Archive for June, 2006

Ken Lashley interview (June 2006)

June 19, 2006 | Interviews

It’s the return of a legend. Actually, make that two. Well, OK, maybe that’s over-hyping it a bit, but this Wednesday will see two big comebacks: DC Comics’ The Flash and Canada’s own Ken Lashley. After a four-year hiatus, the native of Burlington, Ont., is back with a sonic boom as the smoking hot artist of DC’s The Flash, The Fastest Man Alive #1. “It’s a long time (away from comics),” said Lashley, 39, best known for his work in the mid-to-late ’90s on Marvel’s Excalibur and X-Calibre. “I was busy doing things for LucasFilms and Hasbro and all these other places, but I started thinking, ‘Well, it would be nice to get back to my roots’ and I was able to do that. “I’m very, very fortunate to have a change to go back and getting a pretty big book like Flash is pretty cool, too.” Lashley’s path back to comic book illustration began after he started making inquiries to people at Wildstorm Productions, an imprint of DC. “DC got wind that I was willing to do comics again and that was it,” Lashley said. “They looked at my stuff and I got the gig.” Nabbing the job on The Flash, one of DC’s hotly anticipated summer releases, was unexpected, the artist said. “I hadn’t done comics for a while, so I figured they’d be giving big titles to guys who’ve been working their way up doing smaller books,” Lashley said. “But they just put it out there and said ‘Hey, do you want to do it?’ and I said ‘Sure.’” The fan response to Lashley’s signing on to The Flash has quickly gone from first gear to overdrive, he said. “At first I think they were kind of like: ‘Who?’ and ‘When was the last time he did a book?’ But once people got a look at the work I’ve been doing and some of the drawings for the book, there’s definitely been a lot of positive things,” Lashley said. The new Flash book opens with a major mystery: What happened to the most recent Scarlet Speedster, Wally West, when he disappeared during DC’s mega-crossover Infinite Crisis and who’s going to be the man in the red-and-gold suit now? “The speculation over who The Flash really is has been great,” Lashley said. “I think people will be really surprised over how it all plays out in the end.”

Y: The Last Man Vol. 7 — Paper Dolls

June 19, 2006 | Trades

Y: The Last Man Vol. 7 —Paper Dolls Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka Vertigo/DC Comics $19.99/$14.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) After three years of traveling across the U.S. and then the Pacific Ocean, the last man is finally where he wants to be — Australia. Yorick Brown, the lone male human survivor of a horrific plague, finally has the chance to search for his long-lost love, Beth. But all he’s got is 24 hours before the boat he came in on sets sail for Japan and perhaps that last chance to save humanity. Instead of finding his girl, Yorick, as is now tradition, finds trouble in the form of a gung-ho journalist determined to break the story of the last man and Y ends up getting caught with his pants down — literally. This seventh collection also features the long-awaited origin of Yorick’s protector Agent 355, a shocking revelation about one of his past indiscretions and the curious and comical tale of how Yorick ended up with his pet monkey Ampersand, the creature key to saving the world. Creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, winners of this year’s Joe Shuster Awards for outstanding international creator and outstanding artist, respectively, continue to deliver one of the most highly addictive and gripping comics around.

Invincible Vol. 6: A Different World

June 19, 2006 | Trades

Invincible Vol. 6: A Different World Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley Image Comics $14.99 US (Paperback) **** (out of five) It was the first major turning point in this fantastic series — Invincible vs. his dad. Just one year into the adventures of teen hero Mark Grayson, he discovered his father, Nolan, was not the super-hero he’d thought, but an alien invader and a murderer. Their battle was epic and when it was over Invincible was left broken, both physically and it spirit, and a teary-eyed Nolan disappeared into space. As this sixth collection of the best-damned super-hero comic around begins, Mark is asked by a member of an alien race to help save their planet from certain doom. When he arrives he is shocked to see his father is the planet’s ruler and even more shocked to find he’s got a new family. But when the Viltrumites, the alien race which Nolan belongs to, come looking for him and begin the wholesale destruction of his new home world, Mark is back fighting alongside his father once again and forced to make some huge sacrifices and tough choices. A Different World is another masterpiece by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Ryan Ottley.

Batman: Under The Hood Vol. 2

June 19, 2006 | Trades

Batman: Under The Hood Vol. 2 DC Comics $13.50/$9.99 US (Paperback) *** 1/2 (out of five) Jason Todd was one of the best. As Robin, he fought alongside Batman to help keep the streets of Gotham City safe. Then he died. Some might say the Joker killed him, although his fate was actually decided in a call in vote where the fans decided the second Robin should go. But over the last few years there’ve been Jason Todd sightings. Was it is a hoax, a ruse to throw Batman off his game? How could this young man have risen from the grave? This second book of Under The Hood explains not only how Jason came back, but also why he’s assumed the mantle of the criminal Red Hood and why he’s been toying with the Dark Knight. It all comes down to a showdown — the teacher versus the student with the fate of Gotham’s most notorious villain on the line. This is one Bat-story you won’t likely soon forget.

What’s Michael? Vol. 11: Planet Of The Cats

June 19, 2006 | Trades

What’s Michael? Vol. 11: Planet Of The Cats Makoto Kobayashi Dark Horse Books $9.95 US (Paperback) *** (out of five) It’s part cat observational humour, part tripped out cat fantasy book. That’s What’s Michael? This manga import by Makoto Kobayashi ranges from funny to head-scratchingly odd. This volume also features a bizarre Planet Of The Apes homage story, which sees series regulars Hanako, Konbayashi and Kageyama in the role of astronauts that crash land on a Planet Of The Cats, where Michael and his girlfriend Popo work to save them from a life as circus freaks. What’s Michael? is cute and sometimes clever, but also just plain odd.

The Flash, The Fastest Man Alive #1

June 19, 2006 | Comics

The Flash, The Fastest Man Alive #1 Danny Bilson, Paul Demeo, Ken Lashley DC Comics $4/$2.99 US **** (out of five) Super-heroes have traditionally been men (and women) of mystery — their secret identities known only to a select few, including their faithful readers. But as DC Comics continues to revamp its universe, it seems this tradition has been taken to a new extreme after fans were first forced to wait on pins and needles to see who would be the new Wonder Woman and now who the new Flash is. Readers are faced with several mysteries as this issue begins: 1. What happened to Wally West, the man who has been The Flash since the 1986 death of his predecessor Barry Allen, when he disappeared in DC’s recent mega-crossover series Infinite Crisis? 2. How did Bart Allen, AKA Kid Flash, return from the same disappearance as Wally, but four years older and now lacking the ability to run at super speed? 3. What happened to the Speed Force, the source of most DC speedsters’ powers? Well if you’re looking for answers right out of the gate you might be a tad disappointed, but there’s no doubt new series writers Danny Bilson and Paul Demeo are planning something big and memorable and this debut issue is the foundation. This issue also marks the return of Canada’s Ken Lashley to comic books after a four-year break to do some commercial work and he’s back in fine form, showing he really understands how to portray the Fastest Men Alive. Honestly, if you’re a DCU fan, there’s no way you should miss this series.

Conan #28

June 19, 2006 | Comics

Conan #28 Kurt Busiek, Eric Powell Dark Horse Comics $2.99 US **** (out of five) This Conan series has always been a wonderful homage. Under the guidance of writer Kurt Busiek, there has been a concerted effort to be truer to Conan creator Robert E. Howard’s original stories than ever before. So as fans celebrate the centennial of Howard’s birth, Busiek and guest artist Eric Powell (The Goon) bring us this stand-alone issue, entitled: Storyteller. With Powell’s usual dynamic style and Busiek usual flare, we are guided through a chance meeting of Rovann, a farm boy with a gift for telling tales of far-off lands and adventures, and the Cimmerian warrior himself. As darkness falls on Rovann’s small town and unspeakable monsters close in for the kill, will the would-be hero follow in his hero’s footsteps or will he cower like the eccentric fool the townsfolk think he is? This book is a wonderful tribute to a great talent who left us far too soon.

Invincible #33

June 19, 2006 | Comics

Invincible #33 Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley Image Comics $3.50/$2.99 US **** (out of five) It’s the story Invincible fans have been waiting eight months to read. When writer Robert Kirkman used his red-hot teen super-hero alongside Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #14 last fall, readers got a glimpse of his future as he explained he’d been sent from dimension to dimension by a madman named Angstrom Levy. After an adventure with the Webbed Wonder, Invincible, AKA Mark Grayson, was back to dimension hopping and fans were left waiting for the story’s conclusion. Well, here it is and it’s a doozy. Mark returns home from his trip to Africa to find Levy holding his mother and little brother hostage in a highly intense moment in what has generally been a lighter-toned book. Levy blames Mark for the accident that disfigured him, while our hero knows that it was an accident caused in self-defence. After Mark is sufficiently tenderized by being sent to some of the most brutal dimensions Levy can think of, their one-on-battle begins and when ends there is some rather dire consequences for Invincible. Pound-for-pound the best super-hero book on the market continues to show why every single month.

Superman Returns Prequel #1, 2 (of 4)

June 19, 2006 | Comics

Superman Returns Prequel #1,2 (of 4) DC Comics $5.50/$3.99 US *** 1/2 (out of five) From the mind of Bryan Singer, director of Superman Returns, comes a good, long look back. These first two issues take us back to Krypton to relive the (Hollywood) origin of The Man Of Steel and to Smallville, Kan., where a lonely Martha Kent waits hopefully, not for Superman’s return, but for her son’s. What makes both these issues so impressive is how fluidly they fit into continuity with the first two Superman films. The characterization and appearance is near perfect and it instills an even deeper hope that Singer’s new movie will be something very special and not just more Hollywood comic book drech.

Paul Jenkins’ Sidekick #1 (of 5)

June 19, 2006 | Comics

Paul Jenkins’ Sidekick #1 (of 5) Image Comics $3.90/$3.50 US *** 1/2 (out of five) What would it be like to be the sidekick to the world’s most powerful hero (who happens to be one of the world’s greatest buffoons)? That’s the complex life of Eddie Edison, AKA Superior Boy, and his relationship with the dimwitted Mister Excellent in Paul Jenkins’ Sidekick. While Eddie quickly proves he’s the brains of the operation and even gets the girl (Mister Excellent’s wife, at that), he’s still broke and underappreciated and starts looking for something better. But after auditioning to be the faithful assistant to three other major heroes, Eddie is shocked to hear that they all accept! Sidekick is a twisted, fun and funny look at the high price of helping save the day.