Supanova is like a multiverse – characters from different stories crossover in one place, brought to life be cosplayers.
Below is part 1 of 2 of cosplay photo collections featuring skilful costumes from the Gold Coast Supanova festival.
Black Science is a new comic book, which works within sci-fi conventions to build a large scale story. Alien worlds, alternate realities, advanced space craft appear, and clever, deep interactions between cast members make Black Science stand out
The story involves a team of scientists who are teleported across different planets and strange places with the goal to repair their machine – the Pillar – and return home.
There are several scientists, who are working together, or covertly against each other. Layered over these character interactions, are the conflicts within the main character’s (Grant McKay) family: Rebecca, Pia, and Nathan McKay.
Danger and suspense are created in this issue when Grant McKay’s life is in danger.
Black Science #4 offers:
Painted war vistas where horses sprint and Great War planes fly look incredible, and capture a sense of bleak dread. Inking enhances shadows, and plays up the angular or round character designs, which gives an insight into personality types.
As the Pillar activates, a wash of bright gold and white light floods the page.
Another key artwork appears toward the end of the comic, where the black war vistas change to the green and violent horizons of an alien world. A masked-character dressed in blue surveys this scene. It’s a great example of a science fiction artwork.
Ward, one of McKay’s colleagues, drives the plot forward in issue #4. He is a character who believes in fighting to protect something greater than himself.
In direct contrast to Ward, there is Kadir. He is the “Boss” of the scientists. A nervous character with several visual cues marking his stress. For example, his dishevelled business suit, the angular lines used in his character design, and the clear sweat beads running down his temples.
When Ward acts to save McKay and his family, Kadir makes an altogether different decision.
Similar to series such as Attack on Titan, this comic book examines how humans react and behave under disaster conditions.
Contrasting Ward and Kadir’s actions, themes of survival and self-preservation are brought out by the comic. Through these characters, we see a disaster and overwhelming problems weighing down on individuals. Pressure, and how humans are changed by it, plays out across these early scenes.
The setting combined with the characters actions also makes a comment about war. War and violence, are portrayed as costly, and destructive. The comic book indicates that the value of what’s lost is often not noticed until long after the battle is over.
The comic includes characters described as Native Americans with high technology.
They are refereed to as the “Sons of the Wakan Tech-Tanka”. The Wakan Tanka is a name from Sioux tradition, suggesting these warriors are Sioux. Their inclusion in the comic book ties into American history. A reversal of events. An alternate history. Instead of Europe attacking and colonising America, Sioux from America attack Europe.
The idea of the comic is to explore diverse, alternate realities. The idea of history reversing is a convention of science fiction: particularly when characters travel to unknown worlds.
I questioned the values lining up behind these ideas though: Are the warriors depicted in a negative or positive light? It might appear negative on the surface, as they attack Ward and Kadir, but it’s made clear their goal is to rescue a Shaman that Ward kidnapped. Ultimately, they are soldiers fighting in a war. They are part of a story, but not deeply developed.
Since the Shaman has began to travel with the McKay family and their colleagues, the character may yet develop into a key cast member.
Black Science #4 is published by Image Comics ($3.99 USD). Rick Remender (W.) Matteo Scalera (A.) Dean White (Painted Art.) Rus Wooton (Lettering and Design.)
The DC universe is currently under attack by villains calling themselves the Crime Syndicate, and Cyborg needs help to stop one of these villains in particular: “The Grid”. The Grid happens to be malicious, artificial intelligence that hacked its way into Cyborgs’ cybernetic body, stole it, and left him for dead. Cyborg was rescued by Batman, and received a new body.
It’s an interesting little saga. I think Cyborg’s clear desire to take down the AI that stole his body and almost killed him off makes for strong motivation.
Nested inside Justice League #28, however, is a story about a scientist, and his shiny, new creations: The Metal Men.
Who are the Metal Men? A team of androids built largely out of specific metal parts such as Gold, Platinum, Tin, and Mercury. They can shape shift, and are know for their over-the-top personalities.
What Justice league #28 offers:
The flowing detail of the artwork in this comic book is ideal for telling a science fiction, Artificial Intelligence story. In the same way that this art style worked for the fluid, water settings seen in Aquaman comic books, the shapes shifting metal depicted in this comic book benefits similarly.
There is a marked transition in light between the stories. The present day settings, where Cyborg talks about The Grid, are darker than the flashback scenes, where the Metal Men are introduced.
Extra-large pages are spectacular. The heroes save a crowded street from the clutches of a giant villain.
Undoubtedly, the stars of this comic book are the Metal men. Doctor Will Magnus, their creator, moves through some significant character development, however. Cold and unfeeling at the beginning, Magnus learns through his brief experience with the Metal Men that not all people are bad, or out to use what they can from you, and move on. Magnus has experienced several betrayals like these in his life.
Magnus plays the cynic well. His interest in robotics stems from a strong dislike of humans – a bit cliche, but to his credit, Will Magnus accepts change in his life, and handles complex emotion. He deals with grief, frustration, anger, and hope for the future all at once. He becomes a bigger person because of his experiences. A great character.
The Metal Mean themselves – one of whom is not a man, which calls the title into question – are bombastic, and have over-the-top personalities. Platinum – the only woman – stands out. Platinum is optimistic, and speaks with a rational voice compared to the bitter and tetchy Mercury, and the suave but obnoxious Gold.
Quickly, the Metal Men transition from robot designed for rescue missions into Artificial Intelligence. They are finally acknowledged as people.
It is the Metal Men’s concern for others – their selflessness – that defines them as unique and human according to Doctor Magnus. Following their sacrifice, Magnus laments them as failures. Cyborg, however, states their “hearts and minds are still here[inside CPU core’s Magnus salvaged]”.
What this says about Artificial Intelligence is that developing self awareness, and then selflessness, is what allows androids to transition into humans. It’s a strong science fiction story, and shows great Artificial Intelligence themes.
There is an interesting parallel between characters. Just as The Metal Men were called to be selfless, to sacrifice their brief lives to safeguard the people in danger, Will Magnus himself is also called. His sacrifice differs slightly. He is asked to risk losing his newly founded friends in a battle with The Grid.
Considering the loss and betrayal Magnus experienced from his parents, The Doctor’s decision is a huge step forward.
Justice League #28 is published by DC Comics ($3.99 USD). Geoff Johns (W.) Ivan Reis (Layouts) Joe Prado and Scott Hanna (Finishes) Rod Reis (C.) Dezi Sienty (L.) Cover artwork by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis.
(This review contains some spoilers: character appearances, and interactions)
Watching Barry Allen – the Flash – working as a police officer years before he received his super powers is a bit like watching a time travel story play out. Comic book story lines seem to be using time travel repeatedly this year. It’s possible the popular time travel themed program – Doctor Who – has recently had an affect on comic book writing alongside its lasting impact on popular culture.
The Flash #25 is only a bit like time travel, however, and issue #25 is a flash back to Barry Allen’s past – a newly graduated forensic scientist and police officer. The comic wraps together a detective story, with romance themes in a younger versions of DC comics universe where Super heroes are emerging, and characters like The Batman and Superman are urban myths.