28 Jul 2015

On The Pull 29/07/2015

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: The Star Wars comics franchise has definitely seen a bit of a revival since moving from Dark Horse to Marvel (not that Dark Horse did a bad job of course). On a break after the first six-issue arc, Star Wars #7 is a Ben Kenobi standalone tale. Regular writer Jason Aaron is joined by artist Simone Bianchi to tell a story of Obi-Wan's adventures on Tatooine. Over in the madness that is Secret Wars, the cops are still looking for a killer in Thors #2. The first issue was well paced and the mystery had only just begun, so I'm on board for more. Plus it's fun spotting the all different Thors - hey, I'm easily pleased! A double whammy for fans of the new look Batgirl this week. There's a new issue of the regular series plus Batgirl Annual #3. The annual is written by the current creative team of Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher and they are joined by guest artist Bengal. Looks like Barbara will be chasing a familiar face even if she is unaware that a certain Dick Grayson is in town. With their past it will be nice to see how their dynamic has changed since their last meeting. Top of the pile this week will go to Southern Bastards #10. That man Jason Aaron again! This issue spotlights Esaw Goings, an enforcer for Coach Boss. This has been one of the best series from Image this year and continues to reel me in every month. A reasonably small pull this week but some great books to look forward to.

26 Jul 2015

Mini Reviews 26/07/2015

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.

WOLF #1
Writer: Ales Kot
Art: Matt Taylor & Lee Loughridge
Image $4.99

James R: Knowing Ales Kot's predilection for matters philosophical, I hope he won't mind me starting my review of Wolf with a reference to Jean Baudrillard's treatise Simulacra And Simulation (stay with me here!). In that work, Baudrillard argues that we're living in an age of 'Third Order' simulacrum, where originality has become a meaningless concept. I thought of this as I read Wolf because as much as I enjoyed it, all I could see were echoes of what has gone before. I know Kot has commented on how often he's compared to Warren Ellis, but the pages of Wolf did remind me of Ellis' Desolation Jones: the L.A. setting, the character with supernatural abilities engaged with nefarious dealings. There was also a healthy dose of Hellblazer in there too. However, this is one of the difficulties of coming up with any new series in any media - when everything has been done before, and if everything is simulacra, how do you make it original? Kot does a fine job in making his cast interesting enough to warrant a return visit, and it's a smart move to make this a bumper-sized first issue - by the final page I felt suitably enthralled by the plot to want to come back for more. Matt Taylor's art sets the tone for the book nicely, especially during the scorching opening pages, and Lee Loughridge's colours convey the sun-bleached L.A. environs beautifully. All told, this is a commendable opening chapter and I'll wait and see if Kot can shake off the shackles of simulacra. 8/10

23 Jul 2015

Cover To Cover: C.O.W.L. #11

C.O.W.L. #11
Writer: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel
Artists: Rod Reis
Image $3.99

James R: Endings are often the worst. When you fully fall in love with a piece of art or culture that's episodic by nature (comics and TV in the main) there is always a creeping malaise that comes with that affection. With each passing instalment, you find yourself thinking, "Well, how is this going to end? And what if it's a disappointment?!" Over the last few years, we've seen some examples of TV 'sticking the landing' magnificently - Breaking Bad and Mad Men did it, and despite the arguments over it you can't deny The Sopranos did too. In comics, finality is a rarer thing - the very nature of a lot of the comics we love means there is no real 'end'. Even when books do finish, there's usually the feeling that it's a pause rather than a full stop. However, there's still some occasions where a finale has delivered: Y: The Last Man, Sweet Tooth and Planetary had concluding issues that both amazed me and left a lump in my throat.

21 Jul 2015

On The Pull 22/07/2015


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: Well, July has been a long month in the comic world. It's five weeks instead of four so things have been spread out a little. It certainly shows that on my pull-list this Wednesday as it's quite a quiet one. So I'll start with comic that's not a comic. Fables comes to the end of it's 13-year run. Issue #150 isn't really an issue it's a graphic novel (Volume 22) and that's a fitting end to such a beloved title. Bill Willingham finishes what he started joined by regular artist Mark Buckingham for the main story and various artists for back up stories. From Image this week we have Birthright #9. A fantastic run from Joshua Williamson with perfect art from Andrei Bressan. We know the secret that Mikey is hiding from his family and we know it's only a matter of time before they find out. The suspense is being handled well and keeps me coming back for more. From the world of Secret Wars there are three I'll be picking up. Future Imperfect #3 by Peter David and Greg Land, Old Man Logan #3 and Marvel Zombies #2. Marvel Zombies features a version of Elsa Bloodstone close to the the Nextwave version, which is a win for me. Rounding off this weeks comics is the finale of Alex de Campi's Archie Vs. Predator. It's a guilty pleasure and it's been a fun ride. Will the Predator survive the combined might of Betty and Veronica?! I'll finish as I started, on a graphic novel. It's time for the last collected edition of Zenith. My long wait will be over and the completed Zenith run will have pride of place on my bookshelf! Life is good.

19 Jul 2015

Mini Reviews 19/07/2015

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.

ANT-MAN ANNUAL #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Brent Schoonover, Roman Rosanas & Jordan Boyd
Marvel $4.99

Stewart R: Oh, looky here: a fortuitous Ant-Man Annual appears for the first time on comic book shelves coincidentally in the same week that a blockbuster movie featuring the character hits screens around the globe!...*cough*...*cough...*CASH-IN!!*...excuse me! So yeah, this is a thing that happened and it's a five dollar book to boot. Now, having seen the film - and of course our spoiler-free review can be found here - and been picking up Nick Spencer's series since it launched earlier this year, I'm fully engaged in the printed stories of Scott Lang. I'm glad that Spencer keeps things linked to Lang's recent Miami-based exploits early on, keeping the reformed villain cast around for some fun dialogue before delving into the more one-shot side of this annual. We essentially get a look at the 616 Universe relationship between Hank Pym and Scott Lang, the personality faults and folly of the former and the lingering questions surrounding his connections and choice to pass the mantle onto the latter. While the flashback adventure is quite throwaway, and not exactly oozing with menace or threat, it does highlight just how different the two Ant-Men are and when we're transported back to the present and the fallout for Lang we find Spencer at his best once again, selling the consequences of life decisions with a black-comedy realism that hits the heart in a way other Marvel books don't and continues to set the Ant-Man title as an alternative to the traditional superhero book. Of course, this one-shot probably won't contribute a great deal to Scott Lang's ongoing adventures - and isn't essential reading from my perspective - but it does also offer the introduction of a new character we may be seeing more of soon to sweeten the deal if you might be interested. 7/10

18 Jul 2015

Screen Time: ANT-MAN

ANT-MAN
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer
Director: Peyton Reed
Runtime: 117 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Release: 17 July 2015


Stewart R: Following the success of last year's major Marvel surprise, Guardians Of The Galaxy, the belief that the studio could dip into their character pool and put nearly anyone on the screen and rake in the dollars truly solidified. For half a dozen years starting in 2006, an Ant-Man film had been in development, scripts were written and rewritten, and then in 2012 Edgar Wright shot test footage which suggested the premise of a hero who could shrink to the size of an ant and back to normal size in an instant 'could' work. Yet the studio were still not fully convinced. Here we now sit, three years later, Edgar Wright gone, replaced in the director's chair by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On, The Break-Up) and the ever-young Paul Rudd donning the Ant-Man suit. So can the man who becomes the little guy be a big hit?


16 Jul 2015

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

TOKYO GHOST #1
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy & Matt Hollingsworth
Image $3.50

Stewart R: Whilst suffering through Mark Millar's recent Chrononauts series, the element that compelled me to continue picking it up was the illustrations of Sean Murphy. The man could put his hand to drawing an entire issue of Bendis' talking heads and I'd probably pick it up. So when Murphy's visuals get paired with a writer of astounding quality and consistency, well that surely makes a series unmissable!? With Tokyo Ghost, Rick Remender IS that writer and with the great run he's been having - see Deadly Class, Low, Black Science, Uncanny Avengers - a story about digital addiction in a toxic New Los Angeles future sounds like the perfect fit for this creative duo. The preview art seems to have a few nods to Akira in there and with Tokyo being set as a mysterious, 'lost' Garden City in the year 2189 I'm interested to see if we get any more manga influences along the way.

14 Jul 2015

On The Pull 15/07/2015

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.

Matt C: Finally. FINALLY! You'd be forgiven for thinking Matt Fraction and David Aja's volume of Hawkeye had already come to an end, given the length of time since the last issue (5 months!),  as well as the fact that Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez already have three issues in the can of their All-New Hawkeye series and a gearing up to launch another volume later this year featuring a very different iteration of Clint Barton. But no, there was one more issue left to go, and this Wednesday that issue finally appears. But lets leave any cynicism at the door because the increasing delays won't matter once the whole thing gets collected and consumed by those who don't do monthlies - what they'll see, and what we'll be reminded of, is how Hawkeye unexpectedly became arguably the best solo series Marvel has put out this decade (and a hugely influential one at that). Let's celebrate that because it is series that should still be celebrated even if it may have dropped off the radar in recent times. Other than that it's a quiet week for me with - shock-horror - no Image comics all my pull-list (can't remember the last time that happened!) With that in mind, I might take a look at the Secret Wars tie-in Hail Hydra #1 which I'm guessing will be Rick Remender's last book for Marvel (for the time being, at least). I'll be sad to see him go after the high points of Uncanny X-Force and the first volume of Uncanny Avengers but if it means more books like Black Science, Deadly Class and Low will be on his slate, I can't really complain!

12 Jul 2015

Mini Reviews 12/07/2015

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.

LANDO #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Alex Maleev & Paul mOunts
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: The last time I dipped a toe into the world of Star Wars in comic book form, it was Brian Wood's work over at Dark Horse and my interest quickly waned. To this point I've avoided the Marvel boom for the property, but such is my love for the character of sneaky Lando Calrissian and growing love for the writing of Charles Soule that I couldn't resist picking this up. Thankfully this has a lot going for it with Soule centring on the friendship of Lando and his living calculator companion Lobot as they, much like Han and Chewie, attempt to claw themselves out of a grand amount of debt, hopefully keeping their heads and maybe making a profit in the process. I appreciate the way in which Soule makes Lando out to be something of a ladies man, utilising his way with words and playing more of a psychological game than his more famous scoundrel pal. The descent into heist territory makes perfect sense, with the two new crew members a very intriguing prospect. I'm not entirely convinced by the incredibly high stakes reveal at the end of the issue and I have to admit that while Maleev and Mounts work is solid in the main, there are moments when the quality dips slightly and the illustration seems particularly flat. But two small grumbles do not a disaster make (what would Yoda do with that wording?) and I'm more than happy to get stuck into the second chapter when it blasts into view. 8/10

9 Jul 2015

The Winning Pitch: SEX

In The Winning Pitch we state our case for adapting a comic, old or new, into what we believe would be a successful TV show.
James R: The following transcript is taken from a secret recording inside the office of Michael Lombardo, HBO's President of Programming...

“Hey, Michael – can I call you Michael? Oh, okay – Mr Lombardo then. Thanks for finding the time to see me. Now, I know HBO are always looking for a new, high-quality drama series to put in that Sunday night slot, and I think I’ve got something for you. It’s called Sex – no, wait, wait – don’t call security just yet, I think we could change the title! And anyway, it’s not what you think. Actually, it is, but it’s very HBO.