Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Science Fiction Comic Round-Up, Part 2

Continuing from the previous post, we will wrap up or look at some of the strong new science fiction titles coming out right now.

Letter 44 #1

Prior to this batch of reviews, I had never heard of Charles Soule, yet he has popped up twice in this list, writing both Inhuman and Letter 44.  The latter title is set following a recent election, during which the new president discovers that the wars in the Middle East and the increases in military R & D has been because of the discovery of an installation being built in the asteroid belt.  The reader is introduced to the crew and the situation as the new president is, creating a very effective start to an exciting new series.  Well told and fast paced, it appears that Charles Soule may be my new go-to writer for science fiction comics.

Magnus: Robot Fighter #1

The story of Magnus is one that has been told by many people at many companies, and been updated many times.  Beginning in Gold Key Comics, the series was most notably revamped by Valiant Comics, becoming a very strong part of their future continuity.  When Valiant closed its doors, the series was bought and sold multiple times with few new comics, with the exception of a not-so-great graphic novella from iBooks, before being picked up by Dark Horse, who published four issues.  The character eventually landed at Dynamite Entertainment, which has proven to be a great developer of new directions for licensed characters (Red Sonja, Vampirella, a whole host of pulp heroes including The Spider, etc.).  The new series is written by Fred Van Lente, who is best known to many as the co-writer of Cowboys & Aliens, as well as some of his non-fiction comics like Action Philosophers and Comic Book Comics, and his run on Hercules and his current (brilliant) work on Archer & Armstrong.  Magnus: Robot Fighter follows a small town teacher who is thrust into a future world where robots seem to control everything, and he struggles to survive.  Van Lente’s new direction is a lot of fun, taking the best elements of the past and making them into a wonderful new story.  This series is highly recommended for fans of science fiction action and adventure.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #1

It is hard not to be a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with recent releases Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier, it just keeps getting bigger and better.  And the next movie is only a few months away.  In anticipation of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy on the big screen, marvel is releasing the official prequel, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude.  Following Nebula, a young assassin in training under Thanos, the reader is introduced to all of the major players that will be appearing in the movie, as well as a taste of how the movie series will deviate from the comic series.  Written by fan-favorite Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, who wrote the Guardians of the Galaxy series that revived interest in the series in the first place, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude is a fun start to a two-part mini-series that will get you excited for the upcoming film.

Rogue Trooper #1

The character Rogue Trooper began in the famous British comic 2000 AD, where science fiction comic staples like The A.B.C. Warriors and Judge Dredd originated.  Unfortunately, this reviewer has found a lot off the material from 2000 AD to be a touch on the tedious side, as we explored previously in the review of Ro-Busters: The Disaster Squad of Distinction, so I was a little hesitant to pick this one up.  However, like Dynamite Entertainment, IDW has shown themselves to be great and re-introducing and re-developing licensed characters, such as G.I. Joe and Judge Dredd, so I picked this one up.  And I am glad I did.  Writer Brian Ruckley does a great job of introducing the character while still keeping him enigmatic and mysterious, and the action doesn’t let up.  Readers who enjoy Valiant’s Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps will really enjoy this new series.

Star Slammers: Re-Mastered! #1

Walter Simonson is truly a comics genius.  Most iconic was his run on Thor, but his work really has few low spots.  However, with the large volume of work he has released, some of it has following to the wayside.  IDW made the interesting decision to rerelease one of Simonson’s earliest works, Star Slammers, that was originally published in a graphic novel and mini-series by Marvel, as a newly colored on-going series, Star Slammers: Re-Mastered!  The series shows the influence of science fiction titles like 2000 AD with its art and narrative approach, but it uses that format in a much more approachable, less slow moving way that creates a wonderfully dynamic story.  While Star Slammers: Re-Mastered! feels like an older science fiction comic, it is all that was great about the genre in that era.  This one is well worth picking up.

The Wake #1

Scott Snyder seems to exploded onto the comics scene recently, first with American Vampire, then on Detective Comics, and following the advent of the New 52 at DC, Batman, Swamp Thing, and Animal Man, along with the brand new weekly title Batman Eternal.  And along with all of that work, he is producing The Wake, which looks to be one of the best horror comics released in some time.  Marine biologist Lee Archer is called to an underwater research facility in the arctic circle by the government, which has discovered some strange sounds that are clearly not whale or dolphin.  The mysteries deepen when Archer gets to the base, and discovers just what has been found.  Lots of suspense, and narrative bouncing around in time, and a lot of suspense make this a highlight of horror science fiction comics.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Science Fiction Comic Round-Up, Part 1

There are always a number of superhero comics out there, and the growing number of horror comics is good to see, but there always seems to be a need for a good batch a science fiction comics.  In the next two posts we will take a look at the first issues of some recent series, so that you can decide which new science fiction titles you would like to get in on the ground floor with.

Black Science #1

I first came across Rick Remender’s work with his run on Uncanny X-Force, which was one of the best takes on a black ops team Marvel has had, and with his fascinating series Strange Girl.  In Black Science, he is unleashing a group of scientists, led by Grant McKay, on a trip through reality and beyond, as we discover how these people stepped out of our reality and how they will survive the strange lands they have found themselves in.  The first issue of Black Science is a lot of fun, and gripping enough to keep readers coming back month after month.

The Bunker #1

Joshua Hale Fialkov first struck me as a writer to watch with his graphic novel Tumor.  From there, he has moved into some major titles, especially with his series I, Vampire for DC.  The Bunker started out as an indie release, and hit five issues before getting picked up by Oni Press, which began releasing the series in print.  In recognition of this shift, Fialkov reworked the series, using the new publisher as a fresh start to the ideas presented in the series.  Having read and loved the original indie release, I couldn’t wait to snap up the first issue of the Oni release, which is even better than the original.  Telling the story of a group of friends who discover a mysterious underground bunker in the woods full of information about their future, The Bunker follows them as they try to come to terms with what they have learned.  Brilliantly introspective and thoroughly engaging, this is a great book to follow.

Caliban #1

Garth Ennis likely needs no introduction for comics fans.  Coming off his widely acclaimed series The Boys, Ennis has stepped into the realm of science fiction with Caliban.  The first issue introduces us to the crew of a spaceship travelling through hyperspace.  Humans have branched out to the stars, and found that the universe isn’t as inhabited or hospitable as they might have imagined.  Yet, when the ship comes out of hyperspace, it fuses with what appears to be an alien ship, and the crew knows that there is trouble on the horizon.  I wonderful dollop of suspense makes this series a science fiction/horror mash-up not to be missed.

The First Law of Mad Science #1

Mike Isenberg and Oliver Mertz aren’t names you are likely familiar with, but they have teamed up to write The First Law of Mad Science, a wonderful science fiction adventure.  A genius scientist has created new eyes that are much more powerful and connected to the world than human eyes are, but a strange malfunction is leading people to see blob-like creatures that no-one else can.  Yet, when a scientist dies, everyone has to reconsider exactly what might be going on.  The First Law of Mad Science is a fast-paced science fiction romp that is one of the most successful indie releases through ComiXology Submit’s platform.

The Heroes of Echo Company #1

The heroes of the past have been an inspiration to people for millennia, so when humans need a new inspiration for the future as they head into space, it is decided to create a new fighting force modelled after the heroes of old.  Erik Wright, codename Ulysses, is coming off a tour that resulted in the deaths of all of his men, and has been placed temporarily in charge of a new unit while he awaits his trial.  Yet, when their ship is attacked, the mettle of all of these new heroes will be tested.  Writer Joseph Henson has created a very engaging military science fiction comic that this reviewer will be looking forward to continuing.

Inhuman #1

Marvel is releasing so many titles lately that trying to keep up is an impossible goal without making it a fulltime job.  However, as a long time Marvel fan, I wanted to find something new that I could get into without having to catch up, and could follow, that would fulfill my love of science fiction.  The start of the brand new series Inhuman, written by Charles Soule, seemed the perfect opportunity.  A mist is travelling across the globe full of a substance known as Terrigen, and it is turning seemingly-regular people into strange beings.  However, multiple factions are fighting over these newly-powered individuals, and the conflict threatens to spill over into all-out war.  Inhuman follows the events of the Marvel event Infinity and the epilogue mini-series Inhumanity, but the necessary details are explained and new readers can move into the series without feeling confused.  Inhuman has the potential to be a very exciting new series that will be great for new readers to begin their time in the Marvel Universe.