Friday, October 24, 2008


I finally finished reading all 1,300+ pages of Bone: The One Volume Edition which collects all 55 issues of Jeff Smith's independent comic Bone. It took a while to get through after numerous attempts to read it over the last 2 years. 55 issues is a lot of anything. Overall, Bone is good but falls short of being great.

I got a very Lord of the Rings feel from the book - at its root, there's a quest involved and a power they must stop. At the end of the LoTR movies, I felt like saying, "Huh." The quest in the movies didn't seem to be an impossible task with consequences, it just took a while to do. Bone is quite entertaining along the way, though. I was surprised by how funny the book is - quite a few pages and panels had me laughing, but the tone gets more serious as it goes on.

The story revolves around three Bone cousins who get run out of their home, Boneville. They end up in the Valley and entangled in a plot involving dragons, a princess, an ancient cult and a bad dude named the Lord of the Locusts that's trying to come back to destroy everything. All of Smith's characters are lovable, from the Bone cousins, Thorn, Lucius to minor characters like Ted the Bug. Yes, a small talking bug.

It's available as the black and white One Volume edition for about $40 (or cheaper used on Amazon) and it's also being reprinted in color as a children's book series, if you want to see some more shading and background elements. I guess I was expecting a little more out of Bone, but it's far from being disappointing. Entertaining and quite funny is more than you get out of most books these days.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

King Radical.

If you're not reading The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, you're really missing out. Because a new character was introduced yesterday. King Radical: The Most Radical Man in the Radical Land. Sure, the idea may have been ripped off from a Burger King commercial, but I for one am excited learn more about King Radical and I cannot wait to see Dr. McNinja throw down with him. I will expect nothing less than the awesomeness. I mean, the first panel he appears in, he's jumping a motorcycle over some crocodiles (or are they alligators? I don't know). How radical is that? The answer is, totally BADICAL. Yeah, that's right, I'm bringing back badical. Deal with it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marvel's 70th Anniversary.

Marvel released an article about their 70th Anniversary. I'm sure there will be 534 more articles up before the end of the year and then five times that number during the year, so you can keep up with all of the 9267 different variants they're going to run.

I do like the logo though. I love the floating heads, I wish they'd bring them back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Marvel announced on their site yesterday that they have an Avengers animated series currently in production. It will hit the public in 2011. They've got a full plate of upcoming animated shows, including the Iron Man show and Wolverine and the X-Men. This one looks like it's really geared toward kids with the style of animation, so if I remember to watch it in 2011, I'll probably sample a couple of episodes before I make a decision.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The End League.

So, about two months ago, I wrote about Knights of the Old Republic and how I had bought a run off of eBay. Well, the guy I bought it from decided to throw in a bonus issue of The End League. I finally got around to reading last week, and I'm now hooked on that series as well.

What's really interesting about the series is that it's basically the opposite of what every super-hero comic is about. Normally, the Good Guys always beat the Bad Guys and the status quo is always maintained. Well, in this series, the Good Guys have lost. What's left is The End League, and they're still trying to save the day, even when the odds are massively stacked against them.

What's also pretty cool about it is that the main character was actually mainly responsible for the way that things are. He's the big guy at the bottom of this post; Astonishman. He was tricked into triggering "The Green Event" by his archenemy, "Dead" Lexington. The Green Event ended up giving superpowers to every one person out of ten thousand. Astonishman put together a group of super-heroes called the Squadron of Righteousness to help save the planet as well as fight villains that chose to use their new powers for evil. Twelve years before the current story, most of the world's super-villains banded together and killed a majority of Squad, and those who survived went into hiding and reformed as The End League.

So it's a pretty cool concept. It kind of reminds me of Star Wars and how most of the original trilogy was about people just surviving and trying to fight back against an evil empire. It's also similar to what I liked about The Umbrella Academy in that there is a large gap in the story, so they hint at certain events that have happened and they go back and tell certain parts of the history. It also has a lot of Super-Hero archetypes that have been turned on their heads. For example, Astonishman is obviously Superman, and he caused the whole situation. He deals with a lot of guilt. There is also a Captain America type character, who also has to deal with the guilt of killing his side-kick while he was possessed by his arch-nemesis. So it's interesting how these characters would have to deal with things if they made a mistake and ended up on the losing side of things instead of always on the winning side.

Most of the story is about the team trying to survive. The world has been divided up by the major villains into territories, and they are all now slums. So the team basically focuses on surviving, and their one standing mission is to find Thor's hammer. Turns out that Thor went missing during The Green Event and is presumed dead; his hammer, which is the only thing that can turn this whole situation around, is also missing.

One kind of shocking aspect of the series (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER) is that they kill off the main character in the second issue. That's right, Astonishman is killed by reanimated Thor and the hammer is taken by someone who has yet to be revealed. I think that was a pretty bold move by the creators, but it works because, again, this is not your normal comic book. And Astonishman will be back, well, at least in the flashbacks. So there's that to look forward to.

There's an interesting page at the end of the first issue. It's written by the writer, Rick Remender, and it basically explains the series, how it came to be, and how long it took to get off the ground. There's an interesting paragraph in there about how hard it is to develop a series about Super-Heroes outside of Marvel or DC. It took them five years from the initial idea to the first issue. (Here's a different interview with the creative team with plenty of preview art)

So, to wrap this up, I really like this series, and I'm pretty impressed with what Dark Horse has been doing lately. They're really going out of their way to break away from what they were doing for decades (licensing existing properties) and they're really taking some risks. I highly recommend The End League, the only downside is that it will probably take some work to find back-issues, a lot of shops are just now adjusting orders to demand. I had to buy issue #2 off of Things From Another World, and they still have plenty of back issues so I recommend them as a back-up if your local shop is out. Dark Horse is also releasing a trade in December, which I think collects the first four or five issues and it is moderately priced. Go out there and buy it already, I promise you, it's a very entertaining book.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

X-Force: Vanished.

There's a REALLY COOL article on Marvel's site about the next X-Force story arc. The last panel of X-Force #7 kind of set it up, and it involves The Vanisher and a new strain of the Legacy Virus. It's also hinted at that he kind of joins the team, but in a very adversarial way. There are also some hints at the larger story and that the first story arc and this new arc will come together to an overall story. I love the series and can't wait for each issue to come out, so it was a pretty exciting read for me. I think it's an interesting choice to bring back The Vanisher, but it's also cool because he's been forgotten for so long. I'm totally excited, too bad I've gotta wait three weeks.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Deadpool #3.

I love the new Deadpool book. Here's a first look at Deadpool #3: