Category: Variants

Latest stories

  • , , , ,

    Regression: A Tale of Supernatural Terror and Intrigue

    Regression #1 introduces Adrian, a pretty ordinary guy–except for one thing. Adrian is plagued by vivid waking nightmares. The visions are so intense they are ruining his life. Finally, his friend Molly coerces Adrian into a past life regression hypnotherapy session with her friend Sid.

    Regression #1
    Regression #1

    During the first session, Adrian catches a glimpse of a bizarre and ghastly scene. Unable to process the scene he just witnessed, Adrian wakes in a daze. Unconvinced that he has just experienced a peek into his past life, Adrian is ready to give up on therapy.

    Occult, Conspiracy, Mystery, Reincarnation, and Insanity

    Unfortunately for Adrian, the vision was real. Something unspeakable happened in his past life, and it has followed him to his present.

    Writer Cullen Bunn drew on experiences from his childhood when penning the script for Regression. “My father was a hypnotist, and I watched him perform a number of past life regressions,” Bunn noted in an exclusive interview with TFAW. “I thought about those regressions quite a bit over the years. Somewhere along the way, the troubling thought dawned on me: what if one of those past lives were evil? Or possessed by evil? And what if the regression gave them a finger hold in someone’s life? What if they could hitch a ride to the present?”

    Bunn’s first hand experience with hypnosis, subconscious, and past life regression comes through in the story. There is a very creepy and unsettling realism to the scenario he is describing. The artwork and color choices by Danny Luckert and Marie Enger sell the terror and levity of the script brilliantly.

    Fans of horror and occult comics will revel in Regression If you’ve read Harrow County, The Damned, Outcast, or God Country, you absolutely don’t want to miss this series!

    ADRIAN’S DESCENT INTO MADNESS CONTINUES. PRE-ORDER REGRESSION #2

    Regression #1, Image Comics, Release Date May 10, 2017, Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Danny Luckert, Color/Letters by Marie Enger, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Shaolin Cowboy’s Surf and Turf Battle

    Leave it to Geoff Darrow to begin a new issue (and a new series) with a trio of talking vultures. The triad is circling the remains of a huge battle to find their next meal. And they provide the most intelligent dialogue in the book.

    Shaolin Cowboy’s latest battle, which nearly left him for dead, provides the backdrop for the vultures’ discussion of physiognomy, smorgasbords and cholesterol. Seeing a dead Asian combatant, one of the vultures declares, “It looks pretty fresh, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had any sashimi.”

    Old Nemeses Hell Bent on Revenge

    Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign? #1 (variant cover)
    Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop The Reign? #1 (variant cover)

    In The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign #1, Cowboy doesn’t have much to say. That leaves the vultures and less-intelligent humans to fill in the story. That plot revolves around a number of enemies trying to take advantage of Cowboy’s weakened state. Those include the vultures, a warden from hell, and a beer-guzzling crab-human hybrid. It’s quintessential Darrow. And that’s a beautiful thing.

    But it’s detailed artwork that Darrow fans demand. And this issue doesn’t disappoint. While the book doesn’t have the decapitation by chainsaw on a rope that we’ve come to expect from the Cowboy, there’s still plenty to feast your eyes on.

    There are impossible moves where the Cowboy propels himself into the back of a moving car. Bleak mountain landscapes complete with anti-Trump graffiti. And the generous use of two-page spreads with knife-legged dogs as a treat for the careful observer. Darrow creates a visual treat that will leave you coming back for the rest of this four-part series.

    RE-ORDER SHAOLIN COWBOY: WHO’LL STOP THE RAIN #2 AND FIND OUT WHO’S IN HOT PURSUIT OF THE COWBOY

    The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1, Dark Horse Comics, Released April 19, 2017, Written and Art by Geoff Darrow, Colors by Dave Stewart, Lettering by Nate Piekos, $3.99.

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    The Unstoppable Will vs. The Unstoppable Mouth

    The main difference between The Punisher and Deadpool is motivation. Both appear to be sociopaths. But Frank Castle is driven by vengeance and Wade Wilson’s main concern is his paycheck. Neither wants to admit how deeply they are actually driven by emotion.

    In Deadpool vs. Punisher #1, Fred Van Lente serves up a script that puts these two on opposite sides of an ambiguous moral scenario.

    Wilson and Castle are very familiar with each other’s work. Wilson thinks Castle is a “self-righteous, sociopathic, shoot-first-ask-questions-never, humorless, fascist hard-ass.” Castle views Wilson as a “motor-mouthed, muddle-headed, arrested adolescent with delusions of competence.”

    See the World. Fill it Full of Bullets

    Deadpool vs. Punisher #1 opens with Punisher working undercover at an underground illegal gambling club. “VS.” is a place where degenerates gather to place wagers on superheroes. Some names on the board include Spider-Man (original, probably), Captain American Falcon, and Guy who thinks he’s Hercules.

    After Punisher violently shuts down the club, he gets the information he’s been after. That’s when the desperate club manager gives up details on The Bank in order to save his own life. The Bank is Castle’s true target. But he’s also Wade Wilson’s accountant, money launderer, client, and close friend.

    Pere Perez’ artwork suits the script perfectly. And there are plenty of background details, but not so many as to distract from well-planned action sequences. In addition, he nails the expressions on the unmasked characters. Perez brilliantly telegraphs nuanced expression through Pool’s mask and body language.

    Van Lente sets up an interesting “best of five rounds” scenario. With a clear winner in each of the planned five chapters, Deadpool is playing with a loaded deck. With his regenerative abilities, he can afford to lose four of five battles and still come back for the next installment. Punisher doesn’t have the same luxury.

    SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND PRE-ORDER THE REST OF THE 5 PART SERIES

    Deadpool vs. Punisher #1, Marvel Comics, April 12, 2017, Written by Fred Van Lente, Art by Pere Perez, Color by Ruth Redmond, Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino, Cover by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Magical Rose

    Rose is a new series fantasy series that embraces the classic archetypes with gusto. There are magical kingdoms, evil sorcerers, and a young hero embracing her destiny.

    Rose #1 (Variant Cover)
    Rose #1 (Variant Cover)

    The story is set in a world that for years was protected a group of warriors known as Guardians. These brave soldiers defended the land with animal companions called Khats. The Guardians were eventually defeated by an evil sorceress named Drucilla, who destroyed most of the land and outlawed magic.

    Restoring Balance

    Rose #1 begins ten years later. A young girl named Rose possesses the magic powers of a Guardian. Fearing for her daughter’s safety, Rose’s mother makes the girl promise not to use her powers. Rose is forced to flee her village and head into the woods when tragedy strikes. And that’s where she meets up with the leadership of the resistance against the evil queen.

    This first issue definitely feels like the beginning of a fairy tale saga. Like any good first issue it’s laying the groundwork for the series. Writer Meredith Finch is obviously inspired by a lot of classic fantasy stories. But she clearly wants to put her own spin on it without alienating readers looking for a traditional tale of a magical realm.

    The art does a lot to create an otherworldly vibe. Artist Ig Guara offers up a number of striking and unique character designs. The characters and the world around them shift between beautiful and grotesque. It leads to a sense of both wonder and dread that’s perfect for this story. Drawing the reader ever further into a world with exciting magic and creepy horror.

    Rose is definitely a book for fantasy fans. However, it’s also a story constructed out of such classic and archetypical building blocks that anyone can pick it up and get engrossed.

    SEE IF ROSE CAN DEFEAT THE DARKNESS AND PRE-ORDER ROSE #2

    Rose #1, Image Comics, Release Date April 12, 2017, Written by Meredith Finch, Art by Ig Guara, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , ,

    Serenity: A Conclusion With No End in Sight

    Few television shows inspire as much loyalty from die-hard fans as Firefly, Joss Whedon’s 2002 science fiction-Western hybrid. Capitalizing on the demand for new stories after the 2005 feature film Serenity, Dark Horse Comics has published several limited series. Its latest, Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #6, concludes with bang.

    Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse #6
    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #6

    In addition, the book has nailed the feeling of the beloved – but short-lived TV show. There’s the Western-style dialogue (“We put up a good fight for a spell.”). And the occasional Chinese curses (“Bi zui!”). Georges Jeanty’s realistic artwork lets us revisit our favorites characters. Capt. Mal Reynolds, mercenary Jayne Cobb, psychic River Tam all make appearances.

    The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn

    The new book takes place after the events of the Serenity movie. No Power in the ‘Verse sets the stage for a new uprising against the evil Alliance and its band of all-powerful psychics. Reynolds and his crew are caught in the middle forced to rescue River and other friends. This is also all happening while trying to figure out who are their friends and their true enemies.

    However, instead of neatly wrapping up the story, writer Chris Robertson sets the stage for the next as-of-yet unannounced next limited series. The battle lines have been drawn–both within Serenity crew and between the crew and the Alliance. And the next installment can’t come soon enough.

    GET CAUGHT UP ON THE SERENITY SERIES AND ORDER ALL THE ISSUES. YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT THE SERENITY GRAPHIC NOVEL

    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #6, Dark Horse Comics, Released March 29, 2017, Written by Chris Roberson, Pencils by Georges Jeanty, Inks by Karl Story, Colors by Wes Dzioba, Lettering by Michael Heisler, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Aqua-Mystery

    It’s been a tough few months for the King of Atlantis. He’s dealt with an invasion of his home. He’s been involved in a potential war with the United States. And his followers are questioning the woman he married. But things are looking up.

    Aquaman #19 (Variant Cover)
    Aquaman #19 (Variant Cover)

    Aquaman has received a request to help his former enemies–The Aquamarines. This group is a  paramilitary unit with DNA that has been spliced with sea creatures. As a result, they have the ability to shift between human and sea life form. They need the assistance of Aquaman to investigate the sudden radio silence of a naval base. Arthur agrees to help the team. The silence may be connected to a mysterious substance known as Strange Water. And Aquaman has  encountered it before.

    Aquaman’s Expertise is Needed

    Aquaman #19 is an unusual story line for an Aquaman adventure. Typically Aquaman is leading armies of sea creatures against supervillains. Or he’s debating diplomatic strategy as the leader of Atlantis. However, this story casts Aquaman in the role of detective. It emphasizes a slow sense of creeping dread as Aquaman and the Aquamarines investigate the island base.

    Writer Dan Abnett uses the opportunity to pick up on some characters and story threads he started on the New 52 Aquaman. It’s a refreshing change of pace for one of DC Rebirth’s strongest titles. This is definitely painted as a horror story. And it and delivers a villain that even Aquaman may be unable to defeat.

    This issue shows the creepy tale of terrifying sea life. But it also continues to develop the relationship between Aquaman and his fiancé Mera. Their relationship is really at the center of this whole series.  And seeing her fearlessly back Arthur up further solidifies their strength as a couple.

    SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN H2.0 AND PRE-ORDER AQUAMAN #20

    Aquaman #19, DC Comics, Released March 15, 2017, Written by Dan Abnett, Art by Philippe Briones, Cover by Brad Walker, $2.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    American Gods Gets the Comic Book Treatment

    Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods is based on the idea that where believers exist, their gods also exist. Immigrants to the United States bring versions of their gods with them. As long as believers hold their faith, the gods flourish.

    The more believers in one place and the stronger their belief, the bigger and more powerful a deity. When a belief system breaks down, the forgotten gods lose their power and eventually disappear. Old gods are constantly fighting to keep their foothold in a society where new gods are constantly popping up. Ever wonder why the Old Testament God was so adamant about graven images?

    American Gods: Shadows #1
    American Gods: Shadows #1

    American Gods: Shadows #1 introduces Shadow Moon, a convict who is released from prison a few days early to grieve. His wife was killed in an auto accident the week before Shadow’s scheduled release. On his flight home, Shadow has an uncomfortable meeting with Mr. Wednesday.

    The grizzled old man offers Shadow a job after demonstrating impossible knowledge of Shadow’s past and present. Taking Wednesday for a grifter, Shadow declines and the two part ways. Unbeknownst to him, this isn’t the last time Shadow will encounter Mr. Wednesday. Shadow likewise has no idea how thin his perception of reality is about to stretch.

    A Superstar Lineup. Neil Gaiman! P. Craig Russell! Scott Hampton!

    P. Craig Russell is no stranger to adapting Gaiman works. Russell provided art for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, Coraline, and the Graveyard Book. This time he takes the reigns, writing the script with Gaiman available as a consultant.

    Neil Gaiman has been involved throughout the adaptation process and is pleased with the comic series. “I’ve been watching P. Craig Russell breaking down the book into comic form, watching Scott Hampton painting the pages, watching Glenn Fabry create the covers, and grinning to myself with delight, because the American Gods comic is going to be an astonishing, faithful, and beautiful adaptation.”

    American Gods: Shadows will appeal to fans of the source novel, action-adventure, fantasy, horror, Americana, and mythology.

    SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SHADOW GETS OUT OF JAIL AND PRE-ORDER AMERICAN GODS: SHADOWS #2

    American Gods: Shadows #1, Dark Horse Comics, Release date March 15, 2017, Rated Mature, Story and Words by Neil Gaiman, Script and Layouts by P. Craig Russell, Art by Scott Hampton, Letters by Rick Parker, Cover by Glenn Fabry with Adam Brown, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Tommy Can You Hear Me?

    Taking on a tale as complex as the new Royal City could spell disaster. But Jeff Lemire makes it look easy in Royal City #1. He has a practiced hand telling such complicated stories as Sweet Tooth, Essex County and Moon Knight. And he makes this new undertaking seem effortless.

    Royal City #1 (Variant Cover)
    Royal City #1 (Variant Cover)

    Taking on double duty in writing and illustrating, Lemire methodically introduces us to the Pike family. There’s the elderly Peter and Patti, who are having marital issues. Author Pat who is having trouble batting out his next novel. Daughter Tara, who is struggling to reshape the titular city–and make a fortune in the process. And Richard, who finds solace from life at the bottom of a bottle.

    Then There’s Tommy

    Tommy, the youngest son, appears in different forms–a young boy, a drinking buddy, a long-forgotten voice on the radio. He is whatever his family needs him to be. While it’s easy to guess Tommy’s real fate, the revelation is no less of a gut punch.

    Royal City itself is a character. And plays a significant role in the book. Royal City is a sleepy town of 45,000. Many of the characters are looking to escape the town. Or at least they think they are. More than likely, we’ll eventually learn they are trying to escape their own poor life choices. Lemire hasn’t taken us there yet. But when he does, we’ll be waiting.

    With his other acclaimed projects like Descender and A.D., Lemire is clearly at the top of his game. Between his colored pencils and his even more colorful words, Royal City is already among his best works.

    SEE WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE BLACK-SHEEP OF THE PIKE FAMILY. PRE-ORDER ROYAL CITY #2

    Royal City #1, Image Comics, Released March 1, 2017, Written and Art by Jeff Lemire, Lettering by Steve Wands; $4.99.

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Spencer & Locke #1: The Best of Both Worlds

    Peanut butter and chocolate. Chips and salsa. Rum and Coke. Some things are just meant to go together.

    But how about Calvin & Hobbes combined with Sin City?

    That’s the premise of Spencer & Locke, a new limited four-book series from Action Lab – Danger Zone. At first, the idea sounds silly, maybe even offensive. Calvin is a beloved comic strip featuring a boy and his stuffed tiger that gently taught life lessons. Sin City was a gritty crime drama chock full of murder, con men and prostitutes.

    Here the thing though–Spencer & Locke works. Like a charm.

    Spencer & Locke #1 Variant Cover
    Spencer & Locke #1 Variant Cover

    A Detective and a Stuffed Panther on a Mission

    Locke is all grown up now and a police detective. His partner? You guessed it. A 6-foot-tall version of his stuff blue panther, Spencer (complete with a missing eye) except when we see Locke interacting with other humans, then Spencer is back to his stuffed animal form. “Don’t judge,” Locke explains to us. “You probably got weirder friends.”

    When we first meet the pair in the new series Spencer & Locke #1,  they are sneaking out of the house to play, a la the comic strip characters they are based upon. But the similarities are quickly wiped away as young Spencer gets a right cross from his dear ol’ mom.

    Writer David Pepose keeps the story moving through the use of flashbacks, taking our heroes–and maybe the story’s villains as well–back to happier times. As the time shifts, so does Jorge Santiago’s artwork, moving from simple childlike imagery to a gritty urban landscape.

    Pepose sets up enough drama and compelling characters to keep us asking questions and coming back for more–blue panther or no.

    REVISIT THE GRITTINESS OF SIN CITY OR GET A DOSE OF CUTENESS WITH CALVIN & HOBBES

    Spencer & Locke #1, Action Lab – Danger Zone, Release date April 26, 2017, Written by David Pepose, Art by Jorge Santiago, Colors by Jasen Smith, Letters by Colin Bell; $3.99.

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , ,

    Come And Take It in God Country #3

    In God Country, Emmett Quinlan was seemingly chosen at random to wield a magical sword called Valofax. While holding the 12-foot sword, Quinlan is whole again for the first time in decades. As a result, his Alzheimer’s horrible fog is lifted. He met his granddaughter for the first time. He remembers his son, daughter-in-law, and the pain of losing his wife, Elizabeth.

    god country 3 variant
    God Country #3 (Variant Cover)

    Previously, in God Country #2, Aristus, God of War, comes to Texas to retrieve the blade of blades. Aristus is rebuked by the sword itself when he tries to remove the sword from Quinlan. Valofax, it turns out, is more than a magic weapon. Valofax is the God of blades and it has chosen Emmett.

    The Power of the Sword

    “It is every sword ever forged. Every enchanted blade you have ever heard of. Every myth, every song, every tale spoken of a mighty warrior and his unbreakable steel…it is and has always been Valofax.”

    Emmett begins to feel the true weight of the amazing gift Valofax has given him. He will have to fight gods and demons to keep the blade. If he relinquishes Valofax to Aristus, he will suffer no consequences or retribution from the gods. The downside is that his dementia will return.

    At the end of the chapter, Quinlan’s intent becomes clear. He sends Aristus back to The Kingdom of Always with a four word message–“Come and take it.”

    Death Has Come To West Texas

    In the opening sequences of God Country #3, Emmett spends some granddaddy time with Deena. Roy and Janey finally have some time alone to process the miraculous events unfolding.

    Meanwhile, Emmett’s message to The Kingdom of Always has been received. And the time for catchin’ up and carryin’ on has ended. Balegrim and his demon army descend on the Quinlan farm. Challenge accepted.

    FOLLOW EMMETT’S JOURNEY AND PRE-ORDER GOD COUNTRY #4

    God Country #3, Image Comics, Release Date March 15, 2017, Rated 16+, Written by Donny Cates, Art by Geoff Shaw, Color by Jason Wordie, Letters and design by John J. Hill, Covers by Geoff Shaw and Gerardo Zaffino, $3.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , ,

    This is a Job For…Clark Kent

    Action Comics #973 opens with Clark Kent shaving in his Metropolis apartment. Then it cuts to Clark Kent working under the hood of a pickup truck on his family’s farm. How can Clark be in two places at once? A mysterious, human Clark Kent has been puzzling Superman since Action Comics #957.

    Action Comics #973 Variant Cover
    Action Comics #973 Variant Cover

    Having his doppelganger fill in for him at The Daily Planet frees up some time for the big man to be Super, but it raises some interesting dilemmas. For instance, how will Lois handle it when “Other Clark” asks her out? This guy is clearly an imposter, but the investigative reporter in her wants to know more.

    Meanwhile, the Last Son of Krypton responds to an intruder alarm at his Fortress of Solitude. This is unprecedented for several reasons. First, no one really knows the Fortress exists. Then, there’s a six-ton boulder blocking the entrance should anyone accidently stumble upon the secret locale.

    The Road to Superman: Reborn Starts Here!

    This chapter is really two stories simultaneously unfolding. The separation between Lois Lane’s story and Kal-El’s allows Lois’ character to develop nicely. Dan Jurgens (Batman Beyond, Justice League) is giving us a nice slow burn on the mystery of DoppelClark. The development is paced brilliantly, keeping the enigma fresh without rushing the blow off.

    Pat Zircher (Green Arrow, Black Panther) and Steven Segovia (Batman: Arkham Knight) split art duties, with Segovia penciling the Superman story and Zircher handling the Lois/Clark sequences. This arrangement highlights the dichotomy between the two scripts, while having Arif Prianto color the entire chapter lends continuity throughout.

    Action Comics is stepping forward as another DC Rebirth title to watch. This chapter is a little light on action, but makes up for it in suspense. Lots of loose ends are left hanging with the promise that everything will make sense very soon.

    GET SOME ANSWERS AND PRE-ORDER ACTION COMICS #974 AND #975

    Action Comics #973, DC Comics, Released February 8, 2017, Rated T, Written by Dan Jurgens, Pencils by Pat Zircher and Steven Segovia, Color by Arif Prianto, Letters by Rob Leigh, Cover by Clay Mann and Brad Anderson, $2.99

    Please follow and like us:
  • , , , ,

    Darth Maul Epitomizes the Dark Side

    Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 explores Darth Maul’s years prior to the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The chapter opens with a demonstration of a younger Darth Maul’s fighting prowess. Seeking out the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy to hunt for sport, Darth Maul fights his way through a pack of Rathtars.

    Fear. Anger. Hate. These are the weapons of the Sith. Darth Maul has all three in spades. He feels like Darth Sidius is misusing him by not allowing Maul to fulfill his bloodlust. The Zabrakian Sith lord is a hunter, and his preferred prey is Jedi. Unfortunately for him, the Sith are still lurking in shadows at this point in the Star Wars timeline.

    darth-maul-1-variant
    Darth Maul #1 (Variant)

    The Shadows Hold a Great Rage

    Interestingly, the titular character has the least spoken dialogue of any character in the book. This is hardly surprising considering the Zabrak spoke only 31 words in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Writer Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, Conan the Slayer) effectively conveys Darth Maul’s seething rage almost exclusively using inner voice.

    If the artwork in this book looks familiar, it should. Luke Ross is simultaneously pulling art duties on this series and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ross deftly pulls off sets that fit right into the tone of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The likeness between the film actors and Ross’ depiction of the characters is uncanny.

    It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. In addition to the availability of the Star Wars movies, there are a ton of new comic titles to flesh out the Star Wars canon. Whether you’re 501stLegion, Dark Empire, Jedi Assembly, Mandalorian Mercs, Rebel Legion, or Saber Guild, there’s a Star Wars comic series for you.

    Be sure to also check out the Star Wars ongoing including, Doctor Aphra, Poe Dameron, Han Solo, and the Darth Vader  trades.

    SEE WHAT’S NEXT FOR DARTH MAUL AND PRE-ORDER DARTH MAUL ISSUE #2 AND #3

    Star Wars: Darth Maul #1, Marvel Comics, Released February 1, 2017, Rated T, Written by Cullen Bunn, Art by Luke Ross, Colors by Nolan Woodard, Cover by Rod Reis, Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna, $4.99

    Please follow and like us: