15 Aug 2017

On The Pull 16/08/2017

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 week is all about the independents for me - Marvel gives me just the All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy #8 and DC yields just two; Batwoman #6 (this series has been so patchy for me, but the great issues have outweighed the iffy ones and the art is gorgeous) and I’m giving Dark Nights: Metal #1 a try, because… well because METAL - but there’s so much great stuff going on outside the Big Two this week. Bunn and Luckert’s horror who-or-what-dunnit Regression reaches issue #4 this week; it seems I've developed a taste for the gruesome, at least in comic book form. A couple of issue #2s make the cut: having seen (and enjoyed) the movie, I'm enjoying the different strand of War For The Planet Of The Apes, and whilst Time And Vine isn't a thrill a minute, the first issue was a pleasantly gentle contrast to the bloody violence of some of my list recently! The unexpected treat that is Magnus hits issue #3; this is no run-of-the-mill tale of robots v humans, but blends an interesting murder mystery theme with thoughts on what it means to be human, on artificial intelligence and on the rights of the non-human. My 'Most Anticipated' this week goes uncontested to Godshaper #5; I truly don't want this series to end, I love the world that Simon Spurrier has created here so much and fall headlong into Goonface’s gloriously colourful, gender-bending world of jazz and individual jehovahs each time. Last (and distinctly least) on my list is Sheena #0. Billed as a ‘riveting relaunch’ for the swimsuit-almost-clad jungle guardian, it has been advertised unceasingly for months which doesn’t feel like a strong recommendation. It's 25 cents though. Really, how bad can it be?

13 Aug 2017

Mini Reviews 13/08/2017

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.

THE SHADOW #1
Writers: Si Spurrier & Dan Watters
Art: Daniel HDR & Natalia Marques
Dynamite $3.99

Jo S: So. My pull-list was a monster this week, and I was close to giving this new series a miss but kept it in because I’ve been really enjoying Spurrier’s writing on Godshaper. I've now awarded myself a pat on the back because, man, this is GOOD! This first issue brings the character right into the present day, and ties the story to current events very cleverly. In fact, the whole issue is very clever: without spoiling it, Spurrier and Watters apply a device throughout this issue which allows them to give us all the background we need to get started, garnished with just the right amount of sarcastic wit. The stylish use of the flowing red scarf motif, particularly in the last scene, and the theme of maniacal laughter pull the parts of the story together pleasingly. Will future issues be as smart? We'll see. 9/10

11 Aug 2017

The Shipping Forecast: October 2017

After nearly a decade we've decided that it's time to ditch the numerically-fixed Ten Forward moniker and free things up with a new, less restricting name!

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 2017.

SHERLOCK FRANKENSTEIN & THE LEGION OF EVIL #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: David Rubin
Dark Horse $3.99

James R: I think my reasons for picking this out should be fairly obvious. A new title from Jeff Lemire - naturally, an instant pick, but a title that expands the universe of Black Hammer? YES PLEASE. Sherlock Frankenstein shows us what happened on the Earth of Black Hammer's heroes once the protectors had mysteriously vanished. It focuses on supervillain Sherlock Frankenstein, and the criminals left bereft of nemeses to fight - that's enough for me! It's also going to focus on the early years of Black Hammer's daughter Lucy Webber, and the thought of expanding the Black Hammer mythos has me chomping at the bit. David Rubin is providing the art for the series, and I simply cannot wait for this one.

8 Aug 2017

On The Pull 09/08/2017

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: The Vision, arguably the best miniseries released by either of the Big Two in 2016, saw Tom King take a character that never quite achieved A-list status and provide a story that was both profound and moving, singling the writer out as a name to watch for the future. Which would have been enough, but King also scripted arguably the second best miniseries released by either of the Big Two in 2016, The Sheriff Of Babylon, a complex, gripping look at the shifting political landscape in post-war Iraq during the early noughties. The latter series was wonderfully illustrated by Mitch Gerads, so when word came down that King and Gerads were teaming up again to take on a DC character that never quite achieved A-list status, I was all in. Mister Miracle #1 has a significant weight of expectation attached then, because of the aforementioned but also because it's one of those crazy/brilliant Jack Kirby creations from the early '70s when he jumped ship to DC, and it's rare for any creative team to find a firm handle on how to make them connect to a modern audience (aside from Darkseid). But, unsurprisingly, I'm hugely optimistic about this series, and anyone who missed out on The Vision and The Sheriff Of Babylon first time around should get on Mister Miracle at the ground level. Obviously there's other stuff out too (Kill Or Be Killed #11! Secret Empire #8!) but Mister Miracle is where the focus needs to be this Wednesday.

6 Aug 2017

Mini Reviews 06/08/2017

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.

DEAD OF WINTER #1
Writer: Kyle Starks
Art: Gabriel Bautista
Oni Press $3.99

Jo S: I admit right off that I picked this one up totally because of the cover - a cute mutt in a super-dog cape calmly licking blood off his paws in front of an encroaching crowd of zombies - well, why not? The story is based on a Plaid Hat table top game, which is meta-cooperative: all players have a common goal but also their own secret mission to complete. This theme is evident in the comic: we are introduced to kids Dick and Don and their dad, who are holed up in a ransacked house as zombie hordes gather outside. They are rescued by Gabe and Ruckus, with much help from Sparky the Super Dog - who has a real knack for dealing with the undead - and are taken back to join a larger collective. The varying motivations of the characters start to play out in a way that seems to echo the board game approach but I didn't find this to be a distraction: although the zombie situation is pretty straightforward and has zero originality, the dog hero does take it to a different place and I enjoyed the touches of Lassie-with-zombies humour. 7/10

1 Aug 2017

On The Pull 02/08/2017

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. 

Andy H: A few newbies and some old favourites make my pull list this week. The first of Marvel's Generations is out, as Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk team up. Regular Hulk writer Greg Pak messes about with time travel to get the Green Goliath gruesome twosome to meet. Will this be a battle royale or will they be brothers in arms? One thing is for sure: Hulk smash! Star Trek: Waypoint has been a surprising hit for me. Short tales from the Star Trek universe, this issue features Nurse Chapel questioning her future and a second tale featuring Captain Kirk. Written by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko I'd expect another enjoyable romp through the stars. Ever wondered what really happened to Amelia Earhart? Copperhead writer Jay Faerber has the inside scoop, and tells how the aviator was transported to a world of fantasy in Elsewhere #1. Well, I knew it had to be something like that. More fantasy to enjoy as Fables writer, Bill Willingham, launches Lark's Killer #1. This time it's a young runaway that is transported to a world of magic and dragons. Willingham has a good track record with this genre so I'm looking forward to it. Giant Days reaches the heady heights of issue #29 and still has me hooked. Proof you don't always need superheroes or aliens to crank out a great comic book. Finally I'll leave you with the team-up that was inevitable. Yep, Grumpy Cat/Garfield #1 is out this week. Not sure what to say about this but I will have a look; just don't tell anyone else, we'll keep it our little secret.

30 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 30/07/2017

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.

SECRET EMPIRE #7
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino, Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara & Rachelle Rosenberg
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: A masterfully orchestrated blockbuster, it works so well because it plays right into the strengths of the ‘event series’ format, subtly acknowledging what we as readers all know – everything will go back to ‘normal’ for the finale – but having fun working within the defined parameters to generate some often thought-provoking thrills. Rod Reis handles the ‘other’ scenes once again, but Andrea Sorrentino is the star of the show (marvel at THAT two-page spread depicting Black Widow versus the Punisher), even though it appears scheduling requirements mean he needs illustrative assistance in some places. At this stage of the game, the narrative necessitates moving various players into position in readiness for the conclusion (and getting others out of the way), so while it’s not the strongest entry in the series, it’s enjoyable all the same. 7/10

27 Jul 2017

Pipedream Indie Round-Up - July 2017

Here's the latest edition of our ongoing team-up with Pipedream Comics.

STEVE JACKSON'S THE TROLLTOOTH WARS
Writer: PJ Montgomery
Art: Gavin Mitchell
Kickstarter £15.00

Alex T: One of the most eagerly anticipated indie books of recent years, PJ Montgomery and Gavin Mitchell's adaption of Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars is finally here after a two year wait! The world of Titan is in the midst of a war between two powerful sorcerers - Zharradan Marr and Balthus Dire - which leads to an epic showdown in the Trolltooth Pass. In the middle of this, hero Shadda Darkmane is on a mission into the heart of Firetop Mountain to encounter its legendary warlock Zagor. If you grew up in the 1980s reading Fighting Fantasy then this will be an amazing trip down memory lane. Montgomery has created a faithful retelling of the book - flaws and all - and makes the most of classic scenes like the caravan raid at the beginning or the scenes in Firetop Mountain. Although it has a huge battle at its centre, The Trolltooth Wars manages to focus on character and not spectacle, so doesn't get bogged down in overdoing the huge sweeping battle scenes, instead focusing on the actions of the characters, which makes it much more readable. There's a cleanliness and simplicity to the characters and it's not too serious either, as Montgomery manages to bring humour into the book thanks to sidekick Cherval. Mitchell's art work throughout is incredible. His labour of love to finish this book over the past two years has reaped ample rewards with every page looking truly exceptional. The action leaps off the page when needed and the design and realization of the key characters is top notch. They are packed with Mitchell's trademark personality, especially Dire who has a real snarling presence to him, with angular and pointy demonic features that make his a fantastic villain for the piece. And the big reveal of Zagor is almost goosebump-inducing, especially for long time fans! Packed full of action and excitement, character and humour (plus a generous amount of gore and violence!), The Trolltooth Wars works so well as an adaptation because it avoids getting bogged down by some of the more overwrought elements that the fantasy genre can be guilty of, and as a result is a truly epic fantasy in every sense! 9/10

25 Jul 2017

On The Pull 26/07/2017

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: Kicking off with my absolute must-have, the utterly delicious Plastic hits issue #4 this week and I'm licking my chops in anticipation of the pink frosting and sprinkles already. Also well-established at this stage for me are Redneck, with issue #3 starting to pick up some momentum, offering a tad more incentive to go for #4, and Weapon X - I'm enjoying the little touches of humour in this nicely paced story. Secret Empire #7, though coming in hot on the heels of the last issue, is still blazing a trail showing how a talented team can pack an issue to the gunnels with action; superb value, in my opinion. I'll take Damned #3 (though I might need to review the first couple as I've clear forgotten the story so far, oops) and Beautiful Canvas #2: this is my masochistic side prevailing, the first issue was such an apparently random jumble of elements, I actually double-checked that the pages hadn’t been printed in the wrong order - this one is teetering on the edge of the abyss and lucky it's a quiet week. Finishing up with my new choices: I can't resist something called Super Secret Robot Club and although it looks like it might be nonsense, it's a one-shot so what's to lose? Heavenly Blues promises a ‘mystical heist mash-up from beyond the grave’ and the cover kind of grabbed me so that makes the cut, whilst the Street Fighter Swimsuit Special 2017 #1, tempting though it looks with washboard manga six-packs abounding, is probably not totally aimed at my demographic.

23 Jul 2017

Mini Reviews 23/07/2017

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.

GENERATION GONE #1
Writer: Aleš Kot
Art: André Lima Araújo
Image $4.99

Matt C: Aleš Kot has been off the radar for a couple of years but before he went quiet he was making quite a name for himself as someone who could produce smart, provocative comics whilst rustling lots of feathers on social media, his arguable high point being the aborted Material. Now he’s back with this new project, and he definitely seems to be firing on all cylinders again. This is intelligent, insightful material featuring fully fleshed out, believable characters; it’s not an everyday tale of young hackers getting caught up in an unauthorized project to recode the human genome, that’s for sure! It’s a very talky debut, with the ideas more prevalent than action, but the storytelling is bold and the art makes inventive, emotive use of predominately talking head imagery in a startlingly effective manner, especially as it paves the way for an inevitable upgrade in intensity. Working in a similar slipstream to Warren Ellis, Aleš Kot remains a creative force to be reckoned with. 9/10