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Tag Archive: Andy Diggle


This summer Dynamite Entertainment is re-uniting the team of writer Andy Diggle (Detective Comics, Green Arrow, James Bond: Hammerhead) and artist Luca Casalanguida (James Bond: Hammerhead) to bring spy thriller genre fans the next chapter in its series of James Bond international espionage stories, James Bond: Kill Chain.

Dynamite describes the new story line:
When a counterespionage operation in Rotterdam goes catastrophically wrong, James Bond finds himself in the crosshairs of a plot to smash NATO.  Someone is assassinating allied agents, and 007 is the next target in the kill chain.  Having kept the peace for decades, the old alliance is collapsing, pitting MI6 against its former ally – the CIA!

Issue #1 of James Bond: Kill Chain will feature a selection of cover variants, with covers drawn by Greg Smallwood (Archie, Moon Knight), interior artist Casalanguida, and Juan Doe (Guardians of the Galaxy), among other variant options.

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revival-vol1     ciudad-graphic-novel-cover-oni-press

Happy Free Comic Book Day!

If you can’t make it to a comic book store today, why not try some digital comics?  Four independent comic book publishers–Dynamite, Image, IDW Publishing, and Oni Press–are coming together to offer a low-cost entry into their critically acclaimed graphic novels, many reviewed here previously at borg.com.  The pay-what-you-want “Bundle of Independents” features approximately $300 worth of books by some of the comic book industry’s best creators.  Books in the bundle include titles by Howard Chaykin, Ande Parks, Garth Ennis, Greg Rucka, Andy Diggle, Peter Milligan, Jim Starlin, Jae Lee, Tim Seeley, Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, Brian Wood, Rick Remender, Joe Hill, Sam Keith, Cullen Bunn, and many others.

This bundle showcases not only some of comics’ best creators but their original creations, and sales support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The first tier is unlocked with a $5.00 minimum contribution, while a $12.00 minimum offers fans an additional batch of graphic novels, with even more available for a $25.00 or greater contribution.  The more readers contribute, the more it allows publishers and creators to continue to make other comics available.

Parker Hunter Cooke     MG 1

The $5.00 Tier includes eight comics and collections, valued at approximately $70:

·       The Boys Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Dynamite Entertainment)
·       Revival, Vol. 1 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton (Image)

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Uncanny Issue 1 Jock cover

Next Wednesday Dynamite Comics is releasing Issue #1 of a new crime series, called Uncanny.  Writer Andy Diggle and artist Aaron Campbell offer up a modern noir story about a flawed yet oddly powerful American named Weaver set in modern-day Singapore.  Uncanny is similar in many ways to many recent crime monthly comic book series.  It’s an edgy, action noir mixed with pulp spy novel crime story that will appeal to fans of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fatale, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets, and Jason Aaron and RM Guera’s Scalped.

The update of 1930s-1940s film noir to the modern city is intriguing.  Diggle’s Weaver seems capable of being a variant on James Bond–rugged, overconfident–yet instead of running after the bad guy by all accounts Weaver seems to have created his own problems leaving him to be the man on the run.  Campbell’s art deftly balances the bright lights of the city with the night-time dark tone of a man somehow caught up in the city’s underbelly.  And Campbell’s first issue of the story is heavily influenced by both the recent Bond films Casino Royale and Skyfall.  In fact, his characters, the style and setting are similar to Mike Grell’s James Bond: Permission to Die mini-series.

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Young Romance one-shot cover

DC Comics went retro for Valentine’s Day this year releasing the first issue of the classic Young Romance comic book title in literally decades, a title that started its own sub-genre more than sixty years ago.  For the new DC Comics New 52 that means six stories in an anthology of young love for the 21st century, superhero-style.  So this adds Young Romance to other long-lost classic titles recently resurrected for the New 52, including All Star Western, Mystery in Space, G.I. Combat and Worlds Finest.  Maybe it’s time for DC Comics to keep those trademarks in order?  No matter, the February 2013 issue of Young Romance does what it needs to, featuring personal glimpses of key characters Catwoman, Batgirl, Aquaman and Mera, Apollo and Midnighter, Nightwing, and Superman and Wonder Woman.

Catwoman and Batman in Young Romance

Young Romance features work by a slate of top DC Comics creators.  The best of these is Ann Nocenti and Emanuela Lupacchino’s look at Catwoman’s first encounter with Batman in “Think it Through,” and Cecil Castellucci and Inaki Miranda’s Victorian ghost story tale of Aquaman and Mera in “The Lighthouse.”  Ray Fawkes and Julius Gopez offer a great looking Batgirl story with “Dreamer.”  “Seoul Brothers” features a story out of the Stormwatch series featuring Apollo and Midnighter written by Peter Milligan with art by Simon Bisley.  The Dick Grayson story “Another Saturday Night” was written by Kyle Higgins with art by Sanford Greene, and the Superman/Wonder Woman story “Truth or Dare” was written by Andy Diggle with art by Robson Rocha.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It really comes down to one thing.  Is the art of Ryan Sook, the superb cover artist for series like Justice League Dark, good enough to cause you to spend $7.99 for an 80-page comic book?  Let’s come back to that.

As you may know, Vertigo is an imprint of DC Comics, known for stories targeted at mature readers, including elements of stepped up violence, sexuality, horror and just plain controversial subjects not easily absorbed by the mainstream audience.  Mystery in Space is a classic comic book series beginning in the 1950s, known for great sci-fi stories including stories featuring Adam Strange.  Suspense and intrigue were key to the original series, and they often had the feel of Twilight Zone stories.

Along with titles like G.I. Combat and Worlds Finest, DC has been making the best of grabbing readers through a little bit of nostalgia, and the title and classic cover of the one-shot anthology Mystery in Space #1, in the style of the original 1950s series, is step one in reeling new readers in.  As with short story anthologies, the challenge is whether a writer can really put together a narrative with a beginning, middle and end that can be compelling, exciting, and original, in just a few pages.

The new Mystery in Space is good.  Good enough that it leaves the reader wanting more.  Sure, not every entry in an anthology will be great or even good.  That’s the beauty of an anthology–if it’s good there will be something for everyone.  But there is no reason DC cannot continue churning out anthologies like this of classic themed sci-fi stories.

The book starts out with a bang, and the first story “Verbinksy Doesn’t Appreciate It” is a great story about a cyborg with an unwanted cybernetic arm and a classic storytelling session among typical guys in a bar.  Written by Duane Swierczynski and illustrated by Ramon Bachs, the story blends alien abduction and The Matrix.   Smart and dark, at 8 pages, Bachs conveys panic and emotion nicely.

Green Arrow: Year One and Adam Strange writer Andy Diggle joined forced with artist Davide Gianfelice on “Transmission.”  Billions of lives are at stake in a Star Trek Voyager “Year of Hell” throwback, with a female ambassador taking on a computer that rules all like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Quick plot movement and a satisfying resolution highlight this as one of the best stories in the set, although it ends off the mark a bit.  I’d love to see more books drawn by Bachs and Gianfelice.  Gianfelice’s giant star map room is evocative of Data’s star room in Star Trek Generations.

Writer/artist Ming Doyle serves double duty on “Asleep to See You,” an account of two women pulled apart by time and space.  At one level the life and times of a flight attendant of the future, it packs a surprising amount of emotion and delivers a classic Twilight Zone resolution of the happy ever after variety.  A simple story, written in a simple style, Doyle proves you don’t need a lot of blatant sci-fi elements to have a successful sci-fi story.

Probably the weakest of the anthology is Ann Nocenti’s “Here Nor There,” which spends too much time with clever dialogue and not enough time with character development.  Fred Harper’s unique style didn’t work for me, at least tied up with this story.  Not awful, just one to read and then move on.

“The Elgort” is a story more fantasy than sci-fi, and I really liked the adventure story by writer Nnedi Okorafor and artist Michael Kaluta.  Like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, it follows a girl flying across a strange land with varying levels of beastie threats.  A little Avatar and a little Predator, this story has a cool feel and interesting voice.

Writer Steve Orlando provides a cool glimpse at a coming of age story for centaurs in some far away place in “Breeching.”  Artist Francesco Trifogli illustrates a tale reflecting a culture not unlike Mr. Spock’s Vulcan race, struggling with the question “am I a man, or am I a horse?”  Not a lot of resolution but themes of loyalty and conformity are well-played here.

Probably the most controversial of the bunch, “Contact High” covers a love triangle among three astronauts on a space mission, and the inevitable result when idle minds in tight quarters erupt against each other.  A psychological mini-drama, Robert Rodi and Sebastian Fiumara tell their story effectively, with Fiumara’s art and need special effects renderings the better part of the team-up.

Kevin McCarthy and Kyle Baker’s “The Dream Pool” is full of action but the over-wordy story and big-eyed girl art put this at the bottom of the anthology.  There’s probably a good story here but it feels like the creators would have been served by fleshing out the story and art better–it seems a bit rushed.

Sweeping colors, simple concepts and epic level weirdness puts Mike and Laura Allred’s “Alpha Meets Omega” among the best of Mystery in Space.   Amazingly they deal, again in only a few pages, with the most heavy of concepts in a refreshing way, that will leave readers hopeful in the face of loss.

“Verbinksy Doesn’t Appreciate It” and “Alpha Meets Omega” really perfectly bookend the anthology, illustrating some good editing thoughts went into this compilation.

So, back to the first question: Is the art of Ryan Sook good enough to cause you to spend $7.99 for an 80-page comic book? 

The answer is yes, as I hesitated before buying this issue, but Sook’s awesome blending of fantasy and science fiction with this seventeenth century Valkyrie with archaic or steampunk tools painting a star map inside the hull of her spacecraft, pushed me over the edge.  Luckily what resides inside the covers does not disappoint.

The CW Network just released the first photo of Stephen Amell in the new Green Arrow supersuit for the new TV series, titled simply Arrow.

The costume was designed by Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood.  A native of the Seattle area, Atwood has created a pretty interesting look for the classic DC Comics superhero son of Seattle, Green Arrow, alter ego of Oliver Queen.  In fact, you could see someone wearing this outfit in a crowd on the streets of Seattle on a typical gray day and no one would even give him a second glance.  And that certainly fits with an urban hunter who needs to keep a bit of a low profile.

The costume seems to reveal some tidbits about the new Green Arrow.  First, although the outfit doesn’t appear dark and brooding itself, the dark shadows that Amell is filmed in reflects that the producers want viewers to see this as a dark superhero drama.  So fans of the cheesier, bright and shiny, green vinyl look that Oliver Queen wore in the Smallville series, take note.

I always thought this bizarre "leafy" outfit from Smallville is something you'd see Joker's girlfriend Poison Ivy wearing.

As we predicted (and hoped) earlier here at borg.com, happily, they are taking a different tack here.

Jock's tougher looking, hooded Green Arrow outfit from the Year One mini-series.

Second, this photograph isn’t just an homage to Jock and Andy Diggle’s Green Arrow: Year One, this IS the Green Arrow designed by the artist known as Jock:  from the hood, the small arrow quiver, the vest design with the extended shoulders–further cements this new series as a Year One-inspired story.  The fact that one of the show’s characters is named Diggle leads one to believe either the creators were working with Diggle & Co. or at least heavily influenced by the recent incarnation of Oliver Queen in the Year One mini-series.

The costume also is obviously heavily influenced by the character’s own idol, Robin Hood.  This can be seen in both the medieval stylized green suede mantle and decorative trim, but even more so on the bottom from the front to the reverse in the skirting/dags/tippets/flaps as seen in Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood costume from the classic Adventures of Robin Hood, as well as in the Green Arrow early 1980s Wonder Years mini-series.  The medieval capa or hood bridges the early 1980s incarnation with the later 1980s version created by Mike Grell for The Longbow Hunters.

Green Arrow from Green Arrow: The Wonder Years

The small quiver would seem to indicate removing the possibility of fitting Oliver’s renowned trick arrows in there.  Probably a good thing for this kind of series.

The only possible detracting component is the pocket(s).  I think pockets on this kind of piece are actually kind of humorous.  Would Oliver have time to stand around with hands in pockets in stealth mode?  It seems a bit 1990s “hanging out on the street corner” kind of look.  Yet altogether my verdict is…  I think this costume works.  Green leather and possibly suede are slick materials to use.  Dark tones.  Inspired by various past Green Arrow influences.  Practical gloves.  No unnecessary belt with a big “G” buckle (I never have been a fan of that part of the costume).  Looks like someone jumping around buildings could move easily in it.  And it doesn’t look silly.  Clearly some good thought and planning went into this.

Atwood could have taken one of these huntsman outfits from the Snow White movie, but didn't.

We shouldn’t be surprised.  Costume designer Colleen Atwood has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and won three Oscars, for Alice in Wonderland, Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago.  Her other work includes Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Public Enemies, The Rum Diary, The Tourist, and the recently previewed coming release Dark Shadows.  Do we see a theme here?   Yep, pretty much all “dark and brooding”  Johnny Depp vehicles, and interesting designs.  Recently Atwood designed costumes for the 2012 release Snow White and the Huntsman and Mission Impossible III, but her past work includes film classics like The Handmaid’s Tale, Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, That Thing You Do, Gattaca, Fallen, Mumford, Big Fish, and The Planet of the Apes (remake).

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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