18 May 2018

Screen Time: DEADPOOL 2

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy
Director: David Leitch
Runtime: 119 minutes
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 15th May 2018 (UK)/18th May 2018

Jo S: A confession, my friends… I have a crush. I’d thought it was just the massive purple craggy jaw, the gigantic fists, the sturdy boots but, no, it turns out that Josh Brolin is the morally questionable, ethically fluid Marvel giant for me. As Cable, he is yet, I think, a little underused in David Leitch’s vision for the second coming of Deadpool but then, you know how I love a cyborg! Deadpool 2 offers everything you’d expect from a sequel to the fourth-wall busting first movie - a little romance, a whole lotta fighting and a machine-gun paced spew of comedy, poking fun at everything from the mysterious lack of X-Men in the movie (riffing on the original movie’s dig at the same issue) to niche jokes just for the uber-geeks.

16 May 2018

The Shipping Forecast: July 2018

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the May issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2018.

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Ryan Ottley
Marvel $5.99

Andy H: With a slight sense of deja vu, it's time for an Amazing Spider-Man #1! I've kind of lost count of the issue #1s over the last few years but you learn to roll with it. It's all change at the creative helm as we bid a fond farewell to Dan Slott and welcome Nick Spencer as series writer. Nick is no stranger to the Spideyverse following his great Superior Foes Of Spider-Man title. He's also well versed in 'big' stories and was the writer of last year's Secret Empire. Joining him on art duties is Ryan Ottley. Ryan is probably best known for his 100-plus issue run on Invincible. I believe this is his first work for Marvel, and what a way to start! His art is very clean and uncluttered and I look forward to seeing how his style will work in the Marvel Universe. This really feels like a new beginning for Spidey and in the hands of Spencer and Ottley could be something special.

15 May 2018

On The Pull 16/05/2018

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: Garth Ennis is unquestionably one of the great writers of the modern age, his work on the likes of The Punisher and (of course) Preacher being lasting, influential highlights of the medium across the last few decades. His last significant contribution to the horror genre was with Crossed; it's a concept that has arguably been milked to death in the years that followed but that original miniseries still holds up as a masterclass of blending both physical and psychological horror to devastating effect. He returns to the genre this week with A Walk Through Hell - the title indicates it won't be for the faint of heart but the opening line of the premise 'two FBI agents walk into a warehouse...' is all I need to sign up for what I hope will be an enlightening if unpleasant meditation on the human condition. Over at Marvel, before the Odinson reclaims his book again, we get an epilogue of sorts to Jane Foster's time with the hammer in Mighty Thor: Gates Of Valhalla #1. Whether the tale really needs an epilogue is questionable, but I trust writer Jason Aaron has something more to say on the matter that will make it worthwhile. Also from Marvel - and from Aaron - is Avengers #2. The relaunch convinced with a really solid opener that refocused the core trio (Cap, Stark and Thor) by emphasising their bond (absorbing some of the traits of their MCU counterparts, natch) and adding an exciting bunch of new team-mates to prepare for a cosmic threat one million years in the making. Meanwhile at Image, The Dead Hand returns for its second instalment after a startling twist in the debut issue; writer Kyle Higgins appears to have another winner on his hands. Then there's Gideon Falls #3, the continuation of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's beguiling supernatural mystery, oh, and of course there's the third issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin's impressive Barrier, but you're all on that one already, right?

13 May 2018

Mini Reviews 13/05/2018

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: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Marcos Martin & Muntsa Vicente
Image $3.99

Jo S: Watching the recent Lost In Space series yesterday, my son rolled his eyes and grumbled “Oh look, the alien robots have arms and legs and a face, surely if there were really aliens they would look nothing like us? Like in Hitchhikers, where there’s a sentient shade of blue.” Obviously, I was immediately flushed with geek-parental pride, and it sent me off on a train of thought regarding the limitations of our imagination when it comes to designing alien creatures. It’s interesting to note that, in issue #2 of this already-astonishing series, artist Martin is given first credit on the cover - Vaughan’s writing is excellent: it's spare and, I think, deliberately exclusive of those who don’t speak either English or Spanish (or military jargon), using language to create a sense of separateness and alienation, even before the actual aliens are established - but Martin’s work is what really defines this second issue. The design of the craft, the ‘creatures’, the mechanics of the space, all echoed in the expressions of the characters - it all conspires to give a feeling of unnerving ‘otherness’. A terrified, cowering fox, a vicious rattlesnake lashing out in fear; each a familiar image reflecting the total unfamiliarity of what they are experiencing. I think this will be on my mind for some weeks to come. 9/10

12 May 2018

Portsmouth Comic Con 2018: The Voyage Home

Now we've had a chance to settle back into reality following our first visit to Portsmouth Comic Con, here are some thoughts on last weekend's events...

Jo S: So the dust is settling on one of those crazy bank holiday weeks where you try to fit five days' work into four. I'm battling the long-lasting effects of the kind of night out on the town which brings out the Murtagh in me - I am definitely too old for this sh!t - but my feelings toward the reason for my current levels of middle-aged frazzledness remain warm.

Portsmouth Comic Con was almost all I'd hoped for and added a few extra delights I totally hadn't expected. There were lots of highlights for me: the panels I attended were fascinating; I caught Sean Phillips, Lawrence Campbell and Frank Quitely (confusingly called Vince IRL - I learned that artists also have 'noms de plume'!) talking about the relationship between a writer and an artist, and gained an inkling of how varied that relationship can be, and how oddly distant in some ways. Seeing a group of artists talk about drawing Batman had me gripped too: it's very hard to imagine how one goes about making a literal icon your own.

8 May 2018

On The Pull 09/05/2018

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: Free Comic Book Day 2018 has been and gone (already looking forward to 2019 though) so it's back to the more sedate weekly pull and a cracking start to it as well! Southern Bastards #20 is due and it's the final part of the 'Gut Check' arc. The series has been oft delayed but it never diminishes my excitement when I see the next issue is due. When we left issue #19 things weren't looking too good for Coach Boss but I'd never count this man out! Another final part is reached, as Batman: White Knight #8 brings the series to a close. Lots of twists and turns during the eight issue run and I hope it concludes in a satisfying manner. The art of Sean Murphy has been sublime throughout. The next chapter of Hunt For Wolverine begins in Adamantium Agenda #1 featuring Wolvie's New Avengers teammates: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Over at DC, if you need someone to mess up the timeline then your go-to hero is the Flash. In Flash #46, Wally West is beginning to remember fragments from his past as we start the 'Road to Flash War'. It's unlikely to end well. Finally I'll end on a graphic novel. Beasts Of Burden has long been one of my favourite reads. The single issues are hard to find and it has only been available, collected, in a hardcover edition until now. Written by Evan Dorkin, with beautiful painted artwork by Jill Thompson, it's a fabulous read. A battle to save the town of Burden from supernatural forces is fought by a group of cats and dogs. It's about friendship and courage, horror and fear and so much more. I'll definitely be reading it again.

6 May 2018

Mini Reviews - A Week Off

Our regular reviewers are currently enjoying themselves at Portsmouth Comic Con, so no reviews this weekend. Normal service will be resumed next week!

4 May 2018

Mini Reviews: Free Comic Book Day 2018

This Saturday, May 5th, sees the 17th annual Free Comic Book Day. Those unfamiliar with the event should head to the official site – here we take a look at an advance selection of freebies that will be available at your local comic shop on the day. Of course, those of you in the same catchment area as us need to head over to Paradox in Poole where Andy H will have available not only the comics reviewed below but many more besides! Get there early to avoid disappointment!

Writers: Jason Aaron & Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor, Lenil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Sunny Gho
Marvel $0.00

Matt C: New creative teams are arriving for Avengers and Captain America, and based on this freebie they will both warrant investigation. The Avengers preview involves a meeting between Odin and the Black Panther, refers back to the ‘Caveman Avengers’ introduced in the Marvel Legacy one-shot, and promises epic storytelling on the horizon. Following his recent issues on Mighty Thor, Jason Aaron is clearly the right man for the job. With Ta-Nehisi Coates in the writer’s seat for Captain America, a more politicised approach to the Sentinel of Liberty was expected, and that’s borne out here in an impressive manner. Historically, the best Cap tales have had a political angle (would you expect anything less for this particular character?), so this intro bodes well for the latest run. 8/10

3 May 2018

The Road To Portsmouth Comic Con 2018

Matt C: Ever since Bristol Comic Expo ceased being a regular fixture on the calendar, the PCG have continued to seek out a replacement. For most of us, it was our first con, and back towards the beginning of the century it was the only major comic convention in the country. A lot has changed since then; comics are now a far more dominant force in popular culture, and there's not a weekend that goes by without some convention or other taking place somewhere in the British Isles (although far too many use the words 'comic con' with only a cursory nod towards actual comics, if that).

Time and location are important factors for us to consider (Thought Bubble remains an elusive possibility to most of us), and for a few years we were fixed upon our beloved Melksham Comic Con, a low key affair for sure, but one with tremendous heart and affection, coupled with a welcoming, inclusive spirit. That is no more, and something like London Super Comic Con - which has plenty of merchandise on offer, along with a decent showing of guests - lacks the kind of atmosphere we're looking for.

And now Portsmouth Comic Con has sprung up, seemingly out of nowhere, with an eye-popping guestlist and - hooray! - it's just an hour's drive away!

How could we resist?

1 May 2018

On The Pull 01/05/2018

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.

Jo S: Having been my super-busy week of the month until recently, 'Week 1' saw a number of final issues in April for me, so I'm all about the new stuff this week! Simon Spurrier is lending his writing skills to Coda, about a magical bard by the name of Hum - I've waxed lyrical regarding Spurrier’s world-building talents at length but I'm a bit of a sceptic when it comes to magical realms so this is a gamble for me. Death Or Glory #1 from Image promises Rick Remender writing a girl-led heist story with French artist Bengal sharpening his pencils - I love a bit of French art, me. Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #1 caught my eye - Misty Knight is the hook for me on this one but as yet I don't think I've read much Daredevil other than last year’s Elektra series, so this will be partly educational too (and it's just four issues which is a bonus). Also in the ‘you really ought to’ pile is Avengers #1 - Jason Aaron leading? Well, it’d be daft not to, wouldn't it? Along with my regular dose of Bombshells, I'm seeing out the last issue of Rogue And Gambit, which has explored some interesting ideas, and I'm following the Rise Of The Black Panther, which feels like a genuine history of Wakandan rule. The cherry on the cake though (or should that be the astromech on the X-Wing?), will be Star Wars: Tag & Bink Were Here - apparently these guys are the most important Star Wars characters I've never heard about? Well, the second part of that is certainly true, let's leave judgement on the rest for Wednesday.