PUBWATCH: Dynamite Fall/Winter Roundup

Dynamite Pubwatch Banner - Red Sonja by Jenny Frison (Dynamite Entertainment)

In her last giant-sized Pubwatch romp, our darling Rosie Knight rounded up the details of Dynamite’s adventures during the spring. With Rosie’s busy schedule, doing stuff like chatting with Captain Marvel, she’s passed on the Dynamite Pubwatch torch, so here I am!

Industry News

The big news for the publisher is a 2019 relaunch of their redheaded She-Devil, Red Sonja, who is getting a whole new creative team for the new year. In the fifth volume of the series, Mark Russell (The Flintstones) takes over with a story that involves a bastard sorceress, a world conquerer named Tomyris with a massive army, and of course, the She-Devil herself. Mirko Colak (Conan) will provide the pencils, and there will be numerous additional covers for collectors to enjoy, including the A cover, a bloody, deadly masterpiece by Amanda Connor, as well as covers by Joseph Michael Linsner and Christian Ward that show other powerful aspects of the warrior queen.

Series editor Nate Cosby says, “Mark Russell’s take on Sonja is steeped in greater-than-fiction history, with a humongous worldview. Sonja will be the focus, but what’s exciting is to see the lore and world-building that Mark’s infusing into this new ongoing, to create a fusion of modern storytelling while placing big classical elements front and center. The rest of the creative team is in perfect harmony with the approach… artist Mirko Colak is drawing grandly scaled perspectives, color artist Dearbhla Kelly is bringing a bold painterly palette, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is styling beautifully rugged balloons and effects required for a fantastic fantasy comic.”

In 2017, Dynamite announced a companion comic to XBox’s open world action-adventure game, Crackdown 3. But the game, a sequel to the 2007 and 2010 games, has suffered many delays. Now, if all goes well, both the comic and the game will launch in February 2019.

Cover for Crackdown #1 (Dynamite Comics, February 2019) - A team of rugged, determined looking adults in skintight grey, black, and blue armor strike various poses with their weapons

The following summary was provided for the Crackdown mini-series below:

In the not-so-distant future, civilized society is more plugged-in and interconnected than ever—but criminal organizations are growing more connected as well, forming unholy alliances, and plotting for an unprecedented campaign against the world. When a series of devastating blackout attacks plunge major metropolitan areas into darkness and chaos, the global population is terrified, traditional law enforcement is overwhelmed—and it’s up to The Agency, an elite international crime-fighting task force, to restore peace and deliver justice, by any means necessary.

In the Cards

Dynamite keeps taking to crowdfunding to bring fans new and interesting auxiliary products for their top brands. A good question might be why a large, seemingly successful publishing company needs to turn to crowdfunding. But if you’re looking for some last minute gift ideas for Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, and/or Vampirella fans, trading cards and Tarot cards might work. The Tarot cards feature several gorgeous painted images of the characters. The trading cards seem to mainly include busts of Dejah Thoris, with lots of emphasis on the bust part.

Cover Girl

WWAC has a monthly feature where we talk about an upcoming cover featuring a woman. Dynamite is quite fond of women on their covers and is also quite fond of offering multiple covers for those issues. Some of those covers are truly spectacular.

Barbarella #12 cover A by Yuko Shimizu (Dyamite Entertainment, November 2018) - A thin woman in a red spacesuit and glass, circular helmet rides a comically small, retro-looking rocket like a pony into space, as several identical rockets blast off in the background; a moon and planets can be seen behind her

For this pubwatch, I’m spotlighting the cover of Barbarella #12 by Yuko Shimizu, which is sexy, fun, and colourful. I especially adore the helmet that leaves just enough room for her glorious golden locks.

Reviews

As usual, Dynamite has had lots to offer over the past few months. There are both new titles, and lots of time spent with their more famous names, like Dejah Thoris and Red Sonja. Here are a few of the books that caught my eye this month.

Note: Copies of these books were provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Xena Warrior Princess: Penance TPB
Vincente Cifuentes (artist), Meredith Finch (writer)
September 9, 2018

Cover for Xena Volume 1 (Dynamite Entertainment, September 2018) - Xena wields her sword in one hand and circular chakram in the other as she strikes a pose, looking at the viewer with a determined expression

Finch takes Xena back to her after-she-was-bad origins, where the former evil despot is now on a path to forgiveness, pausing at temples to seek penance for her heinous crimes. She soon stumbles into Gabrielle, who has run into a bunch of hoodlums who aren’t going to be sweet-talked by Gabrielle’s early bardic ways. This moves very quickly through Xena’s journey, introducing her nemesis, Callisto, within the first few issues. It also firmly establishes Xena’s loyalty to Gabrielle, after a grudging introduction. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on where the story goes in the future, and Finch’s methods for introducing and solidifying these relationships aren’t awful, but for now, as someone who recently watched the entire television series, the fastforwarding makes me nervous, especially when it comes to the extremely important relationship between the bard and the warrior. One particular panel hints at the future possibilities, but it’s uncertain if this was Finch’s intention, or the artist taking liberties. Cifuentes works well at capturing the character’s expressive features, if not their exact likenesses, from Gabrielle’s eyebrow tilt to Xena’s smirk to Callisto’s maniacal grin. But why Cifuentes felt that Xena required six-inch stiletto heels will forever be a mystery. Aside from that, I appreciate the attention to detail in Xena and Callisto’s iconic outfits.

KISS: Blood and Stardust #2 and #3
Adriano Augusto (colourist), Rodney Buchemi (artist), Bryan Hill (writer), Kevin Ketner (editor), Troy Peteri (letterer)
November/December 2018

KISS is back from the dead and looking to understand their new-found powers, but they aren’t just going to take Lilith’s word for it, so she’s got to explain her whole backstory to them. In a largely expository issue, their benefactor, Lilith, explains how she came to be from the Garden of Eden, and how Derek Crowley, her former protege and now the enemy KISS seeks, came to be what he is now. Exposition sequences can be dangerous, falling into the trap of over-explanation and wordiness, but Hill doesn’t go overboard with the text and Buchemi keeps everything moving with vibrant, exciting imagery. And once the backstory is complete, we’re treated to a great superhero montage and rescue of a young girl who just wanted to come to LA to sing. But this is a book about KISS, so of course music is going to be a big part of it…

Green Hornet: Generations TPB
Amy Chu (writer), German Erramouspe (artist), Anthony Margues (editor), Tom Napolitano (letterer), Brittany Pezzillo (colourist)
October 2018

Cover for Green Hornet: Generations TPB Amy Chu (writer), German Erramouspe (artist), Anthony Margues (editor), Tom Napolitano (letterer), Brittany Pezzillo (colourist) Dynamite Entertainment October 2018 - The Green Hornet, a figure in emerald green domino mask, fedora, cape, and gloves, knocks out a poboy-capped villain

Picking up where Kevin Smith left off, Chu’s Century City is missing a Green Hornet and crime is running rampant. With the original Green Hornet dead and his son missing, Kato, the former sidekick to the Green Hornet, must figure out what’s going on, with the help of his daughter, Mulan, who takes up the Green Hornet mantle. The story and the action keep the legacy alive, especially with Erramouspe’s dynamic action sequences moving things along. There are a few familiar faces as well as new ones. The story jet-sets across the world, only to find that the enemy was within all along.

Vampirella/Dejah Thoris #2 and #3
Erik Burnham (writer), Matt Idelson (editor), Amy Jackson (assistant editor), Troy Peteri (letterer), Dinei Ribeiro (colourist), Ediano Silva (artist)
October/November 2018

When we first caught up with the unlikely pair of Vampirella and Dejah Thoris, the two came to a quick friendship and went to the jeddak to seek aid for Vampirella’s people, who are hurtling towards Barsoom and will likely all be enraged with bloodlust. But the jeddak, after an incongruously sexist comment made towards Vampirella’s display of rage, determines that his people cannot risk helping her. The princess of Mars, however, has no such qualms, and, as always, defies her father and grandfather’s wishes to go on a journey to appeal to the goddess for help. The journey is a deadly risk, as Mars is not a friendly planet. Nor are its many people, including a cult of the goddess, and the Gray Men who actually are in touch with the goddess. Despite her centuries, Dejah Thoris is a naive young woman, and her time spent with Vampirella helps her realize how much she has still to learn. Jay Anacleto’s covers for each of these issues are gorgeous with their well defined musculature and lines on each characters and the creative layouts. I would love to see his art throughout the story, though that’s not to say Silva does a poor job. Sometimes, I just want to see a bit more detail and definition in backgrounds and characters.

Xena Warrior Princess #10
Vicente Cifuentes (artist), Matt Idelson (editor), Periya Pillai (colourist), Cardinal Rae (letterer), Erica Schultz (writer)
December 2018

Xena #10 Vicente Cifuentes (artist), Matt Idelson (editor), Periya Pillai (colourist), Cardinal Rae (letterer) Erica Schultz Dynamite Comics December 2018 - Xena stands on a staircase holding two swords, looking up at two female figures in centurion-like outfits holding crossed spears

Autolycus and Joxer accompany Xena as she inspects “Xena Fest” in the city of Dyme, hoping to find Gabrielle, who has been kidnapped by Sedvis, a woman whose obsession with the warrior princess and Gabrielle has led her to base her life on the duo. It’s fandom obsession taken to its heights, especially when Sedvis faces off against Xena herself and proves that her obsessions goes deeper than admiration. This is the end of this particular storyline, which seems almost anti-climactic when Callisto was already introduced so early in the series.

Hack/Slash vs. Chaos #1
CRANK! (letters), Dee Cunniffe (colourist), Kevin Ketner (editor), Rapha Lobosco (artist), Tim Seeley (writer, artist)
December 2018

Hack/Slash vs Chaos #1 CRANK! (letters), Dee Cunniffe (colourist), Kevin Ketner (editor), Rapha Lobosco (arist), Tim Seeley (writer, artist) December 2018 - Two figures, a thin woman holding a baseball bat and a muscular man holding knifes, against a background of four portraits: a red-skinned devilish woman, a figure with short red hair, green eyes and pale skin, a green-skinned figure with a wide grin filled with yellow teeth, and a pale woman in a domino mask with purple hair

Cassie and her giant sidekick, Vlad, hunt the kind of serial killer monsters you’d find in ’80s horror flicks. She thought they’d rid the world of these Slashers, but of course that’s not the case. Worse, Evil Ernie shows up to explain that things are even more dire than Cassie might think. As the title implies, there is a whole lot of hacking and slashing going on. Add the chaos of Ernie and a few other familiar faces and this is a recipe for lots of violence, snarky one liners, and more violence, so if all that works for you, then jump on board.

The Librarians Volume 1
Rodney Buchemi (artist), Will Pfeiffer (writer)
October 2018

Three librarians, their guardian, and the Library’s keeper stand on the cover of The Librarians Volume 1

Flynn Carsen has dragged his fellow librarians and guardian out to a film fest for his favourite cheesy ’70s movie master, Sol Schick. His friends might not quite get his obsession, but they can’t argue when the clipping book has warned them that something would happen at the showing. That something turns out to be the murder of Schick himself. This becomes a typical Librarians caper, differing from the television show in the fact that the medium allows a lot more freedom, including a sky-gliding Ezekiel Jones. Buchemi tries a little too hard to draw the actors’ likenesses, which ended up being a frustrating distraction from the fun since the images just didn’t hit the mark.

Red Sonja #23: “Hyborian Rhapsody”
Erik Burnham (writer), Roberto Castro (illustrator), Amy Chu (writer), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Salvatore Aiala Studio (colours)
November 2018

Red Sonja #23: "Hyborian Rhapsody" Erik Burnham and Amy Chu (writers), Roberto Castro (illustrator), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Salvatore Aiala Studio (colours) November 2018 - Sonja sits cross-legged, chin in her hand, with a fed-up look; behind her is a sign that says WILL SLAY 4 MEAD

The She-Devil just wants to wander in peace, but the fact that she’s been able to do so for the past few days was warning that such serenity would not last long. Her journey is interrupted by the goddess Minasha, who is answering the prayers of a king who lost his son to Red Sonja’s blade. Goddess of a waning religion, she would honour the wishes of a faithful worshiper, but she also knows that Red Sonja is warrior worth far more than the average life of the lost prince. She allows the king to ask a boon of Sonja, who grudgingly takes on a quest that ends up involving several mythical creatures. This is a brief interlude in the overarching stories of Red Sonja, but I find myself enjoying them far more than her epic conquests. There’s little time for her to show compassion, nor does she need to. She honours those who are worthy of her time, and those who are not need to be mindful of their tongues, lest they too taste her blade.

Bettie Page #1: The Princess and the Pinup
David Avallone (writer), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Kevin Ketner (editor), Julius Ohta (artist), Ellie Wright (colourist)
November 2018

Bettie Page #1: The Princess and the Pinup David Avallone (writer), Kevin Ketner (editor), Julius Ohta (artist), Taylor Espositor (letterer), Ellie Wright (colourist) November 2018 - A pin-up portrait of Bettie in a leopard-print bikini on a swing while a camera takes her picture

A book about a model/spy has ample opportunity to show off Page’s assets, but, beyond the cover images, I have to give kudos to this series for not going for that low-hanging fruit. That’s not to say that Bettie Page isn’t sexy, but the focus is on the task at hand, which is finding out who has taken the Queen of England and making sure knowledge of her disappearance doesn’t get out and cause panic in the kingdom. Ohta’s art is a delight, particularly when it rolls through Page’s expressions, from pouty lips to wide-eyed surprise. Page herself is an interesting character. She’s a bold and decisive woman who is not to be underestimated.

Happy Holidays from Dynamite

The season wouldn’t be right without Dynamite offering a few holiday specials.

Whether you’re adventuring in space or thwarting demons and monsters with your sword or battleax, however you spend the holidays, hopefully it involves some good food and some good reads, and maybe some good company, too. See you in the new year!

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.
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