Tag Archive: cyborgs


Review by C.J. Bunce

Last month I reviewed Alien: Colony War, a novel in the Alien universe that finds hated corporation Weyland-Yutani weaponizing Xenomorphs for an all-out interplanetary war.  Xenomorphs are weaponized in an entirely new way in Philippa Ballentine and Clara Čarij’s next Alien novel, Alien: Inferno’s Fall, and this time nobody knows who is behind it.  This is not another political story unpacking and unraveling Earth’s future, but a gritty and down in the dirt tale of survival from the vantage of three interesting heroines.  One you know, one you sort of know, and the other is all new.  The Colonial Marines battalion known as the Jackals are in prime form in this sci-fi blend of elements from Armageddon, Aliens, and Blade Runner.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

The Alien universe makes a major shift in storytelling in its latest novel, Alien: Colony War, realizing the long-standing promise of Weyland-Yutani, the most hated corporation in sci-fi, finally weaponizing Xenomorphs for an all-out interplanetary war.  In the running for the most action-packed story in the series, it also covers a lot of territory, merging political intrigue with personal trials and one of the best examinations of its cybernetic Synthetic characters yet.  Writer David Barnett taps into surprising tropes as he weaves into the bigger Alien narrative stories from the comics and video games.  It has the suspense of Into Thin Air, the pacing of Jurassic Park, the layered plight of cyborgs from the Humans TV series, and dips back into science fiction’s past with a dose of Forbidden Planet.  That’s a pretty good mix for an Alien adventure.

Continue reading

It was the biggest comic book limited series of 2021, and it featured a rare and certain end to a beloved set of comic book heroes.  At a minimum Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is a love letter to the cinematic action that permeated everything in the 1980s, as well as an homage to the kind of graphic storytelling Frank Miller shepherded into the minds of teens and twenty-somethings back then.  Kevin Eastman returned with co-creator Peter Laird and Tom Waltz and a league of artists to wrap up nearly four decades of sci-fi fantasy antics and drama.  And now like Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns it’s getting its own hardcover edition.  It’s available in comic shops for the first time today.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve read his book James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction (reviewed here) or watched his accompanying series, you can tell that James Cameron is first and foremost an artist.  With an artist’s eye he has created some of the biggest science fiction movies ever made, from The Terminator to Aliens to The Abyss and Avatar.  For the first time Cameron is revealing the contents of his sketchbooks and personal art archives and discussing his creative process and inspiration.  Insight Editions’ giant chronicle Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, arrives in bookstores next week and available for pre-order here.  Fans will find a collection of rare and never-before-published art that reveals how this award-winning director has translated his ideas to film, often employing advanced film-making technologies to realize his unique vision.  But as readers will find, it all begins with pen, pencil, and paint.

Continue reading

AOD1979-01-01021-B-Suydam  AOD1979-01-01031-C-Yoon

Review by C.J. Bunce

While you me, he, her, them, and we are waiting for Bruce Campbell to launch a reboot of The Rockford Files (if you say it out loud enough times, it might just come true), you get to see Campbell’s image as Ash Williams–our favorite cyborg horror hero–in a new comic book series with the laughs and tone of the great Ash vs. Evil Dead television series.  Get ready for Army of Darkness 1979, written by Rodney Barnes and artist Tom Garcia, with colorist Dinei Ribero and letterer Troy Peteri These creators take Ash back from his current attempt to work in the great Pacific Northwest as a logger way back 42 years in pursuit of killing Deadites and laying his hands on the Necronomicon.  A strange new/old gang in the Bronx is standing in his way.

Continue reading

 

Review by C.J. Bunce

It never used to be this way and it didn’t have to end up this way.  Over the years and across the decades, somehow comic book publishers decided comic book readers wanted to see the death of every favorite character.  By the 1990s and 2000s it became more difficult to find a major character that hadn’t been killed off at least once.  But just like you don’t want to watch the final Lassie episode or Benji movie to witness a beloved dog’s last breath (Oh Heavenly Dog doesn’t count), or watch Baby Yoda/Grogu meet his fate at the blade of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, maybe we don’t want to see the killing off of even one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  But the original creators of the TMNT think you do, so if you do, and for those that do, it’s happening right now in the pages of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin We’re two issues into the five-issue limited series, and the first issue has already gone to record reprints, thanks in no small part to a huge number of variant covers.  We always love our variant options, but this mini-series has at least 69 covers for Issue #1 and at least 26 covers for Issue #2.  It’s a bit odd, because the subject matter is that last turtle, so don’t expect much variation in content.  Those knowing their turtles by color, never fear: the black mask on the covers does not give anything way.  For TMNT collectors, completists, and fans of future otherworld stories and what ifs like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, you’ll probably want to at least check out the trade edition for this one.  Take a look at a preview of The Last Ronin below.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s always a big surprise when the holiday episode of Doctor Who is a critical not-to-be-missed episode.  When we last saw the Doctor, she was trapped millions of light years away in an alien prison.  The New Year’s Day 2021 special Revolution of the Daleks is not a filler, out-of-continuity holiday showpiece, instead continuing after ten months have lapsed for the Doctor’s companions back on Earth, and after the Doctor has been imprisoned for years in that same relative time span.  If you missed this episode you missed: the return of John Barrowman’s universal fan-favorite character Captain Jack Harkness, another Law & Order/Law & Order UK crossover/reunion, the last we’ll see of some major characters, a new Prime Minister, a preview of a new companion, and one of the best Dalek episodes in the 57 years of the series.  As the studio releases word that Jodie Whittaker will be soon leaving the series, Revolution of the Daleks reflects that both her performance as the 13th Doctor and Chris Chibnall’s running of the series has finally arrived.  It’s a timeless story full of important, lovely emotional beats, fantastic new sci-fi special and visual effects, and a return to the classic framework and themes of the show’s past.

Let’s take a look at why this episode was superb and offer up some candidates for the 14th Doctor…

Continue reading

AlteredCarbon_S2_MainTrailer

Review by C.J. Bunce

The first season of Netflix’s Altered Carbon was a fantastic sci-fi series with a stellar cast and a story and production values that rivaled the original Blade Runner and its 2017 sequel.  Based on Richard K. Morgan’s novels, the series is centered around Takeshi Kovacs, a future soldier in a world where science has developed a hard drive called a “stack” that is implanted in humans’ necks, allowing our memories to be uploaded to storage and replanted over and over so they seemingly can live forever, even in new bodies.  That conceit allows Kovacs and other characters to be played by any number of actors, which, as demonstrated in Season 2, can allow the series to continue indefinitely much as Doctor Who’s regeneration mechanism allows replacement Doctors.  So how does a series fair when it replaces the lead after the first season?  Can it keep up the intrigue and interest for viewers?

The first season asked: What does it mean to be human, and how much can you shed away and replace with technology and still retain the “self”?  Unfortunately, the second season falls a bit short.  Although it wisely was paired down from ten to eight episodes for its second season (season one couldn’t keep up the action and would have benefited from some good editing), the series just doesn’t capture the same magic.  Anthony Mackie′s assumption of the role of Kovacs in the year 2385, years after the events of the first season, is more of a re-hash of what we saw Joel Kinnaman do with the character last season.  Mackie is usually one of the best parts of any project he tackles (The Adjustment Bureau, Captain America: Winter Soldier), but the story and dialogue here are not as sophisticated as in the inaugural effort, and Mackie is always intense, his acting dialed up to eleven, much different than his character in the first season.  Simone Missick, who we loved in Marvel’s Luke Cage, provides an interesting new cyborg character for the Altered Carbon universe as Trepp, but it didn’t quite catch up to the passion of Martha Higareda’s driven cop Kristin Ortega last season.  But where the series shines is in its supporting cast of characters, many returning from last season.  The result is like comparing the first season of the Battlestar Galactica reboot with the last–good television–even if it’s not as gritty and exciting as the first season, it still may be the best sci-fi series on television this year.

Poe Dig 301

Foremost is Chris Conner back as the artificial intelligence who has taken inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe, a bodyguard of sorts looking out for Kovacs (Mackie) in his new body (called a sleeve).  Conner brings to the series the same kind of compelling look at the trouble of incorporating humanity into robots or cyber-creations, the same type of battle of sentience in the non-living as conveyed by Robert Picardo as the emergency medical hologram in Star Trek Voyager.  In this season Poe is in trouble–his matrix is broken and he needs to reboot, which he does not want to do because that would mean he would forget Lizzie (Hayley Law), a key character of last season, and a memory stored in his digital mind.  Not rebooting means he makes mistakes that could hinder Kovacs’s ability to stay hidden from his pursuers.  But there is hope for Poe, and that comes in the form of another creation, another artificial intelligence, an ancient storage “archaeologue” unit called Dig 301, played by Dina Shihabi, who nicely substitutes as a futuristic love interest for Poe.

Continue reading

 

Review by C.J. Bunce

Ash Williams–our favorite cyborg horror hero is back, this time in a comic book series with the laughs and tone of the great Ash vs. Evil Dead television series starring Bruce Campbell.  Get ready for Death to the Army of Darkness, written by Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman: Gates of Gotham) and artist Jacob Edgar (Savage Tales: Red Sonja), with colorist Kike J. Díaz (Sherlock Frankenstein, Ether) and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Red Sonja, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt).  These creators take us to Ash six months after the events of Army of Darkness–the sequel to the Evil Dead movies.  Ash just wants left alone, but deadite-possessed people keep pulling him back in.

Enter magic, the kind of magic that will make you wish this story was the next to hit the small or big screen.  A bad reading of the Necronomicon book of the dead and Ash is splintered into multiple differing clones, each packing the same over-the-top personality to become Team Ash:  familiar Bruce Campbell Ash, his feminine side Ashley, a tiny Ash demon, a cynical skeleton, a dog Ash aka Dash, and his now-sentient chainsaw, Chainy.  Each issue reads like a half-hour episode of Ash vs Evil Dead.  In the first issue you catch up with Ash, and it gets even better in the second issue as all of Ash’s better halves get to know each other, and some time travel to ancient Egypt is in store.

 

So many great covers are available for this series, you may lose track, but we’re previewing covers for the first four issues below (including a cut-out mask cover, and some incentive covers without logos), plus the first pages of the first issue, and an artist design sheet for Team Ash.  Artists Ben Oliver, Arthur Suydam, Mirka Andolfo, Sebastian Piriz, Sergio Davila, and J. Scott Campbell all created variant covers for this unique series.

Take a look:

Continue reading

Last week we previewed a teaser for the coming second season of Netflix’s Altered Carbon, and we now have a full trailer from the streaming provider showing us even more.  The new trailer confirms the near wipe-out of the main cast from the first season, with only the artificial intelligence named Poe remaining, played by Chris Conner (Burn Notice, House, Bones) and a new kind of robot.  Two supporting characters clearly get a bigger role this season: Renee Goldsberry (Star Trek Enterprise, Life on Mars) as Falconer, a platoon leader from the past, and the original form of the series lead, played by Will Yun Lee (Hawaii Five-O, Bionic Woman, Witchblade).  It’s too bad for those who thought cop Kristin Ortega, played by Mexican actress Martha Higareda (McFarland USA, Royal Pains), was the highlight of the series–she and first season lead Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Suicide Squad) seem to be out this time.

In fact other than Poe the new trailer appears like Season Two could easily be an entirely new sci-fi series.  Alison Schapker is the new series executive producer and showrunner.  Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Adjustment Bureau) is in the driver’s seat as the new “sleeve” or body inhabited by Takeshi Kovacs, hero of the Richard K. Morgan novel the show is based on.  Kovacs is a future soldier in a world where science has developed a hard drive called a “stack” that is implanted in humans’ necks, enabling our memories to be uploaded to storage and replanted over and over so we seemingly can live forever, even in new bodies (see our review of the first season here).  Allowing Kovacs and other characters to be played by any number of actors (so the series could potentially run forever like Doctor Who) for the second season will be something new for many Netflix viewers.

Season Two begins thirty years after the last episode, with Kovacs continuing his search for Falconer (explaining why so many first season characters are no longer around).  New to the series, and highlighted in this trailer, are Simone Missick (Marvel’s Luke Cage, The Defenders) as Trepp, Lela Loren (Chuck, Lost) as Governor Danica Harlan, and Torben Liebrecht (Homeland, Luther) as Colonel Carrera, with James Saito (Prodigal Son, Law & Order) as Tanaseda Hidecki.

Check it out the new poster (above) and this new trailer:

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: