20 Jul 2017

Ten Forward: September 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 July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2017.

MARVEL LEGACY #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic
Marvel $5.99

Matt C: I’m still not entirely sure what the purpose of this ‘Legacy’ initiative is, aside from placing emphasis back on the original iterations of the most iconic characters in Marvel’s pantheon. There’s the short term gain, maybe, but where does this take us in the long term? Then I remember that I’ve been reading Marvel comics for over three decades now, I’m familiar with the constant change-vs-illusion-of-change paradigm, and I’m really too old to get worked up about these things anymore. I don’t like a certain direction they're taking with a specific character? Fine, I’ll let it run its course and be back when they do something that connects with me again. But anyway, regardless of whether this new push by the House of Ideas connects this time around, this issue has the creative team of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, one of the very best partnerships you can get from Marvel’s current roster of creatives, so at the very least it’ll be smartly written, beautiful to look at and worth picking up, whether the whole concept ultimately sticks or not. In this case, I’m erring on the side of optimism.

18 Jul 2017

On The Pull 19/07/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases. 

James R: After a few lean weeks, my pull-list is reassuringly back to being Biblically fat. First and foremost are the two new releases from my favourite creative force in monthly comics (FACT!). The genius of Jeff Lemire brings us the latest chapter in the flawless Royal City, and with Dustin Nguyen, the next installment of the galactic epic, Descender. Those two alone would make my week, but there's lots more: I missed out on the first issue of Magnus, but having seen the error of my ways, I'll be picking up the second issue of Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornes smart re-imagining of Magnus, Robot Fighter (Or; Magnus, Robot Therapist to be more precise...). From Dark Horse, Matt Kindt's full fathom murder mystery continues this week, and Dept. H is always a welcome addition to my weekly pull. It's also a rare pick-up from DC too, with the irregular Warren Ellis reboot The Wild Storm reaching issue #6 (is there any other kind of Ellis series though?!) An oddity from our July Previews trawl also gets released this week: Time And Vine, the wine-tasting, time travel hybrid, about which I still can't decide if it's going to be brilliant or awful - however, I will certainly share my thoughts on issue #1 in our reviews on Sunday. It's also the final issue in the latest series of Britannia, and I've really enjoyed this sword, sandals and sorcery epic. I'm hoping Peter Milligan brings detective Antonius Axia back for another case soon. Last, and never ever least, it's the first Lazarus fill-in issue - Lazarus X+66. Even though it's not the continuation of the Forever Carlyle saga, any Lazarus is better than no Lazarus at all, and hey! It's Greg Rucka, so it's guaranteed to be great. A corking week for me then, I hope everybody else has an equally bumper crop to look forward to!

16 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 16/07/2017

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.

DARK DAYS: THE CASTING #1
Writer: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Art: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita Jr, Scott Williams, Klaus Janson, Danny Miki, Alex Sinclair & Jeremiah Skipper
DC $4.99

Matt C: We got a prelude to DC’s summer event, Metal, last month in the form of Dark Days: The Forge, which I enjoyed quite a bit, and now we have another prelude to Metal, which almost feels like one prelude too many, because while I appreciated the cryptic nature of The Forge, The Casting appears to be stringing things out a bit too much. I’m all for not laying every card on the table straight away, but another over-sized issue where it’s not entirely clear what the hell is going on is somewhat unnecessary. I mean, it looks great – you get this kind of artistic line-up it’s kind of a given – and it has shiny cover (shiny!) but the mystery at the heart of the tale becomes so mysterious it leaves the reader confused. I’m still down for Metal, and I’m not saying this doesn’t offer value for money (there’s a heck of lot packed inside the pages!) but I’m not really any closer to figuring what the event series is about than I was at the end of The Forge. 6/10

11 Jul 2017

On The Pull 12/07/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Tom P: The top of my pull-list this week is definitely Deadly Class #29. We recently ranked it number one in our Top 15 Current Comics and I think it deserves its place there as it really is terrific. Kill or be Killed #10 promises to be another great issue. It's so consistently brilliant I'm in danger of taking it for granted. I'm also excited to read Spider-Men II #1, the debut issue in a five-part series from Marvel. The first Spider-Men series was a real triumph. It packed an emotional punch and proved a fitting epitaph to the Ultimate Spider-Man series which at the time had seen the death of Peter Parker and the rise of Miles Morales as that universe's new webslinger. The 616 Peter essentially found himself in the Ultimate Universe seeing a life that could have been and giving Miles his blessing. A lot has changed since then and now, but it was powerful stuff so I'm keen to see if Brian Michael Bendis and the talented Sara Pichelli can do all it again.

9 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 09/07/2017

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.

NICK FURY #4
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Aco, Hugo Petrus & Rachelle Rosenberg
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: Each of this series of one-shots has been a glittering paste jewellery centrepiece, with dazzling artwork in funky colours and startling page layouts which have pushed linear storytelling to its limit. Nick Jr’s mission this time takes him to the reconstructed Atlantis, to root out a Hydra spy, and gives Aco, Petrus and Rosenberg a chance to go wet and wild with an underwater theme. Gem-like fish and rainbow coral are a must-have, multi-finned fashion and towering shell-inspired architecture abound; this series is ALL in the visuals. The one-shot nature of the title - and they are absolutely one-shot, there are no themes tying the individual episodes together - inevitably means that stories are somewhat flimsy, and characterisation is close to non-existent, and I find myself not really minding that too much. The premise that Fury must complete his underwater mission within a strict time limit, or his underwater breathing facility will fail, is a bit corny but it's a neat way to efficiently inject some pace and jeopardy - although Fury’s time was halfway up before he had even located the spy which took some of the credibility out of it for me. Ah, but who needs credibility? We have Underwater Centurion Nick with a classy scallop shell eye-patch! 8/10

7 Jul 2017

Screen Time: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau
Director: Jon Watts
Runtime: 133 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Release Date: 5th July 2017

Matt C: 'Studio interference'. It's a phrase that gets bandied around a lot these days, usually as a way of explaining why a film hasn't exactly turned out in the way that was expected, and while it's an easy excuse to fall back on, in many cases it is entirely warranted. Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy hit an exquisite peak with the second movie, but the dreaded studio interference saw the third instalment scuppered (Rami's displeasure with having to include Venom is well documented) and then the reboot series from Mark Webb saw an enormous amount of (again, well documented) studio tinkering that not only neutered many of the positive attributes, but seemed to lead Sony down a path where they were genuinely considering an Aunt May spin-off. Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was charging ahead at an unstoppable pace, the only drawback being that Marvel Comics' most high-profile character was leaving a spider-shaped hole in the hugely successful series of movies, his inclusion nothing more than a pipe dream at best. Until, miraculously, Sony and Marvel somehow agreed a deal to bring Spidey into the MCU, highlighting that - whaddya know? - studio interference can sometimes be a very good thing!

4 Jul 2017

On The Pull 05/07/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Matt C: Remember Jupiter's Legacy, Vol 2 from Image? Remember that the series didn't actually finish? You'd be forgiven if you didn't as it's been eight months since the last issue came out, and if you can recall what happened in that one then you're in a better position than me! Clearly it's Frank Quitely behind the delay as Mark Millar doesn't appear to have any problem cranking out scripts, but I guess when you bear witness to the quality of Quitely's artwork, moaning about the wait seems churlish. It's a fine series, it just may require re-reading to enable the narrative impact to coexist alongside the visual one. Where it goes following the conclusion of this miniseries isn't clear, but unless it's a totally cataclysmic finale I think there's more mileage in the concept. Image also have Seven To Eternity #7, which isn't actually the last issue, although that would have worked pretty nicely, what with the name and all. It's a 'guest artist' issue, and as Jerome Opena's illustrations have been a major selling point of the series it'll be interesting to see how this particular instalment turns out. Some high quality Marvel titles appear this Wednesday, some of the best the House of Ideas currently have on offer: Jessica Jones #10, Hawkeye #8 and - yes! - Nick Fury #4! Have I told you about Nick Fury yet? It's offering a brilliant succession of done-in-ones that have some of the most extraordinarily eye-popping artwork you'll see in a mainstream comic book this year. Unless the first three issues have been flukes, this is a genuine buzz book as far as I'm concerned.

2 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 02/07/2017

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.

CLUE #1
Writer: Paul Allor
Art: Nelson Daniel
IDW $3.99

Jo S: I've been on the lookout for this title since it featured in my first piece for Ten Forward and, at the time, I'll admit I was something of a skeptic regarding how well a boardgame, especially one as formulaic as Clue(do), might translate into the comic book medium. Well… it's not bad! The setup is in true Agatha Christie style, with a disparate group of (at least initially) apparent strangers gathering at a spooky, and soon isolated, mansion for dinner. I think I can say without spoilers that the first to go is the host - well, he is called Mr Boddy! The story then busies itself with starting to show the secret connections between the guests-turned-suspects. So far, so moderately yawnsome. Allor has applied some smart tweaks to the story though, initially by adding three additional chromatically-titled suspects to boost the game’s traditional six, and then very cleverly with the addition of the sarcastic, all-knowing and fourth-wall-breaking butler Upton, who's aware they are in a comic book and supplies withering asides, putting down the rest of the rainbow crew and giving us hints of what to look out for. Interestingly, we get a clue that he may not actually be fully omniscient: I wonder whether the story might start to take a more twisted path than he expects? 6/10

29 Jun 2017

The PCG's Top 15 Current Comics - June 2017

Once more 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...

27 Jun 2017

On The Pull 28/06/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Andy H: With all the new X-titles that have been coming out recently I had my eyes on certain books but was surprised by the one that actually grabbed me. Jean Grey by Dennis Hopeless turned out to be a real winner. Great characterisation, well paced story and the promise of more to come. Issue #3 has Jean heading to Atlantis to find a way to avoid any Phoenix possession. Is Namor really the person to ask? A top X-book and a delight to read. Looney Tunes month at DC has been providing decent reads as well and this week the two I've been waiting for hit the shelves. Batman meets Elmer Fudd and Jonah Hex meets Yosemite Sam! Jonah Hex has long been a favourite of mine and the idea of him being the bodyguard of the mighty moustachioed hombre that is Yosemite Sam is just too good to miss. Plus a great cover by Mark Texeira as added incentive. Returning to the pull-list after a Wonder Woman shaped hiatus are Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott with Black Magick #6. The first five issues were a treat, so I'm expecting more of the same from this top creative team. Finally, I return to Marvel for Secret Empire #5. Not sure what more I can say about this series that hasn't been said before but even though I'm not a regular Captain America reader this has been a must read from the start.