File 770 today kicks off a Titan-Comics blog tour for Life is Strange Vol. 4: Partners In Time: Tracks. Enjoy Cat Eldridge’s review and the art highlights that follow.
How far would you go, to get back to the person you love? As Max Caulfield embarks on a road trip across America after coming so close to returning to her own timeline, across the transect Tristan and Chloe follow the same path. But, both Max and Tristan struggle to control their powers and it looks like Max and Chloe may never get their happy ending – unless they can find something, or someone, to help them.
Review by Cat Eldridge: Life is Strange, Volume 4: Partners in Time Tracks
The fourth volume of the comic series based on the BAFTA-winning video game Life is Strange, follows the quite strange tales of multiverse hopping Max Caulfield. Though the premise is that they are time travelers, they actually are altering the multiverse itself and changing what happens to reality itself.
In this chapter of the series, time-twisting photographer Max has spent the past several years in a reality adjacent to her own. Lately, she realised she was running from her responsibilities… and from the Chloe she left in that reality. So she is determined to get home at all costs. So there must be a way for her to get home even with the multiverse firmly against her, so it’s time for the coast-to-coast road trip of multiple lifetimes to find it – when she follows the The High Seas band towards an uncertain destiny!
(I’m a sucker for a genre story involving a band and this one is damn good. Charles de Lint had one in his Medicine Road novel, and Terri Windling hand a scene with a band in The Wood Wife.)
So without going into the story in detail, let’s just say that both the characters and the story told here are plausible and well thought with characters that actually make sense. The LGBTQ characters are well-fleshed and make perfect sense here. I will say that it would definitely make more sense to start at the beginning of the story than here at volume four as there’s a lot of backstory doesn’t get detailed.
The artwork is awesome, simply awesome. It’s a soft palate brush effect that fits that setting in the Southwest and California perfectly. I also give points for whoever did the formatting for making work absolutely perfecting with the iPad, something that doesn’t happen all that often alas.
File 770 today hosts a Titan-Comics blog tour for Adler, written by Lavie Tidhar and with art by Paul McCaffrey. Here’s James Bacon’s review of the issue, plus a six-page excerpt from the comic:
Review by James Bacon
Adler by Lavie Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey
This is a light and fun romp into a strange steampunkesque world, where our protagonists are delightfully drawn from literature, Irene Adler, the cunning and brilliant equal of Sherlock Holmes, taking primary role, and calling on an interesting selection of characters, an orphan called Annie, Jane Eyre and Lady Haversham.
Tidhar, set out where this alternative history sits:
“1902:Queen Victoria still rules, sustained by some terrible science; the forces of colonial resistance gather to fight the British Empire; and Irene Adler and her friends must stop a deadly plot…”
I have to admit that I am well-impressed by the depth to which Tidhar has gone to, the various villains, from a handsome Jack based on David Warner’s portrayal and Le Fanu’s Carmilla, there is a cleverness to how he weaves in the various characters, and of course, the main villain is Ayesha, based I assume, on Henry Rider Haggard’s protagonist from She.
The blurb lets us know that it is time to “meet the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen” and that is indeed fair.
I was a little underwhelmed by the actual story, I perhaps was not all that keen on seeing the Queen of a country that was crushed by the British Empire into being a colony being portrayed as the villain, instead of a righteous rebel fighting for her nationhood. I suspect that a lot of the fun aspects, from the clothing to the lighter style of art, was not what I was looking for, at this time. I had hoped for a darker and grittier story, and the look and artistic style of this comic which flows well, is prettily drawn and tells a fun story, was not what I was hoping for, and part of that is down to me, a shelf of Lavie Tidhar and even his bibliography on Michael Marshall Smith sits proudly on my bookcase, so I maybe brought to much expectation to this easier going, fun comic.
It isn’t exactly like there is too much whimsy, it just felt slightly out of kilter for me. It might be aimed and presented for a younger market, other readers perhaps, and I am certain that it will be enjoyed, which is great. I love that there are comics that are just not for me, as it now means they are for someone else, and that is a good thing.
I wanted something that was a little more nuanced, perhaps a heavier twist with these same well thought of characters, and heavier, darker, much more reflective of our now, where societal structures and imperialism is more the enemy than to be defended.
This April, The Marvels #1 written by Kurt Busiek with art by Yildiray Çinar, will kick off a new saga set in the spectacular 616 that spans decades and ranges from grand adventure to intense human drama, from street-level to cosmic, starring everyone from Marvel’s very first heroes to the superstars of tomorrow.
This story will dive headfirst into Marvel Comics history to tie together unsolved mysteries, make brand-new connections between characters, and reintroduce long-dormant threats. Along the way, readers will be introduced to new heroes and villains like Threadneedle, Warbird, and Kevin Schumer, and be reacquainted with new takes on classic characters such as Lady Lotus.
“We introduce three new characters in The Marvels 1 — one who’s very much on a human level, one wrapped up with superhero history and ties beyond Earth, and one who’s outright weird and cosmic and will usher us into a bigger, stranger, deeper world. Threadneedle is that third guy, as I expect you can tell. And yeah, Alex did an astounding design of Threadneedle, didn’t he? Quirky and trippy, and nothing like anyone else Marvel’s had in stories before. And that’s all very intentional. Make sure to keep an eye on him. He’s got fascinating secrets.”
The Marvels #1 hits stands on April 28. Check out the new character designs following the jump. Then head over to Marvel.com for a sneak peek at the first issue.
“Humans of planet Earth. While you slept, the world changed.” The now iconic opening line from House of X #1, the start of writer Jonathan Hickman’s radical transformation of the X-Men franchise, foretold the incredible plans that mutantkind was about to unleash on the Marvel Universe. This June, the X-Men set out to change the world yet again at mutantkind’s inaugural Hellfire Gala.
Yesterday, the first of many exciting new character designs X-Men artists have contributed specifically for the Hellfire Gala were revealed by Entertainment Weekly, and the world saw the meaning of “Mutant Fashion” as envisioned by superstar artist Russell Dauterman. Today, readers can check out the covers of all 12 Hellfire Gala issues, getting their first glimpse at the secrets, the battles, and of course, the fashion that await at this unforgettable evening.
One cover appears above — the other 11 covers follow the jump.
Proteus Vex Volume 1 ‘Another Dawn’ Mike Carroll, Henry Flint, Simon Bowland.
By James Bacon: Today, Thursday, March 18 in the UK, Proteus Vex Volume 2 ‘The Shadow Councilor’ has just come to a close in Prog 2223 of 2000AD, yet this story started in the dying days of 2019 and has been a huge hit here.
Proteus Vex is an incredible piece of comic book work, from the stable of 2000AD, home of many legendary science fictional comic stories. Michael Carroll and Henry Flint came up with a fresh and unexpected set of characters, and a very unique look for a science fictional Space Opera, that has proven hugely popular. Volume 1 ‘Another Dawn’ began in the Christmas Mega Special issue Prog 2161 and continued every week until Prog 2171.
The story starts, explaining how fourteen centuries of War was brought to an end, a horrific and definitive end. The Obdurates, an incredibly strong and powerfully aggressive system-conquering and consuming race were defeated when the Alliance teleported a dying white dwarf star into the Obdurate home system, killing billions. Forty years later, we join Proteus Vex, eponymous character of the story, battle hardened veteran of the Alliance for the Imperium Ascendent, now an Ascendent operative, elite soldier, brutal fixer, whose companion is his prisoner, Midnight Indicating Shame. He is suddenly tasked with finding Chancellor Rho 7 Baryon, a senior member of the Imperium Ascendent who had gone missing. There is more at play than just a missing person, while we learn more about this incredible galaxy and the history of the War, we are confronted with the grittiness of postwar planets, where Obdurates are randomly beaten, and many species have grudges and issues. We learn about Flesh Pilots, a being who can enter the body, to live off it and repair it, block pain but possessing one can also mean being possessed, and sharing the memories of the previous hosts through the Flesh Pilot. As Midnight Indicating Shame asks, which is the real you, when she sees one doing its work on its host.
Vex’s own history, and willingness to do anything to win the war at any cost, demonstrates his character but like many aspects to the story this is multilayered, and we learn sufficient without the pace slowing down. The story is narrated in the past tense, as if we are learning of a history, and sometimes there is a contradiction or unsureness about what happened, or it is noted as being a fictional account, as we see it occur on the page, which really adds to the reader’s perspective. In many regards it is as if we are being curated through history, while also being allowed to see what actually happened, and this is entertaining in its own right, as our guide presents the past as best they can.
There is a concise tidiness to the storytelling, despite so much going on, the tightness that ably draws it together for the reader, throwing complex ideas, and presenting a brand new science fictional universe in a way that allows the reader to grasp the depth to the worlds and peoples portrayed while neither spoon-feeding nor leaving the reader wondering ‘what the feck!?!’ Indeed, while there is wonderment and excitement and great twists, it is delicately done to ensure comprehension. Midnight Indicating Shame is a wonderful character and she is much more than she seems, initially her large eyes and soft appearance and indeed, somewhat interesting approach to her captor bely what she is.
There are other subtle clever touches to the story telling. The title of the volume gets name-checked when Vex says of a character; “He’s never going to see another dawn”, and is a play on how the alliance teleported a star into the heart of the Obdurate Empire’s solar system, which gets explained, and demonstrates both coercion and entrapment. Elsewhere language and terminologies are adeptly worked here to entertain, even the cursing is a bit brilliant, utilizing a known term in abusive ways. The whole world building is magnificent, but this is also strengthened with the design and art of Henry Flint.
Mike Carroll has admitted that Flint took his story and imagined it in ways he had not anticipated, and while he had expected a trenchcoat-wearing verteran on a mission that is messy, a science fictional thriller on an epic scale, the utterly different look, be it Vex’s ship, that he is a species with no nose, or that he wears a full body suit including a face mask in bright colors and symbols, just feel fresh and truly alien, allowing further immersion into the science fictional universe that feels both different yet believable. Flint has been recognized as an incredible artist, whose Judge Dredd work is with the best from the comic, and to see him skillfully create such a variety of creatures, looks, technologies, and present such a vibrant and dynamic sequential story of this class, is testament to his artistic abilities.
This is best science fiction comic to come from Britain and Ireland last year and one of my favorites of 2020.
Volume 1 of Proteus Vex came to a close in March 2020, and fans eagerly look forward to a collection, Volume 2 ‘The Shadow Chancellor’ began in December 2020, starting with issues 2212, with Jake Lynch and Jim Boswell taking on the art duties, but continuing what was an excellent start with familiarly good work, with new elements fitting in nicely. It is now finished and has been an absolutely stunning piece of work.
Proteus Vex Vol 1 one was in 2000AD Progs 2162 to 2171 and Vol 2 in 2000AD Prog 2212 to 2221, which is out today.
This June, Marvel Comics honors Pride Month with a historic celebration of LGBTQ+ characters and creators in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1, Marvel’s first-ever queer-centered special spotlighting Marvel’s growing tapestry of LGBTQ+ characters. These stories of inspiration and empowerment will be brought to life by an assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life including Kieron Gillen, Olivier Coipel, Steve Orlando, Anthony Oliveira, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Kris Anka, Javier Garrón, and more.
“It blew my mind when I learned this special was being put together. Something that not too long ago seemed a wild dream is finally happening! I think this is one of those history-making touchstones for LGBTQ+ representation in Marvel, one of those moments that sets the bar higher and starts a lasting paradigm shift, and I’m just grateful to be lucky enough to be asked to contribute to it,” artist Luciano Vecchio said. “And on a more personal note, after my short story in the first Marvel’s Voices special last year, this feels like an organic progression in the right direction, and I can’t stop smiling about it.”
Since 1992’s revolutionary Alpha Flight #106 proudly confirmed Northstar’s sexuality, Marvel has represented LGBTQ+ identities with a wide array of characters and stories. Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will continue this legacy with thrilling adventures starring Mystique and Destiny, Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean, Iceman, Daken, Karma, and more. Plus, writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung make their long-awaited return to Marvel Comics with a new chapter in the love story of their hit creations: Wiccan and Hulkling.
“When I was a very closeted, very lonely kid, these characters saved my life,” writer Anthony Oliveira expressed. “It’s an honor to tell stories about them and to see the kind of stories queer people can tell about queer people deepen and grow.”
In addition, Marvel Comics will commemorate Pride Month this year with a new series of stunning variant covers by legendary artist Phil Jimenez featuring some of Marvel’s most popular LGBTQ+ heroes including Wiccan, Northstar, Mystique, and more.
“I’m always blown away at how different things are now in comics when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation than when I started, and Marvel’s dedication to that inclusion,” Jimenez said. “As an (ahem!) older gay creator, I’m always thrilled by the opportunity to draw iconic LGBTQ+ characters from Marvel’s past and present, and grateful to contribute to Marvel’s future: one that truly represents the world — and the wonderful diversity of humanity — right outside your window.”
A total of nine covers, Phil Jimenez’s artwork will include the following LGBTQ+ characters: America Chavez, Black Cat, Daken, Hulkling & Wiccan, Iceman, Moondragon, Mystique, Northstar, plus the new Valkyrie who made her debut in King in Black: Return of the Valkyries (learn her true name in The Mighty Valkyries #1, on sale in April.)
Four of Phil Jimenez variant covers follow the jump.
This April, Women Of Marvel #1 will spotlight iconic characters from the X-Men to the Avengers in a collection of tales by a talented all-female lineup from throughout the entertainment industry. On International Women’s Day Marvel revealed these new variant covers and more details about the special.
Women Of Marvel #1 will be packed with inspiring tales from new and established creators including Louise Simonson, Nadia Shammas, Elsa Sjunneson, Sophie Campbell, Anne Toole, Natasha Alterici, and Mariko Tamaki.
In addition, acclaimed Brooklyn Brujas author Zoraida Córdova will be making her Marvel Comics debut with an action-packed story about the deadliest woman in the galaxy, Gamora! Joined by Swedish artist Maria Fröhlich – also making her Marvel debut – Zoraida puts Gamora in the crosshairs of her most lethal enemy yet: love. With art from Kei Zama, Eleonora Carlini, Skylar Patridge, Joanna Estep, Maria Fröhlich, Peach Momoko, Rachael Stott, Nina Vakueva, Marika Cresta, and June Brigman, this oversized issue will be a showcase of some of the most amazing talent in the graphic novel industry today.
Variant Cover by AMANDA CONNER with colors by RACHELLE ROSENBERG
Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO
Variant Cover by MARIA WOLF with colors by MIKE SPICER
WOMEN OF MARVEL #1. Main Cover by Sara Pichelli (FEB210514). On Sale 4/21
Written by Natasha Alterici, Sophie Campbell, Nadia Shammas, Elsa Sjunneson, Anne Toole, Mariko Tamaki, and Zoraida Cordova
Art by Eleonora Carlini, Joanna Estep, Skylar Patridge, Kei Zama, Maria Frölich, Peach Momoko, Rachael Stott, Nina Vakueva, Marika Cresta, and June Brigman
Starting in May, fans will be presented with a new vision of the Marvel Universe in Heroes Reborn. Crafted by writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuiness, this series will present a world without the Avengers where the Squadron Supreme had to rise up to take their place. To celebrate this grand venture into a new age, each issue of Heroes Reborn will have a variant cover by artist and writer Jeffrey Veregge in his iconic Formline style.
“My first real encounter with Squadron Supreme as a reader came back in the late 90’s with the immortal storytellers Kurt Busiek and George Perez and their run on the Avengers. Knowing all who have worked with these characters before me and the history of Squadron Supreme made this opportunity truly special,” Veregge said. “Being able to share their stories in the same spirit and voice as my ancestors for today’s audience is not only an honor as a Native American storyteller, but as a comic book fan as well.
The expansive tapestry that makes up the world of Heroes Reborn unfurls in a startling climax when Heroes Reborn issues #5-7 appear in June. Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness’ new take on the Marvel Universe where the Avengers never assembled and the Squadron Supreme took their place as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes starts in May, then in June this unpredictable story continues —
In Heroes Reborn #5, witness a riot at the Ravencroft Asylum! Nighthawk must descend alone into a realm of madness, surrounded by the most deranged members of his notorious rogues’ gallery, including his archenemy, the maniacal Goblin.
Heroes Reborn #6 will turn the spotlight on the fabled daughter of Utopia Isle known as Power Princess. She’s defeated the All-Gog, Gorr the God Butcher and the King in Black, but now she must venture into the ruins of Asgard, where something unexplained is stirring in the graveyard of the gods.
And the matchup you’ve been waiting for arrives in Heroes Reborn #7! Together they ended the Kree/Skrull war, defeated Dr. Doom in his Secret War and even endured their own civil war between Hyperion and Nighthawk, but now the Squadron Supreme of America faces their greatest challenge yet: a mysterious new group of troublemakers called the Avengers.
June will also bring a series of new Heroes Reborn one-shots from all-star creative teams!
This is the Squadron’s world, and the age of vigilantes is over. Police Commissioner Luke Cage has one job: Find the scum and eliminate them – before ambition takes them beyond the city streets. Backed by the Squadron Supreme, Commissioner Cage takes care of criminals who’ve escaped justice in Heroes Reborn: American Knights by writer Paul Grist and artist Christopher Allen.
Meet Nightbird in Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen by writer Vita Ayala and artist Farid Karami. By day, Dr. Gwendolyn Stacy is Ravencroft Asylum’s leading psychiatrist. But by night, she dons the guise of the vigilante known as Nightbird. But how did this happen? Why did this happen? And what does Kyle Richmond, the Nighthawk, have to do with it?
Writer Tim Seeley and artist Dan Jurgens bring you a tale from the Squadron’s past in Heroes Reborn: Marvel Double Action. Years ago, Nighthawk and his trusted partner, the Falcon, patrolled the streets of Washington, DC, from the vile criminals that lurked in the dark. But that all changed one fateful night… Re-presenting for the first time ever: the Night Sam Wilson Died!
Elektra leads a team of the world’s deadliest heroes and villains in Heroes Reborn: Squadron Savage written by Ethan Sacks and drawn by Luca Pizzari! There are some threats that require a more savage approach than the Squadron Supreme of America can offer. For those missions, the Department of Defense has put together a team consisting of Elektra, the Punisher, Crossbones, Cloak and the enigmatic new character, Murder Hornet.
Finally, the Squadron Supreme protects and defends the interests of America but where does that leave a country like Canada? Who will stand up and protect them from the supremacy of the Squadron? Meet Weapon X & Final Flight by Ed Brisson and artist Roland Boschi. They’re the best there is at what they do.
From creators Jason Aaron and Ed McGuiness comes Heroes Reborn, a bold new vision of the Marvel Universe where the Avengers never assembled and the Squadron Supreme took their place. But what happened to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? The answers await in this upcoming super hero epic, but you can get your first glimpse into this strange world in new variant covers by acclaimed artist Carlos Pacheco.
These revealing covers offer exciting hints at the new origins behind Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, and more! Look for them on your favorite titles throughout the month of April.
“So you’re looking at a Marvel timeline that played out radically different,” Aaron told ComicBook.com in a recent interview. “When Galactus first came to earth, it wasn’t the Fantastic Four who were there to face him. When the Green Goblin threw someone to their death from the George Washington Bridge, it wasn’t Spider-Man who was there screaming. When a Civil War tore apart the Marvel heroes, it wasn’t Iron Man and Captain America who were fighting at its center. Heroes Reborn drops us into the middle of a world where the Marvel landscape has been radically recast and reshuffled, in some ways that I think will be surprising.”
Check out the first set of Heroes Reborn variant cover reveals following the jump.