PREVIEW: Executive Assistant: Assassins #7

The Extinction begins in EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: ASSASSINS #7 from Vince Hernandez, Jordan Gunderson and Teo Gonzalez and is in comic books stores on the 16th January 2013.

The return of Executive Assistants Orchid and Lotus can only result in one possible outcome—more bloodshed! As Lily and Aster struggle to find a way to get to and kill the EA killer, Mazutsu, the pair quickly realize it’s better to make amends and unite as group, or risk dying as individuals as the “Executive Extinction” crossover continues!

All Images © Aspen Comics

 

Interview: David Schwartz on Wrapping up Idolized

IDOLIZED #5 Cover B Rachel Clark
IDOLIZED #5 Cover B Rachel Clark

This month Aspen Comics will release the final issue of the current volume of their first ever superhero series – Idolized but that doesn’t mean we’re in for a happy ending. The initial pitch by David was delivered to Aspen Comics after having worked on Fathom and Ember, part of the process in building this comic also involved an online voting for character appearances, a lot of work has gone into building this comic from inception to delivery. The preview issue #0  which came out back in the summer of 2012 and gave us a teaser of what to expect from issues #1-4. Idolized is the tale of Redemption and Revenge and takes reality television to the next level. Issue #4 ended leaving our protagonists, life in the balance – what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Geeks Unleashed: So with one issue left of the final chapter in the first volume of IDOLIZED, Joule’s looking like she’s in some hot water. With next issue being the last of this volume can we assume that no one is safe?

David Schwartz: You can definitely assume that. With Stasis aiming to upend all of the world’s largest corporate and governmental institutions, no one in the entire world is safe. And, yes, someone key to the series does definitely die in issue 5. But, that’s all I can tell you for now (he says, smirking wickedly…).

GU: You must be pretty satisfied bring Joule’s story full circle from the preview issue to the end of issue #4 which hinted at this ending, has it been hard going bring this story to the point you needed it to be?

DBS: It was actually all mapped out from the start. I tend to outline an entire story arc before I ever get started on scripting any of the individual issues, and so I had a fairly detailed path to get to where we are now.

What’s been hard has been getting it all to fit in to just 5 issues. It just wasn’t enough to tell the story I wanted to tell, and to give the characters the depth I wanted to provide. So, we came up with the idea of the extra content in the back of each issue in order to help flesh out the world of IDOLIZED, and I’ve really enjoyed being able to work on those. But, as we came down to these final two issues, I came to realize that I really needed more space to do the story justice, so issue 5 is going to be 32 pages instead of the standard 20. I wish we could’ve had even more space than that, but I think we’ve done a really solid job of creating an entire world, and telling an epic story, in just 5 issues.

GU: Although we know Joule will be facing off against Stasis will we be seeing a resolve to Joule’s character? Especially with her conflicting emotions of revenge and redemption?

DBS: Yes, there’s definitely a resolution there. We absolutely get to see a full arc with Joule. Now, whether or not she’s able to maintain her new-found equilibrium in Volume 2 is another story…

GU: With this being the final part of volume one, how is looking for volume two?

DBS: No definite start date yet (we’re all focused on Aspen’s big 10-for-10 initiative at the moment). But we’re all hoping to be able to continue the franchise long into the future. I’ve definitely got some ideas for what numerous future storylines would look like. Between the Top 10 contestants, the judges, the Protectors, and all of the other dozens of characters we’ve introduced in volume 1, there are an unlimited number of stories we could tell, and lots of opportunities for meaningful social commentary, humor, drama and emotion.

GU: If Idolized continues will it focus on the character of Joule or will this be a like a television show and next volume also be next season?

DBS: Let’s just say that those two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive concepts. It may just be both…

Preview Pages from Issue #5:

All Images © Aspen Comics. 
 
> ADVANCED REVIEW: Idolized #4
> Interview: David Schwartz on Idolized from August 2012 

Aspen Comics Unveils Full Slate of “10 for 10” titles and Jam Poster

As we enter the New Year not only will Micheal Turner’s Fathom be celebrating 15 years, Aspen Comics will also be hitting the 10-year-old mark and as part of this celebration Aspen will be launching ten issue #1’s with each issue only being $1. The full list of titles and release dates are as follows:

Here’s the order as they’re listed below along with their corresponding launch month: Legend of the Shadow Clan (February), Shrugged (March), Jirni (April), Charismagic volume 2 (May), BubbleGun (June), The All New Fathom (July), Awaken Skies/Overtaken (August), Executive Assistant: Iris volume 4 (September), Trish Out of Water (October) and All New Soulfire (November).

Jam Poster Layout
Aspen “10 for 10” Jam Poster © Aspen Comics

To add the this celebration Aspen also be introducing several initiatives in store and online. Fans will be able to obtain special “Reserved Editions” by adding the “10 for 10” titles to their pulllist. Fans who purchase all ten of the “10 for 10” releases will be eligible to receive “Perfect Tens” poster and “Reserved Edition”.

Fans will able to vote online and in-store via ballot boxes for their own adventure for August’s “10 for 10”  between two all new series: Awaken Skies and Overtaken.

Stay tuned to Geeks Unleashed for more news as it comes.

London Super Comic Convention – Fourth Wave of Creators Announced

Geeks Unleashed are pleased to announce the fourth wave of creators attending London Super Comic Con,  the following names have confirmed they will be attending at the Excel Centre in London on the 23rd and 24th February:

London-Super-Comic-Convention

Dan Slott (Amazing Spider-Man), Neil Edwards (Fantastic Four), Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers), Jamie Mckelvie (Young Avengers), Simon Furman (Transformers: Regeneration One), Al Davidson (Doctor Who), Simon Davis (2000AD), Ian Edginton (2000AD), Adi Granov (Avengers), Erik Hendrix (Intrinsic), Peter Hogan (Resident Alien), Kevin Hopgood (2000AD), Frazer Irvine (Gutsville), John-Paul Bove (Transformers: ReGeneration 1), Marco Santucci (Secret Invasion), Ralph Tedesco (Se7en), Marco Turini (Squadron Supreme) and Chris Weston (The Authority).

> Interview with the Organisers of the London Super Comic Convention

PREVIEW: Harbinger #0

The Omega Age Begins in HARBINGER #0
Valiant have sent across preview pages issue #0 which goes on sale on 6th February 2013 by Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier) and  artists Mico Suayan (Batman: The Dark KnightThe Punisher) and Pere Pérez (Aquaman)! Harbinger came in at number 14 on Geeks Unleashed’s Top Twenty Comics of 2012.
Long ago, in the aftermath of history’s first atomic holocaust, Toyo Harada discovered a vision for the perfect future – one that he has vowed to realize with or without the consent of the human race. With a private army of hyper-telekinetics at his side, this omega-powered harbinger of humanity’s potential has spent decades reshaping the world to conform to his will. Now here, for the very first time, witness the origin and rise to power of this malevolent mind that would destroy the Valiant Universe rather than see it slip through his fingers.
HARBINGER #0 – ON SALE FEBRUARY 6th!
Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by MICO SUAYAN & PERE PEREZ
Cover by MICO SUAYAN (DEC121260)
Pullbox Exclusive Variant by CLAYTON HENRY & CLAYTON CRAIN (DEC121261)
Wraparound Gatefold Variant by LEWI

All Images Copyright Valiant Comics 

World of Webcomic News: New Chapter for Crossed: Wish You Were Here

Avatar Press have released the latest chapter of Crossed: Wish You Were Here which is an adults-only web comic written by Si Spurrier’s (X-Men Legacy, 2000AD) which is now live and is being released  for free as an 8-page chapter from Avatar Press every Thursday. If you aren’t familiar with Crossed then you can read our review of the previous installments here.

Crossed: Wish You Were Here. Crossed © Garth Ennis
Crossed: Wish You Were Here. Crossed © Garth Ennis

The first 22 chapters of Crossed: Wish You Were Here has been released trade paper back form and is available in comic shops and online or you can read the individual web chapters from the beginning for free by clicking here.

ComicBurst: Morbius: The Living Vampire #1, Punisher: Nightmare #1 and Great Pacific #3

COMICBURST

Comic Bursts is the first installment of a regular column here at Geeks Unleashed with mini bursts of the latest comic reviews. The first installment is brought to you by Guest Writer Chris Romero.

Morbius: The Living Vampire #1 

Morbius The Living Vampire #1 © Marvel Comics
Morbius The Living Vampire #1 © Marvel

Morbuis doesn’t really resemble much of a terrifying vampire, but more like my neighborhood paperboy! Writer Joe Keatinge’s debut of Morbius: The Living Vampire showcases a seemingly young vampire, donned in baggy jeans and a hoodie, attempting to find his niche in this crazy world. What better way to find yourself than flee to a poverty-stricken, crime-riddled hole of a town? That’s exactly where Keatinge takes us with his take on a Marvel villain who’s been around since the early 70’s. This book’s story isn’t what I was expecting based on Gabriele Dell’Otto’s frightening cover. Keatinge establishes Morbius with flashbacks of his childhood, and drives the story with a good deal of internal dialogue serving as narration. The style works for this issue, but I hope we see less of it in the future; in favor of allowing the events to tell Morbius’ story. The vampire’s enemy in this book, a small-time townie criminal, seems weak to the core with little personality. Oh, and he looks like a street thug right out of the first Police Academy movie. Richard Nelson’s artwork captures the action well; he definitely isn’t shy of blood. This title’s debut may not blow your mind, but it has potential.

Rating: Returned/Resisted/Recommended/Required

Punisher: Nightmare #1 of 5

Punisher Nightmare #1 © Marvel Comics
Punisher Nightmare #1 © Marvel Comics

With the dramatic conclusion of Greg Rucka’s The Punisher series, fans have been left wanting more gory vengeance at the hands of New York City vigilante Frank Castle. Rucka’s recent release of the mini-seriesPunisher: War Zone has only wet our appetites, so it’s up to writer Scott M. Gimple to serve up the rest of the feast! Punisher: Nightmare #1 wastes no time unleashing Castle’s vendetta on violent street thugs as he goes to town on a sorry punk’s skull with a curbside memorial candle—yeah, that’s right—he uses a candle to put the guy out of his misery! Gimple, along with artist Mark Texeira doesn’t allow us to put our guard down for a second; reminding us of Castle’s motives. This introduction transitions well into book’s main plot: Castle is on the hunt to take down the culprits of the gruesome murder of a veteran’s wife and child. Gimple’s writing includes a good amount of first person point of view narration of both Castle and the Army veteran Jake Niman. This technique may come across as a bit overkill for some older Punisher fans who already are familiar with his origins, but can attract newer readers with its serious tone. Gimple has done a decent job setting the stage for what can be an entertaining series with a twist of a cliffhanger, but the story’s premises isn’t new: Castle hunts mobsters, teams up with bitter parent, delivers massive beatdown, etc., etc. Texeira’s artwork is the strength of this book: his colors are dark and gritty—perfect for a story about revenge. Although not a new concept for Castle, it’s still a series worth following as of now.

 

Rating: Returned/Resisted/Recommended/Required

 

Great Pacific #3

Great Pacific #3 © Image Comics
Great Pacific #3 © Image Comics

I don’t know about you, but if cute French women fell from the sky into my lap I’d call that a good day! The only flaw (ok, maybe it’s appealing) with this pretty pilot who finds herself stranded on a heaping mount of trash called New Texas with protagonist Chas Worthington is that she has one heck of an attitude! Image Comics’ third installment of Great Pacific tracks a disoriented and down on his luck Chas as attempts to establish his newly founded country on the Great Pacific Gyre (yes, it’s on a huge mountain of garbage bigger than what can be found in the passenger seat of your car) after being attacked by group of angry natives and a huge Octopus by the name of Yalafath—sushi never looked this angry! Writer Joe Harris strives for characterization in this issue; exploring a piece of Chas’ childhood that’s surrounded by the events of his father’s death, along with some words of wisdom from his grandfather that move the narration forward. Harris introduces us to a new character with a mysterious motive. Great Pacific’s plot is taking an interesting twist in this book; Harris steers his focus from Chas to the giant squid and the pilot—both sure to be key characters. Although lacking character facial expression, Martin Morazzo’s artwork remains consistent, and his portrayal of New Texas is intriguing. Great Pacific is a solid, quick read—it may not be among my top ten titles out right now, but it’s definitely on the brink of cracking the list.

Rating: Returned/Resisted/Recommended/Required

PREVIEW: Harvest #5

Harvest #5, written by AJ Lieberman with artwork by Colin Lorimer, is published by Image Comics and is scheduled for release this Wednesday, January 2nd. The issue is the final one in the miniseries, which made it into Top 20 Comics of 2012, has been most enjoyable and is highly recommended, and we have a six page preview.

Unfortunately, everything for Ben has gone wrong – his patient has been kidnapped, the FBI are closing in and he’s bleeding out; even with the help of the Yakuza and the six year old kid on his shoulder, will he survive?

“This miniseries makes the cut” – return to the comic store and buy.

In The Court of the Crimson King: On a Restless Crusade with Ray Wylie Hubbard

Ray Wylie Hubbard © savingcountrymusic
Ray Wylie Hubbard © savingcountrymusic

Crouched on a suitcase full of tall tales, wearing a bandanna crammed with irreverent lyrics, and swinging a right hand to slay even the harshest rhythm critic, Ray Wylie Hubbard, aka the Wylie Lama, is one of the old timers and a long-established member of country royalty. Keen to get the lowdown on his 2013 UK Tour, I poured myself a bourbon and spent some time with the unofficial King of the Lone Star State.

Geeks Unleashed: As far as I can tell you are a die-hard Texas man, but you were born in Soper, Oklahoma. Which state is your true spiritual home?

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Since my spirit is still inside me for the time being, I would have to say Texas is my home but I do love playing them Okie gigs.

GU: A bit of a two-part question this. Firstly, what is the back story to the Ballad of the Crimson Kings and secondly, did the skies open in a ray of light when you came up with “then there are those condemned by the gods to write, they sparkle and they fade away?”

RWH: I like the idea of a band whose purpose is to bleed when they play rather than just show off, and of course the best band name ever was King Crimson (except for Quick Silver Messenger Service). So using a band as a metaphor, it seemed apparent there are those who have blind faith and others who will not pray and then there are those condemned to write… whether they ever have any success at it or not. Explains why I still do this.

GU: Do you have a career highlight?

RWH: There have been too many, but here’s partial list: singing with Ringo at Radio City Music Hall at his birthday party; seeing my son jam with Joe Walsh on Snake Farm; playing guitar with Manse Lipscomb in when I was 19, playing poker with Freddie King, drinking with Townes Van Zant; smoking with Willie Nelson; doing coke with Waylon Jennings; writing with Ronnie Dunn, drinking with Lightning Hopkins; doing the Jimmy Fallon TV show, backing up BP Fallen; hanging out with Tony Joe White; opening for Ernest Tubb; scoring Ron Shock some codeine…yeah I’ve had a few.

The Crimson king and drinking buddy of Townes Van Zant © bigjacksramble
The Crimson King and drinking buddy of Townes Van Zant © bigjacksramble

GU: That’s the spirit! Which of your albums has given you the greatest satisfaction?

RWH: Loco Gringo’s Lament was the first album I did that didn’t come with excuses.

GU: What make of guitar do you use?

RWH: My favorite is a 58 Gibson Southern Jumbo body with a 49 J45 neck and an old 60’s Dearmond pickup. A cat here in Wimberley named Tony Nobles put it all together for me. If you’re gonna make a Frankenstein monster you need inspiration and lightning.

GU: Cool man, I can get down with that. My battered old strat is a hybrid monstrosity. Anyway… where and what is the infamous John T’s Country Store?

RWH: It is a honky tonk west of San Antonio in Helotes, Texas. Willie [Nelson] got his start there.

GU: What do you make of popular music today?

RWH: I really don’t listen to popular music or country at all. I prefer to listen to my friends like James McMurtry, Hayes Carll, Slaid Cleaves, Chris Robinson. Seems it is pretty sad state of affairs when rock or country stars are decided by a game show.

GU: And I quote, “just has three chords, hasn’t even got a minor in it and its kinda embarrassing.” What are your actual thoughts behind Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother?

RWH: Aw man. It is the song that refuses to die! I wrote it as an answer to ‘ Haggard’s Fighting Side of Me, and lo and behold the people I wrote it for to make fun of start singing it!

GU: S’pose you could call it free publicity? Tell me a little about the bands and session musicians you work with.

RWH: I’m at that age where its ‘get the gig..then get a band.’ I do solo gigs or go out with drummer Rick Richards or Kyle Scheider, or I’ll add Lucas my son on guitar. If I need a full band I will get George Reiff or Jon Michael on bass. For recording I use these guys, plus different guitar players who will work best for each particular song: Deric O’Brian, Billy Cassis, Audley Freed, Gurf Morlix, Llyod Maines, Brad Rice. Just how I work.

GU: In reference to Conversation with the Devil, are you more of a see the light kinda guy or have you felt the heat?

RWH: I prefer spiritual awakening to religious conversion, and don’t want to commit to anything too fast so I’m kind of a slug when it comes to things like that.

GU: What’s next for Ray Wylie Hubbard? And when will we see you in the UK?

RWH: I’ve been writing songs with other cats, and got my Grit and Groove Festival in April (which you should come to). I’m also kinna half-ass writing a book and working on another screenplay for a film. As for the UK, I am working to come over there in the fall of 2013.

GU: We’ll see if we can get somebody to cover it!

RWH: Hey thanks for thinking of me. Hope the answers work for you.

More information on Ray can be found here: http://www.raywylie.com/

The Reviews of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, 1: Steel and Snow (Game of Thrones #3.5)

AStormOfSwordsPart1
‘The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall.

 Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne.

And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.’

Sooo… I didn’t actually plan to do this until the week before A Game of Thrones returned to our screens but no man can be the master of their fate and I received both volumes of A Storm of Swords as a Christmas present. Of course, it would have been rude if I didn’t read them immediately. On that note, Merry Christmas! Welcome to the New Year, Ser.

To recap briefly, Steel and Snow picks up (more or less) where book two, A Clash of Kings, or season two of the HBO show left off. Or does it? The chronology of the book is interesting, as it begins in what you might call the ‘past’, that is, it fills in events not mentioned at the end of the last book. This could be considered as an unusual move as no-one really wants to cover old ground, but if it was a risk, it definitely paid off. The Ice and Fire universe is one that is heavily invested in storytelling. As an epic narrative, it relies on the confluence of people and events that are all causally related to form the plot. So, for the plot to remain coherent, Martin fills in the gaps that you may not have even noticed at the close of the last book (or season, WATEVAH).

To the plot, then. I won’t give anything away because my boyfriend will leave me if I spoil anything but it is incredibly well-developed. Character development is organic, interesting and sympathetic. A common lament of Martin’s readers is that he writes his characters in a sympathetic, likeable way and then kills them. Kills all of our favourite characters, even. This may or may not be true (I haven’t read enough to confirm or deny) but I will say that Martin seems to delight in raising certain expectations and then ‘subverting’ them in a way that, upon reflection, was always going to happen. I touched upon this in my first Ice and Fire review, when I said that problems don’t find instant resolution (here’s that video link again, I have come to appreciate this as a song in its own right, forgive me) and this is increasingly the case as Ice and Fire progresses. However, Steel and Snow is just the close prelude to the events of Blood and Gold– can it be that we have resolution is the second volume?

FIND OUT NEXT WEEK!

Subtle.source: http://ppmoody.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/suspense_collection_1-0.jpg
Subtle.
Source: Film Clips 
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