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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Titles of the Week

X-23 #1

After the events of Second Coming and the stunning conclusion to X-Force, X-23 strikes out on her own in this all-new ongoing series, written by best-selling author MARJORIE LIU, spinning out of the events of Wolverine #1! X-23 has never had an easy relationship with the rest of the X-Men, but when she learns someone has taken down Wolverine, she must step up to fill his shoes.
40 PGS./Parental Advisory

Morning Glories #2

It's the Glories' first day of school, and they've already landed themselves in detention! Now anywhere else that might just mean the start of a bad year, but they're about to find out when you're enrolled at Morning Glory Academy, corporal punishment takes on a whole new- and deadly - meaning!


Thunderbolts #148

The Thunderbolts crossover with Shadowland begins here! Luke Cage heads into Hell's Kitchen to pull his old friend back from the brink of madness. And if swarming ninjas aren't enough, he's become aware of other forces that will make his task even harder. Going against the Warden and the government itself, Cage sends the T-Bolts in to level the playing field. But without his direct guidance, will this squad of killers and criminals make the situation even worse? Find out in the book calls "Impressive...not to be missed."
32 PGS./Rated T+


Sunday, September 12, 2010

World building has always been a staple for the fantasy genre.  Each invented world can be vast and expansive, so engaging them as the reader can be overwhelming without the right character to explore with.  Today, Laughing Ogre tips our hats at a few (there are many more) inspired pairings between world building and characters who serve as more than a gateway.

1. Conan the Cimmerian and Hyperborea
The most impressive part of Robert E. Howard's work is their detail and apparent attention to chronology. The precision of Horward's tales seem as if he is more of a historian than a writer.  The world of Hyperborea has diversity in climate, culture, terrain, and ethnicity that can only be rivaled by the real world.  Conan's wanderlust, brute strength, and surprising ingenuity land him a spot at the top of my list.  While "barbarians" are thought to be uncivilized savages, Conan has a worldliness about him that can only be the product of his travels and varying occupational interests.  A quick peek at Conan's resume reveals him to have experience (and success) as a thief, a reaver, a slayer, an outlaw, a mercenary, a pirate, and a king.

2. Monkey D. Luffy and the world of One Piece

Eichiro Oda's masterful creation of Luffy's world feels bigger than Earth.  The vast expanses of water, all populated with various islands (both civilized and wild), continents, pirate ships, marine bases, and various seamonsters.  There are so many characters in this series, the world feels truly alive.  On top of that, there are so many connections and so much history between them, you have to wonder how Oda stays sane.  No character is left undeveloped as the careless Luffy ventures from location to location.  He is fun-loving and an eternal optimitist.  While this may sound off-putting to some, Luffy manages to come off as charasmatic and inspiring rather than insipid and annoying.  The interesting thing about the character is how much pain he hides behind his smile, but it remains a genuine smile nonetheless.  Rather than letting tragedy and opposition bring him down, Luffy uses it to drive him forward in his quest to become King of the Pirates.

3. Thor Odinson and the Nine Realms
When most people think of the Marvel Universe Thor, they picture the Avenger fighting Ultron alongside Captain America and Iron Man.  That is only 1/9th of the equation.  Thor has battled through all nine of the realms borrowed from Norse mythology.  While you might knock some points off Stan Lee's scorecard (and his brother, Larry Lieber) for borrowing so heavily from mythology, Jack Kirby gets extra points for his visual revamp of the world.  Anyone who has ever enjoyed any fantasy-based RPG of any kind, should be reading Thor stories.  He quests for mystical objects, battles trolls, dark elves, frost giants, spirits, evil gods, and more.  Magic and myth are everyday things in a lot of comics, but while you will find most of them in one plane of existence, Thor does reigns lighting and blunt strikes on his enemies in nine realms.

4. Jace Beleren and the Multiverse
The world of Magic the Gathering is much more vast than most realize.  Every time a new set comes out, a new world is created in the MtG multiverse.  Planeswalkers are powerful wizards with the ability to traverse the various worlds, called planes.  Operating on the premise that gamers are planeswalkers, the game of Magic allows players to explore these various realms.  The amazing thing about it is Wizards of the Coast (makers of MtG) manage to create new kinds of magic for every set.  That means they have created a multiverse with limitless potential to expand.  This would have been enough for gamers to be satisfied, but WotC went a step further, creating additional planeswalkers within their storyline (yes, there is one for Magic).  While Urza is arguably the greatest planeswalker of all time, Jace is the current face of the game.  He teeters on the edge of moral darkness and wields potent mind magic expertly.  Take the time to explore the worlds of Magic the Gathering either through playing the game or reading the books.  Either way, you will find a rich and rewarding experience.

5.Spider Jerusalem and The City
Warren Ellis is a pretty twisted guy.  Incredibly gifted, but twisted. In Transmetropolitan, Ellis gives us a gonzo journalist's exploits through a futuristic dystopian world.  The setting itself is considerably smaller than the others on this list(it's a city known as... er, the City), but so rich and detailed, you'll never notice. Think about how detail-oriented and inquisitive a journalist has to be to succeed in their work.  If you were asked to write up two articles; one about a political cessation and a second detailing police brutality, how would you do?  Now, if you were told to do it in an entirely fabricated world, it might be a little harder.  Ellis does that and so much more.  Spider Jerusalem is a truly unique and unforgettable character.  The adventures he embarks on as part of his everyday job give us brutally honest insight into life in the City.

- Ryan