Friday, July 4, 2014

UNITED STATES OF MURDER INC #1 | Rating/Review

Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Michael Avon Oeming
DOUBLE-SIZED FOR REGULAR PRICE!

From the creators of the Eisner Award-winning, best-selling POWERS comes a brand-new world of crime fiction like you've never seen before. In this oversized first issue, you will discover a world in which the families of organized crime never lost their stranglehold on the United States. Today is the day that Valentine Gallo becomes a made man, and it's also the day he learns the secrets behind the organization he has served since he was old enough to walk. But it is mysterious hitwoman Jagger Rose that will forever turn his life upside down. Be there when shocking secrets of this new world spill out onto the very past page. This bold new vision of crime fiction hearkens back to Bendis' earliest work in crime comics, while also giving you everything you expect from the creators of POWERS, one of the most successful and longest-lasting independent comics in history.

Download preview pages here.

Bendis doing what he truly does best, writes crime fiction in a stylized world. Oeming's art is, well, it's Omeing: beautiful, stylized, and something all his own. An interesting "hook" first issue that leaves me wanting more. Art=4/4 - Story 3/4

Trent's Rating: 3.5/4 ATOMIC BETA MeV's

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 | Rating/Review

Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
(W) Mike Benson (A) Tan Eng Huat, Craig Yeung (CA) Dave Johnson

MURDER! MYSTERY! MARTIAL ARTS!
A former lover of Shang-Chi's is murdered in cold blood while working deep undercover for MI-6. When Shang-Chi travels to England to pay his respects he learns all is not as it seems, and if he's not careful he may be next to die! Old friends, new enemies, espionage and kung fu collide in this riveting story from Mike Benson and Tan Eng Huat!

Download art preview here.


Some great Kung-Fu action to a well-tested - yet no surprises -revenge story. Fans of Kung Fu/Spy flicks will do well to pick up this 4 issue series. Art = 4/4 = Story=2.5/4

Trent's Rating: 3.25/4 ATOMIC BETA MeV's

Saturday, June 21, 2014

MARVEL's Infinity Reading Order

For some reason, it's never easy to find back-listed reading orders, especially for major comic-book events. So, whenever I run across one, I'll and post it and and make it as searchable as possible.

Marvel's INFINITY (2013) reading order, covering AVENGERS (2012), NEW AVENGERS (2013).




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#KevinSmithYes

Through a stroke of serendipity, Kevin Smith came to my comic book shop and brought Jason Mewes. They did their own podcast to a packed shop and also joined Will Wilkins and me on stage for our podcast.

I'm not going to try and recap the experience, especially when the good geeks over at Big Shiny Robot did a better job than I could ever hope to do.

I am going to tell you that while many say "never meet your hero," having met my hero - the aforementioned Kevin Smith - I am even more convinced of his heroism and genuine humanity than I was before.

Preparing for the event was stressful. Stressful is a bit of an understatement, but that's the word we'll go with for now. While stressful, it was also exciting. I felt an amount of excited anxiety that I don't believe I've ever experienced before. The intensity of all of this was a continual crescendo and held at fortississimo during the event. 

While the day-of the event is a bit of a blur, I believe the owner of a business in me took over for the fan boy inside, in an attempt to deal with all of the bombardment. (Don't worry I'm getting to the part about Kevin Smith being an amazing human being, just hold on for a bit longer.) Honestly, I wouldn't have made it through the day without the help of a few amazing friends (Jonathan Ribera, Will Kent, Tom Sherlock, Blake Hunsaker, and Steve Kent).

Some time during the event, whether it was in between setting up and fixing the audio and doing interviews for the press in attendance, or some other hectic moments, there was a short very quiet few seconds when I was in the back of the comic book shop, alone with Kevin Smith. (Now here comes the good stuff.)

We couldn't have been alone for longer than a minute when Kevin looked over at me and said, "Hey man, now that it's just you and me, grab your phone. We should get a picture together."

He pulled me in front of the shop's back door and we took a selfie. While the photo was being taken the door opened and the next problem was ready to be dealt with, and that was that. 


That was the only photo I took during the event. Up until that brief moment, I hadn't even thought about getting a photo with my hero. I don't know if Kevin Smith (I feel like I have to always say both Kevin and Smith because our relationship is of acquaintances, at best, and I really don't want to give anyone the idea that I "know" him,) knew that pulling me aside for that photo would mean as much to me as it did/does, but he did it. I don't know if I would have had the humanist-foresight to have accomplished such a small, impactful gesture were I the one in his shoes.  He took the time to look outside of his own needs, and he completely made all the stress and tension of that day 100% worth it, with just one selfie.

I met my hero, and I vote #KevinSmithYes.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dissecting the New Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer: Ronan, Nova Corps, Carol Danvers, and Thanos' Ship

While I haven't been closely following who has been cast in which roles for MARVEL's next sure-to-be box office smash Guardians of the Galaxy,  I did see quite a bit in the newest trailer that I wasn't expecting. Below I speculate on a handful of frames from the footage.

Ronan The Accuser


Ronan is the Galactic Judge/Enforcer of the Kree Empire, an alien race who is constantly warring with the Skrulls. Take note that Nebula (played by Karen Gillen) hands Ronan his Universal Weapon* which can "disintegrate/transmute/rearrange matter, absorb/project energy blasts, create 'time-motion displacement fields', and achieve interstellar teleportation." *http://marvel.com/universe/Ronan 

Nova Corps / Carol Danvers


This is pretty cut and dry as far as the Nova Corps goes, no surprises here. However, I believe that the woman standing behind Officer Rhomann Dey (played by John C. Reilly) is Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel, aka the current Captain Marvel. My speculation is based on the Captain Stripes on her left label, as is matched by same stripes in the comic panel shown above. Additionally, as focus is made on making sure efforts align in both the comic and movie realms of the Marvel Universe, Carol Danvers is already slated to be teaming up for cosmic adventures with the Guardians in the comics.


Thanos' Ship


This frame comes from the end of the trailer and shows the Guardians in a space ship coming upon... well... this... space... skull...  thing... Again, this is just my speculation, but the space-skull-thing from the trailer is very similar to the ship Thanos piloted in the 1998 Silver Surfer animated series (seen on the right).


With all of this said and done, I need to go take a cold shower... or I might end up in the hospital... I'll let you know in 3-4 hours.


Trent Hunsaker is the owner/operator of Death Ray Comics
Follow him on Twitter: @apartofhim


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Lifeguard | Rating/Review

The Lifeguard

Director: Liz W. Garcia
Writer: Liz W. Garcia
Stars: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr |

A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager.

Although I didn't feel the plot's outcome was... well... the right fit for the story, Kristen Bell, Martin Starr and Mamie Gummer flex some serious acting muscle. They nailed their roles. (And why hasn't Martin Starr won a major award yet? Seriously folks, this is Haverchuck we're talking about here!)

While I was shaking my head near the end of the film, it did move me to a response -- albeit frustration -- evoking emotion, the task of art: to pull us out of the apathetic doldrums of everyday life.

Interesting to note that while busheling only 4.4/10 stars on Rotten Tomatoes, it's carrying 3.5/5 stars on NETFLIX.
Trent's Rating: 3.5/4 ATOMIC BETA MeV's

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Batman: The Dark Knight #22-25 | Rating/Review

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #22
Art by: Alex Maleev
Written by: Gregg Hurwitz

Picking up from recent issues of BATMAN, the origin of Clayface is revealed—and a new mystery is introduced!

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #23
Art by: Alex Maleev
Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Batman and Commissioner Gordon are forced into a tight corner as Clayface embarks on a murder spree throughout Gotham City. But hope surfaces when the Mad Hatter emerges as an unlikely ally.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #24
Art by: Alex Maleev
Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Now that he's locked up in Arkham, Gotham City is safe from the threat of Clayface. But what led Clayface to become the monster that he is? The answers lie here.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #25
Art by: Alex Maleev
Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Time and time again, Clayface has proven to be one of Batman’s most elusive adversaries. On the loose once more, it’s time for the Dark Knight to call in some back-up! Guest starring Black Canary and Condor!










Trent's Rating: 4/4 ATOMIC BETA MeV's

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Am a Bat-Fan of Gregg Hurwitz

Annual #1 Cover - Alex Maleev
I bought issue #1 of the mini-series PENGUIN PAIN AND PREJUDICE when it first first released, in a comic shop in Chicago, while on a business trip more than two years ago. Sadly, the first issue was buried under a pile of "NEW 52" hype. I believe its beauty was lost in the wake of the "52" gimmick juggernaut. Pain and Prejudice was my introduction to novelist Gregg Hurwitz and his take on the Gotham line-up. As far as I'm concerned, it's the only take I need.

As a comic shop owner, I am embarrassed to say that I am so behind in my personal comic reading, that I should have my head checked, or at least have my geek card suspended until I catch up. With that caveat, I am slowing inching toward the end of Hurwitz's run on BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT (the fact that it was canceled in the first place is a mind boggler -- I truly hope that this isn't just another item which can be tacked on to the shopping list of poor editorial decisions made at DC in that past 5 years).

Part of the reason this title is so powerful, is due to Alex Maleev (Scarlet, George Romero's Empire of the Dead) and Syzmon Kurdanski (Penguin Pain and Prejudice) who join Hurwitz in telling these stories with art perfectly-matched to the unique sooty narrative. While DC veteran David Finch was the initial artist on the title, his art is too clean for these dark, gritty stories.

I just read BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT Annual #1. Holy bat shit, Batman. This issue had me laughing, cringing, and even feeling empathy for its characters. Not bad for an issue that didn't really even feature Batman. This issue is a one-and-done. Find it in the back-issue section at your local comic shop. Then have them order all of Hurwitz's Bat work. Trust me. I'm the comic book guy.
Splash Page - Annual #1

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Podcast... or Ear Rape... I'm not sure.

OK, yes we did record an episode of "On The Rack" at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanX. It was a ton of fun, and I was very happy for the experience.


The audio guy recorded the episode so poorly... well... I didn't make it through a couple of minutes of re-listening before jumping ship. But if you like pain...

On The Rack #23:


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blake - Look Forward to Next Year

It's my brother's birthday. He's 8 years my elder making him 37. I found this clip from The Simpsons season 17 episode 11 "On a Road to Doh'where."

Blake, you should watch the whole episode, I think you'd draw a lot of parallels in your life from it. That said, there's always 'snickers pie' to look forward to. Happy Birthday.

video