler who you may remember from the 2005 movie played by Shia LaBeouf pre-I’m-not-famous stage.

Chas Constantine

While it comes together pretty well there has been some weird behind the scenes decisions which effected the episode. The character of Liv was meant to be the co-star of the show and work with Constantine though the series. Something happened behind the scenes and she was written out of the show which makes for her awkward introduction and quick disposal as a character. They do this as organically as possible but its pretty clear they had long term plans for her in the series and last minute decided to ditch her. I don’t know how this will effect things going forward but it seems like a bad choice to make. For a TV show the CGI did look pretty impressive which is good because with all the supernatural elements the series needs bad CGI will slowly make the show grating and hard to watch.

Things I Liked

Constantine Vol 1 Issue 1 Variant

Overall I did like the show. I think they had a good atmosphere and theme and did a good job of capturing the essence of John Constantine. John Constantine isn’t a great guy, he’s selfish and while he’s doing good work he’s generally doing it for selfish reasons. The show did a pretty good job of getting this across. I think it is undercut a bit introducing the Newcastle incident so early in the series. This was a real mess up for John and deeply affects him throughout the entire comic book series. It was good to see this was in the show but it would have been good to have more perspective about it. Constantine does dickish and selfish acts like what he did at Newcastle all the time generally feeling little to no remorse. The way they are portraying him I believe this will come out more as the show progresses and I think the over compassionate side of was just due to them only being able to show so much in a single episode.

Things I Didn’t Like

No Smoking symbol

I know. This has been discussed ad-nasium. From the moment they announced the show the first question was “Will Constantine smoke?” and for some its literally all they seem to care about. It’s a stupid thing to get to hung up on but it really is a big part of who he is. The “Dangerous Habits” arc about John getting lung cancer (which the 2005 movie was loosely based on) is one of, if not the most popular arc in the series. Would Don Draper be as iconic and intimidating if he didn’t smoke? Probably, but smoking is a part of who he is and has effected major story lines in Mad Men. NBC can’t show Constantine actually smoking. I believe their hands are tied in this matter and apparently network TV cannot show people smoking. I think they do a decent compromise with basically showing everything but him actually smoking. They make an obvious effort to show Constantine with his lighter at every possible moment and during the last scene of the show he’s shown putting out a cigarette he was clearly just smoking. We are probably just going to get more of this which is fine, it’s just dumb and annoying that NBC’s hands are clearly tied in this matter and these are the hoops they have to jump through.

jerry final thought

Overall I am really looking forward to this show. It looks like it’s going to be like a police procedural with John fighting new and interesting demons each week. Basically we are getting a new version of the X-Files and I am completely on board for that. There is a lot of backlash about how Constantine has been watered down since his reintroduction into the new 52. I really just don’t see this as the case. Is the new 52 version of Constantine different than the Hellblazer version? Sure. But at the heart I think it’s the same character and if there weren’t some changes or growth in the series it’d be stagnate and boring.


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