6 Oct 2015

On The Pull 07/10/2015

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.

Stewart R: Following a five Wednesday month (how quiet was last week for your pull-list??) and with the New York Comic Con sweeping into the social media town this weekend it seems that many of the publishers, and in particular Marvel, are going big and bold with this opening New Comic Book Day of October 2015! Of course Secret Wars isn't over yet, and as such it feels to me that much of the fanfare for the 'All-New, All-Different' Marvel seems to have been muted a touch thanks to the slight conflict of status quos. All of these brand new #1s this week mark the beginning of a newly restructured universe, yet the ghosts and echoes of the previous big event are still yet to be put to rest and resolved which leaves things feeling rushed and slightly off kilter. I, having missed much of the main thrust of Secret Wars (I'm waiting to catch up on Hickman's Avengers run before possibly trade-waiting) am heading back to the Marvel books I stepped away from at the beginning of the Summer with some trepidation. Amazing Spider-Man #1 has literally one issue to convince me the new direction for Peter Parker as an international globe-trotting entrepreneur is a solid one before I potentially drop the book for the foreseeable future. Similarly, Avengers #0 appears to be a catalogue showing us snippets of the upcoming books across the spectrum and I'll use this to steer my limited buying scope in the coming weeks. This - outside of two Star Wars titles - leaves Doctor Strange #1 as the only superhero Marvel book that I'm genuinely excited for this week.

4 Oct 2015

Mini Reviews 04/10/2015

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.

Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Jacen Burrows & Juan Rodriguez
Avatar $4.99

Matt C: I can imagine that some people may be losing their patience with this series as it’s clearly taking its time getting to its destination, but for me it’s Alan Moore back on his A-game, crafting an utterly beguiling tale that unnerves as much as it fascinates. The cover images continue to suggest creepiness but not all-out horror, and the contents reflect this, although there’s a lingering feeling that things will topple into someplace terrifying before we hit the end of this twelve-parter. One of things that really works in Providence is how the protagonist Robert Black is so perceptive when it comes to linking up with those of a similar sexual persuasion but is completely oblivious to all the indications that he’s getting himself deeper into something dark and dangerous. Jacen Burrows wobbles slightly early on in this issue before returning to his usual detailed semi-realistic style, and once again the backmatter proves integral to the overall narrative. Subtly disturbing, I continue to believe this has the potential to stand beside Moore’s finest works. 8/10

1 Oct 2015

All Good Things: MIND MGMT

When a great series concludes and it provides the perfect opportunity to assess what made it so good...

James R: When we went to the Melksham Comic-Con a few weeks ago, I had only one regret. The weekend away from our regular reviews meant I missed the chance to assess the final issue of my favourite series of the last two years, Matt Kindt’s singular Mind MGMT. Following on from the feeling of bereavement I always feel when a beloved book or TV series comes to its conclusion, I decided that Mind MGMT deserved more than a short review from me. It was deserving of a reread and a re-evaluation. I devoured the entire run again over the weekend, and it was a fantastic experience in a number of ways. Firstly, it was great to be reminded of the vast number of genius moments that Kindt wove into his narrative. Secondly, taken as a whole, it was impressive to watch patterns and themes emerge across the arcs, and it’s my thoughts on those that will make up the bulk of this retrospective. Finally, it was just a joy to read this series again – it’s a story of such ambition and scale, it’s hard to recall anything as extraordinary as Mind MGMT. Or perhaps that’s what I’ve been coerced into thinking by one of the agency’s operatives…

29 Sep 2015

On The Pull 30/09/2015

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.

Kenny J: This is the calm before the storm. With Secret Wars raging over at Marvel, for the moment my pull has been reduced significantly. Of course, that is all set to change come October with the 'All-New All-Different' line, but this week I’ll be taking a look at just two titles from the publisher, E Is For Extinction #4 - which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed - and Captain America: White #2. Although delayed by eight years, that last title has made me realise just how much I like straight up red, white and blue Captain America stories. I never thought I would be picking up a monthly Archie comic but the combination Mark Waid’s funny, touching and clever writing and Fiona Staples gorgeous art has me looking forward to my monthly dose of Riverdale set adventures. Rounding up the small but quality week is Sex #24 from Image. This has been a book that has delivered an intriguing and sometimes disturbing story without much fanfare. Let’s hope it keeps this going as it enters its third year.

27 Sep 2015

Mini Reviews 27/09/2015

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.

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Mike Del Mundo & Marco D’Alfonso
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Outside of the main Secret Wars miniseries, Weirdworld continues to make a very strong case for being the best book to spin out of the company-wide event. Aaron’s intense, twisty barbarian scripting is terrifically entertaining, with the writer clearly relishing the opportunity to slam some sword and sorcery tropes against rejigged variations of familiar Marvel characters (the ingenious Forest of the Man-Things, for example!). And then there’s the art. Del Mundo is on fire here, delivering a succession of frame-worthy images. There are some beautifully designed, intoxicatingly composed panels that draw you into their detail, and that cover’s a contender for the year’s best. It appears that this title will be relaunched as an ongoing under the ‘All-New, All-Different Marvel’ banner (with Sam Humphries taking over from Aaron) and Del Mundo’s art is making that a pretty promising proposition right now. 8/10

22 Sep 2015

On The Pull 23/09/2015

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: One of my top titles of the last year was Wild's End, the Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard masterpiece. It was basically Wind In The Willows meets War Of The Worlds. Couldn't possibly work could it? Oh, but it did! A small group of characters stumbled onto an alien invasion and fought their way back to Lower Crowchurch. Now the story continues in Wilds End: The Enemy Within #1 as the army are called in to cover up the 'incident'. Our heroes will have to fight again if they are to warn the world of an impending otherworldly invasion. It's a very British book and Abnett's dialogue really captures the feel of the cast. Culbard has a refreshing art style that suits the story and I can't wait to climb on board again to continue the adventure. Another winner from BOOM! Studios. Time now to don the purple spandex for some nostalgia as the Phantom continues his search for a lost city in Phantom #4 from Hermes Press. Peter David and Sal Velluto have combined to bring us a tale of the classic 'Ghost Who Walks' and despite the gaps between issues this has been a mighty fun, retro read. New from Dark Horse is Power Cubed, a four-part mini series from Aaron Lopresti. Eighteen year old Kenny Logan can create anything he can think of thanks to his matter-reinterpreting device (yeah, we've all wanted one of these). Not sure how he has the device but I guess that will be explained as the story unfolds. Obviously other factions will want what he has and in this case it's a bumbling Nazi scientist and a government agent. Could be fun so I'll give it a go. Nameless #5 is definitely not going to be fun. The run has been disturbing to say the least with Grant Morrison's story graphically brought to life by artist Chris Burnham. Hellboy In Hell returns with issue #8 and it's always good to see Mike Mignola return to art duties on Big Red. I think this week's list will finish with a bit of Old West fun in the pages of Marvel's 1872 #3 and a bit of staking in Buffy The Vampire Slayer #19.

21 Sep 2015

Mini Reviews 20/09/2015

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.

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
Image $3.99

James R: Picking my book of the week was tough job. I enjoyed three comics an awful lot, but for very different reasons! I'm giving Tokyo Ghost the nod as I always like to support new titles, and for the magic of Sean Murphy. I think Murphy is an artist that elevates any book he's working on, and has the wonder talent of breathing life into the epic and to the intimate. In Tokyo Ghost, he goes all-out illustrating Rick Remender's L.A. dystopia, filling every page with a tangible mood and atmosphere, but the most memorable panels for me came at the end of the issue, where he fills a moment between our protagonists Debbie and Led with incredible poignancy. It's almost a cliché to say it, but if Murphy illustrated the phone book, I'd want to read it. As for Rick Remender's script, it's the explosive start that we've come to expect from him. There was definitely a 'Mega-City One' feel to proceedings, and a few nods to A Clockwork Orange, all of which added to the wild events that unfolded within the issue. I loved the idea of a society utterly immersed in technology and media to escape the nightmare the real world has become. I was also reminded of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash as I read (and that's a very good thing) but the conclusion of the issue, and on the preview page Remender states the book is going to "Shift in tone and focus every issue." How this will read as a whole remains to be seen, but this was a totally assured first issue from an all-star team. 8/10

18 Sep 2015

Ten Forward: November 2015

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 September issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in November 2015.

Writer: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello
Art: Andy Kubert & Klaus Janson
DC $5.99

James R: This is one of those titles that, as an old school fanboy, you just have to flag up and take a look at. I distinctly recall being sat in a DC panel at the late, lamented Bristol Comics Expo, and being shown the first images from The Dark Knight Strikes Again - back then, there was a genuine sense of excitement that Frank Miller was continuing the story of the aged Batman. It's fair to say that DK2 was a book that divided opinions - some people loved it, others found it indicative of a great talent in decline. The announcement from DC that there would be a third chapter in the Dark Knight saga was a surprising one, as was the news that the series would be co-written by his close friend Brian Azzarello, and illustrated by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson. I think it's questionable how much this will be Miiler wanting to return to his Batman mythos one more time, and how much it will be DC trading on the Dark Knight Returns name. They're certainly releasing it in formats that will test both the patience and wallets of fans, but the bottom line is this first issue will be a fascinating read, and a required purchase.

15 Sep 2015

On The Pull 16/09/2015

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: Here at the PCG we have often asked the question "What ever happened to 'that' comic we were promised?" Well, we finally have the answer to one of those missing series as the long awaited Captain America: White #1 finally lumbers into view. I hadn't realised just how long we had been waiting, so I checked. Issue #0 hit the shelves in 2008! Yikes! That's some delay. But good things are always worth holding out for and with the creative duo of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale on the book I'm just happy to know it is finally on it's way. Here Cap recalls a mission from World War 2 which features Bucky and the Howling Commandos. Haven't read Captain America: White #0? Don't worry, it's reprinted in the pages of this oversized issue (probably a good thing even for those who already own it). Continuing the theme of talented creative teams, Tokyo Ghost #1 is right up there. Rick Remender has a few hits under his belt (to say the least) and is currently writing one of my fav reads, Deadly Class. Then we have artist extraordinaire Sean Murphy, who's born to draw this sort of stuff. Set in the nearish future and humanity is addicted to technology (sounds about right!). There's only one place left free and that's the Garden Nation of Tokyo. What a cracking concept - really looking forward to this one. This week we also have the annual release of Simpsons' Treehouse Of Horror. Much like the TV show, I tend to dip in and out of the Simpsons comic but Treehouse is always a little treat. We reach the end of the first story arc in Squarriors #4. This has been a brutal and bloody book and not the kind of thing you would normally expect of talking squirrels and assorted woodland creatures. What would Walt Disney think? Terrific art all the way through. Manifest Destiny has been a solid read since issue #1 and continues to rank highly on my pull-list, and finally All New Hawkeye #5 concludes my reading for the week.

13 Sep 2015

Mini Reviews 13/09/2013

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.

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Marco Checchetto & Andres Mossa
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: My brief dalliances with Star Wars comic books have been limited to side stories and off-shoots relating to, but never finishing past, the Original Trilogy's boundaries. I'm fully aware of a host of illustrated and novel postulations on what may have transpired beyond the destruction of the Death Star orbiting Endor, but have never been interested in exploring them. Now, with The Force Awakens less than 100 days away (blimey!), I couldn't help but throw an eye on this four-part series that casts some light on the 30 year span betwixt Episode VI and VII. Throwing us into the dog-fighting depths of the Battle of Endor's space warfare is a great start, giving Checchetto the opportunity to seriously impress as we see the conflict from a slightly different angle, whilst all the action we know and love takes place in odd panels here and there. It's then that Rucka settles us into the start of the clean-up on the Forest Moon and delivers the true punch of reality that tells us that the Rebellions' mission didn't end with the death of the Emperor and loss of its largest weapon. The introduction of new cast members allows us a window into the ongoing adventures of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker et al, whilst offering potential links to new characters set to appear onscreen in a couple of months’ time. It's well realised, incredibly well illustrated, and genuinely feels like an extension of the Star Wars story proper. A fine start. 9/10