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Advanced Review: Bloodshot Reborn #6

Bloodshot, as a character, has always been able to be defined in the simplest of terms. Man without a memory and extreme healing, kills mercilessly for a “shadow” company; end of story, insert random mission and repeat! Jeff Lemire has made things more complicated with Bloodshot Reborn, and it pays off tenfold!

So, I minimized the amount of complications Lemire has brought to the book, just a little: First, Lemire has taken away Bloodshot’s healing factor, nanites that feed off of protein and can heal him from virtually any wound. Second, Lemire has made him delusional, seeing dead Geomancer and love of his life, Kay and a cartoon version of himself, Bloodsquirt, on a constant basis which drives him to drugs to “quiet” their constant yammering regarding him killing again. Third, and the basis of this current arc, is that the nanites he once had now reside in other people and are driving them mad, mingling with their already deprived natures and let them murder without remorse. Now Bloodshot, with the FBI on his trail and a twenty year old female tag-along named, Magic, in tow, must kill these “infected” murderers to regain his nanites in order to control them. 

Now that the cards are on the table and everyone is caught up, issue #6 is the best of the series so far! Lemire continues to build the levels of Bloodshot’s humanity while he drives him ever closer to losing it again. Lemire makes Bloodshot multifaceted by showing the reluctant relationship he has started with Magic. One where human emotion has begun to out weigh the risk of death each step may bring her as she follows him down the twisted path that may very well lead him to losing the humanity he has finally gained. It is a harrowing journey that the reader knows will only lead to loss and bloodshed, yet we root for Bloodshot to finally be whole again, both with his humanity and with the power to be so much more.

The heavy tale is also interwoven with hints of levity coming from the awkward pairing of Agent Hoyt and Agent Festival. It is the perfect “odd couple” of male/female, old/young, skeptic/”gifted” that is a pure pleasure to read! Their coarse demeanor with each other is hilarious and yet, when needed they are a wonderfully blended team that is no nonsense.

The shocking middle and and even more unnerving ending will have readers craving for more! Lemire has taken a character that was as one dimensional as the come and has created a cornucopia of dimensions that will astound you. Bloodshot Reborn is a MUST read book month after month!

(Editor’s note: Review copy provided by Valiant)

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COVER SHOOT: The Top 5 Comic Book Covers For 3/19/2014

COVER SHOOT

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This weekly feature will take a look at THE most visually compelling comic book covers on the market today. Whether they be rare variant editions or just your standard fare, these are the top 5 covers that stand out amidst the bevy of books released each week. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”  but these covers are worth more than that! No matter the storylines behind them, these covers compel you to at least check them out, which can be worth exponentially more than just words to the companies that publish them! Enjoy!

 

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1.  Noah (Image):  This movie adaption hardcover not only has a stunning cover by the world renowned, Niko Henrichon, but he does all the interior art as well! The linework and layout of this image exudes desolation, a single man bearing the weight of the world, no one could have conveyed that powerful of a thought more beautifully than Henrichon. This cover is so pristine and epic that it is overwhelming!

 

 

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2. Trinity of Sin: Pandora #9 (DC): From the foreground pose to the choice of illuminating the background in an onslaught of baby blue, Julian Totino Tedesco, made all the right choices to make this cover pop off of the racks! The slightly diluted painting scheme is truly beautiful and helps solidify the main character in her new role of warrior of the light. It is almost heavenly in scope and astonishing to behold!

 

 

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3. Daredevil #1 (Variant Edition) (Marvel):  This variant edition by Paolo Rivera, was originally petitioned as a color piece with Daredevil’s suit in a crimson red. I think this stark black and white version is even more eye catching than the original thought and helps to accentuate the graphic background design that Rivera meticulously laid out. While the foreground image of DD is done very well, it is the background that makes this cover great for me. Not only does it offset with the foreground image but it also represents the story well in regards to acting as a maze. It mimics DD’s disadvantage of being in a new city perfectly, making the whole book something special.

 

 

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4. Harbinger: Bleeding Monk #0 (Variant Edition) (Valiant):  Clayton Henry is a master of mixing digital and painted art to make some of the most outstanding covers on the market today. This one is no different but the layout is done so exceptionally well, that it blows everything else away! The forced perspective is amazing, making you feel as though the focal point is literally floating above you. The central image alone can sell this book, but Henry made the background colors a complete juxtaposition to the foreground, creating a solid piece that is truly stunning!

 

 

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5. Thor: God of Thunder #20 (Marvel):  Do I need to say anything about this cover? Does anyone create a Thor cover better than Esad Ribic? “I say thee, nay!” This image is pure power, pure strength and pure excitement! The detail Ribic puts into “old” Thor is astounding but just look at, even “older,” Galactus in the background!  The eye has so much to take in it’s dizzying! There is not one inch of this cover that doesn’t make the inner fanboy in me squeal with glee. ’nuff said!

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You May Have Won A Free Trip To NYCC 2014 With Unity Golden Ticket Valiant Promo

Valiant comic fans may want to check their issues of Unity #1 as five lucky winners have won a free trip to next year’s NYCC!

Valiant has revealed it has hidden five #UNITYGOLDENTICKET hashtags on the covers of the Pullbox Exclusive Variants for Unity #1.

See below for more details.

 

Press Release

VALIANT Reveals Five UNITY #1 GOLDEN TICKETS — In Stores Now!

 

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With copies of Unity #1 – the sold-out debut issue of Valiant’s smash-hit new series by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite – on sale now at retailers nationwide, Valiant is proud to announce a one-of-a-kind promotion – the Unity #1 Golden Ticket Contest, giving fans the chance to win one of ten exclusive prize packages, including tickets to New York Comic-Con 2014, courtesy of ReedPOP!
 
For the first time, Valiant is revealing that it has hidden five #UNITYGOLDENTICKET hashtags on the covers of the Pullbox Exclusive Variants offered with UNITY #1 at five local comic shops across the continental United States. So if you have a copy of Unity #1 featuring cover art by Bryan Hitch, J.G. Jones, Travel Foreman, Paolo Rivera, or Clayton Crain, you could be a winner! Simply examine the UPC box and look for the#UNITYGOLDENTICKET hashtag printed in gold ink.
No purchase necessary. For an alternate method of entry, send a standard-size postcard (one per household) with your name, address, email address, and day and evening telephone numbers to: Unity #1 Golden Ticket Promotion, 424 W. 33rd St, Suite 420, New York, New York 10001. Winners will be drawn at random on February 10th, 2014.
 
“The success of Valiant’s return has been a grassroots effort since day one, and, with Unity #1 now on shelves as Valiant’s biggest debut of the year, we wanted to give a few lucky fans the chance to share in our success,” said Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce. “Head back to your local comic shop today to ask about Unity #1, and you might just find yourself with a  once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join us next year on the floor at New York Comic Con.”
 
Courtesy of ReedPOP, the ten lucky Unity #1 Golden Ticket winners will each receive one four-day pass to New York Comic Con 2014 – the East Coast’s biggest and most exciting pop culture convention – plus a one-of-a-kind Valiant prize package, complete with a tour of Valiant’s New York City offices, dinner with Valiant editorial staff, and a comprehensive collection of Valiant trade paperbacks and hardcovers.
 
If you purchased one of the #UNITYGOLDENTICKET editions, contact Valiant by email at inquiries@valiantentertainment.com to claim your prize! See here for full terms and conditions.
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Review: Harbinger #12

Before you read this review you need to ask yourself,” Why do I read comics?” “Is it for the heroes in intense situations?” “Is it for the exceptional writing that makes these situations come to life before your eyes?” “Is it for the depth of character the writer builds upon so that these heroes resonate with us?” “Is it the amazing art that visually draws us into the world the writer has created?”

If you answered,”Yes,” to any of these questions, I have one more for you. “Have you been reading Harbinger?” If you said, “Yes,” then you know how great a book this has been. If you said, “No,” let me change your mind!

Harbinger #12 continues the Harbinger Wars crossover that has been waging through Harbinger, Harbinger Wars and Bloodshot for the last few months. We see Peter Stancheck’s Renegades finally come face to face with the psiots that have escaped from Project Rising Spirit, as well as how these young powerhouses have been dealing with their new found freedom. A clash between these groups is inevitable, children with power to shake the earth are not always welcoming to strangers, but it is the soul, the emotion of this book, not the action, that will truly grip you.

Joshua Dysart writes some of the most compelling characters on the market today. Teamed with the exceptional artistry of Khari Evans, Dysart has not only built visually intriguing characters, but ones that fans can empathize with. These characters have a humanity deeply rooted within their bones, something most super heroes tend to lack. They have fears, hopes and dreams as well as wield godlike powers! They are the everyman living in a scary world with the ability to change it for better or worse.

In this issue we see how manipulation, torture and a life of solitude can change a person. It is unnerving, to see Harada’s early attempts at activating psiots but, it is even worse when Peter meets Chronos and we know the same thing has been done on children! The duality of Chronos and Peter is what drives this tale. Even though Peter did not have an ideal childhood, being institutionalized and left by his mother, he eventually got to live in the outside world, while Chronos did not. Similar to a point, you can see what Peter could have become where it not for his chance for freedom and friendship. Chronos, on the other hand, had no escape until now and the world will pay for the sins committed against him. He is a fascinating character and a true image that Dysart can make every new character as rich and emotionally stirring as the rest!

So, if my little review hasn’t swayed you about Harbinger, I have another idea. For a single dollar you can get yourself the Valiant One Dollar Debut Edition of Harbinger #1. One dollar can open up your eyes to a whole new world of comic greatness. Don’t you think you can spare a dollar to broaden your horizons? I do! 

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Advanced Review: Harbinger Wars #2

Fans were blown away with, not only the all out action of the first issue of this crossover, but with the overall ease with which the casual reader can immerse themselves into the storyline. In a market plagued with mediocre crossovers that strive more on gaining your hard earned cash instead of delivering a quality product, Valiant stands as the shinning example of how to please it’s fans! If you were enthralled with the first issue, the second in the series will utterly take your breath away!

Written by Joshua Dysart, with story conceptualization done by both Dysart and Duane Swierczynski, Harbinger Wars #2 is a tidal wave of all-out action that is stunning on all aspects. The reader is given the chance to delve deeper into the seediness of Project Rising Spirit and witness the re-birth of another long forgotten Valiant concept bound to thrill readers all over again! Though I won’t spoil any part of this outstanding tale, I will say that you will see some horrific deeds take place and the true heart of Toyo Harada will forever darken the corners of the Valiant Universe!

Masterfully crafted by Joshua Dysart and crew, Harbinger Wars is bound to become one of the most comprehensive, overtly exciting and reader friendly crossovers ever written. It is steeped in emotional duress, shockingly horrific circumstances and riddled with action sequences that will blow your mind! It is the blueprint as to what ALL crossovers should be like no matter what company employees you!

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Advanced Review: Harbinger #11

The Harbinger Wars is upon us and fans have been raving! The smashing debut issue not only helped to knit more pieces of the Valiant Universe together, but it also posed an insurmountable amount of questions! Not to worry though, Joshua Dysart begins to let things unfold further in this weeks Harbinger #11 and things will never be the same again!

Mixing flashback sequences with current story lines, Dysart lets the reader peek at the history of Toyo Harada and Project Rising Securities, better known as Project Rising Spirit. We see their first real interaction together and it is a terse one to say the least! Within these sequences Dysart also let’s us see a more optimistic Toyo Harada as opposed with the opportunistic one we are more prone to. This insight creates a richer depth to the character, making the lines between hero and villain blur, leaving the reader with a moral conundrum on how to perceive his choices.

Not only does Dysart make us question our “villain”, he makes us question our heroes as well. While Peter Stancheck has been having visions of the Bleeding Monk, his Renegades have been contemplating their new found place in the world. Powerful, young and lawless, these “heroes” find themselves in a moral dilemma all their own. Do those that have been beaten down emotionally and physically now have a moral obligation to help others just because they now have the power to? Do they have the right to live above the law since they can simply choose to do so? Do they even have a choice in the matter or do their powers automatically oblige them to do what’s right? The questions posed by Dysart make these characters extremely “real” to the reader and that is what makes this book so brilliant month after month. These characters are all of us, just on a grander scale! They bicker and fight, they have fears and dream of amazing things, they are scared and powerful and they need each other even though they won’t admit it. They are as “real’ as super heroes will ever become, which in my eyes, is truly amazing!

Take the next step into the Harbinger Wars in Harbinger #11 and always remember to: Be smart, be diligent, be — Valiant!

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Review: Shadowman #6

Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher have worked tirelessly to create a fresh and exciting “new” Shadowman character that fans have been clamoring over. Now, with Shadowman #6, we get to actually see a true new character emerge from their collective conscience, one that has set his diabolical sights on our hero and won’t let up until death has been claimed for the victor!

The “dynamic duo” of the Valiant Universe, Jordan and Zircher, have been putting our hero through the emotional, if not physical, ringer as of late and this issue brings more of the same style of highly developed characterization to the table. Distraught and emotionally scarred by his actions, or inaction, to save a friend; Jack Boniface gets to do some soul searching throughout the issue. Although he is the title character and has some great developmental sequences, most of this particular tale revolves around the schemes of some rather nefarious characters and brings one of them to the forefront as a dire threat to Jack. We all know that a hero is only as good as his villains make him become, well, by the end of this tale Shadowman will be one the lips of comic fans everywhere! 

The only detraction I have with the issue is with the choice of so many artists. Each of their skill sets are phenomenal, rendering different aspects of the story to give each section its own individuality and scope but, at times it was a little distracting. You get accustomed to a certain flow while following the story the artist unfolds before you and with three different artists, it instead became jarring to transition between the story changes. 

Still, Shadowman is a rare gem of concentrated high level writing and artistry that never fails to excite and entrance each and every month! I am proud to say that I was a fan of the original series and now, with Jordan and Zircher breathing new life into the character — I’m an even bigger fan!

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Review: Harbinger Wars #1

The spring’s biggest crossover has finally been released and Valiant does nothing more than completely blow you away!

The writers of the fantastic series of books, Harbinger and Bloodshot, have converged to bring you a tale of the past, present and future of the Valiant Universe. This is an in depth look at all the little secrets that have been kept from prying eyes for so long, the revelation of what Toyo Harada and Project Rising Spirit have been creating long before Peter Stancheck even knew he had powers! These revelations will lead to an uneasy alliance between Peter Stancheck’s Renegades and the assassin Bloodshot’s prepubescent gang of human weapons. Though the world of Valiant will soon become a scarier, more dangerous place, there will be a definitive winner in all the chaos — the readers!

Told as a part flashback part present story, Dysart and Swierczynski’s tale perfectly combines the current storylines of both the Harbinger and Bloodshot books while imbuing it with a completely new tale revolving around a captive group of psiots at the mercy of Project Rising Spirit. It is this fresh tale expertly rendered by fan favorite, Clayton Crain (X-Force), that is the most intriguing and carries the weight of the overall story. Through the eyes of these “new” characters, the reader can connect with the pain and degradation they endure and we can empathize with, not only them, but ALL the characters being hunted without even having to read the primary books to do so. It is this attention to not alienate the curious reader, whom may or may not know the outlining parts of this epic story, that makes it the perfect stepping stone for anyone while not disengaging from the loyal fans that wouldn’t want a “rehash” comic in their hands. A truly fantastic effort by some of the most talented creators in the industry!

It is easy to get enveloped into this magnificent world created by so many talented individuals, but I’m warning you, once you step into the Valiant Universe –you’ll never want to leave!

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Review: Harbinger #10

Peter Stancheck and his rag tag band of psiots have been compromised, beaten and imprisoned by Project Rising Spirit, but everything will be alright as long as you have Faith!

A blitzkrieg of action awaits you in this weeks Harbinger #10, the precursor to Harbinger Wars (on sale 4/3) that is going to set the Valiant Universe ablaze in it’s first crossover! The battle lines have been drawn and Peter’s crew are up against insurmountable odds, it will take everything they have in order to survive the battle and one of them will rise to the challenge in order to save them all!

Joshua Dysart is a master of melding characterization heavy stories with a bevy of action sequences in order to make one of the best comics every month! It is superbly done, rich in the development of not just the main character -Peter Stancheck- but every character brought into the book. From Flamingo, Faith, Torque, Kris Hathaway and even the pathetically manipulated Mr.Tull, Dysart breathes life into every nuance of them making the entire read a true glimpse into their destructive world. He weaves in fragility into the very essence of these powerful creations, giving them a subtlety and believability rarely seen in comics today. They are massive and weak, beautiful yet scarred, outgoing and cripplingly shy, influential and covertly influenced and broken yet godlike.

These characters resonate with readers because we can empathize with them, we are them on a base level and we want them to dominate their world. That’s exactly what this issue is about. Overcoming those things that have been holding you down, breaking free of the restraints both literally and metaphorically in order to truly live. Plus, it is such a thrill ride of bombastic action that you can’t help but get amped up for what’s next!

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Cool Shadowman T-Shirt & More Available From Valiant At ECCC 2013

Press Release

 

VALIANT Heads to EMERALD CITY COMICON 2013!

 
 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:5775:]]This March, the Harbinger Wars are heading north for the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest!

 
Valiant is proud to announce its debut appearance at Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) onMarch 1-3, 2013 in Seattle, WA – and we’re bringing along a boatload of free swag, show exclusive products, and special guests to celebrate! 
 
Visit Valiant at Booth #2008 all weekend long to get a sneak peek at the future of the Valiant Universe inside the pages of the Harbinger Wars Sketchbook – a FREE first look inside the biggest Valiant event of the summer! 
 
Plus, for the first time ever, Valiant will also be debuting new Shadowman logo t-shirts for sale, alongside a complete selection of Valiant comics, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and blank convention-only flip books!
 
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:5776:]]And, to find out everything you need to know about the Valiant Universe in 2013, join us on Sunday, March 3rd at 12 noon in Room 3AB for the Valiant 2013: Harbinger Wars and Beyond panel!

With the opening shot of Harbinger Wars only weeks away, get ready to discover the secrets that will put Harbinger and Bloodshot on an inescapable collision course – directly from a panel of Valiant insiders, including incoming Bloodshot penciller Barry Kitson, X-O Manowar artist/inker Stefano Gaudiano, Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce, and Valiant Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani!

 
We’ll see you at ECCC!
 
For more information, visit Valiant on Twitter, on Facebook, or at ValiantUniverse.com.
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The DOC’s A Year In Review: 2012

“In My Rearview Mirror”

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

It’s late, my wife and daughter are snuggled up in their beds as visions of super heroes dance in their heads. Well, possibly my daughter’s but my wife is probably having visions of Channing Tatum! I cannot believe another year has passed us by and I ponder all the things that have occurred in one of the most tumultuous years comic fans have ever seen. There were the seething fans from the The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Avengers debate, the uproar over The New 52 Alan Scott’s sexuality, the shock over the brutal death of Glenn in The Walking Dead #100, the return of the Joker, Indie comics creating a big buzz with fans, Second Waves, Third Armies and Kirkman becoming the king of the world! 2012 was truly THE year to be a comic fan and my list is only the tip of the iceberg of all the things that occurred last year. So, take a look. Agree, disagree, it’s all in good fun. And remember, my list only contains things that I have personally seen or read so, if your favorite book or movie doesn’t appear here — make your own list in the comments below to share with us!

 

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BEST MOVIE: The Avengers: This summer blockbuster was so full of those classic, fun comic moments that you just couldn’t catch your breath. It was everything that Marvel had been painstakingly building up to for years — and it completely blew me away! The original Superman may have made us believe a man could fly, but The Avengers made me believe that gods live among us!

WORST MOVIE: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Everyone forgot about this Valentine’s Day weekend blockbuster, didn’t they? Apparently, Ghost Rider did so well that they NEEDED to make this steaming pile of a sequel for the six fans that enjoyed it! I will sum this movie up in two words: Flame Urine! ’nuff said! 

BEST “NON COMIC” SUPER HERO MOVIE: Chronicle: This “found” video film about teenagers that acquire super abilities had amazing scope and even better special effects. Though, by the final battle scene, I was finding it hard not to scream out, “Tetsuo!” at the top of my lungs!

BEST MOVIE CAMEO: Sam J. Jones a.k.a. Flash Gordon, Ted: When I first saw this movie, I nearly went into convulsions as “Flash” appeared on camera! Flash Gordon is one of my favorite childhood movies and all those scenes in Ted hit me with a wave of nostalgia. Fantastic!

THE MOVIE WTF!? MOMENT OF THE YEAR: John Blake knowing Bruce Wayne is Batman in five seconds: The Dark Knight Rises was a good movie, but it was riddled with WTF!? moments that I just couldn’t shake off. After three movies, Commissioner Gordon can’t figure out who Batman is but an orphan turned cop can the first time he meets Bruce Wayne as a adult? Crazy!

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BEST “NEW” COMIC COMPANY: Valiant Entertainment: The nineties are alive and well again and you can thank Valiant for that! But these aren’t your daddy’s comics anymore, each series has been laced with some of the industry’s top talents and are making a race for a top spot on your pull list each week! Smart and engaging, each book has it’s own niche in the grand scheme of the Valiant Universe, and if you didn’t get caught up in the “Summer of Valiant,” you still have a chance to catch up with the newly released $10 trades before the Harbinger War begins! Great stuff!

BEST ONGOING COMIC SERIES: Batman: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have taken the character of the Batman and completely remade him for a new generation without losing any of the nostalgia that older fans love so much. Not only have they perfected Bats himself, but the entire supporting cast and the rogues gallery as well. Not to mention, creating new villains such as the Court of Owls and their assassin Talons to further cement their names in the Batman mythos for all time. Oh yeah, and they created the scariest version of the Joker I have ever seen!

BEST NEW COMIC SERIES: Archer & Armstrong: Well, if you want to get technical, A&A was around in the 90’s but this “new”version surpasses it’s predecessor by leaps and bounds! Andy Diggle has created an amalgam of Lethal Weapon, National Treasure and part Animal House that will keep you enthralled and amused! There is nothing better than a drunk immortal and a virgin ninja fighting off assassin nuns!

BEST “NON SUPER HERO” COMIC SERIES: Mind MGMT: Matt Kindt stunned fans with his espionage, secret society, psychic warfare book! It is eloquent and atmospheric, creating a world that may or may not be reality but hooks you just the same. Don’t wait for the trades on this one, folks, Kindt has said that the single issues hold clues that WILL NOT be in trade form! GET IT NOW!

BOOK MOST IN NEED OF A MEPHISTO DEAL: Amazing Spider-Man #700: Okay, so everyone has been complaining about this book enough already so I’ll make it short and sweet. How can a villain who has wanted to kill you since issue #3 suddenly change his mind in the last five pages of issue #700 because he saw your memories? Yeah, I thought so! 

WORST CROSSOVER: Avengers Vs. X-Men: With another shameless money grab by Marvel, the fans lapped up this horrible series that promised everything and gave nothing! Well, Professor X died, but besides that everything else went back to the same ‘ol same ‘ol. The Avengers are the world’s favorite again and mutants are hated more than ever! Too bad it cost fans almost forty dollars to get right back to where they started from!

BEST COMIC WRITER: Scott Snyder: Between Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire, American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares and Severed, Scott Snyder has created some of the most disturbing and fascinating books in 2012. Every issue is done with a true passion for the characters and an eye for detail that is missing in a lot of books today. He may not be Rob Liefeld’s first choice, but he’s alright by me.

BEST INTERIOR ARTIST: Esad Ribic: Some of the most stunning images have come from the hands of Esad Ribic. Whether it be variant covers for various Marvel books or the interior pages of Uncanny X-Force and Thor: God Of Thunder, Ribic is at the top of the art field. Quiet and reserved, this man let’s his images speak for him!

RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL ARTIST: Mike Mignola: Although Mr. Mignola has never stopped writing both B.P.R.D. and Hellboy, he hasn’t drawn any in quite some time. So, with one month left in the year, Mike Mignola sent the comic world into a frenzy when he returned to art chores on Hellboy: In Hell #1 in December 2012. It was utterly outstanding and made all our Christmas wishes come true!

BEST COVER ARTIST: Joao Ruas, Fables: Joao Ruas creates the most haunting and visually stunning covers you will see on the racks today. Mired in folklore and whimsy, these somewhat disturbing images are the perfect match to the stories found inside his astonishing covers. They are true works of art that everyone should behold.

FAVORITE VARIANT COVERS: Scottie Young’s “baby” covers: Scottie Young, the artist on Marvel’s OZ books, has been churning out very rare “baby”covers for all the Marvel Now! books and they are amazing! Well, maybe I’m biased because my daughter and I have read the OZ books and have a few of Scottie’s posters, but they are very cool collector covers. So, make sure you ask your local retailer if they get any in, you won’t regret it!

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BEST COMIC CHARACTER: The Joker: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have created the most sadistic, cunning and scary Joker character I have ever read! They have taken a character that has sometimes been used as a veritable joke in the DCU and made him someone that they should all be afraid of, especially since he seems to be always two steps ahead of everyone! Completely creepy!

TOUGHEST CHARACTER TO FOLLOW: Superboy: So, he has his own comic, he has been in Legion Lost, he has been in Teen Titans and he has been in The Ravagers. He is supposedly on the Teen Titans and the Ravagers teams but he is only there for an issue or two and then he vanishes! No explanation is given, he is just gone and no one knows where the hell he goes! Here’s a tip: put him on one team or none, but please make a decision! It is beyond annoying and he’s not that great a character to begin with — so just decide already!

MOST BRUTAL COMIC DEATH: Glenn, The Walking Dead (Image): TWD #100 was one of the most horrific books I have ever read. The utter disregard for human life that Neegan portrays is alarming and what he does to one of the most beloved characters in the TWD universe — completely sadistic. Kirkman knows how to pull on the ‘ol heart strings and that’s why The Walking Dead is no longer the little book that could, but a money making machine!

MOST POINTLESS COMIC CAMEO: Nova, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Okay, so he crashes to earth, mumbles and then falls into a coma. Twelve issues later, he flies out of nowhere punches a Phoenix charged Cyclops and then gets beaten to a pulp. Then Thor asks him is if he wants to join the Avengers? So, if I put on a football helmet, jump off the roof and fall into a coma — I could possibly become an Avenger too? Why didn’t anyone tell me it was so simple?!

THE COMIC WTF!? MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Peter Poctopus/Dr. Octavpider-Man: Oh, you know what I mean! 

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WORST TOY OF THE YEAR: DC two packs of Squinkies: Okay, I know Squinkies have been around for years, but 2012 had some exclusive stocking stuffer two packs hit the shelves at local retailers. Now, can anyone tell me what these squishy miniature versions of The New 52 heroes are good for? They can’t fit as a pencil topper, they’re too light to use as a paper weight. Mostly, I scream Shazam at the top of my lungs and throw them at my intern, D-ROX’s head! If anyone has a better idea, let me know!

COOLEST TOY OF THE YEAR: The Walking Dead Minimates: Now we all know Minimates are AWESOME, but 2012 saw them become even better! With the launch of TWD Minimates, you can now control the fates of little versions of Rick, Glenn and Shane against a horde of four zombies! My desk has never looked better than strewn with “Lego-style” zombie parts!

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BEST TELEVISION SERIES: The Walking Dead(AMC): This series has been top notch since it’s inception and, as a fan on the comic as well, I couldn’t ask for anything more! Human drama mixed with a zombie backdrop, TWD has taken the world by storm and it goes to prove that comics are not just for “geeks” anymore! Plus, any show I can watch with my wife that doesn’t contain a judge’s chambers or cheating senators is a definite win!

BEST REALITY TELEVISION SERIES: SyFy’s Face Off: One of the most creative shows I have ever seen, Face Off, brings make-up and visual effects artists from around the country to compete against each other in a series of challenges. I am astonished by how creative the artist get with minimal time and equipment. Plus, there is always a bevy of quest stars to help judge their work, such as, Kevin Smith and LeVar Burton!

BEST CARTOON SERIES: Ultimate Spider-Man: This series is what I wish the Spider-Man cartoons of my day would have been like! Spidey’s witty banter, great looking art and friends that couldn’t negate each other’s powers! Now, I know Sam Alexander Nova is in there and that might not sit well with some of you, but it really is a great show! And anything I can watch with my daughter is well worth a fake bucket head any day!

BIGGEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Cartoon Network’s DC Nation: DC Nation is actually my favorite block of comic cartoon gold, but since Cartoon Network pulled both Green Lantern and Young Justice(my personal favorite cartoon) for no definitive reason, fans couldn’t enjoy their favorite shows! So, without there being any DC cartoons on Saturday, we all moved onto Marvel ones on Sunday, hence my pick for Spider-Man over Young Justice! Horrible idea by Cartoon Network!

MAN OF THE YEAR: Richard Corben: This living legend artist has churned out more books in 2012 than most of the “hot” young talent that the “Big Two” clamor over and he’s 72 years old! Well known for his work in the horror genre, Mr. Corben has seen quite a demand for his talents lately, especially from Dark Horse. He has worked with Mike Mignola on Hellboy, Jan Strnad on Ragemoor and has translated Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm” into comic form. Mr. Croben was also inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2012 for his continued artistic prowess over the years!

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THE MOMENT THAT SET THE WORLD ON FIRE: Disney buys Star Wars: This was one of those events that takes you by surprise and you’re not actually sure if it’s true or not! I remember continually telling EIC Matt McGloin to, “Shut up!,” on the phone because I was so floored! Though fan reaction has been mixed, I personally cannot wait to see what will eventually come of this. At least it can’t be any worse than the “prequels” right?

If you made it this far — Thank You! I hope you all had a great year and we hope to see your ideas in the comments! Now, I have to go find my Squinkies for Monday morning — SHAZAM! 

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Bloodshot #3 Preview – Valiant Comics

Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of Bloodshot #3, from acclaimed writer Duane Swierczynski and the blood-spattered artistic team of Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi!
 
Bloodshot is the run, but the voices inside his head only have one destination in mind – home. Is the woman that he finds there the wife that he’s been dreaming of – or the gateway to a much larger mystery? Plus, what horrors did Project Rising Spirit unleash on the town of Atlee, Nevada? And can their latest experiment take out Bloodshot before he catches up to the men who made him into a billion-dollar weapons project? There’s a new villain waiting in the wings, and she’s about to inflict more damage than any gun, bomb or missile imaginable. Introducing Pulse! 
 
Heroes aren’t born. They’re built. Upgrade to the next level of the Valiant Universe whenBloodshot #3 goes on the offensive this September 5th – in stores the same day asArcher & Armstrong #2!

 

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Advanced Review: Archer and Armstrong #1

The “Summer of Valiant” marches on — bringing fresh, creative ideas to their amazing 90’s properties. This week sees the debut of the fourth relaunched series, Archer and Armstrong, helmed by Fred Van Lente and Clayon Henry. Although they have big shoes to fill – the original was penned by the legendary Barry Windsor-Smith – they have crafted a fine book rich with action, humor and intrigue!

From ancient civilizations to modern day New York, Van Lente and Henry create a tale rife with excitement! It is a tale of two polar opposite men on a parallel course to save the world. One is naive of the ways of the “outside” world, having been raised by religious zealots in an amusement park, but has a keen sense of purpose and more than enough martial art skills to accompany him on his journey. While the other, a brazen drunkard, has had hundreds of years to acquire knowledge of the vast ways the world turns — just not enough drive to do anything about it! Old, young, seasoned and pure, it is formulaic of all good “buddy” stories — but is so much more!

Sprinkled with just enough social and political commentary as to not become preachy, Archer and Armstrong is an amalgam of everything readers want in a book. Stunning action sequences, well crafted characters that we can empathize with, an enigma that drives the characters to become better than they are and above all else — excitement! You are instantly hooked by Van Lente and Henry’s tale, a feat not easily done these days! Some may say that it pales in comparison to the original, but for me — it is a thrill ride that stands well on its own! 

Since it is already headed for a second printing, be sure to be the first in line at your favorite shop to get your copy! You don’t want to miss out on, not only a great tale, but a sneak peak of X-O Manowar #5, too! Can anyone say Ninjak? Awesome!

Be bold, be noble — be Valiant!

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The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for June 6th, 2012

 

The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile

 

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

(A weekly quick pick of the five titles that should reside at the top of your pull list. In no particular order!)

 

I do the research, you reap the reward! Before you head out to your favorite shop today, be sure to add these books to your list of goodies! Forget that “apple a day” nonsense, this “DOC’s” prescription to good health starts with these top five titles of the week!

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1. Harbinger #1:  Valiant’s second series comes out today, and it surpasses the original series in every way! Great characterization, coupled with a cool premise — makes for one amazing book! Read my full review here!

2.  Earth 2 #2:  Though we have all seen the hype this book is getting for the sexual orientation of one Alan Scott, this book is bigger than just that! Here we finally see the return of Mr. Terrific, a winged warrior’s first appearance to the New 52 and Jay Garrick become the Flash! They might not be the J.S.A. of old â€”  but it’s awesome just the same! Read my full review here!

3.  Before the Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (of 6):  Do I really need to explain why this is on my list?! One of comics “Holy Grails” has a prequel, ya know you’re going to get it â€”  if you can find it! ‘Nuff said!

4.  Fairest #4:  This great series from the pages of Fables, continues on with it’s amazing retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story! But will Jonah betray Ali Baba and Briar Rose to the Ice Queen before the tale is even finished? Great book with spectacular art by the one and only Phil Jimenez!

5.  The Mighty Thor: Annual #1: So I hear that people are sick of Marvel not doing cosmic correctly anymore. Well, this ones for you! Taking place before The Mighty Thor #1, this tale has Uatu, Scrier, one thousand Thors, one thousand Silver Surfers and the cosmic granddaddy of them all â€” Galactus! This ones a throw down for the ages, folks!

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Advanced Review: Harbinger #1

I have to admit, I never read the original Harbinger series! My favorite Valiant book had always been Shadowman, ask me anything about Jack Dominique Boniface — and you will have my undivided attention. Harbinger however, never had enough characterization for me. It didn’t have enough “meat on its bones” to pique my interest. 

Well, just like the nineties — those days are over! This new Harbinger series is what great comics are made of!

From page one, you cannot help but be captivated by the richness of the world both Joshua Dysart (B.P.R.D., Unknown Soldier) and Khari Evans (Carbon Grey) have created. It is fantastic in nature, yet so realistic that these characters could be living in your own neighborhood. But it is the juxtaposition of characters, Toyo Harada and Peter Stancheck, that is the most captivating factor! Both harbor amazing gifts, but it is their use of them – or lack there of – that set them apart. While Harada is trying to save the world the best he can, Stancheck is just trying to escape the voices in his head! 

Joshua Dysart has created an amazing character that is so hard to like, I actually couldn’t put this book down! The character of Peter Stancheck is a disheartened, pathetic junkie that uses his telepathy to rob pharmacies in order to stop hearing the thoughts of all the people around him. Teamed with his Zyprexa popping best friend, Joe Irons, they travel the East Coast — staying one step ahead of the mysterious Mr. Tull. You want to pass on Peter as not just a hero but as a human being. But there is something about him, a lost innocence, a quest for normalcy, a broken soul — that makes you want to continually read on and engulf all there is to know. It is a thrill ride of discovery, even if you think he’s despicable!

Harbinger is a stunning character piece, infused with mystery, intrigue and top notch art! Comic fans should stand up and take notice — Valiant is churning out some amazing books! First there was X-O Manowar, now Harbinger! They have created a solid foundation for their resurgence — let’s see how high they can build this new vision!

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Advanced Review: X-O Manowar #1

As I walked towards my desk through the CBN offices, a wave of nineties nostalgia washed over me. Recently, everything old seems new again! Variant covers are all the rage, there are superhero cartoons gracing my TV screen every Saturday and Sunday, the Age of Apocalypse is still running rampant, Soundgarden has a new single on the radio and Rob Liefeld is actually drawing comics again! But what really pushed me over the edge — the advanced copy of X-O Manowar from Valiant comics laying on my desk! One of the biggest independent comics publishers of all time, is back and ready to carve their names in the history books yet again!

New York Times best-selling author, Robert Venditti, and Eisner award-winning artist, Cary Nord, converge on an amalgam tale of sword play and sci-fi that will make any comic fan’s testosterone levels exceed maximum capacity! It begins as a savage look at life for the nomadic Visigoths and their dealings with the ever growing power of the Roman Empire in 402 A.D.! From there it progresses into a tale of revenge and eventually, delves into the world of sci-fi in epic fashion! I must say, Cary Nord is the perfect choice to portray the brutality of the battlefield and the viscousness of our young hero — Aric! Who else could bring the scope and horror of war to reality than the man who drew Conan? No one!

For fans of the original series, you will feel right at home with Venditti’s rendering of Aric and the situations that befall him in order to finally become one with the X-O armor. For those of you that are coming aboard with a fresh set of eyes, you will be astounded by how Venditti has created a character that is so rich and fleshed out in a single issue. He takes a character that is steeped in arch-types and makes him exceed them all, giving us the perfect new icon to usher in the new era of Valiant!

I don’t want to ruin any of the amazing story that Venditti and Nord will lay before you next week, so I promise you no spoilers. But I also promise you this — with but a single issue under their belts, X-O Manowar will become the next big cosmic title you need to get your hands on! From swords to laser cannons, from slaughter to sentient suits of armor — you will relish every page and yearn for more! 

The nineties will never come back! But Valiant has, and they will make the “big boys” quake! As Aric says before leaping into battle, “The time for talk has passed. It is time to fight!” and that’s exactly what they intend to do!

“X-O Manowar” #1 goes on sale Wednesday May 2nd, 2012! And look for the FCBD issue May 5th!

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Valiant Comics Launching Harbinger, Rai, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar in February 2012?

In what just might be a deliberate leak, images from the new Valiant Comics office have hit the net which seem to suggest that all new adventures for Harbinger, Rai, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar are in the works.

And it appears to begin February 2012.

A plethora of images from a Tumblr user reveal all sorts of teasers.

Check out a few. 

Where’s Shadowman?!

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