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Review: Mulan Revelations #3

mulanrevelations003Cyberpunk can look to Blade Runner as the project which brought the sub-genre into the mainstream, and it is often with this same movie where many of the classic representations reside.  A futuristic world full of references to the ancient past with out of control mega-corporations calling the shots.  There is often a tie to the modern world in cyberpunk as well, and specifically the cities of Eastern Asia which have embraced advertising technology to the point of over-saturation.  The combination thus far into Mulan Revelations has been a pretty logical one, combining an ancient heroine with a near-future version of Shanghai, with only slight differences from the regular script of cyberpunk or superhero comics.  The presentation of the series has been somewhat different though, especially as it has unfolded Mulan’s background story to her superheroics in front of the reader as well as its artistic display of science and legend melding together.  Despite that the series could be said to be a bit too dependent on its style and not enough on its substance, as it has drawn what might fit into one issue elsewhere now into three issues.

The plot here continues to follow Mulan, also in the company of Adam, as she gets closer to her discovery of what secrets she contains within herself.  As she explores what that means with Adam in tow, it is revealed that she is being betrayed on numerous different occasions and in different places by others that she trusted.  What results are another sequence of actions scenes, even as she is still trying to find out what is happening and why she is so important to so many other people.

The first couple of issues of this series could be either criticized or applauded for putting style over substance, and win or lose, the same approach is taken here.  This is undoubtedly a beautiful comic, not only this issue, but the entire series, but at some point the story has to catch up with the style.  It is understandable from one vantage point, because the cyberpunk look is a hard one to capture, and perhaps even harder in the pages of a comic.  Equally though, the narrative that holds the images together is little bit lacking in providing an engaging story.  Fans of art in the medium will love this, fans of the stories perhaps less so, but it is still unquestionable that the experience of reading this series is an intriguing one, and that same experience continues here in this issue.  Eventually the story will catch up, and until then this has to be a pleasure for the eyes more than the mind.


Story: Marc Andreyko and Robert Alter Art: Micah Kaneshiro
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Marc Andreyko Reveals a New Legend with Mulan: Revelations

This June, the legend of Mulan continues—but with a completely new twist.

Though the future boasts endless technological wonders, only a very few can afford access to them. As a deadly new virus rages through the rich and the poor, threatening all of humanity, a warrior is awakened to stop the evil puppeteers behind it all! Centuries after her ancestor and namesake fought for China, a new Mulan has been chosen by the ancient Chinese Immortals to fight in a final battle for the world!

Helmed by writer Marc Andreyko, artist Micah Kaneshiro, and newcomer creator Robert Alter, the series is set to usher in a new age for a beloved legend. A must-read for science-fiction fans, Mulan: Revelations sees a battle not only for China, but the entire world. The exciting series begins in June with a thrilling genre blend of Chinese martial arts and futuristic cyberpunk sure to excite fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mass Effect.

mulan revelations

Review: Dark Horse Presents #26

22732As usual, Dark Horse provides tales of intrigue, terror, fear, fun, and excitement in the latest edition of the everything-and-anything anthology Dark Horse Presents #26. This series is a keystone in Dark Horse’s publishing career, as it draws together all of the elements that have made Dark Horse a fantastic company highly deserving of its spot as the third largest comic book seller in America. More so, it was Dark Horse’s main title starting in 1986, cancelled in 2000, and then revived on MySpace (of all places) between 2007 and 2010, with the current volume restarting in print in April 2011.

This month’s issue features eleven stories, some of them in on-going series that have been featured previously in DHP (e.g. the Trekker, Underground, Nexus, Alabaster), some that are debuts for new DHP series (Nosferatu Wars, Juice Squeezers), others that are one-shots, and a Buffy tie-in by television series writer Espenson. Plus, it continues the “Crime Does not Pay” series, which was the title of a famous 1950s comics series.

There’s just too much to review, so I’m only going to focus on my two favorite picks from Dark Horse Presents #26, “Nosferatu Wars” and “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps,” though my rating reflects the book as a whole. And don’t let my selections deter you from thinking there’s other incredible stories in this volume, because believe me, there are.

“Nosferatu Wars” was my favorite of the stories, a tale of vampires during the Black Plague which had my mind turning to Boccaccio’s Decameron (sorry, obscure), and which has a rather limited narrative. It’s written by Steve Niles, a horror master and current writer of Dark Horse’s Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem (not a horror story), and I was surprised to find that “Nosferatu Wars” reads like a hastily put together, cheesy tale of haute societe vampires, despite its definite narrative hook.

The highly realistic art of mMnton3 reminds one of the trompe-l’oeil style popularized in comics by Neal Adams in the 1960s, and has the ring of the fantastic work by Philip S. Tan on the early Savage Hawkman New 52 books (before that run got pretty bad and waned into nonexistence). But comparisons of Menton3’s art to others don’t do Menton3 any justice, as “Nosferatu Wars” has a nature all its own, unique and complex and lively and dead all at the same time.

Just as appealing, but much weirder…significantly so, is Patrick Alexander’s “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps,” which is a pointlessly hilarious and absurd day in the life of an extremely rich billionaire with a sad pig, an ugly butler, and a desire to write a newspaper. In just four pages, Alexander manages to astound and confuse with his out-of-this-world potato-head cast. I really don’t have a clue what’s going on with this story, and I imagine it’s like a rich British man on LSD, but I certainly hope we get more of Alexander’s “Steggy Wilmot and Spimps” weirdness. It’s just gotta happen, right?

Despite being an anthology—and one might fear that some bad eggs could slip in—editor Mike Richardson has ensured a batch of high-quality comics, which run the gamut of realistic horror to funny strip to classic sci-fi. While Dark Horse Presents #26 isn’t for everyone, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in sampling the diverse possibilities of graphic narratives, as well as those who are fans of the genres or writers/artists featured in this issue. DHP certainly delivers.

Story: Ron Randall, Steve Niles, Andrew Vachss, Mike Richardson, David Lapham, Mike Baron, Patrick Alexander, Jane Espenson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Frank Bariere, Dara Naraghi  Art: Ron Randall, Menton3, Dominic Reardon, David Lapham, Steve Rude, Patrick Alexander, Patric Reynolds, Karl Moline, Andy Owens, Steve Lieber, Micah Kaneshiro, Tom Williams
Story: 8  Art: 8  Overall: 8  Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse’s New Superhero Blackout Debuts in Dark Horse Presents!

Dark Horse brings us a brand new superhero inside the pages of the Eisner-winning anthology, Dark Horse Presents this coming Wednesday. Blackout is ready for action!

In Blackout, the commonplace life of Scott Travers changes forever when he comes to possess an extraordinary piece of technology that allows him to access a mysterious dimension within our own. Blackout is wire-to-wire excitement in a world where nothing is as it seems.

The story is brought to us by writer Frank Barbiere and artist Micah Kaneshiro.

Catch Blackout appearing in Dark Horse Presents #24, on sale May 22, 2013!

dark horse presents #24 cover

Preview – Broken Pieces #2


Mark Roslan – Writer / Micah Kaneshiro – Art

What is lost in life is found in…death!

Aspen Comic’s newest original series, BROKEN PIECES, continues!

Dr. Richard Adams’ life has been torn apart by a horrible discovery made by his wife Gabriella. However, the astounding breakthrough they made in the science of bio-rejuvenation has left Richard with a small shred of humanity to cling to, as everything else crumbles around him. With the odds of survival diminishing by the second—Richard will be forced to make the most consequential decision of his life, one which will effect the future of mankind itself!

Written and created by Aspen’s own Mark Roslan and featuring stunning artwork by newcomer and series artist Micah Kaneshiro, BROKEN PIECES will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

In stores February 22nd!

Aspen Comics Review – Broken Pieces #1, Exective Assistant: Lotus #3, Fathom (vol 4) #2 and Soulfire (vol 3) #4

It’s another week and that means a whole bunch of releases from Aspen Comics.  The books are varied ranging from fantasy to horror, political thriller featuring assassins to one featuring water creatures.  The quality is a bit mixed too, but there’s a little something for everyone.

Broken Pieces #1

BROKEN_PIECES-01a-KaneshiroMark Roslan – Writer / Micah Kaneshiro – Art

I decided to reread the #0 issue along with this first issue in the new series from Aspen Comics.  Overall, I have to say the book is pretty solid.  It’s the future and what seems like a terrorist attack has destroyed the Gulf Coast and launched a disease that seems to do some funky stuff as far as your skin and organs.

The story begins as a corporation comes to a promising doctor who may hold the key to stopping the disease, but what’s everyone’s goals?  Is it to stop it, is it to just fix people affected?  Also, the area of infection is moving northwards and refugees line along the Virginia and North Carolina border.  There’s a bit of a political tone along with the horror vibe of the comic.

Then the end of the first issue comes around and everything gets flipped.  The first issue is all set up, and what this comic seems to be about, or at least it’s focus, doesn’t really reveal itself until the end of that first issue.  The comic is solid overall and kept me on my toes.  What I thought the direction of the comic would be, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  It’s a solid first issue and definitely worth the look.

Story: 8 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy


Vince Hernandez – Story / Oliver Nome – Art / Emilio Lopez – Colors

Do you like hot chicks with swords and guns kicking the crap out of each other?  How about deadly assassins fighting to, well, the death?  This is the last issue of Lotus’s chapter in Aspen’s event, The Hit List Agenda.  Lotus takes on Virat who has betrayed her and sicked his students on her.  There’s lots of fighting and some kick ass scenes, and that’s really what the comic is and some times you need that.

While the three issues for this series has been entertaining, it really is a piece of the bigger event puzzle.  I’ve read it all now, so get a the big picture, for the most part, and I don’t know how enjoyable the series might be on it’s own.  I liked it though, but can’t really separate the limited series from the bigger picture.

Overall The Hitlist Agenda has been entertaining mixing a lot of action, with some intrigue and a lot of machinations and maneuvering usually saved for political thrillers.  I’m still not quite totally clear as to what the end game is, but the end of Lotus is a great bookend to it’s beginning.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Fathom (vol. 4) #2

Scott Lobdell – Writer / Alex Konat – Pencils / Beth Sotelo – Colors

Four volumes in and this is the first issue I’ve ever read of Fathom.  I always had it in the back of my head that this was Michael Turner’s Aquaman, but with a hot chick.  I also came in on this issue worried that with four volumes and one issue behind it, I might be a bit lost, that quickly went away.

The story is pretty cool.  An underwater race have been plotting to kill the President and Vice President and are posing as their Secret Service detail.  Aspen must rush to save the Vice President.  There’s a lot of action here, but the pacing is damn perfect with a great countdown feel to it.  I had no idea what the result would be.  Will she get there in time?

The art is beautiful here and I had no idea picking up what was going on, who everyone was, and some of what came before.  It might be a second issue, but it was still an easy entry point.  I can see myself really getting into this one, and looking forward to what’s to come.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Soulfire (vol. 3) #4

J.T. Krul – Writer / Jason Fabok – Art / John Starr – Colors

This is my second issue into the series, and I still don’t quite get it.  The teaser for this issue promised, “This is THE issue Soulfire fans will not want to miss as long-burning questions will finally be illuminated!”  I read it and couldn’t tell you what that is.  There’s some decent art, but this series just isn’t for me.

I’m still trying to figure out the reason.  It might be that I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy, which this leans towards.  There’s a lot of history here, and I don’t know any of it.  It relies heavily on that continuity, again I’m behind the eight ball with that.

It’s very possible if I went back to the beginning and started to read the series, my opinion might be different, but this issue like the last, just isn’t clicking with me.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass

Aspen Comics provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of these issues for FREE for review.

Preview – Broken Pieces #1

Official Press Release


Mark Roslan – Writer / Micah Kaneshiro – Art

What is lost in life is found in…death!

Aspen Comic’s newest original series, BROKEN PIECES, starts now!

In a not too distant future torn apart by a deadly biological catastrophe, doctors Richard and Gabriella Adams stood on the verge of a scientific breakthrough—a cure to the epidemic spreading across North America, splitting the population between those that are plagued—and those in power that are not. However, their union of research and marriage is tragically ripped in two, and Richard soon discovers that he has to sacrifice everything in order to piece together a hope for humanity and put the shattered remains of his life back together again.

Written and created by Aspen’s own Mark Roslan and featuring stunning artwork by newcomer and series artist Micah Kaneshiro, BROKEN PIECES will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

BROKEN PIECES #1 is in stores September 7th, 2011!


Preview – Broken Pieces #0

Official Press Release


Mark Roslan – Writer / Micah Kaneshiro – Art

What is lost in life is found in…death!

Aspen Comics is proud to offer you its newest original series, BROKEN PIECES!

In a future torn apart by the deadly catastrophe of biological contamination, pollution and corporate greed, one man will discover an even more tragic fate. Dr. Richard Adams, along with his loving wife, Dr. Gabriella Adams, stood at the forefront of research in advanced medicine and bio-rejuvenation. However, one fateful—and fatal– moment will change everything about their purpose, their relationship, and each other. When the tragedy of events literally tears apart everything about his being, Richard is left with no choice but to pick up the fragmented pieces of his reality in order to save his wife—as well as potentially the fate of mankind.

Featuring an all new 12-page prelude story that sets the stage for the brand-new BROKEN PIECES #1 issue heading your way next month, this special zero issue comes complete with an additional sketchbook section, never before seen art, and a stunning cover by hot new series artist Micah Kaneshiro. Not to be missed, make sure you get in on the ground floor of this exciting new series!

BROKEN PIECES #0 is in stores August 3rd, 2011!

BROKEN PIECES #0 CoverBROKEN PIECES #0 CoverBROKEN PIECES #0 Cover Caldwell SDCC Read more

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