13 Oct 2019

Mini Reviews 13/10/2019

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.

STRANGE SKIES OVER EAST BERLIN #1
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Art: Lisandro Estherren & Patricio Depeche
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Jo S: Loveness is probably best known for screenwriting Rick And Morty, which may seem an unusual pedigree for a story about Stasi agents in 1973 East Berlin, but he clearly has the required chops. An agent identified only as Herring is aiding the violently foiled escape of a small group of East Berliners over the wall when he is witness to a dramatic incident also seen by thousands across the city on both sides. Shady contacts set him the mission of finding out more about the incident, which has been immediately shrouded in secrecy. While Loveness executes a clever mix of shadowy historical secretiveness and unnerving science fiction, in the proud tradition of Cold War storytelling, Estherren's artwork moves it into a whole new realm; dingy alleyway meetings, stark post-war architecture lit by searchlight, fresh horror further twisting faces lined by daily horrors; all contribute to an atmospheric piece which requires my further attention. 8/10

10 Oct 2019

The PCG's Top 15 Current Comics - October 2019

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...

8 Oct 2019

On The Pull 09/10/2019

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: I know the Joker's getting all the attention at the moment but for me, Victor Von Doom will always be the premier comics super-villain. Off-the-charts intelligence derailed by arrogance and ego, he's an endlessly fascinating character; complex and not always easy to predict. This latest series has him in something of a different predicament: a man on the run, accused of a crime he did not commit! Written by Christopher Cantwell (Dark Horse's She Could Fly, the TV show Halt And Catch Fire), and illustrated by the ever reliable Salvador Larroca; I have my fingers crossed that this will get us under that iconic mask for some solid insights on the Latverian monarch.

The Batman's Grave sees Warren Ellis reunited with Bryan Hitch for the first time since their seminal run on The Authority at the turn of the century. I have no expectations this will be a match for the genre redefining work they did on that series two decades ago, but I can't turn my back on the prospect of them tackling a tale featuring the Dark Knight. And if that's not enough Batman for one week, Batman Universe returns for its fourth issue, Bendis's fun and inventive take on the Caped Crusader. It's enjoyable enough to make me wish this was an ongoing.

Back at Marvel, Powers Of X comes to a close following the concluding issue of House Of X last week, and the repositioning of the team on a global canvas is somewhat frightening - the New World Order, if you will - which will give rise to a plethora of interesting possibilities going forward. I can't wait for 'Dawn Of X' now. Hickman has really pulled it off.

6 Oct 2019

Mini Reviews 06/10/2019

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.

RUBY FALLS #1
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Art: Flavia Biondi & Lee Loughridge
Dark Horse $3.99

Jo S: I was looking forward to this new start from early on, noting its potentially killer combination of a Nocenti story, a female-led murder mystery and the Berger Books stamp of approval - so did it deserve my high level of anticipatory excitement? Well… maybe. Lana Blake is an anomaly in her small mining town birthplace: vegan daughter of generations of butchers, she defies the advice of her set-in-their-ways family and chooses her own path, beginning an investigation of a decades-old cold case on the basis of her grandmother's dementia-tangled, unguarded recollections. I wanted to feel a connection with this rebellious woman, and enjoyed the competing tensions in her life - she loves her family but appears to have little in common with them; she longs to leave her 'one-dog' home town but everyone she loves is there - but so far I'm finding the story a little light, Lana's character a little under-driven. Perhaps the dramatic events of the last few pages will put some fire in her belly for issue #2 - let's hope so. Biondi's artwork is tidy and Loughridge's colours atmospheric; I enjoyed small touches such as the cat playing with the laundry lines and the autumny leaves scattered in the safety net in which Lana lands when her partner Blair refuses to catch her in their trapeze practice. I was perhaps expecting something a bit grittier, more noirish from the blurb; maybe this will develop now the story is starting to roll. 6/10

5 Oct 2019

Screen Time: JOKER

JOKER
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham
Director: Todd Phillips
Runtime: 121 minutes
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 4th October 2019

Matt C: Within the weeks leading up to its release, Joker seemed to morph from critically acclaimed award winner to a movie perceived to be dangerous, irresponsible and morally bankrupt. The backlash reached fever pitch during the final days before its debut with any slightly controversial utterings from the cast and crew being pounced upon, interspersed with reports of undercover cops being sent to screenings and cinemas refusing entry to anyone attending on their own. The finished product reveals itself to be unworthy of any of the hysteria whipped up by media outlets eager for clicks; it's a dark, nihilistic film that has ambitions it never quite reaches, but no sensible person will mistake it as a work of art that could cause any sort of societal collapse or inspire legions of copycats to take to the streets. It makes for a lot of inflammatory articles but the worst its going to do is inspire an overabundance of Joker cosplayers at upcoming comics conventions.

1 Oct 2019

On The Pull 02/10/2019

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: I'm all about the miniseries at the moment and this week seems to be lush for sweet little nuggets of low commitment goodness. DC's treats are in the form of Superman: Up in the Sky - two thirds of the way through its run and this series has been a real surprise win, touching, intelligent and innovative - and Lois Lane, with mystery, intrigue and a hero who's sometimes awkward and stubborn, but always directed by her moral compass.

Marvel's phenomenal House Of X wraps up this week; it's not my first taste of X-Men lore but in many ways it feels like it, a groundbreaking, fresh approach from Hickman which remains true to its sources whilst building them into something magnificent, coherent and and resounding.

Also in the miniseries basket, I'm looking forward to Canto - an emotive reworking of the classic monomyth, with a little hero setting out on a mighty adventure to save his true love - and the second issue of John Lees' decidedly kooky Mountainhead. There's no predicting where that one might go, with Lees' writing taking entirely unexpected angles in the first issue.

The final mini on my list is a new start, with Ruby Falls from Dark Horse's Berger Books imprint. As mentioned in the Shipping Forecast, Ann Nocenti writes a story led by three generations of women, with a mystery disappearance at its centre - this one is eagerly anticipated. Also mentioned in our September Forecast (GNs sometimes arrive a little later) is another highly anticipated appearance, Chris Ware's new release, the huge Rusty Brown graphic novel. James R's enthusiasm for the detail, the minutiae, the obsessive complexity of Ware's work has infected me, and I feel it's time to have something from his oeuvre in my collection.

30 Sep 2019

Coastal Comic Con 2019: The Voyage Home

The PCG had a fantastic time at the first ever Coastal Comic Con in Bournemouth and are eager to see it return for an encore. Rather than have one of us ramble on about our highlights, here's 9 year-old George C to report on a special day!
George C: Last Saturday I went to the Coastal Comic Con. It was at the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth. I’ve been to some comic conventions before but this was the first time I dressed up. I went as Avengers: Endgame Hulk in a Quantum Realm suit. There were lots of other people dressed up as well. I saw Manga costumes, Marvel, DC, Game Of Thrones (which I’m not allowed to watch the episodes of!), Star Trek and Darth Vader and lots of Stormtroopers. My favourite costume was the man dressed as a Borg from Star Trek. He looked scary!

26 Sep 2019

The Road To Coastal Comic Con 2019

It's the inaugural Coastal Comic Con this Saturday and it's only a few minutes up the road from us. Could we be more excited to see a brand new con spring up in our own backyard?
Jo S: I have a handful of comics events of various kinds under my eagle-buckled belt so far, with Portsmouth Comic Con standing out as a high point, but a 'proper' comic con on my doorstep has until now been elusive: tales of woe from comic book fans unable to find a single back issue at the heavily Film and TV focussed events at our big local convention centre abound, and we've yet to find something to replace the PCG's beloved Melksham event of yore. The announcement of a new, independent comic con in Bournemouth was bound to create interest then, and Coastal's eye-catching graphic designs (Matt - no-not-our-Matt-another-Matt - one of the organising team, is a graphic designer by trade, and his concept for this is exceptional) and warm attitude on Facebook clinched it: this little con looks as if it has a big heart.

25 Sep 2019

The Shipping Forecast: November 2019

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 September issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in November 2019.

DEADPOOL #1
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Art: Chris Bachalo
Marvel $4.99

Jo S: Got to admit it, I do like a bit of Deadpool, there's something about that rogue that charms his way past my defences, so I'll always have a quick glance at any new outset but, oh my, what is this?! Superstar writer Kelly Thompson writing our favourite motor-mouthed unicorn-lovin' fourth-wall-smashin' red-suited super-dude? Rarely is the phrase 'Shut up and take my money' so very apt: Thompson's smart, often smart-ass humour and knack for writing lovable scamps will, I think, be the most perfect fit possible for the 'Pool and with Chris Bachalo's fantastically technical, detail-focussed art style to boot, I think this is going to be one of my most looked-forward-to of the year.

24 Sep 2019

On The Pull 25/09/2019

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: At this point it almost feels too far into proceedings to convince anyone to get firmly on board with Jonathan Hickman's revamp of the X-Men universe but IT'S NEVER TOO LATE! Powers Of X #5 arrives this week, and although we're close to the end of this particular miniseries (and its sister title, House Of X), it feels like a new dawn for the franchise with the new titles beginning to arrive in October. Really, if you've ever had a fondness of Marvel's Merry Mutants then there's still time to catch up if you've not already done so.

Criminal #8 appears too, and if there's a better example of how extraordinarily vital comics can be outside of the reliable superhero genre then I need someone to tell me as soon as possible. Compulsive crime drama with a quick peek inside writer Ed Brubaker's mind before another insightful essay on a movie you can't believe you've never seen (or heard of!) by Kim Morgan. An all round fantastic package.

Also from Image is a series that arguably went past its peak a while ago -  Deadly Class - and the second and final issue of a series I can't remember if I really registered the first issue of, White Trees. There was something to it, I'm sure of that.