Category Archives: fun

Fantasy comic book series review roundup – Sevara issue #0

FANTASY IS BACK!

A few years ago, fantasy was dead. And before 1977, sci-fi was risky and low profit. Before Superman: The Movie, comic book movies were taboo. Now it’s 2015. I know that everyone is still recovering from the San Diego Comic Con. I wish I was there. Sadly, I’m on the other side of the planet. But I still got to enjoy all these leaked trailers, which raise the stakes in the comic book world considerably. Superheroes of all sizes, incredible sci-fi and fantasy films, I’m pretty psyched for the future of comic book movies. And TV shows like Game of Thrones have helped put fantasy back on the map, whew! But I’m not happy with SDCC’s emphasis on movies through, and I wish comics and comic creators like me had a real venue to share art, stories, and industry insights.

Now that Sevara is out and starting to get attention, I realized that I was losing track of the reviews that were being written. I decided to put all the reviews in once place. Overall people seem to dig Sevara. Is it the world’s best fantasy comic book series ever ever ever? I don’t think I’m there yet, I’m just starting out as a comic book writer, but let’s rundown the reviews, shall we?

“I am curious to see where the story continues.” – Derrick Crow

Derrick Crow over at Indiecomix.net gave a good summary of the overall action and story. He states clearly that issue #0 is a bit confusing. We are in 3 different times, Sevara changes shape every other panel, and the action moves fast. But at the end, he still wants to read more, which is the point of a zero issue.

“This is a killer conflict with great art, and I was bummed when the book came to an end.” – Brian Reed

Brian Reed posted for Florida Geek Scene, and says that the art is what makes the book work. The issue is “a confusing, cool ride, in that Heavy Metal I don’t know what this is but man it looks cool kind of way.” And it makes you want to read more. Good thing issue #1 is out on ComiXology!

“Issue #0 of Sevara is an intriguing and very short introduction to a complex and multifaceted future Earth.” – Jodi Scaife 

Many thanks to Jodi at Fanboy Comics, who has gone on to review issue #1 as well. Jodi says that the art “stunningly beautiful” but the skimpy outfits felt disingenuous and left her a bit cold. She picked up on the new fantasy and mythos that is introduced in this issue, as well as the focus on gender conflicts that we’ll see much much more of.

“Oh that’s cool..*flip page* oh awesome*flip page*…big bad guys yay!…*flip page*Fight! Fight!”” – Tim Mason

Sevara seemed to bring out Tim’s inner child, and I think writing this issue had that effect on me as well. Tim, who I don’t know (I don’t know any of these reviewers) goes a bit bonkers over issue 0, and will go on to review issue #1 as well. We all love sci-fi and fantasy, right? But on a practical level, he notes the quality of the work by saying, “Siregar and Setyawan nailed it from page one all the way through. I was extremely impressed by the professional look of the layouts, inking and colors, this work could stand up against any of the big publishers.”

“If you like dense, post-apocalyptic stories featuring heroines with tortured internal monologues, this is the title for you. Sevara has the potential to go somewhere great, but it’s hard to say where the story will go next.” – Ellie Hillis

I appreciate the in-depth review by Ellie at Acts of Geek, paired with her thorough knowledge of not only the comic book genre she is reviewing, but also the ongoing feminist discourse about the female body and the male gaze. She references a half dozen comparable titles be fore launching into an analysis. She knows what she’s talking about, and her criticism definitely helped me improve the writing in issues #1 and #2.

“he creates his own mythology, rooted in some basic religious concepts but distinctly different.” – Edward Wendt

Graphic Policy continues to astound with their complex and informed reviews. Images and stories, mythology and fantasy, are what shape our world, and have for thousands of years. Edward really seems to get the underlying substance of Sevara and the world that is being built, focuses mostly on the foundation that we get from this zero issue.

Now I have all my reviews in one place so I can find them later, and hopefully so you can get an idea of what to expect if you buy Sevara. You can read Sevara online now on ComiXology, just click this LINK.

Only $0.99 cents
Buy it now on ComiXology!

 

You can find all the links to the reviews here. I have no personal relationship with any of the reviewers, and all of them received the issue for free from Broken Icon Comics.

http://www.indiecomix.net/double-edition—9122014.html

http://www.floridageekscene.com/review/sevara-0/

http://www.actsofgeek.com/2014/09/she-can-fly-severa-preview

http://www.fanboycomics.net/index.php/blogs/jodi-scaife/item/4092-sevara-0-comic-book-review

http://www.regeeken.com/artist-spotlight-broken-icon-comics-sevara/

http://graphicpolicy.com/2014/09/08/review-sevara-0/

Dark Destiny fan edit puts all of The Phantom Menace into a flashback within Empire

Title: Star Wars – Dark Destiny

  • Runtime: 1hr 7 min
  • Author: Unknown
Star Wars Dark Destiny fanedit
Dark Destiny

I ran across this incredible fan edit mashup of The Phantom Menace and The Empire Strikes Back. Don’t believe how that could work? Believe it. The film squeezes the entire Phantom Menace into the end sequence of Empire when Darth reveals himself to Luke. That’s right, it’s a wild idea that totally works.

The film starts off with Luke shooting away from Degobah in his X-wing fighter, and next thing you know he’s on Bespin, looking for Han. The editor assumes that you’ve already seen Empire, and in fact, this film runs like episode 5.1, but at a runtime of just over an hour, it would be more like a DVD bonus feature than a full length film.

Luke makes his way to his confrontation with Vader, but it’s been paired down to focus on Luke. The sequences where Lando helps Leah, Chewie and the droids escape has been taken out, and a few other elements have been removed. The drive is to get us to the Bespin core, since we’ve already seen Empire. 

Once on the bridge, things begin to change drastically. Now, as Darth and Luke talk, we get a flashback and voiceover from A New Hope. It’s intercut with the dialog, so when Vader says “Obi Wan never told you about your father.” we immediately get a cut to Obi Wan with his (shortened) voiceover.

Then, right when Vader says, “Search your feelings,” we get a shot of a very evil looking Anakin from Episode III. This is a tease to get you interested in the whole prequel concept.

vlcsnap-00012 From there, Luke looks down into the blackness of the Bespin core, and the camera zoom extends down into the depths for a fade to black, which brings us to ship-filled star field from Episode I. This is not the opening of Episode I however, but the invasion sequence. The original opening has been cut. We jump forward to two Jedi who leap out of some ramparts and rescue the princess. The fighting is continuous. From there, we cut brilliantly straight into the fight in the hanger, where the heroes make their escape. No ‘earth’s core’ sequence at all. The space battle with the R2 units remains however.

From there, we cut to a very angry emperor and Darth Maul, which makes sense. The trade federation says that the princess has escaped, but we cut to the princesses ship, where they find that they fuel cells have been damaged. That’s a nice bit of editing, as the sequence is different in the original film.

Now our heroes land on Tatooine to buy parts. These long shots are shortened significantly. There is less walking, and Qui-Gon Jinn gets directly to the shop he needs. The editing is seamless. Once in the shop, he quickly exits, leaving the princess alone with Anikin. What’s nice about this sequence is the addition of a closeup on young Anikin, as you can see below. We can see a lot more expression and emotion as he talks to Padme, close ups that would have enhanced the original film greatly.

The best editing is when Qui-gon buys the engine part. All we see is a very short shot of him in the junk yard nodding in agreement, then leaving. That’s it. No words. We get it. He got the part he needs. The heroes leave, only for one of them (who will remain nameless) to get into a fight with a local. Anakin shows up and stops the fight, and leads them out of the sandstorm. The next few scenes are greatly edited and focus entirely on the relationship between Qui-gon and Anakin.All the interactions between Anikin and Qui-gon are still there, although some of them are shorter. A great deal of extraneous exposition is cut, but what is left leaves us with the impression we need – that Qui-gon really cares for the boy, even though he expressly says he’s not there to free slaves.  Anakin’s mother gives him a cold look and slams the door on him, sliced together with Darth Maul’s arrival.

It’s all pretty smooth, seeing as how the podrace is totally gone. In this version, they simply buy the part the need and take off. But just before their departure, Qui-gon has a change of heart and says that he needs to go back to town to take care of some business. Here, as in many scenes, Obi Wan’s lines are reduced or totally cut. The focus is on Qui-gon. He goes back to Anikin’s house and says that he’s going to take the boy. The goodbye scene has been shortened, we don’t see Anikin feeling any remorse until he’s already out the door. In this version, he never asks his mother ‘what about you’, he just grabs his bags and he’s gone. It’s a bit cold, but he does turn around and run back to his mother like in the original film. There’s another lightsaber battle, and then the characters are on Coruscant. Here, Padme’s storyline is totally gone. Totally. The entire focus is on Anikin’s training, which feels right. The Jedi agree to train the boy, and they all head back to Naboo.


Once back on Naboo, we get the final fight scenes. They are pretty much unedited, except the sequence is a bit different in the beginning and the end. Right after the emperor says ‘let them make the first move,’ we go to the scene where the soldiers come through the fog, which seems to make sense. And now the emperor says ‘wipe them out’ just before the final tank barrage in the siege sequence. We also get a close up on Darth Maul’s face, which seems like it has more impact than in the original cut

Tonally, the most important thing about the edits is the removal of the parade and fanfare from the end sequence. It is totally gone, and it seems to match the feel of the events – Qui-gon has just died, and I personally always felt that the funeral scene clashed with the celebration scenes in a very abrasive way. Here, that’s been eliminated. And most amazingly, the funeral scene’s final shot on Palpatine merges seamlessly with Luke and Vader back in Bespin. Vader’s voice even rises from the funeral pyre and says, ‘it is your destiny’ right when the camera pans to Palpatine, and then we are back in Bespin. Luke listen’s to Vader’s last entreaty, then makes his choice and jumps. 

From there, the film runs to the end of The Empire Strikes Back without a change, probably because the editor was exhausted. Overall though, at an hour and 7, Phantom Menace only gets 40 minutes of runtime, and we get the most action pact and emotionally powerful elements of that film. On top of that, you get to see the most thrilling sequences in Empire.

This edit isn’t perfect. It was made in Windows movie maker or iMovie or some other free or cheap software, and some of the scene transitions are not smooth. The sound jumps at some, but not all of the cuts. The video was exported in low quality. But it is still highly watchable, and makes you wish someone had taken one more swipe at the script of Phantom Menace, which could have been a great film.

I’ve seen a lot of fan edits, and I can never stomach The Phantom Menace, no matter how you edit it. Until now. Putting in scenes from Empire, one of the best films of all times, helps a lot. This edit also moves so quickly and smoothly, and retains all the best parts (while cutting out the immaculate conception and the mitochlorians) that I’d have to say that this is the best version of Phantom I’ve ever seen, and most clever.