19 Oct 2017

Do You Remember The First Time? THOR #175

In Do You Remember The First Time? we take a nostalgic trip back in time to discuss a seminal purchase that introduced us to a character, title, creator, or even a hobby.

Rob N: This has to be the tattiest looking comic in my collection, which probably speaks volumes as to how often I read and re-read it as a kid. Sandwiched in-between my glossy Fine Plus to Very Fine vintage collectables, it skulks like a scruffy urchin who has wandered in by accident to an Eton School line up, with grass stains on his knees. It’s possibly my first ever Marvel comic, or if not precisely the first, then certainly close enough. I’d already bought a few DC titles previously because early ‘70s DC covers just begged you to pick them up and see what was inside, but soon enough I was experimenting with Marvel, and Thor #175 was possibly my introduction to the House of Ideas.

And what an introduction it was!

I think it was the Kirby interior art that did it for me, because looking through the pages again for the first time in decades, I’m struck by how dynamic and bright his art really is. It’s amazing to see how on top of his game Jack was towards the end of his tenure with Marvel (within a few months he’d be gone, taking up a new job with DC) when logically you might think he’d be turning in half-hearted work, simply meeting his remaining obligations until he was free to go and unleash his Fourth World concepts for Marvel’s rivals. But no, this is classic Kirby that also benefits from a period when Marvel's printing quality was first rate (contrast with the rather grubby looking printing of many mid- to-late '80s Marvel comics).

17 Oct 2017

On The Pull 18/10/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

James R: My pull-list this week has three outstanding titles: firstly, there's Sherlock Frankenstein &The Legion of Evil. It's a mouthful of a title, but a mouth-watering one too - this is the spin-off from the amazing Black Hammer. Any book by Jeff Lemire is a must-read for me and, illustrated by the great David Rubin, this one is very much at the top of my list. Secondly, there's Kill Or Be Killed from the dynamic duo of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. This deft vigilante tale has yet to hit an off-note, and I love a book that I know will be brilliant before I've even turned the cover. The third book has been the unexpected gem of the year  - Magnus from Kyle Higgins and Jorge Forn├ęs. This book has excelled with every issue, and it's my sincere hope that this miniseries isn't the last we see of the cyberpunk-flavoured reimagining of Magnus. I'm also excited that this week sees another chapter in Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's space epic Descender. This title continues to twist and turn in the best way, and certainly scratches my science fiction itch. I'm also picking up Batman again - following some fantastic issues, Tom King has totally won me over to his take on Gotham, and having Bruce Wayne engaged to Selina Kyle has given this title a new impetus. Finally there's the latest installment of Warren Ellis' reimagining, The Wild Storm. And I must make a geek confession to you all - I missed an issue of this a while back, and while I'm tracking that back issue down, I'm not reading on. Still, when I do, it's nice to know I've got a sizeable slab of Warren Ellis greatness to look forward to! 

15 Oct 2017

Mini Reviews 15/10/2017

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.

FAMILY TRADE #1
Writer: Justin Jordan & Nikki Ryan
Art: Morgan Beem
Image $3.99

Jo S: I’ve been struck by a tingle of guilt reading this issue #1 - James R asked about it last week, enquiring as to whether it was worth getting and I responded ‘Nah, steampunk, not for you’, having covered it for Previews. Steampunk is indeed for me, but this is not at all what I would consider steampunk and, I think, the better for it. Yes, it’s set in an alternative history, in the world of a huge floating city, built in the Atlantic, which forms a neutral political centre where global issues are resolved, and yes, it’s the sort of Victorian-Georgian-pirate-y which is an offshoot of steampunk, and includes assassins and talking cats… but, actually, I think to dismiss it as a ‘steampunk thing’ was to do it an injustice. Morgan Beem’s watercolour art is delectable - I especially enjoyed the switch to sepia tone for the flashback section - and the storyline is intriguing, if a little contorted for me to follow fully in this first book. Sorry James - this might be worth a look! 7/10

13 Oct 2017

The Shipping Forecast: December 2017

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 October issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in December 2017.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1
Writer: Ed Piskor
Art: Ed Piskor
Marvel $5.99

James R: What an unexpected treat to end the year with! Ed Piskor is the creative mastermind behind the Hip-Hop Family Tree series, which has been a brilliant showcase for his knowledge and love of the genre. Now he turns his gaze to the history of Marvel's mutants, in a six-issue series that aims to tell the huge, sprawling saga. Just the notion of Piskor and the X-Men together would be enough to make this a must-read, but the pages in Previews make it look like this is going to be a very special series indeed.

10 Oct 2017

On The Pull 11/10/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Jo S: This looks to be a lush week for favourites, both established and recent, with a double shot of issue #1s lacing the mix. Let's look at those newbies first: I'm giving Image’s Family Trade a try - I took a look at this for The Shipping Forecast, having taken inspiration from the promise of a steampunk-on-the-ocean story, and with thieves, assassins and a sassy female lead thrown in, this has my name all over it. DC’s Ragman wraps up my second new issue spot; the blurb reads like a Gotham-based version of The Mummy; let's hope it can at least do better than the execrable movie of the same name from this summer. My recent favourites this week feature the marvellous Mister Miracle #3 - this series really shows what you can do with established characters set in a new frame, with its claustrophobic structure and percussive rhythms. The established favourites this week are twin regents: Grass Kings reaches issue #8 - this will go straight to the read-last-for-maximum-savoring spot in my pile - and Lemire’s Royal City #6 sees the tale restarting with a new arc; I suspect these two will execute all other pretenders to the throne this week.

8 Oct 2017

Mini Reviews 08/10/2017

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: WHITE KNIGHT #1
Writer: Sean Murphy
Art: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
DC $3.99

Matt C: This felt like a slam dunk as soon as it was announced. Murphy’s illustrative prowess is unquestionable at this stage, and pairing him with the Dark Knight seems like a match made in heaven. And so, of course, it’s an utterly sumptuous package, the energy and detail in each panel being nothing short of intoxicating. The script is very fine too, flipping the Batman/Joker dynamic on its head in an inventive manner, perhaps a little implausible, but compared to some iterations the character’s been through (Rainbow Batman!) it’s perfectly palatable, leaning into the idea touched on many times before of a Caped Crusader who’s lost his sense of perspective. There’s an argument to be made that a lot of DC’s best books sit outside continuity at the moment, and this opening issue certainly adds a substantial amount of weight to support that. 8/10

3 Oct 2017

On The Pull 04/10/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Jo S: War For The Planet Of The Apes pops up early on my list this week, and its finale at issue #4 feels just about right - as a companion tale to the movie of this year, it has provided some backstory as well as being richly drawn, achieving the tricky challenge of capturing that depth of monkey emotion which is so central to the story. I’m taking a couple of issues #1 to brighten up my pull: Eugenic, which caught my attention in Previews, and which I’m hoping I can enjoy independently of the previous series, and Slots, a Las Vegas tale of gambling and superstition; the snippet of the latter in last week’s Redneck caught my attention with its retro art and intriguing start. A few Marvel titles roll on in their sequence but, oh my, the jewel in this week’s list is without doubt and without peer - the wait for each issue of Aftershock’s Eleanor And The Egret dials up my longing so far I’m almost in physical discomfort now. Even just the cover of issue #4 has me tingling! Sam Kieth is a genius: he echoes Escher by drawing his own hand drawing a pencil drawing of the title character in art deco finery layered over a series of panels of, I think, original abstract art in the style of famous innovators in the field (I recognised Mondrian, Picasso and Miro - there are more but I’m a science nerd, don’t judge me!). This is just so achingly beautiful and so perfectly clever! I can’t wait. Come on Wednesday!


1 Oct 2017

Mini Reviews 01/10/2017

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.

MARVEL LEGACY #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic, Steve McNiven, Matthew Wilson et al
Marvel $5.99

Matt C: This one-shot acts like a State of the Union address for Marvel, laying down where they’re at and where they intend to head from here. Unsurprisingly, it feels a little disjointed in places, having to tell a sort of complete story while acting as a teaser for multiple series, but if you want a safe pair of hands to bring everything together with some sort of sense of cohesiveness, then Jason Aaron is probably in the best position to do so with the requisite skill. There’s lots to enjoy, mostly when the digressions aren’t too obvious and jolting, the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC battling a Celestial being particularly appealing, doubly so when rendered with the imposing atmospherics of Esad Ribic’s brush. There are some pleasing reintroductions and taken as a whole it does recentre the House of Ideas’ core purpose in a satisfactory manner, with a number of the ideas certainly worth pursuing (the relaunching Marvel Two-In-One is on the list). A bit of streamlining would have made it a more engaging read but what it does do very well is remind us that with the right creative teams in the hot seats, these characters still have relevance and plenty of untapped potential. 7/10

26 Sep 2017

On The Pull 27/09/2017

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. Click here for a list of the latest releases.

Matt C: Holy heck! I'll be honest and admit I don't really know what Marvel Legacy #1 is really all about but what I do know is that, alongside the likes of Odin and an earlier incarnation of the Phoenix, it's got Ghost Rider ON A MAMMOTH! I think Jason Aaron is the only writer who could pull of an idea as audacious (and faintly ludicrous) as an Avengers team in 1,000,000 years BC, and adding Esad Ribic on visuals means you have guaranteed my attention. I'm pretty sure it's not all set a million years in the past, but that's the concept I'm sold on, especially if it features a flaming-skulled mammoth-riding prehistoric superhero! And if that's not enough Jason Aaron for your weekly fix, he's also got another instalment of Southern Bastards with the excellent illustrative assistance from another Jason, Mr Latour, ready for purchasing this Wednesday. Not being left out of the double whammy duties, Greg Rucka has both Black Magick #8 and Lazarus X+66 #3 to keep us distracted. Rising star Kyle Higgins has just one book out, Nightwing: The New Order #2, but it's a great 'Elseworlds' spin on a future DC, and well worth checking out if you're looking for something free of continuity.

24 Sep 2017

Mini Reviews 24/09/2017

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.

ANGELIC #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Image $3.99

Jo S: This one jumped out at me when it popped up in Previews, not because of the flying monkeys (although that helps), nor the post-human Earth story (which also is not a bad thing), but because of Simon Spurrier’s name on the cover. You may have noticed that I’m going nuts this year for Spurrier’s Godshaper: its inventiveness is top notch and I hoped that Angelic would carry the same DNA. Well, it seems so far to be hitting the right tone. I was a little concerned that flying monkeys meant magic, which I’m not totally resistant to but don’t get excited about; I needn’t have worried. The ‘monks’, ‘gibs’ and ‘dolts’ of the story, (monkey-, gibbon- and dolphin-derivatives respectively) are cybergenetic mutations, it seems, left over from Man’s experimentations before departing Earth (heading where, we don’t yet know). The jet-powered flying dolphins (yeah, I know) are predators of the peace loving, deeply religious monkeys. The story centres on Qora, a ‘girlmonk’ on the cusp of maturity, with a dangerously enquiring mind and a growing lack of respect for the practising of the required rituals of their faith. Will curiosity kill the macaque? Spurrier has me wanting to know. 7/10