26 Mar 2015

Caught In The Web: Roundup 26/03/2015

In Caught In The Web, we set aside the printed funny books temporarily to delve into the world of digital and web comics. Here we 'roundup' a selection of releases that have recently launched into cyberspace.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Marcos Martin &  Muntsa Vicente

Matt C: Two years after it first appeared, essentially changing the rules of how comics could be delivered to readers in game-changing fashion, The Private Eye comes to its dramatic, brilliant conclusion. A story set in a future without the internet, where the villain of the piece wants to bring back the internet, in a comic only available on the internet, it makes some salient points about a culture where privacy is being steadily eroded (although it doesn't make these points in such a heavy handed manner that it overshadows the drama). Tighter in focus than the more sprawling Saga, Vaughan’s knack for characterization really shines through, and Martin’s artwork (with sparkling colour assist from Muntsa Vicente) is a beautiful, brilliant example of a creator at the peak of his powers. Halfway through this issue there’s an astonishing wordless sequence that displays just how emotionally and dramatically potent the medium can be. Whether this pay-as-much-as-you-want-directly-to-the-creators format will catch on in a big way is questionable (it didn’t after Radiohead tried it several years back in the music industry) but it’s made enough of an impact to suggest that it's shaken things up one way or another. However that pans out, what’s clear now is that The Private Eye has been a phenomenal comic, easily one of the best books on the market in recent times, and that no matter what Messers Vaughan and Martin may say, I want a physical copy to stick on my bookshelf in the very near future! 10/10

24 Mar 2015

On The Pull 25/03/2015

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: Wow! That's a lot of comics due out this week. Luckily not too many #1s, so I should be able to safely pick up just my regulars. Top of the pile is the super creepy Wytches #5. So far Scott Snyder has managed to elicit a shudder down my spine with each issue. Jock's artwork really hits the spot but I'm still a little unsure of the colouring - some of those ink splashes over the page can be distracting. A minor quibble as all in all this is a great series and I'm sure the tension will only ramp up as we head to the end of the first arc. Coming to an end this week is my X-Men nostalgia hit as we say farewell to Nightcrawler. Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck took me back to the Alan Davis days of Excalibur and I've thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of the recently resurrected Kurt Wagner. I will miss the lighter blend of action and adventure in these days of grim and gritty heroes. Hopefully he will return to his swashbuckling best again someday. Also reaching its climactic chapter is Abigail And The Snowman, a wonderfully scripted and drawn tale by Roger Langridge. Abigail continues to help Claude the Yeti evade the Shadowmen as he tries to get home to the Himalayas. Claude can only be seen by children so there have been some fun situations to enjoy as he interacts with Abigail much to the bemusement of any adults nearby. Over at Marvel we see Disney show their hand a little more as they bring one of their famous theme park rides to the printed page with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1, a tale set in the Old West. All the promo work I've seen looks great and Dennis Hopeless has proven what a good writer he is of late. Throw in dynamite chewing goats and I'm sold! Finally, it's Lady Mechanika #5 from Joe Benitez. I'll openly admit I'm first and foremostly buying this for the art. Don't get me wrong, this is a decent story too but the art is awesome. From the glorious cover to the beautiful interiors this is Steampunk at it's best. It's the final part of the first story arc and I'm already looking forward to the next instalment. Impatient? Who me? Never!

23 Mar 2015

Mini Reviews 22/03/2015

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.

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Sean Gordon Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
Image $3.50

James R: Even though the gimmick is different - time-travel rather than dimension-hopping - I was reminded of Black Science as I read the first issue of Chrononauts. There's a good few similarities - a genius protagonist who could be a better husband, a revolutionary scientific breakthrough that could potentially threaten the safety of the world, a mishap that acts as a catalyst for the plot, and a narrative that moves forward at a breakneck pace. Whereas Rick Remender's series has been assured from it's first pages, Chrononauts doesn't quite feel so measured. It has to be said that the book looks absolutely fantastic; Sean Gordon Murphy has totally earned his place as an A-list artist, and his work here is as impressive as usual. In one page alone he illustrates the Battle of Gettysburg, a Japanese Kendo dojo and a strip club with sheer panache. My issue comes, as usual, from Millar's script. In his rush to establish the time-travelling hi-jinx, he neglects to make us care about either Doctors Quinn or Reilly (both of whom struck me as people I wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with). It may calm down in the next issue, but given my anticipation for this book, it only succeeded in the visual stakes. For high-paced wild science adventures, I'm sticking with Black Science. 6/10

19 Mar 2015

15 Questions For The Creator: JOSHUA WILLIAMSON

Joshua Williamson has been in the industry for several years now, providing a mix of well-received creator-owned work (Dear Dracula, Xenoholics) alongside some dabblings in the realm of mainstream superheroics (Captain Midnight, Voodoo). It was in 2014 that he began taking things to the next level, establishing himself as a creative force to be reckoned with thanks to three specific titles that made an immediate impact on the scene: Ghosted, Nailbiter and Birthright. This was enough to earn him the ‘prestigious’ award for Most Promising Talent at last year’s Paradoscars, a richly deserved win, and provided the PCG with enough leverage to pry Josh away from his enormously busy schedule to answer our standard set of questions…

17 Mar 2015

On The Pull 18/03/2015

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.

Stewart R: Wow, what a week for the new stuff! There's a horde of new books heading my way this week and they're led by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Beckho's Invisible Republic #1. I put this title in the spotlight for Ten Forward back in January and my hunger for its secret history plot remains strong to this day. I do have a soft spot for Hardman's art and I've no doubt that as a creative team, he and Beckho will bring their best work in terms of script and plot! Then there is of course the Mark Millar and Sean Murphy team up in Chrononauts #1 which will no doubt have some big screen potential lurking within the pages as Millar is a writer who seems to angle that way, while Murphy's visuals lend themselves well to transitional ideas of live action-adaptation. I've been reading Red Moon Rising recently which tracks the American and Russian steps into the space race, so Red One #1 from Xavier Dorison and Terry Dodson definitely appeals with its own Cold War hook, with their book looking at the repercussions of America's greatest hero of the 1970s turning out to be a Soviet spy! And the new titles don't end there! I'll be giving Shaper #1 from Dark Horse a punt too as well as picking up Batgirl: Endgame #1 to look for Bengal's exceptional art work!

15 Mar 2015

Mini Reviews 15/03/2015

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.

Writer: Becky Cloonan
Art: Andy Belanger & Lee Loughridge
Image $2.99

Stewart R: A last minute gamble once again pays off! Southern Cross is certainly thick on atmosphere in a setting where it's pretty damn sparse! Across the six opening pages - including a very neat use of the inside cover (more comics could surely optimise that space this well?) - we meet Alex Braith, get an idea of the grim, industrial space-faring world in which she lives and learn of her personal mission to get to Titan. Thanks to some adept character design from Belanger - everyone looks like they shop in a strange mash-up store specialising in wardrobes from The Thing and Alien Resurrection - Cloonan's frosty interactions are amplified and it really sells the sense that this cast have skeletons galore in their closets and no-one is quite on the level. Admittedly Alex's gruff, isolated demeanour makes her a tough protagonist to warm to early on, but I get the feeling the story and the reveals are going to be what propels this series onwards. On the art side, Belanger just doesn't hold back with every page offering something new in terms of panel layout and composition while Loughridge wins again with a reserved use of colour that adds to that sense of submarine claustrophobia in the sea of dark space. Southern Cross gets a definite 'tick' from me! 8/10

12 Mar 2015

Ten Forward: May 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 March issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in May 2015.

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Art: Cameron Stewart
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: To say I'm excited about this is an understatement. The original Fight Club had a profound effect on me. Chuck Palahniuk's brilliant novel, transformed into a truly searing film by David Fincher, is a phenomenal tale. Equal parts clever, surprising, and darkly funny, it's a story that hasn't lost any of its power as the years have gone by. I'm not usually a big fan of sequels for media that simply doesn't need it, but in this case, I think Palahniuk has made a shrewd move - this sequel can't be seen as a 'direct' continuation of the novel, as it's a comic, so it gives him a certain freedom from criticism, whilst at the same time satisfying the demands of an audience that secretly hoped we hadn't seen the end of Tyler Durden and Project Mayhem. The preview art from Cameron Stewart looks terrific, and it's no hyperbole to say that beyond the world of comics, this could be the cultural event of the year for me, let alone the pick of the month!

10 Mar 2015

On The Pull 11/03/2015

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: It may have fallen a little bit behind schedule but my love for Ragnarok is undiminished. After the sheer volume of work Walt Simonson did on Marvel's Thor it's great to see him cut loose with his own, unique version of the Thunder God. Each page has been a joy to behold as the newly resurrected Thor comes to terms with the world after Ragnarok. This is a labour of love and it shines through. On the subject of Thor, issue #6 is out this week and the identity of the new (female) Thor is still unknown. The Odinson, like the rest of us, has been trying to work it out and now he's got a list of possible 'suspects'. With so much action in the last five issues the question of identity hasn't felt drawn out and I've really enjoyed the series. 'Spider-Verse' has finished so it's time to see what Dan Slott has got in store for Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man #16. I'd like to think he'll take it easy on Spidey for a bit... but I doubt it. This issue we also see the return of Humberto Ramos on art duties. Yay! Hard to believe that Mouse Guard will be 10 years old this year, so it's great to see the third volume of Legends Of The Guard hit the shelves this week. The idea is to get different writers and artists to tell untold stories of the Mouse Guard, nicely sandwiched between David Peterson's beautifully drawn bar scenes. Always a great read for all ages. Finally for me is Nova Annual #1. A while back, during AXIS, Nova went toe to toe with the Hulk and got a severe beating. Ouch. The Nova Corps helmet his father left him was badly damaged leaving his ability to access Nova's powers seriously sketchy to say the least. Now he's turned to the Hulk, sorry, Doc Green, for help and the two are off in space looking for the nearest galactic repair shop. Nova has been a fairly consistent read with a very likeable character. Round that off with Alan Moore's latest Nemo book, Southern Cross #1 and Postal #2 that's plenty of diverse and cool reading to look forward to.

9 Mar 2015

Mini Reviews 08/03/2015

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.

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Image $2.99

James R: This book has arrived with a huge degree of anticipation - with the news that Sony Pictures had already snapped up the rights to it, there was a palpable sense that this could be something special. Make no mistake, it is! As a well-established supporter of Jeff Lemire's work, the content comes as no surprise. I felt there were a lot of parallels with his magnificent Vertigo title Sweet Tooth. Both books feature a wide-eyed innocent, living in isolation away from a world (or worlds) suffering a great catastrophe, and both unaware of their importance. This isn't a bad thing by any means - as with Sweet Tooth, Lemire immerses you in the world of Tim-21, and makes you care for his new protagonist. As you'd expect from the art of Dustin Nguyen, it's an absolute treat for the eyes too - he delivers the huge widescreen SF moments and the quiet, eerie calm of Tim's home on the moon of Dirishu-6. It is, of course, early days, but this feels like a natural successor to Sweet Tooth, and I couldn't be happier. 9/10

7 Mar 2015

Cover To Cover: ALL-NEW HAWKEYE #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Ramón Pérez & Ian Herring
Marvel $3.99

Kenny J: With each new iteration, version or volume of a title and its cast, it is often hard not to make direct comparisons to what has come before. Was what followed Remender’s Uncanny X-force run as good or will what inevitably replaces Hickman's Avengers stand up to scrutiny? Whoever picked up the reins from Matt Fraction and David Aja after the critically acclaimed Hawkeye was always going to have their work cut out for them. That said, every new writer brings their own agenda and recurring themes they like to play with and Jeff Lemire set out his early in his career. From the wheat fields of Essex County to the star-filled Descender (also released this week) Lemire has a definite propensity for exploring the trials and tribulations of youth. And this is where we pick up with a young Clint and his older brother, Barney, as they seek to escape their abusive foster father.