Sunday, October 25, 2015


WRITER:  Dan Vado
PENCILLER:  Kevin West
INKER:  Rick Burchett
COLORIST:  Gene D'Angelo
LETTERER:  Tim Harkins

Sunday, October 18, 2015


WRITER: Anthony Johnston
PENCILER: Wellington Alves
INKER: Nelson Pereira
COLORIST: Bruno Hang
LETTERER: VC's Clayton Cowles

Sunday, October 11, 2015


STORY: Tommy Brownell & Shawn Cowan
ART: Johnnie Johnson & Jason Coody
LETTERER: Tommy Brownell
COVER: Ben Soto
*Based on characters and concepts created by : Tim Lackey, Aaron Ballinger, & Shawn Cowan

SYNOPSIS: "Born a half-vampire, Rachel Strand is blessed with great powers...and cursed with a dark heritage. Choosing to fight the darkness rather than join it, Rachel takes up the Hellrazors to seek out and destroy evil wherever it may be found. These are her stories. These are the Chronicles of Rachel Strand!" (from the inside cover)
Rachel Strand and her companions come across a mystical artifact called a bloodstone.  They also encounter the mystic bounty hunter(?) Voodoo, who has been charged to bring retrieve the bloodstone for a mysterious order.  This, of course, brings Rachel and Voodoo into conflict with one another until their realize the true villain here is Lilith, the monstrous vampire queen.  They team up, warding off the evil for the time being.  Voodoo is allowed to take the bloodstone as it proves too much of a temptation for one of Rachel's mystic friends.

Welcome to the Equinox universe.  What's Equinox?  Well.....

Equinox Comics is a small Tulsa-based publisher of creator-owned comics.  Their comics can be ordered online or they can be found from time to time set up at conventions.

This issue picks up from Rachel's first appearance in Equinox #1 where she took on a voodoo mystic (unrelated to the character Voodoo).  Whereas her first story was in full color, this one is a black and white issue.  The art varies from wonderfully detailed to more simplistic, depending on the scene.  Rachel's supporting cast tend to get the less-detailed treatment, while Rachel herself gets the whole shebang.
As for the story, it's a fun read, but a fairly general story for the genre.  A half-vampire fighting against vampires is hardly original, but the Equinox crew still makes it enjoyable.  Rachel's supporting cast is mostly female and her two main male friends consist of a vain-yet-thrifty mystic and a total nerd.  It's like meshing the supporting casts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Flash.  Voodoo is an interesting character but little to no backstory is given.  It is difficult to determine if he is from New Orleans or Jamaica.
The major joy of this issue basically comes from ignoring that you are reading tropes and just enjoying the story for what it is--a couple of supernatural characters giving the beatdown to a monster with some other characters helping to try and build interest in the story.  It's not a "bad" story, per se, but it certainly isn't award-winning by any stretch.  It does feature a couple of cute Easter eggs in the form of artifacts kept by the secret society--a Green Lantern Power battery and a can of Popeye's spinach.
So if you ever happen to come across Equinox Comics set up or are willing to order it online, I'm sure they would appreciate a few more coins in the coffers.  I know that if you enjoy half-vampire stories, you will certainly get your money's worth here.  I know I have definitely paid more for worse.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Note of Thanks

Not a true blog post, but a quick note of thanks.  A huge "Thank you" to Siskoid of Siskoid's Blog of Geekery and Count Drunkula of Flowers and Fishnets.  These two wonderful gentlemen have been great help in helping me improve this blog and work out some technical issues.  Thank you both, good sirs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inker: Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Moose Baumann
Letterer: Dave Lanphear


Aric of Dacia, a Visigoth from the 5th century, was abducted by an alien race known as The Vine.  He was kept aboard their ship as a slave to tend their gardens but later rebelled and escaped with the help of Sharnhara, the X-O suit.  Due to the nature of space/time/relativity he arrives back on Earth in the 21st century.  In this volume, Aric is pursued by both human and Vine forces.  The Vine seek to reclaim Sharnhara before destroying all live on Earth while the humans view Aric/X-O as a terrorist and want to see him eliminated. In order to further their goals, the Vine, working through undercover operatives hidden inside the British government, employ the services of Ninjak, a highly skilled ninja mercenary/spy.  Ninjak and X-O come into contact with each other, resulting in a...well, it's not exactly a meeting of the minds.  However, at a third party's suggestion a temporary truce is formed until the truth behind The Vine can be determined and dealt with.

Well, folks, first off, even I am amazed I didn't start off with a DC book. ;)
OK, seriously, though, I got this is a set from the good folks over at Comic Bento (no, they do not sponsor me, but I felt the need to point out I probably wouldn't have shelled out the cash on this on my own) in their September 2015 box.  I had not read any of the new X-O MANOWAR series up until this point, aside from the small bits of stuff I had seen from Valiant Publishing at Free Comic Book Day.  I was very familiar with the 1990s versions of both X-O and Ninjak.

Keep in mind these were both from the time of "embossed, foil, die-cut, double-gatefold covers" being used to push sales of a book.  But really the thing to remember is that these old versions came out about the time that Image and Wildstorm were quickly becoming big name things and everybody wanted in on the comics game.  Ah, the early 90s...Heck, X-O was even partnered in a video game with Iron Man, but that's a discussion for an entirely different blog.

Anyway, these newer versions are not all that different from their 90s counterparts.  The art has made them much more streamlined and less bulky.  The story of Aric is changed only slightly to be able to give richer backstory to the aliens and to allowed for Solar, Man of the Atom to no longer be a part of the shared universe (he was pretty integral to Valiant in the 90s).  With only issues 5-8 collected in this trade you'd think there wouldn't be a ton of story progression.  Well, you'd mostly be right, but there is easily enough packed in to help you come to terms with what is happening without having to read the first volume, hook your interest in the story that is happening, and still provide some wonderful visuals for the fight scenes.
Honestly, I found myself wanting to read a lot more about Ninjak than X-O, but that was also true in the 90s.  He's just a more interesting character, in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  X-O has a lot going for him, but as we all know, ninjas win out over barbarians in tech suits.  Right?

It's a fairly short read, but definitely a fun read.  It leaves off with a hook for drawing more readers in, but it can also be taken as a "one and done" trade if you just want to give the story a shot.  Certainly one that will help you relax with that cup of the one I need to go refill.

OH! Before I leave you (and thank you all for reading to this point, I know I can prattle on), something I found interesting.  The X-O suit and the A.T.O.M. suite from the TV series Arrow look very similar.
OK, so not really...
Alright, so mostly the helmet structure, but it has seemed so similar to me since the moment I saw Brandon Routh suit up in it. Anyway, this seems the best place to leave off before I ramble into incoherence. 

Take care, well wishes, and take another sip in my honor.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Hello and welcome!  Allow me to introduce this blog to you.  This is "Coffee and Comics," my own personal endeavor to join the blogging community.  The purpose of this blog is for me to discuss a few things about comics (obviously).  As for the title, well that requires a small explanation.

In trying to come up with a concept I kept realizing that my interests are too varied to focus on a single character/series/concept.  Besides that, many of my stronger interests are already being covered by people doing wonderful jobs and I wouldn't dare try to steal their thunders, nor would I attempt to become a pale imitation of their already wonderful blogs.  Instead, I came to the conclusion that I would enjoy just discussing some comics--be they collected editions or single issues--that I find fun reads that can be taken in with a cup of coffee (or other beverages).  So basically I'm just going to informally talk about random comic books that I feel like discussing.  Hope that isn't too unfocused for everybody.

So, in short, hi, thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy yourself.  Pour yourself some coffee (or other beverage) and open up your favorite comics and let's read!

P.S. As always, all images, works, etc. belong to their respective copyright holders and is used purely for entertainment value with no infringement intended.