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Comics: Walter Simonson returns to Ragnarok; The Who rock opera gets graphic novel; more

By Josh Weiss
Walter Simonson The Breaking of Helheim

We've got a deluge of comics-related updates to bring you today, so let's just get right down to it.

If you like Norse gods, Power Rangers, classic rock bands and their rock operas, and classic Batman villains, you're gonna love what we have to tell you!

Walter Simonson is returning to his popular Ragnarök series at IDW Comics, the publisher announced today. The third chapter in his Norse odyssey, The Breaking of Helheim, will consist of six issues, which are also drawn by Simonson.

“After so many years, I finally have a chance to draw the last battle of the Norse Gods and their great enemies,” Simonson said in an official release. “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I have entered Helheim, the realm of the dead, on a journey from which few return. But I have done so and lived to tell the tale — this tale — the breaking of Helheim.”

Walter Simonson The Breaking of Helheim

Utilizing the Norse gods of old as its central characters, the Ragnarök series previously featured a major battle between the deities and their enemies on the Plain of Vigrid. This conflict caused the stars to fall out of the sky and Midgard (Earth) to sink into the ocean, not to mention the destruction of all Nine Realms. When Helheim opens, Thor hears a voice from the past, which tells him that not all of the old tales are factual.

“Walter’s work on Ragnarök is phenomenally good — exciting, captivating, and entertaining,” added Scott Dunbier, IDW’s director of special projects. “It’s everything comic book storytelling should be. I count myself extremely fortunate to work with him.”

With the series all set to launch in July, it was also announced that Simonson would be illustrating a variant cover of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo #1. In turn, Sakai will draw the variant cover for Helheim #1.

Simonson is a legendary comics creator, perhaps best known for his conception of Beta Ray Bill for Marvel in the early 1980s.

Lifehouse, an unfinished rock opera by The Who, is being turned into a graphic novel before it's adapted for the big and small screens, Variety confirms.

The publication in charge of putting the opera to paper is Heavy Metal, a science fiction/fantasy magazine. James Harvey is on writing and illustration duty.

While the project was meant to become a film at Universal in the early '70s, it never panned out. Elements of the opera eventually went into the band's iconic 1971 album Who's Next, which included hits like "Baba O'Riley," "Behind Blue Eyes," and "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Now founder Pete Townshend's music and screenplay are to find new life in a 150-page graphic novel that will go on sale in July of next year.

“A graphic novel based on my very first 1970 concept for The Who’s abandoned Lifehouse project is perhaps the most exciting creative development in my long career," said Townshend in a statement published by Variety. “Lifehouse always had a strong and important visual story that was never even touched on.”

Set in a dystopian future, Lifehouse is said to explore themes like "politics, global warming, and technological reliance."

The Who, aside from being one of the most famous bands ever to come out of the British Invasion of the 1960s, became well publicized for their boundary-pushing rock operas like Tommy, which became both a film and a Broadway production.

Writer Tom King and artist Tony S. Daniel are ramping up for City of Bane, a special eight-issue event all about the Venom-abusing, strong-muscled Batman villain.

"For 74 issues, for three years, Bane has worked to tear down the Bat. And the plan is done. The blood is spilled. The heart of Gotham is broken. Now comes the fun," wrote King in his Twitter announcement of the story arc.

The tweet also includes a black-and-white mockup of Bane-centric art that looks to be the front cover of the event's first issue. In the background, you can spot a who's who of Batman baddies, like Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Scarecrow, and more.

The fun kicks off in Batman #75, which goes on sale in July.

BOOM! Studios, in partnership with Hasbro, is releasing an original graphic novel about a group of classic Power Rangers villains, the Psycho Rangers.

Saban's Power Rangers: The Psycho Path is written by Paul Allor (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Clue), drawn by Giuseppe Cafaro (Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon), and colored by Marcelo Costa.

"I can not wait for Saban's Power Rangers: The Psycho Path to be unleashed upon the unsuspecting populace," Allor said in an official statement. "The entire team has worked together to create a compelling and deliciously twisted journey that will surprise and delight Power Rangers fans all along the way. This book is not what you think it's going to be. And I suspect you'll love what it is."


First introduced in the late '90s kid's program Power Rangers in Space, the Psycho Rangers are basically stronger and more evil versions of the good-hearted Rangers. Created by Karone and programmed to hate everything to do with their non-murderous counterparts, the Psycho Rangers were already defeated once by the Power Rangers, a triumph that took a heavy toll. Even so, something has brought them back, and, surprisingly, they're not in a very forgiving mood.

“Being a part of the Power Rangers family is such a huge honor. I felt the weight of that honor in Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon, and I can feel it now. I think the Psycho Rangers universe is so powerful and dark; it has been very fun to work on!” said Cafaro.




“Everything turns upside down as Karone and Andros are forced to deal with the rise of the Psycho Rangers, causing Karone to struggle with her identity as the dark and power-hungry Astronema and pulling Andros along for the ride as he tries to help his sister,” added Dafna Pleban, senior editor, BOOM! Studios. “Things get dark and dire in space, giving fans a chance to glimpse into the shadows behind the mysterious rebirth of these twisted versions of the original mighty heroes.”

Saban's Power Rangers: The Psycho Path goes on sale this October.