16 Jul 2019

On The Pull 17/07/2019

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: A greater than usual level of ruthlessness was required for this week's final rundown: lots of lovely tasty stuff I've enjoyed previously recurs along with a bouquet of new titles so I've had my work cut out cutting out the chaff. Starting in the Marvel camp, the last issue of Daredevil reached a fascinating conclusion, with something of an end-of-arc feel to it in some ways; the ongoing existence and persistence of crime in Hell's Kitchen forcing Matt Murdock's alter ego to continue, somehow, with his work.

I'm doing my homework currently regarding Silver Surfer: Black. Norrin Radd had yet to register on my radar when issue #1 appeared last month, so I've been catching up with Steve Engelhart's '80s series to give myself a bit of background on this melancholy cosmic baldy: he's not quite a robot or a cyborg, but roughly fits my tinman interests! This new series has a deeply psychedelic vibe; I'm not totally sure I'm into the artwork as yet but I'm keeping an open mind.

DC produce a clutch of goodies this week in the form of the complex and beautiful gem that is Pearl, Tom King's Batman (knowing he will be leaving this earlier than expected has made me oddly more dedicated to the book) and a new Wonder Woman series, Come Back To Me, which I took a look at for our Shipping Forecast for this month.

14 Jul 2019

Mini Reviews 14/07/2019

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.

REAVER #1
Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Image $3.99

Kenny J: A fantasy Suicide Squad wasn’t something I realised I wanted but Justin Jordan and Rebekah Isaacs’ inaugral issue of Reaver has me sold on the idea. With solid world creation and character building that maybe sometimes lapses into too much exposition, there is just enough plot twisting, politicking and gore to keep me intrigued. There is a large cast of misfits with their own secrets and backstories - the book rushes through their introduction so that we can move forward into the story with future issues. This does leave the person who is presumably going to be our main protagonist needing a little fleshing out but I’m hoping for a rich and full world, the same type that has made many of Jordan’s other books such a success. Isaacs’ art is wonderfully expressive with each one of the misfits completely different to the other and somehow entirely representative of their temperament and hidden backstory. Where Reaver will go and how long it will take to get there I cannot say but the first issue promises the perfect mix of magic, adventure and horror. 7/10

9 Jul 2019

On The Pull 10/07/2019

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.

James R: As we move through the summer months, it's another week where DC have got a firm grip on my wallet; they've got a slew of great books incoming. Starting with the obvious, it's the next instalment in Tom King's superb run on Batman (you know the deal by now) and it's the same as regards Joƫlle Jones and her great work on Catwoman. Not everyone was as impressed as me with Event Leviathan, but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where the espionage-heavy event from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev goes next. Speaking of Bendis, I'll also be getting Batman Universe #1: following on from Tom King's Superman book (Up In The Sky) this was another Walmart exclusive, which is all well and good but for those of us marooned on the European side of the Atlantic, it's great that we can finally read these blockbuster titles.

Over at Image, the standout title for me is the next issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal: Brubaker is having a majestic 2019, with Criminal returning better than ever, and his collaboration with Nicolas Winding Refn (Too Old To Die Young) has proved to be essential TV viewing. In addition to the regular issue, this week sees the release of the collected Bad Weekend story - I obviously picked this up as individual issues, but this collected edition is a 'director's cut' - with additional scenes added to the tale of skulduggery in the comics industry. I'd normally baulk at such a purchase, but this is the sublime Criminal, and it's a collection worthy of a place on my creaking bookshelves!

Best of the week though? There's only one possible answer for me - it's finally time for the Black Hammer/Justice League crossover! I am a Jeff Lemire superfan, and I love the DCU: seeing the heroes of Black Hammer Farm meeting the iconic heroes who part-inspired them is fanboy heaven for me, and it will be the first thing I read after I pick up my pull-list from Paradox.

7 Jul 2019

Mini Reviews 07/07/2019

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.

THE WALKING DEAD #193
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Image $3.99

Mike S: Only last month I was looking forward with excitement to the ongoing tales of a Rick Grimes-free world of The Walking Dead and then BAM – be careful what you wish for! I get the vision of the Rick-less world I wanted and then... nothing, as Kirkman finishes his tale on his own terms, completely out of the blue. Kind of fitting for a title that has pulled no punches in the surprising twists and turns it has taken over the last 15 years. But is it any good? Well, in my humble opinion, not only is it good but it is wonderful! Without giving too much away, we jump forward some considerable time and we truly get to see the legacy of Rick Grimes in creating a new world order. We drop in on all of the major characters (and a few surprises) of this mammoth run and see how they fit into the complex patchwork world that has been created in the image of the old wild west. In a narrative that is framed by an adult Carl telling a story, we encounter many of our favourites in their new roles and positions, and the issue leaves us with a warm feeling as we see the new future ahead for mankind. Obviously there are walkers – but their presence acts only as a reminder of what the true focus of this title has always been: humanity. Thus, while walkers feature and are dispatched, they serve as a catalyst for further character development and world building in an issue that is beautifully crafted, tightly structured and written with great poignancy without mawkish sentiment. Added to this, Adlard turns in some of his finest art to date, adding some beautifully emotive work to complement Kirkman’s tone and intention. The Walking Dead has never been the story of a zombie apocalypse: it has always been a tale of humanity, the triumph of the human spirit and how high mankind could aspire to be in the face of overwhelming adversity and, as such, this issue serves as the perfect conclusion to such an ambitious and sweeping tale. A truly memorable and epic saga with a surprising but perfect ending. Now to go back and re-read the whole run all over again! 10/10

5 Jul 2019

Screen Time: SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME


SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Cast: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice
Directors: Jon Watts
Runtime: 129 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Release Date: 2nd July 2019

Jo S: It's impossible, and will be impossible for some time yet, to talk about any movie in the MCU without at some point making comparisons and connections with Avengers: Endgame but in Far From Home, perhaps even more than anywhere else, the shadow of that epic record-smashing towering triumph of a movie is unavoidable, not least because the scenery is peppered throughout with imagery reminding us continually of the final loss of that story. Iron Man and Tony Stark are everywhere: from the huge mural a building high, to his parting handwritten message to Peter Parker. We can't continue to hold all films to the Endgame benchmark though - we would likely live in perma-disappointment and it would be an injustice if this film were not to receive its due accolades as an outcome of its cinematic parent's overshadowing.

Set after the 'Blip', the movie takes up Peter Parker's story after the funeral, as those returned from Thanos' temporary annihilation - unchanged and effectively five years younger than the world they were missing from - are settling back into their lives, dealing with the peculiarities of having been time-shifted. It's great to see Peter's friends take a larger role here: as with Spider-Man: Enter The Spider-Verse, this does a fine job of emphasising how much Spidey is really just a kid, an awkward, hormonal, stressed out teenager who just wants to get the girl and be happy and not have to save the Earth again today, thank you.

2 Jul 2019

On The Pull 03/07/2019

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: We've come a long way since Lois Lane's first solo book required a clarifying title (she's Superman's girlfriend!) and you can guarantee a talent as well regarded as Greg Rucka (scribe of my current favourite ongoing series, Lazarus) won't be placing her in the kind of madcap adventures favoured during her first long running series' heyday in the 1960s. It's been pointed out numerous times before that Rucka is very good at writing female-centric series, perhaps because he doesn't pander to tokenism and instead concentrates on great characterisation and smart storytelling. It's a twelve-issue series: Rucka has proven he can liven things up in the DC Universe on a number of occasions, and this should be another such occasion. If you want to see what Lois' 'him indoors' is up to, we finally get to see what was in those Stateside Walmart-exclusive Superman books. In Superman: Up In The Sky, those of us whose nearest Walmart is several thousand miles away get an opportunity to see Tom King in control of the character.

Image has a new series from Jason Aaron to keep us occupied while we're wondering what's happened to Southern Bastards and The Goddamned. Co-written with Dennis Hallum and illustrated by Stephen Green, Sea Of Stars appears to be sci-fi with hope and heart in amongst the adventuring, which is something we could all use every once in a while.

30 Jun 2019

Mini Reviews 30/06/2019

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.

CANTO #1
Writer: David M Booher
Art: Drew Zucker and Vittorio Astone
IDW $3.99

Jo S: Booher sets out the makings of a classical mono-myth here, with a tiny, pure-hearted, pot-bellied, armoured hero from a downtrodden people setting out on an honourable quest into unknown lands, seeking truth and a way to save his love from a miserable death and an escape from the slavery imposed by monstrous ruling beasts. Canto, looking very much like he was designed as a Pop-head Sir Lancelot, has, like all his people, a clockwork heart replacing his original and yet he loves, hopes and cares for others, as well as a knack of listening and remembering handy information which keeps him and his love alive. Drew Zucker's art is lovely here: making robot faces or characters with full masks emote clearly is a challenge, as is making leads characters distinguishable when all are wearing matching armour, and he achieves both of these adeptly, making little metal people look almost cuddly. The knee-high perspective of landscapes and domineering slavers adds to the feeling of being a very small entity in a huge confusing world. Booher's use of story within story is not new but works nicely here as inspiration for our hero to strike out, and the promise that Canto and his love will make a new ending together gives me hope that this will twist and turn somewhat away from a standard story path. 7/10

27 Jun 2019

The Shipping Forecast: August 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 June issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in August 2019.

MARVEL COMICS #1000
Writer: Various
Art: Various
Marvel $9.99

Matt C: Marvel clearly saw DC celebrating in style as both Action Comics and Detective Comics reached their thousandth issues and thought, "We'll have some of that!" The 1000th issue selling point makes no sense here in any other context than thumbing their nose at the competition (why not just call it Marvel 80th Anniversary Special or something?) but I guess some wise folks in the marketing department felt this was the best way to maximise sales. What really sells it is the people involved, and in all honesty they could call it Marvel Wants All Your Money #1 and we'd happily oblige with the talent on board for this issue. I can't list them all here, but a selection of names includes Neil Gaiman, Chris Claremont, J. Michael Straczynski, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Walt Simonson, Alex Ross, Roy Thomas and Jeff Lemire, which should give you an idea of the quality of creators the House of Ideas have roped in. Exactly how much space they'll each get to do their thing is unclear but there's bound to be some golden nuggets in here. And if not, it appears Marvel Comics #1001 is coming out in September...

25 Jun 2019

On The Pull 26/06/2019

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: This weeks pull-list starts with a bit of a blast from the past. It's been a tough few years for Wolverine - being killed off obviously didn't help - but nostalgia-laced one-shot Wolverine: Exit Wounds, by a trio of classic Wolvie writers, should mean we see a return to form for my favourite clawed mutant. Chris Claremont and Larry Hama are on hand, hopefully to remind us why Logan really is the best at what he does, and it will be a real joy to see some Sam Kieth art back on Wolverine.

Need some Spider-Verse action in your life? Then the Spider-Man Annual #1 is bringing home the bacon. Oh yes, it's a Spider-Ham special! Peter Porker is back and must save the multiverse. I'm looking forward to some ham-tastic puns and it's a great start when you know Ducktor Doom is involved. Then there's little something new from IDW in the shape of Canto #1. This glorious looking miniseries is about a race of people who once had hearts but now they have clocks. Intrigued? I certainly am.

Batman: Damned #3 is out at last! I may have forgotten what has gone on before but a quick catch up and the promise of more Lee Bermejo artwork means the six month wait should be worth it. A couple of comics that fit into the 'oh why not' category finish my list: Spawn #298 just for the cover, as Todd McFarlane parodies his own Amazing Spider-Man covers, which still look great, and Ghostbusters/Transformers #1. I'm not generally a Transformers fan, but what a way to celebrate the 35th anniversary of both franchises. This is taking crossing the streams to the next level!

24 Jun 2019

The Minor Opinion: SHAZAM!

Matt C: My eldest son is back with his thoughts on one of his favourite superheroes, and is probably exactly the right age to tap into the resurgence of interest in the character across various media...

Harvey C: I first learnt about Shazam when my dad bought me a graphic novel about the character. I read more about him and found out he first appeared in Whiz Comics in 1940, which is even older than my grandad! He used to be called Captain Marvel but it was changed to Shazam when Marvel Comics got the name.

I like the character because he's funny and he has a cool origin story. When Billy Batson says the magic word he turns into Shazam. He has amazing superpowers like flying, electricity powers and super-speed. He's my second favourite DC superhero after Batman and makes me laugh when I'm reading the comics. He even makes jokes in front of super-villains like Doctor Sivana, Mister Mind and Black Adam.

There are a few stories I've read about him now. I read the graphic novel which is by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Billy Batson lives with a foster family. He goes to a school with his foster brothers and sisters. Geoff Johns makes really good Shazam comics with cool stories and characters. Gary Frank did amazing artwork and I love his pictures of Shazam and Black Adam because they look really tricky to draw.