Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes (240)

Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon
Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python

Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics!  In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses.  In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.

You’re a sonofab---h, Parker.

You don’t give a damn about anybody and don’t ever leave well enough alone. You are the guy Lee Child and Tom Cruise wish Jack Reacher was. You make Rocky look like Rocky V. You are the toughest, meanest, and most relentless crook this side of anywhere.

If you like Indiana Jones, you should be reading Lobster Johnson. I’ll tell you why in a bit.

This collection contains three single-issue stories, one short, and one two-parter featuring the greatest crustacean-themed vigilante the world has ever seen. Lobster Johnson is a relentless crime fighter who always seems to find himself tangled up with the supernatural or Nazis. Or both. Yes, this reminds me of a famous archeologist, Hiram Bingham Indiana Jones. The similarities don’t end with Nazis and the occult. Like Bingham, Lobster Johnson’s roots lie in the adventure serials of the '30s and '40s. Also like Bingham, Lobster Johnson is cooler that a nuclear fridge.

For those of you that don’t know, two brothers, Ethan and Malachai Nicolle, write and illustrate Axe Cop. Malachai, the writer, is 9. Ethan, the illustrator, is 32. This is the most important part of the comic. What Axe Cop (the comic, not the character) does is hold up a lens to show you the brilliant, limitless, and occasionally psychotic imagination of a child. According to Malachai, the only possible recourse when faced with a bad guy is to chop his head off. That is, unless the bad guy is particularly awesome, then you might want to try to hypnotize him, so he becomes a good guy.

Eric Garcia’s new comic is a near-future sci-fi tale about the dangers of a security state and excessive hyphens. This issue is the origin story for the conflict to come. We are introduced to Golden Shield, the aspiring surveillance company that will help stop crimes as they are occurring. There is a problem with the system, though; the evaluation software isn’t accurate enough for the scale of the project. I won’t spoil anything for you, but the solution to this problem looks like it will be the source of the tension for the foreseeable future.

My favorite thing about The Star Wars is when I am sure that I know exactly what is going to happen. I have spent more time with Star Wars than some people have spent with their children. So, when I am reading a comic based on the original Star Wars story, I am never surprised. The Star Wars surprises me every time.

David Lapham’s adaptation of The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, has been interesting. The first volume played out like a modern take on a classic monster movie, where we only saw hints of the big bad and never really saw how bad things were getting. The second volume almost played out like an apocalypse. The third volume does something I didn’t expect. It plays out as a detective story after the world has ended.

For a brief recap, Bigfoot has mysteriously been transported to an Edgar Rice Burroughs version of Mars, where he is forced to become a legendary warrior. That should be all you need to know. It’s Bigfoot. On Mars. With swords. Seriously, it is even cooler than it sounds.

I have read and reread every issue of Mind MGMT so far, and I don’t know if there is another issue that so clearly shows that the psychological damage is generally the result of the organization itself and the individual’s “gift.” This issue is a standalone that fits between the last story arc and the next one, and it is fascinating. This is an origin story (in a comic book!) of an agent that doesn’t look like she will be drawn into the conflict. I am sorry if that seems like a spoiler, but it really isn’t.

A pantomime is a terrible thing to waste.

I am sorry. When I picked up Monsters! and Other Stories, I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Now, I won’t spoil anything, but I can’t talk about the comic without using words like “charming” and “surprising.” This won’t take anything away from your experience, but you won’t be quite so caught off guard as I was.

What if you threw an apocalypse and no one came?

I have enjoyed Peter Clines’ novels of superheroes vs. zombies, so I jumped at the chance to review the fourth in the series. Like the past novels, this is very, very plot driven and atmospheric. The superheroes are the standard archetypal heroes, and the zombies are standard for the walking dead. Somehow, by bringing these together, you wind up with something new and cool.

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