Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Artifacts #1

Artifacts #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Michael Broussard, Rick Basaldua, Sal Regla, and Sunny Gho
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts
Click here for preview

"...One of the thirteen. Listen to me. You must know this. Separately each artifact is an immense power. All have bearers, chosen by fate to carry those burdens." -- the Curator

This is it.

For months now, Top Cow has been giving us hints, teasers, and even a #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day this year, and it's all lead to Artifacts #1, and by George, it is glorious.

Much like with most things he does with Top Cow, Ron Marz has made it accessible to new readers without them worrying about who's who and what's what. It's right there, in black in white. Well, not exactly black and white, but you get the gist. There is a character dossier, a two-page origin of the Witchblade (written by Marz and drawn by Marc Silvestri), and so much more. With all of that, you would never feel lost even in the slightest.

The story itself is dramatic and heavy. Then again, when you're dealing the notion of a possible apocalypse, it damn well better be. With a strong opening scene, new readers could grasp who Sara Pezzini is and what she is about. We already have some of the major characters in action: Sara Pezzini, the mysterious Curator, fallen priest Tom Judge, and android assassin Aphrodite IV, as well as a peek of the rest in a wonderful two-page spread displaying all the artifact bearers. All the while Marz's narrative keep steady and never overwhelming. It's a big first issue, but it doesn't feel heavy. It reads wonderfully and is quite effective in conveying the danger and emotion of the Top Cow universe.

The artist on board, Michael Broussard, definitely has a visually striking style. Sort of in the vein of Neal Adams with his cross-hatching and layouts. The inking duo of Basaldua and Regla keep the lines small, thus keeping Broussard's great level of detail intact and brings these characters and events to life.

With the Artifacts event being thirteen issues long, this is the most ambitious event for the Cow to date. I'd like to think such an event like this will make new believers out of fans who have dismissed this publisher as nothing more than soft-core porn. True, while it is more "adult" it's not anymore so than what you're seeing in the Big Two. If you've been curious about getting into Top Cow, I advice you consider this issue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Green Lantern costume revealed

My thoughts on this:

This could just be the suit that all of the corps members use, also it could just be his shell that he uses in space. I like how it looks like it's made of light. And alien and eerie, and not spandex or something man-made. I'm sure by the end of the movie, Hal will put his sort of stamp on his costume. The costume really isn't a "costume" as it is more like military regalia. It looks like it's created from the ring and not just something he made in his garage. The lights indicate that it's a powerful instrument and I like how the mask just looks like it's there. No edges, just something to conceal the identity. They could have just had his eyes green or something,but it looks organic, and they kept the symbol as is so for right now, I really dig this.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Teaser Image

Something I've been working on...

I didn't draw this, but I sure as hell wrote it. I didn't design the costume either.

I have some of the most creative people as friends. Word.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Zatanna by Adam Hughes

This is Hughes' typical quick Zatanna sketch. I got it at MegaCon this past year and is probably the closest I'll get to a superb piece anytime soon. I still enjoy it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First reviews of July. Mainly indie titles!

Velocity #1
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by Sunny Cho
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts
Click here for the preview

"My name is Carin Taylor. Carin with a C instead of a K and an I instead of an E in case you were wondering. Or you can just call me Velocity. I run fast."

There are very few mainstream books out on the market that features a hero without a city to save, without a love interest, without a sidekick, without having to worry about a secret identity, without worrying about holding a job outside your superhero one...yeah, you get the picture. Yet here is Velocity in her own mini-series, and in this first issue at least, it truly is a solo book. It's her against the bad guys. No back up from Cyberforce (not to say they won't show up later in the series) and you really get the feeling it's her against all odds.

Right off the bat, you'll notice Kenneth Rocafort's stylish and kinetic style with a glorious spread at the beginning. that pretty much sets the bar for what you are to expect in this issue. It's fast, fun and exciting. Now, I have little to no knowledge of the character, I think I may have one or two Cyberforce comics somewhere, but writer Ron Marz excelled in giving me a good idea who Carin/Velocity is and her purpose, all the while setting up the frame of the five-issue mini-series. Essentially, take an episode of "24" and put it in the world of Top Cow superheroics, and there you have it.

Since Velocity isn't exactly a household name or even that well-known, Marz uses heavy inner monologue to get the character across. We get a sense of who she is and what she's about. Also, because of her lacking a supporting cast of any kind, all of our attention is on her and her thoughts. Of course with lots of inner monologue boxes on the page, you would think it would a distraction, but letterer Troy Peteri does an amazing job of making sure nothing gets lost or buried and goes with the flow of Rocafort's art. Sunny Cho's colors are striking but again, not distracting from what is going on in the story.

Simply put, pick this up. Top Cow has a slew of talent in their ranks and this book proves they can hang with the best of them.

Angelus #4 (Published by Top Cow; Review by Lan Pitts: Four issues in of a six-part series, Angelus #4 delivers so much and continues to build at the same time. There is romance, the continuing bloodfeud of light and shadow, betrayal, and an Artifact revealed. All the makings of a compelling story with characters I quickly have come to love in a span of over two years. Ron Marz as usual has an engaging story with depth, and gets the reader excited for Top Cow's upcoming "Artifacts" mega-event. There is some seriously good dialog going on that has weight and sets the tone of "Artifacts" and how it truly is going to be a war. Now Stjepan Sejic runs hot and cold to me. He's great when he's good, when he fumbles, it shows loud and clear. In this issue, you can really see his talent and imagination shine through. There's beauty in the environment and facial expressions come across clean and tight and convey genuine emotion. Especially with a touching scene with Finch and Dani. I recommend this comic for readers who are interested in some great fantasy and wonderful storytelling and any and all Top Cow fans.

Alice In Wonderland TPB (Published by BOOM! Studios; Review by Lan Pitts): This past Spring, Disney released a live-action "Alice In Wonderland" feature with Johnny Depp, Ann Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Mia Wasikowska as the titular Alice, but I hadn't realized that BOOM! put out a graphic novel adaptation to the movie. I have to say I enjoyed the book more than the movie. Nothing knocking Tim Burton or his crew, but Massimiliano Narciso's art is something between Ted Naifeh and Jill Thompson and is simply amazing. It has a sort of dreamscape feel to it (as it should) and I hope to see more works from him in the future. Allessandro Ferrari does a fine job adapting the movie, which I'm aware is it's own story (though I would recommend The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Bebbor if you enjoyed this version, if you haven't already found that series). It also includes a behind-the-scenes sort of sketchpages where you can see the art progress which I found fascinating because I'm always curious on an artist's thought process.

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Storm Front Vol 2 #2
Written by Jim Butcher and Mark Powers
Art by Adrian Syaf and Brett Booth
Inks by Rick Ketcham
Colors by Mohan
Letters by Bill Tortolini
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts

"Useless. It had all be useless. I was going to die in the next two days." -- Harry Dresden

The problem with adapting material, especially one that has a cult following like The Dresden Files does, is that there is already an audience for you to either get praised by or to piss off. In the case of this book, I'm leaning more towards the latter. For those of you unfamiliar with Jim Butcher's book series of the same name, it centers around an adult wizard named Harry Dresden, who is used by the Chicago PD to deal with supernatural situations and beings such as, but not limited to, fairies, vampires, demons and devils. Simply put, very cool stuff. I recently got into the book series via a good word from a friend and was surprised myself when I had not gotten into them sooner once I dove in.

A recap page would have come in handy as well since we are about halfway done with the first novel at this point, so that would make it difficult for non-fans to enjoy something that they otherwise might have. So for those out there, Harry has taken a missing persons case with a client whose husband has been missing for three days, he was also dabbling in magic. On top of that, he is investigated a double murder with the victims whose hearts had been removed. Of course this opens the gates to Dresden and his magical world.

The main problem I have, isn't with the script or the adaptation, though Harry's inner monologues do become cumbersome and make the pages seem cluttered. Very cluttered. Mark Powers' script holds up to the book series and didn't deviate the plot from what I can recall. My main gripe, and it's one hell of a gripe, is the inconsistency of the art. Adrian Syaf, who can be seen working on Brightest Day comes off strong, yet his inks fall by the wayside. Ketcham takes a page out of what is essentially 90's Image style. Too much feathering and cross-hatching in some places that it became distracting. There are three different artists on this book, all with different styles, and it looks choppy. Also, the last pages of the book are strictly done by Brett Booth, who has is probably the most radical in style, but he's also the only one that added text to Harry's shirt that appears out of nowhere since it's not in any other part of the book. Oy.

Dresden File fans, we simply deserve better.