NYCC 2016: Boom and DC Make Weirdest Crossover Yet

By Dustin Cabeal

If you're new to the site, then no that I'm not a fan of Planet of the Apes and I am a fan of Green Lantern. This crossover doesn't excite me in the least bit and really seems like another desperate attempt from BOOM! to get noticed by Diamond so that they'll make them a premiere publisher. "Look, we put that monkey license with the same franchise DC let IDW shit on! Give us premiere status!" This was how I felt upon reading this news and it's the only good thing to come from POTA. The only good thing.

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Review: Revolution #1

In truth, this review doesn’t matter. The sales for this series were decided three months ago, and they were dictated by the fact that there’s nineteen covers in all. That is how you make a successful crossover event. Nineteen covers. The content at that point doesn’t matter because the shows are invested in selling the variants and sure the $3.99 priced regular cover to fans of these Hasbro franchises that continue to buy and support everything IDW does with them. revolution01_cvraWhich is why this story is so weird. Why take Transformers, arguably one of their biggest titles with the most offshoots, and slam it together with G.I. Joe? Something that has failed recently and has sat on the sidelines waiting for this event. In reality, I’m sure that was just the excuse not to relaunch the title yet again after soft sales on the last two volumes. Then there’s unproven titles like Action Man which just made it to its fourth issue and ROM, which has two issues shipping at the same time. The question becomes, will a shared universe help these brands or hurt them?

I point to Transformers vs. G.I. Joe which has had I believe five or six volumes and yet I bet if I pressed the biggest fan of the crossover they couldn’t tell me anything that happens in the story other than “Transformers vs. G.I. Joes.” Even the first series done by Dreamwave was average at best and relied on variant covers that were little more than fan art.

Why all this excess in a review? Why am I breaking the most obvious review rule in that I’m talking about anything other than the issue? Because I’m genuinely interested in how the fans will receive this book and if the brands will be damaged due to the shared universe. That and I want to give the haters an easy reason to write off my review when they rush to the bottom to see the score.

Spoiler, it’s not good.

This book is only slightly better than the zero issue prelude that they released. If you missed that issue, don’t worry, it’s at the back of this issue to pad the page count and “justify” the price tag. In it, we learn that some bad people are in charge and that they have the head of a Transformer hanging from their wall talking like a light-censored toy bass.

revolution01_cvrsub_aThis issue establishes, through a lot of exposition, that the Transformers may or may not be taking over the world, and that energon (which is given a different name for some reason, probably a legal one) is exploding which is jacking up the earth and leaving the Transformers hungry. The issue and series make the mistake of starting off with Action Man. It’s a mistake because it’s terribly boring, but then at the same time shows just how out of place the character is. It’s hard to imagine anyone “popping” for Action Man in this series.

The rest of the issue is just the classic misunderstanding storyline. ROM’s villains are the villains of the series and all of the time is spent with the good guys fighting each other and coming across as unlikable dicks. I am supposed to like the Transformers, G.I. Joe’s and ROM right? The only person that isn’t a dick is Action Man, and I have no reason to like him because he just shows up and watches a man die. I did like General Colton because he was clearly evil as fuck, but then ROM shows up and just blasts him into oblivion. If ROM’s actions weren’t so out of place and lacking explanation, I would probably have cheered for him killing people. Unfortunately, you have to read his one-shot tie-in issue to understand his actions as they’re never explained in the main crossover, and he leaves after seemingly killing innocent people just trying to fight against our robot overlords. I did laugh when the G.I. Joes mistook ROM as a “little Transformer” which is kind of what he looks like.

revolution01_cvrri_aSpeaking of the G.I. Joes… I hope you like Scarlett because she’s the only Joe outside of Colton that you’re going to see. Is the state of the Joes that bad that there’s no one else that’s worth a damn? There are a few others during the battle, but their appearance was strictly for a nameplate saying their name. Outside of that, they don’t contribute to the story in any way. The Joe’s, in general, are a far cry from their former selves and make me long for the days that Devil’s Due had the licenses and made me like and care about someone other than Snake Eyes. Oh and Cobra? Not even a mention or an appearance. Same with the Decepticons. Nothing.

The art is good but wasted on a story that’s all exposition. The Joe’s pointlessly fire their guns at the Transformers that are in the middle of helping sandbag a flood. Again, it’s really good art, excellent coloring and none of it stands out because of how poor the story is. That and after Dreamwave and Devil’s Due set the bar so high for the Hasbro titles it’s hard to truly impress with the art for these franchises. You have to come in at par or don’t even bother. It makes par, but no birdies.

revolution01_cvrri_cAs I said, this review is mostly pointless. The sales have been decided. Comic fans have long ago decided to support anything IDW does with these franchises. I will not be continuing with the series. I have it one and a half, and that’s all I can muster. It’s more of the same from a publisher that has excelled at selling variants for these brands. While they’ve managed to do some interesting things with Transformers, the rest of the properties they touch feel more like a slap in the face for anyone expecting more than just nostalgia to be dulled out to them.

Now if you’re still reading this and very angry with me for bashing your beloved IDW crossover event you’re probably wondering “Then why did this asshole even write the review?” Well as a friend recently pointed out to me, to be the dissenting voice. Because I know that others out there are reading this event and wondering why they didn’t enjoy it. It’s not the “you’re killing my childhood” argument because I’m a fucking adult, and no amount of retooling and rebooting will spoil my enjoyment felt as a child because it’s protected by the untouchable wall of the past. If this is something you enjoy, congrats. You like average crossovers and variant covers. If you didn’t, at least you know you weren’t alone. I’ll be watching this from afar. Watching the sales, waiting to see the effects this will have on IDW because if it does fail, I won’t be the only wondering why they took all these individually successful brands and mashed them together so that they could be like other publishers when IDW has thrived by not being like other publishers. Why else would people continue to pay those prices?

[su_box title="Score: 1/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Revolution #1 Writers: John Barber, Cullen Bunn Artist: Fico Ossio Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital


Review: 4001 A.D. #1-3

Did I miss something? Well, yes, as it turns out I did. 4001 A.D. is the continuation of the stories of the long-running Valiant franchise Rai. Rai himself has some degree of iconography, perhaps not connected to the world at large but rather to the comic-sphere. Rai, his precursor Bloodshot and the entire Valiant Comics lineup, as long as I've known them/it, has always been talked about as the sort of realization of the promise that Spawn and Image Comics was supposed to keep in the 90's. An independent superhero/franchise whose creators get to play with the interesting, out-there concepts in both art and story that set independent comics apart from their mainstream counterparts.

4001 A.D., I imagine, is a sort of stepping-on point for readers of Valiant Comics, both as the beginning of a new series of stories for the hero-mantle of Rai, and for new readers to hop on the train, as implied by its title making no reference to its previous lineage. I say that I 'imagine' because it's difficult to understand exactly what 4001 A.D. is trying to be, because after reading it, I realized that I wasn't exactly dealing with conventional storytelling.

4001_003_COVER-A_CRAINJudging from the first three issues, 4001 A.D. is a climax of a story that doesn't appear, to the best of my knowledge or the extent of my research, to have ever existed. Let it not be said that 4001 doesn't have at least the intention to play with larger-than-life ideas. A malevolent, all-powerful AI named "Father" mates with a human woman to create Rai and then discards the mother, earning Rai's ire and causing him to become rebellious, which in turn causes Father to dispel Rai to the Earth below him. Rai is returning, however, to strike down his father, reunite with his love and free the people of New Japan.

So say the first ten-ish pages of 4001. The rest of the story so far plays out in a single set-piece, within 60 pages moving from Rai returning, finding his lover, fighting a giant robotic dragon in a mech suit and then dueling with his megalomaniac father. The story is reminiscent of the ending of Empire Strikes Back in which many characters, over the course of a short time, bring their efforts together across a futuristic pseudo-utopian city to successfully but tragically fight back against the power that looms large over them.

However, Empire had an entire two movies to set up the series of events whereas 4001 has exactly no time to spend on character moments, the coming-together of a team and, most damning, does not allow itself to be the culmination of a series of events, but rather the entirety of a story that seemed to begin long before the miniseries started.

Is there a series of events that could add context and drama to the proceedings? It's possible, I just don't know why it is that you would name the climax of the story something completely different from the events that led to it. In terms of the ethereal aspects of the story, the dialogue is decently written, if not a bit rushed, and the art is phenomenal, bringing alive a story that shouldn't have to depend on its art as the lone fountainhead from which the compulsion and interest in the story springs.

To those already invested in the Valiant line of comics and series, there is no need to fear that this is filler or that events don't move along. In fact, events move very quickly and immediately. To any hoping to find out more about Valiant and its array of heroes, there's not much to recommend outside of the frankly jaw-dropping art which paints a much greater, more dangerous, and more epic picture of this strange future than the writing has time for.

[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

4001 A.D. #1-3 Writer: Matt Kindt Art: Clayton Crain Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $ 3.99 Per Issue Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital


SDCC 2016: IDW and DC Continue Crossovers With Same Characters

As much as I hate to say it... I really want to check out Batman/TMNT Adventures, but it better keep to that art style! The other one can go fuck itself since we already saw what a turd that crossover can be. From IDW/DC:

IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment will continue their successful editorial mash-ups and bring fans two new comic book crossovers based on some of their most popular properties, including a sequel to the smash-hit co-publishing venture Star Trek/Green Lantern and an all new crossover with animation-inspired versions of Batman and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   “We’re very happy to extend our ongoing relationship with DC with these iconic characters in new storylines,” says Greg Goldstein, President and COO of IDW Publishing.  “Fans who enjoyed the previous series will enjoy the fun, new adventures we have in store for these upcoming titles.”

GLST Crossover 2

Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise will once again cross paths with the Green Lantern Corps in a sequel to last year’s Star Trek/Green Lanternseries. The creative team of Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez will reteam for another epic space opera, this one picking up the new status quo where it left off and introducing additional cosmic heroes and villains familiar to fans of both series. This series is slated for a winter 2016 launch.

Batman TMNT Adventures

Following the recent success of Batman/TMNT, IDW, DC, and Nickelodeon are also happy to announce another pairing between the Caped Crusader and the Ninja Turtles: Batman/TMNT Adventures, coming this November. Based on the animated versions of both series, this storyline for fans of all ages will bring the Dark Knight of the beloved Batman: The Animated Series in contact with Nickelodeon’s animatedTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The dynamic duo of writer Matthew K. Manning (Beware the Batman) and artist Jon Sommariva (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures) will team on the series.

“The previous Star Trek/Green Lantern and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers were a huge hit with fans of each of the characters,” said Hank Kanalz, DC SVP of Editorial Strategy and Administration. “Bringing these characters back again, and expanding Batman and the Turtles to the realm where they’re most recognized by comic fans and fans of the TV series will make for a great story that any fan can’t wait to read.”   “It’s always a blast to pair up beloved characters in comic series, and our recent pairings with DC have been especially satisfying on a creative level and in regards to fan satisfaction, too,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer. “Being able to bring Ciro Nieli’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the amazing animated Gotham envisioned by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski is a major bonus.”   Stay tuned for more upcoming news regarding these massively popular pairings from two of today’s most premier comic book publishers.   ™ & ©2016 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SDCC 2016: Dynamite Announces Army of Darkness/Xena Crossover... Dreams Do Come True

I hate when a press release says, "Just in time for Halloween." It's a worthless phrase, but I suppose it's better than, "This is when it fell on the schedule." This sounds like another Dynamite crossover. They get a decent writer and give them to properties and then someone buys it and most of us ignore it because who was really losing sleep over Xena and Army of Darkness crossing over? I imagine not many. From Dynamite:

Just in time for Halloween, Dynamite Entertainment's cornerstone title Army of Darkness crosses over with one of television's greatest fantasy adventure programs of all time - Xena, Warrior Princess! Debuting in October, the all-new Army of Darkness / Xena, Warrior Princess: Forever… and a Day four-part miniseries not only brings together these two beloved characters, but also legendary Uncanny X-Men veteran (and current Red Hood and the Outlaws writer) Scott Lobdell and DC Comics artist Elliot Fernandez (Harley Quinn and Power Girl)!

In a tongue-in-cheek solicitation description that puts you inside the headspace of the Warrior Princess herself, Dynamite playfully asks, "You're Xena and your thousand strong army has fallen to an implacable and ancient evil. What do you do? You suck it up and summon the only ally who stands any hope at all of helping you prevent the end of the world! Unfortunately, that lone man is the ass-kicking, time traveling, womanizing, wiseass boomsticker, Ashley J. Williams!"

AODXena2016-01-Cov-A-Brown"In this story of the first jilted lover in the history of Mankind, where we learn about the third wheel who was left behind when Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden, we see an army of the undead that is so huge that only the implacability of both Xena and Ash could hope to stop them! This is an epic tale of horror, time travel, friendships that last a century, action, and comedy all wrapped into a big-ass honking story that stars both characters front row and center," says writer Scott Lobdell.

"Ashley Williams will always be one of my favorite characters, because there's so many great AOD tales to tell, and he was the first Dynamite title we ever published. You never forget your first," says Nick Barrucci, Dynamite CEO and Publisher. "As one of the most unlikely heroes in pop culture, it makes it impossible not to love him... unless, of course, you're a battle-hardened warrior like Xena, who has a little less tolerance for such shenanigans. It's an odd couple pairing that fans of both franchises will love!"

The debut issue of Army of Darkness / Xena, Warrior Princess: Forever… and a Day will feature four variant covers, including new art from Reilly Brown (Deadpool & Cable), series artist Eliot Fernandez, David Robinson, and Michael Adams. It's worth noting that the Robinson cover is designed in the very popular "Action Figure Variant" style, while the Adams cover  - timed perfectly for the October release - captures the look of retro Halloween costume packaging.

Army of Darkness / Xena, Warrior Princess: Forever… and a Day #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' August 2016 Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in October. Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies with their local comic book retailers. Army of Darkness / Xena, Warrior Princess will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

DC Announces He-Man and Thundercats Crossover Comic

Oh if you don't think this is making it onto the podcast this week then you're mistaken! I'll give you a teaser of where I'm going with this... "Mattel Head Writer... Freddie E. Williams II..." that is all for now. From DC Comics:

It’s the epic crossover event 30 years in the making! He-Man and the Masters of the Universe team up with the ThunderCats to make comic book and pop culture history! Scheduled to debut in October and published by DC Entertainment, this monthly miniseries will embroil heroes and villains—Masters, Mutants and ThunderCats—in a mind-blowing six-part comic book saga!

The story will be brought to life by the writing team of Mattel Head Writer and Masters of the Universe Lead Creative Rob David and Supervising Producer Lloyd Goldfine, with all-star artist Freddie E. Williams II (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) handling interiors and cover art.

"The Masters of the Universe and the ThunderCats are both global phenomena, beloved by millions. Teaming them up for one enormous story will prove to be a publishing event that fans simply cannot miss. This is something that transcends both comic book and pop culture," said DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras.


"For everyone out there who took different action figures and teamed them up to take on the world, this one’s for you," said co-writer Rob David, who recently wrote the storyline for the critically acclaimed He-Man: the Eternity War, published by DC Entertainment in 2015.

"Writing this crossover event is the thrill of a lifetime, and Rob and I can’t wait to get started," added co-writer Lloyd Goldfine. "You don’t wait 30 years and not go big!"

In his eternal desire to destroy the mighty ThunderCats, the evil Mumm-Ra quests for a weapon that can rival the legendary Sword of Omens: He-Man’s Sword of Power! But his dimension-spanning scheme launches a cataclysmic crisis that will, for the first time ever, unite Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra, Panthro, WilyKit and WilyKat with He-Man, Battlecat, Teela, Man-At-Arms and the rest of the Masters of the Universe.

"The Power of Grayskull and the Great Eye of Thundera have aligned to make me the luckiest guy on all the earths!" explained artist Freddie E. Williams II. "He-Man and ThunderCats were my life when I was in grade school—family and friends knew I loved both cartoons so much. I used to pause episodes and draw from them, since they were so awesome. The He-Man/ThunderCats crossover is the fulfillment of a lifelong goal and my fanboy dream come true! I'm having a blast!"

HE-MAN/THUNDERCATS #1 debuts October 5, 2016.