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Hugh Likes Comics: Commanders in Crisis

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Commanders in Crisis #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Drawn by Davide Tinto
Colored by Francesca Carotenuto
Lettered by Fabio Amelia
Published by Image Comics

The Skinny: An ambitious start to a fascinating new indie superhero series.

Commanders in Crisis is an ambitious new indie superhero comic that doesn’t aim simply to tell a story so much as to create a new universe. It introduces and follows the five titular heroes, who are a team along the lines of The Avengers or Justice League, although there is a bit more going on with them than it first seems, and the real twist of the book is at the end, so it won’t be spoiled here. I will say that Orlando and Tinto have created a compelling cast of characters with a huge burden to shoulder. Commanders feels like a crossover event for a line of comics that doesn’t exist.
One of the spots where ‘Big-2” crossovers tend to fall apart is that the action demands too much of the book’s page count, with splash pages and punch-ups pushing out character and story moments, making the plots feel rushed and the characters feel off. This is a well-paced book that gives us everything we need about these five characters in one short fight and a sequence of two-page vignettes following them through their off-hours. With five new heroes that don’t seem to fit neatly into their expected archetypes, Orlando and Tinto do a great job establishing who these heroes are and what they’re doing. I particularly like “Sawbones,” who is just the right mix of interesting powers and 90’s parody.
The other big pitfall for a story like this is the dramatic irony of knowing the status quo can only be shifted so much in a big superhero universe. The good guys are going to win the day, in the end, and while there may be a heroic sacrifice, they’ll only be off the board for so long. By establishing a whole universe, the creators are in the unique position of being able to take the story in any direction they want. There is a sense of possibility here that I haven’t felt in a Superhero book since Stormwatch.
Commanders in Crisis #1 is a gleaming gem of possibility. If you love superheroes, but are looking for something fresh that isn’t steeped in eighty years of continuity, This is a book to check out. You can find it at your Local Comics Shop, or snag a digital copy from Comixology!

Everyday Drabbles #379: Owl

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The Halloween party had just started when the doorbell rang. Scarlet answered and found a huge owl standing on her porch. The bird hooted, puffed itself up, and pushed past her into the house.
“Ignacio?” she called to her husband, unsure how to wrangle the bird as it stepped boldly into her front hall. Then she realized that it was wearing a fancy hat, glasses, and high-heeled shoes. “Evelyn? Is that you? What happened?”
The owl flapped her wings and tilted her head in reply. The witch’s curse was inconvenient, but at least she’d win the costume contest this year.

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Everyday Drabbles #378: Sand Painting

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The artist worked all night on their sand painting, staking out the perfect location on the rocky beach and using their tools to create a twenty-foot circle of whirls and loops, intricate yet subtle in its creation.
As the sun rose over the beach, they could see that the colors of the sand painting were perfect. They felt a surge of pride.
The morning joggers and shell hunters stopped to stare at the sand painting. “That’s amazing,” one said. “How do you get out of the middle?”
They looked around, and didn’t have an answer. They knew they’d forgotten something.

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Everyday Drabbles #377: The Assignment

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The bat-winged kitten curled up on the student’s desk and purred contentedly. The apprentice witch beamed up at her instructor, who didn’t share her pride.
“The assignment was to summon a gryphon,” The archmage said.
“Technically, any avian and feline combination counts.”
“Bats aren’t avians.”
“What about flying foxes?”
The old wizard sighed. She was clever, but lazy and that would cost her one day. “I was looking for a classical combination of lion and eagle.”
“But this one’s so much cuter.” The kitten stretched its wings and stared up at him with big green eyes.
“True. C-plus,” He decided.

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Everyday Drabbles #376: Bellerophon

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Bellerophon sat in Elysium, dejected. All about him the other heroes feasted, fought, and competed in games of strength and skill, but he could find no peach.
Cadmus crouched beside him and asked what was the matter.
“I’ve been forgotten, Cadmus. The gods have abandoned me and the poets give other heroes my deeds.” He glared daggers at Perseus, who was absorbed in a game of mancala with Theseus. Cadmus sighed. This again.
“We’re dead, my friend. And well beyond such concerns. Just enjoy yourself. Unless you plan on storming Olympus again. Oh no.” That was when the trouble started.

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Everyday Drabbles #375: Ringfort

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It was nearly sunset by the time the knight reached the old ringfort. . He’d heard the moss-covered ruins were a hideout for outlaws, and he was there to bring an end to their raids.
He searched in the lengthening shadows, but could find no trace of the supposed bandits. By the time he was finished, the sky was dark and the first stars had appeared.
He went to make his leave, but could find no exit in the earthen walls. He turned back and heard music and laughter coming from the main hall. He went in and joined the feast.

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Everyday Drabbles #374: Witch Melons

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He found the strange seeds in a corner of his barn, and planted them to see what would happen.
He couldn’t identify the vines that grew from them, nor the hard, waxy fruit that they put out. He decided to call them witch melons, and waited to see what would happen.
One morning in late summer, the vines were empty. He thought deer or raccoons had gotten to them, until he found the strange creatures in his yard. They had green carapaces and soft, red bellies, with scorpion-like pincers and fish tails.
He raised them, to see what would happen.

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Podcasts: CCRC70 – The Raccoons S1E1

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh, Rich the Time Traveler, Opop, and Jurd, take in a questionable Canadian classic.

Warning: YMMV, this was not the copy we used for recording

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by https://www.skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Everyday Drabbles #373: Shield

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After saving her life, the witch gave the prince a magic shield.
“This will come between you and any that might harm you,” She said, smiling.
On the battlefield, it worked even better than she’d promised, seeming to move on its own. But he saw its true value when he came home, and it fell from its rack and onto an assassin.
After that, he wore it everywhere, and trust those around him less. He refused to see kith and kin, and violently resisted their attempts to separate him from it.
The witch’s proclamation had been a curse, after all.

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Everyday Drabbles #372: Spaceport

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Mosi hates the spaceport. He knows that business has been booming ever since it went up. But every hour, a rocket kicks up a sandstorm of grit and dust, and he has to scramble to cover his wares before the cloud reaches his outdoor stall. He’s spent a fortune cleaning and upgrading his gear to deal with the damage.
He wishes he could afford to hire an assistant, or better yet, get out off the surface and start again in the clean, sterile environment of a space colony. For now, he wrestles with his tarps, and dreams of the future.

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