13 Aug 2019

On The Pull 14/08/2019

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: Rich pickings in this week's abundant list: some horror, some fantasy, some comedy and a little heresy - it looks to be nothing if not a varied experience for me.

The horror dose comes in the form of a double shot of Alex Cormack's rich, intense artwork: the exhaustingly violent Sink has yet to fail in the 'I'm queasy but I love it' stakes and the impossibly yet more gruesome Road Of Bones; the attack on one of the band of gulag escapees appeared, as was foreshadowed in issue #3, but not as planned at all! Let's see if issue #4 will wrap up this miniseries with a kitten and bunny cuddlefest to lighten the dismal mood. I tend to include She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot in my horror pile too, I think mostly because I associate Martín Morazzo's off-kilter, unnerving artwork with Generation Gone and especially with Ice Cream Man, which is still creeping me out at 13 issues. The series wraps up this week; it's been a pretty stressful ride throughout and it feels like it's been going for more than its five so far, which I guess is a sign that it's a good time to close up!

Image are really going all out on the fantasy kick at the moment: the first couple of issues of Sonata caught my attention with beautiful credible visuals of alien races vying for resources on a misty but dramatic new world. I missed the first issue of Reaver (tsk, a busy week, something had to go), but the PCG's own Kenny J convinced me swiftly of my error this week, and I'll be picking up issues #1 and #2 this Wednesday to correct that.

11 Aug 2019

Mini Reviews 11/08/2019

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.

HOUSE OF X #2
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Marvel $4.99

James R: I've loved the first two instalments of Jonathan Hickman's 'two series that are one' X-Men project, but this week's House Of X is simply extraordinary, confirming that this run is going to be something very special. 'The Uncanny Life of Moira X' focuses on Moira MacTaggert, revealing that Professor Xavier's long-time ally is not only a mutant but one with a remarkable gift - reincarnation. She has lived ten lives, each time carrying the memory of her previous existences, and her decisions in each life have hugely differing consequences. This issue is a magnificent take on the 'Butterfly Effect' idea, and Hickman gives exactly the right amount of time to each of Moira's lives to make the narrative really sing. I liked Pepe Larraz' art in the first issue, but he raises the bar here - he brings a different feel to the multiple lives, and his art matches Hickman's phenomenal script in every panel. It's fair to say that the X-titles have had a long fallow period, but  Hickman has utterly revitalised Marvel's Mutants  and given us the mainstream comics event of 2019. Essential reading, and inspired from first page until last. 10/10

6 Aug 2019

On The Pull 07/08/2019

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: What's better than starting the month with a Mike Deodato Jr book? Why, two Mike Deodato Jr books of course! First up is Savage Avengers #4, where Mike lets rip with his trademark down and dirty take on Marvel heroes. Then it's time to pick up Beserker Unbound #1 from Dark Horse where, with Jeff Lemire, he gets down and dirty with a new, savage hero, transported from a time of sword and sorcery to the modern world - throw in an evil wizard and let the good times roll!

Sticking with a sword and sorcery theme, Die #6 sees the return of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans' acclaimed D&D inspired series. Dark, moody and with Hans' atmospheric artwork, I've been looking forward to seeing this back on my pull-list.

While Absolute Carnage #1 may have a hefty cover price (thanks, Marvel), the idea of Donny Cates playing with more symbiotes is quite appealing. He has definitely made his mark on Venom and Marvel letting him loose on Carnage means it's got to be worth a look.

The Hickman run on the X-Men hits its stride as House Of X #2 hits the shelves this week, giving us just enough time to catch our breath from issue #1 of this series and the first issue of Powers Of X. Phew!

4 Aug 2019

Mini Reviews 04/08/2019

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.

POWERS OF X #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Bendetto & Marte Gracia
Marvel $5.99

Matt C: If you were impressed by the scope of Jonathan Hickman's ambition for revitalising the X-franchise in House Of X #1, prepare to be wowed again as he expands the milieu even wider in Powers Of X; where House reasserted the X-Men's influence on a global scale, Powers does the same on a historical scale, taking us from the past, way into the future. It feels important, it feels mythic, it feels impossible to absorb all it one go. Like the debut issue of its sister series, Powers Of X #1 is packed with so much information that a single read is simply not enough to thoroughly digest all the details; a second, and even third read is essential here. That's not to say it's necessary because it doesn't make sense the first time round; each additional read uncovers further layers of the narrative, deepening the significance of the actions and interactions. R.B. Silva's art is masterful at conveying the epic nature of the story as it traverses the timeline, never losing sight of the colourful, distinctive characters that make up the cast. Two issues in, it looks like Hickman has everything on the right track to take the X-Men back to the top again. 9/10

3 Aug 2019

Screen Time: THE BOYS Season 1

THE BOYS Season 1
Cast: Karl Urban, Elisabeth Shue, Jack Quaid, Erin Moriarty, Anthony Starr, Jessie Usher, Tomer Capon, Laz Alonso, Dominique McElligott, Chase Crawford, Karen Fukuhara
Directors: Various

Kenny J: Published between 2006 and 2012 by Wildstorm and Dynamite respectively, The Boys was Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's hyper violent foray into the world of superhero comics and the band of men self-tasked with policing them. Notoriously, Ennis is not a fan of the superhero genre and The Boys is definitely his most overtly anti-cape book. This cynicism has not tainted Amazon’s latest adaptation of an Ennis comic though - it is just as in love with the source material and the characters within as any Marvel or Zack Snyder produced movie. The analogous superheroes are instantaneously recognisable, as are the locales and fraught relationships.

With it comes a more tempered version of the ultra violence that peppers the pages of the comic. That’s not to say it isn’t there, in all its red and expletive-filled glory, but that it is used sparingly and to further the plot rather than shock and titillate. Take for instance arguably the most visceral event that kickstarts Hughie’s story: the tragic everyman caught up in the cyclone that is Karl Urban’s portrayal of Billy Butcher. This performance is so good that it is sometimes to the detriment of the rest of the stellar cast. When time is spent focusing on other characters you will find yourself longing to be back in the company of his gruff demeanour. This affects the wholesome Annie, aka Starlight, the most, at least in the first half of the series. She is arguably the third star in this version alongside the aforementioned Hughie and Butcher.

30 Jul 2019

On The Pull 31/07/2019

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: It's a fifth week in the month and a dainty list results, which gives me hope that I might finally get to some of the additional reading I've been looking forward to this weekend! Batman: Last Knight On Earth was a surprise hit with me last time: I had zero expectations but Snyder and Capullo really pulled something special out of the bag, in a world where it's increasingly difficult to imagine different flight paths for the Bat.

Prince and Morazzo are typically brief with the information available in the 13th issue of Ice Cream Man: the subtitle 'Palindromes' ('What if you could have it both ways?') is a departure from their flavour-themed titling habits, giving nothing away, but this series, like a comics Mr Whippy machine, just keeps on pumping out treat after treat. 

The current Thanos series leans hard on the massive purple Titan's nastier tendencies but is softened by his growing relationship with Gamora, though this looks set to breed further nastiness as the foundational Black Order boil into mutiny. 

I'm pitching my comics pennies behind two new outsets this week: I'm going to give a new series from Antarctic Press a go, having enjoyed their collected first series of Punchline (triggered by a FCBD whim). Leave The Light On is just a three-issue miniseries (yay for minimal commitment!), promising a horror story about a serial killer who attacks via the city's electrical systems, this one might just spark my gore interest.

28 Jul 2019

Mini Reviews 28/07/2019

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.

HOUSE OF X #1
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Marvel $5.99

Mike S: Hickman promised something spectacular and based on issue #1, I don’t think he’s going to disappoint! As a HUGE fan, it is so good to find a writer who truly gets the X-Men: Hickman’s love of the title, the concept, oozes through this issue. We have some excellent world building, some clarification of historical concepts (I now know who and what an Omega Level Mutant actually is) and feel like I have entered a bright and wonderful new world for Marvel’s mutants. Pepe Larraz delivers some stellar artwork: his characterisation is strong and his use of setting, especially Krakoa, is breathtaking. With every page, I became more engrossed and excited - this is how the X-Men ought to be: even though most of ‘MY’ X-Men were relegated to minor appearances, I loved the use of a range of characters from Toad and Mystique to the Cuckoos and, of course, Magneto. House Of X is bold and hugely important: I read it with a growing sense of joy and hope that, finally, Marvel might have got something right! 10/10

25 Jul 2019

The Shipping Forecast: September 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 July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2019.

SPIDER-MAN #1
Writer: JJ Abrams & Henry Abrams
Art: Sara Pichelli
Marvel $4.99

Kenny J: I would say it was inevitable that one of the foremost writer/director/producer talents of the 21st Century would eventually turn his attention to comics, and what better character than Spider-Man, working with one of the Web-Slinger’s premier artists and one of my favourites, Sara Pichelli? This is going to be a fresh take on Peter Parker with a brand new villain, and those au fait with Pichelli’s work on the latter years of Ultimate Spider-Man know she is great at designing rogues for Spidey’s vast gallery - something I’m always happy to see expand.

23 Jul 2019

On The Pull 24/07/2019

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: Make mine Marvel? That could well be the case as the House of Ideas has a handful of books that are kind of a big deal, the top of the pile being the eagerly anticipated House Of X #1, with Jonathan Hickman attempting to reinvigorate a floundering franchise. Sure, the X-Men remain popular, but nowhere near the level they were twenty or thirty years ago when they were practically untouchable. There was a time when I used to religiously buy Uncanny X-Men, but that's not been the case for a long, long while. I still have enormous affection for the characters though, and if anyone's going to get me to return to the fold, it's Hickman. His last stint at Marvel - starting with Fantastic Four before running concurrently through Avengers and New Avengers and then culminating in Secret Wars - was an unquestionable high point for Marvel comics over the last decade: intelligent, audacious and surprising, it was a gripping coalescence of continuity both familiar and obscure that added some essential new elements to the mythos along the way (the Black Order!). If Hickman can repeat the trick with the X-Men, we're in for a wild ride.

On the subject of Marvel history and continuity, Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez partner up to bring us a series entitled History Of The Marvel Universe, which appears to literally cover the history of the Marvel Universe, from the Big Bang to the twilight of existence. Waid knows a thing or two about Marvel's byzantine continuity, and the cover features the likes of Galactus, the Watcher AND Fing Fang Foom, so I'm automatically all over this. And if that wasn't enough, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross bring us an epilogue to their stone cold classic, Marvels: a necessary purchase for anyone who treasures that series. Then there's Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1, for those of who think Jane wielding Mjolnir was the high point of Jason Aaron's lengthy run on Thor (and is now to be replicated in 2021's MCU movie Thor: Love & Thunder).

21 Jul 2019