Tag Archives: warren ellis

Preview: James Bond: Vargr HC

James Bond: Vargr HC

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Jason Masters
FC • 168 pages • $19.99 • Teen+
COLLECTS ISSUES 1-6

After a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, James Bond returns to London and assumes the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. His new mission takes him to Berlin, presumably to break up an agile drug-trafficking operation. But Bond has no idea of the forces gathered in secret against him, the full scope of an operation that’s much scarier and more lethal than he could possibly imagine. Berlin is about to catch fire… and James Bond is trapped inside. Dynamite Entertainment proudly presents VARGR, the debut storyline in the all-new James Bond comic book series, as crafted by masterful writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, The Authority) and artist Jason Masters (Batman Incorporated, Guardians of the Galaxy).

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Preview: James Bond #7

James Bond #7

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Dom Reardon
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

After World War Two, army intelligence groups created ghost cells called “stay-behinds” across Europe in the event of a Warsaw Pact surge. “EIDOLON” is the story of a SPECTRE stay-behind structure – ghost cells of SPECTRE loyalists acting as sleepers until the time is right for a SPECTRE reformation and resurgence. The time is now.

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Another Universe Is Possible?

Valiant-Logo-Red_primary_webRight now Valiant Entertainment and Action Lab Entertainment are each focused on building out shared universes for their heroes to inhabit. This could have lasting positive effects on diversity in comics, much like WildStorm did back in its day. I don’t know how either publisher will fare but I’m excited that they are trying.

The cultural and economic impact of Marvel and DC Comics‘s universes won’t be surpassed in our lifetimes, if ever. But could another superhero U succeed on it’s own terms? In Elle Collins’ latest column she asserts that we should look for depth not breadth in our new U’s and I’m inclined to agree. We can also use new universes as ways to bring diversity in to comics and unbridled experimentation.

My colleague Sarah Rasher has some great coverage of yesterday’s Valiant Summit. What Valiant is embarking on sounds ambitious and interesting. Sarah was excited to report that Valiant is very deliberately baking in diversity as the publisher builds out its new world. I suspect that will contribute greatly towards establishing diverse characters at the core of the stories their readers will care about. The diverse characters won’t end up as tokens or “Smurfettes” as Sarah explains. Sarah and I are n00bs to Valiant but we are both intrigued by what we heard.

Valiant’s new series Faith, staring a plus-size, geek-girl superhero has been a universal hit at Graphic Policy. We interviewed series writer Jody Houser on our podcast and we love her vision for the comics.

FUTURE-OF-VALIANT_007_DIVINITY-III-STALINVERSEWhat Valiant is trying to do with its Stalinverse sounds really creative even if it’s only temporary. It could end up being Valiant’s version of the Age of Apocalypse but with real world historical influences. It certainly sounds like writer Matt Kindt did his homework on Soviet history.

But one ‘verse I truly loved and miss was the WildStorm Universe. Planetary offered brilliant new distillations of heroes from all genres of genre entertainment stretching back to the late 1800′s. StormWatch and The Authority gave us the gay Batman and Superman in love that we always needed (even though as Elle brilliantly asserts in her podcast about Midnighter, Midnighter is actually Wolverine, not Batman– at least as written by Steve Orlando). WildStorm gave me my fictional girlfriend Jenny Sparks– a character who has no analogue because fiction never gave us a woman like her before. The Engineer was Iron Man at its best and also at it’s most latina.

I was sad when WildStorm got bought by DC because I prefer WildStorm standing as its own universe. Folded in to DC it lost a lot of what made it special. Culturally, giving a big two publisher the IP for characters like Midnighter and Apollo was incredibly significant, making it easier to bring major league gay superheroes to the forefront. But artistically, the WS characters will never be as interesting as they were in their own world.

Midnighter #1The exception of course is that Steve Orlando’s Midnighter is FAR better written as a character within his own solo series at DC then he was at WildStorm. It benefited greatly from having fresh talent like Orlando, himself a bisexual man, writing the book and the fact that it was a solo series focused on Midnighter unlike The Authority which was a team book. Orlando even found something interesting to do with Henry Bendix in the DCU, WildStorm’s particularly malicious evil mastermind. But it wasn’t DC comics that gave Midnighter room to grow by having him in a larger Universe, it was the talent on the book that gave Midnighter room to grow.

One experiment we’ve seen of folding new universes in to existing ones is Milestone Media‘s relationship with DC Comics. Milestone was invented to be a black superhero universe by black talent featuring black characters. Static Shock was wildly successful, staring in his own cartoon and really being Spider-Man to a whole generation. Milestone suffered from the comics industry implosion of ’93 and retailers stereotyping it as comics only black reader would by. DC Comics needed to do more to keep this important imprint afloat. While key characters were brought in to the cartoons I’ve yet to see DC market Milestone intelligently.

milestone media logoI was excited to hear announcements that Milestone is coming back. It will continue to be in partnership with DC and it sounds like the characters will be on their own planet, Earth M, but exist within the regular DCU. This would give them space to build their own world without being overshadowed creatively but still enable easy, audience building crossovers. However it’s been a year and a half since that news was announced and the whole project seems to still be in limbo. We need Milestone just as urgently today as we did in the 90s.

I miss the WildStorm Universe being its own universe. I’m not asking to have it back, but it still felt like a loss. Parts of it are a bit of a time capsule of the 90s and 00s mores and aesthetics – these are not my preferred aesthetics but its series did feel very timely.  I’m first to admit Gen-13 is kinda laughable. It was so 90s I couldn’t even stand it in the 90s! I never cared for WildCATS for similar reasons but GP founder Brett has assured me there’s a run that offered sharp commentary on corporate power.

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City universe is a pleasure to read though I haven’t kept up with the series. It featured loving and intelligent re-imagings of characters like Robin and the Fantastic Four and it continues to build out to this day.

Meanwhile WildStorm served as a place of brutal satire at times. It could be nasty fun and it paved the way for beloved titles like Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen‘s Next Wave: Agents of HATE at Marvel.

In The Authority, the WSU gave Mark Millar (who I normally can’t stand) the space to point out that if a superhero team really could make a difference The Powers That Be in corporations and governments would do anything to stop them from making a difference. Because if you are in power you like things the way they are. I’ve never seen a mainstream comic make that point as clearly as Millar did in his controversial run which had the whole team killed and replaced by corporate-backed superhero stooges.

Works like Planetary and the best runs of The Authority stand the test of time. I don’t think they could have happened within the Marvel or DCU. They were too experimental. They relied too much on reconfiguring existing superhero worlds to really take place with in an existing property. They weren’t afraid to challenge readers. They were both meta-human and meta-textual.

Here’s to hoping places like Valiant go where the big two can’t or won’t as they build out their own superhero universes. Let’s hope they establish themselves as sites of experimentation and diversity that reflects our real world. If they do this they will have an outsized impact on the comics world no matter how many issues they sell. It will pressure the big 2 to build more diverse and inclusive worlds themselves. And it will make for some awesome reading.

Preview: James Bond #6

James Bond #6

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Dom Reardon
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

The secret of VARGR is revealed, and it means that Bond has to descend into a nightmare scenario – alone. Just his gun and his skills versus a murderous conspiracy to turn Britain into a testing zone for death drugs. Dynamite Entertainment proudly concludes the debut storyline to the first ongoing James Bond comic book in over 20 years!

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Warren Ellis and Jason Masters Return to James Bond in Eidolon

Following last year’s massive critical hit series, James Bond: VARGR, masterful writer Warren Ellis and artist Jason Masters return to tell the next chapter in the life of 007!

After World War Two, army intelligence groups created ghost cells called “stay-behinds” across Europe in the event of a Warsaw Pact surge. EIDOLON is the story of a SPECTRE stay-behind structure – ghost cells of SPECTRE loyalists acting as sleepers until the time is right for a SPECTRE reformation and resurgence. The time is now.

The new arc in Dynamite‘s smash hit series features the same creative team that wowed critics and fans alike back for another arc of suspense and intrigue!

Also releasing on June 15th will be a deluxe hardcover collection of the critically acclaimed debut series James Bond: VARGR! Kicking off after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, James Bond returns to London and assumes the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. His new mission takes him to Berlin, presumably to break up an agile drug-trafficking operation. But Bond has no idea of the forces ranged in secret against him, the full range of an operation that’s much scarier and more lethal than he could possibly imagine. Berlin is about to catch fire… and James Bond is trapped inside.

The first chapter of EIDOLON will debut as James Bond #7 in June, alongside the hardcover collection of James Bond Volume 1: VARGR, priced at $3.99 and $19.99 respectively.

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Preview: Project Superpowers: Blackcross Collection

Project Superpowers: Blackcross Collection

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Colton Worley
cover: Tula Lotay
FC • 176 pages • $19.99

COLLECTS THE COMPLETE, 6-ISSUE MINI-SERIES

All small towns have secrets. All small towns have ghosts. Blackcross, in America’s Pacific Northwest, has more secrets than most… and it is being haunted by something impossible.  Something is reaching out from the other side of the night, through the forest and mist of this remote town, to grasp at the hearts of a handful of people… and they may not discover why they’re being hunted until it’s much too late. Forget what you know about Project Superpowers, as award-winning writer Warren Ellis and artist Colton Worley take readers on a sinister journey away from the brightly-clad heroes of the Golden Age, and into the shadows of Blackcross, a supernatural noir thriller of ordinary people stalked by an otherworldly killer.

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Preview: James Bond #5

James Bond #5

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Dom Reardon
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

Bond is locked in a death trap in a medical lab in the middle of Berlin, London is going into meltdown as poisoned drugs are turning homes into abattoirs, and the only way to save Britain is the secret of someone or something called… VARGR. Dynamite Entertainment proudly continues the first James Bond comic book series in over 20 years!

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Review: Karnak #2

karnak2After several months hiatus, Warren Ellis and Gerardo Zaffino’s (with inking help from Antonio Fuso) meditation in minimalism returns with Karnak #2. Its plot is simple. Karnak, an Inhuman martial artist and philosopher, is tasked by S.H.I.E.L.D. to rescue an Inhuman boy from a dark, cult-like organization called the I.D.I.C., who sees him as an archetypical Chosen One. The comic is part martial arts extravaganza, part philosophical debate, and it definitely draws inspiration from the tightly edited, no room for fatty subplots action films of the 2010s, like The Raid, Dredd, Hawywire, and John Wick, with a dash of superheroes and pop philosophy. Plus he one punches a church building.

Most of Karnak #2 is silent sequences involving punching, martial arts moves, and Karnak using literal fragments from his environment to dispatch his opponents. Zaffino and Fuso’s inking style is rougher and scratchier than the previous issue as the cool fighting moves getting covered in speed line and pitch black colors from Dan Brown. The art style is reminiscent of some of Bill Sienkiewicz’s looser work, like Elektra Assassin , but with less of a painting influence even if some panels are hit and miss. But when Zaffino, Fuso, and Brown hit, the result can be pretty breathtaking like Karnak taking out a line of goons with splinters, or the revelation that the creepy, priestlike man keeping the Inhuman boy has his own special ability known as Zen Gunnery. He channels his faith into a weapon in a way similar to Morpheus in The Matrix, but instead of standard issue martial arts and marksmanship, he gets a cool Inhuman power with a burst of red. But he’s no match for Karnak, the philosopher/warrior, who dismantles his flimsy Messianic philosophy

Karnak is definitely the most unlikely protagonist to have a book in All-New, All-Different Marvel. He’s cold, karnak2015002-int2-04-170449humorless, and tells his opponents how he is going to defeat them, like Midnighter, but with none of his wit. (Ellis was actually the co-creator back in Stormwatch so it’s interesting to pit the characters’ abilities and temperaments against each other.) There is really no suspense when he takes out the Inhuman boys’ guards in the first half of the issue, but Ellis hooks readers for upcoming issues (Other than the promise of more skillful pugilism.) by giving Karnak himself a relatable character flaw: loneliness.

From the opening of the issue where he builds blocks and takes them down while his parents argue about exposing him to the Terrigen mists or not to its conclusion where he drinks water alone while people are kissing and dancing, Karnak is truly isolated. He has no personal connections, and his current mission, argument, or fight is his life. But perhaps he wants to be part of something bigger just like the Zen gunning priest, and it will be interesting to see if Ellis develops Karnak’s character or just uses him as a cipher for fight scenes or philosophical debates.

In its second issue, Karnak continues to develop its identity as a minimalist kung fu philosophy comic with a side of science fiction and an incredibly cranky protagonist. The comic sort of just trails off at the end, but Karnak’s interest in finding the Inhuman “savior” out of true faith or to prove people wrong sets up the rest of the series. Gerardo Zaffino and Antonio Fuso’s art is roughly inked (Almost too rough in some spots.) and hard hitting, but lacks the ballet-like choreography of Ellis’ previous action minimalist Marvel story, Moon Knight  #5 that he did with Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire.

Story: Warren Ellis Art: Gerardo Zaffino with Antonio Fuso Colors: Dan Brown
Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

Preview: James Bond #4

James Bond #4

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Dom Reardon
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

James Bond is alone in Berlin, with nothing but the clothes on his back and the gun in his hand.  When help is offered from an unexpected source, Bond has no choice but to accept it – even though it may guarantee that he doesn’t live through the night. Dynamite Entertainment proudly continues the first James Bond comic book series in over 20 years!

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Preview: James Bond #3

James Bond #3

writer: Warren Ellis
artist: Jason Masters
cover: Dom Reardon
incentive cover: Gabriel Hardman
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bond is on his way to break up a small, agile drug-trafficking operation in Berlin. The truth about what he’s walking into is bigger, scarier and much more lethal. Berlin is about to catch fire, and James Bond is trapped inside. Dynamite Entertainment proudly continues the “VARGR” storyline, the debut chapter of the ongoing James Bond saga as written by industry legend Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Masters!

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