Thursday, January 2, 2014

Comic Book Report: 'Ghost,' 'Star Trek: Strange New World,' 'The Saviors' and 'Doctor Who Special 2013

"" | | No. 1

WRITER: | ARTISTS: Chris Sebela,

Writer KELLY SUE DECONNICK successfully transformed ' CAPTAIN MARVEL from a victim into an admirable superhero. Now she puts her skills to work on "Ghost," one of the scores of 1990s superheroines with impossibly large breasts who helped boys without access to pornography wank their way through puberty.

DeConnick is able to see past the boobs and manufacture a compelling tale in the first issue of the revived series. GHOST is ELISA CAMERON, a dead journalist who discovered the mayor of Chicago is actually a demon bent on taking over the city with monsters who inhabit the bodies of people. Ghost hunts demons and kills them. She tracks them with her friends, also former journalists, while she tries to piece together her fractured memories of her own identity.

Artist CHRIS SELBA and RYAN SOOK do away with the strip club outfit and cup size and instead render an elegant white body suit with a hood and cape reminiscent of an actual ghost rather than a model. The first issue is a quality introduction to the character's origin without ruminating on it or retelling it. It moves swiftly into the mystery at hand and compels the purchase of a second issue.

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" | | 2013 Annual


"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" revives and improves upon a forgotten medium: the photo novel. Before the home video market, popular TV shows and movies were occasionally adapted into novels that used stills from the film and were given word balloons similar to a comic book. The process

Master comic creator JOHN BYRNE, one of my favorite writers and artists, pushes this concept into a new territory: an original photo novel using computer manipulation to create images that fit into a new narrative. The result isn't perfect. There are panels where the sizing is off or something is obviously added by computer. But the effect is largely enjoyable and a fascinating effort to expand the creative possibilities within the comic medium.

The story is very good. The story is a sequel to the popular episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before," an original series story in which members of are infected with a god-like power that leads into conflict with and the rest of the crew. The story brings the Enterprise back to the planet to deal with the remaining consciousness of the crew member turned into a god.

Byrne handles the writing well. It feels very much of the original series. The voices of Kirk, and are well recreated. The story could very much be a sort of lost episode for the original series. I wouldn't want to read a photo novel once a month, but a stunt like this for an annual or special edition is perfect.

"The Saviors" | Image Comics | No. 1

WRITER: James Robinson | ARTIST: J. Bone

"The Saviors" reads like a 1950s science fiction movie. The art is black and white. It involves a slacker youth who spends his days smoking weed and talking to desert lizards in a small desert town. One day he discovers the place he's lived his entire life is not what it seems and he's got to run for the border if he hopes to survive.

The first issue moves swiftly, quickly introduces you to a likeable lead character and defines the problem -- the sheriff and town leaders are lizard men! -- and sets the story into a dead sprint without too much exposition. "The Saviors" is a good original title, that is fun and scary without being grim and gory. It's worth a read.

" Special 2013| IDW | 2013 Annual

WRITER: Paul Cornell | ARTIST: Jimmy Broxton

IDW says goodbye to its license to produce "Doctor Who" comics with the 2013 special, a lovely final story for the DOCTOR in American comics. The TARDIS falls into a parallel universe -- our universe -- in which his exploits are part of a popular, long-running BBC-TV series. The Doctor meets ALLY, a big fan who is bullied at school, but a CYBERMAN has followed him into this reality.

The Doctor convinces Ally to ask for help in dealing with her bully and meets MATT SMITH, the actor who portrays him in the TV series. He, of course, defeats the Cyberman and sets things right before dashing off back to his own universe. It's a lovely story and one I've often wondered about. What if the Doctor actually did land in our reality?

This comic proved a good palate cleanser after what I thought was a disappointing ending to the 50th anniversary series "Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time," which finished with a very un-Doctor fistfight with Autons and companions. The main title, "Doctor Who," finished amiably enough, but the final story was not as strong as previous installments in the series.

I haven't seen if another comic book comic company will pick up "Doctor Who" in the use or not, but IDW has set the bar high. They produced consistently entertaining comics that expanded the "Doctor Who" universe and echoed the themes of the ongoing TV series. I hate to see the license pass to another company, but the Doctor is always changing. Let's hope this is a good one.

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