17 Jul 2018

On The Pull 18/07/2018

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.

Andy H: Well, that was quick! Only a couple of weeks ago I was looking forward to Immortal Hulk #2 and now #3 is already about to land. As much as I'm enjoying this title I could do with Marvel getting back to a monthly release schedule, just to make my life a little easier. The first two issues have been corkers and the added bonus for this issue looks like the introduction of reporter Jackie McGee, an obvious nod to the old Hulk TV series, but one that puts a welcome smile on my face as this series is pretty grim reading mostly. That's okay though as Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #307 is also out, and that's the perfect antidote to the grim goings on in Hulk. It's been a year since writer Chip Zdarsky started his run on PP:SSM and reinvigorated my interest in the old web-head, and what a fun year it's been. On the subject of fun, could Archie Meets Batman '66 #1 be anything other than a barrel of swinging sixties fun and games? Just how far is Gotham City from Riverdale anyway? The Batman '66 crossovers have been great and I would expect more of the same here. Finally, the end is here, well the start of the end, as League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest charts the final chapter of Alan Moore and Kev O'Neill's epic series. Hard to believe it all started 20 years ago and now we face the final curtain. I really enjoyed the first two series but kind of lost my way with the latter ones. I hope this series will reel me back in as I'd love this to finish the way it started. What makes this even more poignant is both Moore and O'Neill say this is their last comics work: a sad day but this should be a fitting send off.

15 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews 15/07/2018

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.

SHE COULD FLY #1
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Art: Martín Morazzo & Miroslav Mrva
Dark Horse $4.99

Jo S: Cantwell’s essay at the end of this issue sheds much light on the content of the story and is well worth a read. The protagonist, Luna, is fascinated by a mysterious flying woman who has been spotted over her home city, and dreams of flying with her, escaping the horrifying obsessions which plague her daily. The story threads together real and illusory images from Luna’s mind with at first obscure introductions to further characters. Cantwell tells it grippingly, and Morazzo’s slightly off-beat art, used to such effect in Ice Cream Man recently, perfectly captures the blend of horror and mundanity in Luna’s life. It's tricky to express fully why this story is so affecting without spoiling some key features, but for anyone who has stood atop a cliff and felt the terrifying compulsion to take one step too many at the edge, there will be notes in this story which feel frightening and familiar. 9/10

10 Jul 2018

On The Pull 11/07/2018

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.

Jo S: Marvel provides half my pull-list this week, with a mixture of old favourites and short series capped with one of my three issue #1s. I really enjoyed Mariko Tamaki’s writing on Hulk - she brought the right blend of strength and sensitivity to Jen Walters with some nice touches of humour, so I’m going to give X-23 #1 a try in the hopes that Tamaki can bring the same skills to Laura Kinney. Quicksilver: No Surrender has been unusual and inventive in the first two issues and, as with New Mutants: Dead Souls, extra-tempting at the moment with an advertised short run. Beyond the House of Ideas, Oblivion Song is really starting to ramp up as Nathan Cole is reunited with his brother, venturing further from the shifted section of Philadelphia and into the depths of Oblivion, and I’ll be devouring my copy of The Dead Hand #4 at speed - this story of the tiny remote town where the Cold War seems never to have ended has twisted and turned enthrallingly so far. Two further issue #1s complete the list: I previewed She Could Fly and I’m looking forward to this different angle on the superhero classic - the unknown heroine appears to have vanished from the start, before anyone could get to know who she was, leaving the role of leading character to a curious superfan. Finally, I’ll wrap up with something a little gruesome, a little grotesque, a little gross… Image’s Farmhand is cultivated by Rob Guillory (of Chew fame) and promises a tale of a farm where replacement body parts are the cash crop - but something dark is growing below the fields of green thumbs, fingers, livers and kidneys!

8 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews 08/07/2018

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.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan & Sunny Gho
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: In the current political climate, Cap’s solo title is the most obvious (and necessary) place to pass comment on the state of a nation, even if it’s in an indirect way (we’re unlikely to see the Sentinel of Liberty punching Trump in the face any time soon). Coates wisely builds on the distrust the public have for the character following the events of Secret Empire to underline how America can lose its way if it doesn’t have anyone to stand up and inspire them. This seems like a run that will have its targets, and even if it doesn’t hit the bullseye first time, there’s an intelligence coupled with a desire to not be frivolous that suggests it’ll be well worth sticking with. There’s a firm pacing to the drama, the art brings in a sense of intensity and urgency, and it avoids black-and-white readings of heroism and villainy to bring a tinge of ambiguity to the proceedings. There was a lot of fuss about keeping politics out of mainstream superhero comics last year but it’s impossible for books pitched at a wider audience not to reflect the culture they spring forth from, and Cap in particular needs to react and resonate with the times. Coates and co look like they’re on the right track here. 8/10

3 Jul 2018

On The Pull 04/07/2018

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.

James R: This week, I'm dusting down the tuxedo, looking at the gift registry, hoping there's something affordable I can buy, and ready to impress Poison Ivy on the dancefloor as - by thunder! - it's the Batman/Catwoman wedding issue! Tom King has been building to this for the last eighteen issues, and if King is good to his word in claiming that he had 100 issues of Batman planned, then this issue represents the halfway point and the pivot for everything that follows. As with things like the death of Superman and the 'unmasking' of Spider-Man in Civil War, this is one of those comic events that really crosses into the mainstream culture, and I can't wait to see what King and Mikel Janin cook up for Bruce and Selina's big day. Speaking of Selina Kyle, if Batman #50 wasn't exciting enough for a Bat-fan, then this week also sees the relaunch of the Catwoman solo book, written and illustrated by Joëlle Jones. I picked this one out in our Shipping Forecast for July, and I'm still excited about it - I feel this is a great fit of creator and character and I hope it's the start of a long run from Jones. Wednesday also sees the third chapter of Scott Snyder's corking Justice League. It's been years since I was excited by the idea of a JL book, and I'm enjoying it's unashamedly widescreen, blockbuster feel. Over at Marvel, it's a landmark week too, as Ta-Nehisi Coates begins his tenure as Captain America writer. Coates has established himself as one of the essential voices in modern comics following his work on Black Panther and, given the political and social turmoil in America currently, this feels like the perfect man on the perfect title at the perfect time. Since Ed Brubaker's phenomenal run, I've found Captain America to be a disappointing and bland title; something tells me that Coates and artist Lenil Francis Yu will be bringing us a book that's explosive in many ways. Last, but by no means least, I'm eager to pick up the latest instalment in the Black Hammer universe from my favourite, Jeff Lemire. The Quantum Age gives us Lemire's take on the Legion Of Superheroes, illustrated by Wilfredo Torres - the preview of this book on Free Comic Book Day was great, and I'm sure this book will continue the same great standard established by Sherlock Frankenstein and Doctor Star. It's a landmark week in a lot of ways then, and as always, I hope that whatever you're picking up, the week ahead brings you some comics gems.

1 Jul 2018

Mini Reviews 01/07/2018

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.

KILL OR BE KILLED #20
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Image $3.99

James R: Recently on social media, I've seen a few people complaining that comics reviews are essentially recaps rather than evaluations. I think here at the PCG we try hard to avoid this, giving broad narrative themes rather than minutiae. The final issue of Kill Or Be Killed provides an even bigger challenge though - the very nature of this coda relies on two wonderful feints and misdirections from Ed Brubaker. As a result, I don't want to risk ruining the experience for potential readers, and so all I'll say is that Kill Or Be Killed finished in the same way it began - by subverting expectations and serving up a story that was a fresh twist on the well-trod vigilante theme. The team of Brubaker, Phillips and Brietweiser know and complement each other so well, it's hard to imagine them creating a sub-par comic book now (and I'm already looking forward to the next collaboration, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, in October). Kill Or Be Killed has been a treat, and it's one of those books that, if you've missed in its initial run, I highly recommend picking up in trade. A brilliant final issue totally in keeping with the rest of the series, Kill Or Be Killed #20 was a deadly good read. 9/10

26 Jun 2018

On The Pull 27/06/2018

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: Jamie Madrox was just a good supporting character for many years until that fateful day that writer Peter David moulded him into a leading man; possibly not your conventional leading man but a leading man nonetheless. Over time, and through the excellent pages of X-Factor, Madrox became a firm favourite of mine. I lost touch with him recently; apparently he died but this is comics and you can't keep a good mutant down. Multiple Man #1 is written by current hot writer Matthew Rosenberg, a writer I believe can (hopefully) capture the magic of the Peter David days. I have high hopes for this miniseries and look forward to getting reacquainted with Jamie. After a fair wait, the final chapter of Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard's Wild's End is here, appropriately titled Journey's End. Sadly, this isn't coming out in comic form but going straight to trade paperback but it's not the end of the world, although it could well be for the heroes of the piece. When we last left them, the Martian invaders had secured a pretty devastating hold on the Earth. It's up to our anthropomorphic heroes to save the day but I fear this will not be without great sacrifice. This series has kept me on the edge of my seat as Abnett makes it clear, no-one is safe in this 'War of the World'! Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #306 brings Spidey and his friends back to the present day but will they be able to stop the Vedomi? Great writing mixes high adventure with snappy dialogue and a good old fashioned dose of Spider-Man fun. Thor #2 continues the return of Odinson as Thor and brings along Balder, Skurge and Loki for the ride. I'm still not convinced that Michael Del Mundo is the right choice for artist but that could be because Russell Dauterman left such big shoes to fill: still a great read, though. Finally, just for fun, I will look at Charlie's Angels #1. Really not sure how this will work, look or make sense, but John Layman is a good writer and probably the right choice for something as quirky as this.

24 Jun 2018

Mini Reviews 24/06/2018

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.

GIDEON FALLS #4
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart
Image $3.99

James R: After a wonderfully atmospheric introduction to the world of Gideon Falls in the first three issues, this month's instalment begins to reveal some of the mysteries of the Black Barn. The links between Norton Sinclair and Gideon Falls are revealed skilfully by Lemire, and in Andrea Sorrentino he has found a collaborator whose visuals take this comic to another level. It's a perfect amalgamation for me: a writer who is at the top of his game, and an artist who is producing astonishing work every month - Lemire's scripts captivate, and Sorrentino's art astounds. There's something to marvel at on every page, and this book is one of those rare gems that feels like it's pushing the medium to another level. Brilliant in every sense of the word, this is the book you should reach for if anyone asks why comics continue to be relevant in the 21st century. 10/10

19 Jun 2018

On The Pull 20/06/2018

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: I feel like trying something new this week and I've spied Shanghai Red #1 from Image sailing towards my pull-list. An adventure on the high seas and the mean streets, taking us from China to America for a tale of kidnapping and revenge, this falls into the category of 'Something Different' for me and I'm hopeful it's a keeper. Image also have the next issues of three of their very best titles out on Wednesday: the intense Deadly Class #35 (coming soon to a TV screen near you!), the prescient Days Of Hate #6 (just look at the news and tell me this isn't scarily plausible!) and the beguiling Gideon Falls #4 (feast your eyes on that artwork!). Gideon Falls isn't the only book by Jeff Lemire vying for my attention this week: Dark Horse has Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #3, the continuation of his intriguing take on some familiar archetypes, and the springboard to a series of equally compelling miniseries the writer is spinning out of this universe. After an exceptional Joker-led issue a couple of weeks ago, Batman #49 continues where the preceding instalment left off, leading us towards the wedding of the year (has there been any other of note?). Marvel have Avengers #3: the second issue wasn't as persuasive as the debut but I'll be back again to see if this new take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes is one to stick around for.

17 Jun 2018

Mini Reviews 17/06/2018

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 MAGIC ORDER #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Olivier Coipel & Dave Stewart
Image $3.99

Matt C: It’s strange seeing Netflix’s logo displayed so prominently on a comic book but, following the media giant’s purchase of Millarworld, here’s where they get an idea of whether or not they made a wise investment. The worry in this situation is that the comic is just a storyboard for a proposed TV show/movie and not the real deal, but whatever your opinions of Mark Millar’s hucksterism, his love of the medium is always abundantly clear and his impact on it over the last couple of decades can’t be understated. He appears to have hit on another winning idea here (Netflix can breathe easy!) as a shocking murder spins us into a hidden world of magicians protecting the blissfully unaware from the terrifying unknown. It’s a compelling set-up, and the characterization is strong, but the added bonus here is Olivier Coipel’s evocative, vivid artistry which reaffirms his status as one of the best in the business. The Magic Order may ultimately end up in the live action environment as part of the Netflix deal but the fact that this issue is one of the strongest debuts of the year so far should be all the discerning comics fan cares about at this stage. No nefarious sleight of hand here, just genuine comic book thrills. 8/10