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Showing posts from October, 2020

Review: Sidereal Apogee

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Four and a half centuries into the future, mankind's place in the galaxy has shifted vastly. With the Earth's atmosphere infected with radiation and disease, most people now live in the space colonies scattered about the solar system. So begins the cyberpunk anthology series Sidereal Apogee , created by writer Phoebe Xavier and a diverse team of artists. The reader is led on a ride that jumps from place to place and at different points in time within the vast, lawless arena of the future system. Cyborgs, psychos, dinosaurs, cool spacecraft, unfeasibly huge weapons, scantily-clad heroines and, of course, huge amounts of violence ensue. The prime directive here is to have fun, and the creators do so with abandon. Some characters pop up in subsequent stories but mostly each chapter is a standalone set upon the sprawling canvas laid out in the premise. The pages are mostly monochrome, but with touches of colour here and there for effect. It gives the whole thing a bit of a retro f

Review: Ironheart

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We're blurring the boundaries again. Yes, Marvel's Ironheart is a superhero but she's in the category of the technologically enhanced crime fighter, which puts this soundly on the sci-fi side of the line. Riri Williams is a young genius from Chicago with her own lab at MIT. Her father, stepfather and childhood friend were shot and killed in her home city, so what's a girl to do? Well this one decided to reverse-engineer Tony Stark's famous suit and take to the skies on her own crusade against villainy. The design is similar to Iron Man but sleeker and with a different colour scheme, which includes a very post-feminist pink. Things aren't so straightforward, of course, Riri has to balance her technological and heroic hobbies with the complications of the real world; MIT showing her off to VIPs and treating her lab like a showpiece, her past trauma overshadowing her present and threatening her ability to form relationships... Is she using her nerdy obsessions as

Review: Green Lantern - Far Sector

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Fundamentally, all superhero stories are science fiction. The Man of Steel himself is an alien. Costumed vigilantes get their superpowers via radiation, genetic mutation, exotic technology, etc. With a few exceptions - the magically enhanced Shazam and Witchblade - caped crusaders have a sci-fi origin story to lift them out of mundane reality. So why do we count it as a separate genre? Because in most cases the setting of the hero's saga is plain old contemporary Earth. Their arch-nemeses tend to be humans with similarly acquired abilities but rarely do their exploits take them away from this planet, or feature visitors from other worlds.  A certain significant chunk of the readership like stories that take place in the world with which they are familiar. The fantasy element works well in contrast with a realistic arena.  This is the complimentary opposite of most science fiction, in which the central characters are ordinary humans and the settings are fantastical. There are ex

Review: Outer Darkness

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You thought outer space was scary, with the possibility of encountering homicidal bug-eyed monsters? You don’t know the half of it. In writer John Layman and artist Afu Chan’s Outer Darkness there is indeed a race of violent insectoid aliens out there, and they are indeed waging a long, bloody war with Earth and her allies… but it gets worse. Much worse. The aliens are just a starter, an hors d'oeuvres , because in addition to that, space is full of demons. Yes, actual demons. Never mind energy weapons and force fields, your ship had better have an army of highly trained exorcists on board to fend off the legions of hellspawn that will infect your vessel and possess your crew. Even then, your helmsman might turn green and start projectile vomiting before trying to feast on your flesh… Death is a constant reality…. But don’t worry, the ship also has sorcerers who can pull back your soul and place it into a newly cloned body.  Faster than light travel is achieved by harnessing the po

Review: Concrete Park

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  I have learned that there is one thing that Afrofuturism is NOT short of: bad-ass females. When the future is dark, dystopian and dangerous you won’t last long as a damstel in distress. If you wait for some chisel-jawed himbo to leap to your defence you will probably be toast before he gets to you, so grab that plasma rifle and start mowing down the monsters/cyborgs/goons yourself. Just such a protagonist is Luca, one of the central characters of Tony Puryear’s Concrete Park. Big-boned, big-breasted, big everything, she is a large-and-in-charge warrior woman evocative of the fantasies of Robert Crumb. There is also more than a touch of Gaugin’s earthy Polynesian beauties about her, especially in her naked opening scene… It’s one of those dark futures; Earth is dealing with its overwhelming population pressure by exiling the dispossessed (consisting disproportionately of the young and dark-skinned) to the distant prison planet Oasis (Epsilon Eridani). Apologies in advance to any Austr

Review: The Power Knights - Unbounded

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Writer/artist Keithan Jones is the creator of The Power Knights , characters he first drew at the age of ten years old, making this a lifetime labour of love. Like many African-American kids, he loved comics but did not see very many characters in them who looked like him, so he set out to rectify that omission and has now founded his own company KID Comics. Six super-powered warriors, once enslaved by a sorceress to enact the will of a galactic tyrant king, find themselves on a planet called Earth, freed from the control that once bound their will. One of them, Warseed, uses his new freedom to exert control over the primitive inhabitants of his new home, assuming the human identity Marcus Krain in the city New Angeles and plotting to create an army of mutants to take over the world. One of his human recruits, young Davion Watson, rebels and is nearly killed by Krain, fleeing to warn his brother Kandle. His life is saved by Dragon Blaze, one of Warseed's former comrades, who turns

Review: LaGuardia

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Written by Nnedi Okorafor, award-winning Nigerian-American writer of Marvel's Shuri: Search fo Black Panther, LaGuardia is a tale of identity, migration, segregation, integration, love and family. At some point in the near future extraterrestrials make contact with Earth, the first spacecraft landing just off the coast of Nigeria. Lagos becomes an interstellar focal point, the first port of call for vistors from other worlds... Of which there are many!  Artist Tana Ford takes delight in creating a diverse bestiary of aliens, imaginatively non-humanoid; weird, wonderful, bizarre, grotesque, cute and fascinating. This includes alien plants, some of which are a lot more mobile than most Earth varieties. Dr Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka, who specialises in alien medicine, leaves Lagos suddenly, without a word to her husband Citizen ... despite being pregnant with their child. Arriving at LaGuardia airport/spaceport in New York she is stopped by border control who are implementing restric

Review: Shuri Vol. 1: The Search For Black Panther

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If any legend of comics deserves to be regarded as the standard of Afrofuturism, it has to be Marvel's Black Panther. Not only was T'Challa the first superhero of African descent in mainstream comics, he was the powerful king of a powerful nation: Wakanda, the (secretly) most technologically-advanced nation in the world. All this beginning in 1966 when the Civil Rights movement was still ongoing in the United States. Now the king's sister princess Shuri gets her own story, the first first five editions collected in this volume. Written by award-winning Nigerian-American science fiction author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Leonardo Romero, our tale begins with T'Challa getting ready to blast off into deep space in Wakanda's first ever off-planet expedition. His sister- being a tech genius - is director of the program and is much happier in her lab dreaming up dazzling new gadgets rather than galavanting around the universe being a hero like her brother. Hence her rel

Review: Parable of the Sower

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Parable of the Sower, originally written in 1993 by Octavia E. Butler, arguably the most renowned black female science fiction author, is an unsettling dystopian novel set in a decaying United States in the year 2024. Environmental collapse and the erosion of democracy has led to the slow disintegration of human society. Corporate greed and political collusion has led to the reduction of workers' rights to near zero, creating a new class of slaves. The sick and starving roam the streets along with feral dogs. Most areas are prey to criminal gangs and bands of marauding pyromaniacs (the "painted"). Teenager Lauren Oya Olamina is the daughter of a Baptist minister living with her family in a gated community. Within its walls people live on a level of basic subsistence, growing crops and bartering goods and services. They fear the horrors outside, to which Lauren is particularly susceptible due to hyperempathy syndrome ; she physically feels the pain and pleasure of anyone

Review: Kindred

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Octavia Butler (1947-2006) was probably the most famous black female science fiction author of the 20th century, which is to say, of any century so far. She won several awards for her writing, including the prized Hugo and Nebula, and is critically acclaimed for her work. Many science fiction authors deal with social and philosophical themes, but with Butler's novels and stories they assume a fundamental role. Exploring the inherent flaws of the human psyche, her characters often find themselves fighting for the vision to create a new society in which the destructive and self-destructive evils are purged. Kindred is the story of Dana, a young writer in 1976 who moves to a new apartment in California with her white husband Kevin. While unpacking books she suddenly finds herself transported back in time to the year 1815 where she saves the life of a young boy drowning in a river. He turns out to be Rufus, the son of a plantation owner and, to her horror, Dana's own great grandf

Review: Ayanmo Stigmata

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Black Future Month continues with Ayanmo Stigmata from writer Tyrone L. Jackson and artist Marvin Marvida of SoveReign Comics, an independent publishing company established by Jackson in Colorado in 2009 with the aim of addressing the lack of diversity in mainstream comics. June 1944 ... Lieutenant Clifford 'Red' Brown is a fighter pilot with the Tuskagee Airmen of the US Air Force during World War II. You may not have heard of them, but they were the first African-American military aviators in the US armed forces. This was at a point in history when racial segregation ('Jim Crow') laws were in place, and the military was no exception. During an escort mission close to German airspace Red's squadron suddenly comes under fire from the Luftwaffer. They are holding their own against the Germans when strange lights appear in the sky... 'Foo Fighters' (the name given by Allied airmen to UFOs in the 1940s). One of the mysterious craft smashes a German plane in it

Review: Baaaad Muthaz

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October is Black History Month, except here at the Nexus.... where it is Black FUTURE Month! So let's check out some Afrofuturism.. . Baaaad Muthaz from author Bill Campbell and artist David Brame of Rosarium Publishing follows the exploits of Afro Desia and her all-female crew aboard the pirate ship Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedallymistic. Oh, they are also a James Brown cover band and their instruments double as high-tech energy weapons, which comes in handy when they take on some rather sensitive contraband... a mysterious pink fluid that turns out to be something called Karvigjian super ... erm ... let's just say, this comic is NOT for kids! An intellectual political treatise this very much ain't. .. just pure fun. The 70s blaxploitation vibe is in full force here (our heroine totally loses it when a stray energy bolt ruins her hair - "They scorched my Fro!" ) and there are innuendos aplenty.  Of course, things go sideways pretty quickly and the Muthaz are soo

INFINITY DRAGONFLY - Sci-Fi Comic

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                       INFINITYDRAGONFLY.COM 3105 - The Second Interstellar War has waged across space for eight years. The Joint Defence Campaign, consisting of the United Worlds Accord and its allies, has committed all available ships and personnel against the expansionist Æsynja Empire... But will it be enough? ....  Read Issue One FREE  /  Quick Look (Promo Video)   /   Download Issues 1-4 from Amazon      Comic previews: ISSUE 4      24 pages ISSUE 1     24 pages ISSUE 2     24 pages ISSUE 3     24 pages Watch the video - introduction and page previews:   SEE ALSO :  Read reviews of sci-fi comics, discover new titles by mainstream and independent creators SEE ALSO:   FANTASTIC GALAXY Space cartoon - educational and fun SEE ALSO: Comic-making tutorials: Infinity Dragonfly is created using 100% FREE software. The tutorial videos below show you the basics of using these tools to create and format the images. Follow the Youtube page for regular updates. SEE ALSO:   Harlequin's DA

Review: Dose

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OK, Disclaimer / Parental Advisory time; we're talking DRUGS here. Recreational, illegal, psychotropic, mind-altering, consciousness-expanding, highly dangerous and probably extraterrestrial in origin. Buyer beware, proceed with caution, yadda yadda yadda... If you are looking for something safe and family-values JUST SAY NO! DOSE from writer Sean Ellis and artist John Gebbia is a headlong plunge into a dizzying headtrip of a story. Welcome to San Francisco, but not as we know it... Metahumans, aliens, robots and flying cars are all a part of the urban landscape, and have been for decades. But don't worry, there are still many comfortingly normal elements of the familiar world to cling to: unemployment, gang warfare, exploitation, rampant capitalism, invasive advertising... and the buying and selling of mood-altering substances, some of them legal, some of them not. Our hero is Screw Worm, an ex-sidekick metahuman junkie slob living alone in his dump of an apartment but for h