Empress #1

Marvel Icon

Release Date:  4/6/16

Words:  Mark Millar

Pictures:  Stuart Immonen

The Sitch:  

65 million years ago, Earth was ruled over by the ruthless King Morax. King Morax likes to rule his people with the threat of violence and death. He is married to a woman named Emporia, who after seventeen years of marriage makes a break for freedom from her husband’s tyranny and a better life with her three children, ages 15, 10 and 18 months. Emporia and her children, together with the help of her loyal body guard, Dane Havelock, begin an escape that is all danger and fast-paced action.

The Confession:

Mark Millar rarely disappoints with his stories and this is no exception. Empress is all science fiction and action, crazy fast action that does not stop. The main protagonist is a strong female lead, a woman who is smart, determined and courageous enough to not sit around and allow her children to grow under the influence of their ruthless father. She wants a better life for them and intends to get it for them. Never underestimate a mother’s love. Emporia is one bad ass mother.

Immonen’s art is dynamic, using vibrant colors and panels that display a grand scale of story telling. There is a seamless flow of fast movement that gives the reader a sense of urgency and anticipation. The depiction of so many contrasting characters and their personalities while they deal with what life throws at them is as effortless as it is beautiful.

Empress #2 was released 5/4/16. If you are a fan of the thrilling, high-paced science fiction chase, give Empress a try. The art alone is worth it.

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Tokyo Ghost #1

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Release Date:  9/16/15

Words:  Rick Remender

Pictures:  Sean Murphy

The Sitch:

Tokyo Ghost begins in The Isles of Los Angeles 2089. Humanity’s single, all consuming addiction is technology. This brave, new world houses only seekers of distraction from real life which has become nothing but toxic contamination. They beg, borrow, steal, and/or kill to buy their next digital fix. This virtual high is the only thing anyone lives for anymore and the drug lords rule the world, real and virtual. The only source of order in such a chaotic world are Constables Debbie Decay and the love of her life, Led Dent. Debbie is the last tech-free human in LA while Led is as tech-addicted as they come. The duo has one last job to carry out before Debbie can achieve her dream of getting the two of them out of The Isles of LA and into The Garden of Tokyo, the last tech-free nation on Earth. There she hopes to find detox for the man she loves, the only thing that makes her life worth living, the only thing that keeps her fighting.

The Confession:

Tokyo Ghost is pull-worthy.

If the team up of Remender and Murphy isn’t enough to sway you, then I will attempt to convince you.

Tokyo Ghost is a fast paced sci-fi cautionary tale set to a punk rock beat. It gives you the same sort of warm, jittery feels you would get watching Mad Max: Fury Road. Remender cannot tell a bad story. His commentary on our current reliance on tech and constant need for stimulation from television and social media is not subtle. Nothing about this book is subtle. Of the two main characters, in this first issue, it is Debbie who is most intriguing. Though she is one half of a co-dependent relationship, she is immediately likable and a badass to boot. Being the only tech-free human in such a depressing world cannot be easy. She is fierce and fearless. She knows what she wants and she’s going to get it. The big bad of the story and last job is Davey Trauma, a not-so-subtle psychopath that kills for fun. See? Even the character names are fun to read. Just as interesting as the sci-fi thrill is the twisted codependent love story of Debbie and Len. I hate spoiling a good read so, if you are a fan of Mad Max/Road Warrior, Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, or Ghost in the Shell this is a read for you.

Murphey’s art is as stellar as always. I love the look of this book. It’s so pretty. His scratchy, punk feel is perfect for such a high octane dystopian thriller. Take the time to explore every single page, no space is wasted and nothing is simple filler. The world has gone toxic and mad. The tech drenched life is a reality worse than hell itself. The constant flood of information and images is truly frightening and not so far off in our future. As Remender said himself, “Our impulse control is gone; our attention spans are shorter, and it’s only getting worse.” Look around you, at yourself, at our children. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Murphey captures this beautifully.

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Eternal Warrior #1

Valiant

Release Date:  9/11/13

Words:  Greg Pak

Pictures:  Trevor Hairsine

The Sitch:

As Valiant itself claims, “Greg Pak and Trevor Hairsine launch a campaign for Valiant’s immortal champion, The Eternal Warrior, in his own all-new monthly series.”  Although The Eternal Warrior is a familiar face in the Valiant universe, this story introduces him in such a compelling way that even new readers can appreciate getting to know an interesting and complex character in the midst of an epic battle.

The Confession:

I have to admit I am not very familiar with the Valiant universe so I was not aware of The Eternal Warrior character of Gilad Anni-Padda before reading this book.  It did not matter much at all as Pak is a strong storyteller, especially when mythology is a big part of the story.  Here is a warrior’s tale full of blood, guts, valor, and violence.  Gilad loves battle but at the same time is a selfless leader, driven by a strong moral compass.  Despite being dropped in the middle of a serious battle the reader quickly understands how strongly bonded Gilad is to his family.  Gilad is a deeply flawed and complex man.  Pax effortlessly steeps Gilad’s story in duty and honor, legend and myth without skimping on the brutality, both physical and emotional brutality.  I usually do not gravitate all that much to violent warrior stories but this one is surprisingly deep, dark and emotional. I like how the story focuses more on Gilad’s humanity than on his immortality.  Pak knows what makes the stuff of legends.

Hairsine’s art compliments this warrior story.  He uses a lot of gritty roughness in his lines showing the confusion and brutality of the violent warrior life.  There is A LOT of action in this story and Hairsine handles it beautifully depicting humanity in the darkness and chaos of war.  He can also show a lot of emotion in his pacing and facial and body expressions.  

This is the strongest new book I’ve read this week.  I was pleasantly surprised to find I actually really enjoyed and appreciated something I was sure I was not going to like.  For those who know and love The Eternal Warrior, this should be an easy must read.  For those looking for something new and have yet to try this genre, this is a worthy, solid first issue.