Author: Van Jensen

Peter David to Pen New ‘Star Trek’ Series

Marking the 10th anniversary of Star Trek: New Frontier, IDW announced it will be publishing a New Frontier comics series written by Peter David. Trekweb has a full report on the series, which is set to debut next month.

The five-part series will feature art by Stephen Thompson (Beneath the Valley of the Rage). The story picks up from the Star Trek novels published by Pocket Books.

David has written several Star Trek novels in addition to his extensive comic book work. The story of the new series is described in a press release:

In the new story, Turnaround, the most dangerous experimental vessel in the galaxy – a prototype time ship – has vanished, and it appears that the man who stole it is none other than Starfleet Admiral Edward Jellico. Only Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the Excalibur have a hope of finding him before the ship, intended purely for scientific exploration, is used to disrupt the space-time continuum.


Matt Kindt Reveals Two New Projects

The writer and artist behind my favorite graphic novel of last year, Top Shelf’s Super Spy, just announced the two projects he’ll be working on this year.

On his Web site, Matt Kindt just revealed he’s currently putting together a book titled 3 Story: The History of the Giant Man for Dark Horse. Kindt writes the story "is all about a guy that keeps growing and growing until he’s three stories tall. It’s told from the point of view of his mom, wife and then daughter and spans the 1940 through the 60s."

In the same post, Kindt includes the artwork seen at right, a typical mix for him of watercolor and ink. That page comes from Kindt’s next project at Top Shelf, a book titled Super Natural. The only description of the project given is "Houdini under water!"

Speaking of Top Shelf books, Alex Robinson just posted an entry on his blog (look for the Feb. 24 post) that reveals a swath of easter eggs from his book Box Office Poison. On page 215 of that book, the main character hears a spate of stupid questions from customers at the book store where he works.

Robinson explains that all the questioners were based on indie comics creators and characters, and Robinson gives sources for each.


Review: Locke & Key #1

Review: Locke & Key #1

You can understand why Joe Hill waited so long to publicly acknowledge that his father is famed writer Stephen King. For several years, Hill used that shortened version of his name (Joseph Hillstrom King in full) so that he could test himself in the fantasy/horror writing world without the spectre of his father lurking about.

Now jumping into comics for the first time with the new series Locke & Key ($3.99), Hill saw that experience affected by the elder King even before Locke & Key #1 hit shelves. While publisher IDW didn’t promote the famous father angle, it didn’t stop some such as Rich Johnston from playing up that lineage as a bit of comics speculating.

Those who actually read the book and didn’t just seal it away in plastic to put up on eBay at a later date were treated to a very good first issue that succeeds in areas a lot of novelists-cum-comics writers fail. That is, Hill clearly understands the medium. He knows when to rein in the verbiage and let artist Gabriel Rodriguez drive the story. 

The narrative is split in three parts: the teenaged protagonist Ty witnessing his father’s murder, sobbing through the funeral and relocating to a spooky house in the ominously named town of Lovecraft, Mass. Aside from a few awkward transitions, the story runs seamlessly.

First issues, of course, are incredibly difficult to do well, making it all the more surprising that in his first 32 pages of comics, Hill establishes a great deal of depth to his characters and lays out a handful of intriguing plotlines to follow. The last few pages are particularly effective, as Hill takes what was previously a down-to-earth story and shifts to a more supernatural paradigm.

It’s a series to watch, even if you aren’t just looking to make a buck.

Review: Crossing Midnight, Vol. 2

The news of Mike Carey writing a fantasy/horror comic set in Japan sounded too good to be true, and when Crossing Midnight debuted more than a year ago it struggled to live up to that promise.

Carey created a deep and supernatural world to backdrop his story of mystery: Two twins, Toshi and Kai, were born on either side of midnight, leaving each with an otherworldly power and putting them at the mercy of dark forces. But Jim Fern’s stiff art and some uneven storytelling held the series back. When sales weren’t strong, the rumors of a looming cancellation kickstarted.

After the so-so showing of that first arc, I gave up on the series. But, when Vertigo sent over a copy of the second volume (the cover seen at right is from DC’s website, but isn’t the cover on the actual book), Crossing Midnight: A Map of Midnight ($14.99), I realized I just didn’t give the series enough of a chance.

The volume picks up with Toshi, the female twin, struggling as a slave under an apparently evil spirit. She must fly through Japan at night, cutting unpleasant memories from people’s dreams and collecting them for some unrevealed purpose.

Following the archetype of most stories featuring children, Toshi’s impudence puts her and others into danger as she squares off against one of death’s faces. Perhaps because of the more fantastical nature of the content in this volume, Fern’s art loosens and adeptly adapts an ethereal tone. Later, Eric Nguyen takes over on art and, if anything, is an improvement.

Meanwhile, Kai stumbles onto a group of “telephone club” girls — early teens working essentially as prostitutes — and must help save them from an evil spirit that’s on the prowl. While this storyline feels a bit tangential to the larger theme, it is easily the high point for the series. Carey clearly has strong opinions of such clubs (he denounces them in a postscript) and how deplorable it is that they operate uncensored.

It is only then that the book goes farther than dipping a toe into Japanese culture, and Carey unleashes his horror-writing instincts. Sadly, the series seemed to be finding its footing just as the rug was being pulled out from under it. As Carey wrote on his Web site, [[[Crossing Midnight]]] will be wrapped up at issue #19.

Carey wrote that he knew a cancellation might happen, and all the plot threads will be wrapped up in that final issue.

Universal Debuts ‘Wanted’ Clip at WonderCon

Universal Debuts ‘Wanted’ Clip at WonderCon

In a bid to excite fanboys for the movie adaptation to Mark Millar’s Wanted, Universal Pictures used its panel at WonderCon 2008 to show an extended clip from the film. IGN has a full report on the clip.

The scene shown was that of Fox (Angelina Jolie) saving Wesley (James McAvoy) from an assassin in a convenience store.  While that bit earned praise, the real excitement came from the ensuing car chase that, at one point, has Fox hanging out of the broken windshield of her car and shooting at the pursuing assassin.

It was "a car chase like no other," according to IGN’s report.

The movie follows McAvoy’s character as he learns his father was a legendary assassin and then tries to follow in his blood-spattered footsteps.

Wanted is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, best known for the Russian films Day Watch and Night Watch. It hits theaters on June 27.

Marvel Releases New Hawkeye Skrull Promo

Building up to the summer’s Skrull-a-palooza, Marvel has been sending out a variety of variant covers and promo images featuring heroes depicted as Skrulls. As part of its "Who do you trust?" marketing blitz, Marvel has tried to raise suspicion on most major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and, most recently, Wolverine.

Today came the image at right, and for once we have a candidate who actually makes sense as a Skrull: Hawkeye.

While most heroes have good alibis for the looming Secret Invasion, the purple-wearing, bow-and-arrow toting Clint Barton was killed off in House of M by Brian Michael Bendis, who also is writing Secret Invasion and has said he’s been laying the groundwork for this event for years. And since Hawkeye’s return from the dead was never fully explained, he’s a prime suspect.

Of course, this could just be more misdirection, which adds a whole metatextual layer to the slogan "Who do you trust?"