16 Oct 2018

On The Pull 17/10/2018

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: A Bendis twofer from DC to leads things off this week. Pearl has established itself fairly powerfully with it's opening two issues, so I'm confident the third instalment will keep the same level of quality going, but Cover now has the task of convincing us there's something really strong behind the wish-fulfilment premise with its second issue. If either of those disappoint then I know Batman #57 will make up for it; it's now so reliably excellent that I open issues with confidence rather than hope. In the same vein, Gideon Falls #7 drops from Image, another book where brilliance is now expected, and disappointment is as rare as hen's teeth. Also from Image is East Of West #39, a series that still possesses an immense lure but should have perhaps reached its final act before now. Thor #6 stays in the future with All-Father Thor mixing it up with Old Man Phoenix; it's fine, if not up to the standard of the Jane Foster storyline and, while the art on the relaunch has turned some off, I'm sticking around for the lead up to the recently announced War Of The Realms event (which also sees Russell Dauterman's return to art duties). In the True Believers corner, we're being asked What If the Alien Costume had Possessed Spider-Man? and What If Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Powers? Important questions to be sure, and if you don't own the original comics then the stupidly cheap price for each of these issues should be too hard to pass up!

15 Oct 2018

Graphic Perception: MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Sean Phillips & Jacob Phillips
Image $16.99

James R: At first, I was a little taken aback by the price of the latest offering from the world of Criminal. It's officially a 'Criminal novella' - a first for this series. In recent years, Criminal has appeared as lush, oversized one-shots, echoing the '70s comics that featured in their narratives. My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is 72 pages, (roughly the equivalent of three issues of a 'standard' book) but this tale crams a lot into what seems like a simple story at first glance. Is it worth your hard-earned cash though?

Firstly, it's great to see Brubaker and Phillips back doing these stories. Since its inception over at Marvel's Icon imprint (Remember that?! Given Marvel's recent shambolic editorial decisions, it seems less and less likely we'll ever see Marvel invest in a line that indulges in adult themes again!), Criminal has always showcased the duo's best work. Brubaker has an obvious love of noir, and Criminal was the book where that was fully unleashed - in series such as the excellent Sleeper, the noir was always tempered by the demands of superhero books. In teaming with Sean Phillips, the two made one of the most remarkable collaborations in modern comics - Phillips' art perfectly suited the gritty world of the Undertow bar and the nefarious stories that it contained.

14 Oct 2018

Mini Reviews 14/10/2018

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.

INFINITE DARK #1
Writer: Ryan Cady
Art: Andrea Mutti & K. Michael Russell
Image/Top Cowe $3.99

Matt C: I love the central premise here - the universe has ended, but some 2,000 human survivors have made it to the void in a specially constructed vessel. Unfortunately it's only a fraction of the intended population, as the heat death of the universe was swifter than anticipated, and those that made it are left to grapple with the guilt and existential burden of being all that's left in existence... or are they? As is often the way, the story hinges around a murder, but while the mystery that pushes all the characters into action is engaging, it's the idea of being all alone in endless nothing that resonates strongly. It's marked as an 'ongoing', and at this stage it's not clear where it can go beyond the whodunnit scenario, but it's such a confident opening chapter that I'm prepared to take the journey into the darkness with it. 8/10

12 Oct 2018

The Shipping Forecast: December 2018

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 2018.

PRODIGY #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Image $3.99

Kenny J: The quick pitch for Prodigy reminds me of the long-absent Ignition. The multitalented and polymorphic dealing with the occult, although this time all rolled into one individual. This is sure to have a very different  tone as it is being written by Mark Millar, someone who is known for his high concept books packed full of action. The factor that drew me to this new title from Image is that all these guts and ghouls will be drawn by one of my top artists, Rafael Albuquerque - also, there is the fact that this is the second story to be released under Millarworld’s Netflix deal. The concept of the first, The Magic Order, fantasy-based as it was, never really grabbed me, but with its promise of paranormal and secret agents, Prodigy is something I want to be in at the beginning for.

9 Oct 2018

On The Pull 10/10/2018

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.

Jo S: Phew, where to start this week?! Wednesday’s list is a real mixture of much-anticipated next issues, and new and exciting goodies - stuck in Birmingham for work, I’ll be fidgeting to get back and get that paper parcel torn open! It will take something really spectacular to beat Catwoman #4 out of the championship spot this week - JoĆ«lle Jones’ languid yet determined Selina has cat-burgled my heart - but She Could Fly might be a contender, as it reaches its conclusion this week. A story with a hero whose mental health is so fragile that it seems impossible that she function in normal circumstances, let alone when tackling international industrial espionage, this has never held back from taking us inside the psyche of a woman struggling to deal with the horrors created by her own mind. For tasty new treats, I’m giving Image’s Infinite Dark a try: artist Andrea Mutti was, for me, one of the better things about the Port Of Earth series and the story premise of a murder mystery in the deep isolation of space ticks a couple of boxes for me. For those who are aware of my ongoing slightly hysterical fascination with Spider-Ham, it will come as no surprise that I’m going for Spider-Geddon #1. No sign of Peter Porker on the cover, but there are plenty of Spider-Varietals, including Tsum Tsum Spidey, so I’ve got my spider-trotters crossed that he’ll make an appearance. Finally, James R mentioned in his reviews this week that fans are keenly feeling the lack of a series from Brubaker and Phillips currently: no news as yet on a serialised comic, but this week does see the release of a hardcover graphic novel from this iconic team, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies. A story of a teen obsessed with the perceived romance of the addict’s life, this should be something pretty exceptional, and having only recently discovered and immediately loved the Criminal books, I’ll be forking over some of my hard-earned cash - it’ll make that trip to Birmingham worth my while.

7 Oct 2018

Mini Reviews 07/10/2018

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 #56
Writer: Tom King
Art: Tony S. Daniel, Danny Miki & Tomeu Morey
DC $3.99

James R: I'm really starting to run out of superlatives on this series, but the truth is this title just gets better and better. Tom King's epic run seems to grow with every arc - in terms of characterisation, plot and sheer ambition, Batman is superb. For the younger readers out there, KGBeast was a late '80s Bat-villain who always felt like an odd fit in Batman's rogue's gallery, but King has worked his magic on him, turning him into both a more three-dimensional character, and a far more chilling antagonist. There's so much to enjoy here - King revels in the sheer relentless drive of a vengeance-fuelled Batman, and if you've ever enjoyed reading the exploits of the Dark Knight Detective, this is very much the stuff. I'm also amazed by Tony Daniel's work on this arc - I think this is the best work I've seen him do. 2018 has definitely been Tom King's year - we can only imagine what he's planning as the grand finale to this run. 9/10

6 Oct 2018

Screen Time: VENOM

VENOM
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Runtime: 112 minutes
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 3rd October 2018/5th October 2018

Matt C: This film was on shaky ground from the very beginning. After an aborted attempt to create a misguided cinematic 'Spiderverse' with the two Amazing Spider-Man movies (at one stage there was plans to make a solo Aunt May flick), Sony seemed to come to their senses by agreeing to loan Spidey to the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, resulting in arguably the best take on the character yet, one who existed in a world where superhero team-ups are as regular as clockwork. Marvel Studios have repeatedly shown they know how to utilize their large roster of colourful heroes and villains, and Spider-Man now seems like he's in very safe hands. But Sony still had plans of their own, eager to monetize the library of related characters at their disposal, and rather than giving everything over to Marvel they seem intent to forge ahead with a retrofitted Spiderverse concept again, only now without Spider-Man himself (which even the casual observer must consider a peculiar decision). First out of the gate is Venom (with Morbius the Living Vampire, Black Cat and Silver Sable projects all in development), and again this seems a strange choice for a character whose comic book origins, history and, indeed, design are so intrinsically tied to the wallcrawler's.

2 Oct 2018

On The Pull 03/10/2018

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.

Jo S: Double Batman-goodness headlines my pull-list this week: I don't think Tom King’s main Batman series needs any other trailing, with huge accolades from the PCG team as a whole, but I'm also picking up Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams #1, as Sam Kieth’s wispy, wonky, wonderful art makes this unmissable for me. Unnerving mystery A Walk Through Hell takes the next spot - this has been been such assured, confident storytelling - a real credit to Aftershock. The most recent issue of Death Of the Inhumans left me gasping again - the drama is ramped up to the max in this and I’m holding out hope that comic book lore will hold up and the shocking losses of the first issue will be resolved somehow. I picked up War Bears last month on something of a whim and loved it - the story of a comic book within a comic book, wrapped in a history of wartime Canada and propaganda delivered via a magazine bombshell with a furry face, this is fascinating and rich. My whim-of-the-week this week is Jook Joint #1 - this passed by me in Previews but I caught some sample pages at the end of this week’s Cold Spots. Set in 1950s New Orleans (you got me right there), this jazz-horror blend looks like a gruesome ensemble, humming a tune you just have to dance to.

30 Sep 2018

Mini Reviews 30/09/2018

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.

HEROES IN CRISIS #1
Writer: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann & Tomeu Morey
DC $3.99

Jo S: Mann and Moreau must have had a blast putting together the cover of this issue - any comics fan would be able to find a favourite in the huge crowd scene and with no shortage of big characters and plenty of prior information suggesting a plotline featuring a major cull of heroes, there's a distinct air of deadpool (lowercase intended) bingo about that image. There’s undeniable pressure on Tom King to keep every new venture up to the astonishing standard of the Batman and Mister Miracle series this year and there is, I think, always enormous pressure on the first issue of an ensemble story, with the writer needing to get us up to speed with the team dynamic quickly: obviously, when you’re working with the Justice League, there's no need to waste time with introductions, but nonetheless King works in clever elements of the way Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman mesh as a team. I loved Mann’s distinct style for each of the Trinity; Superman’s concern, Batman’s scowling control freakery, Wonder Woman's tenderness as she gently closes the eyes of a fallen colleague. King’s distressing story gripped me, giving horrifying tragedy, eloquent character study and a twist: it's very possible he might have pulled off yet another hit. 8/10

25 Sep 2018

On The Pull 26/09/2018

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.

Jo S: I've refused to have my head turned by too many new starts this week, although there were a good few that I had considered, settling instead on a 50% DC blend for a compact little pull-list. One of those DC offerings is an issue #1 though: I'm giving ensemble book Heroes In Crisis a go. The sample art from Clay Mann looks glorious and although I'm cagey about DC team ups, Tom King can do no wrong at the moment - even his off-days are best-days-ever right now - and Wonder Woman will always raise the appeal of a book for me. The mighty Doomsday Clock strikes seven this week - I wish hard that these were appearing closer together but I guess I'll be wishing they lasted longer when we reach issue #12! I'm in the habit of going back and reading the previous issue just before the next though, to refresh my memory of the increasingly braided storylines and to pick up more juicy little morsels of detail. Scarlet #2 rounds up my DC demi-list: I picked up a copy of the trade for the earlier Scarlet series on a recent foray to that London to get myself all caught up, so might try and read some of that at least before Wednesday. Image’s new otherworldly mystery Cold Spots garnered some tentative interest at the PCG meet last month, giving little away but layering intriguing storytelling with misty ghostly art and, with similarly spooky tones, Bone Parish has me gripped; a smartly written tale of drug-funded family business and politics. My final pick for this week is Beyonders #2 - the puzzle-geek hiding very close to the surface within me is sharpening her pencils and limbering up the guessing engine in preparation.