1 Mar 2015

Mini Reviews 01/03/2015

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.

CRIMINAL: THE SPECIAL EDITION (ONE-SHOT)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image $4.99/$5.99

Matt C: A most welcome return for Criminal, even if it is only a one-off. This issue uses the ‘comic within a comic’ device pretty effectively, juxtaposing a short stint inside for Teeg Lawless with the ‘fictional’ comic book adventures of Conan-substitute Zangar the Savage. It makes obvious comparisons – both men are passionate and see violence as a means of solving their problems – but it works because Brubaker and Phillips have both an implicit understanding of the world that the Lawless clan operate in, and are prepared to throw themselves fully into the lurid, stylized brutality of the barbarian loner. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the slightly more expensive ‘Savage Sword Of Criminal’ edition, that gloriously copies the ‘70s magazine format that the likes of Marvel used for their more ‘adult’ content, is the version to get. 8/10

26 Feb 2015

Cover Story: TOP TEN WILDSTORM COVERS

Tom P: Wildstorm was an independent comics publisher started by Jim Lee in 1992, which became an imprint of Image the following year, later being purchased by DC before they shut it down in 2010 and incorporated its characters into the New 52. As far as I'm concerned, it highly influenced the direction and modern tone of superhero comics since its inception as well as nurturing a vast amount of talent who would go on to produce some of the best work in the medium over the past two decades. It can even be argued its fingerprints extend as far as the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, without out The Authority you wouldn't have had The Ultimates. So, as way of a tribute to the company that was deeply responsible for hooking me into this fantastic hobby, I proudly present my Top Ten Wildstorm covers.

24 Feb 2015

On The Pull 25/02/2015


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: I know it's only a one-off appearing as a precursor for the series shifting from Icon to Image and the resulting repackaging of the various collections, but damn, is it not great to have Criminal back on the shelves again? Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips brilliant, tough-as nails comic is one of their collaborative high points, and while they've been focusing on the likes of Fatale and The Fade Out of late, it's great to know that Criminal is still a property that they're more than happy to return to. For hardcore fans, it's worth noting that a Savage Sword Of Criminal magazine-sized variant will also be available. Can you guess which one I'll be getting? Other highlights? The finale to the bleak-as-Hell Men Of Wrath, the second issue of Darth Vader and more pre-Secret Wars excitement in New Avengers #30. A special mention also for D4ve #1, released through IDW. It's was an exceptionally quirky and amusing series when it first appeared via Monkeybrain, and for those you don't venture down digital avenues for their books, it's definitely worth seeking out.

22 Feb 2015

Mini Reviews 22/02/2015

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.

EI8HT #1
Writers: Rafael Albuquerque & Mike Johnson
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Dark Horse $3.50

Matt C: Just in case we were thinking that Image have the market cornered for great creator-owned properties, Dark Horse are here just to remind us that’s simply not the case. Ei8ht sees Rafael Albuquerque flex his artistic muscles outside of just his hugely impressive illustrative abilities to concoct a time-travelling mystery that promises a great deal in its debut issue. There are a lot books dealing with the notion of jumping through time at the moment (Black Science springs to mind on occasion whilst reading Ei8ht) but as time travel is one of the great frontiers of science and science fiction, it’s unavoidable that creators will be drawn back repeatedly to a concept that offers so many storytelling possibilities. Perhaps the greatest thing about Ei8ht at this juncture is the way it stealthily avoids playing to expectations, offering a plentiful supply of surprises as it winds its way to a great cliffhanger. A very strong opener. 8/10

19 Feb 2015

Graphic Perception: THE CHRONICLES OF LEGION VOLUME TWO: THE SPAWN OF DRACULA

THE CHRONICLES OF LEGION VOLUME TWO: THE SPAWN OF DRACULA
Writer: Fabien Nury
Art: Mario Alberti, Zhang Xiaoyu & Tirso
Titan Comics $10.99

Matt C: A prequel to the well-received bande dessinée Je Suis Légion (abortively translated into English as I Am Legion by DC in 2004, then successfully by Devil’s Due a few years later, and successfully again by original French publisher, Humanoids, shortly after), this second volume of The Chronicles Of Legion (originally published in France as Les Chroniques De Legion: Livre 1) picks up where the first left off, following feuding brothers Vlad Tepes Dracula and Radu through three distinct time periods as they hop from one host body to the next. While I Am Legion dealt with a more familiar schlock mix of Nazis and vampires - but added a sheen of class and intelligence - Chronicles Of Legion is more ornate and traditional in its approach, straying further into gothic territory as it digs into the centuries-spanning history of its central characters.

17 Feb 2015

On The Pull 18/02/2015


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: I first started picking up Fantastic Four on a regular basis when She-Hulk was part of the team, and ever since then she's been a firm favourite for me, so whenever she's had a starring role in her own series, I've been there. The latest volume of She-Hulk has been hugely entertaining, kind of slotting into that offbeat slipstream Hawkeye opened up a couple of years back where 'second tier' characters get a chance to shine in less formulaic storylines, but I guess while creatively it's hit the spot, the sales haven't been high enough to justify it's existence. That's a damn shame but at least we'll have 12 excellent issues to add our collection alongside the great runs from John Byrne and Dan Slott. Other highlights this week include Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #4, Letter 44 #14, Moon Knight #12 and, of course, Lazarus #15, which continues to be the best book currently on the stands. In the new book section of my pull-list, the debut issue of Rafael Albuquerque's time-travelling miniseries Ei8ht looks like it will be making the trip home with me.

15 Feb 2015

Mini Reviews 15/02/2015

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.

DARTH VADER #1
Writer: Keiron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larroca & Edgar Delgado
Marvel $4.99


Matt C: Because we’re told this is all in canon now, are we projecting onto it unwarranted importance or is it genuinely delivering exactly what we want from an in-continuity Star Wars comic? Well, I like to think that I’m not a complete numbskull without the mental capacity to formulate my own opinions, and I’m sure you’re not either, so with that in mind, when I say this is the second Star Wars book to deliver the goods in as many months, then then take it as gospel.  Going straight from the perspective of the Dark Side, this is Vader in the doghouse following the destruction of the first Death Star and, alongside some fine examples of Dark Side of the Force usage, we get to see the uneasy relationship between the Dark Lord of the Sith and his master, Emperor Palpatine, play out with noticeable tension, each shrouding their true intentions in secrecy.  Gillen pushes down his own distinctive voice to allow the iconic characters to come to the fore, which they emphatically do, and with Larroca going for detailed, semi-photorealistic style, this is a thoroughly convincing metaphorical peek behind that iconic mask. 8/10

13 Feb 2015

Ten Forward: April 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 February issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in April 2015.

UNCANNY INHUMANS #0
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Charles Soule has completely and utterly won me around with his work on Inhuman since jumping into the gap left last minute by Zeb Wells’ media commitments some 13-14 months ago. He’s introduced new characters at will and made them instantly engaging, even to the point where an unexpected fatality rams home like a knife to the heart in the space of an issue or two. With the old guard of Inhumans he’s captured their voices quickly and effortlessly. His depiction of Medusa in particular has been an eye-opener, showing the many aspects of the Queen and ensuring that the reader doesn’t necessarily warm to her too much. She’s been the focus of the book on and off and Soule has made sure that her stern, slightly icy demeanour has been maintained, the mystery as to whether it stems from the weight of her duty or is her actual personality showing through really making things interesting. Well, now Soule gets an even tougher job with Uncanny Inhumans - writing a Black Bolt centred story! How do you imbue a character who cannot talk with character and emotion? Having Steve McNiven as your artist is sure to help and this writer/artist combo could seriously produce one of the Marvel titles of the year, the potential is that great!!

11 Feb 2015

Thought Bubble: THE SONY AND MARVEL DEAL OVER SPIDER-MAN: A CAUTIONARY REACTION

Stewart R: There’s no missing it: the news that Spider-Man is going to be allowed to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is certain to be one of the Hollywood stories of the year for 2015. Having been in Sony’s hands exclusively for two decades and change, having starred in five blockbuster films, across two iterations, steered by two directors and played by two different leading men, and having grossed over $4 billion worldwide as a franchise (when adjusted for inflation), our web-head’s live action playground just got even bigger.

Under the new agreement, Sony still retain the rights to the character and creative control of any solo outings for him, as well as spin-offs for his supporting cast, but Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, the face of Marvel’s successful track record through 8 years of film production and release, will co-produce Sony’s next Spider-Man film alongside the company’s former co-chairman (before the recent hacking nastiness), Amy Pascal. Marvel are also free to have Spider-Man appear in any of their upcoming movies through a very busy calendar filled with projects over the next 5 years and feasibly, beyond.

This news is certainly promising, bringing as it does Marvel’s most recognisable and bankable character back into their direct plans, albeit in co-star and cameo roles. It definitely helps to broaden Marvel’s available A-List cast for events considering that it remains somewhat depleted by the absence of the 20th Century Fox controlled X-Men and Fantastic Four properties, but could all of this excitement be a touch premature? Being the skeptic and mild pessimist that I am, I suspect this could prove to be a bumpier transition and agreement than the initial excitement alludes to.

10 Feb 2015

On The Pull 11/02/2015

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: Love is the air as Valentine's Day fast approaches and what better way to celebrate (apart from lavishing your better half with oodles of luurve, of course) than spending time with that crazy cutie, Harley Quinn! The one DC character that seems to have a special book for any occasion of course has her own Valentines Day Special. We should be able to expect all the usual madness from Harley as regular writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti take HQ on a date with Bruce Wayne. Never a taxing read but for me, a guilty pleasure. On a slightly 'darker' note and possibly more complicated, we reach the end of 'Spider-Verse' in Amazing Spider-Man #614. With so many versions of Spidey about it can get a bit confusing but overall I've really enjoyed the story as of the Spiders being hunted down. It all comes to a head here and I hope Dan Slott brings it to a satisfying conclusion. Also coming to an end is Wild's End, the fantastic War Of The Worlds story featuring the animals of Crowchurch battling frightening metal monsters. Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard have created a world of engaging characters, first and foremost for me being the mysterious Mr. Slipaway. It feels like there's further story to tell so hopefully this is only the end of the first chapter and more will follow soon. I'll be waiting for it!