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Tag Archive: Greg Rucka


Review by C.J. Bunce

Cobie Smulders has enough street cred playing badass leads, including co-starring opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, serving as the most powerful non-superheroine of the Marvel movies as Maria Hill, and she’s the perfect Wonder Woman, although we only hear her voice as the character in The Lego Movie series.  So why head back to television?  Maybe after 200 episodes of being part of a hit ensemble cast on How I Met Your Mother, she wanted her own series?  Whatever the reason, it’s a win for TV viewers.  Her new project is Stumptown, and the first episode aired this week on ABC.

Smulders is promising as Dex Parios, an army vet with PTSD, who takes care of her brother and has a gambling problem.  Happily for her, everyone, including the head of the gambling house, seems to be on her side.  In her first case, she’s trying to locate the missing daughter of her deceased college boyfriend, in exchange for having a five-figure tab written off at the local Portland casino (yes, evidently Portland has had casinos since 1988).  Initially she fails, but before she’s totally written off by everyone except her brother (played by the engaging Cole Sibus), the writers skillfully show viewers why she might be a character to return to each week.  Dex is a fighter, while also a mess and a bit snarky, but hopefully that’s not all she is.  Her old red Ford Mustang and its broken cassette tape deck that offers up the right song at the right time is a nice throwback to Philip Glenister and his red Audi Quattro on the classic detective series Ashes to Ashes.

Along with good writing in its opener, Stumptown boasts a supporting cast that brings plenty to the show.  Jake Johnson (New Girl, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Jurassic World) as bartender pal Grey demonstrates again why he’s the best at playing the best friend.  If you missed Michael Ealy as a great cop on Almost Human (or as Slap Jack in 2 Fast 2 Furious) you’ll appreciate him back with a badge on this series.  Even better, it looks like Donal Logue (Gotham, Vikings, Life, Zodiac, Sneakers) will join the cast in next week’s episode.  The only thing the series could benefit from is tapping all those local Portland actors like NBC’s Grimm did so well.  Unfortunately, other than some establishing shots, it doesn’t look like the series will be filmed there.

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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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Star Wars 107   Shattered Empire Phil Noto 1 cover

Back in the 1970s it was pretty exciting to anticipate what was going to happen after the original Star Wars aired and Marvel Comics was going to take us on a journey into the further adventures of Luke Skywalker.  With the end of the movie adaptation in Issue #6 of the comic book series, this meant Issue #7 was going who-knows-where in this rich new universe.  The surprise was that once we got the issue in our hands we learned it was to be a Han Solo and Chewbacca adventure, beginning with a Seven Samurai-inspired Western story.  This was before we knew what would happen in The Empire Strikes Back, so the writers and artists could use their imaginations to take the characters anywhere.  The writers proved prescient, creating the title The Empire Strikes for one early issue.

In January 2013 Dark Horse Comics went back to the same time period in the Star Wars saga and gave us a new look at our favorite characters, written by Brian Wood.  It was a good run and a fun story if you thought of it as a separate possible storyline.  The struggle with addressing this time period?  We know specific benchmarks in the future.  We just know without being told anywhere that Luke does not confront certain characters, like say Darth Vader or Boba Fett, between Episode IV and Episode V.  Yet with comic books you can intersperse different story elements, have different encounters, between the bookends of the stories we know.  It is up to the reader to decide which of these encounters work and which don’t.  We discussed the Dark Horse effort back here at borg.com back in 2013.

Star Wars 7 Marvel    Star Wars issue 7

This year with a brand new Star Wars monthly comic book series, Marvel writer Jason Aaron has taken on the same time period again–those days, months, and years between the destruction of the first Death Star and the Rebellion being discovered in the Hoth System.  Like Brian Wood, Aaron has written a fun story, full of those main characters fans know and love.  He introduced surprising encounters between main characters we never would have imagined, and even introduced a wife for Han Solo we never knew about.  But the struggle with the concept is the same.  Readers need to see their main characters intermingling–it’s almost a requirement that a Star Wars book include everyone or fans won’t buy it.  And this new series fulfills that need.  Yet maybe readers don’t need that so much, as the best issue and story in this year’s run can be found in a standalone story in Issue #7.  It addresses Obi-Wan Kenobi as he watched over Luke as a boy on Tatooine–something new and different and not dependent on surprising confrontations with old characters–and gives us a hint at the great potential the Marvel Star Wars universe can create for readers.

Enter a new series beginning this month, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, written by Greg Rucka with interior art by Marco Checchetto and a fabulous cover by Phil Noto (who interestingly provides a cover for Issue #1 which is similar to the last of the original Marvel monthly issues–like a jumping off and on point).  Shattered Empire is set immediately after the events of Return of the Jedi.  Now we are back in a world like Issue #7 of the original Marvel Comics Star Wars spin-off.  It really is unchartered territory, and Rucka must have more freedom than writers have with the time between Episode IV and Episode V.

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