Tag Archives: fred van lente

Review: Psi-Lords #5

Psi-Lords #5

RISE UP! Can our space prisoners overthrow their alien captors in Psi-Lords #5?

The new story, “Conquest” starts here. But who will be conquered? Prison riots, secrets revealed, brand-new baddies, and more await the brave who read this.

I never really know where to start when talking about Psi-Lords. Do I start with the admission that it took me a couple of issues to fully get into the series? Do I start with how much I’ve been enjoying the series? All of it since I reread the earlier comics with new eyes. Do I start with how I can’t quite believe how good the art is in each and every issue?

Or do I start with a summary of the previous arc if you’re a new reader and want to jump on as the next chapter begins?

I think I’ll do that.

Four humans come to awareness on an asteroid/alien planet. They discover they have superpowers and escaped with the help of a mysterious stranger. They find themselves among some pacifist cat-like aliens and defended them against another alien, a Widower, by killing him. Somehow they gain the incredible team name of The Astro Friends. Now, they’re about to face the consequences of those actions.

The plot of Psi-Lords #5 feels a lot like a procedural crime drama with sci fi elements included more than a typical sci fi comic. It has moments of explosiveness, but for the most part feels like a much slower comic that allows Fred Van Lente‘s dialogue to enrich the characterizations of the four Astro Friends. The four human astronauts are essentially blank canvases, each one remembering different parts of their previous lives at some point, but never quite enough to discover who they are – only their initial mission; stop the asteroid colliding with Earth.

Where this comic truly shines, is with the visuals. Renato Guedes is simply stunning here. From the vast galactic visuals to the close up shots of the human faces as they react to the world around them. Frankly, even five issues in, I’m still stunned that we’re getting a comic that looks this good.

Psi-Lords #5 is an interesting read; a captivating story that serves as a bridge from one arc to the other surrounded by some utterly stunning visuals make for a must read comic for me. Which I find surprising because I usually steer away from comics set in space because they never quite grab me the same way as a comic set in the past or present day. And yet, this has found its way to becoming one of the most anticipated books on my pull list.

Go figure.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Psi-Lords #4

Psi-Lords #4

Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own in Psi-Lords #4!

After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.

The ultimate enemy revealed!

It was the third issue that sold me on this series after having some misgivings early on. Now I wonder what the hell I was smoking when reading the first couple issues that made me not enjoy them as much as I did after rereading them earlier this week. The answer is nothing, by the way – nor was I drinking anything. With the issue, Fred Van Lente reminded me why I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The man knows what he’s doing. It’s far better to trust him than to dismiss a series under his direction after only an issue or two.

But where this comic truly blew me away was in the art. The first panel is one of the most detailed images I’ve seen in a comic. Honestly, it set the bar incredibly high, and Renato Guedes never once stumbles.

The art style in the comic sits perfectly alongside the story. Guedes brings to life the fantastical science fiction elements of Van Lente’s story with exquisite detail. The style that pays homage to the sci-fi movie posters in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s something to behold.

Van Lente blends story exposition into the comic effortlessly with a pace that left me wondering if the comic was at once too short and not long enough. There’s a lot of story in this issue, but I didn’t get enough to satisfy my need to keep reading… I can only see that as a good sign at this point, given how unsure I was after the first issue. The time spent getting to know the characters last issue lends additional weight to the events of Psi-Lords #4. That means that Van Lente can bring a solid action sequence back to the story. Which further means that Guedes can really let loose.

Psi-Lords #4 was easily the best issue so far, finally establishing this series as a sci-fi epic.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Psi-Lords #4

PSI-LORDS #4

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Cover C by TULA LOTAY
Pre-Order Edition by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 18th

Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own!

After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.

The ultimate enemy revealed!

PSI-LORDS #4

Preview: Big Trouble In Little China Legacy Edition Book Two SC

Big Trouble In Little China Legacy Edition Book Two SC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer:  Fred Van Lente
Artist: Joe Eisma, Dan McDaid, Victor Santos
Colorist: Gonzalo Duarte
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Phantom City Creative
Price: $29.99 

Thrust from 1986 into modern times, Jack Burton enters his strangest adventure yet—and it’s only going to get stranger. Someone’s sold his truck, the Pork Chop express, but before he can get it back, he’s got to go to China for a Poker tournament, and finally ends up in 1907 San Francisco! With the help of old foes and dark magic, Jack just might get back home, while also uncovering the origins of Lo Pan and Egg. 

Writer Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man, Deadpool) and artists Joe Eisma (Archie), Dan McDaid (Firefly), and Victor Santos (Polar)  in the continuing adventures of Jack Burton, taking place mere moments after the ending to the original film.

Legacy Editions collect every issue of the most popular BOOM! Studios series in chronological order and in a newly designed, value priced format for the very first time. 

Collects Big Trouble In Little China #13-25, originally collected in Big Trouble in Little China Volumes 4-6.

Big Trouble In Little China Legacy Edition Book Two SC

Review: Psi-Lords #3

Psi-Lords #3

The cosmic Quartet begins to master their jaw-dropping powers and unlock deeper meanings to their newfound abilities in Psi-Lords #3!

Dangerous aliens have targeted the Quartet, and they’ll stop at nothing until they’ve eliminated the team.

Plus, the lost history of the Psi-Lords revealed?!

Finally. After three issues, the series has finally clicked for me.

After some misgivings with how writer Fred Van Lente was pacing the story, I’m finally on the same wavelength. I’m close enough to appreciate what he’s been doing with the series right under my bloody nose since the first issue.

Van Lente has taken a breather from the breakneck pace he’s been using so far. In so doing he reveals a lot more about the setting that we find ourselves in, and the Psi-Lords themselves.

And as he does this, and as I was reading it, I realized that I needed to go back and reread the previous issues. It was then that I realized that my earlier assessment, and review scores, would be different (in a good way) had I read the first few issues in one go. But that, alas, is not how monthly series work. We can only judge a story one installment at a time – which isn’t ideal when the whole is often a step above its parts.

So yes, Van Lente and Psi-Lords have won me over (which doesn’t surprise me, but I’m still happy about it).

The exposition, and the time to truly get to know the four characters is well spent and set against some of the most wonderfully colourful imagery that truly gives the book an epic feel.

You’ll notice that I’ve focused primarily on the writing so far. That’s because Renato Guedes is so close to flawless (again) that I’m left almost at a loss for words. His grasp of visual storytelling, the use of colour and panel set up… it would be enough for me to recommend the book alone. But this issue, with the story clicking for me, I finally realize just how bloody brilliant this book actually looks.

These pages wouldn’t look out of place in the Louvre. My feelings about comic book art being in a museum aside, these pages could easily stand next to classical art and grab the world by the collar and demand attention.

Psi-Lords #3 was easily the best issue so far. Not only was it really good, but the clarity it provides on the previous issues cannot be understated. As I said last month, this is going be an absolute must-read story. Keep your eye on this one.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.2 Art: 9.4 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Psi-Lords #3

PSI-LORDS #3

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by NIC KLEIN
Cover B by ROD REIS
Cover C by SCOTT FORBES
Pre-Order Edition by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 21st

The cosmic Quartet begins to master their jaw-dropping powers and unlock deeper meanings to their newfound abilities!

Dangerous aliens have targeted the Quartet, and they’ll stop at nothing until they’ve eliminated the team.

Plus, the lost history of the Psi-Lords revealed?!

PSI-LORDS #3

Review: Psi-Lords #2

Psi-Lords #2

After an explosive escape from a cosmic prison, Psi-Lords #2 has the team of amnesiac astronauts needing to find a way home!

But where is the ship that brought them here in the first place? And just who are these Psi-Lords they keep hearing about?

It’s a deadly scavenger hunt around the Gyre in search of a way back home. But, this cosmic ring of decaying ships hides many threats within its aging walls!

You know those stories that don’t start at the beginning, but instead begin closer to the middle and fill in the blanks through dialogue, flashbacks and things like that? Welcome to Psi-Lords. A series that features four humans of varying nationalities who wake up in deep space with no memory and with some awesome new powers as they try to figure out who they are and how they can get home.

The characters’ lack of memory plays well into the story. Though there hasn’t been much revealed about how their story began, that doesn’t seem to matter. The reader begins to discover the same little nuggets about the character origins as the characters do. Plotwise it makes for a good way to trickle the origin in with the main flow of the story. It prevents interrupting the story with flashbacks that end up revealing too much too fast.

Psi-Lords #2 is a step up from the previous issue. Writer Fred Van Lente has a more concise story to tell that has a much smoother flow. Although this isn’t one of Van Lente’s better comics, it no longer has the missteps of the first issue when it comes to the pace and plot points. There’s still room for improvement but this issue is better in terms of how the story moves along. There’s also a wonderfully dry comment about the nature of the amnesia the characters are dealing with that made me laugh more than it probably should have.

Once again, Renato Guedes is utterly phenomenal on artistic duties. The otherworldly elements and oddly adorable yet kind of creepy alien species introduced in the book. For the second time this series, Guedes elevates this comic into one you have to spend time with to truly drink in all the details on the pages in your hand. His art has a wonderful feel that does more to place the comic away from Earth than you may initially give credit for as the colours and soft edges pull you into the far reaches of space.

Psi-Lords #2 is a step above the previous issue. If it keeps trending this way then it’s going be an absolute must-read within a couple of issues. Keep your eye on this one.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.8 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Exclusive: Psi-Lords #5 Cover Reveals

We’ve got the exclusive first look at the covers to Psi-Lords #5. The issue has three main covers by Julian Totino Tedesco, Al Barrionuevo, and Raúl Allén.

Written by Fred Van Lente with art by Renato Guedes, what is Psi-Lords #5 about? The book’s editor David Menchel gives us the scoop:

Issue #5 of PSI-LORDS begins the book’s next exciting chapter: Conquest. Whereas in the first arc, we introduced the quartet and began teasing some secrets, this is the arc where we start to answer those questions, and use those answers to manipulate our heroes. The characters start to discover more about themselves, who they were and what purpose they play now, what the origins of their powers are and why their memories were taken. We also get to explore the gyre, and watch as mounting tensions and shaky alliances begin to culminate in unexpected and violent ways. We aren’t calling this arc “Conquest” for no reason.

Check out the covers below!

A COVER – JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
COVER – AL BARRIONUEVO
C COVER – RAÚL ALLÉN

Preview: Psi-Lords #2

PSI-LORDS #2

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Cover B by CASPAR WIJNGAARD
Cover C by STEPHANIE HANS
Pre-Order Edition Cover by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 24th

After an explosive escape from a cosmic prison, the team of amnesiac astronauts needs to find a way home!

But where is the ship that brought them here in the first place? And just who are these Psi-Lords they keep hearing about?

It’s a deadly scavenger hunt around the Gyre in search of a way back home, but this cosmic ring of decaying ships hides many threats within its aging walls!

Underrated: Ivar, Timewalker

We’re going back to early 2018 to revisit an old column this week, because I recently reread the book and forgot just how much I liked it.


This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ivar, Timewalker


IVAR_HC_001_ALLEN-281x414.jpg

My comic shop recently got the deluxe hardcover edition of Valiant’s Ivar, Timewalker in on a special order for yours truly, which collects the entire twelve issue run in one place for $40. You can also pick up the series in three softcover trade paperbacks, if you’re so inclined, but I’ve become partial to the oversized hardcovers (especially because of the bonus material in the back, but then I love that stuff). I had already read the final four issues of the series long before I started reading the hardcover, which some would think would be foolish, but when you’re reading a book about time travel then it suddenly becomes less foolish.

In order to give you a bit of context, you’ll find the preview text for the series below.

At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process. But she doesn’t know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the timestream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right? Now it’s down to history’s most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be…before time runs out!

The series was written by Fred Van Lente, who was joined by Pere Perez, Francis Portella and Clayton Henry with Robert Gill, the first issue being released in January 2015, with the final issue coming in December of that year. The twelve issue series is one of the more underrated offerings from Valiant Entertainment, as many people don’t tend to think about Ivar, Timewalker when talking about the great comics to have come from this publisher – myself included.

As a story about time travel, Ivar, Timewalker is a series that rewards multiple readings – indeed, you could reasonably start at the beginning of any of the three arcs within the series, though this is admittedly more difficult to do with the deluxe edition than the single issues or the trades. Van Lente put together a story that will leave you with as many questions as it will provide answers with an intelligent script that effortlessly blends a heartbreaking story of loss, hope and determination with a sly wit that will have you laughing out loud more often than you would expect in a series that, technically, isn’t a comedy.

Time travel, and effects travelers can have on history are touched on, and often provide some interesting flashes to a story that at its heart is a tale of two incredibly different people; Ivar himself, and Neela Sethi – the scientist who will invent time travel. For as fantastical as the scenery is in this series (and thanks to the artists, it truly is phenomenal), the true draw is the relationship between the two leads.

And that relationship is why you need to read this wonderful story at least twice. I didn’t realize how good this book was when I first read it, and I dare say it’ll only get better with time. Pardon the pun.

Time travel has never been so wonderful.



Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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