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Jaegir: Strigoi Review

Today’s post is all about a rather great one shot from 2000AD. I’m hoping one day we’ll get a sequel from Gordon Rennie.

comics-jaegir_strigoiWriter:
Gordon Rennie
Artist:
Simon Coleby
Publisher:
2000AD

2000AD have been trying something new of late- the flagship UK comic has have been trying to make inroads to the US market for years and have realised that American comicbook readers are mostly unable (or unwilling) to deal with a comic that comes out weekly these days. Hence we get things like Brass Sun  or Jaegir; collections of their weekly strips put into single issues or ongoing series.

Jaegir is a spinoff from the Rogue Trooper comics, as we follow Kapitan-Inspector Atalia Jaegir, a part of the Nordland State Security Police who hunts down criminals and traitors to the Nordland Army. Assigned to hunt down an old friend who has succumbed to a disease inherent to the Nordland aristocracy, it brings up memories she would rather forget.

My exact words upon seeing the first page was “Holy shit this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”. Simon Coleby’s art is breathtaking, be it showcasing a castle in the wilderness or a war torn landscape. Everything is just slightly muted, with everything becoming crisp as night falls. I fear using too many superlatives will devalue what he’s done here. It’s just something you have to see for yourself.

Another good thing to mention is that people who wouldn’t know their Norts from their Southers can go in blind and still enjoy a good military sci-fi tale. Penned by Gordon Rennie, it’s self contained but it feels like it has so much potential to go anywhere it wants. It’s an efficient setup that quickly introduces us to Jaegir, her backstory and those in her life. She’s resourceful, determined, three dimensional. The action itself is clean and crisp, but weighted by characters interactions. It even has some humour in it, be it a black comedy rather than slapstick.

All in all it’s a damn fine comic and one anyone who is a fan of Rogue Trooper, Military Sci-Fi or just good comics in general will enjoy.

Image courtesy of Rebellion.

It Came! #1 Review

A short one today, but as the entire collection was released recently I thought I would help raise it’s profile, via a review of #1 I did several years ago. It really is a good comic.

Writer:It Came Comic Cover
Dan Boultwood ‘Esq’.
Artist:
Dan Boultwood ‘Esq’.
Design:
Russell Seal
Editor:
Mark McKenzie, Steve White
Publisher:
Titan Comics

Billing itself as a lost B movie classic from the forgotten ‘Pinetree Studios’, It Came! has its’ tongue very firmly in cheek and is a laugh a minute riot. I think what helps the book is just how laser focused everything is on evoking and gently playing with the idea of 50’s B movies.

From the dialogue, to the art and stylised design of the comic (which is really something to behold), it’s akin to a something like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen mixed with the rapid fire pastiche humour of Pegg, Wright and Frost. A couple, one a graduate from Space University, stumble upon an alien invasion by the robot of the cover image. It’s really hard to describe the comic, as it’s less about the comic and more about the experience itself whilst reading the comic. Via the Titan Comics website, here’s a preview image, to help give you an idea.

ItCame06lettered.jpg.size-600

It’s probably one of the most focused and all round brilliant comics I’ve read in a long time and it really filled me with joy whilst reading it, to see such a completely realised vision of what an creator wants to for their comic. Sure, it’s not high brow, but their neither was Hot Fuzz and we all know how that turned out.

Adding to Titan Comics’ rather amazing lineup, Dan Boultwood has once again managed to raise the bar on what I thought a new comics publisher would be capable of. A laugh-a-second B-movie blast from start to finish, get It Came! now, so in 5 years can say you were reading Dan Boultwood before he was cool.

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

I am a second class citizen

reecemjones:

A thinking point for those who in the UK – this is what is happening and it’s mostly happening with little to no media coverage.

If you disagree with it, how would you solve it?

Originally posted on Sometimes, it's just a cigar:

I live in rural England, in a county where rural means formerly industrial, Around every corner there’s a former mine, or brewery or factory. What were once railway lines, the arteries of our economy, are now marketed as cycle paths for the leisure market. What were once busy bus routes, that replaced trains, are now either entirely gone or reduced to a subsidized skeleton.

Does that make me a second class citizen? Not exactly. I understand that a market economy means that there must be winners and losers, and that a Pareto distribution means there must be many more losers than winners.

However, that’s not my major concern. If I was a citizen who lives in London, I could elect a mayor with power to control and direct buses, trains and all other forms of public transport. Where I live I can only elect a local council who can plead…

View original 277 more words

Avatars of War have some new releases…

…and they look darn sweet. I always have a weakness for Avatars of War stuff and single character models anyway, so this is right up my alley.

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I think I may have to buy the trident chap. Hopefully it’s a single piece, or else comes joined to the model – otherwise it’s time to break out the heavy superglue!

Chronos Commandos #1 review

Here’s a blast from the past. I think I wrote this close to two years ago at this point, back when I started writing for The Cult Den and when Titan were making inroads to the comic industry. Where does the time go?

Chronos Commandos #1

 

Writer:
Stuart Jennett
Artist:
Stuart Jennett
Lettering:
Donna Jennett
Publisher:
Titan Comics

For all the talk of how comics are growing as a medium and how they need to be “respectable” and “serious” now they have big Hollywood films based off of them, it’s quite refreshing to read something like Chronos Commandos. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some high concept meta textual comics, but alongside that I need my fill of Army guys killing Dinosaurs. That’s something Chronos Commandoes delivers in spades.

Arching back to the heyday of 2000AD comics, the first issue sees a squad of time travelling American G.I.s, led by “Sarge”, travel to the Cretaceous Era to foil the plots of Nazis who have gotten their hands on time travel technology. The comparisons to 2000AD are apt, as the artwork and story captures that very pulpy, punky energy of the ‘anything could happen’ era that permeated the first few years of the comic. In fact, add in a few text boxes and this could be slotted right into 2000AD or Sergeant Rock comic from 30 years ago and doubt anyone would notice.

That’s not a condemnation though. Despite the rather bare characterisation, (the squad is composed of Sarge, The Crazy One, The Newbie and The Black Guy) the story carries forward with the sheer momentum of how enjoyable a read it is. The episode packs plenty of action into its 36 pages and I found myself reaching the end of the issue without realising it and just wanting more, especially as the issue cliff hanger involves Albert Einstein fighting off Nazis.

Most importantly, the comic doesn’t take itself seriously. Sarge shrugs off the effects they may have on Time and Space as “Something the tech boys will figure out”. It frees the comic up to tell the story it wants to tell, without having to worry it will be burdened down by the causality problems that permeates a lot of time travel stories and lead to them being picked apart by fans.

If you want something that’s pulpy, doesn’t take itself seriously and is a joy to read from start to finish, I cannot recommend Chronos Commandos enough. Titan Comics seem to be trying to re-launch themselves at the moment in a market captivated with DC and Marvel and the ultra-violent thrills of Image. Chronos Commandoes provides a great entry point to what the Titan is all about.

Chronos Commandos is a strongly recommended read for me, which should be upgraded to a must buy if you are a fan of 2000AD .

Short story: #WiseGuys

The names Jones. Just another luckless Private Dick for hire in the sunny streets of this bad old city. You aren’t dumb and I bet you’ve heard them all in your time here. Plenty of stories from down and outs. But the truth is, I’ve never done nothing too bad. Just made a few bad choices and was always behind the trends, you know? I’m that shlub who bought into Myspace after JT bought it – that kind of behind.

But you wanna hear something really messed up? Cuz’ I never seen anything as fucked up in all my years in this place as Gamer-Gate. Shhhhhhh- Shut – Up! No, don’t join the words up or use a hashtag you idiot – that’s what got me so messed up in the first place. I’m still spitting teeth from the last time I tried.

Even now, they’ve got people cruising the streets who will drop you for even looking like you may be some sorta feminist. So just shut up and listen to me, ok? What you complaining about anyhow? Not like you got anything better to do, unless jackin’ off counts as ‘doing things’. Yeah, I’ll buy you another – but I gotta tell someone or I’m gonna go out of my mind!


So anyway, I’ve always been one of the last ones to get what was going on, but I’d heard a few things from people and I could feel something was in the air. Something that scared people. I’d heard a few rumours about some messed up stuff happening in the Baphomet Club, but I was always stayed clear – there are some parts of town you just don’t go, you know?

So I was minding my own business, wondering if I just kept my head down if it could all blow over. It was all going so well too, till one day I’m heading home and I bump into some broad. She’s real messed up you know? Mascara running, scared shitless, blabbering about how some guys have been hurtin on her, saying they’re gonna kill her. Now I’m smart. I keep to myself and I don’t get involved unless someone’s paying me to.

But there was something about this one… let’s just say, I got a weakness for redheads.

So we go back to my office and I pour myself a drink and one for her too. She’s been blubbering the whole way back, so I figure she could do with something to help numb the pain. She knocks the drink back and ‘fore I know it, everything comes spilling out.

It sounded like some sort of conspiracy theory, only the tin helmet guys would have called it wacko half way through. Stalking, harassment, getting the cops to trash her place…it was like something out of a cheap dime store novel, written by a hack with half a pound of blow up his nose.

Now this gal tells me she’s some hotshot creative type that normally hangs out uptown. Designed some of the skyline she tells me. A real philanthropist too – she set up the free hospital over on the warzone that some smart dick named 4th Street. I smiled at that – I like someone who has an eye for lost causes. Could relate.


I let her use the restroom and when she comes back she’s all business. Asks me to head over to Baphomet with her- apparently some of the kids who fucked her over are going there and taking their friends. As I’m nodding my head I thinking to myself “What the fuck are you doing?”.

She says all she needs me for is to help her get through the door – she and her friends can take the rest, but the guys on the door will clock a dame a mile away and tell the others. I think to myself that most of those guys over there wouldn’t know a woman if she was sitting on their face. Wrong crowd, you know? But she whips out a bunch of bills and all of a sudden I’m a model fucking citizen.

So we hit the club – the people on the door take one look at me coming and let me through. I mean, sure I don’t quite fit in, but the fedora is enough to sell it to them. As soon as I’m through the doors I hear a few thumping sounds, though they aren’t coming from inside. Gotta tell you was the weirdest club I’d ever been too and I though I had seem them all through the years.

But no, there’s no noise at all. Instead, there’s just silence. There’s a mixdesk and DJ up there with headphones on, but no music coming out. Instead, just clusters of people on laptops with headphones on, hugging the shadows like the lights of the club will harm them or something.

My arrival changes all that though – the DJ looks up and taps something and all of a sudden I’ve got the eyes of the whole room on me. People start rummaging in bags whilst others keep their eyes pinned on me, nothing in them but the look a kid gives a spider when he’s about to pluck it’s legs.

I’m just about to start thinking about running for it when in bursts the lady in red and she’s got friends. The nerds stand as one and before I know it there’s chaos with me slap bang in the middle. I get a few lucky jabs in, but truth is I’ve got a glass jaw. One of them clocks me with a brass present straight to the maxilla and darkness falls.


 

Next memory I’ve got is waking up in a white room, Red looking down on me. She offers me a drink in return for the one I gave her at my office then fills me in. For all the good I was, turns out I did my part. They cleared out Baphomet and delivered them gift wrapped to the police. Stupid assholes never figured anyone would bust them so kept all the proof on their laptops. She smiles at that and the room lights up like the Sun just came up.

It doesn’t last long though. She says most will be back on the street within a week – one of them is some sleazeball lawyer, who will knock any convictions down to a fine and a slap on the wrist if the Judge is feeling harsh. I’m not the only casualty either – they lost a few in the fight, crippled or out for the count for a long time to come. I feel like weeping at the pointlessness of it all.

I’m breathing through lungs that feel like someone took a grater to them and I won’t be needing to go to the Dentist’s anytime soon. And yet I’m the lucky one? I’m struggling out of bed and heading for the door, determined to wipe the smile off the faces of those creeps once and for all before Red can stop me. I take eight steps before I topple over like a bowling pin.

Red gives me her hand, helps me back to the bed and tells me to rest up. Today went badly, but for now she needs me to do one thing: rest, read and get book smart. Today was just the beginning she says and flashes me another smile. Tomorrow we begin the hard work.

And we make those so called tough guys wish they were wise guys instead.

Imperium #1 review

Trying something a little different to keep some regular posts going whilst I figure a few things out. So here’s a review that originally went up on Geekorama.

Imperium issue 1 cover

Writer:
Joshua Dysart
Artist:
Doug Braithwaite
Publisher:
Valiant Comics

Imperium brings us an interesting moral quandary – what would you be willing to do if you wanted to bring about a utopia on Earth and what paths, no matter how morally wrong, would you take to achieve it?

Imperium does that and then goes one better, by opening 112 years in the future and showing us the paradise those actions have created. It’s a blinder – so many zealots do things saying the ends justify the means – but what if we find out that, in this instance, they really have?

The issue itself flashes through time, to the future (the present of the comic) with our lead character Darpan-Sama, both looking forward in time, and looking back. In both cases, he’s bringing us his take on the being who changed it all, Toyo Harada.

Having read some of Joshua Dysart’s work before, you can see he’s always more interested in how people interact and social dynamics, than how hard or spectacularly people punch one another in the face. I would say this issue plays to his strengths – as the slightly complex setup lends itself to being slowly lead through and getting used to the world he has created. When things start blowing up in the last ten pages (as we cover Harada’s first steps towards creating the world of the future) it feels rushed and not that well done.

Perhaps that’s the point – the fighting itself is described as a formality and a way of announcing their presence on a world that knows very little about them. Still, I would have liked the action scenes to have felt like they belonged; they’re the odd duck of the comic.

Nothing really feels at stake throughout the fighting and the micro scale of the conflict felt at odds with a tone that was establishing something so global in presence. If we’re meant to believe Harada was out to change the world, why choose a random skirmish between a few squads of men in Eastern Europe?

Still, that minor gripe aside, it was a very good first issue. I’m intrigued by the premise and want to see where it will lead.

Cover image courtesy of Valiant Comics

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