Category: Comics & Books


 

In the graphic novel 47 Ronin, independent comics pioneer Mike Richardson (Star Wars: Crimson Empire) and Japanese-born American legendary comics artist Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo) re-created the famed 1700-1701 historical event of a group of loyal Japanese ronin (leaderless samurai) who avenged the death of their leader.  The award-winning book from Dark Horse Comics is filled with action and intrigue, a dramatic account of the importance of loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that influenced the culture of Japan ever since.  Initially released in hardcover, at last the graphic novel is getting its first trade paperback edition.  The more affordable edition is available for pre-order now here at Amazon and we have a look inside for borg readers below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For most television viewers, the names after a show scroll by without much notice.  But if you pay attention, you may find the writer of one of your favorite episodes is the writer of many of your favorites, which may point you to other series and episodes you’ve not seen yet that you may like.  You might not have heard of Paul Robert Coyle, but it’s likely that anyone who is a fan of one or more genre shows has watched the results of his work.  Or maybe you haven’t heard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Superboy, The Dead Zone, Simon & Simon, or earlier detective and police series like The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Crazy Like a Fox, Jake and the Fat Man, and CHiPs.  Coyle wrote for these series, and readers of his new book Swords, Starships, and Superheroes: A TV Writer’s Life Scripting the Stories of Heroes may find he wrote some of their favorite episodes.

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Candlekeep attracts scholars like a flame attracts moths.  Historians, sages, and others who crave knowledge flock to this library fortress to peruse its vast collection of books, scribbled into which are the answers to the mysteries that bedevil them.  Many of these books contain their own mysteries–each one a doorway to adventure.  Dare you cross that threshold?

The new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition adventure anthology Candlekeep Mysteries explores the Forgotten Realm’s renowned towering library fortress with 17 new mystery themed mini-adventures–each tied to a book in the library.  These can be run as standalone adventures or tucked into your latest campaign.  Including a poster map of the library fortress and detailed descriptions of Candlekeep and its inhabitants, you can pre-order the library cover here at Amazon now, or pick up the Victorian-inspired variant cover via your local gameshop.

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Some of the best dystopian futurism in years comes to a conclusion in the third volume of Blade Runner 2019, the official sequel to the cult classic 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott.  Co-written by Michael Green, the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of Logan, Blade Runner 2049, and Murder on the Orient Express, and prolific comics writer Mike Johnson (Batman, Star Trek, Transformers) with artwork from Andres Guinaldo (Nightwing, Justice League Dark), Blade Runner 2019 Volume 3–Home Again, Home Again finds ex-Blade Runner Ash returning from the Off-World colonies to the rain-soaked future Los Angeles.

Take a look at a preview of this new chapter in the Blade Runner story below courtesy of Titan Comics.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s the nature of the new Star Wars brand to bounce back and forth in the galaxy stories–a lot.  Where the idea of looking back in 2021 to Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens may not sound like an obvious choice, once you realize the context, the characters, and the setting, anyone can get onboard the new two-part Star Wars Adventures tale Smuggler’s RunIf you don’t know Star Wars Adventures, it’s the cartoonier side of Star Wars in the pages of Marvel Comics, targeted at kids.  So you can always rely on some good fun in an issue of the series.  This tale spins out of the monthly series with a story about Han Solo and Chewie after the destruction of the first Death Star, and their plan to spend their reward money.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine takes center stage in a new limited series from IDW Publishing.  In Star Trek Voyager: Seven’s Reckoning, writer Dave Baker (Action HospitalStar Trek: Waypoint) and artists Angel Hernandez  (Star Trek: Picard CountdownStar Trek/Green Lantern) and Ronda Pattison have created one of those rare tie-in stories that is solidly believable as a missing episode of the TV series.  In Seven’s Reckoning, the Voyager crew encounters an alien vessel filled with a cryogenically frozen crew, which should evoke thoughts of Star Trek Into Darkness and its source story, the original series episode “Space Seed” (it also might conjure images from the Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence movie, Passengers).  As Captain Janeway and the crew attempt to assist the peoples, called the Ohrdi’Nadar, Seven lands in the middle of an uprising of the worker aliens–the Vesh–against Septa, their oppressor and leader, getting a close encounter with the Prime Directive.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Fifty years after author Max Allan Collins wrote his first novel while in college at the University of Iowa, titled Bait Money.  The novel featured Nolan, a 48-year-old thief tied in with the mob toward the end of his career in crime, inspired by Donald Westlake’s popular character Parker.  Collins would write eight more Nolan stories, but now 33 years after the last he’s released an all-new Nolan sequel through the Hard Case Crime imprint, the cleverly titled Skim Deep.  In 1987 Nolan is 55 now and thinking about tying the knot with long-time girlfriend Sherry, who he saved from Coleman Comfort, the villain in earlier novels, years ago.  But can someone like Nolan ever quit the business?  Will his past let him settle down in his house with Sherry in the Quad Cities on the Iowa-Illinois border?  Count Skim Deep as another in the win column for author Collins, and a great read that will usher in coming reprints of all his Nolan novels.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It had a promising first and third season, twists and turns, clever story arcs, and a contender for the most faithful adaptation of a comic book series from the past decade.  The creators of the fourth and final season of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gave 2020 a much-needed batch of two complete seasons, and we already gave the third season kudos in the 2020 Best of TV review here at borg.  Kiernan Shipka proved to be one of TV’s best young actors, embodying a character that is next in line after Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, and Liv Moore as young genre heroines who led series you can count on the first time and after re-watches.  Already a contender for one of the best TV series of this century, and one of Netflix’s most creative efforts, how did the final season fare for our heroine Sabrina Spellman?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You may know about Logan aka Wolverine via his movies as played by Hugh Jackman or 47 years of stories in comic books.  But did you know the mutant with the claws and regeneration abilities was part of the same program that gave Steve Rogers his powers as Captain America?  Steve was part of the project as Weapon I and the tenth project–Weapon X–was conducted by scientists in Canada who further tried to make a superweapon by upgrading Wolverine with adamantium, and this melding of the organic and metallic turned him into a cyborg.  That Frankenstein-inspired update to Wolverine’s origin was first written in comics by Barry Windsor-Smith in 2004 as Marvel’s first novel adaptation of comics for adults in Weapon X.  Now that novel is part of a three-part omnibus available from Titan Books as Wolverine: Weapon X–A Marvel Omnibus, part of its rapidly building library of Marvel novels.

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A year after the release of his book Hunter Killer, Brad Taylor is back with the fifteenth novel in his Pike Logan series, arriving in bookstores today.  American Traitor finds the long-time special ops character with his newly adopted daughter trying to create something of a more domestic life.  His first step?  A vacation in Australia with girlfriend/partner Jennifer Cahill.  Pike Logan has been around the world a few times, and so why not meet up with former colleague Clifford “Dunkin” Delmonty on his way to a relaxing dive off the coast?  Unfortunately for Pike, this is a political espionage series, which means no easy vacation awaits, and the need to kill off a few people in self defense who try to interrogate him when he arrives at his friend’s apartment.  Soon he’s sucked back into a clash between nations.  American Traitor arrives in bookstores and here at Amazon today.

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