Leroy Rivera is a freelance filmmaker and graduate student from New York City and is currently working on a Masters of Fine Arts in Television Production. Growing up he’s been a huge fan of Superman and Spider-Man. His love for comics and movies have been his inspiration to pursue a career in media entertainment.
First name and last initial: Ziggo Dent
Where are you from originally or reside currently: NYC
How long you have been cosplaying: 2007
Other Characters cosplayed: Terminator, Beast Boy, Nightcrawler, Azazel, Kyle Reese (Terminator), Chris Redfield, Arrow, Blue Lantern Kyle Rayner, Two-Face, SuperHoodie, Dante from The DmC reboot, Green Goblin, 10th Doctor, Deacon Frost.
I started to cosplay because I wanted to make my convention experiences more fun by being dressed like the characters I enjoy. However, what really made me go hardcore into cosplaying was when a ‘well known’ cosplayer told me I wasn’t a true cosplayer. I am the type of person that LOVES to prove people wrong especially when someone tells me I can’t do something. As soon as this person told me this I started to step my game up and here I am.
2. When you are not cosplaying what else do you do and what are your hobbies?
The thing is that cosplay IS my hobby and I only do it when I have the time. I love cosplaying but I don’t make it a priority like many people do. Don’t get me wrong more power to them but at the end of the day I see this as something fun to do when there’s nothing else to do. My actual life is being a filmmaker. I am a filmmaker first and my career takes precedence over everything else. I’m currently working on my Masters Degree in television production and work part time at my school’s television studio and depending on the week i do freelance work on various movie sets all over NYC. When I’m not in class or at work I’m at the gym training in various forms of fighting whether it’s boxing, mixed martial arts, Brazilian ju jitzu and so forth. Actually, This past year I’ve been more into fitness and pushing my body to the limit to see what it’s capable of doing. Whether it’s running a 5K, working on my fighting forms or just finding different ways to explode my energy.
3. What is one big piece of advice you would give to a new cosplayer?
Like every piece of hobby or activity out there, there will be people who are negative and try to bring you down or make you feel discouraged. Don’t let that happen. Just have as much fun as you can and it doesn’t matter how you’re doing it. As long as you’re enjoying yourself then by all means. Cosplaying is like a relationship, you have to make yourself happy first before you make anyone else happy. Always be yourself and don’t be a douchebag.
4. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
I feel like the cosplay community is a great community in itself. We always have each others back, we always do our best to help each other out in any way possible. Yes, there will be problems and issues but that’s everywhere and it’s inevitable. At the end of the day as long as we are all having fun and looking out for each other then we are on the right track as a community. Encourage each other, support each other, and most importantly if someone is acting like a jackass bring it up to them. It’s easy to get caught up in ego in this type of environment when everyone looks up to you but we have to be like the three branches of the government and keep each other in check in a civil way.
The show Constantine, in keeping with the titular character’s contrarian disposition, suffers from the DC Comics uniform corporate treatment of their licenses, but for the opposite reason as every other character that’s been left in awkward tone-limbo: this bloke isn’t dark enough, and, while it indisputably improves on the Keanu Reeves 2005 film, neither is his show.
It isn’t that Constantine couldn’t be a great televised character; he could be a fantastic one. But he won’t, because a company so large that it is known as one of ‘The Big 2’ is never going to take the risk of putting him on-air without toning him down.
John Constantine began his existence in the DC Universe itself, helping the Swamp Thing deal with the pressures of…being a Swamp Thing, in 1984. Being an Alan Moore creation, he pushed the grim-and-gritty thing to the max, and DC relocated him to their more experimental branch, Vertigo Comics, where he cheerily (well, cynically) hung out in his own timeline, aging in sync with the real world in the terrific series Hellblazer.
In 2011, the series was ended and the character was consolidated into the main DC New 52 Universe, presumably because he was the only thing grittier than Batman they could find lying around. But therein lies the problem.
John Constantine, as written until that point, was an upstart, unrepentant jerk who drank, did drugs, frequented prostitutes, was in and out of institutions, hung out tripping acid with a hippie commune now and then, and spent six months drinking himself to death homeless in a condemned building because he got dumped. He reflected the cynic’s view of the world, and particularly England, as it transitioned from eighties, to nineties, to the new century.
His experiences showed the perspective of a man who lived through the 70s as a naive youth, then watched the world, already losing the sheen of ‘pure optimism’ that characterized the youth of the sixties, grow ever more cynical and commercialized, and faced the consequences of their actions. As a youth he joined a terrible band, which achieved success through magic that equated to personal magnetism, then broke up tragically in an abuse of power similar to the inevitable drug-fueled spiral that claims so many young bands. He spent time, while with the aforementioned past-its-prime hippie camp, fighting police brutality and the powerful men who swept such incidents under the rug, then ultimately sided with the entitled aristocratic government when the alternative turned out to be siding with true demons. Even his experiments with hallucinogens, rather than being transcendent spiritual affairs, led to life-threatening confrontations with prior iterations of magicians-in-over-their-heads.
He also retained his touches of humanity, the moments that made him a compelling character despite the rough edges and murder-y tendencies. He didn’t hesitate to let a guy who sold his soul get sucked into hell by an angry demon, but he will feel guilty for assuming that a little girl’s spirit is a disguised demonic entity, and pause in his quest to save himself to help her reach peace.
Among his most classic moments was a surprise birthday his then-girlfriend threw him because he felt glum about actually getting old (a legitimate thing to feel grumpy about, when all the other comic characters out there seem to be immune from that particular issue), and invites a range of his friends, including an ancient wintertime party diety the Lord of the Hunt and the Swamp Thing. Naturally, at this point Constantine hit on sending the Lord of the Hunt off with another friend to retrieve a fledgling pot plant, and using Swamp Thing to insta-grow it into a flourishing state as a party trick.
This guy was, to put it shortly, a little too realistic for the mainstream DC Universe. His periodic misery fits right in, but his close ties to the changing times, and the coping techniques he employs to deal with them, do not. Nor does his occasional bout of optimism about the world, or his contempt for everyday people, who live their lives oblivious to cultural shifts.
Constantine in The New 52: Surprisingly Non-Disastrous
When Hellblazer concluded in 2011, many prognosticated doom for the character, for the simple reason that DC’s New 52 is grim-dark, but not in the same way. Batman may be an unrelenting fountain of misery and pain, infecting anything that shares the universe with him; marriage may be forbidden because it will make the characters too happy (obligitory cliche joke – who are these guys married to? *ba dum tish*), but you don’t see anyone in the DC Universe lighting up a joint to make the pain go away. You also don’t see them aging realistically, paying for sex, or spending an entire paperback’s worth of issues mourning a lost relationship, while offhandedly leaving government officials to die.
Despite this, fan predictions of an intolerably watered-down character were somewhat overdramatic. Despite losing the obvious indicators of a life of sin, this is not a cuddly guy, or one you actually want to share a pint with (even if it seems like it would probably be fun to do just that, at least until the other shoe drops). He remains as much of a hard-bitten cynical realist as he can, even though the only things he is permitted to be cynical about are directly related to superheroes or super-heroing (Suicide Squad and A.R.G.U.S. seem to be the only titles that are permitted to consider real-world political implications of the superhero status quo in the DC Universe, and even they barely touch on it; no ‘normal human’ perspective of any significance is offered up for any length of time.
Constantine kills as necessary in the New 52, turning an assassin into smoke early in his run, then promising to free a soul…monster….thing trapped by a Sorcerer, with the full knowledge that as soon as he does so said sorcerer’s daughter will eviscerate it. The best outcome one of his friends experiences after helping him is losing a minivan in a labyrinthine magical trap; within the first issue he is already walking off and leaving a friend to be crushed to death so he can hang on to a magical artifact…which he hands over to the murderer an issue later, somewhat undercutting his argument that it was necessary for the greater good.
He retains the half-demon blood he acquired in Hellblazer, and the trinity of demons fighting over his pre-damned soul, and after meeting The Spectre he lives up to his reputation for being able to talk his way out of hell with the classic ‘lesser of two evils’/‘if not me, then who?’ argument. He also exhibits occasional touches of remorse for the way he treats his friends, though they are typically feeble in comparison to the suffering he caused.
DC also took the portrayal of the character as skating by on lesser magical deeds, sticking to the basics and cleaning up after the foolish people who try to master powerful magic, and used it to great effect in the New 52; at one point he escapes captivity by telling a ‘guy walks into a bar’ joke, and it may be the most impressive magical act he engages in in the first volume of New 52 issues. Several characters call him a ‘gutter magician’, and the name is apt; this is Loki-style trickster magic, not earth-shattering Dr. Fate-style magic.
Constantine: The Show
All indications suggested that Constantine as a TV series had the potential to succeed in the same vein as the New 52 Constantine series. Unlike the 2005 film, which pretty much counts as an entertaining travesty, with the sole exception of the brilliant casting for the angel Gabriel and Papa Midnite, the show actually managed to find an actor with a British accent to play a British character.
Constantine begins with John self-committed to an asylum following the disastrous final concert of his band, which concluded with an overreach of magic on his part, multiple deaths and a cute kid-of-a-friend trapped in hell. He doesn’t doubt demons are real, he just wants to believe they aren’t, which actor Matt Ryan portrays excellently. He leaves because a friend’s soul possesses another patient to warn him of the impending death of a girl he promised to protect. Exorcising the girl, he walks out of a ruined in-patient art studio with a casual ‘she did it’.
So far, so good.
Standards, and Standards
But the problem with television is that it isn’t the wild west of content standards that comic books are. Even in the toned-down, PC’ed up world of the Big 2, comic books came out of the age of the Comic Code Authority’s outright censorship of content years ago, and entered a brave new world with no restrictions whatsoever. There are age standards set for each title by each publisher, but there is no uniform set of rules governing those standards, and what DC rates as the equivalent to an R-rated movie can have content that might actually merit the rare application of a NC-17 for violence rating in a theater. Scott Snyder’s Death of the Family run on Batman has imagery and a psychological impact I routinely describe to customers as too mature for me, and it is doubtful even HBO would reproduce it intact (especially since there is no gratuitous sex to go with the eyeball-melting nastiness).
Both of the DC non-animated series produced to date, Arrow and The Flash, were aired on the CW, with content tone-downs to match; The Flash, one of the lighter DC titles (for a given quality of lighter; more charcoal-grey than pitch black), is a particularly good fit for the network, and Arrow does surprisingly well with what it has to work with, permissible content-wise. DC seems to be billing Constantine as its gritty title, with the move to a major network, while seeming cheerily oblivious to the fact that the major networks are, much like the CW, massively restrictive content-wise.
It is a spectacular irony that it is Marvel who signed deals with Netflix to air their upcoming shows, when it is the freedom of just such a service that DC’s dark tone and darker characters requires, while Marvel itself is almost certain to stick to the kiddie end of the tone pool; it is ultimately Disney’s property, besides which, who would want to be in DC’s position right now, when light-and-cheery is clearly where the money is?
Constantine would be great as a streaming show a la House of Cards, an edgy show with a network to match, Game of Thrones-style, or even as a lead-in to an FX show like Breaking Bad. Instead, it is on NBC, with all the limits on language, content, and tone that implies.
Constantine tries, it really does. Starting from Newcastle’s disastrous fallout is a great idea; it lets the character rebuild himself from scratch, with plenty of throwback references like the business cards cockily branding him ‘Master of the occult’ from his younger days leaving him muttering about getting them replaced, and plenty of angst over getting in over his head and condemning Aster to hell by mistake.
But from there we start to see a downhill slide towards ‘processed for tv-standards’ content.
Crispy on the Outside, Gooey on the Inside
In addition to toning down the smoking and drinking (he does both, but the cigarettes are only present in one shot of a stub being extinguished, and the beer comes with an intervention-style lecture from a guy named Chas (who bears no real resemblance to the comic version of Chas), apparently TV audiences demand a little hope for their heroes’ spiritual destinies. Just as the Constantine film put a bucket of stress on the ‘you are going to hell when you die’ thing, then offered him salvation at the the last second, the show feels the need to dangle a chance at redemption in the distance.
Personally, I prefer the Constantine who killed his father with a wasting-away spell that wouldn’t let him pass over when he died, then forgot about it completely and only felt bad when he found out his niece was haunted by her dead grandfather. Both Hellblazer and the New 52 Constantine were irreparably damned, and Constantine never really got on well with the angelic host, what with stealing Gabriel’s soul and driving him to sin, while hiding a demon and the angel who knocked her up from both heaven and hell.
Instead, the powers that be seem to think we aren’t interested in seeing a doomed soul doing good because he (mostly) wants to, to extend his lifespan, or to generally annoy the demons that will one day own him, because here we have a random guardian angel sitting on Constantine’s shoulder, inciting him to help in what is apparently now heaven’s battle against demons.
“You hear that? I’m OK!”
We also get unnecessary-personal-exposition! Constantine. I kid you not, he goes from answering Liv’s question of “where did you come from?” with “the sordid passions of my parents” to delivering a primer on his backstory and motivations based on her brilliant argument of ‘I’m trusting you, so you should stop deflecting’. I’m pretty sure Hellblazer Constantine would cut off his hands before going on a ramble about his feelings like that while sober.
“Whoever you are, I’m a nasty piece of work, ask anybody!”
But let’s be honest, we’re all here mostly for the magic. How is Constantine the magician?
It is difficult to tell how a series like this will progress over time, given that the pilot always comes with its own distinct budget and an overactive desire to impress, but Constantine puts its best foot forward with some high-quality effects, including the overused trailer image of burning hands, some distinctly awesome angel wings, evil snaky power lines, and a scene with water frozen in midair. (There was zero logical reason for that last one, other than showing off.) Tragically, it appears the budget went to heaven before it went to hell, however, because the only shot of the demon that killed Astra is fake-hair-wierd-makeup-tastic.
At the moment, Constantine hasn’t had a chance to do anything besides exorcise, so it remains to be seen if any element of the ‘gutter mage’ magic will persist, or if Constantine will be facing big foes and dramatic possessions all the way. Hopefully, this is just a case of premiere drama, and we will see him tricking more and big-time spell-casting less in future.
Racial Diversity: You’re Doing it Wrong
First off, DC, let’s talk diversity. You are trying. I can tell. You cast, like, four black people in your last two premieres, which is roughly the number of non-white characters in the entire DC Universe. I applaud you for trying, really I do. But you know how Marvel did that so successfully it retroactively changed comics Nick Fury from bland white guy #5000 into Samuel L. Jackson? That’s because the character whose race they changed was not A) the instant victim of a horrible crime (Aster), B) the horribly whiny pseudo-love interest (Miss West from The Flash), C) the worst surrogate parent anyone could dream of (seriously, Mr. West, what is your problem?) or D) a non-human entity with freaky contact lenses.
Pick a recurring character. That doesn’t die on contact. Or constantly make you want to punch them.
Hey, you know who would have been a good choice for diversity? Annoying Point-of-View girl, Liv. Constantine left the hospital to save his friend’s daughter, who he never met before. She needed saving, but she was pretty intelligent about the whole thing. Ground falls in, own car almost kills you, lights go out, guy hops dramatically out of cab in darkened parking lot; mace is the correct choice. (I am not optimistic enough to believe anyone working for DC will ever believe a woman is smart enough to point a can of mace the right way, so I’ll take what I can get.)
But why, OH GOD WHY, did she have to be one of those white-enough-to-bleach-teeth, eerily-large-blue-eyes, impossibly-shiny-and-perfectly-curled-brown-hair types? I don’t need more Deschanel sisters, there are already two, and they freak me out enough as is.
The good news: Liv got written out because someone somewhere was smart enough to realize Zed, an actual character from the books who knows actual magic, is a better sidekick than a girl who knows absolutely nothing paired with a guy who never explains anything. Even better news: Angélica Celaya, who will be playing Zed, is of Mexican heritage, and doesn’t look completely white on the show, so they appear to be learning from their mistakes. Slightly.
Hey, What Happened to England?
Of course, Zed was British in the books, like Chas and everyone else from Hellblazer (bar occasional visits to New York), and hey, maybe you could pick someone British for Matt Ryan to talk to?
The show starts in England, at the mental hospital, so at least they didn’t try to suggest Constantine killed someone in England, then hopped the pond for treatment, but once he checks out, Bam! straight to the USA.
My real question, actually: is that British actors are so expensive, or is it the fake moss and rain that would have killed the budget? If nothing else, you would think that the incredibly unsubtle ad for the expensive car with the back-up camera and collision detection would have paid for that. (Though perhaps they dock your endorsement deal if you show all the positive features of the car failing at once and then trying to run over the heroine…)
Noooooooo! Oh…actually no? Okay then…
I was very impressed with Constantine for bold plot moves…for about 5 minutes, at the half way mark. Then I was mostly annoyed. In a show about a magician, particularly one who mostly thinks/talks his way out of trouble, ‘things aren’t always what they appear’ is not a good enough explanation for backing off from the midpoint shocker right away. That is called plot laziness, and hopefully we won’t be seeing any more of it.
All in all, however, the show was interesting, if a bit frustrating, and has promise to grow. Matt Ryan is carrying off the character as well as, if not better than, could be expected given what he has to go on here (though there are a few instances of hilariously obvious pouty!face); hopefully Chas will one day resemble himself, and the fact that Zed will be replacing Liv is a big step in the right direction.
Additionally, there are the little breadcrumbs scattered in our path when Liv is in her father’s old home; any of these could be developed further in the series, or all could be discarded due to heroine reboot.
Only time will tell, but I considered them a touch spoilery, so they are grouped together below!
So last week, we asked the community at large to pick their #1 favorite horror movie franchise.
The top 3 were: Nightmare on Elm Street at a whopping 33%, The Evil Dead was second at 20% and tied for 3rd WAAAAAAAAAY back was Saw and Friday the 13th at 7%
It looks like we have a penchant for the classics but this week’s picks are special. You must pick the BEST and MOST BRUTAL death scene among these choices! Sure there are LOTS of scenes we could have picked but just like the movies, your choices are bad and few. Now, keep in mind these are NSFW, heck, they just aren’t SAFE. So watch with a strong stomach and some place dark…and quiet. So what are you waiting for??? GET TO WATCHING AND VOTING!!!
1. Jason X
All we needed at the end was for Rick James to pop up and say, “Cold Blooded.”
One of those times that boobs on a girl…fails her udderly, no?
3. Final Destination
If there was ever a reason to look before crossing, this would be it.
4. See No Evil
A good PSA for why you shouldn’t use your phones while in the movies…and in the movies.
5. Ghost Ship
Which would you rather have: a ship that gets stuck in the ocean, or this one?
6. Thirteen Ghosts
Watch the door stupid! Watch the door!
7. Nightmare on Elm Street – Dream Warriors
I heard her TV career never took off after this.
Maybe she shouldn’t have used all of the hot water?
Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Fernando Heinz
Reviewer: Ray “I got my eyes Crossed” Willis
Crossed still continues to be one of the most graphic and violent comics out there but I love it. We are usually accustomed to zombies, robots, or aliens taking over the world but Crossed gives us a look at a world as if the 28 Days virus really let loose. In this issue of Crossed, we go to a federal prison where Jesse Bullock is held and keeps his cousin Otis out of trouble but when the “Crossed” are involved there’s going to be lots of blood and depravity.
Justin Jordan works up a fairly simple story for this issue of special issue of Crossed with introducing us to an inmate there planning to make an escape but has to deal with the daily shanking in a shower. The first scene in the book is a few prisoners trying to get the jump Jesse in the shower but the fight scene that happened during that scene is really nice. It reminds me of the fight scene in “Eastern Promises” with Viggo Mortensen but gets broken up and Jesse is sent to solitary confinement. You get to see why Jesse is there and why he plans on escaping the federal prison. Jesse is a bad guy but wants to look out for his cousin Otis, who isn’t the toughest guy in the prison. The story is cohesive but when an inmate who is infected arrives everything goes crazy and that’s when things go south very quickly. I can say for one thing; this series is not for the faint of heart and this coming from a horror fan. The scenes in this issue and others are brutal and violent. I’m not going to get into what happens in the outbreak scene but Fernando Heinz really captures the brutality of the infected. The art is really good and really matches the brutality and craziness of the “Crossed” infected prisoners and guards.
This issue wasn’t bad but it felt really had a generic plot and when it’s about the Crossed, it comes down to survival at all costs and staying away from their deadly blood. You can only do so much with one story that focuses on characters in a prison. There is a cliffhanger ending but in the “Crossed” series, you have to ask is there really such thing as that? The art was good and really matches the tone of the series. I do love the “Crossed” series with its interesting stories of survival and branching stories but for someone picking this up beware it’s very violent. Also this is a mature book so watch out for what’s to come if you pick this up.
Writer: Jonathan Maberry
Artist: Tony Vargas
Color Artist: Olive Lee Arce
Reviewer: Ray Willis
As we left off in the last issue Benny Imura and his group is trapped in a hospital with no means of escape from the imminent threat of the zoms that lay outside the room they are in, will the group be able to get out?
This issue was really good with bringing in some really clever elements about what going on. Jonathan Maberry has really helped me remember why zombies are zombies and the meeting of groups in the zombie infested world. With comics like “The Walking Dead” showing what you have to do to survive and struggle against not just zombies but humans really breaks the mold. His writing is really clever and has characters that are likeable but still have some moral compass to them. When one of the characters decides to kill the zombie babies the others decide to stop that person and it does bring up a good question of do zombies really feel pain? The art is also very good working well with the strong writing from Maberry. The look and feel of the zombies and humans look really amazing. We do get see some zombie babies as well, along with a new camp and people Benny meets after escaping the hospital.
I did not really find anything bad about this issue. The writing brings you in and lets you get to know these characters. The characters are likeable and have interesting stories furthermore; the characters are strong but also still have morals to them. This is a really good read and if you like “The Walking Dead” or anything zombie related pick this up. It’s only two issues in so it will not be hard to catch up.
5 out of 5 Zoms
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Reviewer: Oz Longworth aka Not To Be Confused With Black Dynamite
Okay, I’ll say it. Mark Millar writes his books at a pace I can only describe as glacial, but even with the delays, you have to hand it to the man. He can write his ass off. It took a while to get here but the finale to his space epic, Starlight is here. And, HOLY SHIT, we’re glad to see it!
It’s the bottom of the ninth for our hero, Duke McQueen. The traitor is revealed, Tilda Starr, “Space Boy” and the rest of the resistance is finally captured and facing certain execution. Kingfisher’s control of Tantalus is nearly absolute. The odds are against our hero, to say the least. But of course, McQueen The GAWD has a plan for a last ditch effort to take home the win. Obviously, there are some very familiar beats to this issue and, ultimately, the story as a whole, but Millar approaches the whole endeavor in a way that isn’t jaded or cynical (as much of his work could be accused of being). Starlight is an upbeat, hopeful masterpiece that reduces its reader to a child, cheering out loud for the good guys to win. I don’t know if Millar intended for this to be a send up of space opera, but he took it one step further and created a successor to a throne previously occupied by titans such as Flash Gordon and John Carter of Mars. The visuals here are some of the best I’ve seen all year. Goran Parlov spared no creative expense to ensure this is the best looking book of the series. I mean, there is something exciting to look at in every single panel. I complain every time that the book could have stood to give us a splash page here and there, but that’s a piece of fanwhining that’s more a testament to how beautiful this book is.
Bottom Line: Millar and Parlov’s collaboration is the closest thing I’ve seen this year to a superhero team up in real life. The result is a kind, heartwarming finish to a truly great tale that will go down as some of Millar’s best work.
And Then Emily Was Gone #4
Published by- Comix Tribe
Writer- John Lees
Penciller- Iain Laurie
And Then Emily Was Gone issue 4 buries us a bit deeper in the surreal,waking nightmare that the first three issues built a foundation on. The basis of the story has been simple so far. A Young girl named Emily goes missing from her home island of Merksay,so her best friend hunts down a troubled ex detective known for his prowess in missing persons cases to help.
That’s the end of simple in this tale. The detective, Greg Hellinger is cursed with visions of monsters. The island of Merksay is the single strangest place on Earth. Let’s not forget the hitman that takes his orders from an oddity of a boss and also shares dreams with Greg. Oh,and his next target,to be strangled as specified in the contract is Fiona, the young friend of Emily who has enlisted Greg.
It is hard to easily review a single issue of a story like this, but this issue sees Greg learning a bit more about his visions, Fiona goes missing, and Emily’s father,whom has in earlier issues surgically removed a monster from him and his wife’s skulls visiting the abattoir where he once worked. What he sees there can best be described as disturbing. Actually that’s a great description of this story, disturbing. John Lees,the writer has found a balance that is hard to find,between straight forward plot and insane moments that could take you out of the narrative if not rendered so well. I don’t need answers to everything, but I’m confident he will close this story up well.
Truly disturbing is the art by Iain Laurie. This is beautifully crafted ugliness. Everything is disproportionate,even the regular human characters are not normal looking. This is the perfect fit for the story. This series is filled with nastiness and horror, it should not have the same artwork as a mainstream superhero book.
In summation Comix Tribe have a real winner on their hands, and anyone with an interest in smart, scary horror books would be doing themselves a favor by heading to their comic shop and picking this series up.
4 issues into Geoff Johns run on Supes and we get a feeling for where the conflict in the story will arise.So far Superman has been mentoring superhuman Neil Quinn, aka Ulysses, a man sent to the Fourth Dimension as a baby by his scientist parents. Supes emphasizes due to the parallels with his own story and decides to teach the actually human Neil about the humanity he has spent his whole life away from. In the last issue Ulysses seemingly killed an innocent man enslaved by techno terrorist The Machinist,but Supes assures him that the man was already dead, a zombie puppet of sorts. After more conflict with the villain, Ulysses uses his powers to see that the Machinist has been supplying weapons to bad people the world over, and tells Superman that they should use their powers to rid humanity of weapons. Supes explains that it is futile, and Ulysses,not understanding how humanity spends more energy fighting itself rather than helping each other disappears. He returns at the end of the issue with an offer to the people of Earth, which is clearly setting up the conflict with Superman we have been expecting.
Johns has a good handle on the character of Superman,optimistic and helpful Boy Scout,who has been on earth long enough to understand the flaws in humanity. Ulysses is written as young,naive and alien to Earth,trying to wrap his head around the world he was forced to leave. Johns also has done a good job of counterbalancing Supes supporting cast at the Daily Planet,and giving them good story time as well.
John Romita Jr’s art is by far one of the most divisive amongst the comics community. All I have to say is that I don’t normally read this title,and as much as I like Johns as a writer,it was JRJR’s contribution that got me on board. This is classic Romita, and it’s as simple as that. If you don’t like his style,you will be put off,if you love it,this is a rare treat,as he is mostly known for his Marvel work. There is a two page spread of Supes and Ulysses picking a tanker up out of the ocean that is everything I love about comics. The detail as they strain to lift, the water draining off of their faces and bodies.This is art people! Looking forward to the next issue.
Writer Felipe Smith finally starts to unravel his long game for this series 8 issues in. Up until this point, there were no connections made between Robbie Reyes’ version of Ghost Rider with any of the prior characters to wear the title. Also,we knew little about Eli Morrow,the spirit that revived Robbie from the dead in issue 1 and imbued him with supernatural powers and an otherworldly hot rod.
This issue connects the dots, as Robbie runs afoul of Johnny Blaze, Marvel’s spirit of vengeance and well known Ghost Rider. Johnny is not happy that someone is using his shtick and a fight ensues between the two, in which Robbie escapes. During the fight, Johnny feels something is wrong with this version, that there are two spirits in control,and he senses great evil in Eli. Up until this point in the series, Eli has become more and more adamant that Robbie use his new powers to smite evil,while Robbie just uses them to win money in races,to provide for his younger handicapped brother. Johnny does some research and realizes that Eli was a devil worshipping serial killer in life,and as he makes this discovery,he takes over Robbie’s body to enact a mission of personal vengeance,which is where the issue ends.
I’ve really enjoyed this take on GR since issue 1, the story has been solid and Robbie is an interesting new character to the Marvel canon. The art has been less my cup of tea, as it feels to have a heavy manga influence, and I find the action hard to follow at times. I have always been a story over art reader, so as long as Smith gives me a fresh, interesting take on a classic Marvel property, I’m in.