12 Dec 2017

On The Pull 13/12/2017

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.

James R: 2017 may be drawing to a close, but this week's releases show no sign of an end-of-year slowdown. First and foremost for me (naturally) is the magnificent Royal City. Jeff Lemire's magical creator-owned series is still weaving its way through the 1990s for the Pike family, and this will be the book that I read first - I simply can't get enough of this title. From BOOM! Studios, there's a continuing favourite and something new to try. Firstly, there's the next issue of Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins' hugely inventive thriller Grass Kings, and then there's Judas from Jeff Loveness. We flagged this one up earlier in the year whilst looking through Previews, and I'm excited to see what Loveness and artist Jakub Rebelka do with the story of the New Testament's infamous traitor. DC comics has one stand-out title for me this week; the next chapter of the magnificent Mister Miracle from King and Gerads. There's already been a huge amount written about this title (and a lot by us!) but it's safe to say that this is a must-read for any comics fan of taste. Finally, there's two other books from Image on my list: the third issue of Slots, the crime caper from Dan Panosian, which has reminded me more of Elmore Leonard with each page (this is a very good thing), and the finale of Retcon from Matt Nixon and Toby Cypress - definitely the most out-there title on my list, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the timeline-resetting tale ties up nicely. A rather tasty December week in prospect then - I hope your pull-lists are looking just as appealing, and whatever you're geeking out over - happy reading!

10 Dec 2017

Mini Reviews 10/12/2017

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.

PARADISO #1
Writer: Ram V
Artists: Devmalya Pramanik & Dearbhla Kelly
Image $3.99

James R: I've said it before, and it bears repeating: first issues are tough. It's a delicate balancing act between enticing an audience and establishing a story (and with SF, sometimes a world), leaving the readership wanting more at the end of the issue. I tried out Paradiso; as a big science fiction fan, I'm always on the lookout for a new title to take to my heart. Paradiso holds absolutely nothing back in the first issue - Ram V's script is busy from the first page, showing us a distant future where a seemingly sentient city has developed, leaving mankind impoverished and living on its fringes. As much as I like the invention of this title, it didn't really connect for me - there's so much going on here, there's no real sense as to what the heart of this tale will be. The art from Devmalya Pramanik is good, and he definitely looks like a talent to watch. Paradiso may settle into a fine title, but this opening chapter fell short of heavenly for me. 5/10

5 Dec 2017

On The Pull 06/12/2017

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.

Andy H: Due to a shipping delay I won't be able to include Spider-Man: Venom Inc Alpha or Captain America #696 on this week's pull. Thankfully, still plenty of good reading to be had, starting off with Batman: White Knight #3. This Elseworlds-style tale has been a riot, with Sean Murphy turning the life of Gotham's protector upside down. Murphy's has always been good but his Batman is a feast for the eyes and something that means this issue will go straight to the top of the 'to read' pile. Still on a Batman vibe, sort of, is Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #3. Really didn't know what to expect from this title but after last issue's magic and mayhem and the consequences for the leading ladies this is proving a fun ride. As a bonus you never quite know which guest star from the Bat-world will turn up. Returning to the pull-list after a long hiatus is Witchblade. This is not the return of Sara Pezzini though, as the Witchblade has a new host and a new creative team. Caitlin Kittredge and Roberta Ingranata make sure this is a welcome return of an old Image favourite. Star Trek: Next Generation - Mirror Broken #5 is the penultimate issue of this Mirror Universe miniseries. Scott and David Tipton have done a top job of reworking all the regular characters and thrown in several more familiar faces. The art has varied: at times it's almost photo realistic but now and again it does hit the odd duff note - but not enough to stop me enjoying this intergalactic romp. Finally, if you missed it the first time, Shirtless Bear Fighter is out in a collected format. This was my miniseries of the year and was seriously funny and had me chuckling away on almost every page.

3 Dec 2017

Mini Reviews 03/12/2017

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: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT #1
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: John Paul Leon
DC $5.99

Matt C: A sequel of sorts to Superman: Secret Identity, a four-issue prestige mini that appeared nearly 14 years ago which, personally speaking, is one of the best Superman tales I’ve ever read (even though it isn’t directly about the Man of Steel as such). This series takes the same approach with the Dark Knight, investing in the myth via a young boy named Bruce Wainwright, whose familiarity with his fictional almost-namesake becomes more pronounced as a specific chain of events is set in motion. The story recognises the enduring power of the Batman mythos but while it draws from it heavily, it also digs into childhood trauma in an affecting, relatable manner, and the potency behind the idea of the a broken child piecing himself back together is powerfully relayed. Busiek and Leon deliver a story that possesses both maturity and reverence, evidencing not only how entertaining the adventures of the Caped Crusader can be, but also how cathartic and inspiring the journey of Bruce Wayne when viewed from a certain angle. A very special beginning to this four-parter. 9/10

28 Nov 2017

On The Pull 29/11/2017

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.

Matt C: Something a little different to start things off this week. This little miniseries caught my eye in Previews, and even though it's 2017, who doesn't want to see Nazis being hunted down and thwarted (and maybe punched in the face)? Chasing Hitler began as a Kickstarter project and now arrives ready for those of us who prefer the old-fashioned method of comic book consumption. The spiel goes "Two Allied servicemen are tasked with verifying Hitler's death. When they can't, the chase begins!", and that a very convincing sell for me! The other highlight is Batman: Creature Of The Night #1 by Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon. Their previous collaboration in the same vein was Superman: Secret Identity, which remains one of the best Superman tales I've ever read, so I'm very eager to see that approach applied to the Dark Knight. Image make a significant dent on my pull-list (Black Magick #9, Kill Or Be Killed #14, Lazarus X+66 #5, Manifest Destiny #32) while Marvel have two for me take home: Moon Knight #189 and Old Man Logan #31. It was an impressive start to Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows' run on Moon Knight last month, so I'm keen to see them dig further into the madness of Marc Spector's world, while Old Man Logan offers another opportunity to see Mike Deodato killing it on art duties.

27 Nov 2017

The Paradoscars 2017 - Final Week Of Voting!

It's the final week of voting for the Paradoscars 2017. There's been a lot of voting activity so far but we still want to make one more concerted effort to grab as many additional votes as we can before the time comes to tot them all up (voting will end on 30th November).

At the time of writing some of these categories are still up for grabs. Looking at the vote tally at the moment, while there are a few clear winners emerging, for the most part it remains a close race.

We anticipate the announcement of the winners to be at some point on the 16th December. As usual, a tipsy PCG will congregate in a local restaurant where everything will be revealed, and the results will appear here shortly afterwards.

In the mean time, if you haven't done so already, please take this opportunity to vote in the 18 categories linked below. It's a cliché to say this, but every vote really does count!

26 Nov 2017

Mini Reviews 26/11/2017

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.

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank & Brad Anderson
DC $5.99

James R: Cards on the table, I certainly didn't want to pick this up. As a fan of both of the creators of Watchmen, their lack of involvement on Doomsday Clock meant that I'm not that interested in what's a pretty obvious cash-grab from DC, but I also thought it would be unfair to dismiss it out of hand if I didn't at least take a look at what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have put together. I agree with Matt C's opinion that a sequel to this project was an inevitability; that's how capitalism and market forces work. A series, book or film is popular, people naturally want more of it, and it's only a matter of time before that demand is satisfied. This year we've seen two rightfully lauded sequels that have taken a long time to gestate; Blade Runner 2049 and Twin Peaks: The Return. Both of these were successful as they gave the original creators the opportunity to revisit and expand on their ideas. Doomsday Clock fails as DC haven't done this. It looks lovely - Gary Frank is an exceptional artist, but it's horribly predictable. Geoff Johns creates an issue that's such a rehash of the style and narrative of Watchmen that this is like watching a covers band rather than the original act. At times Johns is just trying too hard - the allusions to our currently unstable world as an update of the nuclear tensions of the 1980s feels crude rather than adroit. The one moment that feels like an authentic expansion of Watchmen is the introduction (and update of the Charlton characters Punch and Jewlee) of the Mime and the Marionette, but that's simply not enough. Alan Moore has said that the original Watchmen began to evolve and become something more than a regular comics series around issue #3 - I am sure there's a chance that Doomsday Clock could be the same, but I very much doubt it. Doomsday Clock is exactly what I feared it would be - a pale imitation rather than something new. Famously, Watchmen ends with the words "I leave it entirely in your hands." Johns and DC have decided that their grips are better, but without Moore and Gibbons, this is a project that should have been left well alone. 2/10

23 Nov 2017

Cover To Cover: DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank & Brad Anderson
DC $4.99

Matt C: Watchmen holds such an exalted position in popular culture that any attempt to approach Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's masterpiece with the intention of drawing further narratives from it is usually met with a variety of extreme reactions. The last time we were here was for Before Watchmen, a set of prequel miniseries that mostly fell far short of the mark, the obvious exception being Darwyn Cooke's excellent Minutemen and Silk Spectre books (especially the former). The issues of creator's rights have rumbled on for many years, and Moore in particular has been very vocal on the matter, but while his points have validity, essentially it boils down to who owns Watchmen, which is of course DC Comics. Like it or loathe it, DC and their parent company Time Warner are a businesses and from that perspective they would be foolish not to exploit such a successful property. With that in mind, perhaps we can be grateful they haven't flooded the market with inferior product, and now that they've finally decided it's time to unleash a sequel, they've placed the task in perhaps the best pair(s) of hands available. The question then is, can you blur the focus on all the arguments and instead concentrate your attention on the storytelling held within the first issue? Because even those most vehemently against the project may find it hard to dismiss the sheer quality on display here.

22 Nov 2017

The Paradoscars 2017 - The Final Categories!

And now it's time to vote in the final six categories before winners of the Paradoscars 2017 are announced in mid-December. (There is an additional category - The PCG's Hero Honorary Award For Hero(ine) Of The Year - but that's one we decide internally and is not up for a public vote).

These categories focus on characters, adaptations, websites, disappointments, along with looking forward into 2018. If you haven't voted in the initial twelve categories, you may do so here and here. And we really encourage you to do so - there's going to be some close races in some categories based on the tally of votes so far, while others see certain nominees charging ahead of the pack. But all of that can, of course, change, and that's where you come in.

Voting will run until the end of the month but we encourage you to cast your votes at the earliest opportunity!

21 Nov 2017

On The Pull 22/11/2017

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: This week's major new release is kind of a big deal. You'll probably fall into one (or more) of a handful of categories: you either consider it sacrilege on an unprecedented scale ("How dare they even *look* at this sacred tome?!"), or understand it was an inevitability ("Why did it take so long?"), or are rather excited ("Johns and Frank? This will be awesome!"). You may even fit into the "Who cares?" category, in which case what's the matter with you, how can you not have an opinion, this is one of the most important things to happen this year, please tweet about it immediately! Geoff Johns and Gary Frank - an especially appealing collaborative team if ever there was one - are bringing the world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen into the DC Universe, and it's one of those creative decisions where eliciting extreme reactions is unavoidable. Personally? I'm aware it could be a grand folly but I'm also aware that when Johns and Frank get together the results are generally magical so I could never count this out. It's not an especially big week for my pull-list otherwise, so I may find room for Donny Cates first stab at penning the Mad Titan's adventures in Thanos #13 after deciding I was done with the title now that Jeff Lemire has gone off to pastures new.