Mera: Tidebreaker – Review

Written for and published by Forces of Geek March 2019

Mera: Tidebreaker is the initial offering from DC Comics’ young adult readers imprint, DC Ink. New York Times bestselling author, Danielle Paige, and animator Stephen Byrne collaborate on this tale featuring the future queen of Atlantis.

Yearning for a life that is truly her own, Mera sets out to bring peace between Atlantis and her home of Xebel.

She has to kill an unsuspecting Arthur Curry to accomplish her goals.

The reimagining of the Aquaman mythos doesn’t stop there. Arthur is sans the blonde hair, the inhabitants of the Trench are no longer monstrous creatures, and the beginning of a particular origin story underwent some minor alterations.

However, every change that was introduced is in service to the journey of the titular character.

Not to be stereotypical of the YA genre, but Mera and Arthur’s blossoming kinship was a given before the first turn of the page.

Strong character building by Danielle Paige established clear motivations that made the antagonists and protagonists earn every narrative inch. Obviously, Mera wasn’t going to kill Arthur; however, her observation of his kindness slowly chipped away at her cold murderous intent.

Make no mistake about it, Mera oozes teenage royalty. Still, while another princess might be overly concerned with their ensemble for the next big gala, Mera makes it clear that she is more than just a pretty dress. Light comedy sprinkled throughout the book such as Atlantean vernacular, “You got to be sharking me,” will bring about a few smiles along with some fish out of water hijinks.

It would have been easy for Mera to get lost in her own story, but Paige gives the multitude of subplots plenty of time to breathe and marinate. The final act is chock-full of revelations, but it is beautifully synchronized with the main story.

Stephen Byrne’s artwork exhibits a submersible pallet serving as a constant reminder of the books oceanic backdrop. Mera’s hair stands out like a red rose in a black and white portrait. This creative choice augments her presence, especially if the reader remembers nothing about Mera’s heroism and convictions.

Despite Aquaman being massively popular right now, producing a Mera-centric story was a gamble. Mera is a secondary character who doesn’t have a celebrated story such as Supergirl, Catwoman or even Black Canary. Geoff Johns made Mera an essential part of Aquaman’s New 52 run. However, no one has ever talked their favorite Mera moments on the playground.

Danielle Paige’s story is a big leap in that direction. The exploration of duty, love, valor, and liberty through the eyes of underwater royalty works exceptionally well. If the goal of this graphic novel is to make the reader a bigger Mera fan than they were going in, mission accomplished.

The Journey to Star Wars: Rogue One Begins with Catalyst

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“Where’s Poe Dameron?” “Why did they recast Rey?” “How is Darth Vader alive?” These are the questions that Lucasfilm’s super weapon, the Disney marketing machine, haven’t been able to quell or answer for a fair amount of moviegoers as we’re now under thirty days away from the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

While the title’s subheading takes the place of confusing and detested words such as anthology, companion, or…prequel, acclaimed author James Luceno once again brings elegant cohesion to the political climate of the Star Wars universe by examining the passion and desire of two of the upcoming film’s main characters.

Catalyst tells the story of the connection between Imperial Commander Orson Krenic and energy scientist Galen Erso, played by Ben Mendelsohn and Mads Mikkelsen in the upcoming film, and how came together to create the first Death Star. Krenic’s manipulation of Erso spans from the Clone Wars and stops well into the Empire’s grip on the galaxy.

Krenic marvels himself as a clever over-achiever while those around him feel he’s talented but short-sighted and arrogant. While that may prove to be true in the movie, here, he has no qualms about playing the long game of deception as he desperately vies for a seat at the table…The Emperor’s table. Krenic is in charge of the project to construct a certain technological terror and needs Galen to make the super laser operational.

You read my full review here at Forces of Geek.com 

 

Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon Review

Star Wars: The Perfect WeaponAuthor: Delilah S. Dawson | Publisher: Del Rey | Price: $1.99 | The Road to Episode VII @ Forces of Geek.com

If you’ve been keeping up with all of The Force Awakens coverage, you might have noticed a picture of a woman amongst what appears to be a bunch of pirates. She is wearing a black skull cap, black lipstick and leaning comfortably against a rather large alien.

Her name is Bazine Netal, and she just might be the most deadly mercenary in the galaxy.

The Perfect Weapon is an exclusive eBook and short story set shortly before the upcoming film’s events. Bazine is hired by an anonymous client to locate an ex-Stormtrooper and recover a mysterious package he’s safeguarding. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon Review”

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith: Book Review

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Star Wars: Lords of the Sith | By Paul S. Kemp | Published by LucasBooks |The Road To Episode VII @ Forces of Geek.com

Lords of the Sith is a cautionary that takes place 14 years before the Battle of Yavin and right before the events in James Luceno’s Tarkin.

I use the word cautionary as opposed to dark to describe the comings and goings of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine because if these characters were real and you wanted to kill them, this book would convince you to not only abandon your plans, but you wouldn’t dare to think of such a plot ever again. Continue reading “Star Wars: Lords of the Sith: Book Review”

Star Wars – Lost Stars (Review)

Star Wars: Lost Stars | Author: Claudia Gray| Published by Disney Lucasfilm Press | The debut of my Star Wars column “The Road to Episode VII” at Forces of Geek.com

When I first heard that four of the five Star Wars novels that were released on Force Friday were being marketed as Young Adult books, I stereotypically dismissed the idea of reading them due to my fear of pale moody Jedi sparking Sith Lords.

However, one of the books titled Lost Stars has received a lot of praise, with many calling it the best of the new canon novels. I don’t even know why these books were labeled YA.

In its simplest form, the story follows two star-crossed lovers trying to find their place in the universe, all while serving the Empire. The success, misfortune, and bedlam coupled with youth’s intense and raw emotion produced a mature and thought-provoking narrative along with interesting characters that have depth. Continue reading “Star Wars – Lost Stars (Review)”

Daredevil #25 Review

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Daredevil #25  | Writer: Mark Waid | Art: Chris Samnee | Colors: Javier Rodriguez | Publisher: Marvel Comics | Price: $2.99 | From my column at Forces of Geek.com

Many have tried, but the genius that is Mark Waid has finally done it. He has managed to instill fear into the man without fear. The awesome cover drawn by Samnee and Rodriguez tells the whole story.

This is a brutal battle involving a killer specifically trained and designed to not only kill Daredevil but to do it while being better than him at his form of fighting. It’s the ultimate mind %$#@& that Daredevil may not be able to come back from.

That says a lot, considering what Mark Waid has put this man through. From bloody punches to bone-crushing blows, every aspect of this fight is brilliantly illustrated by Chris Samnee. This was not your typical back and forth battle where the bad guy pulls out a fluke victory.

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The killer, whose ninja outfit is a combination of Daredevil’s red and yellow costume, was three steps ahead at every turn. He looked pretty badass while handling. This is the type of work that made Mark Waid the Eisner award-winning writer that he is.

Superheroes always triumph in the end. However, Waid manages to put the devil in such peril that it seems inconceivable that he can actually win. Then, out of nowhere, he comes up with a plan that ensures victory.

Like every story arc before this one, I have no idea how he gets out of this one, but I can’t wait to see how he does it.

 

Grade: A

Batman Incorporated #9 Review

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Batman Incorporated #9 | Writer: Grant Morrison | Art: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters | Colors: Nathan Fairbairn & Hi-Fi | Letters: Dave Sharpe | Publisher: DC Comics | Price: $2.99 | From my column at Forces of Geek.com

It is Damian Wayne’s funeral and the opening images show Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Alfred serving as pallbearers. Obviously, everyone is sad but Bruce is addled with a personal loss, and looks as if he can barely hold the coffin.

Continue reading “Batman Incorporated #9 Review”

The Black Beetle #1 & 2 Review: Francesco Francavilla is a Pulp Noir Genius

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The Black Beetle #1 | Created by Francesco Francavilla | Letters by Nate Piekos | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $3.99 | From my column @Forces of Geek.com

Comic Books are a mixed bag. Some are good while others are not so good, and then there are those that make you proud to be a fan of the genre. Besides being uber-talented, it’s hard to fathom how Created by produced such an outstanding read.

This is a crime/noir story of the past where mob bosses rule Colt City with an iron fist. Francavilla reveals some information about the Beetle’s character but we don’t know much about the man behind the mask. The sense of overall adventure captivates you from beginning to end.

Continue reading “The Black Beetle #1 & 2 Review: Francesco Francavilla is a Pulp Noir Genius”

Star Wars #2 Review

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Star Wars #2 | Writer: Brian Wood | Artist: Carlos D’Anda | Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb | Cover: Alex Ross | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $2.99 | From my column @Forces of Geek.com

It is a great time to be a Star Wars fan. J.J. Abrams is directing Episode VII, Han Solo, and Boba Fett will reportedly get their own film, and Brian Wood knocked it out of the park with last month’s debut issue that captures the true essence of this franchise and has gone back to press for a 3rd printing.

Deception clouds the Rebel Alliance as a spy is rumored to be lurking about. Princess Leia has been charged to assemble a stealth team to flush out the mole so they can find a new hidden base.

Continue reading “Star Wars #2 Review”

Superior Spider-Man #1 Review

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Superior Spider-Man #1 | Writer: Dan Slott | Art: Ryan Stegman | Colors: Edgar Delgado | Publisher: Marvel Comics | Price: $3.99 | From my column THE PULL LIST @ Forces of Geek.com

I should warn you now; this is not the Spider-Man you are used to.  Gone is the humble scientist who aspires to live up to his Uncle Ben’s inspiring words. Enter the arrogant mastermind who has a second chance to make a new impression. Recent developments have Otto Octavius now inside Peter Parker’s body. Big changes are always met with mixed feelings and now we get to see the maiden voyage of this new journey.

Continue reading “Superior Spider-Man #1 Review”