Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cincinnati Comic expo recap Part One

First up, Big up to everyone who came out the 1st Annual Cincinnati Comic Expo at Xavier University. It was a great turnout. We had a blast. As usual, folks treated my children like VIPs and they got a gang of free stuff. I want to point out a few heads we should make a note of. I know we rarely do, but we want to highlight some artists/writers of color. So here are a few people you should check out.

The weekend before at the 2nd Annual Champion City Comic Con in Springfield, Ohio, we ran into Victor Dandridge's family. They have alot going and have some dope plans in the future. Matter of fact, this Saturday, Sept. 25th in columbus, Ohio, they will be putting together a nice kick ball game with some vendors. Check him out on his blog, and try to come through. We will be there, capoeiristas and all. He is a family man and his focus is bringing comics and literacy to the children. So he gets mad support from us.

We also ran into "The Renegade Creator" Stanley Clark and his wife. They were great. They emphasized the importance of family and passing down our stories to our children. Their comics are great. Stay tuned for a review of one of their graphic novels.

Finally, we met Chad taylor, writer and penciler for the 5ive Footers... the brother is out of cincinnati. Check him out here. Issue #2 of his series will be released at the end of the month of September 2010.

Please support these artists and pass it along.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Taskmaster #1

Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Jefte Palo

Comic Book Review by Dan Tres Omi

I have always felt that Taskmaster was an underutilized villain. I was glad that he was hired by Tony Stark to train new super heroes under the Initiative program. He an integral part of that story and actually began to see the usefulness of working for the right side. When Norman Osborn took over H.A.M.M.E.R. And the Avengers, Taskmaster stayed on the roster. He relunctantly followed Osborn to the siege of Asgard. When he saw that Osborn was losing, Taskmaster took off. I actually searched for the Siege crossover issues in the Thunderbolts looking for more information on the Taskmasters fate. Not much was told. I was at a loss until Joey Stacks gave me the good news. The Taskmaster was getting his own limited series.

We find the Taskmaster in a diner trying to remember a particularly important yet tiny detail in his past not knowing that someone has put a $1 billion dollar bounty on his head. Rumor has it that the Taskmaster has turned States evidence and is also helping Steve Rogers maintain law and order. So everyone from A.I.M. The cyberninjas are gunning for him.

With groups falling all over each other to get the Taskmaster and the Taskmaster skill at knocking heads, it leads to pages of fun. Jefte Palo's artwork works. He covers the chaos well as well as the flashbacks. The best part is when the Taskmaster fights, you can see whose style he uses by the frame ins of certain heroes and villains. Taskmaster has always been bounty hunter speak so Fred Van Lente doesn't have to do much dialogue. Most of it is funny. There are even disses about Deadpool.

The backdrop to the story is that Taskmaster is trying to find out who he is. Because of his power, he has bits and pieces of everyone else and honestly doesn't know who he is. Tracking down those who what him dead might help him solve that piece of the puzzle. I hope that this limited series does not spell the end for this Marvel character. Hopefully, we will see more of the Taskmaster.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Star Wars: Blood Ties #1

Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Chris Scalf

Review by Dan Tres OMi

When Jango Fett was introduced in Episode II, I was amped. I gobbled up all of the Dark Horse stories about the Fetts. There wasn't too many. I wanted to see more stories with Jango and Boba. The story was near and dear to my heart. People say my oldest son is a clone of me. I have to agree. We don't get to spend too much time together yet when we are, we think alike. So it does seem like we aren't really father and son but template and clone. Not to mention the fact that he loves everything Mandolarian. When I heard that Dark Horse was doing a series centered around Boba and Jango that spans decades, I had to cop it.

The artwork is superb. Chris Scalf brings that majestic oil painting style that makes the story come alive. Scalf works the splash pages well and does not overwhelm the reader. Taylor's Jango is on point. He is ruthless and takes no prisoners. Jango puts Boba in so many perils. He is the toughest and deadliest drill sergeant. He cuts Boba no slack.

I am glad that this will be a four issue series and with the same team, I am sure there will be surprises. It will add more depth to the Fett's relationship. I forgot to mention that the first scene shows Boba Fett being set up by one of his customers. So the back story takes place in the present. I look forward to seeing what happens.

My only gripe with the story is that issue one reveals Jango Fett's current job is tracking down someone who happens to be another one of his clones. Of course this takes place before the events on Geonosis. I was hoping it would not have to come to another clone tale.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ex Machina Issue #50 (Last Issue)

Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Art by Brian Harris
Review by Dan Tres Omi

The first issue (which WildStorm Comics has republished for a $1 comic price!) pretty much points out that the series would have an end since it begins with Mitchell Hundred aka Ex Machina explaining how he ended his super hero career to become the mayor of New York City.

At this point, Hundred is not running for re-election. Due to his past as a super hero and his current policies as mayor, his popularity polls plummet. Yet Hundred was in it to do what was best for the the people of NYC.

Ex Machina's powers, if you didn't know, didn't provide him with super strength, or speed, or even telepathy. Ex Machina can talk to machines. He couldn't even fight that well. He lost more than he won. So unlike the usual super heroes, the readers come to find that Hundred wasn't really cut out for it. However, he finds that he can do much more as a politician than as a superhero.

What I always liked about the story was how it centered around Hundred's failure to stop the second plane to hit the tower. In this alternate history, only one tower fell. It was this event that convinced Hundred to give up his life as a super hero and become a politician. It has eaten him up since.
Vaughn never exploits the tragedy. Instead, he uses the decisions, friendships, and enemies Hundred has made in his past as a super hero to make the story flow well.

While many consider Ex Machina a super hero comic, it comes off as a non super hero one. Hundred relies on wits and the power he has a Mayor of a metropolitan city to fend off against his enemies. He squares off against unions, corrupt politicians, estranged citizens, and yes an arch nemesis or two. Even some members of his administration had sinister motives. That is where Brian Vaughn brings the reality to the story. Hundred could have easily used his powers on several occasions but he doesn't. Ironically, he is accused of rigging the ballots to win his office.

What makes the story even better is the fact that it takes place between 2002 until 2005. So the story takes place in the past versus the present or the future. It allows the writer to avoid writing about current events. Vaughn has room to breathe. Brian Harris' art is New York. It is metropolitan for a lack of a better term (help me out here). Harris captures the feeling and the rudeness. Together it works.

While this is the last issue, and yes it is unlike me not to do spoilers, Vaughn ends it well. Hundred's vice mayor fills in his spot. The traitors are revealed to Hundred. Kremlin goes off the rocker. Bradbury, the very loyal assistant and body guard, takes the fall. The ending will surprise you and make you laugh. I think the last issue is worth the price of admission. And like Lauryn Hill once sang, all good things come to an end.