29 Jul 2014

On The Pull 30/07/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: By Jove! - (as they exclaimed in the olden days, possibly) - that's a heck of a lot of comics coming our way this Wednesday. Not only do we have the finale of The Wake and the reappearance of Hawkeye (enjoy it while it lasts, folks!), we also get the return of the most excellent Black Science from Rick Remender and Image. And, if that wasn't enough, we've got another new creator-owned Remender title coming from the same publisher: Low #1. Described as "an aquatic sci-fi/fantasy tale" where humanity has retreated to the depths of the oceans to escape an irradiated surface, this sounds like another blinding concept from the writer to sit alongside Deadly Class and the aforementioned Black Science. And continuing on the subject of Remender, Uncanny Avengers #22 sees him wrap up the story that he's been working on for a long time (even longer if you count Uncanny X-Force), as Kang's endgame is revealed. That's a lot of excitement on the agenda, and when you add in C.O.W.L. #3, Avengers #33, The Massive #25, New Avengers #21, Mercenary Sea #6, Avengers World #10 (yes, that's the four main Avengers books in one week!!), Outcast #2... well, this has the potential to be one of the best weeks of comics in 2014. Coming in from the leftfield though is Chew: Agent Warrior Poyo, a one-shot that could be a real contender. I may have grown a little lukewarm on Chew recently (although I still enjoy it) but Chew: Secret Agent Poyo from a couple of years back was a glorious explosion of hilarious lunacy, and if this new issue comes close to that it just might beat the competition to take the week. Never count out Poyo!

27 Jul 2014

Mini Reviews 27/07/2014

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.

100TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: AVENGERS #1
Writer: James Stokoe
Art: James Stokoe
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: It’s a pretty sure bet these days that if James Stokoe is involved in the production of a comic I’ll definitely be picking up a copy. Sure, Orc Stain is pretty late (try two years!) and the last series we got from him - the awesome Godzilla: Half Century War - concluded in Spring 2013, but when you see one of his books you realise just how much darn love and effort he puts into every single panel. This one-shot, part of Marvel’s campaign to show what their comics could look like at the marking of the 100th Anniversary of the company (whenever that might be), is a rather neat glimpse into a future where the claws of the Badoon have finally raked the surface of the Earth, leaving destruction and further danger in their vanquished wake. I instantly appreciate the fact that we’re dropped into things as the smoke is clearing and are treated to a smaller scale tale about the clean-up, the state of the Avengers in this future, and their feelings about their place in a world that has changed, and will constantly change while they perhaps do not. Amongst the colourful adventure, comedy and excitement that surrounds the descendant of one of Marvel’s oldest villains making a play for vengeance and power from under their very feet, is a broader story of victimisation, displacement of population and the responsibility of those with the power to try to change things for the better. Stokoe has the pummelling, high speed action of an Avengers title present, yet his team members are thoughtful about their actions, realising that there is no glory to be found in their task and sure enough he leads all threads to a satisfying conclusion, worthy of a well-rounded one-shot that in all honesty deserves to be the starting point for a new series based upon the calibre of this work. 9/10

22 Jul 2014

On The Pull 23/07/2014


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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: Another new Warren Ellis book? That'll mean he has three on the go now, at least for the next few weeks as he's off Moon Knight shortly. But still, if you're like me and don't let your frustrations with abandoned projects cloud your love of his work, you'll know that more Warren Ellis comics are a good thing. Even if it's not an original concept, as I first thought, but a relaunch of an old Rob Liefeld character, Supreme. I know little about the character - bar that Alan Moore turned in a well-received run with him back in the '90s - but Ellis has a knack of cutting to the chase in away that can appease newbies and longtime fans (to an extent), so I'm hoping that Supreme: Blue Rose will feature the writer's tradeback mix of action and ideas, regardless of familiarity with the subject. That's it for debut issues for me this Wednesday, but there's still plenty of good stuff out there, and I'm expecting Saga #22, Daredevil #6, Letter 44 #8 and Trees #3 (yup, it's that Ellis guy again!) to rise to the top. I'm also glad to see Wild Blue Yonder #5 on the list, the IDW book that started life as a Kickstarter project but seemed to have dropped off the radar completely for the last few months.

20 Jul 2014

Mini Reviews 20/07/2014

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 LIFE AFTER #1
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art: Gabo
Oni Press $3.99


Matt C: The arrival of this book in the UK seems to have been delayed a week for one reason or another, but fortunately I managed to miss any plot specifics when I spotted it getting generally effusive praise from a lot of my usual online haunts.  I had read the a plot summary a while ago but I’d forgotten it by the time I cracked this issue open, which worked in my favour as I was enjoyably perplexed as Fialkov took me on a rather surreal, hallucinatory journey before making everything crystal clear at the end (well, sort of). The writer’s been doing some fine, fine work on another of Oni’s titles, The Bunker, so it shouldn't be a surprise to say he’s crafting something similarly intriguing and arresting here. Gabo’s art really gets the weirdness down on the page, keeping things coherent even when they may warrant a scratching of the head. My advice is steer clear of any plot spoilers if you’re considering taking a plunge into The Life After. And you really should consider it. 8/10

18 Jul 2014

Ten Forward: September 2014

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the July issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in September 2014.

AVENGERS #35
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Jim Cheung
Marvel $4.99

Matt C: It’s all going off at Marvel at the moment. At the time of writing, Thor’s about to become a woman, Sam 'The Falcon' Wilson is taking over the role of Captain America, and some sort of drastic change (of the ‘superior' variety) is due to befall Iron Man. Suggestions of a universe reboot being on the cards abound, and even though that wouldn’t be something I’d particularly like to see (the New 52, anyone?) I have major doubts that will happen. Whatever does happen, however, it seems like it’ll spin out the events in Avengers, and its sister title New Avengers, which both see a continuity jump eight months forwards in their September issues. What exactly is going to occur here remains unclear (although there are hints from the characters presented on the covers of both books) but whatever it is, it’s likely to be Jonathan Hickman’s final story arc with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and, based on what he’s done so far, I think it’s going to be very much something to look forward to.

15 Jul 2014

On The Pull 16/07/2014


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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: After one single quiet week things swiftly return to normal and there are a whole bunch of titles on my pull-list once more. I do try an trim things down periodically but I guess it's a testament to the industry being in a very healthy position, creatively speaking, that I'm currently picking up so many books on a regular basis (especially those with creator-owned origins). And still those debut issues keep coming and I remain as willing as ever to check out something new. This week, that would be Black Market #1. The pitch is very strong: a disgraced medical practitioner is contacted by his ex-con brother who has supposedly discovered the cure to all disease... in the DNA of superheroes! I love that, and part of me thinks there's more mileage than the four issues this miniseries has been allotted, but I'll wait and see what the creators have in store. Otherwise it's another relatively quiet Wednesday from Image for me, with Marvel winning out once more, surprisingly with mostly second-wave All-New Marvel NOW! books like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Magneto and Elektra, which highlights how successful the publisher's push to get some of their non-A-list characters (especially those of a female persuasion) into the spotlight. A heartening sign I think.

13 Jul 2014

Mini Reviews 13/07/2014

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.

DEATH VIGIL #1
Writer: Stjepan Sejic
Art: Stjepan Sejic
Image/Top Cow $3.99

Stewart R: We’re still in the age when ‘money talks’ so let me just say you won’t find a better value $3.99 book on the shelves this week and for content and page count you simply could not ask more from a first issue. When, more importantly, you push cost to the side, you are left with a deep, character-fuelled, visually engrossing and incredibly competent piece of 100% creator-owned comic book art that, at this very early stage, has the potential to be one of the top series for 2014/2015. Sejic establishes the supernatural battlelines early on as Vigil member Sam and the Reaper joke and banter in friendly, comfortable 21st Century manner and then discuss the recent fallen amongst their comrades at the hands of the enemy, the Necromancers. It feels really comfortable, and shows confidence for a very talented artist to rely on his scripting and character skills rather than succumb to the urge to display it all with pencil, ink and splash pages as could have happened. This choice allows for the story to build and Sejic to flex his artistic talents later in the book when the conflict finally hits the page and we meet Clara in unfortunate circumstances. Her introduction to the Vigil solidifies what we understand about their fight to this point, highlights that her initiation and training may not go as smoothly as intended and then Sejic polishes everything off with a diving glimpse into the mysterious machinations of the enemy and the troubling events to come. It’s a very strong start indeed and adds another arrow to Top Cow’s growing quiver of quality. Buy it, buy it now! 9/10

8 Jul 2014

On The Pull 09/07/2014

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Stewart R: Justin Jordan has been impressing me recently with his work on Green Lantern: New Guardians for DC and his violent thriller Dead Body Road which just concluded a month ago. Well, he's back in the Image wheelhouse again and this time he's taking the brutality to the post-apocalyptic wastelands with Spread. It looks like a bold mash-up of Lone Wolf and Cub with John Carpenter's The Thing and that's the kind of promising premise that I keep heading back to Image for time and time again. With mankind on the back foot it's going to take one man in the quarantine zone safeguarding the one thing that can stop the creeping infestation: a baby girl!  Bring on the body horror!

Staying at Image there's one heck of a bumper debut getting its release this week in the shape of Stjepan Sejic's Death Vigil #1 which is clocking in at forty pages of story and delicious art for your $3.99. Stjepan has impressed me incredibly with his work on Aphrodite IX and his deviantART webcomic Sunstone, which he co-creates with wife Linda, showing a fine handle on epic action and subtle, refined expression and character work between both projects. With Death Vigil he's writing and drawing the whole darn thing so I'm interested to see how he deals with all elements of the creative process in his own work and just how this fantasy adventure series looks to unfold.

The other big book of note for me this week is Rai #3 from Matt Kindt, Clayton Crain and the publishing offices of Valiant. The first two installments have had a real Blade Runner-meets-The Matrix feel to the entire thing, thanks to Crain's rain-washed visuals and Kindt's sprawling setting. With Father still remaining something of an uncontactable enigma, yet constantly referred to - think Columbo's wife, or Maris from Frasier - I can't begin to guess where Kindt may be taking this plot. There is however, just something about the way he's writing the titular Rai's steady realisation that perhaps things are not the balanced constant he believed them to be that has its hooks into me already and I'm excited about getting my hands on a fresh copy of this new reading material tomorrow!

6 Jul 2014

Mini Reviews 06/07/2014

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. 

ROCKET RACCOON #1
Writer: Skottie Young
Art: Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Some people are going to go a bundle on this; it’s infectious, zany energy is likely to have a pretty broad appeal, especially when the titular character is on the verge of going stellar. Me? Well, Young’s artwork is undeniably full of wildly imaginative, excitable brilliance, but I found his take on Rocket to be a bit too ‘generic oddball outsider’, and the jokes never really passed the level of mildly amusing. I’m not entirely sure this kind of approach has any longevity either as Rocket is portrayed as someone who most definitely needs someone else to bounce off of, and whether Groot can really serve that purpose over time remains to be seen. But, saying all that, all the signs are suggesting this will be a massive hit, so I’m likely to be proven wrong on all counts. 6/10

1 Jul 2014

On The Pull 02/07/2014


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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Matt C: I first came across the character back in the '80s, when the Mike Mignola miniseries was reprinted as a back-up feature in the UK Transformers comic. I remember being quite taken by the story, but the character didn't seem to be that big a deal back then, and based on the evidence presented, I kind of assumed he didn't have any links to the traditional Marvel Universe (obviously I was wrong). He was never that big a deal for the next three decades (I'm sure some fanboys will disagree, but I'm talking generally) but then Keith Giffen took the reigns of the cosmic corner of the MU, followed by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the writer's who established Rocket Raccoon as the breakout character of their revamped Guardians Of The Galaxy series. Things went quiet a bit until Marvel Studios' announcement that a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie would arrive in 2014, and then it all began to snowball. Brian Michael Bendis (arguably the publisher's most treasured writer) relaunched the book again, and with the promotional materials for the movie coming thick and fast, it seemed like the popularity of Rocket (to be voiced by Bradley Cooper) was set to skyrocket beyond the sphere of comicdom. We haven't quite reached overkill yet, but it was obvious Marvel were going to give the genetically-engineered alien (who happens to look like a talking raccoon) a starring role in his own title. Enter Skottie Young, the idiosyncratic talent given the task of bring the the adventures of an idiosyncratic character to the page, and with advance orders reportedly topping 300,000, it sounds like Rocket Raccoon #1 has 'hit' written all over it. Marvel are also releasing The Legendary Starlord #1, and although it will get some traction off the back of the movie, I'm not sure if Peter Quill will work that well outside the team environment. I'm not sure Rocket will either, but I'm placing my money down for the former, and not the latter, this week.