26 Mar 2017

Mini Reviews 26/03/2017

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins & Andy Troy
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: I was pleased to note on picking this one up that the start point is totally different from the half-episode of the new Iron Fist TV series I've got around to watching. We begin our tale at a point in Danny Rand’s life where his connection to his powers has been severed. His fighting skills are undiminished though and we follow his attempts, through brawling and illegal fight clubs, to find a worthy challenge for his skills. Rand is frustrated; he seems half a person, drinking to blank out the dissatisfaction which seems to be overwhelming him. These initial fight scenes are bluntly drawn; muscle and grime, sweat and blood spatter. Rand is like a zoo animal; I was reminded of Sherlock Holmes, constantly seeking a mental challenge and desperate to find an opponent worthy of his skills, blotting out the dullness of everyday people with opiates. Then, just as it looks as if he will numb himself entirely, suddenly the tone changes (in fact, the colour literally changes: the first half of the book is in blues and greens; turn a page and suddenly the mood is red and orange, as if a fire has suddenly relit). A real challenger presents himself, a master of kung fu (is that a Bruce Lee beckon? Nice touch if so) and makes an offer Rand can finally feel inspired by. It's an interesting touch to label the kung fu moves executed in the significant fight, serving to accent the difference between the initial low-skilled brawling and Choshin’s more educated style of fighting. Brisson promises "a good old-fashioned kung fu story" - I look forward to that. 7/10

21 Mar 2017

On The Pull 22/03/2017

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.

Andy H: Oh, where to start this week? Looking like some good reading heading our way Wednesday. Let's be topical and start with Iron Fist #1. Over the last few years we have been spoiled with some first class Iron Fist stories. Firstly, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja gave us Immortal Iron Fist and more recently Iron Fist: The Living Weapon from Kaare Andrews. Both excellent reads. Now Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins take control of Danny Rand's destiny and things aren't looking good for our hero as K'un Lun is in a dire state, as is the chi fueling Danny's power. It's hammer time as Jason Aaron wraps up Odinsons search for redemption in Unworthy Thor #5. This miniseries has been great and hopefully will, eventually, lead to the return of the 'real' Thor to the the Marvel Universe proper. Couple of crossovers next, both of which have been keeping me highly entertained. First up is Star Trek/Green Lantern Vol.2 #4. Hal Jordan and the good guys, which of course includes the crew of the Enterprise, must beat the bad guys, lead by Sinestro, to the only Power Battery in the universe. Fun times for the ringslingers! Second up is Batman/TMNT Adventures #5 which reveals the identity of the villain behind all the cross-dimension shenanigans. I know I'm repeating myself here but this series has been a blast and if you ever enjoyed Batman: The Animated Series then this is for you. It also has so many cool Bat-characters featured that it's a virtual who's who of animated fun. All this and if I get time I'll probably be picking up Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 11 #5, Reborn #5 and Hulk #4. An eclectic bundle of comics to say the least.

19 Mar 2017

Mini Reviews 19/03/2017

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writers: Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Art: Steve Epting & Jeromy Cox
DC $2.99

Matt C: Last month's Rebirth issue was pretty impressive but also difficult to get a bead on as it jumped around a lot through different points in Kate Kane’s past, giving plenty of decent material to digest but not really offering a solid sense of what was to come. This issue gives us a linear narrative so we get a clearer idea of where the series is headed, and at this stage it’s spinning directly out of recent events in other Bat-books, which makes sense but also prevents it from establishing its own identity straight off the bat (no pun intended!). The banter between Kate and Julia Pennyworth is a bit strained, not having the desired effect of ingratiating us into their dynamic, but the saving grace of the whole enterprise so far is the beautifully composed artistry of Steve Epting. He’s making a book that’s skewing towards average feel more important, to the point where I’m more likely to come back for the second issue proper. 6/10

17 Mar 2017

Ten Forward: May 2017

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the March issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in May 2017.

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: Back in the day I used to be an event junkie; regardless of quality, I HAD to know what happened in the ever-evolving tapestry of the Marvel Universe. These days, with notable exceptions such as Hickman's tremendous Secret Wars, I generally steer clear unless either the high concept is a blinder or the creative team fills me with unbridled confidence. I seem to have inadvertently stumbled into Secret Empire though having followed the 'Cap Is A Hydra!' agent storyline in Captain America: Steve Rogers, which now expands outwards into this miniseries. I've enjoyed the idea, and mostly the execution of it, so I'm willing to give this a go and hope for the best. Again, these days I don't have the completist bug that makes me think I need countless crossovers, but so long as I get an engaging tale that doesn't require me to pick up plot details elsewhere I'm optimistic that this, with it's core Cap/Red Skull dynamic, will be a blast.

14 Mar 2017

On The Pull 15/03/2017

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.

James R: This week sees one of my pulls reaching a climax, two storming on majestically, and one making a welcome return. From Dark Horse, Matt Kindt and David Rubin's Ether has been a fantastic burst of imagination and creativity, and Wednesday sees the release of the final issue, with Boone Dias seeking to solve the mystery behind the murder of the Blaze. My two continuing books are both from Image. Firstly, East Of West, where Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta's alt-universe Western epic reaches it's thirty-second chapter, and the promised apocalypse still doesn't seem imminent... I'm not complaining by any means; this is one of my monthly highlights, and Hickman's voice remains a unique one in mainstream comics. Kill Or Be Killed hasn't been around as long as East Of West, but I'm just as excited to see a new issue of Brubaker and Phillips' vigilante series. It's a book that started brilliantly and just seems to get better with every issue. Finally, I'm delighted to see the return of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey's Injection. As a comics fan, you expect Warren Ellis books to run late, and to be fair issue #10 culminated with the promise that 'Injection returns at the end of the year' - but three months into 2017 isn't quite the end of 2016! Regardless, I am happy to see this title come back - hopefully this is one that Ellis will be able to finish off, as it's been great thus far. Whatever is on your pull-lists for the week - happy reading everybody!

12 Mar 2017

Mini Reviews 12/03/2017

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Tyler Jenkins
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Jo S: One of Matt Kindt’s titles got me started on comic books in the first place so, not having heard anything about this one before the release, I thought I'd take a chance and, wow, I was totally rewarded for that. This is absolute comic book luxury for me. There are pages of gloriously rich background; I felt I was being told “you need to understand this place, from the earth, the water and the tree roots upwards” and when the tale itself began I found myself ready to be there with the characters, walking on that ground with them. As kind of a map nerd, I loved the double-page pictorial map of the Grass Kingdom - maybe that's just me! The story itself begins by introducing us to the family, mostly the brothers, who live on and run their lakeside land like a tiny kingdom, complete with a violently drunken king, Robert, all seen through the eyes of a then swiftly exiled interloper. The atmosphere of family loyalty is thick in the air and the reasons for the family’s acceptance of Robert’s violence are played out in an exquisite sequence of pages, where we are led wordlessly into Robert’s memory, held captive for a beautiful moment and then brought back to hard reality; again, a wordless page vividly conveying a deep truth. The mystery introduced in the last few pages is the succulent icing on the cake; I can’t wait to see how it plays out. 10/10

7 Mar 2017

On The Pull 08/03/2017

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.

Matt C: Two returning series from Image take pride of place on my pull-list this week. Copperhead, Jay Faerber's excellent sci-fi Western, has been off the shelves the longest, and has a new artist on for the ride, Drew Moss. Previous artist Scott Godlewski stays on cover duties but I'm fairly confident that Faerber's storytelling abilities will carry through and keep Cooperhead on a even keel through the visual change. Low has had a shorter hiatus but its return is most welcome as it had developed into arguably Rick Remender's most compelling and emotionally charged creator-owned series of the moment, and that's taking into account Deadly Class, Black Science AND Seven To Eternity. This new arc promises to expand the narrative outwards even further and, considering it's unpredictability so far, that can only be a good thing. Over at Marvel, Jessica Jones has quickly established itself as one of the House of Ideas most essential series, a surprise for those who'd assumed Brian Michael Bendis wasn't capable of this kind of brilliance any more. Another of Marvel's current greats, Old Man Logan, appears to have the Old Ol' Canucklehead locked up, and considering the quality of the series so far I don't really need to know anything more than that to believe it will be a great read.

5 Mar 2017

Mini Reviews 05/03/2017

We may not have time to review every book on our pull-lists but we do aim to provide a snapshot of what's been released over the past week, encompassing the good, the bad, and those that lie somewhere in between.

Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa & Jordan Boyd
DC/Vertigo $3.99

Matt C: Justin Jordan offers up a tale that has plenty of familiar elements but displays the ingenuity and ambition required to stand out from the pack. It's another case of government trained killers going rogue but this seems to be on a far larger scale than most stories of this type, and from the looks of it Jordan has the confidence and skill to pull this off. Sociopaths harnessed at young age to exploit their murderous instincts for political purposes is a great spin on the concept, and even at this stage the writer isn't shying away from the darker, more gruesome aspects of the scenario, depicted in a grim, almost matter-of-fact manner by artist Ibrahim Moustafa. Savage Things has the makings of another strong miniseries that is helping reestablish Vertigo as a real force in the creator-owned marketplace. 8/10

3 Mar 2017

Screen Time: LOGAN

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant
Director: James Mangold
Runtime: 137 minutes
Certificate: 154
Release Date: 1st Match 2017 (UK) / 3rd March 2017 (US)

Matt C: After 17 years and eight appearances as James Howlett, aka Logan, aka Weapon X, aka Wolverine, Hugh Jackman uses his ninth cinematic appearance as the character as an opportunity to hang up his claws and finally say farewell to the X-Men franchise. It's a series of films that has been wildly erratic in terms of quality, from hightpoints such a X-Men: Days Of Future Past and X2 to the nadir of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it's often left comprehensible continuity by the wayside via timeline resets and soft reboots. The decision with Logan to strip things back to the bare bones and employ a more adult, realistic approach to the material is exactly what was needed, especially for Jackman, whose solo outings with the character have so far missed the mark (although The Wolverine almost got there until it unraveled in its third act). The results here should leave the fanbase more than satisfied with a movie that's brutal, sombre and surprisingly moving.

28 Feb 2017

On The Pull 01/03/2017

New comics are due to hit the shelves on Wednesday so here’s a look ahead at some of the books we’ll be picking up this week.

Andy H: So, what merry mayhem does March have in store for us? Well, first of all we say goodbye to an Image book. Nailbiter #30 brings this great series to its conclusion. Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson have done a great job mixing together elements of horror, intrigue and good old-fashioned detective drama. Why have so many serial killers come from one small town? This final issue promises to answer that question. This is a great example of how good Image are these days. Nailbiter was always going to be a finite series and Image allows the creators room to develop ideas and reach a satisfactory ending. What a great series, I'll be sad to see it end but glad it had the chance to get there. What to replace it with? Well, Jeff Lemire is back, writing and drawing Royal City. I won't go into detail about this as James R has already given it an advance review but suffice to say this looks like another winner from Lemire. Marvel give America Chavez her own series starting in America #1. Some may recognise her from the latest incarnation of the Ultimates but I really got hooked when she turned up in Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. A really likable character that deserves a turn in the spotlight. I'm not sure an ongoing series would last but as a miniseries this should work quite nicely. The 'Clone Conspiracy' is over but what does that mean for Spider-Man? Well, the Clone Conspiracy: Omega anthology one-shot will tie up some loose ends and open the door for the Scarlet Spider as Peter David returns to writing a Spider title for the first time in a while. Any one that knows me will know if Peter David is involved, I'm IN! Finally, after way too long, we have the return of Stuff Of Legend. This is what Toy Story would be like if directed by Tim Burton. The Boogeyman has kidnapped some children and it's up to the toys to save the day. Don't expect cute and fluffy. This is a dark tale, there have been losses, there are heroes, and you never know what's round the next, dark, corner. Worth checking out the previous series if you missed out.