Tag Archives: carlos valenzuela

Review: The X-Files Annual 2016

XFiles_Annual_2016-CoverMulder uncovers rumors that the Jade Helm 15 exercises were a smokescreen for a shadow-government group to rendezvous with aliens. Mulder and Scully follow the trail to Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, where they meet skeptical natives and a man who believes he’s an alien, on their way to finding the truth.

For me, some of my favorite X-Files episodes have been the ones that are on the goofy end of things and wrap up in an episode. The lighthearted nature of those episodes always left me entertained and wanting more. For The X-Files Annual 2016 we get that sort of story courtesy of writer Andrew Aydin, the award-winning co-writer of the modern classic graphic novel March.

Joined by artist Gregg Scott (Carlos Valenzuela provides the cover), the issue feels to me like those fun standalone episodes. It’s fun and entertaining slightly touching on the greater X-Files world.

What I really like is Aydin’s use of his political perspective to give the annual a bit of an update. There’s the use of Jade Helm to drive the story, but beyond that Aydin adds a lot of small details like the use of Uber. Lets face it, The X-Files in today’s world would be much different than that of the 90s, and that’s touched upon a bit here.

Scott’s art is solid fun capturing the likeness of its characters and adding a lot to the mood and setting of the story. The comic has a slight comical vibe to it, like quite of a few of the standalone episodes, and the art matches that tone. It’s a good combination and it all works together.

This is a fun standalone issue that captures the magic of self-contained X-Files episodes while using recent events and giving things a bit of an update too. X-Files fans should enjoy this one and hopefully, we can see more down the road.

Story: Andrew Aydin Art: Gregg Scott Cover: Carlos Valenzuela
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The X-Files Annual 2016

X-Files Annual 2016

Andrew Aydin (w) • Greg Scott (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)

Mulder uncovers rumors that the Jade Helm 15 exercises were a smokescreen for a shadow-government group to rendezvous with aliens. Mulder and Scully follow the trail to Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, where they meet skeptical natives and a man who believes he’s an alien, on their way to finding the truth.

FC • 48 pages • $7.99


Preview: Ghostbusters: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Ghostbusters: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Erik Burnham (w) • Dan Schoening (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)

When an upstart paranormal investigation and elimination service calling themselves The Ghost Smashers sets up shop in NYC, the Ghostbusters suddenly find themselves out of work and out of favor. But The Ghost Smashers are messing with some shaky science, and it’s only a matter of time until their actions threaten the entire world.

TPB • FC • $17.99 • 104 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-624-9


Preview: Ghostbusters: The New Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters: The New Ghostbusters

Erik Burnham (w) • Dan Schoening (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)

The Ghostbusters are gone, spirited away by some dastardly demons from another dimension! But spectral shenanigans haven’t ceased in the city that never sleeps, meaning a new group will need to step up and don the proton packs. Will the New Ghostbusters be able to rescue their predecessors, or will they share the same fate?

TPB • FC • $17.99 • 104 pages • ISBN: 978-1-63140-625-6


Mulder & Scully Uncover the Past in the X-Files: Year Zero

In its first year at IDW, The X-Files Season 10 has pitted FBI special agents Mulder and Scully against monsters, cults, conspiracies, and more, and now the duo will unravel a mystery that dates back to the very beginning of “the X-Files.” The brand-new five-issue miniseries, The X-Files: Year Zero, debuts this July with an original tale suited for both X-Files diehards and mystery fans alike!

In the 1940s, a shadowy informant known as “Mr. Xero” directed the FBI to a number of paranormal cases that would soon be classified as “X-Files,” which were reserved for the improbable and unexplainable. When faced with an eerily similar “Mr. Zero” in the present, Agent Mulder resolves to uncover the truth about who this mystery person is and their connection to these cases.

The multi-talented veteran Karl Kesel makes his debut at IDW as the writer on the series. Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott will be splitting art duties with Malhotra providing the art for the 1940s sequences and Scott drawing the present day storyline. Covers will be provided by Season 10’s Carlos Valenzuela, with pulp-novel-inspired subscription variants by Robert Hack and a retailer incentive cover by Eisner Award-winner Francesco Francavilla for the first installment.

With an upcoming board game from IDW Games, the ongoing Season 10 series, and now this new adventure into the past, IDW is the essential stop for fans of The X-Files!


Review: Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated (One-Shot), Larfleeze #1

Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated (One-Shot)

When I was a kid, I was scared pantless by the 1996 Tim Burton film Mars STK610470Attacks!, which featured creepy, bumbling, murdering Martians, a human-headed dog, and, though a comedy-horror film, was nothing but terrifying to me. It’s not scary anymore…just a little unnerving, but the franchise as carried on by IDW into our favorite medium here at Graphic Policy captures the ridiculously violent, funny nature of that movie and its inspiration, the 1960s trading card series of the same name (sans “!”).

But I haven’t really been a fan of the on-going comic; I find it amusing, sometimes laughable, but really nothing more than a distraction from my usual pile of beloved series, and so I haven’t really followed the Mars Attacks comics since issue #9. But I’m a sucker for adaptations of classics, and I just had to give the one-shot Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated a try.

This special issue tackles three classics: Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851), Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), giving a special twist to each, and presented by three separate artistic teams.

While this sounds promising, unfortunately, I only found the Moby-Dick adaptation at all appealing, and that mostly a result of the sketched-look of John McCrea‘s pencils and the unique feel of Phil Hester‘s writing. Hester places Melville directly into the story, a facet of adaptations I rather enjoy, because it’s sort of entertaining to think of the writer as having actually experienced the thing being written about. In addition, Hester is an incredibly talented writer, as his script shows, and this pairs unbelievably well with McCrea’s vivid portrayal of the fervor of Captain Abraham for catching the Whale.

On the other hand, Beau Smith and Kelley Jones‘ Jekyll and Hyde (or Jackal and Snide, as they adapt it) is an uncomfortably modern take on the tale, which I found awkward and not as well written, despite a pretty funny twist when the Martians get ahold of Jekyll’s monster-making serum. This story is easily overlooked, in my (not so expert) opinion.

Neil Kleid and Carlos Valenzuela expertly adapt Robinson Crusoe, creating a stranded, lone-maddened Martian that meets up with the eponymous character. This adaptation is also well written, and the art equally likeable, but it seemed to be lacking the pizazz that drew me into the first story. I’ll admit, however, that while Hester and McCrea’s Melville story was unevenly paced, ending rather abruptly, Kleid paces the story so that by its conclusion, the reader is satisfied and not wanting. May this is why it adds up to very little: there’s nothing left to be desired.

If you’re a fan of Mars Attacks or any of the classics adapted herein, you might want to check this out, but otherwise this review will probably satisfy any curiosity you have and leave you with $7.99 in your pocket. On the whole, it seems a half-hearted knock-off of the recent Deadpool: Classics Killustrated, both in tone and design, but lacking in the same quality and inspiration.

Story: Phil Hester, Beau Smith, Neil Kleid  Art: John McCrea, Kelley Jones, Carlos Valenzuela
Story: 6  Art: 7  Overall: 6  Recommendation: Pass

Larfleeze #1

LARF_Cv1_0tqw9rke34_This review is partly in response to Brett’s review, which you can find here, but also because I really wanted to put my two cents in on this start-off issue to what I hope will be a series longer than the short-lived Sword of Sorcery which just finished up, and which also deserved a longer run. And, because I believe Larfleeze as it is here, and as it was begun in the back-up of Threshold #1, is a breath of fresh air among superhero comics and DC especially.

Larfleeze #1 is outrageous, over-the-top, sometimes silly sometimes serious humor that lurks on the edge of absurdity but is still entirely relatable. I enjoyed reading the Threshold back-up featuring Larfleeze much more than I enjoyed the main story itself, and I attribute this to the voice Keith Giffen gives to this character’s story. It’s a book that reads like Douglas Adams writing an obnoxious, selfish, rude teenager who’s millions of year old and has more power than most superheroes in the DC Universe. He is the Orange Lantern, a corps to his own, and he’s funny as hell, backed up by a sardonic butler who’s the smartass version of Alfred Pennyworth. And Giffen’s work is supported by Scott Kolins’ non-realist art, which looks the visual embodiment of what I imagined the Hitchhiker’s Guide books would be if in comic form.

I said above that Larfleeze #1 is a breath of fresh air for comics; let me explain. A lot of the major plots these days are dark, edge-of-your-seat apocalypse. It seems as though everything is going to Hell, lately, like something bad is always around the corner and there is no good whatsoever. It’s one end-of-the-world battle after another. With Larfleeze in the pilot seat of his own book, it’s guaranteed that any such darkness will be overlaid with hilarity, and that’s exactly what I like about this book. Larfleeze himself is a funny furball, and you’re really never sure when he’s telling the truth, but you’re always assured he’ll come out on top.

Giffen and Kolins make a great team, and perhaps in other hands (literally) this book wouldn’t be worth buying, or would be easily recognized as an attempt to live up to the character Geoff Johns created. But this is the guy who wrote us Ambush Bug, another funny but not-so-much loved character, sort of like Marvel’s Howard the Duck (no, not Lucas’ movie).

This may not be a book for everyone, but if you like Douglas Adams, if you like the Lantern mythology, or if you’re greedy, then at least read Larfleeze #1 and see what you think. Brett may be right, this book might fall into the obscurity of the thousands of dead DC titles (does anyone remember Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!?), but for now, it’s a hilarious and lovable break from all the darkness on DC’s roster.

Story: Keith Giffen  Art: Scott Kolins
Story: 8  Art: 8  Overall: 8.5  Recommendation: Read/Buy

IDW provided Graphic Policy with FREE copy of Mars Attacks for review

Mars Attacks… Your Freshman English Class?

It’s no secret that earthlings love Mars Attacks. Topps’ crazed galactic conquerors have journeyed from the red planet to terrorize comics, trading cards, and Hollywood; but one medium has been left conspicuously uninvaded: classic literature!

Moby Dick, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Robinson Crusoe are easily some of civilization’s most accomplished and cherished works of literature. But what would it be like if frothing invaders had been holding Melville, Stevenson, and Defoe at gunpoint, forcing them to reimagine their renowned works through the bloodshot eyes of a crazed, skull-faced Martian?

They’d probably be a lot cooler, right?


Finally, this summer, these timeless lessons on the nature of humanity will receive their long overdue invasion courtesy of writers Phil Hester, Beau Smith, and Neil Kleid and artists John McCrea, Kelley Jones, and Carlos Valenzuela in the 48-page one-shot Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated!  Experience Melville’s supreme terror as he realizes a fearsome white whale is no match for a face-to-face encounter with a Martian! Delve into true horror as the Martian High Command sets their sights on weaponizing Dr. Jekyll’s volatile serum! And find yourself exploring the deepest reaches of one Martian’s existential war when he finds himself marooned on Earth!

Be sure to look out for the variant cover by living legend Earl Norem!

They may seem like a mindless horde bent on destruction, but when viewed through the prism of great, enduring literature, it’s clear that we have a lot to learn from our alien overlords.

You’re welcome, Earth.

MARS ATTACKS: CLASSICS OBLITERATED (FC, 48 pages, $7.99). In stores 6/5/13.

ECCC 13 – IDW and Fox Announce Details for The X-Files: Season 10!

Fans of The X-Files and the paranormal exploits of Special Agents Mulder and Scully are in for a treat! Yesterday at Emerald City Comic-Con, IDW Publishing and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products announced the creative team for their upcoming comics based on the legendary television series. The entire project will be executive produced by The X-Files creator Chris Carter, who is returning in an active role to help steer his characters back to the forefront of popular culture once again.

The X-Files: Season 10 will be written by Joe Harris, writer of the acclaimed series Great Pacific, with art and colors by the Comeback team of artist Michael Walsh and colorist Jordie Bellaire. Issue #1 will feature covers by Dave Johnson, Joe Corroney, and Carlos Valenzuela, along with a classic photo image of Mulder and Scully.

In the opening story arc, “Believers,” readers will catch up with Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, living normal lives together under secret identities. However, a visit from an old friend threatens to rip them from suburban anonymity, as they learn that someone is preying upon everyone involved in The X-Files. Prepare to revisit familiar faces—some very unexpected, threats old and new, and an intriguing mystery designed to return the beloved franchise to its former glory!

The X-Files: Season 10 launches this June when fans everywhere can enjoy a new supernatural experience.

The X-Files: Season 10 #1 (FC, 32 pages, $3.99). In stores 6/19/13