28 Jun 2015

Mini Reviews 28/07/2015

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: Chuck Palahniuk
Artists: Cameron Stewart & Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics $3.99

James R: Proving that last month's explosive opening chapter wasn't a happy accident, Fight Club 2 returns with another phenomenal issue that shows Chuck Palahniuk has certainly got a firm grip on this comics lark, and that Cameron Stewart is producing the best work of an already impressive career. As I mentioned in my extended review of issue #1, what's remarkable here is how the creative team make full use of the language of comics. Right at the heart of the issue is the revelation that Tyler has been a part of Sebastian's life far longer than we originally thought - and Tyler has been busy once again orchestrating Project Mayhem. My fear at the outset was that this would be a pale retread of the original. This issue highlights that Palahniuk has been utterly revitalised by switching mediums, and I'm already starting to hope his mooted sequel to Rant appearing in comic form is becoming more of a possibility. As it is, this issue is a teeth-shaking, right-hook of a read. 9/10

23 Jun 2015

On The Pull 24/06/2015

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Andy H: Looks like a quieter comic haul this week. The Secret Wars spin-offs are up and running and I'll be picking up Infinity Gauntlet #2 on Wednesday. Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Dustin Weaver got the series off to a cracking start and this issue promises Thanos. Which Thanos is any one's guess, but it's a Thanos! For a nostalgia kick it may be worth picking up X-Men '92 #1. I'll be honest, I don't recognise the writers' names but I have fond memories of the '90s X-Men so I'll give them a chance. Mark Waid's S.H.I.E.L.D. series has the added benefit of being one-story-per-issue so it's easy to dip in and out of. Issue #7 features (as seen on TV!) Skye and her father, Mr Hyde. I used to be a massive fan of Green Lantern but after the endless crossovers of the New 52 versions, I'd had enough. Looks like Cullen Bunn may be able to tempt me back with Green Lantern: The Lost Army. John Stewart, Kilowog and a few other Green Lanterns find themselves stranded in space with no idea where they are or how they got there. Nice! Finally we have Surface Tension #2. Written and beautifully drawn by Jay Gunn, we find out more about the people that disappeared into the sea. All were presumed dead but when they start showing up with no memory and blue skin you know you'll want to find out why.

21 Jun 2015

Mini Reviews 21/06/2015

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: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Taibo & Frank Martin
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: Another Secret Wars tie-in that made it onto my pull-list and pretty swiftly convinced me it was worth sticking with for the duration. Without giving anyone a continuity headache, Squadron Sinister are a team of villains modelled on the Justice League, their more familiar heroic counterparts being Squadron Supreme, who were later given the ‘MAX’ treatment by J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank in Supreme Power. It all gets a bit confusing, even reading the various entries on Wikipedia! But anyway, here we have the Squadron Sinister in one of the Battleworld territories bumping off their various doppelgangers; they actually take on the Straczynski versions in the opening scene but there’s plenty of evidence they’ve been doing this for a while (there are even some neat nods to the JLA themselves). This has all be done without riling up Emperor God Doom, although an incident occurs that will soon change that. Guggenheim revels in bringing some dark, duplicitous charisma to these characters, and while it’s not the best work I’ve seen from Carlos Pacheco, anything from him is always of the highest quality, and to my mind he remains one of the most underrated artists of the modern age. We’ve seen villainous versions of Superman, Batman, Flash et al played out on numerous occasions across the years, but in this context – and in the same way that there’s still plenty of life in the JLA concept – there’s a pleasing amount of fiendish thrills to be found in Squadron Sinister #1. 8/10

19 Jun 2015

Cover To Cover: THORS #1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story & Marte Gracia
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: To my surprise, I’ve engaged with the Secret Wars event far more than I anticipated. I was confident that the core series would deliver, based on Jonathan Hickman’s excellent work over the last couple of years on Avengers and New Avengers (which dealt with the storyline that led directly into the creation of Battleworld), but I had sort of dismissed the various tie-ins as either pointless or superfluous, and unlikely to have any effect on how the central narrative progresses. This was a frequent point of conversation over the last few months between various members of the PCG: why do we need these books, what ultimate purpose do they serve in the grand purpose of things? Of course, I’ve gone on to pick up a bunch of these tie-ins and, on the whole, I've enjoyed them immensely, which led me back to that question: why do we need these books?

The answer is blindingly obvious: because they provide the potential for great stories.

16 Jun 2015

On The Pull 17/06/2015

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Andy H: More from Secret Wars this week. I was a little unsure how I felt about Old Man Logan when it was first listed but I have to say, I really enjoyed #1, so it looks like I shall pick up #2 this week to see if it can continue to hold my attention. There are a few other #1s from the Secret Wars stable released this Wednesday but I think I'll go with Thors # 1 as the leader of the pack. Written by regular Thor series scribe Jason Aaron it should be in safe hands. Shame it's so soon after the reveal of the new Thor's identity but nonetheless, I'm sure it will be worth a try. Of course it helps that top talent Chris Sprouse is on art duties! Over at DC there's a new Harley Quinn miniseries. Harley Quinn And Power Girl tells the missing adventure that took place between panels of Harley's regular series. The first issue of a new Justice League Of America series will be on my 'to check out' list. Bryan Hitch is writer and artist and I hope to see him on top form for this. I'm slightly disappointed that DC have priced this at $5.99 when my pocket money is already stretched! I'll also be picking up Trees #9, Black Canary #1 and of course, Archie Vs Predator #3 (well I couldn't leave that out could I?). All in all some great stuff to look forward to.

15 Jun 2015

Mini Reviews 14/06/2015

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
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: You may or may not be familiar with the original, shortlived ‘Weirdworld’ storyline that appeared in various Marvel Comics in the ‘70s, and you may or may not be familiar with Arkon, the Conan-esque warrior from another dimension who’s made a smattering of appearances in Avengers comics across the decades. It’s unlikely to make a difference either way, and that’s fine. Aaron has employed the patchwork approach of Secret Wars to weave a tale of a lost king searching for his way home in a bizarre, inhospitable environment. The writer has proven he has the chops for rugged, fantasy heroism with his recent work on Thor, and with Del Mundo as his wingman he has one of the most unique contemporary artistic talents on hand to create some thrilling, boisterous imagery that contain pleasing hints of impressionism to further ensure it stands out from the pack. It’s may be ‘superfluous’ and unlikely to last beyond the main Secret Wars event (or have much of an impact on it), but does that really matter? A good story is a good story, and at this stage Weirdworld looks like it’s going to be a very good story. 8/10

12 Jun 2015

Ten Forward: August 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 May issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in July 2015.

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson
Image $3.99

Rob N: Unlike most comics these days, the whole point of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's Phonogram series seems to be to remind you every few pages how rubbish your record collection is compared to theirs. Oh yes, they may pretend that they're writing and drawing a contemporary urban fantasy story that obliquely explores the concept of music as a radical form of audio Chaos Magick, but really they just want to talk about Kenickie and Girls Aloud and laugh at your Coldplay CDs and then remind you how cool Camden was in 1992. And by the way, they used to drink at the Good Mixer with Blur (probably) and you didn't. So there. In fact, reading Phonogram sometimes feels like you have to prove your indie credentials are cool enough to 'get it' and that you're not one of the late comers who only got on board with '90s indie when Ocean Colour Scene appeared on Top Of The Pops. Phonogram is a very English style of comic, all post-punk swagger and old school NME attitude, probably far too cocky for its own good, but entertaining throughout. It's also something of a commercial failure, hence why (the final?) third series has taken several years to come about, and at times often felt like it wouldn't surface at all.

9 Jun 2015

On The Pull 10/06/2015

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. To see what’s available at Paradox this week, click here.

Kenny J: For me, some of the tie-ins to Marvel’s Secret Wars have seemed fun but superfluous. Not meant to last beyond this summer or the end of the event, whichever one comes first. However, there are smatterings of titles that may continue post-Battleworld, one contender being Weirdworld, an amalgamation of '70s movie tropes rendered by Mike del Mundo and written by Jason Aaron. The fantasy realms and apocalyptic wastelands of Weirdworld are in experienced hands as the latter creator’s recent run on Thor proves he has an aptitude for the mythological. Although I am generally not a fan of fantasy as a genre, this is something I want to be on board for from the beginning, even if it does go no further than October. Speaking of myths and beginnings, from the get go of his new Image book, Injection, Warren Ellis has begun spinning a tale of secret societies, magic and futurism. Where it will go is anybodies guess at this point in time but the initial issue was so packed full of atmosphere and intrigue that I will definitely be picking up the second one come this Wednesday. Once again it is a smallish week packed full of comics I’m really looking forward to including Batman #41 as it begins a new arc with a brand new Batman. With Bruce Wayne disappeared  - apparently dead - it has fallen to Jim Gordon to take up the cowl, albeit a metallic one. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run is the only book I have consistently been buying since DC's New 52 launched. I'm hoping this remains the case post Convergence.

7 Jun 2015

Mini Reviews 07/06/2015

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: James Robinson
Art: Greg Hinkle
Image $2.99

Matt C: When a writer and/or artist places themselves at the centre of a comic book storyline, it can be an enormously self-indulgent, egotistical exercise, and depending on how it’s approached, it may not be especially appealing. Who wants to read about someone else wallowing in their exaggerated sense of their own brilliance (naming no names here!). Airboy doesn’t fall into that category, thankfully. Sure, there’s an element of ego at play here – how could there not be? – but it counters that by a being brutally honest, self-deprecating and darkly funny trip through what’s essentially an extreme case of writer’s block (where writer’s block is more of an affectation – and a destructive one at that – than a real affliction). The Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman cinematic masterpiece Adaptation is good indication of what to expect, although Airboy is far more profane than that movie, hilariously so. Both Robinson and Hinkle head full-throttle into this ‘autobiographical’ tale and in doing so have created one of the comic book highlights of 2015. 9/10

5 Jun 2015

The Indie Club: RED MASK FROM MARS #2

Writer: Vincent Hunt
Art: Vincent Hunt & Shaun Dobie

Matt C: A welcome return for this infectiously buoyant Brit indie book that thankfully still holds its tongue resolutely in its cheek. Our ‘hero’, Doug Stewart, continues to bumble his way into the action, attempting to save the day and appearing to only succeed despite himself. He’s an annoying fool but also incredibly endearing in that very British way, never giving up despite the odds, a kind of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards with an alien attached to his face (and a penchant for attempted heroism rather than downhill skiing, of course).

As giant ‘spacesharks’ terrorise Southern England, the “alien fella from the telly” tries to avert their rampage with decidedly mixed results. The real star of the show is turning out to be Sergeant Price, whose no nonsense approach to the various dangerous situations that present themselves proves to be far more successful than Stewart’s, her tolerance of his alien-enhanced hi-jinx wearing down further and further following every pratfall the titular character makes. She’s kind of staple character (the one who gets all the work done while the flashier partner takes all the credit) but has enough ballsy, eye-rolling sardonicism to make her an engaging foil.