Kevin's comic book reviewsIncluding:
- Clone, issue 1, Image Comics, sci-fi
- Comeback, issue 1
We're slowly migrating our Posterous Spaces over to Blogger. We're sad to go because we really loved Posterous. Unfortunately, Twitter hasn't told us whether or not we have a future together. :(
You can now find our comic book reviews and opinion over at EmpiresComics.com. See you there.
Batman goes toe to toe against Superman and stands his ground, and he does it without kryptonite. So what's his secret? You'll have to read the issue to find out.
This face off makes the whole issue. The reason is personal to Batman. Clearly, he hasn't left his emotions out of it.
Later, Lex studies the match. Who knows where this will lead.
Get Rid of Otis!
I missed a few issues, but jumped into this one for obvious reasons. There's one major flaw to be found: Otis. Otis is a mistake. Unless there's a huge plot twist involving Otis, he needs to pack his suitcases. Otherwise, at this point, he appears to be the pointless character we've already seen elsewhere. One thing is certain: The Lex Luther of Smallville would never surround himself with the likes of Otis.
Let's hope the get back to the spirit of the original Smallville television series. Let DC not fool itself, the only readers of this comic book series are the fans of that show. Don't ruin it.
Lots of folks are not interested in reading any of the Before Watchmen series.
The series starts with Minutemen. Even Ben, the owner of Empire's Comics Vault, didn't want to read it, but he did. And he liked it. Two of the Sacramento comic book shops fans read it also, and they recorded this 3 minute 43 second video review for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.
Jacob DeSersa is the drummer of Seeker. He also hosts the geeky Pizza Party Podcast. Patrick Clarke is a permanent guest host on the Pizza Party Podcast. You'll also find Pizza Party Podcast on Facebook.
Dear Bao Bay by Rain
I saw your face on a wanted poster the other day. It made me think, who is this man that haunts my thoughts?
I’ve never even met you; but I can only hope that one day we might have the chance to complicate one another.
Just envisioning you in your tight pants and Brown coat makes me tyen-shaio duh! ~ Shiny!
Let us, you and I, find a moon to ourselves. Where we can misbehave long into the night…jen mei NAI-shing duh FWO-tzoo!
Sheh-sheh for making this ‘verse a better place!
Congratulations, Rain, on being our First Place Winner. We love Mal too!
Dear Dick Grayson by Leilani Adams
Tights and pixie boots have never looked so good. I'll even forgive the trip into disco revival because you became a cop in an effort to legally keep innocent people safe.
You have always had my heart, Dick Grayson, and you will always be my favorite half of the dynamic duo.
Dearest Ms. Frye by Angel Lopez
Dearest Ms. Frye,Forgive me, but I must speak my mind. Our meeting, brief though it was, left the most striking impression on me. A thousand angels could sing a thousand songs across every planet in the verse and never would they match the beauty of your voice. How I long to hear it again.
Until that time Ms. Frye, Kaylee, I must ask a most important question. On this holiday of Saint Valentine, a day honored from Earth-that-was, I beg you to accept my affections and return a wave saying you will be my valentine.Lovingly yours, Angel
Kaylee is the sweetest sweatheart in all the verse. 'Nuff said.
Dear Shulkie by Brian Caylor
Dear Shulkie (can I call you Shulkie? Jen? Just She-Hulk? Okay.) --
It’s Valentine’s Day and I just wanted to share with you a poem that I wrote just for you.
Apples are red
Bruises are blue
Boogers are Green
And so are you
Okay, I admit I’m no Shel Silverstein, but do I get an A for effort? I could settle for a B+.
Happy Valentine’s Day She-Hulk!
She-Hulk is the only one to receive two Valentines in our contest! So, in this contest, she wins the award for Best Loved Valentine. You can see how excited she is about this in the picture she took for us above. <GRIN> Both entries are funny, so be sure to read both Valentines to She-Hulk.
Dear Garrus by Ariel Carman
I've known you for a few years now but only as soldiers fighting together against a shifting enemy.
Somehow, in the middle of all of this, I've come to care for and about you. I realized my feelings had changed when I found myself looking to see if you were safe after a battle first- spending no more time in looking than necessary, mind you, but always looking for you first.
If you feel as I do, meet my eyes after the next battle- and don't look away.
For those of you unfamiliar with Garrus Vakarian, he's from the world of Mass Effect. This entry was another of our favorites. In fact, we like all the entries so much that we awarded each participant one free comic book. Lastly, you may have noticed that we've tagged all these Be My Valentine entries as Poetry. That's because love is so poetic. <BLUSH>
"An Ode to a Knight" by Jacob DeSersa
The blackest cowl upon your head
excites me like no other
your batarangs and grappling hooks
cause my heart to flutter
The greatest of hero's i would say
takes on the guise of a bat
his skills, his cunning, and charming grace
can always go un-matched
regular men and hero's alike
tremble at your very thought
the kryptonian, lantern, and atlatean too
the fear over them you've brought
you swoop over gotham, wings out stretched
instilling terror in some, hope in others at your very sight
for this is ode to you, the batman
the mightiest, and darkest, of knights
Congratulations to our 2nd place winner - Jake, the drummer in Seeker, Sacramento's own ultimate punk rock band! Even before he submitted his entry, there was no doubt in our mind that he would be writing to the Dark Knight. That's loyalty! Another post hits tomorrow. And if you missed this contest, be sure to read up on limericks for our next contest that's starting in a couple of days.
Dear She-Hulk by Joshua Cargain
I am a 24 year old unemployed community college student. I live in a small apartment next to the mall with my room-mate and two cats. I think we should be together because you remind me of my mother.
Attached below, is my address and date of birth so you can come to my 25th birthday. No gift is required, your presence is present enough, unless you want to do your hair in a side tail and wear an off the shoulder t-shirt. If not, a tube top and a mini-skirt would be fine too.
If we were together, you could sleep on my couch, clean up after me and open my pickle jars.
Please respond to my letter, if not, I’ll just call you every hour on the hour till you pick up, or your voicemail is full. Whatever comes first…..
Your Snuggle Bear,
There's no doubt this one had us laughing! We still laugh when we read it. It's that good. By the way, if you're good with limericks, you'll want to keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page for this month's contest coming soon. Be sure to check out Joshua's punk rock band's Facebook Page too.
Dear Nightcrawler - By Jessica S.
Nightcrawler,It's that time of year again,
Well, this contest was all about love, so how could we deny everyone who entered a free comic? Still, there were three that received top honors, and here's the 3rd place entry. On top of that, Jessica has the honor of being the first poem to our comics blog.
We're going to share all of the entries, one at a time, until we get to 1st place. We hope you enjoyed this one as much as we did. See you soon.
I'm curious about Stormwatch. I had never read it before this New 52 issue, so I'm unfamiliar with its previous incarnation. I am however a Martian Manhunter fan, so they've got me there.
The Stormwatch team goes on a recruiting mission, but the mission goes awry. "Apollo" spurns Stormwatch's advances and then receives another offer.
Issue one introduces you to Stormwatch's mission - "Protecting the world from alien threats" - and current threats to Earth's security.
Is Superman included as an "alien threat?" Is Stormwatch more than Earth's protector, perhaps a watchdog, protecting Earth from its own "superheroes?"
As with some other overhauled books in the New 52 library, this book offers 22 pages of introduction and set up, but it holds the promise of being an enjoyable sci-fi adventure. The issue moves at a good clip and keeps your interest. Let's hope issue 2 goes deep enough to keep us hanging on. As of this post, there are four issues available. The 5th issue hits stands in January.
Issue Date: November 2011
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Static Shock's real name is Virgil Ovid Hawkins. He's African American and lives with his father, mother and sister. What do you know - he's not from a broken family!Straightaway Static Shock faces unknown forces. Those unknown forces turn out to be more bad guys than one kid can handle - a crew of five baddies on Skittle-colored speeder bikes, the fish-faced menace Piranha, and uber-monster Virule.
That's a huge cast of villains for one little boy. Could Static Shock be DC's response to Spider-Man? Maybe just a little.
Static Shock is a superhero, but, sadly, I don't care about the character. The issue's pacing flows spasmodically, at times sluggish then manic. I think I would have preferred taking the first issue to get to know Virgil and his family. The issue attempts this but doesn't take enough time with it.
There's lots of static, leaving this reader in shock.
Why I Will Keep ReadingI'll pick up issue 2 for three reasons: 1. It has the potential to be a good sci-fi adventure story. 2. I'm an All Ages reader. While Rated T for Teen, the first issue comes across as an All Ages title, as opposed to a title like Red Hood, Rated T (but definitely more a Rated T+). 3. Curiosity. It had too much action, but it accomplished what it was supposed to do. It piqued my interest.
What Others Are Saying
Dated: November 2011
Released: September 2011
As a fan of comic books and as one of those annoying Christmas lovers, I thought it would be appropriate to inaugurate my first post on Empire’s Open Vault with a list of my top 5 favorite Christmas covers of all time and why they made my list.
#5 - Marvel Age #5 featuring Groo the Wanderer
The facial expressions of terrorized elves bring this Sergio Aragonés ‘Groo’ cover to the list.
#4 - Marvel Holiday Special #1 (2005)
This recent addition to my list is a beautiful Fantastic Four cover by Stuart Immonen.
#3 - Amazing Spider-Man #314
A classic Amazing Spider Man cover by Todd McFarlane from 1989, ‘Amazing Spider Man #314,’ always struck me as a funny take on Spider-Man. From the snow capped masthead to the expression on Santa’s face, I’ve always remembered this cover when it comes to the Christmas theme.
#2 - Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1
Who can forget the famous ‘Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1’ cover from DC’s Simon Bisley, which pushed the line, featuring Lobo holding a bloody knife and standing over a slaughtered Santa Clause. With no real context to the cover, the cover art is poised somewhere between disturbing and hitting its dark form of humor, recognizable only to those familiar with the character.
And #1 should come as no surprise...
#1 - Peter Parker #112
I even had a poster of this Rick Buckler cover that I’d pull out during the holidays for many years.
Happy Holidays everyone.
About The Author
Nathan Weber, originally from the Pacific Northwest city of Portland Oregon, where he was born and raised, currently lives in Sacramento California with his longtime girlfriend Marni, and his Calico cat Karlie in semi-retirement. Somewhat a lone wolf, Nathan enjoys his free time at home lost in his own imagination, reading science books, watching sci-fi movies, practicing Buddhism, and outside, riding his mountain bike in the natural setting of the local Discovery Park area.
Creatively, Nathan has been developing his own home brew independent comic book series called Stormseeker and its related companion material. In the past he has written under various monikers and pen names, published a number of role playing campaign books and helped playtest and write a published science fiction role playing game.
Outside of creative works, Nathan is a Graphic Designer, Digital Artist, Computer Enthusiast, Successful Business Owner, as well as being a die hard lifelong hobbyist of anything that could be considered a hobby. Recently Nathan has returned to comic book collecting as a side hobby, a hobby he’s engaged in on and off since 1982.
About The Author
Kevin Winter is someone with an opinion about almost everything. A comic fan of several years, he can be seen around Empire's Comics Vault on Wednesdays, and generally spouting an opinion (if anyone wants to hear it or not)... also trying not to get on Ben's bad side.
by Aaron Myers
Addiction in Comics
Comic books have explored superheroes battling addiction.Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy was revealed to be a heroin addict in a Green Lantern comic book from 1971 (Albert). Although, Green Lantern and friends help him overcome his addiction, it is the first time we see hardcore drug addiction in a DC comic book (O’Neil 1971).Marvel’s Spider-Man battled with addiction to power. Spider-Man bonds with intergalactic goo, an alien Symbiote. The Symbiote improves his superhuman powers, however the sentient alien changes his persona (Raimi 2007). He loses self control, acts on impulse, and becomes vengeful. He loses his personal identity. This specific story embodies addiction and the value of his life to quit using the Symbiote. A Spider-Man character, by the name of Eddie Brock, becomes the suit’s new host and the reader witnesses how his addiction to the Symbiote turns him into a homicidal shell with no self control (Raimi 2007).More obviously - and probably the example that springs to most minds - Marvel’s Tony Stark, or Iron Man, battled an addiction to alcohol.
Real World AddictionWe frequently witness addiction in the lives of famous actors/actresses and musicians. We watch their lives being slowly torn away, losing the most precious thing every human being holds - his life.Some of America’s greatest popular figures have been taken by the blight of their addiction. Chris Farley, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Kurt Cobain (contained lethal doses of heroin in his system before fatal self inflicted gunshot wound), DJ Screw, DJ AM (seen recently in Iron Man 2, before his death), Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, and many more have succumbed to death from drug addictions. Most of America has witnessed the warning signs of addiction from the living actor and actress, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Addiction is an illness that challenges one’s value of life.These examples demonstrate the horrors of letting addiction take over. Addiction will not necessarily turn a man into a murderous beast, but it will transform a man into something he is not, an entirely different person.
About The Author
Aaron Myers was born in Santa Clara, CA and currently lives in Sacramento. He is a student at Sacramento State University and plans to graduate next year with a Bachelors in Business Administration and History. Aaron has served as the RAW City Director for Sacramento. "RAW:natural born artists is an independent arts organization, for artists, by artists."
Myers says about himself: "I hope to use my Business knowledge to get into the Import/Export Business. This will hopefully grant me the opportunity to travel the world for work. I may use my History knowledge to teach, research trends for businesses, maybe do some journalism, or if nothing goes my way, there is always the option of diving head first into my favorite addiction, comic books. You may find me next to that barking Spiderman guy that we all know and love for his wackiness, wearing a second hand store's Green Lantern costume shouting obscenities at passing cars, while I slip ever more gently into a delusional disarray of comic proportions (comedic or dark).
I have a wonderful girlfriend, that treats me better than I deserve to be treated. I was afraid she may think ill of my comic book collection, however she embraces and encourages it. She is actually right by my side, most of the time, buying whatever graphic novel catches her eyes.What Aaron is in to: Graphic novels (more interested in the darker comics, than superhero comics), gardening (don't laugh, it is relaxing), gaming on my Xbox 360, writing, and traveling, whenever possible. I usually put staying healthy or working out on that list, but I'm not going to BS you guys.
Dated: November 2011
Released: September 2011
For more background, read the awesome Captain Atom review at DadsBigPlan.com.ReviewThere's no doubt in my mind that I'll pick up this book again - for the art and colors alone. At the same time, Krul also captured my interest. For a reason I'm unclear about, I care about Captain Atom. Perhaps it's because, his power - which could equally be called his "condition" - prevents him from leading a normal life, leaving him feeling abnormal.And who doesn't feel like that.
Artist: Ivan Reis; Colorist: Rod Reis
Trust Geoff Johns' writing. You read and loved his run on The Flash and Green Lantern. Don't doubt him now (Sure, there was the Green Lantern movie bomb, but that can hardly be blamed on Geoff).
Immediately, in the first issue, Geoff turns the reader's preconceived, ill-conceived and misconceived notions upside down. The writing is art, the art is poetry, and the colors are vibrant. This is the Aquaman you were meant to read (if you can find it!). Aquaman is portrayed as strong, commanding and decisive. He is, after all, the ruler of 70% of the planet (as some quaintly refer to it, the seven seas). It's about time he gets some respect, and oh! he does.
If you need more information, Newsarama's interview with Geoff Johns will shed more light on what you need to know about Aquaman. The book has even received some positive buzz from USAToday.com and NYTimes.com.
All I can tell you is this: If Aquaman can eat fish and chips, then you can read Aquaman #1. Issue #2 hits stands on October 26, 2011.
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By Ben C. Scwhartz
The 90’s Hottest Indie ComicIn the early 90’s the comic book industry was beginning to over-saturate the market. Artists were carrying the weight of making writers’ stories readable. It was in this climate that John Byrne stood out with his independent property Next Men.
About The Author
Ben C. Schwartz is the owner of Empire's Comics Vault in Sacramento, CA. He also owns and operates his own comics publishing company, ECV Press. He loves reading comics, writing comics and talking about comics (which he does on EmpiresCV.tv and EmpiresOpenPodcast.com).
by Kevin WinterMorning Glories is one of the more controversial comics on the market today. While not as controversial as Crossed, it still goes in a direction you would not find at Marvel or DC. But the point I am going to bring up today is this:Has Morning Glories lost its mojo?
Art by Rodin Esquejo
It used to be exciting, with some action. The story used to move along a specific point, with excellent cliff hangers, but several issues ago we left a major cliff hanger right around the time we would have found out a major secret. Suddenly the book changed course, featuring single issue character stories. It began to focus on the individual students. While I am not against that, perhaps spreading those stories out, one or two at a time, would have been better.Bring the Glory BackThese issues have done more to derail the story and the flow of the comics than anything else they could have done. It feels as if Morning Glories is losing the mojo that it had at the beginning. Hopefully they will leave these character driven issues and get back to what made it great before indie readers move on to something else.If Morning Glories continues along these lines, then I feel we will not get to see the end because quite a few people will abandoned the book.
About The Author
Kevin Winter is someone with an opinion about almost anything. If you find him around town, you can ask for an opinion and he will give you an honest one. A graduate of Sacramento State, he spends his time telling people they are wrong, writing letters to his national leaders, and generally being a pain in the ass. A comic fan, not for life, but for several years, he can be seen around Empire's Comics Vault on Wednesday's during the day, and generally spouting an opinion (if anyone wants to hear it or not)... also trying not to get on Ben's bad side.
By Matt PowellAlmost a decade ago, Marvel corporation created yet another marketing strategy to entice readers into purchasing comics. Particular issues of some rather famous titles direct market editions were lowered to $0.09 cents (in 2002), $0.25 cents (in 2003) and $0.50 cents (in 2004).
These books are easily identified by the large circle on the cover containing the updated price. However - and this is important - the newsstand versions of the same books would retain their original newsstand price points. So, the reader had a choice: Pay the heavily discounted price for a direct market copy, or pay the over-inflated newsstand price.
'Modern Discount Marvels'
A few years later, these ‘sets’ of issues were called the ‘Modern Price Variants’ or ‘Modern Discount Marvels’ and included:
• Avengers #77 (1998 series) March 2004
An Error Was DiscoveredUnbeknownst to the comic forums (and just about everyone else), the first of two Newsstand Error Variants had been found. Avengers #77 Newsstand Error Variant was discovered just mere weeks after original publication in the first parts of 2004. Below recounts a tale from the dealer who saw the Avengers variant first and decided to add in some research …. “…I can confirm that this issue did in fact go to most European, and at least one Pacific, overseas military location. It was pulled from at least two locations and replaced with a "normal" newsstand version due to a "printing error" according to the area manager of the military Bookmarts in southern Germany. That explains why I saw a "normal" issue at another base. The issue was also distributed at military bases in England and at one location stayed on the racks for the entire month before being pulled for #78. I've had no confirmation that anything other than the "normal" issue was offered at stateside military locations.”