I must confess to being a bit of a n00b when it comes to Leet, the coding geek-speak tellingly referred to in Atomic Robo – the Ring of Fire #1. That’s something that got old without me even noticing it. As with Atomic Robo – a great looking comic book saga created by Brian Clevinger (8-Bit Theater) and Scott Wegener that has recently joined the ranks of IDW publishing – there are vast swathes of the comic book world that happened without my knowledge… oh well, I’m sure they’ll get over it.
Anyway, as with many other long running stories, getting into Robo isn’t completely straightforward. The reader is pitched headlong into the weirdness of the story’s parallel world and must contend with panel after panel of groundwork on what’s proceeded. As a narrative device this is a bit cumbersome, but as with all introductory sessions there’s bound to be a little discomfort!
Thankfully, Wegener’s artwork is engaging and vibrant, with a classic cartoonish take on layout and style. The plot itself – as far as I could discern – largely focuses on the Action Scientists attempts to locate where their leader Atomic Robo is. He’s been missing for two years and the team has got back together to try and figure out exactly where in space and time he is. Oh, and they’re also trying to escape the attention of the heavily armed militaristic group ULTRA.
While Robo himself only makes the briefest of appearances, there’s enough in this issue to intrigue and create anticipation for further progression… however, some background reading is recommended.
Review appears on the pages of Flickering Myth.
Classy neo-noir from Rich Tommaso in Dark Corridor… review over at Flickering Myth. and here…
Carter burns through his money like a big-baller. Also, we see The Scalinas death at the hands of deadly daughter Nicole.
Issue 2 of Dark Corridor continues Rich Tommaso’s rich and bloody vein of neo-noir in combative style.
Set around two ongoing stories; The Red Circle and Seven Deadly Daughters, Tomasso (Clover, 8½ Ghosts) creates an exhilarating ride through two distinct constructs taking in a range of largely cinematic influences.
As Tommaso writes in his last page commentary, cinematic entertainment has played a large part in his creative imagination. He cites violent action movies of a certain vintage like Commando,Predator, Lethal Weapon, Scarface and many more as having made a huge impact on his life.
He also describes how he turned away from these features and sought out more ‘intellectual’ filmic pursuits after reaching the grand old age of 21. With a bit of time to digest however, he returned to the wide-screen actioners and in particular, the 80’s horror and violent splatter-fests of his younger days.
So, what does all this have to do with his comic book? Well, quite a bit, as Dark Corridor is imbued with a Hollywood style of classic cinematic crime and noir. The two ongoing stories take a slightly different tone with The Red Circle using a classic noir template, calling to mind that great comic book artist of city crime Will Eisner (The Spirit). Seven Deadly Daughters on the other hand has more of an updated 80’s feel to it, with a distinctly Tarantino-esque rapid fire delivery.
The Red Circle, part two, Carter’s Misfortune, tells a suitably doomed tale of career criminal Carter. Just let out from a nine and a half-year stretch in the jail house and having saved up some cash from a five-week job as a security guard, he decides he’s in the mood for a party. Exploring the city of Red Circle fuelled by drink, drugs and various sexual encounters, Carter lives life-like there’s no tomorrow. And as is the case with many characters in a crime-soaked environment, there might not be…
Tomasso’s art work fits perfectly a portrayal of a city’s 50’s style crime underbelly. The world of Red Circle is timeless, with classic themes of Americana running throughout. The style is vibrant and hard-hitting. The cumulative energy built up around Carter’s long day and night of freedom is impressively displayed with Carter’s internal monologue accompanied by time and location run-downs on the base of the panel.
The Seven Deadly Daughters story, Greatest Hits volume 2, centres on Nicole Breccia and her quick-fire revenge on her father’s murderers. The story is fully turned up the max, with panel after panel of kicks, knife fights and dog attacks going on with no pause for breath. Essentially played out as a mini scene in an ongoing story, the chapter does more than enough to keep you wanting more.
Overall Dark Corridor is a great example of what comic books do best – provoke, entertain and inspire in equal measures. I, for one, am looking forward to reading more.
Comic book characters basically run the cinema these days. Well, them and emo flavoured legends and fables (Jack the Giant Slayer, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel etc…) Where once it was Howard the Duck and Captain America in wildly mocked 80’s movies, it’s now The Avengers and the X-Men bigging it up at the multiplexes. Fair enough. Not sure if it is a fad or what, but part of me hopes that there will be a ridiculous Secret Wars II style movie series with every character ever featured in it. But mostly Beyonder. He/She/It was fantastik.
Anyway, after some discussion about the phenomenon with other film writers on Flickering Myth, here is my list of the top 10 movie adaptations of comic books/graphic novels…
A History of Violence
The Dark Knight
V for Vendetta
Spider Man (2002)
This review appears in the June issue of Clash Magazine.
This smart and slick docu examines the life and work of Todd Loren, whose series of unauthorised comic book biographies of famous rockers – including Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns n Roses, Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper- alternately captivated and infuriated bands of the 80’s and early 90’s. The much sued Loren’s life and career ended dramatically in 1992, murdered in mysterious circumstances. Told in lively animated style, the film is an ideal introduction to an underground icon. Packed with extras and expert insight from artists, writers and rock legends, it is a welcome curiosity and testament to a life on the artistic fringes. Highly recommended.