Dark Horse Set to Publish Smite: The Pantheon War Graphic Novel

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on May 14, 2016.

smiteSmite: Battleground of the Gods, the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game developed and produced by Hi-Rez Studios, has moved into the realm of comics with the help of Dark Horse Comics who has announced a collected edition for its three-issue digital-first series Smite: The Pantheon War, for later this year.

Written by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars, Mass Effect), co-writer Jack Banish, and artist Eduardo Francisco (Eve: Valkyrie, Captain Midnight), Smite: The Pantheon War follows the looming war between the various pantheons over the course of its three-issue arc.

Here’s the official description for the series:

It is an age where gods live among the mortals over which they rule. The worship of mortals is needed by the gods to maintain their divinity—but the number of gods has swelled, and there are fewer mortal faithful for the individual gods in each pantheon. Only the gods who maintain worshipers will survive, and so tensions are rising among the pantheons. There is an uneasy peace…but peace is not desired by all!

Smite: The Pantheon War is set to release on December 28, 2016.

Source- darkhorse.com

The Goon Movie May Still be Happening

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on April 13, 2016.

In 2012, Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler launched a Kickstarter campaign to adapt Eric Powell’s comic series The Goon into an animated film. Since then, David Fincher has signed on to produce, but updates on the project have been few and far between leading many to think that the project had been canned for good. It seemed liked studios just weren’t interested in financially bringing an R rated comic book movie to life but now that Miller’s R rated Deadpool movie has been breaking records everywhere, it seems as though interest in the project may be sparking up again.

In a recent interview with Collider, Miller offered some news about The Goon film and explained how Deadpool’s success has caused studios to show a renewed interest in the project.

“If Deadpool shined any light in the direction of the studio, we wanna use some of that light to shine it on Goon. So we’ve been doing a lot of work lately, we did some voiceover last week.”

“I do think that there is a corollary. Deadpool proves it, in a big way, that there is a market for this stuff out there… Goon is very much an action—it’s got a lot of heart, it’s got a lot of comedy, it’s got a lot of similarities to what I think was successful in Deadpool, and so I think it’s not a stretch to compare those two things and say the world is a little more ready than they used to be for this kind of material. In the past, there’s reasons why The Goon wasn’t made, it’s because people were afraid of edgy animation. Now I think that Deadpool has proved that the audience is out there in a bigger way than some people thought.”

The Kickstarter money was used to produce an 85-minute animatic as a proof of concept to show studios the entire film in their pitch. Now that interest has picked back up, they aren’t wasting any of the opportunities.

“Before we did our Kickstarter, we did a whole round with the studios, so we went down, Jeff and me, sometimes Fincher, sometimes Josh Donnen, and we went to all the studios and did our pitch for The Goon. We had a really beautiful pitch, we had a test piece, we had our book, we had all this stuff and at that time it was a $50 million project and we couldn’t get anybody to bite. Everybody loved it, but nobody would do it. So we went back and reworked the price a little bit and decided we were gonna take it out again, and right before we did that this demand to do a Kickstarter came up and then we said, ‘Okay fuck it, we’ll wait, we’ll do the Kickstarter, and then we can literally show executives the whole film. Here’s the film, you don’t have to listen to me tell you what it’s going to be, you can see what it’s going to be.’ And that’s what we did.”

“We haven’t taken it back out yet, but I can honestly say, without saying who, there has been a number of calls now—for years it didn’t happen—saying, ‘Hey we hear you have this Goon project. When can we see it? What can we see?’ Jeff and I re-recorded some V.O. for the animatic last week, we’re doing some more week after next with a very prominent movie star. We know we’ve got a really good shot here and we wanna put our best foot forward.”

While Miller will most likely be busy with Deadpool 2 in the near future, it sounds like he and Fowler are still pretty eager to get The Goon off the ground and running. Hopefully Deadpool’s success as an R movie and as Miller’s first directorial film will be just the kind of push forward that the The Goon needs to move onto their next big step towards making it a reality.

Source- Collider

Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens Crossover Coming Summer 2016

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on April 12, 2016.

During the Dark Horse panel at Emerald City Comic Con, it was announced that Dark Horse, IDW, and 2000 AD will be teaming up to create a comic book crossover mini-series this summer, titled, Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens. John Layman (Chew) will be writing the series, alongside artist Chris Mooneyham (Predator: Fire and Stone), while Glenn Fabry (Preacher) will provide the covers.

Here’s a description of the crossover from Dark Horse’s official press release:

“The crossover pits the legendary lawman Judge Dredd against the universe’s supreme hunters, the Predators, as they both try to survive an onslaught by the galaxy’s ultimate killing machines, the Aliens!

Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson have tracked a criminal cult across the Cursed Earth and into the Alabama morass, where a mad genetic scientist with destructive designs has acquired the best genes that evolution has to offer—a xenomorph skull!

A Predator, attracted to the warm climate and superior prey, has declared hunting season as he calls for backup. All paths will cross in a mind-blowing sci-fi showdown with the fate of the Earth at stake!”

“We open the book with a crashlanded predator, and instead of being the hunter, as usual, the predator is the prey,” said Layman in an interview with io9. “He’s crashlanded in a jungle overgrowth in the middle of the Cursed Earth, where he is pursued by an Island of Dr. Moreau group of man-animal hybrids, creations of a crazed genetic engineer. And this crazed scientist recovers not just the predator, but some of the predator’s hunting trophies—including a Xenomorph skull, and the Xenomorph’s DNA contained therein. You can probably see where this is headed, but add to it Dredd chasing the robot leader of an apocalypse death cult, and everybody on a collision course. Then shit gets nuts!”

Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #1 will hit stands on July 27, 2016.

Source- io9

New Avatar: The Last Airbender Graphic Novel Announced

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on February 19, 2016.

At the recent ComicsPRO retailer summit, Dark Horse Comics revealed some details on the next installment of their Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel line.

Writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Gurihiru will be returning to work on Avatar: The Last Airbender—North and South after working on the previous graphic novels in the series. The Dark Horse Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels are the in-canon continuation of the story of Avatar Aang and the adventures of Team Avatar after the defeat of the Fire Nation. They were created in conjunction with Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

“When Aang leaves to aid Zuko with the Kemurikage, Katara and Sokka return to the Southern Water Tribe by themselves. Katara is shocked to find that her beloved village has become a bustling city, with none other than their father, Hakoda, in charge! A Northerner named Malina seems to be behind this change, pushing the North and South to be more unified…but what are her true goals?”

Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South Part One goes on sale Sept. 28, 2016, Part Two arrives on January 25, 2017, and Part Three will be released on April 26, 2017.

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Source- CBR

REVIEW: Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on December 18, 2015.

I’ve been on a pretty big Star Wars kick lately due to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So to satiate my hunger for more Star Wars stories, I looked over my book collection once again and decided to reread Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead.

Written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Chris Scalf, Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead is a short four-issue story that is apparently part of a larger series but thankfully you don’t need to have to read any them if you just want to pick up this one. All of the events in this story are non-canon so don’t expect it to tie in or match up with anything in the movies.

The infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett has fallen at the hands of an elite group of soldiers at the word of a shady benefactor. Fett’s killers soon get picked off one by one by a mysterious assassin. Connor Freeman, the son of one of Jango Fett’s clones, gets drawn into the whole mess and is recruited against his will to find and safeguard a particular bounty hunter on a distant world with an unknown connection to Boba Fett.

This is a really neat but simple story. I’ll admit, I’m a Boba Fett fan. I know he wasn’t given much to do in the movies but I still just like his character. It was neat to see the whole detective angle of this series as the mysterious man (whose identity I felt was obvious) track down each of the killers and then how he disposed of them all. The action scenes are written really well and look almost like something from one of the films. I did feel that the reason why the villain wanted Fett killed was pretty weak in terms of motivation, but then again not everyone always needs a major reason for wanting someone else dead and with Fett’s line of work you would probably have a long list of enemies out for your blood. I also wasn’t entirely a fan of Conner at first. He comes off as a little whiney but he did have a few moments where I genuinely got a laugh out of him. Especially when he interacted with another character later in the story who I will not bring up—spoiler potential. I’m sure that if I read the previous Blood Ties book I’d get a better idea of Connor but otherwise he’s just ok.

I have mixed feelings on the art. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t always work. Things like the backgrounds, action scenes, vehicles, armor, and creatures look really gorgeous with this style and it’s totally well suited for this kind of action sci-fi story. The art doesn’t work, for me at least, when it comes to some of the human and alien characters. For the most part they look fine but in some panels their hands and faces just look so weird and distorted–especially in the close-up shots. At some points the coloring on the hands and fingers look like they’re blending into the background. It is passable I guess, but still just so weird to look at when compared to everything else.

VERDICT

Star Wars: Blood Ties – Boba Fett Is Dead is a simple, short, and enjoyable story from start to finish. Sure the art is off in places, the surprises are lackluster, and the villain is weak, but I didn’t want an award winner. I wanted a simple, enjoyable story to pass the time and that’s what I got here. It’s not a major space epic but still good enough to hold your interest.

FINAL SCORE: 7 out of 10

REVIEW: Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on December 9, 2015.

With the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens just weeks away, I’ve been preparing by rewatching all of the movies, viewing the TV shows, and reading some of the comic books. Since most of the Expanded Universe is no longer canon, most of the books that I have are made up of stories that no longer take place in the same universe as the films. So instead of reading the non-canon books or the very few Marvel Star Wars comics that I own, I decided to take a look at the only other piece of canon material that was in my comic library, Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir.

Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir by writer Jeremy Barlow and artist Juan Frigeri, is a four-part mini series that continues Darth Maul’s story after the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The Clone Wars was a popular animated television series that ran from 2008-2014 and took place between the events of Episode’s II (Attack of the Clones) and III (Revenge of the Sith). The show was canceled in its sixth season when Disney bought Lucasfilm, but several of its characters and plot lines were followed up on in its sequel series, Star Wars: Rebels. While the fate of some of the characters from Clone Wars has been answered in Rebels and other canon stories, the one thing that was still on my mind was what had happened to Darth Maul after the last time we saw him during that huge cliffhanger ending. Originally, I hated the idea of bringing a supposedly dead character who was chopped in half with a lightsaber back to life, but I liked what Clone Wars was doing with Maul’s character and was really invested with where his tale of family and revenge was going. Thankfully his story didn’t end with the show since this comic was actually adapted from several unproduced screenplays for episodes of season six that never got made.

Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir starts where we left off after the events of “The Lawless,”episode sixteen of season five, with a defeated Maul being held prisoner by Darth Sidious. Maul is then quickly freed by two members of his Mandalorian army and goes on the run with them to take the fight to his former master once again. The rest of the story from here on out is about Sidious, Count Dooku, General Grievous, and their forces chasing and engaging with Maul and his criminal empire in order to weaken him and force him to fall back so that their real target, Mother Talzin will come out of hiding to help save Maul from the Sith.

I really enjoyed this story on a number of levels. Everything that occurred here felt like something that I could actually see happening in three to four episodes of the show which in a way, is also a bit of a double-edged sword. While it was great to see these unaired episodes brought to life, the story as a whole feels kind of rushed since I’m sure that a lot of material was cut out and condensed to fit into a four issue series. While I would have liked to have seen more storyline, I’m still happy with what we got in the end. The art here is also great to look at–very detailed and colorful especially during the big battle scenes and when it came to the designs of the characters like the Mandalorians.

VERDICT

Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir is a short fast paced story that answers some unresolved questions from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While this did not give us full closure on Darth Maul’s story, it did end his tale at a good place for now and it helps to set up for his return in the next Star Wars–story whether it be a novel, another comic, in Star Wars: Rebel’s, or maybe even in another movie one day.

FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10

REVIEW: Predator: Fire and Stone

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on July 20, 2015

I’m sure that most of you noticed by now that I am a Mortal Kombat fan after reading my review on that book. With the iconic alien creature Predator now a playable character in the game, I’ve had a bit of a Predator kick lately. I rewatched the movies (the good ones) and even started reading a few of the comics starting with this one, Predator: Fire and Stone. 

Predator: Fire and Stone by Joshua Williamson and Christopher Mooneyham, is the fourth part of an ongoing series set up in the Dark Horse comic universe which encompasses the Alien, Predator, and Prometheus franchises. I didn’t know that was the case when I picked this title up and thought it was simply a standalone story. There is a brief summary at the beginning which goes over the previous events which occurred in the story, but I will look at this as someone who did not pick up those other books and just wanted to read a cool Predator book. After all, every comic is someone’s first and whether or not a book serves as a good entry point is something worth considering.

The story in Predator: Fire and Stone follows a man named Galgo as he is reluctantly brought back to the planet LV-223 (not to be confused with LV-426, the setting of the first and second Alien films) which is filled with xenomorphs and other feral creatures by a Predator named Ahab so that they can help guide him to the next target of his hunt, an Engineer.

The story is pretty simple and a bit short but, unlike with the Mortal Kombat series, this series does it much better. With Mortal Kombat, it felt as if the writers attempted to stuff as much as they could into the little space they had. Contrast that to Predator: Fire and Stone, which is filled with action and character development, something I would rather have in a book. I’m not looking for anything groundbreaking in a Predator story, just something enjoyable, which is what I feel that I got here.

At first the two leads end up starting as enemies but, over the course of the four issues, they start to bond a little and become comrades in arms. Galgo starts off  as a selfish prick who is willing to boot one of his crew mates out of an airlock in order to kill Ahab. Towards the end, he sacrifices his one chance to escape the planet and risks his life in order to save the Predator from dying at the Engineer’s hands. Galgo is still a bit of a jerk, but its nice to see someone redeemable go through a character evolution like this. Since I never read any of the previous books, I don’t really know what the full extent of his character’s journey is. That said, Predator: Stone and Fire was good enough that maybe I’ll pick them up at some point just to see. On the other hand, Ahab is just simply awesome. He is a seasoned warrior covered with scars who wears the trophies of his previous kills, and always looks for his next challenge. That is how you make a Predator. The human/Predator team up is something which isn’t really all that new to the franchise, as we’ve kind of seen it happen a few times in some of the films. That said, this is the first time that I’ve seen it done well. If 20th Century Fox ever decides to make a new Predator movie, it would be great to see that concept used as well as it is in Predator: Fire and Stone.

As much as I enjoyed the characters and the story of the is book, I’ll admit that the art just wasn’t the best fit. It comes off as a bit scratchy at some points but it did grow on me as I read on. It didn’t ruin the expressiveness of the characters or the dynamicism of the fight scenes for me, but it may not succeed as well for every reader.

VERDICT

Predator: Fire and Stone is a short and simple story with so-so art, good characters, great homage to the Predator franchise, and awesome fight scenes. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s still a fun journey which will make you want to turn to the next page in anticipation and excitement. 

FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10