27 Jan 2015

On The Pull 28/01/2015

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.

Andy H: There are a couple of Image issue #1s this week, including The Dying And The Dead, which is going to be worthy of a look as it's a Jonathan Hickman creator-owned book. But that's not where I'm going. Oh no, it's a second issue that I'm eagerly awaiting. They're Not Like Us #1 really caught me off guard. The initial blurb didn't get it right so when I read it I wasn't expecting much and got a fantastic read for my money. Great ending to the first issue and I'm looking forward to where it will go from there. Another second issue but this time from a miniseries, Graveyard Shift #2. Written by Jay Faerber with some really nice art by Fran Bueno, this is the story of a cop who's girlfriend becomes a vampire and their search for a cure. A strong debut has got me coming back for more. Thor remains an enjoyable read; the action continues unabated as the new Thor learns to cope with the changes in her life. We still don't know who she (plenty of guesses!) but so far I'm enjoying the mystery. Avengers & X-Men: AXIS may not have set the comic world alight but the fallout could be interesting: Uncanny Avengers returns, with a #1, and makes it back on my pull-list for the time being.

25 Jan 2015

Mini Reviews 25/01/2015

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.

MOON KNIGHT #11
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: I’ve very much warmed to the idea of the baton-passing between creative teams that seems to be this title’s M.O. Get in, fire on all cylinders for six issues, then hand over the reins to someone else. Warren Ellis’ initial sextet was a blast, but it feels like Brian Wood has seen the gauntlet thrown down and decided to take the challenge by producing an arc that’s even better. To be fair, Ellis was more interested in the ‘done-in-one’ approach, while Wood – whilst incorporating elements of that approach – has an overall plotline weaving his issues together. Here we have Marc Spector captured by unknown forces, biding his time before he breaks free, all the while attempting to convince the moon god Khonshu that he’s made a grievous error by shifting his focus away from Spector. Wood’s script is beautifully paced, like a slow-burning fuse, while Smallwood’s judicious use of panel choreography and grid structure builds up the tension to breaking point. Eleven issues in, Moon Knight may very well be Marvel’s most consistently brilliant monthly title. 9/10

21 Jan 2015

Thought Bubble: SECRET WARS ANNOUNCEMENT REACTION or HAS MARVEL NOW! SIMPLY BEEN A (NOT SO) SECRET WAR FIGHTING FOR DRASTIC CHANGE IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE?

"I think it starts with our core readers because the long and short of it is that this is not a reboot. We don't transform our world. We don't go back in time. This is all taking place in the Marvel Universe that readers are already invested in. It's characters that they already know and the important thing is that the Marvel Universe is entering into a new era..." Axel Alonso

Stewart R: You might look at that quote and think that it's taken from yesterday's Secret Wars press briefing delivered by the Marvel bods from Midtown Comics. In actual fact that's taken from a CBR interview conducted in 2012 with Axel Alonso when speaking about the then incoming Marvel NOW! initiative. At that time Marvel were keen to refresh their canon whilst sidestepping the backlash and criticism that was difficult to miss when DC rebooted their line wholesale with the New 52.

So no 'reboot' per se, but since 2012, Marvel have quickly and efficiently set about altering the shape of their central Universe via a host of core title shifts, drastic manipulations to the status quos of characters now predominantly in the public consciousness thanks to the success of Marvel's cinematic arm, and seemingly dropped some of their once successful properties into a sealed box due to conflicts of interest with other Hollywood studios and lacklustre sales.


20 Jan 2015

On The Pull 21/01/2015


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.

Andy H: A sad week for some of us as the excellent X-Factor (All-New) finally bows out with issue #20. I've been with X-Factor since the beginning but the highlight of this title has always been the writing of Peter David. For the most part the team have stayed away from a lot of the confusion occurring elsewhere in the Marvel Universe and Mr. David has handled their adventures with aplomb. Thank you for the ride, it's been emotional! Other highlights for this week include the Fantastic Four #642, a book which I feel has been overlooked recently. Some great stories and characterisation. It's been renumbered (again) for the final arc of the series for the First Family of Marvel. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is still something I always look forward to. It really seems to have returned to it's TV roots in Season 10. Finally, it may be a reprint, but what a reprint! The classic Dark Judges story from 2000 AD's Judge Dredd gets the IDW treatment and should look fabulous in colour.

18 Jan 2015

Mini Reviews 18/01/2015

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.

RAT QUEENS SPECIAL: BRAGA #1
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art: Tess Fowler
Image / Shadowline $3.50


Stewart R: It’s no secret that there’s been a bit of news surrounding Rat Queens in the very recent past which has led to regular series artist, Roc Upchurch stepping away and a new art team located - the mighty Stjepan Sejic takes over from the next regular issue! Due to the last minute replacement situation we therefore get this intermission in our scheduled programming with Wiebe taking an opportunity to look at a member of the recently introduced and expanded support cast in the shape of Orc Warrior and apparent heir to her father’s throne, Braga. What we essentially get is a one-shot history lesson in just how skilled a fighter and leader she is, how she differs from her kind and how that eventually led to deception, betrayal, great loss and her arriving in Palisade. Though not overly original, the plot is still surprisingly engaging and heartfelt for a character we weren’t overly familiar with. It importantly feels like a Rat Queens story where banter, sexual suggestion and great camaraderie overlap with the serious threat of death and fantasy political and familial wranglings. For her part, Tess Fowler delivers a consistent issue, simple in line, muddy in colour that adds to the sense of the past and ensures this, while not seeming to be necessarily essential, is a worthy addition to the Rat Queens canon. 8/10

16 Jan 2015

Ten Forward: March 2015

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 January issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in March 2015.

BATMAN EARTH ONE VOL. 2 HC
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
DC $24.99

Matt C: It’s been nearly three years since Volume 1 appeared, and during that time I’ve sort of uncoupled myself from the regular DC Universe thanks to an increasing sense of dissatisfaction following the launch of the New 52. That said, I'll still be picking up this second instalment. The first graphic novel was a decent, if hardly groundbreaking, take on the Batman mythos, but in many other hands, forking out for an expensive hardcover ‘Elseworlds’ type tale would be a no go for me. When Johns and Frank get together though, they create a special kind of magic, and I’d go as far as saying some of the very finest DC superhero comics of the past decade have been due to their collaboration (as well the reliable inks of Jon Sibal, who probably doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves). With that in mind, while I don’t expect anything out of the ordinary with this release, I am anticipating a finely crafted tale featuring the Caped Crusader.

15 Jan 2015

Cover To Cover: STAR WARS #1

STAR WARS #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: John Cassaday & Laura Martin
Marvel $4.99

James R: The other night, whilst in the pub, your ever-loving' PCG reviewers were discussing 2015's hefty slate of exciting movies, and our esteemed editor Matt C asked me (with a definite glint in his eye) "So, which film are you looking forward to most then?" He knew full well that there was only one possible answer I would give: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS! Despite being a wild-eyed comic fan, and as excited as the next fanboy about Avengers: Age Of Ultron, there is still no competition for me. The stories set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away will always hold a special thrall for me. Like a lot of fans in their 30s and 40s, I caught the full blast of George Lucas' space opera as a child, and no matter how many times I hear Han yell "You're all clear kid, now let's blow this thing and go home!" there is always a ripple of excitement that runs through me. The thought of a new chapter - which at the moment, looks utterly wonderful - is a definite thrill.

13 Jan 2015

On The Pull 14/01/2015

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: This week, it's all about one comic. Okay, it's not literally all about one comic - Lazarus and the long-delayed next instalment of Jupiter's Legacy are out too, amongst other things - but a certain release is going to overshadow everything else: Star Wars #1. The Force, in the realm of comics at least, has made it's way back to the House of Ideas, which many would argue is its spiritual home (I'm old enough to remeber the Marvel Star Wars comics way back when!). You could say we've been down this road recenetly, with Brian Wood's Star Wars #1 a couple of years ago, but that possessed the same problem I've had with most Star Wars comics in the last couple of decades or so, in that there always felt like there was a disconnect between them and the real thing. Now though, we've been told everything in the new set of books coming out (Star Wars #1 will be the first of many series) is canon. I'm not entirely convinced that will hold true for long, but I'll go along with it for now. What it does highlight is that it's a great time to be a Star Wars fan. The Force Awakens is due for release at the end of the year and Star Wars Rebels is currently displaying on a weekly basis that it captures the spirit of the Original Trilogy better than anything since, well the Original Trilogy. We'll know whether Star Wars #1 is going to ride that positive wave by the end of the week, but by getting big gun creators like Jason Aaron and John Cassaday involved, Marvel are clearly taking a galaxy far, far away very seriously!

11 Jan 2015

Mini Reviews 11/01/2015

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.

LADY KILLER #1
Writer: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art: Joëlle Jones & Laura Allred
Dark Horse $3.50


Matt C: The secret double life trope is clearly not a new thing in comics as it forms the backbone of most superhero comics, so it’s arguably a recurring theme of the medium that will always sustain continued exploration in whatever form. Here we have the suburban housewife who secretly carries out assassinations during the 1960s. A pretty cool, if not original, premise, but one that I had a hard time engaging with as something just felt off in the delivery. There’s always a certain suspension of disbelief with these things but here I the didn’t seem to achieve believability – and thus, credibility – within its context. That aspect of the book didn’t work for me, but what did work was the rather splendid art from Jones. Bold, slick, stylish linework coupled with a nice mix of splashy colouring onto a drab background from Allred proved to be highly effective. So, even though I wasn’t convinced by the set up in this opening issue, I am convinced of Jones’ bright future. 6/10


8 Jan 2015

Screen Time: MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER: Episode 1, Season 1: 'Pilot'

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER: Episode 1, Season 1: 'Pilot'
Cast: Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Whigham
Director: Louis D'Esposito

Matt C: Back in 2013, Marvel debuted its first TV series, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD, to a very lukewarm response. Big things were anticipated but the show was far from a smash-hit, and was arguably the biggest stumble commercially for the company in the live-action arena since The Incredible Hulk in 2008. Still, it was obvious Marvel wanted to be in the TV business, and those that stuck with Agents Of SHIELD can confirm it has markedly improved in its second season following it’s shake up off the back of events seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the end of the first season. Marvel have ambitious plans on the horizon via their partnership with Netflix, which will see four separate series – Daredevil, AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist - dovetail into a Defenders series at some point in the next few years. Before we get to all that though (Daredevil is due this April) we have Marvel's Agent Carter, a miniseries following on from the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, that sees Hayley Atwell reprise the titular role of the plucky heroine in a male-dominated environment.