10 Dec 2019

On The Pull 08/12/2019

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 along with a full list of titles that will be available from Paradox Comics.

Mike S: As Christmas looms, it seems my postman is destined to suffer as this week has a mammoth list of goodies and next week we’re upping the ante even more! Lots of ongoing goodness and only one new title this Wednesday as BOOM! Studios release the intriguing Red Mother: a prosthetic eye with a possible window to the otherworldly. Red Mother is unique and distinctive enough to grab my attention, especially in light of the publisher's excellent work on other horror titles.

From Marvel comes more of the superb 'Dawn of X' with the release of New Mutants #3, X-Force #3 and Fallen Angels #3, all of which offer distinctive viewpoints on the world of Marvel’s mutants. Sticking with Marvel, but moving into the wider universe, I am looking forward to continuing to discover more of Morbius, Annihilation Scourge (Silver Surfer and Beta Ray Bill both feature this week), Fantastic Four and especially the hugely enjoyable powerhouse that is Valkyrie: Jane Foster - surely one of the break out characters and titles of the year.

Over at DC, it’s more ongoing goodness, with the highlights for me being Flash #84, Hawkman #19, Batman’s Grave #3 and the different and engaging Gotham City Monsters #4, offering a take on the villains of Gotham that thankfully moves beyond the ubiquitous Joker and frankly boring and far too prevalent Harley Quinn. Finally from DC is the latest issue of Titans: Burning Rage: while not absolutely amazing, this title manages to provide something akin to the nostalgic love I have for the classic New Teen Titans run from Perez and Wolfman, currently being re-read (maybe I need to explore those classic tales in an article of their own?) and reminding me of what the classic characters were and should have remained.

8 Dec 2019

Mini Reviews 08/12/2019

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 not so good, and those that lie somewhere in between.

SUPERMAN: UP IN THE SKY #6
Writer: Tom King
Art: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope & Brad Anderson
DC $4.99

Matt C: There's been a lot of chatter across social media during the last couple of weeks following the appearance of an article that suggested DC Films were struggling to find a way to make Superman relevant in the modern world. Plenty of people quickly came out with their own thoughts and ideas, enough to prove that the Man of Steel is as relevant as he's ever been, but if only there was a way to encapsulate all those positive ideas in one single, easily digestible package? Well, luckily for DC Films, Superman: Up In The Sky is a prime example of exactly why the original superhero is still the best. Over the course of six issues (originally published in the Walmart-exclusive Superman Giant) writer Tom King has coalesced all the traits that make Clark Kent and his alter-ego so inspiring, so uplifting and so necessary.  In what is ostensibly a mission across the universe to free a kidnapped girl, King has explored various aspects of Clark's personality, from both external and internal perspectives, highlighting his resilience, his tenacity and his implicit need to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Andy Kubert and co provide images that not only soar when required but also focus on the 'humanity' of Clark and those around him. It's one of the best Superman tales in years (ever?) and if DC Films took a look at this and still couldn't figure out how to make the character relevant again, perhaps they should pass on creative control to those who do, because fortunately, some people get it in such a way that they can build a unifying belief in an audience that a man can still fly. 10/10

3 Dec 2019

On The Pull 04/12/2019

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 along with a full list of titles that will be available from Paradox Comics.

Andy H: The X-Men onslaught (no pun intended) moves apace and in its present incarnation, that's no bad thing. Kitty Pryde (I'm not used to calling her Kate yet), leads the charge as Marauders #3 continues its bold voyage on the high seas, looking after the interests of mutants everywhere - the conversations between Kitty and Emma have been a surprising bonus. The new Captain Britain has caught a few of us by surprise. I wasn't sure I was ready for a new Cap but Betsy is a great character and fits the role perfectly. Excalibur #3 sees our new Captain appear on the radar of MI-13 and she must face the truth about her brother. Of course we mustn't forget the flagship title and X-Men #3 is also out this week. It's great to be this excited about the X-books again!

Moving away from all that marvellous mutant mayhem I'm looking forward to the next chapter of Conan and his adventures in the Marvel Universe. Conan: Serpent War #1 brings together more of Robert E Howard's creations. Our favourite barbarian is joined by Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes, plus thrown in for good measure is Moon Knight - well, he has been quiet since the end of his own series! A quest across time, Elder gods and a job lot of REH creations is enough to grab my interest for this miniseries.

1 Dec 2019

Mini Reviews 01/12/2019

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 not so good, and those that lie somewhere in between.

JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Aaron Campbell & Jordie Bellaire
DC $3.99

Mike S: Being a latecomer to the Constantine phenomenon, I was a little torn over this title. I loved the earlier stuff from Vertigo when I picked up the trades but felt that Justice League Dark watered him down a little too much, possibly based on his CW representation from Legends Of Tomorrow, so I was thrilled to see that Spurrier is definitely returning the character to his Vertigo roots. He perfectly captures the cynical, dark humour of Constantine and the moral ambiguity in shades of grey - not black and white - is abundantly clear to see. Also, while many books have settings that are generic and nondescript, making them instantly transferable, this one simply oozes London, even down to the vaping trend, as well as the range of accents. Contrary to the current trend, this is a first issue that is less about setting up stories than throwing us straight in at the deep end! Campbell and Bellaire on art duties really elevate the story to a whole new dark and gritty level, as befits such a character and the Black Label format. It is creepy, horror-tinged and so reminiscent of the artwork of the original series that it provokes a real sense of nostalgia in me, prompting me to dig out my old trades. Bellaire deserves particular praise for the use of colour both in terms of shadow and light: it really is stunning! Hopefully the team remain with the book for a long time and this is just a taste of what they have in store for John under the Black Label banner: if it is, it’ll be a treat! 9/10

28 Nov 2019

The Paradoscars 2019 - The Final Categories!

And now it's time to vote in the final five categories before winners of the Paradoscars 2019 are announced in late-December. (There is an additional category - The PCG's Honorary Award For Hero(ine) Of The Year - but that's one we decide internally and is not up for a public vote).

These categories focus on characters, adaptations, as well as looking forward into 2020. If you haven't voted in the initial eleven categories, you may do so here and here. And we really encourage you to do so - there's going to be some close races in some categories based on the tally of votes so far, while others see certain nominees charging ahead of the pack. But all of that can, of course, change, and that's where you come in.

Voting will run until early December but we encourage you to cast your votes as soon as you can!

26 Nov 2019

On The Pull 27/11/2019

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 along with a full list of titles that will be available from Paradox Comics.

Jo S: Another week, another superb list of treats to have me racing home from Paradox Comics and tearing off the wrapping with glee! Some long awaited next instalments first: Lazarus: Risen #3 is probably one of my most anticipated regular books and the lengthy absence between issues certainly does make the heart grow fonder and the pangs intensify; it's a testament to the strength and uniqueness of this story that it feels so fresh still in my mind. Still longer anticipated, and an incredible two years since we raved about issue #1, the fourth and final Batman: Creature Of The Night finally appears; I do remember falling headlong into the story of Bruce Wainwright and the dark force which might be keeping him safe but might also be something very different from, and darker than, our old pal Batman.

Also at #4 of four this week is the renamed Machine Gun Wizards: apparently a Cease and Desist Order was enforced on the original Tommy Gun Wizards title, and so the final issue, wrapping up the alternative magical universe version of the story of Elliott Ness versus the Mob, goes out under a new banner. We were talking only this week about comics where the title alone just pulls you in: I'm not sure I would have engaged with Machine Gun Wizards from the start… but what am I saying?! It's Christian Ward! Of course I would! And talking of Ward, Invisible Kingdom's second arc continues this week - Ward's art blazes off the page, setting off G Willow Wilson's witty, educated writing perfectly.

24 Nov 2019

Mini Reviews 24/11/2019

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 not so good, and those that lie somewhere in between.

DEADPOOL #1
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art: Chris Bachalo, Wayne Faucher, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, Livesay, Victor Olazaba & David Curiel
Marvel $4.99

Jo S: Damn, I love Deadpool! I just love him. I think I'm probably not supposed to, and maybe I'm falling for a genius marketing strategy etc etc but I cannot help it, that craggy-faced rogue steals my heart, so I wondered, going into this new start, whether Thompson would tune into the character, whether she could match the enjoyment I'd got out of previous DP series. I can report that, in all honesty, no, there is no matching here: instead this is a whole new realm of awesomeness for the 'Pool. Reading this on a busy early train, I had to grab a tissue as I was laughing so hard it made my eyes stream, to the consternation of fellow passengers. Thompson picks up our Merc with a Mouth and throws him head first into battle with a giant King of Monsters and then threads the backstory to his (currently bisected) situation around the fight and the ensuing ceremonial outcome. Wade's new Chamberlain is a work of genius (think giant shoebill stork/secretary bird crossed with C-3PO); the arrival a certain filthy mouthed Brit monster hunter and her effect on Wade (incapable as he is of leaving a thought unexpressed) is timed to perfection and the means of bringing fan-favourite Jeff the Landshark into the story manages to out-Deadpool even Deadpool himself: Thompson is utterly brilliant and I would be the first to my feet with a standing ovation. Reflecting, amplifying and animating Thompson's skills, Bachalo's art is superb as well: he masters the kind of close-up that takes the reader right into the centre of the action, giving you the feeling that there must be things going on over your own shoulder, and then stretches out to give a wide shot of Wade's... apartment? Lair?... which is so rich in detail and in-jokes that I pored over it for some time. No wonder this took a small army of inkers! I can't recommend this enough: the days are dull and gloomy at this time of year - get yourself some festive Deadpool, it'll perk you right up. 10/10

22 Nov 2019

The Shipping Forecast: January 2020

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 November issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in January 2020.

STAR WARS #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Jesus Saiz
Marvel $4.99

James R: Just when I thought I was out... they drag me back in! I stopped reading the main Marvel Star Wars title with the departure of Jason Aaron, as I felt his run captured the spirit of Star Wars (in the way subsequent writers perhaps didn’t) and that I’d had my fill of adventures set within the Original Trilogy continuity. But then there’s this! The relaunch of the title comes with a script from Charles Soule (who is arguably the most successful writer in terms of channeling the Star Wars magic in comics, his Darth Vader series being rightfully lauded by fans) and some incredible-looking art from Jesus Saiz, and we’re now focusing on the events in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. I’m looking forward to seeing how this shapes up, and let’s face it: I can never say no to Star Wars!

20 Nov 2019

The Paradoscars 2019 - Voting Continues!

Voting in our first wave of Paradoscars nominations has been under way for a few days now, and even though there's still some time to go, certain categories already appear to have clear winners already while in others it's simply too close to call at this stage. If you've not cast your votes already, you can still do so here.

And so we now move onto the second wave of categories. While the first focused on the titles we've been picking up since the beginning of January 2018, the categories below concentrate more on the talent involved in the creation of those titles. Without these guys and gals, we'd be looking for a new hobby!

19 Nov 2019

On The Pull 20/11/2019

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 along with a full list of titles that will be available from Paradox Comics.

Matt C: November 2019 is shaping up to be a heck of a busy month for my pull-list, with my monthly budget exceeded within the first two weeks. What gives? Are there genuinely a lot of really great comics out there at the moment?

Let's see...

The big new release is clearly Deadpool #1. This character has been inescapable over the last few years thanks in no small part to Ryan Reynolds' portrayal in two smash hit movies, but it's the persona defined in comic books that made that happen. If anyone's got the comedy chops for Deadpool's brand of fourth-wall-breaking irreverence at the moment, it's Kelly Thompson. Couple her together with an artist of Chris Bachalo's calibre and you've got a launch that may well appeal beyond the core fanbase.

Also from Marvel is the second issue of Marauders, which, if I were to consider these sort of things, would probably be my favourite 'Dawn Of X' launch now that I've read them all. If I need to think about which ones are going to get chopped from the pull-list then Marauders is totally safe, based on its first issue at least, and the same goes for Excalibur, which also has its second issue this week. Both showed enormous potential in their debuts.