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Robocop #1 [Comic Book Review]

robocop_001_coveraWith the re-releases of Frank Miller’s classic Robocop graphic novels from Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios and *sigh* a mini-series spin-off from the remake, Robocop is having a bit of a renaissance. For fans of the original film series, Robocop #1 from BOOM! comics is a leap in the right direction.

I was cautious to get sucked into another new series, but, after hearing multiple positive reviews, decided to give this a shot.

From acclaimed writer Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, Ghosted) and artist Carlos Magno (Green Lantern Corps, The Phantom), comes a brand new series that is off to a surprisingly good start. Keeping in tone with the first two Robocop films and classic mini-series like Miller’s Robocop: Last Stand, this on-going series is set a few months after the events of the original film and follows the day-to-day accounts of the characters living in the remnants of Old Detroit and the soon-to-be Delta City.

The heavy violence and dark, slick humor that director Paul Verhoeven brought to the screen is here, but this book’s creative team puts their own spin on it while staying faithful to the franchise. Magno’s artwork is gritty, brutal and reminiscent of many great works of 1980s. One of my favorite things about this book was the inclusion of not only Alex Murphy and his partner Anne Lewis, but a lot of the supporting characters from the film (Sarge and even geek-cop Cecil, are included here) after being mostly dumped from any of the other comic book incarnations.

While there is nothing overly though-provoking or deep in this first issue, there is already some set-up for future plot-lines regarding Murphy’s humanity and his moral standing. A new major villain mixed in with some of the same complications that Robo always faces are introduced as well. As a long-time fan, I hope to see this book really take charge and maintain a strong footing for this beloved franchise. I guess we’ll see what happens.

You can’t buy this for a dollar, but $3.99 isn’t too steep for a fairly lengthy issue. My biggest complaint is having to wait a month for each issue’s release.

 

B+

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Harbinger Down Official Trailer (2014)

So excited to be a part of this. This trailer premiered yesterday and being a backer, I was able to see it in advance along with approximately 50 other updates from ADI over the last year. If you are unaware of this film, it is a horror/sci-fi flick literally created by the guys behind T2, Aliens, The Thing, Tremors, Pumpkinhead and countless other classic monster flicks that use unbelievable practical/in-camera effects. This movie uses ONLY practical effects and make-up to create the terror within. It had a hard time finding footing in Hollywood and so became the focus of a Kickstarter campaign. Having this trailer show up yesterday finally cemented my investment in the film a reality. While, not all of the effects are completely finished yet, even for this trailer. I can assure you the final product looks stellar.

I am so proud to be a backer of this film and to be one of the reasons that it was finally able to be made. I won’t say how much I put towards the movie, but it was…enough. I’m so stoked to get all of the perk items for donating cash, which includes a limited edition of the bluray, signed pieces or memorabilia and a ton of other stuff tied to the film. Also, to have one of my favorite horror actors, Lance Henriksen, starring in the film, I am just totally geeking out over this. Get ready for Harbinger Down, it’s gonna be wicked.

Synopsis: A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation.

Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.

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Haunted [Comic Book Review]

Well! Before I get into the review I want to say a few things. It’s good to be back here on my blog. It’s been a crazy couple of months. I started a new (and very time consuming) job and I’ve been pretty much only had time to write reviews for horror films and the few that I’ve done recently are over at http://www.horror-movies.ca, which as I stated at the end of last year I’ve been writing for and it’s been fun. As always, thanks for reading. This is just a hobby, but I love it and I love that I’ve been able to reach out to more than just friends and relatives who read my stuff out of kindness. ON TO THE REVIEW.comics-haunted-1

 

This week a new horror comic mini-series premiered with its first of four issues. Published by a tiny, independent company Red 5 Comics (somehow a Star Wars reference even snuck into this review on May the 4th), Haunted tells the story of a young New Jersey woman making her way through a post-apocalyptic world over-run by ghosts, spirits, demons and monsters. The entire Earth has become haunted. In an alternate time-line, after the famed Large Hadron Collider outside of Geneva, Switzerland is switched on it rips apart the very fabric of our universe and allows for the spirit world to cross over into ours. I love when horror, fantasy and sci-fi interact seamlessly and the touch of real-world science left a good taste in my mouth.

Our protagonist, Sarah McAllister, lives in Atlantic City, NJ; abandoned for the last 13 years since the ghost world took over. Orphaned for years, Sarah fights off the ghosts, “Shriekers”, and tries to survive with what’s left of civilization. She meets two other survivors that claim to hold the secret to ending this haunted world. Can she trust them? Do they really have a plan for ending the horrors that surround them? Being that the series will be only running for 4 issues (as of now), I’m assuming these questions and many others will be answered quickly. As for this first issue, most of the writing is from the point of Sarah’s inner thoughts. We get a lot of background information which helps. The actual conversations are minimal, but help move the plot along as our introduction this world gets fleshed out. Solid exposition that doesn’t feel long-winded and unnecessary. I’m very interested in where this book will take us. We’ve already seen haunted NJ and NYC and just a taste of Paris, France. Hope to see other locales turned on their head.

The book itself showcases many end of the world themes that we’ve seen a thousand times over: Dodging the enemy, searching for food and supplies, allowing yourself to trust and rely on strangers and so on. If you are one that’s easily bored by these general themes that really have been over used, you may want to skip this, but I will say that the supernatural stuff is full of creepy fun and if you’re a fan of that check this out. It’s a strange mix of The Walking Dead, Twilight Zone and Ghostbusters and it’s pretty kick-ass. Any fan of horror and/or sci-fi should enjoy this.

The creative team of Scott Chitwood and Danny Luckert is a solid one and if Haunted plays out as well as I hope it does, I’d love to see more from them in the future; either working together or on separate projects.

Haunted is available wherever comics are sold and if you’re local shop isn’t carrying it make them order it or find it online. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

B+

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DREDD: UNDERBELLY

If you’re like me and you absolutely loved last year’s “Judge Dredd” adaptation Dredd a.k.a. Ddredd_underbelly_a_p_1redd 3D then you too have been waiting, probably not patiently, but waiting none-the-less for a sequel announcement. So far the closest we’ve gotten is the official petition to get another film made and this, “Dredd: Underbelly.” A one-shot comic book published by 2000 A.D. magazine: the original publisher of the “Judge Dredd” comics. If you have been reading IDW Publishing’s new series (which is actually pretty great) this is not tied to that either, it’s strictly a sequel to the film; existing outside of both the 2000 A.D. and IDW continuity.

The quality of this comic book is really quite great. Some serious love went into this. Knowing that “Judge Dredd” creator John Wagner was quite pleased with Dredd it’s easy to see that 2000 A.D. wanted to do right by him as well as the film makers. The writing by Arthur Wyatt and artwork by Henry Flint fit very well into the world of Dredd. I thought it was a little weird that Flint didn’t really go with Karl Urban’s likeness for Dredd, he looked a bit more like the traditional drawings of Judge Dredd, but that’s just me nitpicking. The art is really great overall and like I said really fits in perfectly with the film’s environments. Normally I don’t go into the technical production of a comic, but I was really impressed by the pages and cover. All are printed on heavy-duty magazine paper, a quality that’s even greater than most mainstream comic books, but being that it’s just a one-shot, I’m sure 2000 A.D. put a little extra into it. Good job all around.

Picking up only a few weeks after the film’s events the plot follows Judges Dredd and Anderson as they must team up again to solve a mystery and murders involving a new drug “Psych” that’s been filling the void left by “Slo-Mo” and the deceased druglord/gang leader Ma-Ma. This crosses over with missing/dead “Muties”, the mutated people that are unfortunate enough to live in “The Cursed Earth”, the irradiated wasteland that once was the United States outside of the massive Mega-Cities. Many Muties that have been trying to smuggle themselves into Mega City One are vanishing. Normally these transports are searched by Judges and the Muties are sent packing, but once in a while a Judge will be paid off and allow the illegal immigrants into the city’s walls.

While I really enjoyed reading this and it made me yearn not only for a film sequel, but to watch the first film again, the story was a bit weak by the time it came to a close. And if you know “Judge Dredd” there are many issues that were very light and very quick little crime stories, but being that this issue was put out to kind of get the masses excited for another film, I expected a bit more from the plot. It was a quick, consolidated story, but could have gone a little deeper into details. Still a decent read. In the end, if another film or films is made this is a good bridge between parts 1 and 2.

I am happy to report that the first printing of “Dredd: Underbelly” actually sold out in 48 hours, meaning that every single copy that was printed was bought up by comic shops around the world. A second printing is already in the works. I am hoping that between the stellar sales of the book and the unbelievable numbers that the sales from the bluray and dvd brought in, along with the high rental/streaming rates from Netflix will allow for a film sequel to get made. Unfortunately, while the film was reviewed quite well across the board, it was a total bomb at the box office. Probably due to the bad taste left in everyone’s mouth from Stallone’s 90′s flop Judge Dredd.

“Dredd: Underbelly” is available wherever comic books are sold and if you want to get in on the sequel petition you can go here: http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc and don’t forget to like the “Make A Dredd Sequel” Facebook page. It really looks like the petition is helping to get the ball rolling.

B