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TV Review: Arrow S3E15 Nanda Parbat

arrowOn this episode of Arrow Malcolm is captured by Ra’s al Ghul and taken to Nanda Parbat. Because of his love for Thea, Oliver considers saving Merlyn. Ray is obsessed with finishing his Atom suit so he can save the city but Felicity fears he is heading down the same path as Oliver and tries to pull him out of the lab.

The episode is another forgettable one for me, though a lot happens. So lets take it a bit at a time. Nyssa is captured which gives her moments with Thea and Laurel. The Laurel one is a little heartfelt, but Thea is left on a cliffhanger for next week. Overall, it’s a bit meh, especially the Laurel part which I’ve almost totally blocked out just a bit after the episode ended.

The battle against Ra’s al Ghul continues which gets Merlyn captured, and then Oliver and John go after him. There’s some action, most of it is forgettable as well. I say most because the ending was absolutely memorable. It’s one rather interesting ending, and not something I expect at all.

The coolest parts of the episode involve Ray and Felicity. Ray is obsessed with finishing his Atom suit. And we finally get to see it “in the flesh” at the end. It’s a cool payoff, and so far, the Palmer/Atom storyline to me is the highlight of the season. More please! Spinoff please!

The episode is one I’d call a bridge. It sets up a lot for the next one, where hopefully more will happen.

Overall rating: 7

Review: D4VE #1

D4VE01cvrPrimetime TV; mortgages; traffic jams. The robots conquered earth, wiping out all life in the galaxy, but nothing changed. Meet D4VE, the greatest robot war hero, now trapped behind a desk at a soul-sucking day job. Can something, somewhere snap him out of this slump? This is D4VE’s mid-life. Crisis.

Originally released as a digital series by Monkeybrain, D4VE has come to print courtesy of IDW Publishing. Written by Ryan Ferrier, with art by Valentin Ramon, the series speaks to everyone who has a life draining desk job, and dreams of glory and excitement.

The first issue is fantastic hitting all the right notes and is beyond relateable for desk jockeys. Now only do we get to know the main character D4ve pretty well, but we’re also introduced to the world where robots have taken over… and pretty much killed every living thing in the galaxy.

The first issue reminds me of great workplace comedies like Office Space, The Office (both versions), and even a bit of Workaholics. It just nails it, when it comes to working a boring desk job, and the tedious life that often is associated with it. The lack of excitement oozes off the page. The fact this is all done with robots is even more entertaining, creating a world just different enough to be even more entertaining.

Ferrier is complimented by the art of Ramon who takes a gold robotic world, and somehow makes it familiar and not so foreign. It’s a great combination of writer and artist.

For those who missed the series when it first came out, now’s your chance to grab it in print. I guarantee when you’re done, you’ll be downloading all the issues available digitally so that you can “catch up.” It’s that good. That fun. That entertaining.

Story: Ryan Ferrier Art: Valentin Ramon
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Interview: Lee Bermejo talks his new Vertigo series Suiciders

suiciders #1 coverIn the post-apocalyptic city of New Angeles, killing isn’t just a crime – it’s entertainment.

When the “big one” finally hit the West Coast, Los Angeles was left in ruins. And when the U.S. government decided to cut the city loose, things went from bad to worse. To survive, L.A. did what it does best: It turned survival into entertainment.

Now, thirty years later, the city of New Angeles is thriving once more thanks to the blood sport known as SUICIDERS – a TV series that combines the spectacle of hand-to-hand combat with elaborate, high-tech obstacles that test each competitor’s ability to survive. But these competitors have an edge: They’ve been freakishly enhanced by drugs and technology. The results are both marvelous and monstrous, as the man called The Saint begins to rise above his fellow Suiciders.

Suiciders is a dark, post-apocalyptic epic that tells the story of a strange, brutal world, written and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, with colors by Matt Hollingsworth, the first issue is out from Vertigo this week.

We got a chance to talk to Lee about the series, the evolution of the story, and how the immigrant experience comes into it.

Graphic Policy: I think the best place to always start with is, what is Suiciders to you? How would you describe it?

Lee Bermejo: For me, it’s kind of a cross between a post-apocalyptic/post-disaster story with a L.A. noire. I think it’s on the outside something big and muscular looking, but really what I’m trying to do with it is a very human story inside of that. I play around and have fun at the same time.

suiciders-1-jock-variant-121239GP: Where did the idea of the story come from?

LB: Wow. This is something I’ve been kicking around in one form or another for the better part of ten years… maybe more even. I remember telling the basic idea of a version of this back when I was doing Wildstorm, which at this point was 11 or 12 years ago. So maybe even longer than that. But, it’s something that’s been evolving and changing over the years, only because I didn’t really… I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do, but in 10 years you evolve as a storyteller. Hopefully you get better. So technically, I didn’t really have the chops to pull off what I wanted to do with the story until recently.

But, it’s set in Los Angeles, mainly because I grew up in Southern California, not in Los Angeles but I grew up close. So you’re kind of raised in the specter of this earthquake that’s supposed to demolish the area, and I grew up close to the San Andreas fault. So it’s something that’s a part of Southern California mythology. I wanted to some type of story that centered around the earthquake.

What slowly evolved out of it was “what would happen to the city years after a disaster?” And that became more interesting than the event itself. I wanted to see where I could take the city after such a disastrous event. At the same time I moved out of the United States, so I’m an immigrant, and the immigrant story, having lived it is something that really interests me as well. I wanted to find a way to work that in. So those were the basic germs of where I eventually took the story.

GP: Can you tell us a bit more about the immigrant aspect of the story? From the solicits that’s not something that’s apparent as part of the story.

LB: It’s something that starts in issue two. There’s two main characters of the story. A Suicider in this world is a modern gladiator. There’s these games that are the biggest form of entertainment in New Angeles, which is a medieval citadel. On the other side of that is a more heavily demolished area, which is another part called Lost Angeles. These games are huge in both professional and amateur form on both sides of the wall. One of the main characters is one of the best of the best. He’s at the top of the game. His life starts to fall apart, because he has secrets that are starting to come up and bite him in the ass. At the same time, there’s an immigrant character that comes to the city in hopes to make his dreams come true. He wants to be a Suicider. These are the two main characters and these two stories are being told and at some point they intersect.

SUICIDERS-1-1-b41b9GP: Something that really sticks out is that it’s set in L.A., a huge hub of entertainment. There’s the rise of reality of television. Then there’s the rise of more brutal sports like mixed martial arts. Any of that weigh in on your thoughts while putting this together?

LB: I can’t really say that was a big thing. It’s something that’s kind of now in the picture. It’s just kind of there. I don’t really think it’s a commentary on reality tv or anything like that. Unfortunately, as time has proven, it’s something that’s stuck around. It’s a fixed part of modern entertainment. I’m not trying to make some comment on reality tv, or violence in tv. What I wanted to do was take a city back in time. I wanted to do something more medievel. There’s a wall to keep outsiders out. The games are very gladiatorial and bloody, it’s something, it’s strange, it wasn’t influence by modern entertainment than by older forms of entertainment. There’s also an element of the noir story that I like which is a character who is veiled in secrecy and those secrets come out whether they want them to. That becomes a much bigger part of the story than commentary on violence or the world’s obsession with reality programming.

GP: You’re doing the art and writing. Was this always the plan? Did you think about working with somebody else?

LB: I really always wanted to do it by myself. Before I became a professional, I was doing indie comics on my own way back in high school. Writing and drawing is something I’ve always wanted to do. But, as an artist, I got into comics in the late 90s which was the worst time for a guy to get into comics if you wanted to write and draw. At that point the view of artist/writers was pretty terrible. I knew I was going to get hired based on my drawing skills, not my writing skills. And since I started at Wildstorm, which at the time was part of Image Comics, people forget when I started Image was looked at as a slum. It wasn’t a place where artists become writers. The stigma was still there. They just expected big double page pin-ups, not a story. There was a part of me that knew I had a lot to learn and I was technically not able to tell the story I wanted to literally until now. I always wanted to do it myself, and continue to write and draw as I go forward. That’s not to say I won’t work with writers as well.

GP: How has the story evolved over the years?

LB: The story started out as being something much more mythological and I was able to pair it down to something a lot more familiar. I started to introduce elements, I dramatized elements of me in there, and that’s when things started to gel.

GP: What else can folks expect from you this year that you can talk about?

LB: I’m doing We Are Robin with Rob Haynes and Khary Randolph for DC Comics. The series starts in June, set in the Bat-universe!

TV Review: Agent Carter S1E8 Valediction

Agent_CarterOn this episode of Marvel‘s Agent Carter, Peggy faces the full fury of Leviathan, as Howard Stark makes his return.

The final episode of this season has a nice mix of action, humor, and a little bit of heart. Dr. Johann Fennhoff’s plan is better revealed, and still has a nice “comic book” feel about it all. We also get the fight between Peggy and Dottie we also hoped for. The episode did its job giving us what we all wanted.

For me though, the standout, and scene stealer whenever he’s present, is Howard Stark, whose return is dotted with humor in his doucheness. His ongoing joke of trying to remember Dottie’s name brought humor to an episode that was rather action packed.

The downside was the ending. Peggy makes a statement that she knows her value, so her superiors don’t need to. Which to me is a bit opposite of her attitude and actions throughout the season, where she’s bucked the system and proven her value through action. By her making that statement, it’s as if she’s given in to the patriarchy that’s given her shit, add on the fact every clapped when she enters the office! Just a down note to go out on.

Agent Carter was solid, something new, and a fresh television series. Hopefully we’ll be getting more.

Overall Score: 8

BOOM!’s Unfortunately Named Series Curb Stomp

We previously ran the below when the series Curb Stomp was announced. With this week’s release we revisit why the name of this new series is so troubling. Obviously some statements are outdated, since the comic hits shelves this Wednesday. – The Management

2014 BOOM! LogoWe love BOOM! Studios, having named them the publisher of the year multiple times. They’re beyond progressive, not only giving a voice to many talented individuals who are the next generation of stars, but also launching series that are underrepresented in the comic market, and what exactly we need more of. That’s why their new series that was announced this morning on four sites gave us pause. Not because of its subject, but just due to its title, Curb Stomp.

The series is a “violent, bloody story” which focuses on an all-female gang called The Fever who are trying to protect their turf. The writer is Ryan Ferrier, the creator of D4VE by Monkeybrain, and art by Debaki Neogi, who gave us amazing visuals in Mumbai Confidential. The series will be out in February.

What none of those sites questioned, or even touched upon, was the series title. For those that don’t know a curb stomp is when you place someone’s mouth on a cement curb and then stomp on the back of their head. It’ll cause severe injuries, and some times death. What gives me pause isn’t the act, which is horrendous, but the history of the curb stomp.

The curb stomp is mostly associated with Nazis, who would use the tactic to murder Jews, using this tactic to save on bullets. It was also deployed by the Gestapo in the Ghettos to also murder Jews. In the 1940s and 50s, the same violent act was used by the KKK in their attacks on African-Americans.

Today’s neo-Nazis use the term “curbing” or “curb job” and is so prevalent the Southern Poverty Law Center has it as part of their list of terms used by today’s Skinheads. It’s an act associated with the most vile of vile out there, and to this day is used in numerous hate crimes. Two quick examples:

  • In 2003, Tacoma, Washington resident Randall Townsend was killed by two white power skinheads in a curb-stomping incident that has been described as a hate crime.
  • On August 26, 2011, Dane Hall was curb stomped in a homophobic attack outside a gay bar in Salt Lake City, Utah. He lost six teeth and suffered a broken jaw in multiple places as a result of the attack

Though the act is horrendous, it has been depicted in pop-culture numerous times with lack of sensitivity to its origins. In video games Gears of War, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, and Resident Evil 5, players could all perform the act. The attack has been seen on the television shows Family Guy, and The Sopranos. But, the most well-known depiction is the movie American History X, which focuses on a neo-Nazi Skinhead played by Edward Norton, who curb stomps a would be African-American robber. The scene was so controversial, it has been pulled from some versions of the film.

You can watch the scene from American History X below, but a warning that it’s graphic.

While the comic series itself sounds like a modern-day version of The Warriors (a film itself with history of real world violence), hopefully BOOM! and the creators rethink the title before it hits shelves in a few months. We’ve reached out to BOOM! about the issue. (UPDATE: We’ve heard back from BOOM! and they weren’t aware of the historical context of the term, just the moves from video games).

Below are the four teaser images released:

 

Comixstravaganza Live! this Wednesday at 8pm ET/7pm CST

No Geeky Tales, just Awesome Cool Adventures!

If you love comic books, Star Wars movies, Pop Culture and general awesomeness, then you’ll LOVE Comixstravaganza Live!

Johnny Dellarocca, AKA Big Daddy Cool (Swing Magic, The Magic Cabaret, Diesel Powered Podcast, Tales From The Geek) is the host and producer of Comixstravaganza Live! He his the time-traveling, comic book-loving, Dieselpunk Prophet of Pop Culture!

Comixstravaganza also stars former “geek girls” Tina Veda and “Darth Lee” LeeAnna Player! With weekly news from the Unlockable Characters and Cosplay news with the Cosplay Collective!

PLUS weekly guests and live performance segments!

You can catch the show right here this Wednesday January 7 at 7pm CST.

Review: The Little Mermaid #2

LittleMermaid_01_cover AOf the many fairy tales explored and modified by Grimm Fairy Tales, it is probably the Little Mermaid that has had the weakest ride.  There have been those that have become good (like Little Red Riding Hood) and those that have become bad (Cinderella) but when it comes to the Little Mermaid, she is somewhere in between.  Seemingly wanting to be good but controlled by the influence of the Sea Witch she never really got a chance to develop as a character before disappearing into the oblivion of forgotten characters that were touched on briefly and then dropped from sight.  This series is hopefully the return of the character to the Grimm Fairy Tales universe, and if this is any indication then she will come back with a purpose.

This first issue explores the past of the character, and what exactly has happened to Erica since the last time that she was seen.  Despite the general inclination of Grimm Fairy Tales to lean towards magic and the supernatural for the explanation of anything and everything, the story here instead takes a science-fiction approach, at least in part and after the fairy tale side is examined as well.  It is also smart to also focus not only on Erica but on the two that put her in such dire straits to begin with, her mother and the Sea Witch, and they also seem to have changed their outlook since last seen.

There is maybe a long way to go for Erica, but it would seem the the route for a return to relevance is there.  Zenescope has been moderately successful into turning Robyn Hood into a female Green Arrow, and with this new outlook it might be possible that Zenescope is looking for a female Aquaman.  Whatever there intention for the character is though, it would seem as the redemption is there for her.  At times the stories from Grimm Fairy Tales can be tedious and hard to get through, but then sometimes they really throw as much creativity as they can at an old story and then come up with some new and entertaining, which is the case here.

Story: Meredith Finch  Art: Miguel Medonca
Story:  8.2 Art: 8.2  Overall: 8.2  Recommendation: Read

Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

D4VE01cvrSUBWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett’s Picks

Top Pick: D4VE #1 (IDW Publishing/Monkeybrain Comics) – The digital comic comes to print, and hopefully more people will take a look and appreciate this series brilliance. It’s definitely a comic that’s been under the radar too long. The series is about a great robot war hero who is now trapped behind a desk at a soul-sucking day job.

The Black Hood #1 (Dark Circle Comics/Archie) – Archie is going dark and gritty with the relaunch of their former Red Circle line, now Dark Circle. The series is the launch of a new(ish) super hero line with some top notch creators behind it all.

Curb Stomp #1 (BOOM! Studios) – An unfortunate title for an otherwise good idea. The comic is basically The Warriors, but with a group of women.

Darth Vader #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic, and Marvel has knocked it out of the park so far with their relaunched Star Wars line of comics.

Fight Like a Girl #4 (Action Lab Entertainment) – The series is under the radar, and that’s too bad, because it’s really good. The comic follows a young girl who is fighting through video game like levels, including boss battles, to save her brother.

Gotham Academy #5 (DC Comics) – DC Comics’ saw a breath of fresh air with this series that focuses on some of the kids of Gotham. It’s a fantastic series that we wish we saw more of in the comic world.

Orphan Black #1 (IDW Publishing) – The popular television series comes to comics! The first issue adapts what’s come instead of adding upon what’s already happen. But, that’s ok! The more clones the better!

Princeless: The Pirate Princess #2 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Two ass-kicking women is good. Even better, three ass-kicking women. The first issue returns to the fun, and socially relevant, that we’ve seen in the previous volumes. A fantastic series for kids and adults alike.

Spider-Gwen #1 (Marvel) – The break out star of Marvel’s recent Spider-Verse storyline gets her own series. It’ll be interesting to see what we get, as well as where the series goes with the upcoming Secret War.

Suiciders #1 (Vertigo) – A new series by Vertigo? Yes please. This one has to deal with a earthquake ravaged Los Angeles which is now its own city where gladiator contests are held for entertainment.

George’s Picks

Top Pick- Batman #39 (DC Comics) This is the penultimate issue of “Endgame”. Part 5 of 6 of one of the best stories out in the market right now and one of the best Batman stories available. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo outdo themselves with each release and its the first book I grab when available. The art matches Snyder’s writing style perfectly and you can’t help but be sucked into the story of Batman and the Joker over and over again. Snyder/Capullo are definitely going full force with this and fans couldn’t be happier.

Amazing Spider-Man #15 (Marvel) Now that Spidey is officially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe it would be a good idea to pick up the current book and catch up. The story line is great so far with #15 starting a new story arc after the incredible event of Spider-Verse ending with #14.

Chew #46 (Image Comics) – This story is coming to end shortly so anyone interested should catch up now. Its one of my favorite books to look forward to with each release and the story gets better with each chapter. You get rewarded for paying attention and the art is some of the coolest out there.

Darth Vader #2 – (Marvel) Issue #1 had me wondering how a book focusing on a villain would work, but then I read Darth Vader #1 and realized how incredible Vader’s journey is going to be. Issue #2 should continue his first amazing story arc as we see Vader go to any lengths to take down anyone that opposes him. His story is as rich as any Jedi’s and you won’t be disappointed with the illustrations of all the elements of the Empire we don’t usually see in a Jedi story.

Thief of Thieves #26 (Image Comics) – The latest story arc starts here so new readers can jump on and have a great new book to add to their list. This book started out as Robert Kirkman’s, which he then passed on to Andy Diggle who has done an exceptional job with the story. AMC is rumored to make this into a TV series so there’s another reason to pick this book up.

 

TV Review: Gotham S1E17 Red Hood

gotham cast Following several bank robberies, Gordon and Bullock investigate the Red Hood gang. Selina Kyle continues to bond with Barbara, and Fish Mooney tries to reclaim her position in the underworld.

Gotham‘s latest episode is full of surprises in this episode which gives us a bit of a twist on the Red Hood from DC’s comics. Along with a new familiar villain, we also have a friend of Alfred show up, and movement in Fish’s storyline.

But, really the night is about surprises, especially surrounding Fish and Alfred. Both take a bit of a grisly spin, especially Fish who does something eye didn’t see coming. Her storyline is the most interesting in the fact I have no idea where it’s going. It’s a bit odd overall, and what they do with her, I seriously have no idea. But, through her we get yet another villain, the Dollmaker, who was mentioned in earlier episodes.

The episode’s strangest spin is at the end giving a twist to what happened to Alfred and why. The series is getting good at taking you in one direction, the quickly shifting it another way.

The Red Hood story is fun too, adding something for the police to do, and gives long time comic fans something to giggle about, especially at the end.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say, the series has found its groove.

Overall Score: 8

KickStarting: Comics

Money_CashIt’s a new week and KickStarting: Comics is back with a look at how much was raised/pledged for comic projects on Kickstarter for the past week!

I realize some projects are not in US dollars, but they all will count the same regardless of origin, for now. $1 US will be the same as $1 CAD, $1 AUD, etc.

Over the past week 9 projects were successfully funded.

For the past week from February 16 to February 22 the statistics are:

Average goal: $7,229.41
Average pledged: $10,089.29
Average number of backers: 193.59
Average pledge: $52.12
Average percent raised: 139.56%
Most common given amount: $25 (611 times)
Most money from pledge level: $100 level brought in $23,100

Total pledged for the week: $171,518

For the week, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: Finder Vol. 1-6 Restock - $60,000

Most backers: Hooking Up & Staying Hooked: The Comic Book -533 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Slurricane #8 – 563.60%

Highest average pledge: Finder Vol. 1-6 Restock – $131.87

Lowest average pledge: Mixmancer - $17.06

For the month of February, for the 35 successful projects, the statistics are:

Average goal: $5,241.86
Average pledged: $10,297.43
Average number of backers: 205.14
Average pledge: $50.20
Average percent raised: 196.45%
Most common given amount: $20 (1036 times)
Most money from pledge level: $100 level brought in $28,600

Total pledged for the month: $360,410

For the month, the top projects were:

The top grossing project: HJ-Story Vol. 1, 2 and NOW 3! - $85,558

Most backers: HJ-Story Vol. 1, 2 and NOW 3! – 873 backers

Highest percent above goal raised: Metal Made Flesh (Second Edition) – 704.60%

Highest average pledge: Finder Vol. 1-6 Restock – $131.87

Lowest average pledge: Mixmancer - $17.06

That wraps up this week’s data! I’ll be making tweaks to this as more are done, so let me know what you want to see!

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