Sunday, March 23, 2008

Closer Look at Virgin Comics

Take a closer look at Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter, The Megas and The Stranded

Virgin Comics has been taking an interesting angle on comic creation. They expose creative talent from other fields with the chance to create stories that reader may not expect. When you see the name Jenna Jameson on a comic you don’t expect what you get in Shadow Hunter, nor do you expect a Sci-Fi channel venture to turn out as well as The Stranded or the director of U-571 and Terminator 3 creating a book as thought provoking as The Megas. Yes, the books from Virgin Comics are indeed unique and not your average hero in spandex fare. Let’s take a look at the three examples I mention above.

Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter Issue 1 CoverJenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter Issue 1 – Jezzerie Jaden is one of the most sensual, attractive heroines to come along in a while. From a young age Jezzerie has been able to see monsters and spirits. As she grows the visions become more vivid, so real she can touch them, not to mention scarier. To get a handle on what she’s seeing Jezzerie seeks the help of Dr. Ingersol who performs various test on Jezzerie, but seems to have his own agenda as he references her state being similar to a group called the Omegas who are housed at Area 51 as well as referencing the Great Tomb of Lilith. Religious references are the least of Jezzerie’s problems when her powers take a turn for the super, her hair color changes and she wields a sword to defeat insane monsters all around. Next up a hero guy joins the fight and some mega bad guy also wielding a sword and talking about royalty not to mention a big secret that ends issue 1.

Jenna is known for many things, her creative mind is not one of them, but that will change. Jenna’s collaboration with Christina Z, of Witchblade fame, merged with the art of Mukesh Singh is a winning formula. This story is not bound by any existing comic worlds or conventions. The story is not ground breaking, but carried by excellent art and strong creative names this is one book to keep an eye one. Readers will enjoy this title long after the main creators name wears off.

The Megas Issue 1 CoverThe Megas Issue 1 – The concept is simple. What if the founders of the United States never created a democracy, but instead instituted a monarchy that existed even today. Follow the life and investigations of Agent Jack Madison, a commoner who investigates Mega related crimes and has a past with the king through his father who served the now sickly King Marcus Arcadia. It’s not enough he has to help cover-up certain crimes but he must also deal with an apparent drug issue and a rebellious group called the Dada. The stage is set for further political intrigue as an heir to the king will be revealed, changes in government policy are sure to follow, the rebels get more aggressive and you just know there is something behind the opening crime Madison investigates. The stage is set for rebellion.

Stories don’t get much better than this. This is like reading the latest NY Times best seller but in comic form. John Harrison, DUNE on Sci-Fi, created the script and it flows like a feature worthy to be related to DUNE. The art is nothing spectacular , but it serves the story very well as this is the real world seen in a different light, and conceptual artist Peter Rubin does a fine job. The unique white hair seen on a Mega has a way of popping off the page and you can just see how this would piss off commoners. There is so much room for an excellent politically charged thrill ride her, and I think Jonathan Mostow has a winner on his hands, one worthy of a read if you’re cool with a book grounded in what could be reality.

The Stranded Issue 1 CoverThe Stranded Issue 1 – Mix Sci-Fi with Virgin Comics, throw in a creative mind of Mike Carey’s caliber (X-Men) and you’re getting a comic that could go head-to-head with the Heroes, Angel … any super powered, sci-fi show out there. We’ve got a rat with part of a super-genius, Zante, in it, a secret base for Tamree, sexy super chic, who has Sleepers getting killed around the planet and a genuine concern that the other Anchors will be wiped out, which is confirmed when her base is attacked. Ok, so this is only part of the story, there’s also some buff hero-ish looking guy who is responsible for the attack on Tamree and has been killing off Anchors and ends the issue by crashing a wedding. Who are the Sleepers, why are their memories and powers locked? Tune in to find out more.

There is much more I could tell you, but that is for you to find out, no spoilers here. See this is a superhero book through and through and flows very well with hints at a much broader scope, very similar to Heroes. We establish the existence of Anchors and Sleepers and a force looking to wipe them out. The reason for this, tbd, but the action is already fast paced. The art is not as outstanding as Shadow Hunter, but it’s a solid hero looking effort. The creative tandem of Mike Carey and Siddharth Kotian is looking to be a solid partnership that readers will enjoy. From what I’ve read so far I really must say it’s only a matter of time before we are craving the TV version with special powers and all revealed. It will happen, but before then pick up this book … after Jenna of course.

So where’s that leave us? I’ve given you a quick look at these three books with some of the finer points I took from each. Shadow Hunter has the best art, but most predictable story (of the three) while the Megas is lacking in art, but has one rock solid story and The Stranded is in the middle in both instances. I’ve been reading comics for a very long time and it’s refreshing to see not only a new take on storytelling but the inclusion of brilliant minds from other entertainment fields, a trend I hope continues.

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