Star Wars: The Clone Wars new strip ‘Lockdown’ update

Hello all. Sorry for no updates recently, but I’m currently going through some big “life changes”. No, I’m not turning into a horse or a Sith Lord or anything (even though turning into a Sith Lord would be awesome), but I am going freelance from April to concentrate on writing. You can expect lots of cool comic projects from me in the coming year.

With that said, my latest Clone Wars strip, ‘Lockdown’ is being drawn by the extremely talented Andres Ponce, who has done an absolutely amazing job so far. I’ve only seen the first 6 pages of pencils that my editor Mark sent me, but he’s really managed to put on the page exactly what I saw in my head.

Returning to the comic will be Volas Das, the villainous bounty hunter who’s been doing his own freelancing for the Separatists. He’s not got the run of the ship in this new story though, and is instead banged up in a wretched hive of scum and villainy: the prison level on the Tempestuous, a Republic ship heading back to Coruscant.

I won’t give the game away, but you should see this story in the UK and US Clone Wars comics in the next few months. I’ll update this post with the date as soon as I know!

If you want some info on the previous stories in the Hypermatters Saga, go here and here.

Comic Review: Aliens #1 (Dark Horse)

Funny looking through these old reviews. Prometheus came out to a mixed reception (I actually like it, so stfu) and this series was buried pretty quickly. Perhaps relying on a writer from twenty years previously wasn’t a great move. 

Aliens #1 (Dark Horse)
Written by John Arcudi
Art by Zach Howard & Mark Irwin

This time it’s war. Again…

With the recent announcement that Ridley Scott is to return (on production duties) to the franchise he kick-started back in 1979 and the 30th anniversary of the film’s release this year, there appears to be no abatement of hunger for a new Alien film. Dark Horse Comics have also returned to their own past glories, relaunching a sparkly new Aliens series penned by Mask and B.P.R.D. scribe John Arcudi.

The deceptively short first issue is not as predictable as you may think, but has clearly
been written with an overall story arc in mind that detracts from the fun of reading it as
single issues. The aliens themselves appear on only four out of 21 pages as well,
leaving you feeling a bit short-changed.

Characters are introduced only to be savaged or shot to bits, and while some of the best sequences in the Aliens movie were when the marines were being picked off one by one, having this happen suddenly during the first act feels forced and doesn’t allow you to get to know the characters well enough to appreciate them. See The Walking Dead series for the way comics handle great deaths of subsidiary characters.

On a positive note, Zach Howard’s art works really well — it’s clean, modern and energetic. His backgrounds don’t look out of place from the Alien ‘verse and his characters look interesting. Hopefully he’ll be able to stretch his artistic muscles throughout the rest of the story.

Comic Review: Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #5 (Marvel)

Another one from the archives. Expect more of this rubbish until I run out, then I’ll post some scathing reviews about DC’s #0 issues.

Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #5 (Marvel)

Written by Damon Lindeloff
Art by Leinil Yu

Angry hairy man and angry green man are displeased with each other. Words are had…

There’s a Whole Lotta Lindeloff in the public eye at the moment, with Star Trek burning up multiplexes and Lost’s fifth season perplexing the hell out us. So it was a shrewd move for Marvel to resurrect the Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk series that stalled back in 2006. Oh yeah, and there’s apparently a Wolverine movie out at the moment too. Ahem.

The Ultimate Marvel Universe has been around a good 10 years now, meaning that
for the casual reader – if there are any of you actually out there – jumping into a
supposed continuity-free universe like this one is a rather tall order. Jeph Loeb is
currently trashing everyone and everything with a big flood (ie, pressing a big flashing red button called RESET), but because of the hideously erratic schedule for UWvH, it comfortably stands apart from the ongoing monthlies.

The latest issue, #5 of 6, is quick to change the style and pace of previous entries with such weird and wonderful chapters as ‘Part One: In Which Logan Pisses Off A Panda’. Lindeloff is great at writing punchy dialogue and delivering the action up in spades; it’s also funny to see one of our cuddly friends tear into the guy with the daft hair like he’s a cheeseburger.
#1 saw Wolvie getting his legs torn off by one very angry Hulk; in ish three Lindeloff introduces Ultimate She-Hulk — a super-powered Betty Ross. It’s a fanboy-for-the-fanboys affair, but with Leinil Yu (Secret Invasion) providing some jaw-dropping, career-best art, you can’t help but be swept along with the energy and sheer fun of it all.

Fingers crossed that we’ll see issue six on the shelves before 2012 when the world ends.

Comic Review: Batman #666 (DC)

I’m already getting bored of reading these reviews because they’re so free of profanity. Mazza Manson should have appeared in this issue and pissed on a security guard.

Batman #666 (DC)
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Adam Kubert

It’s Damian Vs the Antichrist in the Satanically special 666th issue of the long-running comic…

Self-professed magician and purveyor of all things Crowley-esque, writer Grant Morrison hasn’t shyed away from the controversial during his twenty-odd year career. With memorable characters like King Mob under his belt, and a string of classic runs on titles including Animal Man, New X-Men and the critically acclaimed All Star Superman, Morrison has managed to put a fresh spin on often tired concepts and still retain those aspects that make the character so enjoyable.

Batman #666 is no exception. The setup is timeless comic book: good vs. evil, with a
predictable outcome. But it’s how good triumphs that proves that the character is in
the hands of a brilliant writer who can still inject new ideas into a sixty-year-old icon and not come across as twee. This is no Batman you’ve seen before, but rather the recently introduced son of Bruce Wayne, Damian. Despite his apt name, battle scars, pill popping and dead father, he also feels inclined to dress up as a giant bat and take on the hoods of Gotham.

Thrown into the future, the story doesn’t deviate into Dark Knight realms or reference Paul Pope’s recent Year 100, but instead pits the haggard new superhero against the Antichrist. Andy Kubert, who made his name churning out classic X-Men pages during the 90s, effortlessly realises this new Gotham and its denizens with a careful balance of hyper-kinetic action sequences and splashes that are packed with detail.

If Morrison and Kubert continue to provide such concise and exciting stories, hopefully the stale fallback of multi-part crossovers will be vanquished from the pages of Batman. #666 is a one off, but it’s devilishly good.

Comic Review: Criminal – Coward (Icon)

Criminal: Coward (Icon)
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips

Ed Brubaker (Daredevil; Uncanny X-Men) and Sean Phillips (Marvel Zombies) join forces for a tightly plotted crime tale of diamonds, drugs and deceit…

There aren’t many crime comics on the shelves these days. In fact, nobody has really resurrected the genre since the heyday of 1950s when the likes of Shock SuspenStories and EC shockers ripped stories from the headlines and turned them into eight-page disposable thrillers.

There have been a few interesting twists in Frank Miller’s Sin City, which made noir almost farcical, Brian Michael Bendis’ Torso and, more recently, Darwyn Cooke’s take on The Spirit. But nothing followed in the direct tradition of Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leonard until Criminal hit stores in 2006. With dialogue that wouldn’t look out of place in either of those writers’ novels and the sort of low down characters you might find in a Tarantino flick, Brubaker’s marriage of cool-talking and lawless abandon is epitomised by Leo, Coward’s protagonist. When Leo is offered the chance to walk away with $5 million in diamonds from a cop-organised diamond heist, he doesn’t spend too long weighing up the cons.

Seasoned comics readers will be surprised by the level of conflict and complexity Brubaker injects into his characters — you can feel these hoodlums breathe on the page. Phillip’s stark artwork, heavy with the black ink and subtle with the details, brings to life the crooked and dirty streets of a nameless

Best of all, the conclusion to this self-contained story comes from leftfield, but doesn’t feel contrived. This is fantastic storytelling that goes beyond mere comics, it begs to become celluloid.