Blackhole Comics Goes to Heroes Con 2015!

It’s already been a big year for Blackhole Comics with Proton #0 being released, but that wasn’t enough so we decided to take the show on the road to Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC! Nick Flair, JJ Murphy, and Anderson Carman held down the Blackhole table selling copies of Proton #0, prints, and other cool things! How did it go? Here is the story of our totally awesome adventure!

It started with a 4 and a half hour drive from Richmond to Charlotte for myself (Nick Flair), JJ Murphy, and my lovely girlfriend Brittany! There was almost constant comic talk the entire way there. What’s big right now, what we wanted to happen versus what we thought would happen at the show, and what we’d get from the experience were all topics of conversation. In summation, we wanted to walk away with a renewed confidence, a mistake or two to learn from, and no copies of Proton.

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We arrived around 9:45am where we met up with Anderson, and set up out table. JJ and Anderson both had their 11×17 binders full of full of awesome artwork, as well as a few prints. Anderson brought his sketch book,  and mini comic, as well as, a series of custom bookmarks he made! They featured characters from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Star Wars, and had cool icons on the reverse side that represented the character or franchise. They were a major hit!!!

JJ was doing commissions, and  had a few original pieces of art available.  We had a bit of a slow start on Friday, but then a Harley Quinn Cosplayer saw a Graphitist original of her name sake, and had to have it! It was the first of several pieces of original art JJ sold! The confidence boost was strong and almost instantly noticeable! We then decided to hit up the ‘Drink and Draw’ event that night, where artists draw original pieces and they’re auctioned off for charity!

Anderson put up a couple of pieces, and JJ knocked out the new Batman design! I took the opportunity to do a little drawing myself, drawing a Proton pic I forgot to get a picture of and starting an Amp piece, and even Brittany got in on the action! I had some crayons, so she channeled her inner colorist to enhance JJ’s Proton picture! Drawing with a beer under the summer night sky of Charlotte next to a beautifully lit fountain with comic talk a flutter all around was truly a perfect end to the first day!

As for me and my Proton comic, we did pretty darn good in my opinion. After several hours of our slow start, I was pretty concerned. I didn’t want to go home with all 70 copies! Then I sold the first one to a random passer-by who thought the cover was pretty cool! It was big for me because it was the book that caught his eye, not that he was a friend, or someone who I had to talk into buying it. He just saw it and liked it. It was a great feeling!

Here’s the face I made when I sold the first copy!

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The real bread and butter came Sunday though. The last day of the convention. I still had a lot of copies, and I really wanted to get them into the hands of potential fans! I decided to offer up a heck of a bargain on the last day; I offered people Proton #0 for $1.00 or for free. The goal was to move books, and this was an effective way of doing it for sure. The thing that surprised me though, and really made me happy, was that most everyone who came up PAID THE DOLLAR!!! I thought that said a lot about the crowd at Heroes Con. When offered the choice between getting something awesome for free, or supporting a small press comic creator, they chose to support me. It was a warm feeling.

Another warm feeling came from a someone I didn’t expect at all though. If you’ve ready Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, you know those two guys have talent. I know this, because I pick up that book in collected editions every time it drops.  Einstein, chainsaws, aliens. That’s all you need to know. So I walked by the “Hickman” table with Nick Pitarra and Ryan Bodenhiem (From the Dying and the Dead, also pretty awesome in its young run), and was like ” Hey you guys are awesome! Here, have a copy of my comic!”

These guys are pro’s on the comic scene. They create books with arguably the hottest writer in all of comics right now. I just liked the idea of them reading my book. Nick Pitarra started joking with me, “Is it really a two dollar book, or is this like the thirty-eight dollar Con variant?” I laughed, and confirmed the book was only two dollars. So what did he do? HE GAVE ME TWO DOLLARS!?! I was like “I’m not pushing my book on you man, I just wanted to give you a copy!” He then told me to shut up, and take his two dollars. That was a huge sign of respect in my eyes, and probably my favorite part of the weekend. I’m keeping those two dollars as a memento.

20150625_150920As I offered copies of Proton to other artists and vendors, they all responded in a similar fashion. People wanted to trade me their comic for mine, prints, or buttons! It was a really cool feeling of community the way it went down. Maybe it’s a silly thing for me to be really excited about that, but I don’t care. It was awesome!

On the return trip, JJ and I again talked comics the entire way home. All four and a half hours of it. What we did right, what we could have done better, and what we want to do next. This Blackhole Comics thing is just getting started, and the plan is for it to get bigger and better.  Keep an eye out for what’s on the horizon!

Thanks Heroes Con for reminding us the World is Ours to Make!!!

-Nick Flair!

The Secret Wars Review

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Secret Wars #1 by Marvel Comics!!!

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How do you review a life-changing, world-bending, major comics event? You don’t. Not in one issue that is. This is the before article. This is where I tell you what you’ve missed leading up to this event, a little bit of what will happen, and how I feel about it all. After wards, maybe I’ll do another review to see how its left me in it’s wake.

The place to start for this, I think at least, is Jonathan Hickman’s run on S.H.I.E.L.D. Architects of Forever. It was a stellar book that showed how over a 5,000 year span, the smartest of men came together to stop Galactus, the Brood, and even Celestials as they formed the Brotherhood of the Shield. Yeah, you missed that. Minds like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla,  Galileo, Sir Issac Newton, Nathianial Richards, and Howard Stark are all major players in a story that didn’t quite get finished.

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What does that have to do with anything happening today? Hickman has been plotting and building to this point since then. Word on the street is that he pitched Secret Wars to Marvel 5 years ago. That makes this Brain Michael Bendis’ Secret Invasion big! Since Marvel NOW relaunched the Avengers and New Avengers books under Hickman’s care, those books have exclusively told stories that directly led to the event now taking place. Secret Wars #1 didn’t start Secret Wars by any means at all. Is your mind blown yet?

I don’t want to spoil anything happening for any readers that might want to catch up, or want to try to read it without knowing anything, so I won’t give specific plot points. I will say though that the status quo is being blown out of the water. Some bill it as the end of the Marvel Universe, others as a reboot similar to DC’s New 52 failure. I propose it’s neither, but instead more like a Battle Royal to determine who will survive in all of Marvel.

The event has been in motion for decades, and we’ve been reading it the whole time without knowing it!!! The original Secret Wars, Armor Wars, Inferno, X-Tinction Agenda, The Infinity Gauntlet, the 90’s X-Men Cartoon, Age of Apolcalypse, Marvel Zombies, Age of Ultron, even the Spider-Verse are all major parts of this story!!! How is that possible? Our favorite characters and plot points from each of those stories are going to be in a battle to see who comes out the other end in the merged (Or not?!?) Marvel Universe that is left standing at the end of this whole thing! BUT HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!

At this point it’s all still unfolding. Worlds are falling leaving only pieces of themselves behind. We’ve only just scratched the surface of this. how do I know? Because every crazy thing I ranted above is stuff Marvel has just thrown out there. If that’s what they ARE telling us, what AREN’T they telling us??? Go get caught up on Avengers and New Avengers if you aren’t already, and enjoy this thing the way it was meant to be. Who puts 5 years into a story this big with these characters and Marvel’s approval and then tells a bad story? Not Jonathan Hickman. No way, no how.

I’ve been a comic nerd since I was 8 years old, it doesn’t get much better than this right now. I Power Level 9000 recommend you catch up and read this story. It is going to be the most epic thing in comics possibly in your lifetime. Believe me, or don’t. Your loss.

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

Bitch Planet Review

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Bitch Planet by Image Comics!

If the awesome cool throwback style covers from Valentine De Landro didn’t grab your attention, then Kelly Sue Deconnick probably caught your eye with the title of her latest book. Bitch Planet. It’s one of those names that could spark all kinds of thoughts for what kind of story it is, but the words Bad-Ass pop in your head at the very least! How could you not want to check that out?!?

I’ve been reading this one from the start, and I have to say it’s definitely grabbed my interest. I love Kelly Sue Deconnick. I’ve caught her panels at conventions and I think she has a great mentality about everything she does. She’s a spitfire, she’s witty, and charming in ways you can’t quite put your finger on. That being said, I read a couple of copies of Captain Marvel, and it wasn’t for me. I read Pretty Deadly and liked it, but haven’t gotten engulfed by it. You have to respect the following those books have though no matter what.

Kelly has introduced an army of women to the world of comics. Her “Carol Corps” is testament to her passion for making comics not just for guys or girls, but for both. Bitch Planet, for me, is her best work yet.

The story takes place in a near future, where church and state seem to be one and the same. The world is obviously dominated by men. Women who don’t know their place, commit crimes, or get on the wrong man’s bad side end up in an orbiting correctional facility nicknamed “Bitch Planet”.  There are definite tones of Orange is the New Black and the first episode of UK Sci-Fi series Black Mirror. In this futuristic women’s prison.

Early on there are Riots, Fights, and we’re introduced to the core characters. A prisoner named Kam who is framed for murder during a prison riot, but let off the hook if she organizes a women’s team for a game called Megaton. Now, the obvious comparison here is The Longest Yard, but instead of football, Megaton is closer to resembling  American Gladiator’s Power Ball.

Issue four is where we get the description of the game, and I have to say it’s a great imagining by Kelly Sue. The importance of the game is implied to be life changing on a national, if not planetary scale, and there are political figures who use it to meet their own self-serving agendas. Kam sees it in a self-serving light as well, and goes about recruiting her team.

This is where we get to my personal favorite character, Penny Rolle. First off the name is awesome. Secondly, she has so many qualities that society would deem “Unattractive”. She’s Black. She’s Huge. She’s abrasive. She knows all this, she doesn’t care, and if you have a problem with it she will put you down. Issue three really reveals a lot about her and, for me, made me like her so much. She likes herself for who she is. Who doesn’t love a character like that?!?

My favorite scene with her is in the background of a series of panels. Penny and Kam run on a tread mill and discuss the Megaton proposition. Penny falls behind, and steps off the tread mill to catch her breath. As Kam continues a conversation with another inmate who wants in, Penny is confronted by one, and then many guards in the background. The next thing you know, Penny is whippin that guard ass all over the place behind the two! It’s so much fun!

I know this book isn’t geared towards me as an average white male. I know the book is making a lot of commentary on feminism that I “can’t relate to because I’m a man”. I don’t care though. I think the book is fun and rewarding to read. At the end of the day, that’s what a comic should be. Warning though, there is a lot of nakedness. View Discretion is advised. The series is only four issues deep right now, so it’s an easy catch up too! Here are the first few awesome covers by Valentine De Landro!!!

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

 

Descender Review

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Descender by Image Comics!

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The first key to determining if this book is for you or not is to answer a simple question; Do you like Robots?

This story seems to be all about robots. The main story follows a boy who has been asleep for 10 years on a mining colony out in space. The interesting part is he isn’t a real live boy. He’s a robot whose model  name is Tim-21. He “awakes” to find that he is all alone on this mining colony. He comes across another robot, a small dog-like bot he calls Bandit. Together, they move to find out what has happened, why they’re alone, and in the process send out a distress call.

Meanwhile we get some of the 10 year back-story that involves Tim-21’s creator and designer, Doctor Jin Quon. He is widely considered the foremost expert in robotics in the United Galactic Council (UGC). This is union of nine core world planets that make up known life. One day they are visited by nine giant robots that suddenly and quietly peer out over each core planet. Dr. Quon, being the expert he is, is brought in to shed some light on the mysterious robots that come to be referred to as “Harvesters”.

The story moves between the ten-year gap between the appearance of the Harvesters and the reactivation of Tim-21. What is his connection to the mysterious Harvesters? How does Dr. Quon work into the equation? What makes Tim-21 so special? These are the driving questions that propel the story forward.

The art in this book is handled by Dustin Nguyen quite nicely, and Jeff Lemire delivers as usual with the storytelling. This is another book by Image that raises the bar for all the other creators out there! Unless you’re Will Smith in IRobot, I recommend giving it a shot! I think this book is a great read so far, and as it’s only on its second issue, there is still plenty of time to jump on the band wagon!

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

 

 

 

DC Comics’ Convergence #0 Review and My Thoughts and Opinions on DC Right Now

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Convergence #0 by DC Comics.

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Alright. Bare with me on this one, because in order to properly review this book, I have to open the flood gates holding back my thoughts on DC Comics as a whole. This is going to be a long one…

I’ll start with the actual review of Convergence #0, and if you choose to continue to read my thoughts after that I applaud you. If you decide the review is enough for you, I will completely understand.

If you don’t know, Convergence #0 is the lead in to DC Comics’ big event that is supposed to forever change their brand (Again). The story itself revolves around Superman and Braniac. Two characters most of the world are familiar with. The story opens on Superman following the events Of Superman: Doomed storyline. He finds himself a prisoner outside of time and space by a cosmic powered version of Brainiac.

Brainiac talks of how “no matter the universe or timeline” Superman “demands attention”. Superman continues to try to figure out exactly what is happening (as does the reader) as this cosmic Brainiac talks of experiments and testing Superman. In perhaps the most potent pages of the book, the New 52 Superman is shown the death of multiple alternate versions of himself. This includes Infinite Crisis and The Death of Superman in the foreground as the two most powerful iterations.

The book goes on to bounce Brainiac, through perhaps every version of the character from DC history, as Superman continues to try to figure out where he is and how he can escape. He talks with the ever-changing Brainiac, who seems to be the underling of the Cosmic Brainiac, and discovers that they are on a planet remade by Brainiac. It hosts several cities taken from their timeline just before its end. This is why the Cosmic Brainiac has gone after the New 52 Superman’s Metropolis.

This is meant to lead into the 2 month take over of the entire DC line. For all of April and May every book DC puts out will be a short series with stories from all over their canon. Pre-Flashpoint, post-New 52, and from in or near every Crisis. You’ll see Wally West as the Flash speeding through time with his twin children, Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne both in costume as Batmen fighting side by side, and the return countless others that didn’t make it to the New 52 Universe.

The book sets up the principles for what is to come in the Convergence event, but for me personally doesn’t build any actual excitement. If you’re a Brainiac fan, the highlight of this issue is probably seeing all the various iterations of the character throughout the book. For me, the only part that was interesting was the two page spread of the ‘Deaths of Supermen’, which was the image most used to hype the book. If someone asked me, I’d say you could not read this book and miss nothing going forward.

Now. The following are my thoughts on DC, and purely opinion and speculation based on my experiences reading DC comics, and talk with friends and patrons in the comic shop I work in. You’ve been disclaimer’d, here we go.

“I think DC Comics has a Problem.”

I think DC Comics has a problem. I think they don’t know what they’re doing anymore. It’s the equivalent of a baseball pitcher in a drought because someone washed his lucky socks, or a guy with a case of the “yips” who’s now gun-shy and lacking confidence when talking to girls because of a bad breakup or rejection.

I’m going to start with the New 52. In 2011, when they launched this grand reboot into the world, no one could say DC wasn’t brave and bold. It wasn’t quite unheard of, but never on such a scale and as blatant as they were doing it. The Entire DC Universe changed. Wildstorm characters were integrated into the main world, classic untouchable characters like Superman were completely revamped, and recently rejuvenated and popular characters like Batman and Green Lantern were hardly changed.

This was going to be blending everything awesome from all aspects of DC together and set up new storytelling for years to come! At least, it was supposed to be. We got some good stories initially. Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Aquaman were surprise titles that captured everyone who read them! Batman: Court of Owls was one of the best Batman stories ever! Fans were excited!

Unfortunately, the good books were few and far between though. Books that had excitement for what they could have been did not live up to the hype. Firestorm, who had gained interest in the pages of Brightest Day took a drastic turn from what had garnered the character attention. Fan favorite characters like Deathstroke and Grifter failed to live up to what the fans wanted. Books like Voodoo and Mister Terrific left fans wondering why they had been written at all. DC had squandered an opportunity to re-ignite their brand.

They tried something ambitious, and it didn’t work. You can’t really fault them for that can you? Everything I read prior to this made it seem like a well thought out, years in the making change. I was optimistic, but at the same time didn’t like the thought of a total reboot. I wrote as much in an article for FreestyleRonin.com called the “Reboot and Progression Freestyle.” I sighted the great job DC had always done in passing on the heritage from hero to hero as they passed.

Barry Allen had a golden lore behind him as I grew up reading Wally West, who had taken the mantle of The Flash, and had continued a great run of heroics. Kyle Rayner and John Stewart continually tried to redeem all the wrongs done by Hal Jordan before he died re-igniting the sun, and return the mantle of Green Lantern to heroic status. These where more than heroic names, they were families of heroes, that as readers, we felt apart of. There was a connection.

“I think I was mostly confused by the reboot.” 

When the New 52 started, I think I was mostly confused about the reboot. I’d been reading Batman and Green Lantern before Flashpoint, and now those titles seemed mostly the same. Damien Wayne was still Robin, and there were still Blue Lanterns, Red Lanterns, and so on, but everything I’d invested so much time in reading with the Brightest Day story arc was gone. The new Aqua lad they had introduced, all the changes to Deadman, all the revived characters that were supposed to have critical roles were wiped away.

Was the reboot planned far in advance?

To me, it seems like DC has become more reactionary than revolutionary. Dan Didio was interviewed recently by  Newsarama and made some of the following remarks when asked about Convergence;

“When we launched the New 52, it was a rather harsh ending to the current universe. We did the Flashpoint story, which led us into the New 52, but you never got that sense of closure, like you did with other events.”

(But I thought you planned it out so far in advance?)

“What’s going on in the New 52 and the stories right now feed very nicely into the main Convergence storyline.”

(So maybe it should be called Convenience instead?) 

“And ultimately, you know, we’re leaving every door open everywhere. We want to see what the reaction is, where the excitement is…”

(So you’re throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall and seeing what fits?)

“What we’re going to do right now is really make a commitment to our stories and characters, to make sure we present our characters in ways that are consistent to people’s beliefs of them, and telling stories that we feel will entertain, excite and surprise them. If that’s something we can do, then we win, because we build a foundation from which we can continue to build stories for years to come.”

 (Years to come? So more than one year, but less than the four that the New 52 made it to. Got it.)

“I LOVE Flash on the CW, and that scares me”

I don’t mean to be smarmy or a jackass when I make these snide little comments (well mostly), but it just pains me as a reader to like less DC titles every year. I love the animated movies. I loved the Young Justice and Green Lantern cartoon series that were prematurely cancelled. I LOVE Flash on the CW, and that scares me because it seems everything I love from DC gets rebooted or cancelled.

I want for DC to be awesome. I want to enjoy characters I used to love again. Is Convergence the step in that direction? I’m not convinced it is. What I got out of reading the interview with Dan Didio, is that (Once again) DC is throwing everything to the wind, and now instead of a coherent universe, they’re going to tell a bunch of stories from all over. If it sells, they’ll keep doing it. If not, they’ll scrap it.

Dan says he goes to the Cons and listens to the fans and what they have to say, but I don’t know what he’s really hearing. I work in a comic shop. I read a lot of books. I hear a lot of conversation, I participate in a lot of conversation. I think I head different things from the kids who can’t make it to a Con, and the guys that don’t have the money to travel to an event like that. I hear the guys that like to talk about it in the private confines of their local comic cave. I think I’m more in tune than the heads of DC, and no one is confident in DC.

Am I wrong? Possibly.

I invite anyone who’s taken the time to get to the bottom of this article to add their thoughts either here in the comments section, or on social medial with the hash tag #AreYouListeningDC.

I’ll end my rant here in familiar fashion with my personal tag line.

The World is Ours to Make.

-Nick Flair.

Mice Templar Review

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Mice Templar Volume 5 Issue #1!!!

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I basically read this book specifically to compare to Mouse Guard after it left me somewhat wanting. This book lived up to my expectations much more. It being the first of the fifth volume of books, I’ve missed out on a considerable amount of story thus far, and am truly jumping in the middle of this book. Unlike in Mouse Guard however, there was a great recap page at the beginning that let me know tons of important information that made the transition into the story easier.

There are lots of strange names and different affiliations within the ranks of the Mice Templar, but thanks to  a chart of the various castes and alliances if I was curious, the information was there should I need it. The basic back story is that there is a mouse named Karic who is the “chosen one” of the Lord of Creation Wotan. There are questions though as to whether he will be a beacon of hope that leads to salvation, or a “weapon of vengeance” used by evil demons in their war against creation. Either way what we do know is the Mice Templar are rallying around him.

We jump in as the Templar attack the Mouse Capital, and the corrupt  King Icarus, as they attempt to survive an uprising from within their Kingdom as well. It’s very obvious from the beginning that I’d missed out on a lot, but the book was still able to keep my interest. I didn’t feel lost, but instead was caught up in the battle of Mice and Rats, Owls and Cats, and Bats and Snakes!!! Things got really crazy, but it was really fun!

Instead of feeling out-of-place and confused because I hadn’t read any previous issues, I actually wanted to pick up the back story and catch up to this Lord of the Rings type epic! The art was one of the best parts as Victor Santos knocked it out of the park! Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass really created a very exciting world with a huge cast of unique and interesting characters that play out as cogs in this huge machine of a story. I really want to catch up on this series, and keep up with it moving forward!

I will say this was what I hoped for when I read Mouse Guard, but each book has merit. If you are looking for a more lighthearted, fun book, Mouse Guard is for you. If you want swashbuckling, war waging, sword slashing animal action, then Mice Templar is more your style! Check both out the Mouse Guard Review Here and compare the two for yourself!

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

Mouse Guard Review!

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Volume Three!

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I’ve never read Mouse Guard. I don’t really know what it’s about other than a story about mice that seem to wear armor and carry swords as they have adventures. I’ll even be really honest and tell you I have mistaken it for Mice Templar, and don’t truly know what the difference between the two is other than creators and format. (Mouse Guard prints in a small square book, standing apart from the traditional comic format.) But I read it for the first time this week, and I don’t know that it lived up to what I thought it would be.

Its possible I simply tried jumping on at a lull in the series, but the story focused around a tavern where the innkeeper was out to collect on tabs owed. She had gathered many of her patrons that owed in various amounts, and offered to erase the debt of the mouse that told the best story. All others would have 7 days to pay their debt or it would be passed on to a collector. All in all, there were three stories told in this particular issue.

The first was of a “rotund” member of the Mouse Guard who helped a miller get rid of a goose that kept eating his stored grain. It was a fun story, but lacked in any action that I could get excited about. It played out reminiscent of one of Aesop’s fables, and was enjoyable, but lacked in any real excitement.

Next up was a story illustrated by the fabulous Skottie Young! I thought I was in for a treat! The story was small and short. Again no action to energize me, and although the art was typical Skottie and fun, it wasn’t his best work in my humble opinion.

Lastly was the story of an armorsmith who dreamed of wearing the armor he made day in and day out. This might have been my favorite of the three, and yet still there was no true battle or adventure. It was well told, and I enjoyed it let me be clear, but it did not meet my expectations.

I suppose the fault was my own in that my expectations were set in a different direction than the book’s. With a title like “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard” I anticipated seeing swashbuckling mice on an adventure to save, defend, or avenge something or someone! I thought an epic battle would be brewing, or a key quest would be undertaken! I received no such adventure though, and although I enjoyed both art and story, it was a bit disappointing. And at the end of the book, I didn’t even find out whose story won the innkeeper’s contest!!!

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I’m not giving up on the book based on this one let down though. I feel like there may be adventures of higher energy in the pages of other volumes of Mouse Guard, and I’ll keep an eye out for them. In the mean time, just for the sake of comparison, I may give Mice Templar a read now to see if it can quench my thirst for mouse sword fighting.

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

Princess Leia #1 Review

******Quick Note: If you haven’t already checked out my Kickstarter project, Proton #0, click HERE for more info!*****

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week was Princess Leia #1!!!

Marvel Comics made a lot of noise with the first two reboot titles, Star Wars and Darth Vader, and this week the third and final of the trilogy launched with Princess Leia’s first issue. At first it seemed kind of unnecessary to title the book Princess Leia instead of just Leia, but after reading the first issue it makes perfect sense. The initial story puts heavy emphasis on the fact she is a Princess, which is easy for us to forget in all her adventure with Luke and the boys.

The opening picks up right after the medal ceremony that ends Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. The Empire seeks to snuff out the Rebels after losing the Deathstar, and have put a bounty on all Alderannians to get to Princess Leia. Leia seeks to help the Alliance and step into a leadership role, but they are more concerned with keeping her safe now that there is a larger target on her.

In the meantime, the lower ranks of the Alliance seem to think the Princess uncaring and unfaithful to her remaining people. They refer to her as “Ice Princess” as she coldly moves forward without properly mourning the loss of Alderan according to her people. Frustrated at being a figurehead to the Alliance leaders and a heartless ruler to her people, Leia enlists the aid of an Alderan faithful named Evaan to find a new location for the Rebel home base.

Evaan herself is one of the many who commonly refer to Leia as “Ice Princess”, but swears her allegiance to her regardless. A true spitifre, yet incredibly respectful of Leia’s deceased mother, Evaan struggles with her desire to keep the memories and culture of Alderan alive and supporting a Princess who seemingly ignores those same principles. The two butt heads constantly, but are a formidable team as they head out to no doubt cause trouble in the galaxy.

 

I enjoyed the book, but I have to admit it that it is the least appealing to me personally. I really enjoyed the artwork Terry Dodson provided, but Mark Waid didn’t really grab me in the writing. Yet. I think this book has alot of potential, and I’ll continue to pick it up for a while, but it didn’t quite grab me like the other Star Wars books from Marvel. What do I know though? Maybe you’ll love it? Check it out for yourself and see what you think!

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

LOW and Spider-Gwen #1 Double Review!!!

******Quick Note: If you haven’t already checked out my Kickstarter project, Proton #0, click HERE for more info!*****

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week was Low by Image Comics, but I decided to make it a double since I had some extra time and reviewed Spider-Gwen #1 from Marvel Comics too!

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So let me start with Low. This is a really interesting story written by Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Uncanny Avengers, Axis, Black Science) and drawn by Greg Tocchini (Uncanny X-Force, Hinterkind). These two bring to life a world where the sun is dying, air is in rare supply, and everyone lives in a domed city under the ocean where everyone in power seems to know they’re all doomed. The book follows a family initially as they keep hopeful of finding a new planet that humankind can move to and gain a new lease on life. Their bloodline can pilot a rare artifact, a mech suit, that seems to be very powerful.

I could tell the story is for mature audiences almost immediately between the violence, cursing, and sexual content! That being said, I don’t think it hurts the book, let me be very clear about that.  You see the fall of some characters, some reaching absolute low points, and then some that never lose hope. This story has tragedy, corruption, redemption, battles, and just some breathtaking scenes! This issue was the sixth and the last before a brief break, so if you want to get into this book, now is the time to catch up! I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Black Science, post apocalyptic worlds, or just great art!

 

 

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Now on to the bonus, and a real joy for me personally! (I’ll tell you why in a bit) Spider-Gwen #1 comes hot on the heels of the Spider-verse event that recently took place. If you haven’t checked that out at all, I HIGHLY recommend it! Some of Dan Slott’s best work to date! In the second of the Edge of  Spider-verse one-shot stories, we were introduced to a world where Gwen Stacey, not Peter Parker, had been bitten by a radioactive spider and acquired great power that needed great responsibility to control it.  That book is now in its FOURTH printing. The buzz around the character has reached levels not seen very often.

The character was taken in by the fans and became the subject of fan art and cosplay on a mania level BEFORE the book even came out!!! The costume design by Robbi Rodriguez was beautiful. It was Modern. It was vibrant. It was unique. Before anyone even read the story it was cemented as the best new thing in the Spider-Man bible. Then we read the story.

Gwen Stacey took on the Spider-Woman mantle after gaining her powers. She struggled with the death of Peter Parker who had taken the role of Kurt Conners and turned himself into the Lizard to be more like Gwen, and had then died in her arms. She was a drummer in the band ‘The Mary Janes’ led by the band’s name sake. Her father, Captain Stacey, was alive and leading the task force chasing Spider-Woman. She was deemed a menace and the murder of poor Peter Parker. Our minds were collectively blown by the awesomeness of what we read.

We craved more. We NEEDED more! And when the Marvel Fans call in such large numbers, they are most often answered. We got an ongoing series for her before we even saw her again in the pages of Spider-verse! Most of us were already combing every page of the Spider-verse titles trying to get our fix, and then they name the series Spider-Gwen!?! This book only got more awesome. Could they do it though? Could they recapture the great storytelling we expected after that first issue?

Having read Spider-Gwen #1 I can tell you with all certainty, they nailed it. Keeping the formula intact with writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez, they picked up right where they left off. We see Gwen with all the personal life drama Peter ever had, the Vulture and Jameson deeming her a menace just like any Spidey, and a need to do the right thing and be the best Spider she can be. This book has every opportunity to become historic in its run. The fans embrace it with open arms, and it’s added to the lore of Spiderdom as much, if not more, than other fan favorites like Spider-man 2099 and Manga Spider-Man. After checking this title out, which you better do, you’ll likely become a fan of Robbi Rodriguez, but you’re already five years behind me.

Five years ago, I went to my first Comic Convention in Charlotte North Carolina called Heroes Con. There I was wide-eyed and amazed at all the comics I’d never even seen, and all the artists in  Artist Alley that were so unique! One of which was Robbi Rodriguez. He had done a book called Maintance, which incidently was written by Stephen Colbert. What really caught my eye were his awesome prints though. There was one he had dubbed ‘Go Go Gaget Flow that particularly drew me in. He only had 1 print left, and my good buddy Billy got it. I’ve been a fan ever since, and was one of the first to pick up his Image book Collider. (Later re-named FBP) Do yourself a favor and check out some of his old stuff still on his Deviantart page Here! But below are some of my personal favorites.

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!

Darth Vader #1 Review

******Quick Note: If you haven’t already checked out my Kickstarter project, Proton #0, click HERE for more info!*****

If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Darth Vader #1 from Marvel Comics!

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A few weeks ago I reviewed Star Wars #1 as it returned to Marvel, and man did it live up to the hype! The question moving forward was how would the other two titles, Darth Vader and Princess Leia, fair in comparison? Well as Darth Vader #1 released this week on new comic book day, we got our answer!

Kieron Gillen didn’t shy away from starting off with a bang in issue one as we immediately follow Vader into the lair of the infamous Jabba the Hutt! In a scene reminiscent of Return of the Jedi, the Sith Lord moves quietly into Jabba’s fortress and confronts the kingpin of Tatooine with an a fierce demeanor that can only represent Vader.

Jabba and Vader have an exciting exchange where neither gives way or backs down at the other’s threats, and in the end Lord Vader shows the strength of the Dark Side of the Force! He takes on a room full of guards and mercenaries with great ease and alot of fun action! He then finds himself one on one with Jabba where he informs him of the differences between a Jedi and a Sith!

Later in the issue, you have the Emperor make his obligatory appearance and even the fan favorite Boba Fett plays a role in the story as the plot gets even more interesting towards the end of the issue! The story was on point giving you a throw back to Return of the Jedi, some Dark Side of the Force action, and some intriguing plot points to follow going forward, but there are two halves to every comic…

Writing is great, but how is the art? A ridiculous question if you’ve seen the name at the bottom of the cover! Salvador Larocca couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for a Darth Vader comic! Just like John Cassady makes you feel like you’re watching a hidden scene in Star Wars issues 1 & 2, Larocca brings you into the underworld of Tatooine and the Dark Side of the force with great accuracy! Every page is a piece of art to behold and soak in every detail! I’d like to commend Marvel on the Superstar writer/artist pairings they’ve made with the first two titles. They’ve made certain this franchise is going to live up to the hype.

In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m giving this book and the Star Wars title a glowing recommendation! You can follow either book individually or pick up both and get alittle bit bigger picture at whats going on in the Star Wars Universe all together! I look forward to the first issue of the third title, Princess Leia releasing in the coming weeks! Check back here for the review on that as well when it comes out! In the mean time, check out the cool Vader cover gallery below and may the Force be with you!

Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!

The World is Ours to Make!

-Nick Flair!