Star Trek and comic books are an obvious match made in heaven. In the “Letters to the editor” section, writer Mike Johnson points out the benefits of flexing the imagination without worrying about the creative limitations caused by budget constraints...but there’s more to it than that.
In Star Trek #35 (Part 1 of The Q Gambit), we once again get to see a much younger John De Lancie (Q), vibrant and mischievous as the day he entered the Star Trek universe nearly 30 years ago, interacting with the up-and-coming action star Chris Pine.
In comic books, we don’t have to worry about our favorite characters graying at the temples and thickening at the waist. They’re perfectly preserved at their most vigorous on the comic book page. Star Trek comics do what they can to capture the likeness of the actors who originally portrayed the characters and this comic has succeeded admirably.
This new story begins with Q intruding on Captain Picard’s hospitality. For all intents and purposes, Q is a god who can bend space-time and alter reality to create fanciful exercises in futility as easily as Data can program the holodeck. Q explains that Spock’s little stunt from the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek film has endangered the existence of an entire timeline. Q’s motives are suspect, but he tells Picard that he intends to save the endangered timeline.
The scene serves no other purpose than to remind us of the playful banter exchanged between two of our favorite characters in The Next Generation. The rest of the comic book takes place aboard the first Starship Enterprise, helmed by James T. Kirk.
Star Trek #35 sets up a vague story that ties the new film universe to the tried and true worlds of The Next Generation. It may be interesting in the next few issues. It may not. The important thing is that we get to Q again, meddling away in the affairs of men. And that’s good fun.
Originally posted to Geekin.Me.
The first thing everyone notices about a Stjepan Sejic comic is the visual feast he lays before us on every page. He is a master of knowing when to blow a reader away and, perhaps even more importantly, when to pull back on the reins. What some readers may not know, unless they follow him on DeviantArt.com, is that he’s an efficient storyteller with good comedic timing.
Sejic’s latest comic book, Death Vigil, is a reminder of the early Top Cow inventions like The Darkness and Witchblade, both of which Sejic has worked on. It has equal parts edge and humor, drama and whimsy.
Issue #1 follows the story of Samuel Lewis, who is recruited onto the front lines of a supernatural war of good vs. evil. After some time passes, Samuel Lewis has created quite a name for himself and he has no trouble reminding everyone what a badass he is.
Sejic crams an impressive amount of information into this 40-page issue without letting the story lag. It keeps moving forward, adding subtle sub plots and supporting characters without making the reader feel bogged down in the worldly details that only the creator usually cares about. In Death Vigil, we can soak them up and appreciate the innovation that Sejic has brought to his new world. There is a charming scene where Samuel calls in the cavalry and we meet an unexpectedly charismatic crew of dead guys.
The art is exactly what one would expect from Sejic. It’s balanced and advanced, drawing inspiration from art in all corners of the world. He takes a step back from the mesmerizing detail he put into Ravine, and instead gives the comic a more traditional look. It’s still awesome. Sejic knows when detail is needed and when sketchier lines are just as effective.
Death Vigil is one of the more exciting new comic books out right now. With 40 full pages of story and art, this comic should be in everyone’s pull bin this year.
This thing holds a place in history somewhere, although I’m not sure where. It was one of the most reprehensible comics I've ever read, with gore and nudity, often combined, that rivals the pages of David Quinn and Tim Vigil’s Faust. What’s more frightening is that I believe the creators would appreciate that statement as a compliment
The Auteur is a despicably hate-fueled Odyssey that follows a thoroughly unlikable main character as he tries desperately to finish a project that no one cares about. In that way, it reminds me of A Confederacy of Dunces, when its own main character manages to make everything worse by pursuing his own twisted view of perfection. The Auteur has a similar wit, but lacks the prose that was so vital to Confederacy’s charm.
The story follows Nathan T. Rex, a former A-list film producer with a great name and a Vincent Price mustache, who suffered the biggest box office failure in the history of cinema. To reclaim some good will the studio, he is stuck working on a pathetic B-movie slasher flick, for which he displays an absurd level of dedication that endangers the public, breaks laws and strains his sanity. What I know for sure about Rex is that I wanted him dead within fifty pages.
The comic tries to capture some of the zany mind-bending silliness that made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas so popular. It at least partly succeeds, as I found myself laughing at some surprisingly deranged moments. Writer Rick Spears and artist James Callahan have obvious talent for getting across exactly what they intend. It just wasn't entertaining.
Roger Ebert used to say that it takes enormously talented people to make something truly terrible. “Those with lesser gifts would have lacked the nerve” to makes something “so miscalculated, so lacking any connection with any possible audience.” To make something so awful requires ambition and confidence. I think that’s what we have here.
One thing Ebert got wrong was that the films he considered ambitious catastrophes (Death to Smoochy, The Fountain) did find fiercely loyal audiences. I count myself among the most hardcore fans of The Fountain, even though it was thoroughly bashed by critics (I even bought the expensive, but excellent, comic book version).
I can imagine a thriving audience for The Auteur that voraciously devours the content and craves more. I can imagine my younger self, perhaps after a particularly bad breakup and in an unreasonable state of anger, enjoying the vile and wretched behavior of the nihilists within The Auteur. I can imagine them. But I’m not them. I hated this comic book.
Originally posted at Geekin.me
First and foremost, Indestructible is a comedy, which makes many of the cliched characters more forgivable. The story blends riffy banter, subtle sight gags and comic book parody into an action story with more thought-provoking material than we probably deserve. Indestructible: Vol. 1 never takes the next step with the themes it explores, but there’s time for that.
The hero of Indestructible is Greg Pincus, a twenty (or thirty)-something nobody with more than a passing resemblance to Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead. He lives with his perpetually bemused best friend who has few interests outside of video games. Through an amusing comedy of errors, exacerbated by Barry, the world thinks Greg is a superhero. Greg is suddenly elevated to new status of existence in which everyone wants a piece of him.
The comic book hits all the right comedic notes, has solid enough action and even a bit of romance. That's good. Action comedies shouldn’t mess up the basics. What lifts the story above another forgettable diversion is the unexpected exploration of the meaning of fame and how it affects those on the periphery of stardom.
Jeff Kline’s narrative touches lightly on the trappings of fame. More interesting is a subplot that focuses on the trappings of infamy. Greg's story is of a superhero who doesn't really want to be a hero. It is paralleled by that of a supervillain who doesn't really want to be a villain. However, under the constant barrage of paparazzi camera flashes that exists solely to satiate a public obsessed with celebrity, do either of them have a choice when the rest of the world has made up its mind what they should be?
The art by Javi Garron and Salvi Garcia is competent. The artists have an obvious knack for expressions, which is the most important aspect of comedic comic art. They especially have fun with couch potato roommate Barry. Slight refinement to get consistent proportions would have been welcome, but it’s a small complaint.
Indestructible is good stuff. It’s not great. It gives the reader enough substance to mull over after turning the final page and staves off boredom with unique situational comedy that could only exist in a world with superheroes. Vol. #1 tantalizes the reader with intelligent ideas and legitimate laughs, but hasn’t cleared the hurdles that could turn this comic into a classic.. This creative team has already given us a solid comic book, but it may become something truly special as it progresses. Let’s hope they take all the right turns.
I work in Kansas City. I like writing and illustrating things that either make people think or laugh. If I can make people do both at the same time, I've achieved a continuing lifelong goal.