Tagged: Gail Simone

Crosswind #1 Takes Deadly Twists And Turns

Crosswind #1 is the Freaky Friday from Hell.

Fan-favorite creators Gail Simone and Cat Staggs are bringing you a new creator-owned series from Image Comics. It’s a deadly body swapping story involving a Chicago hitman and a Seatlle housewife. It sounds like an eighties sitcom put through the Cinemax lens (you never watched Banshee or Strike Back? Get to it!). There’re some high hopes that this will be a mind-bending hit from the home of the most critically acclaimed creators looking for some more editorial control over their content. For fans of sci-fi crime and mistaken identity stories that Hitchcock would have salivated over, this might be the new read you didn’t know you were missing.

The kind of story Crosswind is offering hinges on execution. In general, the best chance we have of figuring out if the execution will be excellent are the preview pages and the creators. It’s no secret that there are about five hundred comics that come out every month. That’s a lot of paper competing for the credits in your wallet. There has to be something to entice you that this series above a lot of others is going to be worth what you’ve worked hard for and will be a treat for that effort.

Gail Simone last hit us with Clean Room. It was a rather dark turn from a writer known for giving levity in even the most dire circumstances her characters go through. It was a critical home run for Vertigo, a publisher that was in need of a few of those at the time. Cat Staggs has been a cover hitmaker for a few years and has been growing more confident in her interior work. Her covers for the Wonder Woman ’77 story made Lynda Carter fans squeal and her Orphan Black work was the best part of the series. She’s been a highlight for every project she’s touched thus far. There’s a real chance of a new dynamic duo on the creator-owned scene.

Crosswind has a familiar hook, two intriguing respected creators, and the fact that they’re about to unleash their vision as they see fit on our shelves. Could be a fun ride filled with a lot of barrel rolls.

 

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics: Summer events edition

Hey look, me writing about books within a week of their release date again!

secret-wars-1-112759-116869Secret Wars #1

Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina

Marvel $4.99

CHRIS FACT: Chip Zdarsky drawing all of my favorites on a variant cover is a surefire way to get me to buy your 5 dollar comic.

Secret Wars is the big 2015 Marvel summer event, and arguably its biggest crossover in sometime. It’s the end game to Jonathan Hickman’s massive Avengers run, AND IT IS BLEAK AS HELL! Marvel has been selling this event with the “EVERYTHING DIES/END!” slogan, and it’s very much the case in issue one.

If you’re looking to pick up this issue and are kind of new to Marvel/Comics, let it be known that Secret Wars is not the most accessible event. If you don’t have some passing knowledge of Hickman’s Avengers run/his body of work at Marvel, there’s a chance you’ll be lost when this issue drop. This doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as Hickman’s always been a writer that play the long game and Secret Wars #1 throws you in the middle of a war and never lets up. It’s easily the least accessible Marvel event in a while, but also one of the strongest starts for one. Hickman’s writing is solid, nailing the voices of it’s large cast perfectly, and handling the dramatics and action well.  His contributions as a designer are also welcomed, even though it’s not much different from what he’s doing over on the Avengers book. But still, the constant clean designed is to be applauded.

Esad Ribic is on art duties for this incarnation of Secret Wars, and he’s a perfect fit for it. His issues on Jason Aarons Thor run were nothing short of perfect, and he’s off to a great start for Secret Wars as well. It’s not flawless (some character appear off model, or change in the book for no reasons), but it’s still damn fine art in the end. The action pieces are incredibly strong, especially come the final pages of this book. Ive Svorcina is back coloring Ribic, and his grainy style is perfect for Ribic’s style. Secret War continues the tradition of a Marvel event looking gorgeous with these creators attached to it.

Secret Wars is an unapologetic Johnathan Hickman book sold as a Marvel event. And it feels like an epic, given the scale and the stakes, and how cinematic Ribic’s art is. Even with the event fatigue setting in with Big 2 comics, Secret Wars feels plenty fresh thanks to the creators involved.

mf6jfizaCa2fZqtvN0b1q-gConvergence: Nightwing and Oracle #2

Gail Simone, Jan Durrsema, Dan Parsons, Wes Ozioba

DC $4.99

This may be the most Gail Simone comic that Gail’s penned for DC. That’s not a problem mind you, as that’s what I signed up for when this book was announced. The Convergence tie ins are suppose to be a celebration of the various eras of DC, and this book genuinely feels like that.

My main complaint about the first issue aren’t to be found with issue 2. Gail script is action packed, and Jan Durrsema‘s is definitely stronger this time around. Her art is great all throughout the book, and doesn’t burn out towards the end like issue 1 did. And because of that, Dan Parsons inks and Wes Ozioba’s colors looks stronger in this issue. It’s a great looking book, filled with fun character moments and some smart twists. And the ending is pretty swell, especially if you’re a fan of the title characters.

I don’t have much else to say about this Convergence tie in, but it definitely sets out what it’s meant to do. If this is the final Gail Simone penned Barbara Gordon story for the time being, I’m more than okay with it. It’s an ending fans of Simone’s Babs will love. It’s also nice to see Dick be Nightwing again (even with Grayson as good as it is), and there’s a appearance by another Simone penned DC A-lister that just as great to see. Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle is the best type of fan service, and a fun comic well worth the $4.

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Petrie @ The Planet: Wonder Woman and Women in Comics

wonderwomanbolland

Wonder Woman saved my life. When I was young (I was not little, weighing in, at my lightest, about 30 pounds heavier than I am now) I was an adopted, multi-racial, overweight child. I was also, not to be politically incorrect, really gay. I thought there was something terribly wrong with me that I didn’t want to play sports or go fishing, but instead wanted to hang out with the girls, play with dolls and read.

Then along came a metal spinner rack at our local convenience store. There was a woman in a red, white, blue and yellow costume holding back a lightning bolt with a rope (“Hera help me stop this lighting before it splits this building in two!”).

I have no idea what drew me to her but, there she was, right in front of me. Back then comics cost .25 cents (Yes, .25 cents!! I’m showing my age, but no more than the crows feet) and fortunately she was there on Saturday mornings with her friends. Her Super Friends.

Then came Lynda Carter. I’ve made no secret of my love affair with Stephen Amell and the passion he and I share, but Lynda was my first crush. I had her poster. I had her puzzle. I had her doll. More importantly as I got a bit older and began to realize why there was a gulf between myself and other boys my age, I also began to realize that Wonder Woman was different as well.

Wonder Woman was a woman in a field of men. She wasn’t a girlfriend or a damsel in dstress. She did the rescuing. She wasn’t the same as me, but she knew what it was like to be different and I always got the feeling she was okay with it. I knew she’d say to me, “It’s okay to be different and I like you BECAUSE of that.”

Unlike Superman or Batman or, even, Captain America who I thought would like me “even though” I was different. To my six or seven year old self, the space between ‘because of’ and ‘in spite of’ meant the world to me. It meant I would have a friend who would help me through the teasing and bad times.

Now, not to be more maudlin, I say none of this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I say this as a lead in to why I love women in comics. From Wonder Woman (I call her Diana. Yeah, we’re on a first name basis. I’m that cool now.) I was lead to Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Wonder Girl, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch (She and Diana and I had coffee the other day. She’s not crazy about how she’s been written recently, but mostly, she’s NOT CRAZY.)

I love that comic book women are more than one trait.  I know in my heart of hearts that Natasha is the toughest Avenger out there, but she’s dying for human connection. Black Canary could take down Batman if needed but she loves life so much she’ll never be a dark knight. Helena Bertinelli is an angry, vengeful creation, but she never gives up trying to make Gotham and herself better. The Wasp is silly, and flighty and the best field leader the Avengers ever had, keeping an arrogant Hercules in check and giving orders to Thor and Iron Man.

I love that comic book women are bad-ass. Diana will give you her hand in peace, but she’ll make it a fist and take you out if you want to cause trouble. I cannot overstate how much you should read the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman. It’s an epic masterpiece, blessedly free of continuity. Azzarello makes Diana powerful and compassionate, two qualities which people seem to forget are NOT mutually exclusive. (Editor’s note: the Greg Rucka run is worth a look, too, if you can get your hands on it.)

I love that comic book women teach me how to have fun. Paul Dini’s BLACK CANARY/ZATANNA: BLOODSPORT graphic novel came out early last year and it’s fantastic! Two women who wear fishnets better than anyone on the planet (except our co-worker, Dany) and are friends. It’s a comic full of joy. And fisticuffs.

I love that comic book women teach me about the world. G. Willow Wilson’s MS. MARVEL is a revelation. This book is an addictive read. A teenage, Muslim fan-girl gets superpowers and succeeds in becoming like her idols. I look forward to this book every month. It’s fun and touching and beautifully written. It will make the hurt of losing SHE-HULK slightly less. I’m not sure how Charles Soule pitched SHe-Hulk. “She’s a big, green, super hero lawyer! We’ll make her as awesome as Gina Torres in ‘SUITS!’ And we’ll throw in Patsy Walker and a monkey named Hei Hei!!”  There is no way this book should work, but I fell in love with it. As has everyone else. Shulkie, we hope to see you soon.

You should know how awesome Kelly Sue DeConnick is, but in case you haven’t read her books yet, she’s simply an amazing writer who deserves the heaps of praise she’s gotten. If you want trippy, read PRETTY DEADLY. It’s drawn by Emma Rios and despite what some people say it’s not over-hyped. It’s Death’s Daughter as John Wayne in ROOSTER COGBURN written by H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll let that sink in. If you want a more super-hero piece, you’ve got CAPTAIN MARVEL. Whatever she’s writing, Kelly Sue hits it out of the park. If you haven’t read BITCH PLANET, please do. (Editor’s Note: Her run on GHOST is a solid, oft unsung winner, too.)

If I could have dinner with any working comic creators, I think it’d be Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. If you haven’t read EARTH 2, you should. James Robinson builds a world, and Nicola brings it to life. She not only draws beautiful pictures, she tells a story. and when she and Gail did the SECRET SIX? Well, it’s magic. Twisted, creepy, sick magic. And I loved every last second of it.

Babs Tarr on BATGIRL is genius. She does amazing things with this book, not the least of which she manages to dress a super heroine in casual clothes that a woman would actually wear. Gather around and listen to your new gay best friend, straight guys: when picking out clothes for your girlfriend as a present, stay away from using comics as a guideline; I guarantee, you’ll be wrong.

Marguerite Bennett is another writer that you should take notice of. If you didn’t read her recent spy series BUTTERFLY, then run back to the store and get the few autographed copies we have left. She’s about to start co-writing A-FORCE, an all female Avengers squad and the rumors are true, I did a little dance when I heard about this series.

There are a lot of books I want to tell you about with women who are strong and powerful and sexy and all those things in between, but mostly I want to tell you about women who are written as fully fleshed out characters. Grab Mark Waid’s SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT and you’ll know in an instant why Supes fell in love with Lois Lane. Pick up some Marv Wolfman/George Perez NEW TEEN TITANS and you get the fiery Starfire, the reserved Raven and the glorious Donna Troy, or, as I call her, Julia’s wife and eternal love. Get Kurt Busiek’s ASTRO CITY: VICTORY to have the best comic book study of feminism and heroism, where Winged Victory fights to remain the inspiration she is. Grab some BIRDS OF PREY (honesty time: read any pre-New 52 BOP, but post-New 52, stop after the first trade. The first collection is an awesome take on modern-day paranoia in the information age, after that the book gets, well, not as great.)

Read HAWKEYE for Kate Bishop’s attitude. Read HARK A VAGRANT! for Kate Beaton’s humor. Read anything by Greg Rucka for a male writer who simply writes great characters regardless of gender. Read Ed Brubaker’s CATWOMAN for some moral ambiguity.

More than anything else though, I beg and implore and plead with modern dance for you to read some WONDER WOMAN. She’s a multitude of things but, more important than whether she’s a warrior or a diplomat or anything else, she’s the personification of love. And, more than anything else in the world, don’t we need more love? And that’s why I read comics by and about women. Love.

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Segmentation of the Innocent

I had a whole column planned this week about “The Complete History of Earwigs in Comics,” but as my agent pointed out, emphatically and with much passion, “Readers don’t like earwigs.” There’s no accounting for taste. To sum up the article in brief: “there aren’t many.”

We must note the passing of Ralph McQuarrie and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, two of the finest concept illustrators ever to raise pen to paper.  The Forbidden Planet keeps a pretty good stock in movie art books, concept art and other illustrative tomes of nifty drawings. Help yourself get over these sad passings by reminiscing with friends over some collections of their finer stuff.

They say famous people die in threes…I wonder if concept artists count as famous? If they do then H. R. Giger and Geoff Darrow better look both ways before they cross the street. There’s not that many famous concept artists left!

THIS WEEK

Buffy Season 9 #7 hits the shelves when we see print. YEARS ago a new Buffy would have been Earth shattering news, but it seems the ardor has cooled. I might pick this one up…it promises to have Spike and “Big Changes for our Slayer.”

I have NEVER plugged an Aspen book in my life, but I’m intrigued by the premise of Dead Man’s Run, which has a reprint of #2 and a new #3 out this week.  In Dead Man’s Run a cartographer dies and goes to Hell to find the afterlife is like a fiery, maximum-security prison. Dead set on a jail-break, our “hero” is trolling hell to find the toughest dead scofflaws to assist his scheme.  Sure, sounds fun! Continue reading

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The Weekly Pulse – Drive Your Enemies Before You

Lots to look at today! A couple more number sixes trickled out in the form of Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Frankenstein, and Suicide Squad. Plus more of everyone’s favorite enmouthed Merc and enlobstered Johnson! Most exciting of all, a new Conan book from Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood! Throw is some Dark Matter, Scarlet Spider, Memorial, The Strain, and Thief of Thieves, (editor’s note: currently sold out.  New stock shipping march 14th) and you have a busy week of comics reading!

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Shortpacked: Familiar Faces

By Chris Troy

I’m sure by now, you, the  Forbidden Planet blog reader, are dying to know what I think of the Green Lantern movie, as well as the DC Reboot this upcoming September (If not, please humor my frail ego). Well I saw the GL film  this past weekend and I thought it was a very mediocre flick (I’m not alone apparently, as of this previous Monday, it’s yet to make it’s budget back). Despite a solid cast and some good CGI work, the script wasn’t very good, and that ruined my overall enjoyment of the film. Despite under-performing though, it seems Warner Bros is going ahead with a sequel, which hopefully will have a better plot, and some decent villains (and more cool toys!). Although it’s pretty much a safe bet for the sequel we’re getting Sinestro (it will be nice to see him in the film for more than 5 minutes). As for the “new” DCU this September, I’ll read anything written by Peter Milligan, Gail Simone and Grant Morrison, and it seems the Green Lantern titles are relatively unaffected, numbering aside. That’s good, because man, I’m not even going to get started on what’s wrong with this new Suicide Squad book. However Geoff John and Jim Lee are way overdue to handle a Justice League book, so it’s going to be nice to see that title being readable again. That being said, let that be a clever segway to our first new items this week: The Justice League classics Series 1. Based on the iconic versions of the characters, DC Direct’s 1st wave consists of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Granted these are all re-releases with new painted jobs, not to mention characters who’ve all have had many a figure before, it’s a welcomed release for any potential new collectors who want a vanilla Batman figure for their desk for book shelf. At $20 bucks a pop, what’s there to complain about right? Continue reading

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