Tag Archives: Action Movies

Review: REVENGER & THE FOG by Charles Forsman

REVENGER & THE FOG by Charles Forsman

A vast and desolate wasteland, suitable for any action or exploitation movie, serves as the magnificent backdrop for REVENGER & THE FOG, the second collected volume of the ongoing Revenger comic book series by Charles Forsman. What I readily come away with is this: a horror schlock genre opens up a wide field for comics but it’s not so easy to get it right. You need a strong narrative backbone to keep all the flesh and blood moving along. Forsman jiggles it all into place with a masterful touch.

An instant taxicab ride.

Quentin Tarantino easily comes to mind as a practitioner of the type of movie terror that Forsman is channeling. Everything and everyone is cast in a pale yellow light of sheer desperation. We know from the get-go that the characters that dwell within mostly, or exclusively, eat raw meat…perhaps drink blood too. It is nothing to them to humiliate, mutilate,…well, you get the picture. A little goes a long way. Not my preferred cup of tea but, then again, it all depends upon the writing. Forsman is sensitive to those proper modulations of gore.

No one messes with Revenger!

As I understand it, Reggie, aka Revenger, is a one-woman force of nature, easily the lone wolf but open to companionship from time to time. For this collection, we follow Revenger when she belonged to a vigilante gang known as The Fog in Los Angeles in the late ’70s. This is a most unlikely assembling of brute force and cunning not seen since the A-Team. Revenger has fallen head over heels for Jenny, aka Dynarat. It is a love affair fraught with danger and ill-fated beyond words. Billy, aka Slim, offers some crude technical skill. Tara, aka Scalpel, is a martial arts guru.

The basic story here is a goofy nihilist joy ride. Dynarat is kidnapped by her abusive movie mogul father. Revenger must find a way to rescue her. The story dares you to take it seriously. Within context, it works its magic, much in the same way as other forms of parody and good obsessive autobio can sway the reader. The intriguing thing about this comic is that Forsman, like Tarantino, is intimately involved with his subject matter, both playfully satirizing it as well as paying it respect. There is irony but it’s not all irony. It’s a joke but it’s not all a joke. Essentially, Forsman works from a platform that provides exhilarating freedom for a cartoonist to take big risks: the arena of pure artifice, pure entertainment.

Revenger tells it like it is.

Forsman has an admirable control over some pretty weird proceedings and keeps to a steady pace, mindful of the distinct journey each character is on. It is one thing to create a scene with some impressive slicing and dicing of body parts. But your story will never truly succeed if no one cares. We care about all the characters in this story, even the most repulsive ones. We don’t wish the villains well but we do get caught up in them.

Well, you get caught up in everyone’s business as much as you please. This is a deliciously artificial world we are navigating through. No wonder this gritty pumped up terrain, this hyperreal wasteland, attracts some of the most creative minds. You can mix and match an endless sea of possibilities: the inane headbutts the profound.

Forsman, much like his contemporary Michel Fiffe (COPRA), has the admirable distinction of tackling all aspects of his work: the writing, the drawing, and even the coloring. While pretty common in indie circles, this kind of involvement is nearly unheard of within corporate comic book publishers. In the case of Forsman, he does quite well in serving his cryptic vision alone. His wiry characters get bathed in just the right quirky color schemes. Tongues can stick out and be painted a bright fire engine red! It all makes sense: perfectly oddball and compelling story, art, and colors.

The world of action B-movies, it turns out, is just another world, with as much to offer as any wonderland or netherworld. And, as I suggested early, it is a satisfying and quite apt playground for comics. There is a thread from Herriman’s Krazy Kat to Kaz’s Underworld to Forsman’s Revenger comics. A final thought: After you complete the main story, you have an extra feature which is Revenger lost, appropriately enough, in a hell hole. It is a fitting end to a most intriguing collection of work.

REVENGER & THE FOG, the second volume of Revenger comics, is a 160-page full color trade paperback, published by Bergen Street Press. For more details, and how to purchase the work of both Charles Forsman and Michel Fiffe, visit Bergen Street Press right here. Visit Charles Forsman right here. And be sure to stop by and consider becoming a patron of Charles Forsman at his Patreon right here.

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Filed under Bergen Street Press, Charles Forsman, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dash Shaw, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Horror, Michel Fiffe, Satire

Review: SEXCASTLE by Kyle Starks


“Sexcastle” is funny stuff from a dude named Kyle Starks. You may know him from his offbeat, yet sophisticated, webcomics. Sexcastle will have you laughing right from the start. It’s mature content, as you’ll notice from all the less than polite language in the first panels, but it’s totally immature goofy content too. The thing is, it only seems to be a slapdash free-for-all. This is a very well-built comic.


We need more comics like this with an authentic energy about them. It looks simple and silly but simple and silly alone won’t keep your interest. Starks may not render the most complex characters and objects but he uses a keen sense of style to keep things moving along. I suspect he does his fair share of laying out and editing both on the art and the script.

Okay, Shane Sexcastle is supposed to be the ultimate professional assassin dude, like the character Bruce Willis plays in all the Die Hard action movies. Sexcastle seems to be a little more mellow, crude, and unfocused than John McClane ever was.

What makes this so funny is how in tune Sexcastle is to doing whatever he needs to do next. If a VIP pushes Sexcastle to do his bidding, Sexcastle just pushes back. If a child is crying, he swiftly confronts the kid to explain to him the only reasons anyone should be brought to tears. If a woman has been disrespected, he has no problem at all with pummeling the dirty perpetrator into submission. And the whole time, Sexcastle seems more comical than authoritative. He can’t help that. The guy is deadly serious and ready for trouble! As he puts it, “Trouble does my laundry.”

Image Comics collects the whole Sexcastle saga. Will there me more? Well, you never know. This collection should hold you for a while. In this adventure, Sexcastle is up to his neck in trouble, including a briefcase that’s a portal to the End of Days. Good thing he buried that in his friend’s backyard, right? But there’s even more trouble: The Assassin’s Union is hot on Shane Sexcastle’s trail!

“Sexcastle” is a 208-page trade paperback, published by Image Comics, priced at $15.99, for mature readers, and available now. For more details, visit our friends at Image Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, Image Comics, Kyle Starks, Webcomics



In the recent blockbuster, “RoboCop,” the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years…well, you know the drill. Boom! Studios has just rolled out the collected trade paperback to a strong tie-in limited comic book series to the latest “Robocop” movie. Entitled, “Robocop: The Human Element,” this anthology brings together a stellar roster of talent. From the first story, I was intrigued. This is actually a decent first step to doing more with the Robocop character.

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Movie Review: ‘Elysium’ and ‘Oblivion’ Give Power to the People.



If you’re looking for a great double feature, you should try two sci-fi blockbuster action flicks with a lot in common, “Elysium,” in theaters now, and “Oblivion,” new to home entertainment. Director Neill Blomkamp has come a long way since his hit, “District 9.” For the bean counters monitoring the box office, it may seem like Blomkamp still has a way to go but whatever. The heart and soul of this movie is in the right place. It is an accomplishment when you can entertain and provide some sort of message.

You’ve got such an intense activist like Matt Damon as your star, and you throw in power-to-the people red meat for him to devour, and it works! Something similar is going on with “Oblivion.” Another promising director, Joseph Kosinski, is coming into his own. And he also throws in red meat at another intense actor, Tom Cruise, and that works too! Comparing the two movies is understandable given the renewed interest from Hollywood in sci-fi. You can just imagine the boardroom meetings: “Star Wars is going to eat our lunch!” And so sci-fi projects are getting the green light left and right. These two are similar movies but with different enough temperaments to keep us hopeful about big budget sci-fi.

There is a parallel reality at play in both movies. “Oblivion” is shrouded in mystery but the two worlds of “Elysium” are very clear. It’s 2154 and what’s left of Earth is for the poor to fight over. The one percent have set up nicely in a space station that houses a luxury version of Earth. It will be up to Max (Matt Damon) to save all of humanity. In “Oblivion,” it’s 2077 and Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is part of the elite, as far as he knows, at the start of the movie. He and is partner/lover, Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough), take orders from a central command back on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, while they act as the final clean-up crew before they too must depart for Titan. It will only be after digging around, and nearly getting killed, that Jack discovers what’s really going on.

“Elysium” proves to be the more clear-cut cat and mouse game. Max is way over his head attempting to confront the very powers of Elysium but he’s the man to do it. “Oblivion” is a great case of trying to figure out who exactly is who and who or what is in charge. In both cases, the hero is attempting to save his fellow humans. One movie takes a more hot direction. The other takes a more cool direction. Do it now or wait until later, but together they make for one great double feature.

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