Category: Comics & Books


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you only know Alex Ross from his extensive work with the DC Comics superheroes, get ready for a great book of poster art featuring all-new paintings of the superheroes of the Marvel universe.  Bar none, Alex Ross is the creator whose coverage has received the most views and feedback in the past 10 years of borg (early on we looked at some of our most favorite of his artworks here and you can see all our coverage of his projects here).  You’ve probably already checked out Alex Ross’s previously reviewed art overview books Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross, Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross, and The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross.  Although Ross has created countless covers and projects like Marvels over the years, what you may not be aware of are full-figure, painted portrait, images of the Marvel Comics superheroes Ross installed last year in Marvel’s New York offices as a life-sized mural.  All 35 individual character posters used in the mural are now available in a giant-sized book, The Alex Ross Marvel Comics Poster Book, full of premium cardstock, ready-to-frame posters, including a 44″x16″ foldout of the entire connected image.

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Beasts of Burden Occupied Territory banner

The eight-time Eisner/Harvey Award–winning comic book series returns this year.  Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory continues the adventures of the wise dogs in Dark Horse Comics’ unique blend of fantasy, humor, and horror.  An elder member of the pack of recalls a harrowing World War II mission where a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads threatening to overwhelm Japan.  The dogs attempt to solve the mystery, coming into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.  Writers Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer and letterer Nate Piekos return with artist Benjamin Dewey to take fans of the long-running, episodic series where they’ve never encountered this anthropomorphic pack of brave sleuths before.

Beasts of Burden Occupied Territory cover

The book collects Issues #1-4 of the single-issue series in a hardcover compilation.  Here’s a preview from Dark Horse Comics of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory:

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Loki Mobius

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is likely the most popular villain in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  He’s also one of the best, staying true not only to the comics, but the spirit of the Norse mythology they pulled him from.  So a Loki series, coming soon to pay streaming provider Disney+, is almost guaranteed to be the big winner of 2021, right?  That seems to be confirmed in the latest trailer for the six-episode event series.  Is there a superhero series or movie this year you’re more anxious to watch than Loki?

As demonstrated by Luke Wilson’s appearance as co-star of Stargirl, you get the feeling the Wilson brothers are going to be the secret weapon for another sure-fire superhero series (even if it is about a super-villain).  This time it’s Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius, who is going to introduce Loki–and the audience–to a new universe tangent to the Marvel world we know about.  Mobius M. Mobius is a character with some true comics street cred, originating from the mind of writer/artist Walt Simonson.  And Mobius has a past in the comics pages connecting him with Fantastic Four and She-Hulk–will Wilson’s character be the new glue to connect the integration of the FF from Fox to Disney, and pull Tatiana Maslany’s She-Hulk into the MCU in her own series, due to arrive next year?

Loki cat

And does this furry friend know Goose from Captain Marvel?  Other actors in the series include Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Richard E. Grant, who played Marvel character Dr. Rice, the mad scientist in Logan, from the other Marvel studio–Is this another opportunity to pull in the Fox Marvel stories?

Check out the latest trailer for Loki:

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Cartoonist/writer Gene Luen Yang is taking readers to the Old West this summer in the pages of DC Comics’ Batman/Superman series.  DC’s multiverse will collide as the Batman from one reality meets the Superman from another.  They will team-up with their Earth-0 counterparts to try to thwart the efforts of the villain of the series, Auteur.io.  Classic 1930s an 1940s movies tie-in to the villain’s schemes, and the series promises Golden Age-inspired superheroes taking on robots, supporting characters like you haven’t seen them before, and more. 

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Alien Alex White

Review by C.J. Bunce

Three years ago here at borg I said no book or film has portrayed the people behind the Weyland-Yutani Corporation as more vile and despicable as author Alex White has envisioned them in the novel Alien: The Cold Forge, a sequel to the second film in the franchise, James Cameron’s Aliens.  In that story the Company is proceeding to fulfill one of its initial ideas: to weaponize the Xenomorphs for military use.  Alien: The Cold Forge was Aliens as if written by Michael Crichton, a blend of Congo and Jurassic Park with aspects of the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy tie-ins and Project X.  As vile, greedy corporate types go, White upped the ante.  White’s sequel, Alien: Into Charybdis, is different, but a must-read for fans of the first chapter in what could have been a trilogy of novels, as this book is nearly twice the length of the first at 560 pages.  A mix of Office Space (without the comedy) meets Rogue One and Dungeons & Dragons, this is a dark adventure in a giant research facility of international IT and network guys duking it out over what goes where and why that just might make readers feel like someone is flipping a die before the characters enter the next room.  Continue reading

Taskmaster pic

It’s been more than a year since Disney/Marvel released its “final” movie trailer for the final movie in the Infinity Saga–Black Widow.  We’ll all forever scratch our heads over why it didn’t enter anyone’s mind at Marvel Studios to get Black Widow her own movie before Infinity War and Endgame.  But Scarlett Johansson as a younger Black Widow, and a fun cast of Russian characters may finally see the light of day after a year and a half of pandemic shutdowns–although most of us will still be watching it on our TVs instead of the theater.  A slightly modified, new trailer is out for Black Widow, with a new summer release date.  Check it out:

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Goodall portrait

Along with plenty of science fiction reviewed here at borg, we’ve covered “science fact” and making the world a better place through natural science and ecology and we love to review new cookbooks that come along, especially if tied to something we’re interested in.  We also love superheroes, and it’s difficult to find a superhero that ranks higher on our list than Jane Goodall, known first and best for her study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania–now 60-year study–and more recently as a protector and advocate for the planet.  Working with her Jane Goodall Institute she’s released a new environmentally friendly cookbook #EATMEATLESS: Good for Animals, The Earth & All We tried one of the recipes, and you can check out a few for yourself in the below preview of this new cookbook.

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Agatha Award 1

Here’s some news that got us off to a great start this week–The Agatha Award nominees for 2021 were announced this weekend.  For more than three decades the annual honor has recognized nominees like familiar names John Grisham, Anne Perry, Max Allan Collins, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Ann Cleeves, Rhys Bowen, Charlotte MacLeod, and many more, as well as celebrated those significantly contributing to the mystery genre, like Angela Lansbury and David Suchet.  Nominees are announced early each year and winners awarded at the summer mystery convention Malice Domestic.  The annual list commemorates traditional mystery works typified by the novels of mystery author Agatha Christie (pictured above).  And who was nominated for the 2021 Agatha Award?  Our own borg contributor Elizabeth C. Bunce, for her novel Premeditated Myrtle

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With what seems like an ever-widening move away from superhero movies for kids in the live-action arm of DC Entertainment–from a too-long recut of Justice League to another Suicide Squad movie aimed at adult audiences–fans of comic book movies for all ages should be glad to hear three big pieces of news this month from Warner Brothers about forthcoming film projects.  It’s hard to beat word that Helen Mirren has been cast as a new villainess in Shazam: Fury of the Gods, the sequel to Zachary Levi’s Shazam!, a good-hearted favorite of the DC live-action movies.  Along with her untouchable slate of acting honors, Mirren’s performances in the RED and Fast & Furious franchises make her perfect casting. 

Now Pierce Brosnan is returning to theaters in a major role since we last saw him in the great action-drama The Foreigner (reviewed here).  He’s playing Dr. Fate opposite Dwayne Johnson, who has the title role, in Black Adam, coming in July 2022.  That DC project keeps sounding better and better, and Johnson has been talking about it publicly since at least 2008.  It will feature Sarah Shahi (Fairly Legal, Life, Psych) as Isis and Aldis Hodge (Leverage, Black Mirror, Star Trek: Short Treks) as Carter Hall aka Hawkman.

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It’s been a little more than two years since BOOM! Studios took over the Firefly comics license from Dark Horse Comics.  Since then BOOM! has offered up the twelve-part Unification War story arc, a second twelve-part New Sheriff in the ‘Verse arc in compilation editions (Vol. 1Vol. 2, and Blue Sun Rising so far), and the one-shots The Sting and Watch How I Soar BOOM! has also followed Marvel Comics’ template after acquiring Star Wars and is reprinting the Dark Horse classics in new omnibus “Legacy” editions.  For its next series BOOM! is shooting ahead 20 years, long after the crew of the Serenity has departed, and the ship is now captained by someone entirely new:  Emma, the child of Wash and Zoe.  Meet the same ‘Verse in different time periods–the future and a look to Earth before the TV series–in the new six-part series Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse Can there really be a Firefly without Jayne?  Find out in this new series.

Check out a preview of the first issue, and some variant and future covers in the series below.

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