FanExpo Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I am off to FanExpo Canada. In a nutshell, it’s Canada’s equivalent to the San Diego Comic Con. Admittedly, it’s not nearly as large, nor does it draw a huge slush of big Hollywood celebrities – but it’s definitely a place I look forward going to every year.

Last year, as if you hadn’t known already, I met the legendary Stan Lee. This year, while Stan Lee will not be there, a huge group of comic artists and writers will be. I’m looking very forward to meeting and talking to a bunch of them. Most importantly, a brilliant writer: Chris Claremont.

But for this year, I’m only going up for two days – Thursday and Friday – due to work obligations and finances. However, that will not stop me from having a ton of fun. Expect tons of pictures when I come back.

In fact, let’s see my schedule for the Con:

People to See/Get Signed:
Chris Claremont #743 (Uncanny X-Men)
Leonard Kirk #P055 (New Mutants)
Mark Brooks #P045 (Uncanny X-Force)
Dale Eaglesham #P066 (Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulks)
Fred Van Lente #P065 (Taskmaster, Chaos War)
C.B. Cebulski Booth #743 (Marvel VP)
Kelly Sue DeConnick #P002 (Osborn) (Friday)
Jimmy Cheung (Avengers: Children’s Crusade)
Axl Alonso (Marvel Editor-in-Chief)

Panels & Signings:
Thursday:
5pm, Room 714 – Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way
7pm, Room 717 – Redefining the FF – Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting & Marko Djurdjevic

Friday:
11:30am, Room 716 – Sketching Duel: Marko Djurdjevic & Tony Daniel
1pm, Room 717 – Fred Van Lente & Dale Eaglesham on Alpha Flight
2:30pm, Room 714 – Marvel: Fear Itself
Auto CC 3:30pm – Signing Session: Marko Djurdjevic (NM, SA)

As you can see, there are some major names on that schedule of mine. I’m very excited to talk to Fred Van Lente on how incredible his Taskmaster series was. I also am looking forward to meeting Kelly Sue to express my appreciation for her work on Osborn.

I’m probably going to get some commission work done as well. Leonard Kirk is on the top of my list, while, if at all possible, I’d like to see how much Djurdjevic charges – if he’s doing any at all.

When I’m not in line for, or in the panels and signing sessions, I will be scouring the immense showroom floor; checking out costumes, booths, and other artists. I’m still on the hunt to complete the entire run of Uncanny X-Men, so we’ll see how that goes!

I did say I wasn’t staying the whole weekend for financial reasons, right?

As a side note, isn’t it crazy that Mike Carey is finishing his six-year run on X-Men Legacy?

X-Men Legacy

I’ll see you all when I get back!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

For Now. . .

Hey folks!

I have to apologize for holding off on the Wednesday Reviews and Classic Comic Friday feature this week because I’ve been busy putting my writing skills to other uses.

I have vacation time coming up next week, where I am killing my router and working on, well, work. I love to write, and I have spent too much time not writing on what I want to accomplish. Given I never really take holidays from work, this is absolutely rare and valuable time for me. I will be taking the next week off from both my real job and this blog. I will be hopefully finishing a story I’ve been working on this past year. Of course, I will make it known to the world about my progress made on my week back, plus a new feature, and probably some other mumbo-jumbo I can come up with. I have been writing a lot this past week, getting ahead of myself for my upcoming vacation, so unfortunately, I’ve lacked entirely on this blog. Forgiveness, please!

DoomWar

But I can still touch upon a bit of what I read from this week – just not as full-blown and in-depth as my reviews in the past have been. From my pull-list, this week had conclusions to two major storylines – those both being Shadowland and Taskmaster. I also picked up Generation Hope #2, and randomly, Chaos War: God Squad (one-shot).

Aside from Taskmaster, the other three were quite lackluster. Most notably, Generation Hope. Taskmaster is probably one of the best mini’s I’ve read in years and it changes the Marvel U’s view on Taskmaster ENTIRELY. By the end, you’ll either be crying, or feeling sadness towards Taskmaster. Mr. Van Lente wrote an incredible story for this character, and I’m sad to see it end.

Generation Hope is dwindling down to nothing. I mean, Cyclops character is not consistent to how he’s been in the past few years. He seems very nervous, always. Hope, on the other hand, is trying to be the hero of the team, but her constant fumbles in the story really makes her weak – especially being the title character. Although Kieron Gillen is joining Uncanny shortly and hopefully giving it a breath of fresh air, I really hope Fraction keeps him in check.

Chaos War: God Squad was an interesting take on the heroes during Chaos War. If you haven’t read DoomWar recently, you probably should just to get a feel of who the Wakanda spirit is and understand how she plays out in the story. Although there was not much progress made in this one-shot, it still brought a bunch of characters together to tell an interesting story. It was a good divide from the constant panic within the parent story.

And with the conclusion of Shadowland, Marvel pretty much just hit the reset button on Daredevil. That’s okay, though! It was doine pretty tastefully, but in all honesty, it somewhat made Shadowland a bit unnecessary. I mean, it did not affect the rest of the Marvel U at all, aside from the Daredevil title. Arguably, it did sell-out every issue, going into multiple reprints, but as for other mini’s this year, such as Siege or Second Coming, Shadowland was very lackluster after the first issue. *Spoiler* Although I’m glad Bullseye did NOT come back. Thank god.

So until next week, I shall be back with some reviews, features, and maybe some neat snippets from what I’ve been working on. Who knows!

Until then, keep on Space Truckin’!

Where Have I Been?

Whoa! Hi! I’m back. Where have I been all this time? I haven’t put my comics in their long-boxes for over a month now! I’m a terrible human being. But aside from what, where have I been?

Aside from reading comics and working, I went to a concert of Devin Townsend on Wednesday (yes, I updated the setlist). Keeping the details short, I met him – he is my idol – I was front row-center – and I walked away with the setlist and his guitar pick. Win! Then I performed a concert on Thursday with my band Superheroes (click to add us to Facebook!), while also spending the past two weeks practicing and recording Superheroes first EP for said show. We managed to sell a few copies yesterday, so thank you to everyone who supported us and came out! We had a blast!

As a side note, despite the name, we do not sing about superheroes. Sure, I may put a few action figures on my amp, but that’s the extent of it.

But what a week of interesting news! Martin Sheen is confirmed to be Uncle Ben in the new Spider-Man movie, while Sally Field is in-talks for Aunt May. Also, Scott Pilgrim comes out on Blu-Ray Tuesday, which I am very excited for. I loved the movie, as well as the books. The books were definitely better, however, the movie was done extremely well. I applaud both versions.

Well, I feel like a bit of a dink, not being able to give full-fledged updates as of late. I had planned on doing a full-blown last-and-this week’s comic review, plus one Classic Comic, but alas, I’ve just been too busy to keep up with it all. But I hope you all at least got a chance to see my Halloween costume as the Red Skull here? I really enjoyed doing it up. Unfortunately, living in the city I was in, no one knew who I was. And get this injustice:
Of course I went to a bar on the Saturday (the 30th) and I saw a guy dressed as Captain America. Going up to him as the Red Skull, he had no idea who I was! Brutal! My other friend dressed up as the Black Cat and ran into a Spider-Man/Spider-Girl couple costume. As she spoke with them, neither knew who she was as the Black Cat!

What sort of injustice is this?! Suddenly it’s cool to be dressed up as a superhero not knowing anything about it? That’s almost as bad as me dressing up as a Power Ranger and not knowing who Zordon was, or as Luke Skywalker and not noticing Darth Vader walking past me. I just think it’s ridiculous. Anyway.

I want to start fresh next week. (Please give me a second chance?!)

If you like, I’ll review my favourite comic of this week! Deal? Okay!
Despite a hefty week of comic collection for me: Chaos War #3, Namor #3, X-Men: To Serve and Protect #1, and Generation Hope #1, the best comic went to Taskmaster #3!

TaskMaster3

Taskmaster is a pretty unknown Marvel villain. I mean, he is popular, but there are more popular ones out there. This is Taskmaster’s second miniseries, but has been around the Marvel U for decades. You may have seen him recently in the Siege series, helping Osborn’s dark reign upon Asgard. Since the defeat of H.A.M.M.E.R., Taskmaster’s whereabouts have been unknown. To make a long story short, various villainous agencies, such as HYDRA, A.I.M., and so on have teamed together under one group called the Org, and are trying to stop Taskmaster from, well, being alive. Only, he doesn’t know why. Here, you should stop reading unless you want to hear ***SPOILERS***.

Well in the story, we find out from Nick Fury, talking to Steve Rogers, that Taskmaster is ex-SHIELD. I know, eh? And the reason why the Org is trying to stop him is because he knows too much. But Taskmaster doesn’t remember – and we find out why in the story (I’ll leave that spoiler for you to read). Regardless, the story develops so much in this third issue that there is so much to talk about!

Firstly, the cover! A Town of Hitlers! Yeah. Read the story. Secondly, the humour is off-the-charts with this book. I mean, it’s coming off as a more serious Deadpool comic to me. We have a wise-cracking villain who is trying to discover his past while the world of villains is being thrown against him. We get to see Taskmaster do some great moves with his powers (which we also find an origin for), while we are also introduced to a new villain named Redshirt. This villain, although very serious, has some of the funniest panels I’ve seen in recent comics.

Writer Fred van Lente is from The Incredible Hercules fame, so his story-telling would naturally have a sense of humour while still making massive plot still seem stable to the Marvel U. Mixed in with Jefte Palo’s art and Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colours, and you have yourself a great story with fantastic images and a twist – literally – on every page.

Although it has some radical story-telling, Taskmaster has turned to be quite possibly one of my favourite mini-series this year.

Grade: 10/10

As for me folks, I plan on having an article posted sometime next week involving blogs and storytelling. It may not even be comic-related (although highly likely)!

Thanks for hanging in there folks!

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Uncanny X-Force/Chaos War Day!

This week, I had only planned on picking up two comics. However, I completely forgot about – despite all the marketing – that Chaos War started today. As such, here are my reviews for two major-titles this week: Uncanny X-Force #1, and Chaos War #1.

These reviews may also contain spoilers.

Probably the most anticipated book since X-Men: Second Coming story arc, Uncanny X-Force blew into comic stores today, and I must say, did not disappoint. Written by Rick Remender with art by Jerome Opena, UXF delivered quality story-telling with superb art, and wonderful direction.

UXF1

X-Force disbanded at the end of Second Coming earlier this year, with Wolverine re-assembling it under the nose of Cyclops. The roster features Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool, and Fantomex, as they are on a quest to finally kill Apocalypse once and for all.

The story kicks off with some Deadpool heroics which sets up the rest of the story. My primary concern with the story would be separating both voices of Deadpool and Fantomex as I found both characters to be some-what the same in their humour and actions. I only felt this way as Bendis in the Avengers parent-title, has seemed to merge both Spider-Man and Hawkeye as one voice. However, this was not the case with Remender. We actually have two unique people adding significant character into the story. It was relieving to me.

The story goes into Archangel and Psylocke’s relationship and their concern for if “Death,” Archangel’s secondary mutation from Apocalypse, could take over. Although it was never really discussed in the prior X-Force comics, I can see how we are already being set up for future story arcs. I’m ecstatic. Plus Betsy and Warren are together. I love it.

Wolverine surprisingly does not have much to do with the main set up as the story. As the founder of X-Force, and it’s longest-running member since it’s most recent conception back in Messiah CompleX days, I can understand why they did not need to focus so much on Logan.

However, what the story does for the reader is wonderful. Brilliant colours and tones flush the pages, thanks to colourist Dean White. The comic has a mixed feelings of haze and impending doom with each turn. Opena’s art also stands out as nothing but spectacular. Wolverine versus a stone giant – who would not love it? Plus a wonderful final-page ending that leaves us all with “wtf” moments certainly will have us back for issue two.

Uncanny X-Force exceeded expectations and pushed out a grand story (with tons of variant covers) which will go down in to the comic history books.

Grade: 10/10

Chaos War is something Marvel has been teasing us with for awhile now. Since the death of Hercules and his sudden return, I know I have been asking myself, “why kill him off only to bring him back months later?” Chaos War is the reason why – and I believe that the killing-off/bringing-back formula worked well for this comic.

ChaosWar1

Written by Incredible Hulk great Greg Pak, and Fred Van Lente, Chaos War begins with King Chaos killing Nightmare in his realm and taking it over, showing us what sort of power the King possesses. It is followed by Hercules’ return to Earth – warning its heroes of the impending doom the Chaos King will be soon bringing to the planet. What is really good is how Pak and Lente show how all the heroes react to Hercules’ return – not considering it relevant as Herc has always been considered a buffoon. Not this time.

Hercules returns alive from an alternate universe with immense power, given to him by his best friend, the Prince of Power, Amadeus Cho. Teaming with Thor, Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and many others, Hercules divides his new-power between all the heroes and brings them up to Nightmare’s realm to stop the Chaos King. So begins the Chaos War.

The story, I would consider to be a building up immense destruction. Although the main story is only a five-issue run, there will be plenty of one-shots and limited-series connected to the Chaos War, such as Dead Avengers, Alpha Flight, and Dead X-Men. It will be interesting to see how it all ties together. However, the story itself revolves around the re-building of Hercules’ character and the convincing of all other heroes that he is not the imbecile he once was. That’s fine. It was done well. However, I felt a lot of filler in the story, such as an unnecessary battle with other gods. Although I can understand they were added for showing us the severity of the Chaos King – we did not need the mini side-plot.

Khoi Pham’s art though, should not be over-shadowed. Great detailing with Hercules, as well as Nightmare’s realm, really stood out as two unique points in the book. Nightmare’s realm being a disaster zone with death and chaos, was greatly drawn and I could personally feel the horror within the realm. And with Hercules, his body, his face, everything was immensely detailed and clearly displayed. Why I only say Hercules is because I felt as if the rest of the characters were somewhat thrown into the story at the last second. Once panel shows all the heroes flying upwards to Nightmare’s realm, and it is clear that only Hercules had the most attention put on him. I digress. . .

Chaos War will be an immensely popular series, I’m sure. It involves most of the Marvel U and is argued to be better than the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Where this will take us, I do not know. But I am interested to see how it will be executed.

Grade: 6.5/10

And Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, eh?

Keep on Space Truckin’.