Category Archives: Scott Snyder

Dark Spaces: Wildfire #1 (of 5) review – IDW Original series

Dark Spaces: Wildfire. IDW publishing. (W) Scott Snyder (A) Hayden Sherman. Release date of first issue: July 20, 2022. $3.99

Imagine you are a big-time comic book publisher executive, DC Comics to be exact, and you are directed to read the work of a hot new lead, an emerging talent who could easily, and very artfully, pump fresh new blood into the tired old veins of top-tier landmark characters. So, you take a seat, pour a Scotch and Soda, and read about this strange silver blimp floating above the American heartland, keeping a young man from his sweetheart. The story is so fresh and new, it knocks your socks off–and you hire this wunderkind, one freshly minted Columbia creative writing dept. grad, Scott Snyder. And he doesn’t let you down. No, he adds color to the faces of many of ’em: Batman, Swamp Thing, the whole frickin’ Justice League. The rest is history, or amazingly good comics. Fast forward to today, Scott Snyder is working some of his storytelling magic at IDW comics. This time it’s a story about fire.

Fire! Don’t yell it in a crowded movie theater, that’s what they used to say. Fire, as a comic book plot, falls somewhere within the disaster genre. Things are more stripped down to their essentials, like a black box theater production. Very specific. This reminds me of Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s Underground, the comic that mainly takes place inside a cave. Or, more broadly, another comic that comes to mind is the enviro-thriller, The Massive by Brian Wood. More specifically, I think of A Fire Story, by Brian Fies, the graphic memoir documenting the trauma of one of the more recent devastating California fires. All this brings us to the work of writer Scott Snyder and artist Hayden Sherman, a story of fire and destiny.

A story with such a specific theme, as fire, can feel claustrophobic. Snyder masterfully opens things up, giving the reader rich character profiles, each character providing a window into another world. This is a story about a firefighting team, one made up of convicts. Even the team leader, Ma, was a convict at one time. This special program is intended to help disadvantaged women prisoners find a way back into society, or something like that. It’s a great plot device. Can these flawed, hardened and resentful, characters, be relied upon to do the right thing? Well, no. They aren’t built that way. They could change but, there’s plenty to indicate they are all just a match strike’s away from doing the wrong thing. And, thus, we have quite an interesting story! Fire, all alone, is just too abstract. Now, you’ve got conflict, plenty of it, along with plenty of fire!

As I suggest, fire alone is boring–but add a little sideways weird perspective, some kind of spice, and suddenly things can get very interesting. Such is the case with Hayden Sherman’s handling of the art. The above image is just one example of Sherman’s inventive use of comic storytelling structure. Do something different with panels, or text boxes, etc. and you’re good to go. Not only does Sherman relish adding eye-catching details, he has nailed it in bringing to life this troubled crew of tough people who, whether they realized it or not, are all just waiting to blow everything up. Maybe they know it’s a doomed fantasy they’re engaging with but, for some, it’s just too hard not to play with fire. This is a story that makes total sense to have Scott Snyder tell. I can’t wait to read the whole thing once it’s available.

And, for those keeping score at home, I give this four stars. Rating: 10/10.

A few words on IDW Originals

Comics and graphic novel publisher IDW has created a lot of buzz with its launch of nine new original titles, each one with the potential of being developed into a movie or series. I’ve been looking over the offerings and there’s some very exciting stuff, each deserving of a closer look. Here is a list of the nine new IDW original titles. This is from IDW promo and I’ve added  a few confirmed start dates. . . .

Dark Spaces: Wildfire (July 20, 2022), a thriller series written by Scott Snyder with art by Hayden Sherman, follows a group of female inmate firefighters deep into the smoldering California hills, where their desperate heist of a burning mansion will lead them to the score of a lifetime…or a deadly trap!

Trve Kvlt (August 10, 2022), a five-issue miniseries written by Scott Bryan Wilson with art by Liana Kangas, introduces Marty Tarantella, a down-on-his-luck loser whose last-ditch scheme to escape a lifetime of fast-food service sets him on a collision course with a cult of violent, Devil-worshiping lunatics!

Crashing (September 21, 2022), a five-issue miniseries written by Matthew Klein with art by Morgan Beem, throws open the doors of an emergency room filled with casualties of a superhuman war, where Rose Osler, a doctor on her own path of addiction and recovery, faces the most dangerous day of her medical career.

Earthdivers, an ongoing series written by Stephen Graham Jones with art by Davide Gianfelice, unites four Indigenous survivors in an apocalyptic near future as they embark on a bloody, one-way mission to save the world by traveling back in time to kill Christopher Columbus and prevent the creation of America.

Dead Seas, a six-issue miniseries written by Cavan Scott with art by Nick Brokenshire, transforms a cynical convict into a reluctant hero when he’s trapped on a sinking prison ship swarming with ghosts. Can he unite desperate criminals, pirates, and brutal guards as they try to escape a watery grave?

Golgotha Motor Mountain, a five-issue miniseries written by Matthew Erman and Lonnie Nadler with art by Ryan Lee, is a high-octane, redneck motor massacre about two meth-cooking brothers and their attempt to make it home in one piece as all manner of cosmic alien horrors are hot on their trail.

Arca, an original graphic novel written by Van Jensen with art by Jesse Lonergan, leaves a dying Earth behind as billionaires establish a luxurious new society out among the stars, tended to by teenage indentured servants. But one girl discovers that the good life promised for their years of servitude was a lie…

The Sin Bin, a six-issue miniseries written by Robbie Thompson with art by Molly Murakami, hits the road with washed-up hockey player Dale “Dukes” Duquesne, who moonlights as a monster hunter during away games with his daughter, Cat, in tow, hoping to find her mother’s killer.

The Hunger and the Dusk, a twelve-issue storyline written by G. Willow Wilson with art by Chris Wildgoose, upends an age-old conflict between humans and orcs by introducing a new, deadlier species. Fragile alliances form—and unexpected romances blossom—as former enemies wade into battle together to save their two races.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, IDW Publishing, Scott Snyder

BATMAN #3 Review of the New 52

Comics events will come and go and Batman will always be cool. But there’s never been anything quite like a re-launch of 52 titles as DC Comics has done. The landmark titles are getting the closest scrutiny, of course. “Action Comics,” the cornerstone to the DC Comics universe is hitting it out of the ballpark while it can be said that the new “Superman” is putting in an impressive showing. Where does Batman fit into the mix? He’s too cool to care so I’m asking for him.

The short answer: Among all the Bat titles out right now, “Batman” is the one to follow. Pretty easy this time around. If you’re into keeping up with the heart and soul of Batman, then just read “Batman.” That’s the title currently hitting the mark.

But, hey, if you have the extra time and money, of course, check out the other Bat titles. As for “Detective Comics,” I’m not getting into it since it’s basically just violence and not enough story. The truth is, if you want the hot Superman story right now, it’s “Action Comics” and, if you want the hot Batman story right now, then it’s “Batman.”

Currently up to Issue Three, Scott Snyder’s run on “Batman” keeps moving along, maybe even to the level of hitting it out of the ballpark.

The challenge with any superhero story of this caliber, be it Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, is saying something distinctive, even something daringly new. Do you settle on doing a cool CSI type story, which “Batman” lends itself to quite easily, or do you find a way to break new ground?

Here’s the thing, there  is absolutely nothing wrong with NOT breaking new ground and focusing on a solid story. But then, some guys can’t leave well enough alone.

Owls. It’s all about the owls—but so much more too. For one thing, Snyder has developed a new pal for Bruce Wayne, an honest politician, mayoral candidate, Lincoln March. It’s nice to give Bruce a new pal, at least for awhile. Snyder has also managed to do more than make Gotham “another character” in the story. Much in the way he’s provided full-bodied storytelling in “American Vampire” and his own recent run on “Detective Comics,” he loves to delve into details of the Batman saga. It’s quite an accomplishment when the words prove to be as evocative as the art. Snyder gives us an array of fanciful things to contemplate, most notably Wayne Tower which was built by a Wayne forefather as a shining beacon to commerce and to newcomers to Gotham.

And then we’ve got those owls, The Court of Owls. It turns out they’ve been around for a long, long time and have been hiding in the nooks and crannies of Gotham, in nasty spots like the hidden 13th floor of buildings. The tightly packed tension should continue to mount nicely before it all becomes a big ole owl bloodbath.

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Filed under Batman, comic books, Comics, DC Comics, Scott Snyder