Friday, October 22, 2010

Pilot Season 2010 – Voting Soon

Pilot Season is an event by Top Cow where five debut issues for possible ongoing series are published. It’s a series of one-shots but one title will get the chance to live a little longer. With the public vote, one issue gets continued in an ongoing title. It’s a chance to give the public an opportunity to see what could be, and then make a choice for what will be. The five issues have dropped so hit the jump for a little discussion on all issues, I will be personal, and then get the details to go vote when it starts on the 1st of November.

39 Minutes

Written by William Harms
Art by Jerry Lando and Jay Leisten
Colours by Brian Buccellato
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

39 Minutes is about a team of ex-marines who have a unique way to execute a heist in each town they visit. They enter the bank, kill a few people, make sure the cops find out and come running, kill the cops, and then do whatever they want in the town for 39 minutes. Then they move on.
This concept is actually pretty interesting. It would make for a great Walter Hill movie from the 80’s, and I get the feeling that’s the sort of vibe they were going for. It’s an action packed start, but then the issue just unwinds into blandness.
The other scene we are cross cut with is a government spook visiting John Clayton in jail. Clayton is the man who was in charge of these marines in Iraq. It’s an obvious connection and one not explored in any interesting way, which is a shame. Clayton does nothing but mug in his panels and the scene is played out a lot quicker than the creators might have hoped.

The overall issue doesn’t really go too far and by the end I just couldn’t care anymore. It was pedestrian and plain and though there is room for the story to move, things are set up, but they feel cliché.

Verdict – Avoid It. I was pumped for the concept of this comic, and the Albuquerque cover whet my appetite, but the execution was generic. I was massively disappointed and I sadly can’t think of too many reasons to promote this comic. It could have been cool; it is not.


Written by Filip Sablik
Art by David Marquez
Cover by Jenny Frison

This comic is all about a modern day Mata Hari. She trawls through internet dating sites and finds men with certain profiles she can manipulate and use. It’s a great concept and a smart one; I thought the whole abuse of the internet profiling is well played.

The lead lady opens the issue at dinner with a mark she is about to set up. She manipulates the guy, through discussion, and gets him to attack another man. The discussion didn’t completely hit home as some leaps are really made, but in the end it kind of works out.

The lady is even smart enough to use a fight that occurs to her advantage to better work this mark to her ways. There’s some clever writing on display, though not quite perfect.

The overall concept, and it does stand alone in this issue, offers up plenty of further room to move. This could certainly be an interesting ongoing and were it to twist and turn a few times it could become something to seriously look out for.

Verdict – Check It. Asset is good, there’s no doubt, but there’s still an extra level just missing. There’s a tease to a further possible mystery but I would have liked to see it explored just that step more. There needs to be one more hook to this comic and then it really would have been something.


Written by Jeff Katz
Art by Allan Jefferson and Jordi Terragona
Colours by Michael Atiyeh
Cover by Marc Silvestri

This comic is all about a former black ops soldier who has gone off the grid. He’s taken a family, he’s slowed his life down, he’s not the man he used to be. But then a former handler, Mother, sends a crack team in to wake him up from his slumber.

There is an interesting middle sequence where the soldier runs through the neighbourhood and shows how he’s always had a back up plan. While helping with handy man jobs, he has hidden all sorts of weapons and devices throughout the neighbourhood to help him if this situation were to ever occur. It’s cool and fun, I have to admit.

By the end of the issue, we see that this soldier is programmed, and this attack has set off his internal job clock. It’s openly influenced by The Manchurian Candidate, which is kind of cool and makes for a decent comic, even if fairly derivative.

This issue works exactly like a pilot in that it sets everything up, gives us all the players, and then ends on a point where you have resolution to stuff that has come but now we’re setting up plenty more to come in the future.

Verdict – Check It. Crosshair is a pretty fun read, there’s lots of action, it’s a decent idea. But again, I complain, it’s just not great. It doesn’t hook straight into you and demand you read the next issue. I want a pilot issue to create a lust inside me to follow the further adventures of these characters. Crosshair is close but I still felt like I was holding out for something better to hopefully come along.


Written by Brad Inglesby and Matt Hawkins
Art by Thomas Nachlik
Colours by Nathan Fairbairn
Cover by Bagus Hutomo

The premise here is that there is a corporation that offers extended life. It’s a very Philip K Dick concept and, of course, all is not as it seems. The life that this company gives is coming from somewhere else. It’s a dastardly, and faceless, corporation and the little man is obviously going to have to go up against it.

This whole idea is pretty cool, which makes it an even bigger shame that the execution isn’t up to your hopes. We follow our lead as he clunks his way through discussions that are meant to show us that orphans from where he grew up are winding up dead. He’s got a girlfriend but then some other guys bust in the window and decide to show this young buck the truth.

It all happens pretty quickly and isn’t exactly clear in the story telling. You kind of get the idea of what is happening but it’s rushed and character motivations seem non-existent. There’s a great premise here but it’s lying under muddied water.

Verdict – Avoid It. I wanted this one to be good but it just did not draw me in. It seems that the concepts I like just don’t deliver, and the ones I don’t think will be any good actually turn out half decent. Forever wants to be some high sci-fi, I think, but it just ends up being a mess.

7 Days From Hell

Written by Bryan Edward Hill and Rob Levin
Art by Phil Noto
Cover by Brain Stelfreeze

This issue opens with John Bishop killing some people but then being surprised by their young son in the back seat of the car. The kid then blows Bishop’s head off. It’s a brutal scene, shot quickly, and made me almost think of the 70’s cop noir flicks that I love.

The scene then changes and Bishop is sitting at a table opposite Mandy. She, with glowing eyes and obvious greater powers than just being good looking, offers Bishop a concept. And this is one hell of a concept. Bishop has seven days to kill a mark that she has given him. If he makes the kill then he gets another seven days, and another mark. If he misses, he goes straight to hell.

This concept is just a killer, it works. It’s mildly distracting that the ’science’ doesn’t quite fit. Mandy gives an explanation why she is doing this, and why it might work, but it is thin. Luckily for the issue, I was able to cast this aside and still fall in love with the high concept of it all.

We follow Bishop on his first seven days, and while it’s interesting it isn’t quite perfect. With another layer, another hook, this series could really become something. Perhaps an offer from the good side to counter against Bishop’s soul, or maybe a hint that Mandy isn’t exactly who she portrays herself as, might be the final thing this series needs.

As it stands, this issue chugs along pleasantly and in the end I wanted to read more. This is the sort of comic that could become a new crime sensation. Well, maybe sensation is too strong a word but it could certainly be very cool.

Verdict – Buy It. This comic has a good premise, a great one in fact, and its execution is pretty solid. I like the main character, I like the possible arc he’ll be able to go along, and I like the opportunities this series will afford itself. You can have longer arcs, you can have one shots. You can globe trot, you can kill all sorts of scumbags (and he is only being set on bad people). This comic has legs which go a fair way up until you see the barrel of the gun pointing back down at you.


To have your say on which comic should be given a shot at becoming an ongoing you need to go to the Top Cow website to cast your vote. Voting begins on the 1st of November. All details are on the site and once voting opens I implore you to go and go and cast your vote. Though, if you haven’t read any of these titles I guess you can’t (or you could just listen to me and know that 7 Days From Hell is the business!).


You should cast your vote, if you’ve read some or all of these issues, because the creators have obviously spent a lot of time on each issue. It would be a shame to see their efforts go for naught. I know I’m going to vote, and from the mini reviews above you can probably guess which issue will get my vote. Did you read any of these titles? Which one are you going to vote for? And what do you think of the concept of the Pilot Season? Let us know all in the comments.

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BT said...

I'm still waiting on Twilight Guardian.

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