Phil Hester

Triple Shot of Horror and The Flash Digital Chaser: HALLOWEEN ISSUES FOR YOU AND THE KIDS at FORCES OF GEEK

Before you know it, we’ll be knee deep in garden Santas and then Valentine’s Day cards.

That’s how quick American holiday retail reacts. The practically tell you start celebrating next year’s holiday as soon as one is over.

And if those Madison Ave. captains of industry had their way, they would, by gum. 

On this first half of October, why not get into the mood with some Halloween books, some innocent and some spooky!

We check out Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 in the new Archie Horror line, then Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers and then again, back to Riverdale for your more traditional World of Archie Comics Digest #43

Vibrating into the end of this very column you’ll also find a nod to the Cosmic Treadmill as The Flash debuts on TV this week, and ComiXology hosts Flash Season 0 #3 for the Digital Chaser, written by show runner Andrew Kreisberg and drawn by fan favorite Phil Hester!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1
WRITER: Roberto Aguirre Sacasa
ARTIST: Robert Hack
Publication Date: October 8, 2014
Price: $3.99
Publisher: Archie Comics
RATING: Teen +
UPC: 76281694824100121
Buy it Here 

Hot off of the heels of this year’s Afterlife with Archie is Roberto Aguirre Sacasa’s Dark Shadows-esque take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. 

Carefully placing Sabrina (and Salem) as a teenager in the 1960s, once again Archie has stepped up the horror comics game. With familiar characters being dropped into situations we haven’t seen before —Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will sure to be the hit everyone is talking about this month. And what better month than Halloween to get dark and eerie!

We’re given a deep origin to how Sabrina came to live with aunts Hilda and Zelda, and the mystery of her parents. When moving to the new town of Greendale after her powers start to get stronger, Ambrose (her cousin, a male witch) is reintroduced to the family and influences Sabrina to take on more risks, such as glamor spells.

In school, she meets her new best friend and romantic rival, Rosalind. They both have their eye on the accident prone but charming Harvey Kinkle. Could Sabrina be coaxed into using a love potion to get Harvey’s attention? You should read to find out.


What I’ve described above doesn’t get at the essence of this chilling adventure. In fact, the plot points are fairly standard Archie fare when recapped like this. What is great about this book is largely the tone set by artist Robert Hack. Like Francavilla before him, he’s cartooning with great action, fantasy and setting the tone with every action. His classic, movie poster style brings the 60s to your mind’s eye in a way rivaled only by weathered paperback covers or fully rendered Bill Sienkiewicz pages. 

The gushing doesn’t end there, folks. A big bad introduced by the end of the issue with make your shiver from the inside out.

We don’t rate comics in this column as a rule, the closest we can come to that is this is a must-read. Go buy it.

Pick up any variant covers you see as well. The Rosemary’s Baby cover is my favorite.


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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for August 14, 2013




What sells more books than The Wolverine this summer? How about an 8-Bit Sabertooth Matthew Waite variant cover for Paul Cornell and Alan Davis’ Wolverine #8!. Yet another revival of T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #1 pops up over at IDW! The classic Wally Wood and Len Brown ’60s superhero team returns as Phil Hester (Wonder Woman) gets a hold of the Menthor helmet. This is comics for comics fans, folks, a delectable delight to bag and board! … Last year we talked with R. Stevens of Diesel Sweeties about his robot romance comic strip. Oni Press collects the first volume of the thing here in Diesel Sweeties Vol. 01 - I’m A Rocker I Rock Out. Get it or the robots will get you! … Picks this week from



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Triple Shot stays independent this week with some violent first issues to get the blood flowing through your veins and onto the street.

We start with the resurrected X from Dark Horse and move toward the expanded Invincible Universe and finally ending with Volume 4 of Mike Costa’s spyfi G.I.Joe: Cobra Series from IDW.

X #0 - “THE PIGS”
WRITER: Duane Swierczynski
ART: Eric Nguyen
Publication Date: April 10, 2013
Price: $2.99
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
UPC: 76156822568600011
Buy it HERE

Duane Swierczynski can write us a violent comic book with dark dark and violent leading men. His work on both the Punisher and Valiant Comic’s reboot of Bloodshot are proof of this recently. We begin to wonder if he reflects on the real life corruption and violence of his hometown of Philadelphia.

X #0 from Dark Horse Comics debuts this week, originally printed in the popular anthology comic Dark Horse Presents, this one-shot introduces the city of Arcadia and the upper echelon of the criminal underworld running the city.

Missing an eye, and with a cool costume with a red ‘X’ on his hood (look out, new Cyclops, X was here first!) the character is foreboding and intimidating. Our boy is similar to Frank Castle in this way, with one exception. If you are a bad buy, and you receive a picture of yourself in the mail with a red-Sharpied ‘X’ across your face, get out of town. This is X’s warning….he’s coming for you.

X uses a variety of weapons from swords to fists, car bombs, machine guns, serrated knives and crowbars to get various jobs done and wipe out the major players in Arcadia in this issue.

X is as cunning as Batman and Punisher, and seems to have the upper hand on the criminals in the book from unseen detective work. Swierczynski even works in the obvious parallels as boss Pietrain is taunting him from his panic room.

This book reminds me of ‘90s Punisher War Journal and War Zone, in the best way possible. Lone vigilante, spilling guts and getting the bad guys. The X reboot is off to a great start, with an ongoing promised on the last page. Be careful, though, you may be off of spaghetti and sausage for a few days after reading this book. The Arcadia Meatpacking District sausage ingredients are very ‘fresh’.

WRITER: Phil Hester
ART: Todd Nauck
Publication Date: April 10, 2013
Price: $2.99
Publisher: Image Comics
UPC: 70985301354900111
Buy it HERE

Phil Hester continues to expand on the Invincible Universe with a new #1 issue this week. Formerly a spinoff ofInvincibleGuardians of the Globe (or Guarding the Globe) spotlighted the popular superhero team featured in the original series.

A hybrid of Avengers or Justice League, and led by Invincible’s sometime boss, Cecil Stedman, the Guardians are protecting the globe from the usual—Viltrumite mustaches, underwater monsters, prison breaks—that sort of thing.

Let’s also point out that Invincible is in no way a leader to the team.

Sometime’s he’s just getting in the way of Robot and company doing their real work anyway and it always seems like there’s some resentments brewing on the Guardians side, with Mark directly or indirectly putting the world at risk with his actions, constantly.

Cecil is barking orders at his new assistant who he wishes to call Agent Edelman, not her given name at all. Taking action across the world are The Guardians, cleaning up after the events ofInvincible #100. Cecil observes remotely and strategizes his chess moves. Disappointingly, the team is not ever assembled properly in this setup issue, but seen in vignettes of them in action across the world.

The title change from Guardians to Invincible Universe seems to be including more of the Skybound! imprint’s properties like The Astounding Wolf-Man, Capes, Inc. and Tech Jacket. 

Overall I’m curious to see where the story is headed, with a new villain introduced toward the end of the issue that reminds us of Fin Fang Foom! 

Phil Hester is great, and so is Todd Nauck on art, and I understand the expansion of the property to more than one book, but Invincible by Kirkman will always be the canonical Invincible story. Lee and Kirby created the Marvel Universe, but with many other collaborators introducing stories along the way to weave the fabric. With only a few writers and artists interpreting the Kirkman vision for the Invincible Universe, the side stories feel like they don’t mean much or fall flat sometimes. 

Two thumbs up for this book, for sure, but let’s blow this thing out with more mini-series and some new heroes. This is a great alternative to mainstream superhero team books like Teen Titans, Justice League or any of the Avengers books.

WRITER: Mike Costa
ART: Antonio Fuso
Publication Date: April 10, 2013
Price: $3.99
Publisher: IDW Publishing
UPC: 82771400452600111
Buy it HERE

It’s a new season of G.I.Joe: Cobra kicking off this week under a new title. Mike Costa continues his espionage book on the G.I.Joe franchise that caused a great reaction to the repurposing of Hawaiian shirt wearing Chuckles in 2009.

Chuckles assassinated Cobra Commander with a gunshot wound to the head, and sacrificed himself to nuke Cobra Island in the pages of this book.

Basically, there is no messing around here.

Fans of the new G.I.Joe: Retaliation movie would be confused by picking up these books, whereas fans of 24 and Homeland will be delighted.

By the end of the last volume, there is a new Pit headquarters in Las Vegas for a cadre of Joes and a very important prisoner, Tomax Paoli. The surviving crimson twin has been providing insider Cobra intel for the Joes upon striking an agreement with them. In this first issue of the new season, Tomax is plotting his escape or purposefully leaking info that will benefit him, such as tracking down his personal Cobra enemies, therefore putting his deal in jeopardy.

On the Joe team, Chameleon, half-sister of the Baroness is having an identity crisis. A defector from Cobra and also someone with insider Cobra intel is being psychoanalyzed on the first pages of the book. When she heads out to the field on a mission to tackle Copperhead, things go FUBAR when the ex-Cobra officer’s son points a shotgun at her.

Flint resolves the situation with quick legwork. 

In an attempt to self-treat her PTSD, Chameleon rushes to the comforting arms of a fellow soldier, but this very well could affect her relationships with the rest of her team.

We’re off to another great run on this non traditional licensed property book. People love G.I.Joe: Cobra, and for good reason. There is espionage, tech, business at a multinational level and great action. It’s especially cool to see a updated versions of previously silly action figures Croc Master, Copperhead and Tomax/Xamot (RIP). 

A teaser from last season’s closer is dropped on us at the end. The mystery of the late Cobra Commander’s son, in a coma. We hope his name is Billy and he can recall Arashikage training.