Author Archives: ArcaneHalloween
Precinct1313 is a dilemma within a mystery, contained in an enigma… it has been over six years since this majestic and malefic mansion first welcomed us into it’s darkened ceaseless corridors, herculean hallways and cavernous crypts, yet even now, after all this time we are still discovering new chambers and secreted areas. Recently uncovered is a mysterious room aptly named ‘The Scrying Chamber’ within this portentous place stands a single stone table bathed in ethereal light upon which sits an ominous black crystal ball.
So, gaze deep dear readers, unto manifold destiny through Precinct1313’s mystical crystal ball of wonders towards an apocalyptic future where the Earth itself has been laid to waste, and only one solitary hero can ultimately save humanity from itself…
DC Comics’ notable recent imprint – Black Label is a line of limited series aimed at a distinctly mature audience that began with the bombastic – Batman: Damned. Building upon the success of that first series DC have regaled us with other classic characters within this more adult format, with this particular superlative series starring our hallowed Hellenic heroine, the Themysciran Titan herself – Wonder Woman!Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four part, forty eight page prestige format mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, that initially released in December 2019.
Princess Diana originally left her home of Themyscira and her beloved Amazon sisters to save the world from mankind itself, yet, after waking from an unexpected centuries long sleep and discovering the Earth has been reduced to a nuclear wasteland, she knows she has ultimately failed in her divine mission. The Earth has been destroyed, and it’s former protectors, it’s pantheon of Superheroes have failed and are long gone. Trapped and alone, in a post apocalyptic dystopia, Diana is tasked with protecting the last human city on the planet from dire monsters that have overrun the Earth, whilst also uncovering the dark secret behind the planet’s demise… and how she may be responsible for it!Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is sublime and a must have for any fan of the wondrous one. This is my first encounter with writer/illustrator Daniel Warren Thompson’s work and I must say I am now a huge fan, initially the grim and gritty artwork put me off, but in hindsight after experiencing the post apocalyptic landscape that this superb tale resides, the visuals are a perfect match for the mood set by Johnson’s stupendously sombre script. To be honest even if you aren’t a fan of Wonder Woman (say it isn’t so…) or comic books in general this still comes highly recommended as a perfect parable about where we, in the real world, are ultimately heading. Climate change, oppression, racism and tribe like mentality are all encompassed in this tremendous tome, with even Wondy herself struggling to stifle the causes of these worrisome traits. Grim, dark and gritty, but ultimately a tale of optimism and mutual respect for the planet that nurtures us and our fellow species.
Hey there fellow fans of fantastic fighting female furies, and welcome back to our ongoing/occasional series where we strive to acquaint you with some our favourite formidable females from throughout cinematic history. Last instalment we caught up with the magnificent Moon Lee, our absolute fave ever Asian action star, this time around we’ll be introducing you to none other than the bombastic blonde fury herself, scintillating Cynthia Rothrock! of all the action/martial arts stars throughout film, Cynthia has always been our most revered and is, arguably, the most accomplished female martial expert of all time!
Formidably known in her cinematic heyday as The Queen Of Martial Arts, Cynthia has undeniably lived up to that daunting moniker – starred in over sixty films since her dynamic debut alongside Michelle Yeoh in Yes Madam, attained an astonishing seven black belts with a rank of 8th Dan in varying Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial disciplines, is five times undefeated world Karate champion in weapons and forms, was the first ever female cover star on both Inside Kung Fu and Black Belt Magazine, is the inspiration for two of video-games most popular female fighters – Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat and King from SNK’s popular Art of Fighting and King of the Fighters series, and, is an inductee in the distinguished Black Belt Hall Of Fame alongside such legends as Bruce Lee… Phew!
Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock was born in 1957 in Wilmington Delaware, though her formative years were spent in Scranton Pennsylvania, it was at the age of thirteen that she first developed an interest in martial arts. In 1981 Cynthia won her first world tournament in the forms and weapons classification, this particular martial category deals with fluidity of movement and form and is mostly non combat oriented, and saw both female and male participation, with Cynthia managing to easily outclass both sexes, she would go on to win this title for an astonishing four more years.
In her first thirty eight tournaments she took first place in forms discipline an astonishing thirty two times (again competing against both female and male martial artists) and twelve times in weapons, she was also pronounced Grand-Master (an honorary title given to individuals who excel at their chosen art and are revered by their peers) at five separate championships… it’s safe to say that Cynthia was a martial arts savante from a very young age.
It was at the height of her tournament dominance that the esteemed martial magazine Black Belt took notice and inducted her into the Black Belt Hall Of Fame as the “Female Competitor Of The Year” she also took the coveted front cover status on the very same issue, the first ever female in martial arts history to receive that distinguished honour.
1983 was the year that Cynthia would first be propelled onto the cinematic stage after being talent scouted by venerable Hong Kong based fighting film studio – Golden Harvest. It was in 1985 that Cynthia co-starred in her very first movie – Police Assassins alongside the magnificent Michelle Yeoh. The film was a massive box office success and launched Cynthia’s long running movie career, with the rapidly rising star going on to make another sensational seven movies for the studio giant, including my personal favourite – Blonde Fury.
Cynthia also holds the prominent achievement as the first ever westerner to to billed as the leading actor in Asian fighting movies. Upon returning home to the United States, Cynthia continued her movie calling with titles such as – China O’Brien and its sequel, Guardian Angel, No Retreat-No Surrender, Prince Of The Sun and many, many more.
She eventually retired from acting after the movie Sci-Fighter in 2004, when she returned to teaching martial arts and expanding on her own, already formidable skills, though she still occasionally cameos and guest stars in various television productions including her own YouTube channel where she continues to showcase her incredible agility, and at sixty three years old is still able to out-surpass the majority of her younger martial peers!
Cynthia Rothrock Movie Recommendations – Blonde Fury, Police Assassins, Righting Wrongs, Prince Of The Sun, The Millionaire’s Express.
When celebrated insurance investigator John Trent is hired to find missing superstar horror author Sutter Cane by his publishing company, little does he know that this seemingly mundane investigation would propel him into… The Mouth Of Madness!
Cast: Sam Neill, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner, Julie Carmen, Charlton Heston. Written by: Michael De Luca. Directed by: John Carpenter.
Reality is a strange beast, one persons perception of it can be wholly different from another’s, reality is ultimately based on conjecture, of the state of things as they are, or appear to be, it is the culmination of all your experiences that fundamentally determines how things appear to you. John Carpenter’s 1994 classic In The Mouth Of Madness takes reality and breaks it, reassembles it, and then smashes it into sub atomic particles, stamps on them, and then sets them on fire… reality takes a real hammering in this mind warping psychological horror from the maestro of the macabre.
When we first meet our movies protagonist John Trent (Sam Neill) he is garbed in a strait-jacket and being unceremoniously dumped into an isolation cell in a psychiatric hospital. From this inauspicious beginning, we are transported back to discover how this seemingly intelligent and grounded professional ends up in a padded cell, on the wrong end of materiality.
Trailblazing master of horror, John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) expertly channels HP Lovecraft, especially his novella Mountains Of Madness, for this stylish and perplexing horror thriller. Carpenter is one of the pioneers of the horror genre thanks to his ground-breaking horror masterpiece Halloween, and is the perfect choice to bring the Lovecraftian inspired original script by Michael De Luca to life, and has informally described the film as the last part of his Apocalypse Trilogy preceded by The Thing and Prince Of Darkness.
Carpenter’s movie reflects superbly the meta-fiction style of storytelling, meta-fiction is a device used in literature and film to describe a break in the proverbial fourth wall, a story within a story or where the characters of the fictional account realise they are just that… characters. Carpenter plays with this genre device beautifully and serves the viewer an almost flawless meta-physical and mind-bending thriller with so many twists and turns that even after a second viewing you will still want to re-visit it to discover the many allusions and clues expertly hidden throughout the film.
Remarkably well acted by the eclectic and talented cast, with Sam Neill (as is quite often the case) the most outstanding as the initially over-confident, yet increasingly bewildered principal player. Jurgen Prochnow plays missing horror author Sutter Cane, Trent’s personal holy grail, and gives a wonderful performance as an amalgam of infinite calm and dark mania. They are both backed up by a sensational secondary cast that includes English thespian David Warner as Trent’s psychiatrist, Julie Carmen as Linda Styles, Cane’s agent and Trent’s initial guide, plus Charlton Heston as the owner of Cane’s publishing company.
Though psychological horror plays a large part in the film, it still gives up the goods as far as straight up gore is concerned, plus there are some excellent creature effects, with a notably Lovecraftian look and feel. The film’s score is, as ever, by Carpenter himself and is fantastic, orchestrating with the onscreen visuals perfectly.
If you like your horror deep, strange and intriguing, with a side of the macabre, then In The Mouth Of Madness is for you. Carpenter weaves a dreamlike world, that is in essence an almost perfect blend of HP Lovecraft and Stephen King. It is in equal measure innovative and haunting, and is one of the most inventive and twisted movies that Carpenter has ever wrought upon the viewer. Infinitely re-watchable, thanks to cleverly hidden clues and imagery, with outstanding acting turns from the talented cast, especially lead actor Sam Neill. Are You Prepared To Delve Into The Mouth Of Madness?
Happy Halloween From Precinct1313!
On this day on October 21 1941 an inspiration was born, Diana, Princess of the Amazons made her dynamic debut courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston. And so in celebration of Wonder Woman Day, I present to you, my astonishing Amazonian Affiliates, an extra special instalment of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’ a hearken back to my first ever encounter with the Themysciran Titan, way back in that glorious decade known as the 1980s!
Ah the eighties, it was an interesting and rather revolutionary time in the UK. It had just gotten over the phenomenon that was Punk Rock, a rebellious anti-establishment movement that, really, was more about freedom of speech and giving voice to the people than it was about the music itself. I was actually way too young to appreciate the campaign for acceptance and diversity that Punk represented, but looking back on that era now, have come to realise how much Superheroes fit into the same mould as the punk rockers of the day, working outside of Government control, for the benefit of the people themselves.
I grew up in the greatest decade in the history of human kind (at least it was to me) the 1980’s. Icons from my era included such luminaries as Siouxsie and the Banshees (my all time favourite band… yes I was a Goth!) ridiculously over the top action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Wesley Snipes, Cynthia Rothrock and Moon Lee (my favourite female action stars.) Video Games began to really evolve from their previous very simplistic and basic look and premise in the seventies, adding more complexity and depth in both the graphics and gameplay. But even with all these wonderful new distractions available to me, Comic-Books were still my first love, my go to for escapism and ultimate reverie.
It was the shadowy Masked Manhunter, The Batman, who initially introduced me into wonderful world of Superheroes. My first encounter with this iconic character was when I was six years of age, I was captivated by his world, so very different from my own (yet at times eerily similar.) Gotham was a terrible, seething place of corruption and murder, yet it had a redeemer, someone who swathed himself in darkness, and was scarier than even the worst denizens of this malevolent city… and yet, fought for good!
The character beguiled me, and it was through him that my love of not just comics, but also literature itself began. It wasn’t until I was nine that I experienced my first foray into the legendary world of the Amazons, I knew who Wonder Woman was of course, through the occasional crossover story in ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ but had yet to branch out fully into other realms, feeling contented in my protracted residence in Gotham City.
Wonder Woman #271 was the first time I invested heavily in a character who didn’t have a cape, a cowl and a fatalistic outlook to the world around him. In fact the two characters are literally night and day, which is why I believe that I began to love the Themysciran Titan with the same amount of reverence as I did the Dark Knight, because they were so different. She offered hope, and an optimism that The Bat just didn’t have, a figure who inspired goodness in those around her, with the strength and fortitude to fight the evils of man, yet show compassion and kindness to those deserving (and those who also were not, thus is her leniency and benevolence.)
I have always seen the two characters as my diametrically opposed halves, Batman represents my love of the darkness, gothicism (technically not a word, I know, but I like it) horror movies, the supernatural et al, and Wonder Woman has always constituted my hopes for the future, my work to forward animal rights, vegetarianism, and a general aspiration for betterment of myself and the world about me, and so…
Happy Wonder Woman Day!
He’s Back! and I’m not necessarily talking about this series’ titular protagonist, but the brilliance that is writer Tom King, the Mister Miracle, Adam Strange and Batman scribe attunes his incredible skill towards Watchmen’s uncompromisingly violent masked vigilante, Rorschach, with this brand new 12 issue Black Label maxi-series.
Tom King and Jorge Furnes’ thematic transposition of Alan Moore’s sociopathic anti-hero Rorschach takes its cues from a myriad of other sources aside from the original groundbreaking 80’s Watchmen series. The recent (and really quite brilliant) HBO Watchmen series is a definite influence upon the narrative contained within this first issue, with many of the exemplary plot-lines and story beats from the television show appearing as canon to the unfurling saga of King’s take on Walter Kovacs’ unstable alter ego.
The premier issue reads very much like a sociopolitical police procedural drama, this apparent new variant of Rorschach actually dies in the very first pages of the book, with his identity later assumed to be that of a reclusive comic-book creator, whom for years after his success as a writer of popular pirate comics, hid himself from public scrutiny. This is obviously a nod to the great Steve Ditko, the Spiderman creator who also ushered into existence the DC Comics character – The Question, who in turn was Alan Moore’s eventual inspiration for Rorschach… meta narrative is king here!
A compelling and intriguing beginning for DC’s newest take on a classic character, the narrative certainly plays upon the growing political dissonance perpetuating in the media in the real world, the story itself is based during a presidential election in 2020. Tom King is an absolute master of weaving current political and media discourse into his comic-book chronicles, and Rorschach appears to be following that sublime template. Jorge Furnes’ art compliments King’s writing beautifully, characterful and expressive, his style absolutely fitting to the world that is Watchmen, yet still manages to retain its own individuality.
Rorschach #1 is a must buy if you’re in anyway shape or form a fan of Rorschach or Watchmen, another engrossing and profound tale from superstar scribe Tom King, with fantastic art by Jorge Furnes. The first issue is most definitely a slow burn, but sets up a complex and compelling plot exquisitely, but then I expect no less from the writer that recently gave us the superlative Mister Miracle series. Highly recommended.
Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, it’s fantastic to see you, and we’re so glad that you could make your way over to the majestic mansion of mystery in time to partake in our sixth anniversary celebrations. In a few moments we will wind our way down through the Precinct’s interminable depths as we head towards the infamous ‘Halls Of Quaffing’ to celebrate in style.
Unfortunately our usual anniversary tour guide, the Precinct’s carrion crow of woe – Eldritch won’t be available to usher you through this arcane abode, as he’s still in the dog-house (uhh, crow house?) for leading us astray through a preternatural portal that lead to Raven’s Reach Sanitarium and a padded cell! (For more on that tantalising tale, why not click right HERE)
But fear not, oh fellow fans of fantastic fiction, as I am able to stand in as the (distinctly human) Corvidae conductor for this sixth anniversary commemoration. And so, without further ado, let our peregrinations begin…
The mystical mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313 first materialised unto this dimension in 2014, this paranormal palazzo, oft thought to be a sister building to the sinister House Of Secrets has housed many scribes throughout the countless alternate realities it has dwelled, and in 2014, I discovered it’s many dimensional delights when it revealed itself in terrifying fashion (which you can read about right HERE) and have been trapped within it’s herculean hallways and reality shifting structure ever since. Which actually turns out to be a good thing as it has given me copious amounts of time to relay to you, dear agents, the wonderful world of comic-books, cult movies and general geekery!
And so, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, thanks to this mythical edifice’s psychokinetic power, we are able to transport you back in time (it doesn’t hurt too much, honest!) to visit our most popular posts of yore…
As you are more than likely aware if you’ve been an agent of the Precinct for awhile, our absolute favourite comic-book creation of all time is the Themysciran Titan herself the glorious Wonder Woman, I first discovered the dynamic delight that is Diana, Princess of the Amazons when I was a mere nine years of age, and have been a super fan ever since. A myriad of reviews, overviews and gushing posts have ensued from the Precinct since its inception, and looking at the ol’ stats the most popular of these is… Wonder Woman #600
Another mesmerising mainstay of the Precinct over the years (and my absolute favourite posts to write) has been the – World’s Finest: Interview – series, where each episode we invite one of our most treasured Superheroes, SuperVillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons and Super-Pets to answer a quotient of quintessentially quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake) Such classic characters as Harley Quinn, Circe, and Cheetah, have darkened the Precinct’s media studio and have harassed, bludgeoned, nibbled, and vexed our poor hapless interviewer (why, at one point he was even turned into a worm! an actual worm!!) Checking that ol’ stats page again turns up that the most popular of these was… World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With V
Another character that has helped form the foundings of the Precinct alongside Wondy has been Gotham’s grim guardian, the big bad bat! I have been a fan since the age of six, he was instrumental in ushering in my love of the comic-book medium and my fave company, DC Comics. And just like the Amazon Princess, I have written a multitudinous amount of material on his dark crusade to clean up Gotham and absolve himself of the guilt of his parents death by dressing up as a giant bat and beating seven shades out of crazy costumed villains. And, heading on back to that trusty ol’ stats screen, the most read of all those is… Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #22
Phew! thanks so much fellow agents for joining us on that timely tour of the Precinct’s past, and as we near the Halls Of Quaffing for many a beer and celebration, may I just say a massive thank you to all of my fellow bloggers, followers and readers for making this blogging odyssey such a fantabulous experience, it is YOU that have made this journey worthwhile… now, beer!!
Borag Thungg fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo and welcome back to another instalment of ‘Great British Comic-Book Characters’ our occasional series that aims to acquaint you with some of the classic characters that originate from the UK.
As we have highlighted in previous entries from this series, comics take on a very diverse approach in Britain in comparison to their American counterparts, the anthology style is (and forever has been) ubiquitous in its form over here in blighty. Whereas most comic-books in the USA usually centre themselves on a single character or story arc, British comics have almost always delivered a compendium of characters and stories in each issue, with easily the most popular and groundbreaking of these weekly digests being the phenomenal 2000AD.
We have posted in length about the other crazy characters that form the UK’s favourite comic anthology, but where they mostly differ from their American brethren is with their distinct lack of capes, cowls and secret identities. Brit comic persona are invariably made up of quirky non-conformist types or hard nosed, fascistic authoritarian figures with 2000AD’s leading export Judge Dredd being the ultimate example of the latter. Today’s guest star though belongs to the former camp and is somewhat closer to the American ideal of a comic-book stalwart, yet still retains the atypical Brit eccentricity and anti-establishmentarianism that pervades a majority of fictional British work.
Zenith was created by the great Grant Morrison and sensational Steve Yeowell in 1987, its debut appearance was in #535 of 2000AD, yet the story’s titular star didn’t actually appear until the second episode with the first instalment reserved for setting the scene for his introduction into this alternate fictional version of the UK.
Robert McDowell is the civilian name of the ’80s Pop star/Superhero Zenith, the son of two former members of the famed team of 1960’s British Superheroes known as Cloud 9, a group of super-humans initially formed by the military, who ultimately rebelled against authority becoming bohemian psychedelic fashion icons and rights activists. Zenith is possessed of bio-rythmic abilities that grant him the powers of flight, super strength, pyrokinesis and high physical durability. Yet rather than use these uncanny gifts to fight intolerance and crime he utilises them to further his music career. Zenith himself is a superficial, glib and self centred personality, overtly spoilt and extremely reluctant to be brought into any of the ongoing conflict that involves going up against the pernicious and malevolent antagonists – The Lloigor.
Reluctantly he is dragged into action by surviving members of Cloud 9 to help fight The Many Angled One (aka The Lloigor, beings from another dimension closely resembling Cthulhu mythos) Lok Sotot. It was during this violent encounter, after the unfortunate death of Welsh Superhero, Red Dragon, that Zenith began to realise the full extent of his incredible powers, and his ability to utilise them for the benefit of others rather than his own selfish needs.
Grant Morrison initially created Zenith as a “reaction against tormented Superheroes” you see, the 1980s was the decade for the anti-heroes’ ascendance, Batman became darker and grimmer than previous iterations and Watchmen (by fellow Brit creator Alan Moore) took the political dissonance and violent repercussions of masked vigilantism to a whole other stratospheric level. Zenith was Morrison’s way of railing against this methodology (that said, Morrison himself has gone on to become one of the most celebrated and longest running writers of Batman tales, with an extremely dark take on the character that is in stark contrast to Zenith’s raison-d’etre)
Zenith is a satirical and sardonic look at 1980’s British culture and politics (a favoured scenario for many Brit comic creators) Morrison described his creation as – “a dumb, sexy and disposable pop icon, Alan Moore by way of Stock, Aitken and Waterman”
Up until a few years ago Zenith was out of print due to ownership disputes between creators and publishers, causing previously released collected volumes to skyrocket in price, selling for up to an unbelievable ten times their original cover value! 2000AD owners Rebellion released a new set of collected editions late in 2014 that managed to sell out on pre-order in just 48 hours, cementing the fact that the UK’s love for the glibly shallow Superhero was (and still is) second to none.
A Guide To Speaking 2000AD…
Seminal British anthology series 2000AD not only brought fantastic characters and thrill-power to the universal masses but also introduced us to it’s iconic alien editor – Tharg the Mighty! Tharg has presided as its fictional Quaxxann leader since the first issue debuted in 1977, and alongside presenting stellar stories, he also brought his very own dialect, which most die hard 2000AD fans use on an almost daily basis (yup, guilty as charged!) So to those Terrans whom have never delved into Quaxxiann we proffer a list of his most popular catchphrases and their Terran translations…
Borag Thungg Earthlet – Greetings Human.
Zarjaz – Excellent
Krill Tro Thargo – Honoured By Tharg
Florix Grabundae – Many Thanks
Nonscrot – Someone Who Doesn’t Read 2000AD
Scrotnig – Exciting Or Amazing
Squaxx Dek Thargo – Friend Of Tharg
Splundig Vur Thrigg – Goodbye
And so, Florix Grabundae my fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo for visiting the Precinct and indulging in our Scrotnig post. Splundig Vur Thrigg!
Tharg the Mighty and Zenith are copyright: 2000AD and Rebellion.
Who would have thought that eight decades after he punched his first ever villain squarely on the jaw that we’d still be celebrating this dark, surly, emotionally lost and solitary individual whom, upon watching his parents gunned down before his innocent young eyes, thought that the best course of action for that loathsome act would be to dress up as a giant bat and ruthlessly hunt down and mercilessly beat up a plethora of crazily costumed criminals, yet here we are… thankfully!
Batman made his first astonishing appearance in the 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27 courtesy of his compelling creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batsy has been punching and kicking his way through the DC Universe ever since, and yet, over eight decades later the character still feels as fresh and exciting as he did all those decades ago. I have personally been a fan of the big bad bat since I was six years old, initially courtesy of my Mum, who bought me my first ever Superhero comic-book – Detective Comics #466, where the caped crusader tangled with the one of his lesser known rogues -Signalman!
From the printed page through television series, cinematic excursions, toys, video-game adaptations, collectables and more Gotham’s grim guardian has withstood the test of time and has become, arguably, the most widely recognised Superhero of all time (yeah, in your face Superman!) So here’s to another eight exquisite decades of his violent yet virtuous presence! Long Live The Bat!
Happy Batman Day!
Batman is copyright – DC Comics.
Following hot on the heels of the 2010 epic ‘Batwoman: Elegy’ comes another majestic masterpiece in modern comic-book storytelling by talented artist/writer JH Williams III, through his fabulous follow up ‘Hydrology’. Williams was almost single-handedly responsible for plucking the long forlorned female Superhero Batwoman out of an imposed limbo with his successful run on her modern reintegration back into the DC Universe.
Williams managed magnificently to breathe new life into a character who had rarely been seen since the 1960’s, captivating the dedicated comic book fan with a newly resurrected member of the Bat-family, who, even though she shares many similar traits with her male counterpart, does indeed still feel a unique and fresh character, this is all thanks to Williams’ almost incomparable talent.
Hydrology collects together issues #0-5 of Kate’s ‘New 52’ run. JH Williams once again stuns us into near silence with his breathtaking artwork, the panel layouts are, as always, astounding, Williams loves to experiment with visually impressive splash pages, these stylistic image choices immerse the reader even further into the tale, with Batwoman effortlessly leaping from the panels themselves, with the beautifully rendered colours also assisting to achieve this overall impressive visual effect.
This tantalising tale finds our curious crimefighter investigating a disturbing case involving the mass disappearance of children across Gotham, which ultimately leads her to the supernatural entity known as La Llarona (The Weeping Woman). Throughout this harrowing investigation, Kate also finds time to re-train her cousin Bette in crime-fighting techniques, with the notion that the one time Superhero (Bette was once known as Flamebird, member of Teen Titans West) could eventually become a valuable aid in her unwavering war on crime.
The poignant parable also finds Kate dealing with dramatic social matters outside of her red and black clad vigilante persona. Her ongoing tangled love life with Detective Sawyer, recent estrangement from her father and unremitting feelings of loss from the tragic events surrounding her twin sister (read Batwoman: Elegy for the full story, fact fans). And just to make life even more complicated for our fiery haired heroine, she is the subject of an intense investigation by Agent Chase of the Department Of Extranormal Investigations, who has vowed to unmask her.
Williams constructs a striking, emotionally compelling and haunting tale that contrasts beautifully between a hardened and capable crimefighter and an emotionally confused young woman, with the visual style juxtaposing between a beautifully bold and effervescent painterly style when Kate becomes the Batwoman, and a simpler rather less embellished (yet no less gorgeous) technique when she is merely Kate Kane. This artistic approach speaks volumes about Kate’s feeling of worth in and out of the Bat suit, the vivid and bright colours during the Batwoman sequences really does emphasise her love of the freedom and anonymity that her alter ego allows her to have, giving her a sense of merit and standing in the world, plus helping to masque and cast aside her real life trauma.
JH Williams III once again shows why he is one of the most sought after artist/writers in the comic book medium. His visual style is almost unmatched, his writing is in equal measures intelligent, haunting and enthralling, realising characters that are both credible yet also otherworldly in their existence. Hypnotic, lavish and addictive, a must buy for fans and newcomers alike.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exciting episode of The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…
Wonder Woman 84 Trailer Brings Our First Look At Cheetah In All Her Feral Glory!
It’s an absolutely tremendous time to be a DC Comics fanatic! within the past 24 hours courtesy of DC’s online comic-con – DC Fandome we have been regaled with some utterly stunning teasers and trailers for their forthcoming epic escapades, including such delicious delights as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Matt Reeves highly anticipated Batman movie, and, of course Patty Jenkins’ long awaited Wonder Woman sequel. The new trailer delves further into the villains of the piece, and gives us our first tantalising look at Kristen Wiig in full feral form, enjoy…
The Batman Trailer Looks Utterly Bat-Tastic!!
Well, what can we say but… WOW! This looks absolutely Bat-tacular, Matt Reeves and Robert Pattison bring us an exclusive new look at next year’s standalone Batman movie, and we love it! Indulge your Bat urges below…
This Suicide Squad Teaser Just Blew My Mind!
Well, what an eclectic, idiosyncratic and utterly marvellous collection of classic DC villains are showcased in this terrific teaser for James Gunn’s sequel to Suicide Squad! I mean… Ratcatcher, King Shark and Polka Dot Man!? sheer and utter lunacy, and we’re here for it…
Phew! mind blowing stuff huh, and this isn’t even taking into account Zack Snyder’s glorious trailer for his (superior) version of Justice League and the video-game reveal for Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad Game… more on those soon, so why not join us again next time for more Week In Geek.
After an extended hiatus from the world of costumed crimefighters, Batwoman triumphantly returned like the proverbial phoenix in 2006 through the pages of DC’s weekly crossover epic – 52. Batwoman was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956 and made her debut in Detective Comics #233. There have been two notable variants of the character over the decades beginning with Kane and Moldoff’s original take, Kathy Kane, the silver age version. Kathy was originally created to be part of the burgeoning Bat-Family, and a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne, but in 1964 following on from a radical restructure of the Batman universe, Kathy was removed wholesale from Bat-lore by new editor Julius Schwartz.
Aside from a couple of anniversary issues of Detective Comics, Batwoman wasn’t seen again until her revamped reappearance in 2006, re-introduced as Kate Kane. Apart from sharing the same moniker, the two versions of the character couldn’t possibly be more diverse. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for the Caped Crusader, Kate is tough, no nonsense, ex-military and independent of Batman and his cohorts. Also of note is her sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, much was made of this revelation at the time with mostly good but also, unfortunately, some bad press from various media, though ultimately it proved a popular move on DC’s part with many LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character. Kate was a hit and fast became one of DC’s most popular female heroes.
Batwoman: Elegy was a story arc that ran through the pages of Detective Comics #854 – #860, after the comics star Batman had been killed at the hands of DC’s biggest villain Darkseid. Kate filled the void left by his absence and cemented her return to comics and Gotham itself. Written by Greg Rucka and drawn by the phenomenally talented JH Williams III, with the latter going on to become the biggest influence on Kate’s future and success. JH is an extremely talented artist/writer with a visual style almost unsurpassed by his peers, his use of splash pages and the weaving of his art into these carefully constructed panels is stunning. This is arguably JH’s most impressive work, though he went on to replicate this prescient style when he started writing and drawing the ongoing Batwoman comic series in 2010.
Plot Synopsis: Whilst investigating the 13 Religion of Crime covens in Gotham City, Batwoman learns that the coven’s overseer is coming to Gotham. Alice is the name of their new leader, basing herself on Lewis Caroll’s inimitable creation, Batwoman immediately sets out on the trail of Alice but it seems that the coven is also hunting Batwoman for their own nefarious and sinister purposes.
Batwoman: Elegy is a stunning re-introduction of a much loved character into the Batman mythos and is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautifully illustrated comic books ever released. Greg Rucka’s story draws you into the eerie supernatural side of Gotham City and JH Williams’ superbly realised drawing style leaves you breathless. Available as both a softcover and (hard to find) deluxe hardcover, this is highly recommended to all fans of great comics and stunning art.
“I am the shape of things to come, the lord of the flies, holder of the sword sinister… the death-bringer, I am the one who waits on the edge of your dreams… I am Nemesis”
Borag Thungg my fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo, and welcome to another instalment of “Great British Comic Book Characters.” In our last episode we introduced you to the UK’s biggest selling anthology comic of all time, 2000AD and its much celebrated principal star Judge Dredd, from this episode onwards we shall be exploring in detail the plethora of other characters that make up this diverse and innovative weekly comic book compendium.
Demonic alien entity Nemesis made his first appearance in 2000AD in prog #167 in July of 1980, created by writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O’Neill.
Protagonist Nemesis is a fire-breathing alien who opposes the tyrannical and oppressive subjugation and systematic extermination of alien races by the evil human Termight empire and their fascist leader Tomas De Torquemada. His self appointed pursuit of justice against the xenophobic human forces began after discovering that his wife Chira and son Thoth had been murdered by Termite’s terminators under orders from Torquemada himself.
2000AD prog #167 first introduced us to our eponymous alien advocate in a short story entitled “Comic Rock: Terror Tube.” This initial adventure saw our freedom fighting anti-hero escape from the clutches of the then Chief of tube Police, Torquemada, after a sustained chase through a complex tube travel system on a planet named Termight (later revealed to be Earth.) Though for his first ever appearance he was strangely conspicuous by his absence, all the reader saw of Nemesis was the exterior of his ship, the Blitzspear.
Though short, Terror Tube set the scene for the continuing crusade of Nemesis and his lifelong antagonist Torquemada, the Termight Police were modelled closely after the Spanish Inquisition and extreme right wing factions (Torquemada himself was named after notorious Spanish Inquisitor Tomas De Torquemada) which made it rather straightforward for the reader to empathise with the plight of the subjugated alien races and the violent struggle of our titular lead Nemesis. Though Nemesis himself is far from pure and virtuous, with his human aide and confidante Purity Brown ultimately realising that his mission of vengeance was primarily used as an excuse to cover his own hatred of Humanity and his mission to exterminate them from the known Universe.
Our main antagonist Torquemada began his contemptible quest as a young boy, embarking on a crusade to rid the galaxy of aliens. Betrayed by the crusade’s leader he was sold into slavery, ending up as a thrall for an alien race for over five long years. This scarred him badly leaving what little compassion and humility he possessed to be discarded, and his hatred of other lifeforms outside his own, intensified tenfold.
After his stint as tube police chief, he eventually rose to become the overriding leader of the entire Termight empire, with the assistance of his superficially religious police force The Terminators. Later in the series he became a powerful phantom like figure after losing his physical form in a bizarre teleporting accident. He continued his existence and zealous quest through the possession of a succession of host bodies, though these would have to be replaced often as the ostensibly undead host would decay at an escalated rate.
Nemesis’ continuing crusade takes place initially across ten volumes, with the odd short story inter-cutting in various annuals, one-offs and specials. Book one entitled “The World Of Termight” introduced the leading players and set the scene for the epic galaxy spanning war. Each subsequent chapter would add more layers to the expansive storyline, culminating in book ten, “The Final Conflict” which saw both Nemesis and Torquemada deceased at the culmination of the tale.
Like all of Pat Mills’ classic creations (Judge Dredd especially) he drew on real world politics and inherent human prejudices. Nemesis spoke on many levels other than the ones accepted in the comic strip at face value. Bigotry, hatred and fascism were all explored in detail, and none of the leads were of great moral fibre, including our hero Nemesis, who is tainted by much the same abhorrence and repugnance as his arch enemy Torquemada, ultimately leaving this dystopian tale exceedingly ambiguous.
Splundig Vur Thrigg!
Nemesis the Warlock and all imagery copyright: Rebellion
Suffering Sappho! This month’s Wonder Woman cover surely must be a celestial gift from the old gods of Olympus, as artist David Marquez’s captivating celebration of the Themysciran Titan has become one of my fave recent renditions of the warrior princess, and the interior story and art by marvellous Mariko Tamaki and majestic Mikel Janin most certainly live up to the covers powerful promise!
The celebrated creative team up of Tamaki and Janin once again hits all kinds of highs as they bring their visionary mastery to Diana’s ongoing odyssey. Writer Mariko Tamaki is the 2020 Eisner award winning author of the much lauded DC Comics’ YA novel – Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. Interior artist Mikel Janin also provides the glorious goods with his stunning illustrations, riding off the back of his sterling work on Trinity War and Justice League Dark, Janin once again proves to be one of the very best artists currently working in the formidable field of comic-books.
It’s a fresh start for Wondy, as Diana begins to pick up the pieces of her life after her apocalyptic clash against the Four Horsewomen and her run in with the Phantom Stranger. It seems everyone has a view on who Wonder Woman should be – some who look on her heroics as admirable, and others who lie in wait, seeking revenge. A familiar threat is seemingly watching Diana’s every move, and now seems the perfect time to strike…
Wonder Woman #759 is a bold new start for Diana, and is a fantastic starting point for new readers of Zeus’ favoured daughter. Plenty of over the top superheroics are involved, of course, but also the mundane every day tasks that us mere mortals must travel through, with Diana perusing furniture at her local IKEA!! It’s these more grounded moments that I love the most, with Diana’s quirky fish out of water personality shining through, masterfully woven by the titanically talented Tamaki, with gorgeously rendered art by Mikel Janin who showcases some absolutely stunning splash-pages. Highly Recommended.
I mean, you’re not more evil than a SuperVillain, right? Wearing a mask protects yourself, your loved ones and everyone else… Be a Superhero, wear a mask!
Faora, Bane, Deadshot and Deathstroke are copyright: DC Comics.
You may have noticed… I’m a DC Comics fanatic, I grew up living and breathing their fictional worlds since the age of six when I first discovered the dark and surly one known as, The Batman. At age nine I encountered the astonishing Amazon, Wonder Woman for the first time and she quickly became my favourite comic book character of all time, even surpassing my adoration for the Caped Crusader.
Over many years I have immersed myself in the continuing stories, relationships and camaraderie of the many spandex clad heroes and villains of DC’s universe, there was one hero though, who wasn’t part of DC lore, he didn’t exist in the same universe as Wondy, Bats, Starfire and all the other characters I adore, this indigo hued interloper into my safe environment of a comic-book company I love was the hero that actually started it all, the original masked crime-fighter, The Ghost Who Walks… The Phantom!
Published by Dynamite comics under licence from King Features Syndicate, the Last Phantom is a modern retelling of the 21st Phantom, Kitridge Walker, who forsakes his centuries long heritage as a masked crime-fighter, instead choosing to help the people of his home of Bengali (aka Bengalla) through his charitable organisation Walkabout. But after his wife and son are killed by forces looking to control Benagali for their own nefarious purpose, Kit must begrudgingly take up the mantle of his forebears and show the world that wherever darkness and evil dwells, The Phantom will always be close by.
This particular retelling of the classic Phantom of old has been rather divisive amongst fans, the Kit Walker portrayed here is very much a divergent character to the noble and clean cut hero of yore, but that is the point of a modern reboot, to bring the character kicking and screaming into the present, making him more contemporary for newer audiences. This book does that, and rather wonderfully too, a story of redemption and the honouring of one’s heritage and birthright. This new Phantom may be different from his progenitors, but he still stands for the same morals and precepts of all the Phantoms who came before him.
This fresh reiteration of the Man Who Cannot Die has actually become one of my favourite versions of the character. An absorbing and enthralling tale awaits, fellow phans, delivered by super scribe Scott Beatty, with fantastic interior art by Eduardo Ferigato, not forgetting the absolutely astonishing covers by the habitually sublime Alex Ross, who pays homage to both new and old variants of Kit Walker’s classic character. Highly recommended.