22 Apr 2014

On The Pull 23/04/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: Marvel sets the ball rolling this week for their major event series of 2014, Original Sin. Okay, so it's not the start of the story proper - it's an #0 issue - but it's got Mark Waid and Jim Cheung at the helm for this prologue so it's not something I'm going to ignore. I'm a sucker for these event things anyway, even though the bad sadly outweighs the good by and large, and a whodunit featuring a dead Watcher and a culprit who may possess all his secrets is one of the most inventive high concept pitches I've heard of in a while from eithe of the Big Two. Elsewhere at Marvel, I'm keen to take a look at another of their All-New Marvel NOW! efforts, Elektra #1. I'll be honest and say it's because the covers for the series I've seen so far have been pretty astonishing, and while of course you should never judge a book by its cover, if said cover is good enough by itself to get me to take a look, that's a pretty good start. The highlight over at Image is, unsurprisingly, the book that sat atop our recent Top 15 Current Comics chart, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's masterful Lazarus, and any week that appears is a guaranteed to be a good week.

20 Apr 2014

Mini Reviews 20/04/2014

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.

TRANSLUCID #1
Writer: Claudio Sanchez & Chondra Echert
Art: Daniel Bayliss
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Matt C: What’s that you say? Another comic book series focused on a Batman analogue?! Have people run out of ideas or something?? It’s easy to be dismissive of such a well-worn device in the genre; on a superficial level, peddling variations of iconic characters doesn’t really push things forward a great deal, but I guess what makes these types of tales so popular is that they allow creators to explore different aspects of a ‘familiar’ character, taking that character in directions that the Big Two would never go for with any of their most recognisable brands. In that sense, these stories are entirely necessary because, as much as we love the adventures of the Caped Crusader within his editorially sanctioned parameters, when a smart idea is given room to breathe – as it is in Translucid – the results can be very arresting indeed. Ironic then, that the robust, dynamic art comes from Daniel Bayliss, who provided the technically impressive illustrations for that juvenile Batman: The Deal fan fiction web comic that caused a lot of fuss (for all the wrong reasons) last year. It’s great that he’s been given the opportunity to show what he can do with a decent script, which he does here with style. The notion of an archnemesis aware that he exists to spur the hero on to do the right thing is a very strong one, and the writers appear to be well equipped to explore it further. There are still fresh angles from which to view a character based loosely on the Dark Knight, and the guys behind Translucid definitely seem to have found a very enticing one. 8/10

15 Apr 2014

On The Pull 16/04/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: Another quiet week for my pull-list, which begs the question, why don't all the publishers spread their releases to favour my particular purchasing choices? I mean, seventeen one week, five the next? What are they playing at?! Obviously that will never come to pass, but with such inconsistency in the number of titles I get from week to week, those 'quieter' Wednesdays have me feeling like I'm not buying enough, as though I'm not fully supporting my hobby! Which is ridiculous of course, but it's often those 'fallow' weeks where I find myself looking towards other books that I may have otherwise let pass me by. Enter Translucid #1 from BOOM! Studios. I don't think I paid much attention to it when it appeared in Previews, but the premise is certainly intriguing to say the least. An arch-nemesis of a celebrated superhero notices that his foe's moral compass is starting to slip, and realising that would upset the balance of their relationship, the villain decides to delve into the hero's past to determine why this change of course may have occurred. This leads on to an exploration of what makes someone gifted with powers decided to use them for good, and vice versa. That works for me so, even though I'm not familiar with the creators involved, I'm prepared to take a punt on something I would have probably skipped in a busier week. Hey, maybe these publishers know what they're doing after all!

14 Apr 2014

Mini Reviews 13/04/2014

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.

IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1
Writer: Kaare Kyle Andrews
Art: Kaare Kyle Andrews
Marvel $3.99


Stewart R: I’ll give Marvel some (unneeded) credit; their All-New Marvel NOW! promotion is getting me interested in characters I’d never previously even thought of picking up in solo titles. She-Hulk and Punisher have lured me in for the mid-term at least and on the strength of this debut from Andrews, it looks like the pained adventures of Danny Rand are likely to do the same. Andrews skips back and forth between a traumatic, defining moment in Rand’s childhood and his current state of ambivalence and inability to feel pretty much anything on an emotional level. This is a hero enhanced by one single important life choice and in the same breath seemingly doomed by the cost involved. While this is certainly a great deal removed from the corporate fly-boy Iron Fist I’ve read as part of the Avengers books and the Avengers Vs X-Men event, there’s an engrossing and gritty feel sewn between the two covers here that just sucked me in. Visually, this is a great introduction to a man unable to shake off the yoke of his emotional issues, yet who moves with weightless efficiency when fate throws him into the midst of combat. Just like his protagonist, Andrews’ art-style finds strange balance between murk and sharp focus, delivering a sumptuous opening gambit which has had me getting lost in multiple re-reads when trying to cobble together this review. Hands down, Iron Fists-clenched Book Of The Week for me and no mistake. 9/10

12 Apr 2014

Caught In The Web: AMAZON & COMIXOLOGY - TIM GIBSON INTERVIEW

The big news in the comics world over the last couple of days has been the acquisition of ComiXology by Amazon. It's obviously a sound business move - the corporate behemoth getting hold of what has been the iPad's highest grossing non-game app over the last three years - but it did send shockwaves across social media, with fans questioning what would happen to their digital collections and whether ComiXology would become absorbed into the greater whole, in the same way that other high profile internet purchases have been in the past. Rather than speculate endlessly on what it means for the consumer, we decided it would be a good idea to get some thoughts from someone who sells their work via Comixology, and what the announcement means to them. Who better then, than the writer/artist behind the wonderful digital comic Moth City, Tim Gibson, to answer our questions...

8 Apr 2014

On The Pull 09/04/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

James R: It's a shockingly quiet week for my pull-list this Wednesday, and whereas my wallet gives a sigh of relief, I always feel a little empty when I'm only picking up a handful of titles. The week is entirely saved by the return of the high kickin' Hero for Hire, Iron Fist. The reason for his return can be correlated to his place in the now media behemoth that is Marvel Studios - along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and his crime fighting partner Luke Cage, Danny Rand will soon be appearing on Netflix in his own TV series, and Marvel comics rightfully want him front and centre on the racks. I'm personally pleased as I've always had a soft spot for Iron Fist. Firstly, he's got that cool, '70s Marvel 'Second Age' vibe about him, and I feel he straddles the 'mystic' side of the Marvel Universe with the more street level stories. This was best realised by the dream team of Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja in the last ongoing series featuring the champion of K'un Lun, Immortal Iron Fist. Even after that series ended, I still felt that the world of Iron Fist had a lot of potential - some of my favourite parts of Avengers Vs. X-Men were the parts that took place in K'un Lun. So I'm delighted that Kaare Andrews is in charge of the new Iron Fist: The Living Weapon series. From the preview pages, it looks like Andrews is taking the story back to K'un Lun, and that's all good with me! In a week where I'm only picking up East Of West (which is phenomenally good, to be fair) and Brian Wood's Star Wars, I'm hoping Iron Fist's arrival will be a very welcome slice of chop-socky goodness.

6 Apr 2014

Mini Reviews 06/04/2014

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.

CALIBAN #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Facundo Percio, Sebastian Cabrol & Hernan Cabrera
Avatar $3.99

James R: I had to overcome a bit of prejudice in picking this up. I freely admit to not being the biggest fan of Avatar Press - I feel their house style is 'gore and breasts for the sake of it', and given the massive strides comics have made in the last twenty years in gaining mainstream acceptance, Avatar often publishes books which appear to be appealing to the lowest common denominator. However, for every Lady Death they publish, there's also the occasional gem: the original Crossed, or Alan Moore's Neonomicon for example. I'm pleased that I took a gamble on Caliban, as on the evidence of this first issue, it's definitely Garth Ennis in good form. Channelling a very British SF sensibility (the gritty feel of Alien and Event Horizon spring to mind) Ennis introduces us to a near future where humanity is exploring deep space, but rather than exploring strange new worlds, we are continuing to exploit the environments of alien-free planets. We're told that there is no other intelligent life 'out there'… until a hyperspace collision fuses the industrial ship Caliban with an alien craft. This is very much an introductory issue, but it set the mood perfectly, intriguing me throughout. A solid start, and a welcome addition to my pull-list. 8/10

5 Apr 2014

Cover To Cover: INHUMAN #1

INHUMAN #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Joe Madureira & Marte Gracia
Marvel $3.99


Stewart R: A broad plan by a comic book publisher to expand the breadth of one of their lesser known legacy properties following a successful summer event, as well as a potential necessity to find a live action alternative to a property to which they no longer hold the rights (X marks the spot), shouldn’t surprise anyone in this day and age. It is, however, not surprising to start looking a little more closely at the products related to that property when a top writer at that publisher then steps aside due to creative differences over the story and direction of the lead title.

And so, here we are, nearly five months removed from Infinity #6, Matt Fraction’s pass on the writing duties and the large marketing push that ended up targeting an initial optimistic January date Marvel wouldn’t be able to meet, with Inhuman #1 by writer Charles Soule (Letter 44, She-Hulk) and the fan favourite artist Joe Madureira (Avenging Spider-Man, Savage Wolverine, Battle Chasers). In and amongst a (some might say 'surprisingly') well polished collection of All New Marvel NOW! titles, can Marvel and this hastily readied creative team come up with brand new property that can capture the hearts and minds of readers who are potentially already feeling the pinch from the surrounding illustrated quality on offer?

3 Apr 2014

The PCG's Top 15 Current Comics - April 2014

Once again the assembled membership of the PCG have put on their thinking caps and compiled their Top 15 Current Comics to provide a more concise look at what they're currently reading and (more importantly) enjoying...

1 Apr 2014

On The Pull 02/04/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: I can't say that every book Garth Ennis puts out is a winner in my eyes, but when he strikes gold, the man who penned Preacher is almost untouchable. To my mind his best work at Avatar has been in partnership with Jacen Burrows (the original Chronicles Of Wormwood miniseres, the first - and never bested - Crossed series) but while Caliban sees him working with Fashion Beast artist Fecundo Percio I'm still more than willing to give it a shot. The premise seems to veer in the direction of the cinematic likes of Alien, Event Horizon and Sunshine, but I think Ennis has a good track record of taking well worn ideas and injecting new life in them, and to my mind he has one of the best approaches to the horror genre in comicdom. Inhuman #1 finally makes its debut this Wednesday after Matt Fraction departed to be replaced by Charles Soule on writing duties, and after the damp squib non-event of Inhumanity you may think I'd be steering clear of this. I know Joe Madureria has a very passionate fanbase, but I can't say I really count myself as one of them - nope, I'm cautiously optimistic about this new series because a) Soule's She-Hulk is one of the best of the new wave of Marvel books (and also - Letter 44!), and b) another great new book, Ms. Marvel, has spun out of the aftermath of the Terrigen Bomb detonation. Both of those reasons give me hope. Other new books on my radar include the first instalment of the Ed Brisson-penned four-parter The Field from Image and Dead Letters #1 from BOOM! (written by Chris Selba, who also scripts the excellent Monkeybrain digicomic, High Crimes). That's just the new stuff! There's still plenty of other books that'll be vying for my attention too (Moon Knight #2, Black Science #5, the Trillium finale, to name a few) so yes, another busy week of reading ahead of me.