Monday, 26 September 2016

Flintlock #1 An Adventure in the 18th Century (Time Bomb Comics)

Flintlock is the creation of writer and driving force behind Time Bomb comics Steve Tanner, and was brought to life in a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. Since then Steve has been tirelessly promoting Flitlock around the convention circuit, and having a high degree of success doing so from what I read. Flintlock is an anthology book featuring there independent original story's, that are set within the same time period and presumably the same universe.

Lady Flintlock: art from Anthony Summey, is the first of the strong female characters that dominate this book. The story perfectly highlights the hypocrisy of the rich aristocracy, as their motives to capture the highwayman that has become a thorn in their side. Is shown to be motivated by personal greed rather than public justice, while the highwayman's motives are implied but not fully revealed in this first issue.

Shanti, Pirate Queen: art by Lorenzo Nicoletta gives us the second heroine of the book, who literally runs a tight ship and is not a lady to be messed with or challenged. As she clearly shows as she takes on a slave trader although her motives are not as benevolent as first may seem, and the ending of the story shows she is defiantly not someone who you would want to disappoint

Clockwork Cavalier art by Ed Machiavello takes the book in a steampunk direction as the cavalier fights his way through the criminal element of the day, in a story told through the eyes of two young kids who are at the crossroads of their life.

Although the story's are totally different regarding there environment and characters, the tone and feel that this is one universe has been brilliantly crafted by writer Steve Tanner. The black & white art throughout the book is also a plus as I feel that adding colour, would only dilute the grim and gritty period feel you get from each story. Which brings me to the art work which is excellent across all 3 story's, you can see that a great deal of research has been done to ensure that the time period is depicted as accurately as possible. The different art styles blend together really well, and are not jarring as they sometimes can be in anthology books. Which is as much as a credit the the artists themselves, as it is to the creative team who hired them and put them together

I was a big fan of Stevens work before Flintlock came out having meet him and his wonderful family at a convention a few years back, his work was good then but Flintlock takes his work to a whole new level of excellence. And I dont regret for one minute supporting his kickstarter when it was announced, and I am now eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series.

Copies of Flintlock and other books are available from the Time Bomb Comics website

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Aquaman 3


Aquaman continues his quest to build trust between the people of the land, (us then) and the people of the sea the Atlanteans.  Unfortunately for Aquaman this is not an easy task given that Atlantis attacked several city's drowning thousands of people, in the Throne of Atlantis story line that featured in the early days of DC's new 52 (what ever happened to that bright new dawn for DC).
However undeterred by mistrust on both side Aquaman has built an Atlantean embassy  to help build bridges, unfortunately last issue it was destroyed by Black Manta leaving his dreams seemingly in tatters.

Despite this Aquaman is determined to rebuild his embassy and his dream of peaceful coexistence, a dream that is given a blow when he is told his embassy status has been revoked and he no longer has access to his embasy. So it a trip to Washington to speak with the president to try and resolve the situation, but not before he has had a chance to say a proper good morning to his future wife Mera (her words not mine).

So its off to Washington where they both turn up at the White House and ask to speak to the President, now if I had known you could get into the Whitehouse by tuning up in costume I would have given it a go when we visited. A tense meeting  at the Whitehouse between Aquaman, Mera and the Chief of Staff goes from bad to worse, when Aquaman becomes the focal point of blame when an Atlantean splinter group sinks a US ship at sea. This leads to a final panel that seems a little out of sorts for me, given Aquaman is a Justice League member and a visiting king with his queen would he really be treated this way?

Interspersed in the Aquman story is Black Mantas prison van breakout by a new character (to me anyway) of Black Jack, now she looks an interesting character but given she's dressed in black leather and has an electronic eye. I'm guessing she is someone who cannot be fully trusted, a feeling that Black Manta apparently shares with me as he tries to fight his way through her henchmen. Before doing what all villains and heroes do eventually and actually listen to what the other person to say, and given that they both have a common interest an alliance of sorts is agreed for now.

The Aquaman book suffered a little during its new 52 run but its had a solid start so far during Rebirth, but for me this is the weakest issue of the rebirth run so far. Having said that its still not a bad read, and writer Dan Abnett is doing a good job writing a more thoughtful and diplomatic Aquaman. Philippe Briones has the artwork duty on this issue and it is simply gorgeous and worth the price of the book alone, his attention to detail is exceptional and the book is well worth several look troughs just for the artwork alone.

As I wrote earlier Aquaman Rebirth has been a solid read and is certainly a step up from its run in the new 52, it hasn't reached the heights of Geoff Johns run yet but given time it looks like it could get there.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Batman vs Superman, My Thoughts.

As far as films go this one seems to be one of the most divisive comic book film in recent year, it seems that comic fans and film fans either love it or hate it. Even before the film began shooting fans were voicing their opinions on the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. So it was not a big surprise to me that when the film was released, it was meet by a stream of hate and seemingly glee that the film could be a flop. However as with most things I decided not to believe all that I read and make up my own mind, so last Saturday my wife and I paid our money sat in the cinema with the hope of been entertained and entertained we were.

I absolutely loved this film it was everything I had hoped it would be but as a DC fan I'm an easy sell, my wife who isn't a comic fan and doesn't have any preconceived notions on how things should or shouldn't be also loved it. On reflection and after talking things through with my wife there are area the film could have been tightened up, but as a first film in what will hopefully be an on-going franchise it was a great start.

Ben Affleck nailed it for me as both Batman and Bruce Wayne, in fact I would go as far to say he is the best Bruce Wayne we have seen on the big screen. This is a Batman who has been worn down by years of fighting crime, he has suffered losses and has little faith left in people and the world. He is even secretive with his butler Alfred the man he should trust implicitly, this isn't Adam Wests Batman its not even Tim Burtons this is Frank Millar's Dark Knight, and its played superbly.

Henry Cavill was once again great as Superman and gave a better performance in this film than he did in Man of Steel, his portrayal of a Superman who is still finding his place in the world and who makes mistakes is a joy to watch.

Gal Gadot  is also fantastic as Wonder Woman and while people are complaining she is underused, I think she is used just right her entrance in costume at the climax of the film had this geek nearly jumping out of his seat cheering. It was a perfect set up for her much anticipated and long overdue film, which is due out around July 2017 and cannot come out soon enough for me.

Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is as far removed from the Lex Luthor of previous films and TV shows as you can get, while I wasn't totally sold on this interpretation of Lex his performance of what seemed to be an hyperactive genius was excellent. And to be fair to Jesse if he had played him like previous versions of Lex then he would still have been slated, a case of dammed if you do dammed if you don't.

Other pluses for me were Jeremy Irons as Alfred the inclusion although briefly of Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg all of which were perfect setups for the forthcoming Justice League film. If I had one niggle it was the inclusion of Doomsday, I thought this was maybe one character too many. I would have preferred to have seen Luthor in his powered armour take on the heroes but that's the fan in me, I understand given the ending on why Doomsday was included I just wasn't a fan of how he was shoehorned in.

Since the arrival of the Marvel films that ultimately led into the Avengers, fans have been asking why DC cannot build towards a Justice League film. Well we now know Man of Steel and this film are building towards what the fans have been asking for, is it perfect no it isn't but then again not all the Marvel films were but that tends to be overlooked. So while the haters some of whom openly say they haven't seen the film and don't intend to, continue to revel in the poor reviews and fall in 2nd week attendances. I will continue to tell people to go see the film and make up their own minds, because I loved it and I want to see more of my DC heroes on the big screen.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

2015 My Geekiest of Years.

As is usual for this time of year I like to look back on the things that geeked me out in the previous year, looking back there were lots of things in 2015 that just blew me away here are some of the most memorable.

Our first USA Convention.
As I posted back in June we visited our first State side convention last year and had the time of our life, we were total over-welled by the friendship and love that was shown to both of us by what had up to that point been friends we had meet on social medium. I was a little nervous meeting them at first but my nerves were unfounded, as I went to shake the hand of Mike Faber the host of the ESO Podcast and he said ''no sir you get a hug'' and at that point all nerves disappeared. Later meetings with Howdy Mike Gordon, Jennifer Hartshorn, Phantom Troublemaker and Nikki Rau-Baker all went the same way I have never felt so at ease with people I have just met it was like meeting old friends again.

                                                                          Bobby & myself
Author Bobby Nash was at the convention and as a fan of his work it was great to meet him at last, he joined us at our table on the first night and sat and talked with us for around an hour. I was sat there thinking don't be a fan boy, don't be a fan boy but I totally was, Bobby also introduced me to his friend and fellow author James Palmer. James is not only talented but very friendly and great to talk to, I was also lucky enough to do an interview with James on my blog a few months after the convention. I would encourage any one to check out the work of both Bobby and James on their webpages, as it seems like Atlanta is full of very talented writers.
                                        James & myself

The fan boy kicked in again when I meet artist Mark Maddox but I managed to contain myself sort of, and I had several great conversations with Mark over the weekend as well as purchasing some great Doctor Who artwork off him.

The whole weekend just flew by however it did end with us being invited to the Earth Station One meal, where I sat, ate, talked and laughed with the guys I had listened to and talked on the internet with for years. And if that wasn't enough on the way back to the hotel they took us to the Book Nook, which is local comic book shop and it was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend with awesome people, I was left feeling one of the luckiest people on earth. 

It was also at Timegate that I had the pleasure of meeting Katy Manning who played Joe the 3rd Doctors companion, and the present incarnation of the Master Missy played by the wonderful Michelle Gomez. Both were wonderful although Michelle seemed a little nervous as this was her first ever convention, however she seemed to grow in confidence as the day went on and gave two wonderful talks about her time on Doctor Who. To my wife's delight Michelle waved to her as she was leaving the convention, we were sat in the lobby relaxing with a coffee as she came walking past us. As she went past she turned, waved and said ''goodbye England'' we both waved back feeling a little bit geeky inside.  Katey on the other hand was delightfully scatty and spoke and hugged everyone she meet wherever she meet them, on more than one occasion during the convention she came up to me talking in a Northern accent saying ''hey up cocker how are ya''. It makes me smile every time I think about it, such a wonderful and warm hearted lady.

UK Convention:
I was also lucky enough to meet the 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) his companion Peri (Nicola Bryant) and the wonderful Sargent Benton (John Levine), at the Sheffield Film and Si-Fi convention at the Moterpoint Arena. This was our second year visiting this show and as the previous year we had a great time, the show is well organised everyone is friendly and there to have a good time. Some of the costumes that people wear are outstanding the 6th Doctor and the Frankenstein monster are just two of the many that come to mind. Colin and Nicola were very friendly and great with the fans, but they were total eclipsed by John Levene who was one of the most warm and friendly guest I have ever meet.

I could have sat and talked for hours with that man and to be honest he probably would have let me, I made a point of going up to him on the Sunday as we were leaving to tell him how wonderful he had been. He shook my hand vigorously and said ''bless you for that'' adding ''I do love to meet the fans, its a real privilege after all these years to still meet and talk with them'' . As I said wonderful man and I encourage anyone who is at a convention John is at to go and talk with him, other guests at Sheffield included Freddie Kruger himself Robert Enguld and Michael Bean of Terminator, Aliens and Tombstone fame. Both had very full and active lines to their respective tables, and I heard nothing but good things about them from the fans who met them. 

Film wise there is only one no its not Highlander its Star Wars, now I know it wasn't a perfect film but neither were the originals. It was however as good as the originals in every way, Star Wars was back and it transported me back to my childhood well my teenhood if there is such a word.. 

2015 seemed to be a great year for crossovers, Star Trek- Planet of the Apes was fantastic, honestly who could fail to geek out at seeing Kirk and Taylor cross paths. Star Trek- Green Lantern was also a great story, putting the new  Star Trek crew into the Lantern universe well sort off.

If you thought those two were  odd comic crossovers Archie vs Predator is the craziest one of the lot, but as ,odd as a comic this first seems it is really very good. It was a 4 issue mini series that is now available in trade, and well worth checking out.

Batman continued to be my number one comic with Scott Snyder creating some wonderful story lines, when I first heard he was going to make Jim Gordon Batman and put him in a merchandised Batman suit. I hated the idea and the new Batman look I even thought it would make me drop the book, how wrong I was. 


TV Shows:
Doctor Who continued to improve as a show with Peter Capaldi really excelling in his role as the Doctor, he was very good in his first season but I felt he was let down with some poor storys. This season the storys have been excellent with only one bad episode in the entire run, even the Christmas special went against tradition and was very good (not a fan of the Christmas specials).

Arrow was back on form once again after an average season as was The Waking Dead, however new show The Flash was one of the best shows of its type in 2015. I say one as for me Daredevil was the outstanding show on TV last year, Daredevil stands head and shoulders above all the others and is essential viewing if your a fan of the Marvel film and TV Universe. Netflix other hero show Jessica Jones came out at the end of last year, and while it was an great show it didn't quite match the excellence of Daredevil. It is worth watching for the titanic performances from David Tennant as Kilgrave, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

2015 was a busy but fantastic year and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2016 has to offer?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Earth Station One Hits 300

Last weekend The Earth Station One podcast reached the mile stone episode of 300 episodes, host Mike Faber and co-host Mike Gordon were joined by friends of the station award-winning author Bobby Nash, Anthony Taylor, Doctor Q, Talloolah Love, Gary Mitchel, Jessa Phillips, John Strangeway, Dan Carroll, Kirby-Bartlett Sloan, Peter Cutler, J.R. Mounts and many more.

Mike and Mike celebrated their 5 years of podcasting by ranting and raving about the long and strange journey the show has taken them on. The show was recorded live at Titans Comics and Games in Smyrna Georgia, and is now up on there website for all to enjoy, hit the link to take you to their website The ESO Network

Earth Station One is the founder podcast of the Earth Station One Network which has an ever expanding roster of shows, which cover just about every aspect of geek culture you can think of so there's something on there for everyone.

On a personal note I would like to congratulate everyone who has ever been connected with the Earth Station One podcast, for producing 5 years of quality and informative entertainment. 

To Mike Faber the driving force behind the Earth Station One Network I raise a glass to you sir, your innovation, commitment and dedication to the network and its shows is an inspiration for everyone to follow.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Earth Station Who episode 118, my first podcast experience.

For anyone who has read this blog you will know I am a avid listener to quite a few podcasts on the ESO Network, mainly because they talk about subjects that interest me but more importantly because they are so much fun to listen too. Earlier this year we went to the Timegate convention where I was lucky enough to meet some of the guys from the network, and see the live recording of the Doctor Who podcast Earth Station Who. I remember sitting in the audience thinking it doesn't get much better than this, well I was wrong because as good as that experience was sat watching a live episode this Sundays episode topped it. Why I can hear you all ask or maybe not, either way it was because I had been invited to be on the latest episode of Earth Station Who. I had received a message from Mike Faber asking if I wanted to be on the show it was an offer I didn't even have to think about, the guys were recording early around 3pm US time so even with the 5 hour time difference the time was perfect for me.

After letting Mike know I was happy to join them it was a quick update on my Skype account as I hadn't used it in over a year, then find my headphones and microphone and I was set for my first ever podcast.

Now to say I was nervous is an understatement but the guys quickly put me at ease as we talked for around 10 minutes before the show started, the Mike said are we all ready then it was 3,2, 1 and the show started.

Now I'm not given anything away as you should go to the website and download the show, which is also available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. What I will say is I had a fantastic time and the geek in me was doing somersaults with happiness, I also had to push myself to be more involved as the fan in me was content to listen to the show as I normally do. There are also other lessons I learned from my first time, like don't touch my headphones, breath away from the microphone and buy a better quality microphone. Because after been on this podcast I have been bitten by the podcast bug and I would like to become more involved, whether that means hopefully guesting on podcasts or dipping my toe into the podcast pool I'm not sure on yet. But I now have an itch, and one thing I have learned about itches is if you don't scratch them they never go away.

On a final note I wish to thank Mike Faber for thinking of me for the show, and Mike Gordon, Jennifer Hartshorn and Mary Ogle for making my first podcast experience a memorable one. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Earth Station Who Podcaste

I made a guest appearance on the Earth Station Who podcast yesterday, and had a great time talking about this weekend's Doctor Who episode Heaven Sent. When the episode is up I will let everyone know.