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Category: Comics & Books


Wilds End David Petersen cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Wild’s End, a new comic book series from BOOM! Studios, is quite strange and enchanting—it reads like a Masterpiece Theater version of Winnie the Pooh.  Complete with talking animals, it’s also very British and old worldy.  At the same time this is no ordinary town at its core, more like the town of Haven of the Syfy Channel TV series based on the Steven King story “The Colorado Kid.”  And its inhabitants are as idiosyncratic as those troubled people of Haven.

But Wild’s End is more than that.  Think Alice’s Wonderland of odd fellows versus an attack like you’d find in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, as a downed ship is about to wreak havoc on a peaceful Hobbiton-like community.

Mr. Clive Slipaway, a stout two-legged, walking-talking Great Dane, is new to the town of Lower Crowchurch.  He’s clearly trying to find a quiet place to retire after years of military service or some kind of similar tough life experiences.  He’s a bit like John Wayne’s Quirt Evans from Angel and the Badman—a tough customer who wants to mind his own business until circumstances require him to take action to protect the lives of local innocents.

Wilds End issue 1

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Copperhead #1 Peeples Hastings cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Fans of Firefly and Common Grounds have a great new comic book series to look forward to each month.  Image Comics released Issue #1 of Copperhead this past week, a new Western that takes place on what appears to be a future planet Earth.  We’d call it a police procedural, but it feels more like a classic Western.

Written by Jay Faerber, with art by Scott Godlewski, and colors by Ron Riley, Copperhead is the new hometown of Sheriff Bronson, a tough lawkeeper looking for a fresh start with her son Zeke.  Copperhead is not a friendly town, it’s a dusty place just near the Badlands—we’re not sure yet whether these are the American Badlands or a location on a different world.  But it’s inhabited by the same rough types of Earth’s Old West, only these folks all appear to be of various alien origins.

Copperhead Image Comics Issue 1 cover    Copperhead Godlewski cover

Heading up the cast of characters is a slightly ruffled deputy named Budroxifinicus, a giant hamster built like The Rock.  He’s been passed over for promotion so he’s not too welcoming of Bronson.  He seems harmless enough but we’re thinking he’d being set up to be an interesting partner for Bronson.  Just don’t call him “Boo.”

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Aliens vs Predator Fire and Stone issue 1 cover

As the mercenary crew of the Perses leave the horror of LV-223 behind them, one passenger reveals a terrible new danger, and the crew soon find themselves in a deadly struggle between predator and prey…

Dark Horse Comics expands its Fire and Stone line with the new Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone series, coming to comic book stores in October.  After the break, courtesy of Dark Horse we have a first look at the series Issue #1 as well as the book trailer for the series.

Christopher Sebela will write the series with artwork by Ariel Olivetti.

Aliens v Predator Fire and Stone 1 Mignola

Here’s the preview of Issue #1:

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Edward Hopper original sketch night scene

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

We’ve talked about horror movies before on borg.com, and in my discussion, a common theme of creepy girls and the supernatural emerged.  The thing is, these things aren’t scary on their own.  “Thor” isn’t scary. “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” isn’t scary.  What gives them the ability to scare me comes not as much from their intrinsic natures, but from the images that come from the masters of horror combined with my imagination.

My imagination is the key.  The supernatural have no rules and no limits.  They can do whatever you dream them to do.  Once you start down that road, then anything can trigger those pieces of the mind that start the skin crawling and the sweat to run cold.  The rustling of leaves outside my tent?  Probably the wind.  But, then maybe it’s a mouse.  Maybe it’s a snake.  Maybe it’s a softly moving wolf.  Maybe someone is in my camp.  Before I know it, an army of undead, animals, and adderall-crazed ankle biters have amassed on the other side of the thin sheets of nylon.

Those are two other keys to fear: removing senses and being alone.  If my tent was clear material and I could see the leaves drifting along the ground, my fear would be gone.  If I can hear the voices of friends still up around the campfire, I can feel safe.  If I have a friend telling me to go back to sleep after a late night trip behind a tree, I can rejoin his or her slumber.

Original sketch Edward Hopper Nighthawks

Arthur C. Clarke hits me perfectly again with the short story, “A Walk in the Dark” from the same collection as “The Wall of Darkness.”  The opening is innocuous.  The first paragraph introduces Robert Armstrong as a man who has walked two miles and his flashlight just went bad.  It give you those two pieces of information and depending on your imagination, it might be perfectly safe as you think of a two-mile round-trip hike.  Maybe you just finished trick-or-treating and you can use the streetlights on the rest of the way home.  Maybe your friend has a flashlight.

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BWSF01-Cov-Chen

Review by C.J. Bunce

Starting next Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the Bionic Woman is back.  This time, in her third comic book series in the past two years, following Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and The Six Million Dollar Man, it’s a continuation of the original television series, right where the series last left our bionic heroine.

Dynamite Comics is publishing the new series written by Brandon Jerwa, with interior art by David T. Cabrera.  Issue #1 features cover art by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes and a photo incentive cover featuring Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers.

So how does Issue #1 fare?

Bionic Woman legs

They have the introduction right, presumably to begin each issue like an episodes of the series.  As to moving the series forward in continuity of the era, the tech gets a slight–but only slight–upgrade, with walkie-talkies replaced with wireless comm-links in Jaime’s ears.  Dr. Rudy Wells and Oscar Goldman are back, too.  So the setting checks out.

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New Neil Simon Buffy incentive cover   SMDMSeasonSix06Cov-Ross

It’s going to be another big comic book store Wednesday with plenty of new releases from the best in independent publishers.

The re-started Dark Horse Presents series features Issue #2 this week.  Chris Roberson and Paul Lee reveal an untold tale from Aliens featuring favorite character Hicks.   Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey provide a new Action Philosophers! story.  Plus, new chapters of Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien, Brendan McCarthy’s Dream Gang, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Andy Kuhn’s Wrestling with Demons, and Damon Gentry and Aaron Conley’s Sabertooth Swordsman.

Also from Dark Horse Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, Issue #7, features a play on Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple featuring Xander and Spike.  It even has a great alternate cover that plays off like the classic ad for the movie with Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau and TV series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

DHP1   Mars Attacks Art Gallery cover

In case you missed it, we previously previewed Dark Horse’s Prometheus: Fire and Stone, Issue #1, here.

From Dynamite Comics, The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six is already up to Issue #6 this week.  And fans of Mars Attacks will want to see this new artists edition from IDW Publishing, Mars Attacks Art Gallery, here.

Check out the rest of the previews after the break:

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Hobbit Smaug Unleashing the Dragon cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

To learn what advancements are happening in technical moviemaking, you can always turn to Weta Workshop and Weta Digital.  For the latest in cutting edge film work, you need only turn to the latest book on The Hobbit film series from Weta, its step by step chronicle of the development of the greatest dragon in all of fantasy, Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon.  As a supplement of sorts to their grand Chronicles series detailing the creative story of The Hobbit, Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon is the first look at a single element of the franchise, peeling back the development of one character in all its tiny details and from all vantage points.

A smaller dimension book at 8×10 inches compared to the double size and thickness of the Chronicles series, this format is well suited for similar spin-off works–perhaps a single book on each race in Middle-earth one day?  But like its counterparts, Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon is dense in both text and photos.  Every designer, art director, sculptor, modeller, texture artist, and animator that provided new ideas and elements to arrive at the final creature offer commentary about their thought process and their collaboration with others.

Smaug Unleashing the Dragon excerpt

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barriers - Great wall of China

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

I love when a story starts me guessing like “The Wall of Darkness” by Arthur C. Clarke.  I have so many notions of walls and barriers that once Clarke reveals there’s a mysterious black wall in the dark lands where the planet’s sun doesn’t reach, my mind immediately guesses likely conclusions.

Due to the surge in popularity of all things Game of Thrones, the Wall of Westeros first came to mind.  A structure built of ice and stone to separate the civil from the uncouth and things unimagined.  The dangers were so serious that an elevator is needed to get you to the top of the wall for it is so high. Would the wall of darkness be the same?  What monsters must inhabit the lands devoid of starlight where the wall only becomes accessible at the highest days of summer?  Would they be blind?  Would they be legion, held back by the material of the wall, waiting for a foreign object to infest so as to spread throughout the light?

Wall of Westeros

Then again, the other side of the wall could be something more akin to George R.R. Martin’s inspiration for the Wall – Hadrian’s Wall.  On the other side might be a separate version of the planet’s inhabitants, people that have learned to live without the warmth and light of a star.  They may have fashioned great cities lit by artificial light and have evolved in different ways while exploring cuisines that flourish in the night.  (Think lots and lots of catfish sautéed in mushrooms.)  Maybe this time it’s the Morlocks that are kind and just and they built the wall to keep out the Eloi.  It’s much more romantic than thinking of the Romans and Scotsmen of the very earliest part of the AD centuries separating with a wall due to differences in distance over now adjacent time zones on the same continent.  It’s more romantic to think of Starks and white walkers.  As an earthbound human, our walls are just another case of separating ourselves from those that are “different.”

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Aliens Fire and Stone cover b  Aliens Fire and Stone cover a

During a vicious xenomorph outbreak, terraforming engineer Derrick Russell leads a desperate group of survivors onto a rickety mining vessel.  They hope to escape the creatures overrunning their colony—but they’ll face horrors both in space and on the strange planet they crash on.

Dark Horse Comics is gearing up for a new mini-series tie-in to the Aliens and Prometheus universe.  Chris Roberson and Patric Reynolds will be the creative team on Aliens: Fire and Stone.

Aliens Fire

Equal parts horror and sci-fi, the first images from Issue #1 look pretty good.  After the break, check out this first look at excerpts from Issue #1 of Aliens: Fire and Stone, on sale September 24, 2014, at comic book stores everywhere.

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Star Wars A New Dawn cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

How did the Empire power all those Star Destroyers anyway?

The new, Disney era of Star Wars story continuity begins today with the release of the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn.  Fans of the Star Wars tie-in novels shouldn’t be disappointed with this new story and completely new characters living in that galaxy, far, far away between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  Its primary draw for those fans willing to give the new Star Wars a chance is the introduction of a trained Jedi named Kanan Jarrus and a mysterious Twi’lek named Hera.  But its best success is in author John Jackson Miller’s world building (or galaxy building)–one with more lead female characters than male.

In the galaxy that George Lucas built, the rarest creature to be found was a woman, whether a human, a rebel, an Imperial, or an alien.  Miller does not skip a beat to redefine Star Wars from chapter one.  We meet a black female captain of a Star Destroyer named Captain Rae Sloane, a character who could be on her way to be the next Mara Jade.  She’s young but smart, and exactly the kind of leader a government led by Emperor Palpatine would need to conquer so many systems.  Unlike even the original trilogy, including its often bumbling stormtroopers and officers that fail to follow their Dark Lord’s orders, the personnel building the Empire in A New Dawn don’t make the same mistakes.

Sloane works for a typical Star Wars villain, Count Demetrius Vidian, a cyborg like Darth Vader and General Grievous, which would lend us all to believe a defining piece of Star Wars is a dark cloaked bad guy who has already been blown apart a few times.  The word survivor does fit Vidian.  He is a decisive imperialist, precise, unyielding and villainous–everything you want from your Star Wars bad guy.

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