Erik Cheski

Erik Cheski

Bringing a sword to a gunfight.

Mikey, resident of Earth who has been trapped in the alternate dimension of Terranos for the last decade, has made a right mess of his family.  Though things were already a bit thrashed when he disappeared into the Narnia-like world, his reappearance and the literal demons chasing him have caused massive damage to them and the world at large, hitting the world with a power unknown to it.  In this whirlwind of relations and mythically powerful beings, Mikey’s family tries to bring together what was sundered so long ago.  Having evaded capture so far, the authorities and Mikey’s Terranossi (sp?) family try to ally with his Earth one to bring an end to the long journey that everyone has undergone.

The sword is only one way to die. Honor can be found in many.

A time when Krynn was young.

Well, at least our adventure that is.  Weiss and Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles was one of my earliest introductions to the fantasy genre and, surprisingly, into Dungeons & Dragons as well. (I’m certainly one to pull from great source material to build campaign quests, but when an encounter is pulled straight from a book, it makes it hard to play it truthfully when you know the monks you meet on the road are actually Darconians in disguise.)  IDW is now publishing collections of DC’s late '80s series based off of those novels and the world itself.  Starring Riva Silverblade, the series focuses on the times following the War of the Lance and beyond, as we are treated to Riva in three major points in her life.  We see her bond forged with a young Bronze Dragon, her saying goodbye to that dragon in combat many years later, and just two years after the War when another continent found itself wanting of knowledge of the gods.

I grew up a Star Trek fan.  Star Wars wasn’t on my radar until I saw a Millennium Falcon toy at my friend’s house.  I was intrigued, as it had none of the sleek lines and graceful architecture I saw in a Constitution or Galaxy-class vessel, but it didn’t stick.  I then saw the movies, later on the USA network.  I thought they were good, like nothing I had ever seen before, but it still didn’t stick.  Then, my mom bought me Assault on Selonia, the second book in the Correllian Trilogy featuring the young Solo Children, Thrackan Sal-Solo, and Mara Jade, alongside all the film’s heroes.  Leia had a lightsaber. This was a world that entranced and fascinated me, and since I had read the middle book, I, of course, went to find the first and third, and thus it stuck: I was a Star Wars fan.

The universe is a big, dangerous place.

Mark Millar kicked things off in a big way with his new series, and now things are getting really interesting.  I had only seen the pencils version of the first issue and when I got to see the pages in my hand, I was blown away; the finished product is beautiful and truly deserving of the title “space opera”.  Stuart Immonen has filled a rich and wondrous galaxy for us, and this escape tale hits every note with grace a poise.  Everything in Issue #2 takes another step up, and it’s a helluva fun ride.

You can escape anything but your past.

Once again, I’m blown away by the creative vision shown in the Tokyo Ghost series.  This book is incredibly focused; Rick Remender and Sean Gordon Murphy have a well-defined story to advance to us and do so in a clear and concise way.  There are no wandering plots, no driving action sacrificed for a splash page, and no doubt about the message threading through the very core of the story.  There is an agenda at work here and we’re to know it, but it never detracts from the entertainment of the story.  This is storytelling at its best: a beautiful message of hope laid into a dystopic and myopic world that is filled with engaging characters that is impossible to put down.

Is blood thicker than honor?

I had picked up the first issue of this series without knowing that I’d be writing a review of the second. I’m always a sucker for a good Samurai tale, and I find it hard not to grab something that looks that full of potential off the shelf.  The story felt familiar to me, reminding me very much of Samurai Champloo without the B-Boy antics and outrageous giggles (though some laughs are still there).  Two swordsmen end up in a fight where neither has a stake in it beyond their honor: one hired by the wealthy criminals who keep the populace of an island under their oppressive thumb, the other drawn into defending the honor of those islanders who have let honor slip by in their need.  There was never really a doubt that these two would come to meet in the ring, regardless of Takeo’s protestations and the many turns of the plot that would seem to let their paths never cross; it’s the inevitability of combat that is always the hook for me.  A good Samurai story isn’t as much about the action for me as the tension leading to it.  There’s always a sense of futility to escaping the path that seems most obvious, and the team behind this book seems to have that feeling locked down.

Another month of great independent comics for our perusal, and another month of IndyStash working to not only get creators in front of audiences, but also helping other creators to get their projects moving.  Ryan Wise and the team are using the subscription model to help fund other creators who want to get their stories out there and doing so by getting already published work into the hands of readers is a great double whammy.  Anywho, on to this month’s offerings.

"Do this in remembrance of me."

I wasn't sure just what the arc of this story was going to be when I read the first issue months ago.  Everything seemed like it was going to be a straightforward cut-em-up with Jesus taking on the minions of Hell one at a time to open the gates of Heaven.  The idea was intriguing; in the time we don't see Christ between his death and Resurrection, he journey's to Hell to undoubtedly not turn the other cheek but forcibly rip the keys to Hell out of Lucifer's grip.  I will admit that this, at first, seemed to be more of a conservative piece to weaponize the Lord when he spoke of only peace and love on Earth, but this final issue has really surprised me and made my level of respect for the creative team and their story jump many levels.  We're still in Hell, Jesus is still swinging away like Conan, but there's a none-too-subtle message within that may shock readers who think they know where they're going.

I think that the Dark Crystal may be one of my favorite Henson properties.  This was something groundbreaking for me in my childhood, as fantasy was not as big on TV or in cinema in the '80s.  Sure, we had Legend and The Neverending Story, but these and the works of Rankin and Bass were my only real forays into the world of the fantastic.  The Dark Crystal was as real to me as Dagobah for obvious reasons, and that was all the difference to my childhood.  So, this series of Creation Myths has been a walk down a childhood path that I wish I had had access to and is amazing for the incredibly wide and varied stories that culminate in a single tome.  Much like The Silmarillion for Tolkien's Middle Earth, Creation Myths brings to life a world where the first story that we heard proves to not be the whole one.

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