Mike Gorgone

Latest stories

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    The Long Claw of the Lobster

    Lobster Johnson was first introduced in Hellboy in 1999. He has been a cornerstone of writer’s Mike Mingola’s supernatural world ever since. The Lobster, wearing his signature jacket and goggled helmet, continues to strikes fear into the hearts of both the mundane and paranormal.

    In the standalone adventure Lobster Johnson: Garden of Bones, he stalks the streets of 30s era New York. The Lobster attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding a mob enforcer, And mobster Benny Jeunot may not be quite as dead as the authorities might wish.

    We find The Lobster in a graveyard accompanied by one of his trusted allies, Harry McTell. Harry informs the titular hero about the enforcer in question and how he most certainly can’t be a zombie. Despite Harry’s litany of reasons, The Lobster remains stoically certain about the paranormal goings on.

    An Imperfect Hero on a Mission

    Our hero sends Harry away to search the caretaker’s quarters. Then, The Lobster’s suspicions are given terrifying form. He is assaulted by an enormous attacker that bears a striking resemblance to the late Benny Jeunot. Thankfully, Harry returns in time with a double-barreled surprise for the apparent zombie.

    The duo follow the trail of their attacker and end up at table with three practitioners of a dark art called Fimbakonu. The result is a brutal struggle involving a pack of risen dead and Benny Jeunot. Harry’s quick thinking handily dispatches the revenants. That leaves three necromancers at the mercy of Lobster Johnson himself.

    Garden of Bones is an excellent entry into the Lobster Johnson saga, providing paranormal action layered with the crime-noir that befits the time period.

    GET MORE LOBSTER JONES

    Lobster Johnson: Garden of Bones, Dark Horse Comics, Release date January 11, 2017, Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, Art by Stephen Green, Colors by Dave Stewart, Cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.99

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    Lone Star Deity

    Often in the retelling of stories little slices of truth are carved off or embellished. When told time and again, passed from ear to ear, these stories grow and change with each new telling. Eventually, the story gets so big that, looking back, it’s hard to identify when the simple tale transformed into a legend.

    That is the feeling conveyed in God Country #1. There is a sense of bigness in this story. And it’s helped along by an unnamed narrator whose words frame the story of Emmett Quinlan and his erstwhile son’s family. It’s a device that is used effectively to enhance the fable-like quality of the book.

    It begins in West Texas with Roy Quinlan approaching his father’s house to talk to the local sheriff. It becomes quickly apparent that all is not well at the Quinlan homestead. Roy’s dad, Emmett, is an old man suffering from Alzheimer’s who barely recognizes his own family. He’s gone so far as to threaten his young granddaughter. Afraid for her family’s safety, Roy’s wife, Jane, leaves her husband to look after the Emmett by himself.

    A Storm, a Sword, and Sanity Restored

    But when a freak tornado sweeps through the town, seemingly destroying Emmett’s home and everyone inside, Jane races back. She finds Roy miraculously survived. However, just as the two reunite, a Demon swept in on the storm attacks.

    Then, in a blinding flash, Emmett Quinlan vanquishes the creature with an ancient, indestructible, enchanted twelve-foot sword. While holding the sword, named Valofax, Emmett’s deteriorating mind seems to have been healed. The issue closes with the old man looking on his family with fresh, rejuvenated eyes.

    God Country #1 is full of very human moments, wrapped up in the beginnings of an epic story. The relationships between the members of the Quinlan family take center stage. Hopefully following issues can answer several burning questions. Where did the demon come from? Is Emmett’s recovery permanent? Who is the vengeful-looking god, hovering above the world? And will that god get his sword back?

    PRE-ORDER GOD COUNTRY #2

    God Country #1, Images Comics, Release Date January 11, 2017, Written by Donny Cates,  Art by Geoff Shaw, $3.99

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    The Few But Proud

    Tales of humanity clinging to life and hope while the world as we know it is in absolute ruin will always be part of our popular culture. These stories speak to an optimism that readers can take solace in regardless of how bleak things may seem.

    The Few, a new series from Image Comics, is looking to become a quintessential entry in this post-apocalyptic sub genre. It follows the journey of Edan Hale, a young woman from a totalitarian portion of North America called The Republic. She’s on a secret mission to infiltrate The Remainder States of America.

    Mad Max Meets Station Eleven Sensibility

    It’s immediately clear how dangerous the world has become. Edan is assaulted by Mad-Maxian marauders taking orders from a would-be warlord named Herrod. Barely escaping the slaughter of a small town, Edan finds herself on the run from Herrod’s minions. She manages to save one of the townsfolk babies in the process and is forced to bring the infant along for the ride.

    After being left unconscious in the woods after fighting off her first wave of attackers, Edan wakes up to find herself in the care of a pair of survivalist brothers. These two marvel at both her escape as well as  the infant she has in tow. With their help she and the baby make their escape from Herrod’s forward troops, fleeing.

    She heads towards The Remainder States. We’re not told much about The States, only that it stands against the dictatorial ways of The Republic. Edan herself is unsure of just how much of a threat they pose.

    A Post-Apocalyptic World

    Sean Lewis’ writing is crisp and to the point, allowing much of the story to be told by Hayden Sherman’s superb art. There are bleak and barren landscapes of what was once Montana counterpointed by detailed character art. Sherman captures a broken future reminiscent of Steve Lieber’s work on Whiteout or Christopher Mitten’s Wasteland. Sherman’s scarce use of color, mostly red, highlights action and violence.

    One of the best aspects about The Few is that it’s creators do not feel hold the readers hand when it comes to world building. Often these types of stories get too wrapped up in the foundations of why these newly-created world’s are so messed up. The Few parses out bits of information, but does so in sync with main character’s discovery. We learn more about the world and Edan’s place in it while frantically following her quest to survive.

    PRE-ORDER THE FEW #1 AND THE FEW #2

    Like many of her best post-apocalyptic contemporaries Edan is competent without being an over-the-top badass. She is vulnerable without being a weak-kneed maiden in need of a rescue. She is driven, with enough humanity in her to question what she has set out to do.

    There is a great character emerging in Edan Hale that will leave readers wanting to see more of The Few.

    The Few #1, Image Comics, Release Due January 18, 2017, Written by Sean Lewis, Art by Hayden Sherman, $3.99.

    The Few #2, Image Comics, Release Due February 22, 2017, Written by Sean Lewis, Art by Hayden Sherman, #3.99.

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    Pick Your Poison

    As far as anti-heroes go, it’s to find a list that doesn’t contain Venom. But over the years, the character has experienced drastic changes. He’s gone from a main-stay Spider-Man villain to an anti-hero to a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Still, a constant in all of these stories is a focus on the relationship between the Venom symbiote and its host. And Marvel’s newest series to focus on the character gets him back to his more villainous roots.

    Written by Mike Costa and drawn by Gerardo Sandoval, Venom #1 drops us into a Marvel Universe bereft of a proper Venom, with a hostless symbiote stalking the streets of New York.

    The Villain Emerges

    Enter Lee Price, a former Army Ranger with a distant attitude looking to make ends meet. Lee is standoffish at best and a mildl sociopath at worst. But mostly he’s got a lot of self-determination. So, when a simple security job (set up by Mac Gargan, himself a former Venom host) is interrupted by a rampaging symbiote, Lee quickly dominates the alien life form. The result–he’s quickly becoming the new, complete Venom.

    From the outset, Venom #1 focuses on the strange dynamic between Lee and the symbiote. You’d expect that the strange alien biomass that adheres to human skin would be the bad-guy here. However, by the end of the issue it appears Lee is the one bringing out the evil in Venom.

    It is a fascinating reversal. And it makes for a good twist after the more recent runs of Venom where he was a full-blown galactic hero.

    CHECK OUT VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT FOR MORE GREAT SYMBIOTE SPACE ADVENTURES.

    Whether or not there will be a resurgence of Venom as a straight up villain remains to be seen. But with new characters and new twists on the familiar, Venom #1 is a good addition to the current Marvel Now lineup.

    PREORDER THE NEW VENOM SERIES.

    Venom #1, Marvel Comics, Released November 23, 2016, Written by Mike Costa, Art by Gerardo Sandoval, $3.99.

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    Pathfinder with Extra Pulp

    Sword and sorcery is the name of the game in Pathfinder Worldscape. All of the swords. All of the sorcery. Blending Paizo’s classic roleplaying game setting from Pathfinder with Dynamite Entertainment’s huge stable of pulp-fantasy characters that helped inspire games like Dungeons and Dragons in the first place.

    Issue 1 drops us right into the action with a stable of the “iconic characters” from the Pathfinder world of Golarion. Fans of Pathfinder will recognize Valeros the Fighter, Seoni the Sorcerer, Merisiel the Rogue and Kyra the Cleric as those characters depicted on their respective character class pages in the Core Rulebook.

    While doing battle with a psychic shapeshifter in the sewers beneath the City of Secrets (sentences like those are the reason I play RPGs) our heroes are violently pulled into a chaotic realm known only as the Worldscape. It feels like Battleworld from Secret Wars crossover, if it was populated by pulp-adventure and RPG characters.

    Most of the first issue follows Valeros as he tries to figure just what in the Nine Hells is going on. The sardonic Fighter acting as Fighters do when confronting unknown dangers. They fight it. Soon he is being accosted by dimensionally displaced bandits, a White Ape of Barsoom and finally made into a gladiator-slave by the serpent-witch Xanesha (I thought I’d seen the last of her when I played Rise of the Runelords!).

    There is so much fun to be had in this first foray into the Worldscape and before the first issue ends Valeros is crossing paths with the likes of Queen Pha from Frank Frazetta’s Thun’da series and the She-Devil with a Sword herself, Red Sonja. There are also bits and pieces from the John Carter of Mars books, as well as plenty of references for those familiar with the Pathfinder world of Golarion.

    As an added bonus (and like many of the Pathfinder comics to come before this one) each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape comes with the in-game statistics for featured characters and maps to bring the adventures off the page and onto your tabletop! It feels as though this series was hand-crafted for a particular brand of fanboy, with its unique blend of pulp-fantasy and tabletop RPG goodness.

    If you like Pathfinder, you’ll also love Dungeons & Dragons.

    Pathfinder Worldscape #1, Dynamite Entertainment, Released October 19, 2016, Written by Erik Mona, Art by Jonathan Lau, Cover byReilly Brown, $4.99.

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