New York Comic Con 2012 Sketchbook: Venom by Declan Shalvey

Venom by Delcan Shalvey

More fun from my New York Comic Con 2012 sketchbook! I got this awesome sketch of Venom from Declan Shelvey! The Irish artist is super awesome and I had a discussion with him about the city of Philadelphia, the setting of his Venom series! You can check out more fun stuff from Declan at his blog.

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Thunderbolts #6

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Thunderbolts #6 pretty much serves as a book end for the first story arc, tying up the first five issues and setting up what comes next. It turns out that the real reason there was so much interest in Kata Jaya was that the American government had been secretly running a gamma base there for quite some time. Knowing that, everything else finally starts to make sense.

The Leader had uploaded his brain all over the internet and now knows nothing of his past. His brother, Mad Man knew that and teamed up with the Kata Jayan government. If they could create a living network of computers–in this case, people plugged into a computer network–only then could they begin to relearn what the Leader had once known. And in this case, it was gamma powered weaponry.

That ghost like figure from the last issue was Mercy who reminds Red Hulk that he can’t just kill the Leader. Mad Man also tries one last time to stop the Thunderbolts, but meets a gruesome demise when they plug him into the human server network and he literally dies of information overload. His head explodes.

Everyone comes to the realization that even though Mad Man has been taken out, whatever he was working on is no longer on the island. There’s a lot of mistrust amongst the team, especially since Red Hulk has been so secretive about the nature of the mission and the fact that they have to pretty much babysit a brain-dead Leader. Punisher and Elektra seem to be happy with their friends with benefits, which makes Deadpool insanely jealous. Doesn’t he know that he’s disgusting.

One of the things I’ve noticed through these last six issues is how much Venom is the moral compass of this book, something the Eddie Brock version of the character could never be. Flash Thompson has made a fine addition to that character’s host-ship.

Thunderbolts #5

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The crimson-clad murder squad is back and just like this image suggests, love is in the air! The Thunderbolts are still on the island of Kata Jaya. There’s a lot of stuff happening in this issue that is set up to conclude this first story arc.

Red Hulk has hulked out back to his human/General Ross form and is carrying around the Leader, who he was able to revive. We’re not sure if it’s the two of them hallucinating, but it appears that they are talking to the former Hulk villain Mercy, who is floating around and talking to them like she’s an angel. Apparently the Leader knows nothing of his

Remember how they thought that they took out Mad Man in the previous issue? Turns out they really didn’t and Venom has to finish him off. Eventually Venom does, and finds a room filled with people plugged into a computer mainframe like something out of the Matrix.

As this is going on, Deadpool surprisingly has become the most noble of the characters, telling the Kata Jayan rebels that they just can’t kill Mad Man. He has to be tried for his crimes, as it makes them as awful as he was. walking away he finds Punisher and Elektra–who spent a good part of the issue fighting/maiming/killing people–making out.

Venom #28-29

 

venom-28-29I’ve really enjoyed the new Flash Thompson version of Venom. So when the character is off to Philadelphia, which happens to be one of my favorite cities, it was a natural jumping on point for me.

The story in these two issues has Flash sparring with Valkyrie. It’s kind of funny when you think about it; the only person who can “play” combat with the homicidal symbiote is an Asgardian. Anyway, during these playful (and by mean playful, beating the crap out of each other) scenes, you also find out that the two of them are kind of seeing/dating each other. This training session is ended as Flash’s pal Katy Kiernan (a reporter for the Daily Inquisitor) gives him a phone call. She is investigating something going on with contraband weapons and the phone call is abruptly ended by the U-Foes.

The rest of the issues have Venom battling the U-Foes around Philly, eventually with him having to call in his girlfriend for backup. Cullen Bunn threw a couple good one-liners into the script about the odd nature of Valkyrie coming to Philadelphia to help out some woman that she doesn’t know who happens to be friends with her boyfriend. I know Flash has the symbioite and all, but do you really want to give your girlfriend–who happens to be a Viking goddess of war–an inferiority complex?

So it’s good ol’ team V-Dub going up against the U-Foes. They’re helplessly outnumbered and Flash is about to lose control of the symbiote. Will he go on an uncontrollable rampage? Why do the U-Foes want this alien technology? Is Katy safe? Is Valkyrie jealous?

And that my friends is what we call a cliffhanger. Well done, Mr. Bunn. Well done. Needless to say, I’ll have to get what comes next.

 

Thunderbolts #2

thunderbolts-2.jpgNow this is more like it. Thunderbolts #2 is much more in line with what I want to read in this series. Red Hulk and the group are off to the small southeast Asian country of Kata Jaya to put a stop to an oppressive regime.

The nation’s military has been testing gamma weapons on its own people; one bomb took out over 600 civilians–intentionally. They also have acquired gamma powered ammunition as well. To aid the civilians, Red Hulk has promised to support the insurgency. That part I can understand, but I’m still a little confused as to why the rest of the group is getting involved. Daniel Way wrote a scene that connects Flash Thompson to this, as he’s thrilled to fight alongside General Ross. They also have another similarity, being that they’re both America-first military types who have been turned into monsters to protect their country. But the rest, I’m still not sold on. To help unify the look of the group, they’ve also explained that the group has been outfitted with red gamma powered armor (to help from gamma poisoning of the Kata Jayan weaponry) and creating a black/red color palate for their wardrobe.

Now in Kata Jaya, they’ve sent Elektra and Deadpool to infiltrate the government’s forces, only for them to be captured. The big cliffhanger is Red Hulk revealing that he has an unconscious Leader (the literally big brained Hulk villain) on some sort of life support system.

This issue has a lot more going on that the previous, so I assume this will be more like the regular pacing of the series. Steve Dillon draws really cool, if not fairly bloody, fight scenes so I’m very happy with the direction the series is taking.

Thunderbolts #1

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Thunderbolts is the book I’ve been waiting to read for quite some time.

As soon as I saw the teaser image, Thunderbolts completely got my attention. Any book that features some of the more modern characters that I’ve been into (Red Hulk and Flash Thompson-Venom) and puts them aside longtime favorites Punisher and Elektra pretty much guarantees a purchase. Not

The first issue of the series sets up the direction of the team. General Ross is putting together a group of some of the more “extreme” heroes of the Marvel universe to take matters into their own hands, mainly focusing on Ross recruiting an imprisoned Punisher to join him. And really, he doesn’t have much choice because he’s tied up in a warehouse with hundreds of angry mobsters getting ready to bust the door down. As this story is unfolding, they cut to scenes of Ross recruiting the rest of the team around the world.

It’s pretty much what you would expect from a first issue. I don’t know if Daniel Way usually writes in this decompressed style, but I do hope the action picks up in the future. I don wonder how this book would read if it was written by Garth Ennis, especially since the first arc is drawn by his regular collaborator Steve Dillon.

So final verdict: Thunderbolts has a lot of potential to be awesome. It’s got a really interesting characters, most of which have never been in a book with a team dynamic. And I think for those scenes, Way is going to do a great job writing. I can’t wait for him to  pick up the action in future issues; I want to see some crazy Dillon fight scenes!

New Thunderbolts with Red Hulk, Punisher, Deadpool and Elektra! Count Me In!

Marvel has just made an announcement that I can’t wait for:  the new Thunderbolts series. Traditionally, the team has been about a team of villains or other nefarious types having to put aside their own scheming for the greater good–whether they’ve decided to do this on their own or have been forced. This new version takes the concept in a different decision.

In an interview over on Newsarama with new writer Daniel Way, the team basically operates under the direction of Red Hulk (who before he became gamma powered was the long time military leader/Hulk hunter General “Thunderbolt” Ross of the US Army) to work off the grid. Way put it this way in that interview:

This team of Thunderbolts exists to cut out that infection, wherever it is found. They do not recognize boundaries or borders, be they moral, political or geographical. They can and will strike anyone, at any time, without warning. They are the consequence of evil deeds, pure and simple.

So this team basically operates on their own. I’ve been a super fan of Red Hulk as a character, as well as the current incarnation of Venom. The only character I’m not too hot on is Deadpool due to him being kind of overexposed the last five years or so. But that is counteracted by having Punisher and Elektra on board, and both of them have kind of being pushed to the back of Marvel’s hierarchy in this period.

And to top it all off long time Garth Ennis Preacher/Punisher penciller Steve Dillon handling the art on this book, this is going to be nothing but awesome. I guess this will be added to my pull list.

Venom Moves To Philadelphia

Finally, Philadelphia gets a super hero! Entertainment Weekly reports that the city of brotherly love has a new resident in Venom. His ongoing series moves from New York City to Philly starting in December 19’s issue #28.

This move is the idea of the series’ writer Cullen Bunn who is a Philly native.

“I found the City of Brotherly Love to be a character in and of itself that I thought more fiction should explore,” Bunn said in the previously mentioned peace.

“I’ve always liked that Marvel superheroes are adventuring in the ‘real’ world. Certainly, there will be some fictional elements popping up in stories, but I’ll try to keep it as grounded in the actual city as possible. It’s time Philly gets a little Marvel Universe face-time. Local landmarks, neighborhoods, legends, and history will play a role in the book.”

Being a super fan of the city, I think this is awesome. I love everything Philadelphia and will love to see it prominently featured for what I think is the first time in comic books.

Bunn said that the book is going to show Flash Thompson balancing his personal life with his responsibility of being Venom symbiote-powered black ops agent for the United States government. And something else about his new girlfriend Valkyrie from the Thor comics.

This certainly sounds interesting and will definitely wind up on my pull list.

 

New York Comic Con 2011 Sketch Book: Flash Thompson as Venom by Dan Slott

Venom by Dan Slott

I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner! Here’s a sketch of the new Flash Thompson Venom that’s been popping up in the Marvel Universe by writer Dan Slott. I know your probably confused, why did I get the writer to draw a sketch?

Aside from it being unique, a lot of writers draw some funny stuff and are very creative on the fly. I like how Dan made Venom not only look angry, but the little quote added so much to the sketch.

This is going to be the only post for the day, and we’ll get back on track for tomorrow!

Venom: Volume 1

Who needs new characters when you can take some preexisting ones, add in a new concept, and have an awesome result? Rick Remender does just that in Venom: Volume 1.

This new take on the super popular villain/antihero has longtime Spider-Man supporting character Eugene “Flash” Thompson bonded with the Venom symbiote. Things are different this time. Thompson, an amputee Iraqi war veteran, is given a chance to serve his country again by serving as a host for the symbiote, which gives him the usual Venom powers and abilities. The catch is that the can only stay bonded for 48 hours; after that, the two creatures become inseparable. Obviously, he doesn’t want that and neither does the government, who have installed an explosive device to ensure they stay separated.

This first volume has Venom facing the aptly named criminal mastermind Crime Master (the latest version of this long recurring villain). Venom fights with Jack O’ Lantern in Eastern Europe and gravels to the Savage Land to prevent Crime Master from getting a shipment of vibranium–the super metal used in Captain America’s shield–which he plans on using for munitions. Since this is a super hero story, things only get more difficult as Kraven somehow gets involved, wanting to fight Thompson, who he believes is Spider-Man.

Things get worse for Thompson, as Crime Master informs him that he is aware of his secret identity and has dispatched Jack O’ to kill Thompson’s on again, off again girlfriend Betty Brant, if he doesn’t the vibranium. To make matters worse, his 48 hour period of being joined with the symbiote is coming to an end, and Spider-Man is hot on his trail, as a new Venom tearing through New York looking for Betty (one of Peter’s friends) is alarming to say the least.

Remender did a great job weaving together a fairly complex plot, but really shines with Thompson’s narration to build the relationship between himself and the symbiote. Tony Moore’s art is fine, and you can tell that he was having fun thinking of ways to have Venom’s tentacles use machine guns and other weaponry.

The final story in this collection gives a glimpse into Thompson’s past, showing why he was portrayed as being an asshole all those years. Thompson had a terrible relationship with his father growing up, and this shows how that took its toll on him throughout his life.

So yes, I really did enjoy this. It was the most fun I’ve had reading a Venom story in a longtime and I can’t wait to check out the next volume.