Friday, November 9, 2018

Angola in the Comics #8: Batman's Aerial View of Angola

By October of 1976 it had been almost a year since Portugal recognized the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola) as the official governing body over Angola. The two rival revolutionary parties FNLA (Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola) & UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) disputed this and the civil war would continue through 2002. No one in 1976 expected the war would continue for so many years.

Against that backdrop, permit me to share a panel from Batman #283 and the story "Omega Bomb Target: Gotham City" by writer David Vern and artist Ernie Chan, released October of 1976.

This panel taken out-of-context raises many questions. Perhaps first and foremost: why is Batman flying over Angola's airspace? The short answer is: he was headed back to Gotham City from Burundi. But that only raises further questions...

This tale was a three-parter, with #283 being the finale. It began in issue #281 when three Interpol agents were found dead in Gotham. Investigating these deaths led Batman on an international quest, first to Hungary, then Burundi, then back to Gotham, all to foil a terrorist plot to build and detonate an atomic weapon. During his flight from Burundi, Batman was ambushed by two terrorists who had stolen aboard his airplane. After besting them in combat, Batman fastened parachutes to the men and ejected them from his plane. The following panel is the beginning and end of Angola's involvement in the story.

Batman has a code against killing; most super heroes who were published during the Silver Age did, but Batman's code was especially well-known and has been frequently trotted out over the years. After all, if Batman were comfortable with murdering his foes, surely Arkham Asylum wouldn't be such a lousy revolving door facility. Batman's refusal to murder can be seen as part of the character's optimistic spirit - that on some level he believes criminals can be reformed and redeemed (which has happened from time-to-time in his adventures). Therefore, Batman's refusal to claim lives adds complexity to his character; no matter how grim or vengeance-driven he might seem, he has a moral compass and there are lines he will not cross.

So what's going on in this panel?

I cannot claim to hold any experience in skydiving, but it's my understanding that if you're unconscious when you hit the ground, it does not end well for you. Hurling two men from his plane in parachutes seems like a good way to get both men killed, regardless of where in the world they're being dropped off.

But Batman doesn't simply let these men fall into an open field - he drops them into a war zone which neither man has anything to do with. "They'll know how to deal with these two unidentified parachutists," Batman muses to himself. But who is "they"? The government? FNLA? UNITA? The Angolan Civil War was a bitter affair and I have to think that if two foreigners fell from the sky and were - miraculously - still alive, they would be considered enemy agents by whichever of the three armies found them. Perhaps they would be interrogated, placed in confinement and eventually repatriated to their homelands; then again, perhaps they'd be summarily executed.

Batman knows all of this. He is dropping these men into a war zone. And why? Why indeed? We soon discover that Batman's plane is so ridiculously fast that he gets from Angolan airspace back to Gotham in only two hours. If Batman had moved a little slower in his fight with the terrorists, he would have been over the Atlantic Ocean by the time they were defeated. Surely he wouldn't have ejected the unconscious men into the ocean? And if not that fate, then why drop them into the Angolan Civil War?

At this point, Batman has uncovered a major terrorist plot, but he has precious little in the way of evidence. Upon his return to Gotham, he has to convince the authorities that he knows what the plot is about and how to stop the bomb. Considering that, why not simply tie up his opponents and present them to the authorities as proof of the terrorist plot and potentially useful subjects for interrogation by the law?

The only conclusion I can come to about Batman dropping these men over Angola is this: he's lazy. Perhaps he isn't being cold-blooded, but simply... lackadaisical. He can't be bothered to do the work of keeping his prisoners tied up and transferring them to the authorities, so for expediency's sake he throws them out of his plane. Dead on impact? Executed on sight? Incarcerated for the duration of the war? None of those options would bother Batman if his only true concern was the most convenient course of action.

I don't know why Batman did this, but I don't think he's lazy, a killer, or someone who places others into situations where they would be killed (jokes about Robin's bright red chest aside). I can only conclude: Batman is not callous about human life -- but comic book creators are.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Angola on the Radio #1: Tarzan "Across a Continent"

From time to time I feature "Angola in the Comics" on this blog and I've long wished to continue that trend by spotlight occasions where Angola appeared as the setting for an old-time radio program. However, I couldn't find any instances... until now.

I suppose it shouldn't be that surprising that the series in question is Tarzan. (I last blogged about Tarzan in Angola here) There weren't too many jungle adventure programs on the radio and although Tarzan had a program in the 1930s, he sat out the 1940s. Finally, in the early 1950s Tarzan returned to radio as a half-hour syndicated adventure program starring Lamont Johnson and that's where I've drawn my example from.

The episode is called "Across a Continent" (March 15, 1951). The story opens in Bechurata, which appears to be somewhere on the east coast. Tarzan looks up a governmental agriculture officer, one Erik von Horn (the Germanic name suggesting the setting is in a former German colony). Tarzan takes an interest in Gabrielle, a singer at Von Horn's nightclub (she sings in French, somewhat complicating clues about the locale).

After discovering Von Horn is a criminal, Tarzan goes on the run and takes Gabrielle with him. Gabrielle claims to have friends in Luanda who will take care of her. Tarzan points out Angola is on the opposite side of the continent, but being a gallant hero he agrees to lead her there. As they travel Tarzan begins to fall in love with Gabrielle (no idea where Jane is supposed to be on this radio series), but just as they're nearing Angola, Gabrielle is arrested by a team of international policemen for diamond smuggling.

It's not a bad use of Angola - I get the sense the writer had at least cracked a book open before writing it. Near the end Gabrielle and Tarzan are inside a cavern and declare Angola is "just over this ridge," Tarzan estimating themselves to be about a mile from the country. This is one of the few 'jungle adventure' stories I've heard which really has a sense of Africa as a continent instead of a vague/vast jungle.

It's a bit distracting that von Horn's top aide is played by the guy who did advertisement for Kellogg's Corn Pops on radio's Wild Bill Hickok. It's hard to accept him as menacing when any moment I expect him to extoll the virtues of Sugar Corn Pops to Tarzan.

You hear "Across a Continent" for yourself at archive.org. You can even buy the 1950s Tarzan series from Radio Spirits if you've got money burning a hole in your pocket.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Marvel Atlas #1-2 on Comixology!

I headed up the Marvel Atlas in 2007, four years before I became a real international traveller. I would certainly have done a better job had I not written the book until after seeing more of the world, but this was the effort we made at the time to establish how Marvel's version of the Earth fits together. And now, Comixology is selling them for $1.99 per issue!
Walk through Marvel's Earth with the first-ever official atlas! In the first half of this indispensable guide, travel through Europe, Asia and the Pacific with digestible in-depth features including: the splendor of Dr. Doom's Latveria! The wonders of Muir Island! The glory of Silver Sable's homeland Symkaria! The urban squalor of Madripoor! The underwater marvels of Lemuria! From the shores of Ireland to the ocean's very depths, it's all mapped out for you courtesy of handbook legend Eliot R. Brown!

You can buy issue #1 here and issue #2 here!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Reckon our romance is over." A few thoughts about Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure

I was a supporter for publisher Drew Ford's Kickstarter project Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure, a hardcover collection of a western comic book story from 1999 by writer Joe R. Lansdale and artist Sam Glanzman. Ford wanted to get the book back into print and it sounded interesting enough. Unfortunately, due to some postal mishaps, I didn't receive my copy of the book until a year after I should have.

During the time from when I backed the Kickstarter to the present, Ford took his label 'It's Alive' to IDW, but continued launching Kickstarters to republish various comics, many of them by Glanzman, who passed away during one of the Kickstarter campaigns. I didn't feel right supporting Ford's efforts until I knew what he was capable of... and frankly, I was also ambivalent about supporting someone whose work was being printed by IDW. I mean, it's just reprints - and you've got a major publisher. I don't feel right putting money in the hat at that point, especially when most of what he's reprinting can still be obtained in its original format for much, much less than one of his Kickstarter copies. All the same, I was very tempted by his hardcover reprint of Dope by Trina Robbins, but I have all the originals.

Red Range, then. It's the story of a black man who is a masked outlaw and rescues a black boy from being killed by Klansmen; the Klansmen give chase. Eventually the pursuit leads into a weird time-lost land made up of various time displaced things like conquistadors and dinosaurs.

In the afterword, Stephen Bissette compares Red Range to Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained. I mean, I guess so? Both of them are well-crafted pieces of exploitative trash where white creators get to depict lynchings and use the n-word a lot, but it's okay because the protagonist is a black guy who is rather good at using guns and the villains are comical scumbags. Hooray? (I am not a fan of Django Unchained, suffice to say) It's an unpleasant read, with a black man being castrated on the first page and a few beastiality jokes in the middle. And then, somehow, the setting changes to a lost valley with conquistadors and dinosaurs. It's an abrupt change to the story and has no payoff - Red Range simply runs out of pages.

At least the pages are lovely; I have never seen Sam Glanzman's art looking so spectacular, being used to seeing his work printed on cheap Charlton paper with their lousy colours and dull lettering. This book pops, it looks absolutely terrific. But if I'd taken just 5 minutes to learn what Red Range was before supporting the Kickstarter, I really wouldn't have bothered.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Taking aim on Targets

Perhaps you don't know about the 1968 film Targets. It was the true directorial debut of Peter Bogdanovich... and it's possible you don't know who he is either, since although he's still making movies, he hasn't been a big name since the 1970s.

Targets was a low budget film from Roger Corman's stable and when Corman gave the assignment to Bogdanovich, the infamous B-movie king didn't expect too much out of it. However, Bogdanovich had an interesting idea for the film and the support of Boris Karloff.

Targets tells two stories which collide in the climax; the first is the story of aging horror film star Byron Orlok (Karloff), a one-time cinema great who now appears in cheap movies; the second is the story of Bobby Thompson, a Vietnam War veteran who snaps one day and goes on a killing spree. The stories cross paths at a drive-in where what Orlok intends to be his final film is making its debut.

The second half of Targets is where the film becomes tense, where Bobby's rampage begins. It's an immensely terrifying premise because Bobby is shooting people in a dark drive-in while they sit in their cars; the sound of his rifle is drowned out by the motion picture itself.

As great as the premise for Targets is, it could have been simply an exploitative B-movie, but Bogdanovich was young, hungry, and eager to show what he could do behind a camera; the film is full of interesting photography which keeps the visuals from seeming flat. One of Bogdanovich's tricks to avoid expensive bullet effects is to zoom-in when people are shot, which gives the impression of the bullets striking targets without actually having to spend the money on make-up.

When I first came across this picture on cable I was mesmerized; despite being a Karloff fan, I knew nothing about it and the climax - when Orlok faces off against Bobby - was absolutely riveting. I'm petty enough to wish this was Karloff's last picture, but of course he went on to make a few more cheap-o horror flicks; at least Targets gave him one last great picture before the end.

I rewatched Targets to celebrate Halloween this year and it holds up. Check it out if you can.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Creator credits for Daredevil season 3

Hey, do you like Frank Miller & David Mazzuchelli's 'Born Again'? Great. Interested in a filmed adaptation of the story? Fine, fine. How about stretching it into 13 episodes, adding Bullseye in a manner mostly reminiscent of other half-baked villains like Typhoid Mary in the most recent Iron Fist season and mostly fumbling every single moment which made 'Born Again' so great?

The Marvel Netflix shows are dying, and I can't say I'll miss them very much.

Frank Miller: creator of Elektra, Matt's lover, an assassin dressed in red (Daredevil #168, 1981); of Bullseye going insane (Daredevil #169, 1981); of Wilson Fisk's name; of Wilson Fisk as Daredevil's primary enemy (Daredevil #170, 1981); of Stick, Matt's mentor (Daredevil #176, 1981); of Bullseye using the name 'Benjamin Poindexter'; of Elektra dying; of Daredevil breaking Bullseye's back (Daredevil #181, 1982); of Matt distraught over Elektra's death (Daredevil #182, 1982); co-creator of Josie's Bar, a dive bar in Hell's Kitchen tended by the titular Josie (Daredevil #160, 1979); of Jack Murdock's name; of Hell's Kitchen as Matt Murdock's childhood borough; of Urich becoming an ally of Daredevil (Daredevil #164); of Melvin Potter's name; of Melvin's lady friend Betsy; of Melvin's mental problems (Daredevil #166, 1980); of Wilson Fisk controlling the police and using the authorities to wreck Matt Murdock's life and target his allies; of Fisk learning Matt Murdock is Daredevil; of Karen Page having a drug problem; of Karen inadvertently giving away Murdock's secrets to the Kingpin (Daredevil #227, 1986); of Murdock wearing stubble in both of his identities; of Murdock being isolated from his friends and suffering from hallucinations when he tries to fight the Kingpin; of Fisk trying to kill Murdock by sealing him inside a yellow taxi cab driven into the river; of Fisk stunned when Murdock's body isn't found in the taxi; of Felix Manning, one of the Kingpin's top operatives (Daredevil #228, 1986); of Sister Maggie, a nun who cares for Daredevil in a church shelter; of Matt Murdock being believed dead (Daredevil #229, 1986); of Sister Maggie tending to Matt after he was first blinded; of Matt Murdock's mother being Sister Maggie; of the Kingpin threatening Betsy in order to get Melvin Potter to make a duplicate Daredevil costume (Daredevil #230, 1986); of the Kingpin sending a psychotic man out in a Daredevil costume to discredit Matt Murdock; of Murdock fighting the impostor (Daredevil #231, 1986); of Murdock wearing black costume while operating as anonymous vigilante (Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #2, 1993);

Stan Lee: co-creator of the Kingpin of Crime, a mob boss dressed in white who organizes the disparate underworld elements under his leadership from the heart of Manhattan (Amazing Spider-Man #50, 1967); of the Kingpin's wife, Vanessa Fisk (Amazing Spider-Man #69, 1969); of Matt Murdock, a lawyer who also fights crime as Daredevil by using his superhuman sensory powers; Murdock blinded as a child while saving a man from a truck carrying radioactive waste; billy club as Daredevil's primary weapon; Murdock as son of the boxer Battling Murdock, who rasied him alone and wanted him to gain a superior education; the elder Murdock dying after crossing a crooked boxing promoter and refusing to lose a fixed fight; Fogwell's Gym as Murdock's training place; Murdock partnered with his college friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson at Nelson & Murdock law firm; Karen Page as Murdock & Nelson's secretary and object of affection to both men (Daredevil #1, 1964); of Daredevil's ability to detect lies (Daredevil #3, 1964); of Daredevil's red costume; of Daredevil's gimmick billy club (Daredevil #7, 1965); of Gladiator, a costume designer who makes a Daredevil costume and fights Daredevil with a saw weapon, wear's a yellow shirt with a 'V' (Daredevil #18, 1966); of Foggy Nelson running for district attorney (Daredevil #36, 1968)

David Mazzucchelli: co-creator of Wilson Fisk controlling the police and using the authorities to wreck Matt Murdock's life and target his allies; of Fisk learning Matt Murdock is Daredevil; of Karen Page having a drug problem; of Karen inadvertently giving away Murdock's secrets to the Kingpin (Daredevil #227, 1986); of Murdock wearing stubble in both of his identities; of Murdock being isolated from his friends and suffering from hallucinations when he tries to fight the Kingpin; of Fisk trying to kill Murdock by sealing him inside a yellow taxi cab driven into the river; of Fisk stunned when Murdock's body isn't found in the taxi; of Felix Manning, one of the Kingpin's top operatives (Daredevil #228, 1986); of Sister Maggie, a nun who cares for Daredevil in a church shelter; of Matt Murdock being believed dead (Daredevil #229, 1986); of Sister Maggie tending to Matt after he was first blinded; of Matt Murdock's mother being Sister Maggie; of the Kingpin threatening Betsy in order to get Melvin Potter to make a duplicate Daredevil costume (Daredevil #230, 1986); of the Kingpin sending a psychotic man out in a Daredevil costume to discredit Matt Murdock; of Murdock fighting the impostor (Daredevil #231, 1986)

Bill Everett: co-creator of Matt Murdock, a lawyer who also fights crime as Daredevil by using his superhuman sensory powers; Murdock blinded as a child while saving a man from a truck carrying radioactive waste; billy club as Daredevil's primary weapon; Murdock as son of the boxer Battling Murdock, who rasied him alone and wanted him to gain a superior education; the elder Murdock dying after crossing a crooked boxing promoter and refusing to lose a fixed fight; Fogwell's Gym as Murdock's training place; Murdock partnered with his college friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson at Nelson & Murdock law firm; Karen Page as Murdock & Nelson's secretary and object of affection to both men (Daredevil #1, 1964)

Gene Colan: co-creator of Gladiator, a costume designer who makes a Daredevil costume and fights Daredevil with a saw weapon, wear's a yellow shirt with a 'V' (Daredevil #18, 1966); of Foggy Nelson running for district attorney (Daredevil #36, 1968); of Paxton Page, Karen Page's father (Daredevil #56, 1969); of Karen Page learning Matt Murdock is Daredevil (Daredevil #57, 1969); of Blake Tower, New York district attorney frequently embroiled in Nelson & Murdock's affairs (Daredevil #124, 1975); of Ben Urich, an aging reporter with a relentless dedication to the truth (Daredevil #153, 1978)

Roger McKenzie: co-creator of Ben Urich, an aging reporter with a relentless dedication to the truth (Daredevil #153, 1978); of Josie's Bar, a dive bar in Hell's Kitchen tended by the titular Josie (Daredevil #160, 1979); of Jack Murdock's name; of Hell's Kitchen as Matt Murdock's childhood borough; of Urich becoming an ally of Daredevil (Daredevil #164); of Melvin Potter's name; of Melvin's lady friend Betsy; of Melvin's mental problems (Daredevil #166, 1980)

Marv Wolfman: co-creator of Blake Tower, New York district attorney frequently embroiled in Nelson & Murdock's affairs (Daredevil #124, 1975); of Bullseye, an expert assassin who can turn any object into a lethal weapon, battles Daredevil; Bullseye as former baseball player; of Bullseye with a target on his forehead (Daredevil #131, 1976)

John Romita, Jr.: co-creator of Matt Murdock going to regular confession (Daredevil #267, 1989); of Murdock wearing black costume while operating as anonymous vigilante (Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #2, 1993); of Rosalie Carbone, an Italian mob princess (Punisher: War Zone #2, 1992)

John Romita: co-creator of the Kingpin of Crime, a mob boss dressed in white who organizes the disparate underworld elements under his leadership from the heart of Manhattan (Amazing Spider-Man #50, 1967); of the Kingpin's wife, Vanessa Fisk (Amazing Spider-Man #69, 1969)

Bob Brown: co-creator of Matt Murdock's Catholicism (Daredevil #119, 1975); of Bullseye, an expert assassin who can turn any object into a lethal weapon, battles Daredevil; Bullseye as former baseball player; of Bullseye with a target on his forehead (Daredevil #131, 1976)

Dennis O'Neil: co-creator of Dr. Oyama, a physician who tends to Bullseye's broken back (Daredevil #196, 1983); of Bullseye's back being reinforced with metal by Dr. Oyama (Daredevil #198, 1983)

Kevin Smith: co-creator of Matt Murdock wearing red-tinted sunglasses (Daredevil #1, 1998); of Bullseye fighting Daredevil in a church, trying to kill Karen Page with a billy club (Daredevil #5, 1999)

Joe Quesada: co-creator of Matt Murdock wearing red-tinted sunglasses (Daredevil #1, 1998); of Bullseye fighting Daredevil in a church, trying to kill Karen Page with a billy club (Daredevil #5, 1999)

Brian Michael Bendis: co-creator of Jessica Jones, a superhuman private investigator (Alias #1, 2001); of the FBI investigating Matt Murdock and Daredevil's connection (Daredevil #31, 2002)

Lee Weeks: co-creator of Bullseye disguising himself as Daredevil (Daredevil #288, 1991); of Daredevil bringing down Fisk's criminal empire (Daredevil #300, 1992)

Roy Thomas: co-creator of Paxton Page, Karen Page's father (Daredevil #56, 1969); of Karen Page learning Matt Murdock is Daredevil (Daredevil #57, 1969)

Ann Nocenti: co-creator of Matt Murdock going to regular confession (Daredevil #267, 1989); of Bullseye disguising himself as Daredevil (Daredevil #288, 1991)

D.G. Chichester: co-creator of Daredevil bringing down Fisk's criminal empire (Daredevil #300, 1992); of Daredevil wearing body armor (Daredevil #322, 1993)

Len Wein: co-creator of Blake Tower, New York district attorney frequently embroiled in Nelson & Murdock's affairs (Daredevil #124, 1975)

Steve Englehart: co-creator of Ben Donovan, an African-American lawyer who works for criminals (Hero for Hire #14, 1973)

Billy Graham: co-creator of Ben Donovan, an African-American lawyer who works for criminals (Hero for Hire #14, 1973)

Larry Hama: co-creator of Dr. Oyama, a physician who tends to Bullseye's broken back (Daredevil #196, 1983)

William Johnson: co-creator of Bullseye's back being reinforced with metal by Dr. Oyama (Daredevil #198, 1983)

Tom DeFalco: co-creator of the Kingpin continuing his criminal activities from his cell (Spider-Girl #1, 1998)

Alex Maleev: co-creator of the FBI investigating Matt Murdock and Daredevil's connection (Daredevil #31, 2002)

Jeff Christiansen: creator of Penelope Page's name (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #3, 2006)

Ron Frenz: co-creator of the Kingpin continuing his criminal activities from his cell (Spider-Girl #1, 1998)

Michael Lark: co-creator of Matt Murdock being caught inside a prison during a riot (Daredevil #86, 2006)

Wally Wood: co-creator of Daredevil's red costume; of Daredevil's gimmick billy club (Daredevil #7, 1965)

Marc Guggenheim: co-creator of Brett Mahoney, a police detective (Marvel Comics Presents #1, 2007)

Chuck Dixon: co-creator of Rosalie Carbone, an Italian mob princess (Punisher: War Zone #2, 1992)

Ed Brubaker: co-creator of Matt Murdock being caught inside a prison during a riot (Daredevil #86, 2006)

Dave Wilkins: co-creator of Brett Mahoney, a police detective (Marvel Comics Presents #1, 2007)

Michael Gaydos: co-creator of Jessica Jones, a superhuman private investigator (Alias #1, 2001)

Jim Shooter: co-creator of Hell's Kitchen as locale patroled by Daredevil (Daredevil #148, 1977)

J.M. DeMatteis: co-creator of Foggy Nelson learning Murdock is Daredevil (Daredevil #347, 1995)

Gil Kane: co-creator of Hell's Kitchen as locale patroled by Daredevil (Daredevil #148, 1977)

Ron Wagner: co-creator of Foggy Nelson learning Murdock is Daredevil (Daredevil #347, 1995)

Joe Orlando: co-creator of Daredevil's ability to detect lies (Daredevil #3, 1964)

Scott McDaniel: co-creator of Daredevil wearing body armor (Daredevil #322, 1993)

Tony Isabella: co-creator of Matt Murdock's Catholicism (Daredevil #119, 1975)

Richard Starkings: creator of Daredevil logo (Daredevil #1, 1998)

Friday, October 5, 2018

My Incredulity Concerning Avatar

From time to time I've mentioned that I enjoy the 2009 film Avatar. It's definitely not fashionable to admit it, considering the plethora of online articles I see which are incredulous that the film was the #1 box office success of all time. I've heard the criticisms and don't much care for them; I like the film and watch it about once per year.

Where the sequels are concerned, I'm a little skeptical - it's unproven whether the concept of the film can sustain itself over multiple pictures. Maybe it won't - maybe Avatar II: Na'vi Boogaloo will be the franchise-killing flameout much of the internet would like it to be - but then again, maybe it will work. I'm skeptical but optimistic.

This, on the other hand...

Next January, Dark Horse Comics will begin publishing the mini-series Avatar: Tsu'tey's Path, celebrating Avatar's 10th anniversary. Incredibly, Avatar II has been filmed but isn't scheduled to debut until 2020! You could see this comic book as an effort by the filmmakers to keep the Avatar property in people's consciousness, but...

...Look, I don't see myself buying this comic - no offense to the creators involved, but I don't typically buy comic books which are adaptations from another medium. If you put 10 people who like Avatar in a room and asked them, "Who's Tsu'tey?" I think you'd be lucky if half of them remembered: "Oh yeah, the guy who lost his girlfriend, mantle of leadership and life within a week all thanks to Jake Sully."

This is a prequel to Avatar telling what Tsu'tey was up to prior to the first film. If this had been released around 2009-2010 that would be a pretty good hook for your typically-inconsequential Dark Horse film tie-in product, but 10 years out? At this stage, who is interested in a prequel about one of the film's second-tier characters? This would be like Dark Horse putting out an Aliens prequel in 1996 which told us Hudson's very interesting backstory (please don't tell me if Dark Horse did this).

On some level, I feel like the primary reason this comic book exists is because Dark Horse has been steadily losing the licenses which used to be their bread and butter (Star Wars, Conan) and are flailing about for something which has a built-in following.