17 Aug 2018

The Shipping Forecast: October 2018

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 August issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in October 2018.

SHURI #1
Writer: Nnedi Okorafor
Art: Leonardo Romero
Marvel $3.99

Jo S: With her brother King T’Challa travelling the multiverse, the Wakandan princess is being drawn away from the safe space of her scientific work to satisfy her duty as regent in his absence, a role which does not sit lightly on young shoulders. For me, Shuri is one of the best parts of the Black Panther stories; she’s fantastically intelligent but also calm, witty, capable, loyal, honest and independent and I'm genuinely excited to read a comic with her in the lead role. Artist Romero is producing some really interesting work on Immortal Hulk currently and feels like a good fit for this project, and writer Okorafor has written for Wakanda-based stories previously: her background in science fiction and Afrofuturism makes her the ideal person to give Shuri the right stuff to take on this new challenge.

14 Aug 2018

On The Pull 15/08/2018

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.

Matt C: Following Brian Michael Bendis' much-publicised move from Marvel to DC, it doesn't appear as though his takeover of the Man of Steel's adventures has been as successful as DC might have hoped. What I saw didn't appeal to me but I'm glad that his publisher-switch seems to have offered him the opportunity to do some more creator-owned work. We'll see the return of Scarlet shortly - arguably his best work of the last few years, but one previously afflicted by erratic scheduling - but before that there's some thing entirely new in the form of Pearl #1. The pitch of a tattoo artist getting mixed up with the Yakuza perhaps doesn't score an 'A' for originality, but the prospect of the writer reteaming with his Jessica Jones collaborator Michael Gaydos is more than enough reason for the deubt issue to make it home. It's a miniseries too (six issues) so hopefully the 'decompressed storytelling' criticism won't need trotting out again. Also from the Direct Competition is Batman #53 and truthfully, if you've not got on board with Tom King's take on the Dark Knight yet, you need to rectify this immediately as it really is as good as it gets. The 'Bruce Wayne in 12 Angry Men' storyline wraps up here, and if it's good as the previous instalments it'll be another absolute winner. Gideon Falls #6 is my top pick from Image, although The Magic Order #3 follows closely behind, and Doctor Strange #4 is the Marvel offering I'm most looking forward to, a title that has unexpectedly revealed itself to be one of the best things the House of Ideas have put out for a while.

12 Aug 2018

Mini Reviews 12/08/2018

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.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Sara Pichelli, Simon Bianchi, Skottie Young, Elisabetta D'Amico, Marte Gracia, Marco Russo & Jeremy Treece
Marvel $5.99

James R: Following their withdrawal from the Marvel Universe at the end of Jonathan Hickman's Secret Wars, it's always been a matter of when, not if, Marvel's First Family would return, and now, with a bumper-sized issue, they're back! Sort of. This debut issue feels, if anything, like a continuation of Chip Zdarsky work on Marvel 2-In-One, with the Thing and the Human Torch front and centre. I can see that Slott is looking to emphasise the role of family here and highlight the interpersonal relationships before the Big Science ideas that were the hallmark of the Fantastic Four, but it did not make for a thrilling first issue. I wanted to be reminded of what made the Fantastic Four such a great read, and I didn't see that here. Sara Pichelli does a fine job on the art, as does Simone Bianchi on the Doctor Doom story, but Dan Slott's script didn't leave me wanting more, or feeling that great things were coming. It's great to have the Fantastic Four back, I just hope there will be a tale worthy of their legacy soon. 6/10

9 Aug 2018

Screen Time: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Peyton Reed
Runtime: 118 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Release Date: 2 August 2018 (UK)/6 July 2018 (USA)

James R: This film will forever be known on this side of the Atlantic as 'The one delayed by the World Cup' - as much as I enjoyed the world's premier football knockout competition over June and July, it was massively disappointing to learn that, in their infinite wisdom, Disney/Marvel were shifting the release date of Ant-Man And The Wasp to August over here. I managed to avoid any spoilers but, in this digital age, waiting for this movie felt like a throwback to the 1980s where UK audiences were made to wait for films, with only stills from a copy of Starburst to tide us over.

The second outing for Paul Rudd's micro- (and sometimes macro-)sized hero represents something of a conundrum that might not be immediately apparent when you consider the hard facts; this is now the twentieth - twentieth! - Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, (so the studio have got this hero film thing running pretty smoothly) and a no-brainer sequel reteaming most of the creative forces of a film that grossed north of $500 million worldwide.

7 Aug 2018

On The Pull 08/08/2018

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.

Andy H: Well, this is it true believers, the return of the Fantastic Four! 'BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT' has become a much overused phrase in the world of comics but this time I think it fits. The FF have been much missed by fans over the past few years although there has been some reduced FF goodness recently with the excellent Marvel 2-In-One. We've got a great creative team in Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli who I really believe can deliver the First Family of comics back to the top of the pile. Also returning this month is a familiar looking Vertigo lineup. Starting in the pages of Sandman Universe #1 we're reunited with, Sandman, Lucifer and Timothy Hunter and introduced to the House of Whispers. While Vertigo never disappeared completely from the shelves, it has been thin on the ground. It's going to be great to have a bit of choice again and from such well-loved titles. Amazing Spider-Man #3 continues the latest run with gusto - I wasn't sure if Ryan Ottley would fit as a Spidey artist (only because I was so used to his long, long connection with Invincible) but I shouldn't have worried. Ryan's work is spot on and Nick Spencer has made an immediate impact on the title and character. Joëlle Jones has done much the same on Catwoman, so Catwoman #2 is an obvious addition to this week's pull. Great writing and great art from Jones has really put Selina Kyle back on the map and out of the shadow of the Bat! Finally, time to try something a little bit different - a little bit 'out there'. Time for Black Badge #1 from Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins. An elite group of boy scouts out to fix the world that adults have broken, armed with their wits, a little C4 and very possibly a Swiss army knife. Sounds totally bonkers but that's the great thing about comics: concepts and ideas that may not work in other media can and do work, on the printed page.

5 Aug 2018

Mini Reviews 05/08/2018

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.

THE SEEDS #1
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Art: David Aja
Dark Horse $3.99

Jo S: Like a seed containing all the code, all the information, all the materials required to build a living entity, this first issue of Aja and Nocenti’s dystopian tale of a divided world is absolutely packed with the DNA of a stunning science fiction story. The design choices - a starkly limited palette of black, white and military green, old fashioned gas masks, the recurring bee-related theme in hexagonal chain-link fences and 8-bit-style graffiti - are electrifying, the art punctuated throughout with hints and clues and nudges towards understanding. Aja and Nocenti have created a state of division; a literal wall, though semi-finished, splits citizens into the tech-dependent and the luddite, with the latter occupying a protected state where no tech is permitted. On the old-school, technology-addicted side, a single journalist fights the prevalent thirst for clickbait stories to be able to be able to tell truths about the restricted zone. The apian theme runs throughout the dialogue too, in ways both subtle and obvious, with Nocenti and Aja’s creativity working as a single entity to produce something so much more than the sum of its parts. 9/10

26 Jul 2018

The PCG - A Short Break

It's summertime, and like everyone else the PCG need a break every now and then - there are always back issues to be read and comics to file after all!

We will return, refreshed, in early August. See you soon!

25 Jul 2018

The Shipping Forecast: September 2018

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 July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2018.

STAR TREK VS. TRANSFORMERS #1
Writer: John Barber & Mike Johnson
Art: Philip Murphy
IDW $3.99

Andy H: Okay, I admit it, this is a strange one for me. I was never really a fan of Transformers and I can only vaguely remember the Star Trek cartoon. The thing is, the Star Trek comic crossovers from the last few years have all been great. The crew of the Enterprise have met the Green Lantern Corps (twice!), played nicely on the Planet of the Apes and even entertained Doctor Who, all of which have been highly entertaining. This series is drawn in the style of the '70s cartoon and captures the animated visuals of both series. It's a galaxy spanning team-up as the Federation and the Autobots must face the Klingons and Decepticons! Sometimes you really have to be grateful to be a comic fan. Where else could you find these mind-bending combinations?

24 Jul 2018

On The Pull 25/07/2018

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.

Matt C: Now on a bimonthly schedule, Doomsday Clock returns with its sixth instalment this Wednesday, reaching the halfway mark. Meticulously crafted, there's too much intelligence behind its creation for it to be glibly dismissed, and while the wider picture remains unclear, the various narrative elements in play are thoroughly compelling, both Johns and Frank at the peak of their powers. This isn't Watchmen 2, it's something else entirely. From a halfway point to an endpoint, Descender reaches its finale with issue #32 - it has been a fine, emotive series, but something tells me we won't see a complete resolution to the story as it's been announced that the creative team of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen are returning with a sequel, Ascender, next year. Can't wait. From endings to beginnings, and a new miniseries from Ales Kot, New World. Its futuristic setting - after the events of a Second Civil War in the States - may suggest that it will cover similar ground to Kot's other current Image series, the blisteringly brilliant Days Of Hate, but I suspect the tone won't be quite as bleak or realistic. Over at the House of Ideas, the highlight will surely be Second Genesis #1, the second volume in the X-Men: Grand Designs series, where idiosyncratic creator Ed Piskor does the seemingly impossible by streamlining the insanely convoluted history of the X-Men into one digestible package. Even if you think you know all there is to know about Marvel's merry mutants, Piskor is bound to prove you wrong!

22 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews 22/07/2018

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.

BATMAN #51
Writer: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks & Elizabeth Breitweiser
DC $3.99

James R: When I saw this issue listed in Previews, it immediately grabbed my attention: Bruce Wayne summoned for jury duty on a case featuring Mr Freeze and... Batman. What follows is a terrific 12 Angry Men scenario, with Dick Grayson once again donning the Batsuit as the trial unfolds. I can't remember the last time I read a book from the Big Two that is this perfectly balanced - the narrative thrust of the trial is beautifully matched by the vignettes of the supporting cast; the exchange between Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon being particularly delicious: "You're not him. You're that other him." It also looks extraordinary - Lee Weeks' art is amazing here, and gave me a sense of the Gotham that David Mazzucchelli portrayed in Year One. Elizabeth Breitweiser brings the same beautiful colour palette that has helped make the Brubaker/Phillips books look so remarkable, and it all adds up to a flawless package. I've re-read this issue four times since Wednesday, and I have to say that it's perfection. Best of all, there's another two parts of this story to come... 10/10