18 Feb 2018

Mini Reviews 18/02/2018

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.

COLD WAR #1
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Hayden Sherman
Aftershock $3.99

Jo S: Future warriors being awoken from some kind of suspended animation and having to take up arms in an unfamiliar world seems to be a bit of a theme currently - The Forever War returns soon, Altered Carbon on Netflix has connected themes and even Captain America's story this week featured Ice-Cap - so I was hoping that this Aftershock offering might have something a bit different to say, having been drawn to it by the promise of Sherman’s art, which had such impact on me in The Few last year. Sadly, his talent is underused in this and there wasn’t anything new in the story to really grab me. The spareness utilised so effectively in The Few was missing here, and the visuals felt a little cramped as a result, although I can see how an air of claustrophobia might be part of the desired effect. There were some interesting ideas on brutally inventive future weaponry and a candle flame of curiosity lit regarding the different motivations of Rook, the lead character, and his fellow draftees, but disappointingly little to come back for otherwise. 5/10

15 Feb 2018

Screen Time: BLACK PANTHER

BLACK PANTHER
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis
Director: Ryan Coogler
Runtime: 134 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Release: 13th Feburary 2018 (UK)/16th February 2018 (USA)

Jo S: Although the Black Panther has been around in comic book form for some time, there was a very little to go on in terms of what to expect going into the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. We’d seen Chadwick Boseman in the title role - and the suit, briefly - in Captain America: Civil War, but other than this glimpse, the story to be told was as deeply obscured as Wakanda itself. Exploration of both reveales riches galore: braided tales of generations, the legacy of the father and the struggle of the son to carve out his own place in the world, supporting stories of scientific progress and its manipulation, the destruction wreaked by parasitic colonialism counterbalanced by the responsibility to help one’s fellow man, and ancient tradition set against the demands of a modern world… with armoured battle-rhino thrown in for good measure.

13 Feb 2018

On The Pull 14/02/2017

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: Love is in the air, everywhere I look around. What is this love I speak of? It's a love of comics! If there ever comes a Wednesday where I can't find anything worth buying and reading, something will have gone wrong (and it'll be something wrong with me - there's ALWAYS comics worth buying and reading, I despair when people say otherwise). As with most weeks it appears, Kill Or Be Killed will be the highlight. As strong as it ever was, and as unpredictable too - every time you think you've got its number, it does something to totally wrongfoot you. Lazarus: X+66 comes to an end this week; it's been a fine miniseries, expanding on the world of Lazarus in essential ways, but its ending means that the series proper will be storming back to our pull-lists very soon. Oh, there's a new Kick-Ass series from Image too, but I feel the law of diminishing returns set in with that concept some time ago, so I'll sit this one out. Marvel have a couple of things of interest incoming, but it's Marvel 2-In-One #3 that will be the first one I go to. Why? Because it's full of warmth, humour and emotion (and action, of course!) and it's the nearest we have to a Fantastic Four book for the time being - I LOVE Marvel's First Family! See, when you come down to it, it's going to be all about love on the 14th. Valentine's what?

11 Feb 2018

Mini Reviews 11/02/2018

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.

YOUNG MONSTERS IN LOVE #1
Writers: Various
Art: Various
DC $9.99

Jo S: This compendium has set me up a treat for Wednesday’s Valentine festival of love and was well-worth its rather heart-racing cover price. Ten tales on a theme is too many for me to cover each in respectful detail, so I’ll pick out my highlights. I’m relatively unfamiliar with most of the monsters in the role call but, though short, each tale managed in but a few pages to get me up to speed on what I needed to know. I particularly enjoyed Paul Dini’s Deadman story - not a romance, directly at least, but a story of bullying set on Valentine’s Day, tackling uncomfortable ideas effectively, even in such a short space. The Swamp Thing story by Mark Russell, with Frazer Irving’s artwork, is a tear-jerker, the second time that this Big Green Guy has torn at my heartstrings this week, and has reawakened a Nirvana earworm which is likely to stick around for some time to come. My absolute favourite though is something of an odd choice: Steve Orlando’s ‘Visibility’, a story about Monsieur Mallah and The Brain. It’s a peculiar little tale which manages to include much of the history of the pair encapsulated in a very short span of time, but it is absolutely lit up by Nic Klein’s artwork, with inventive page structure swirling the reader through that history and with the most heartbreaking close up on the final page, raw emotion shining through in a way that transcends differences and shows that love is truly for all. 9/10

9 Feb 2018

Thought Balloon: MY FIRST YEAR READING COMICS

Jo S: I got started in comics wayyyyyy late on - you guys who’ve been collecting since you were kids? Wow, I have a lot of respect for your experience but I’m a total newbie to this. My first introduction to modern comics was a copy of Matt Kindt’s Past Aways, lying around at a friend’s house. It has become a ‘thing’ for me that I have deep issues with stories which use time travel to fix things and I picked up this copy intending to be snotty about the weakness of using time travel as a magic wand to resolve all plot problems. Instead of finding ammunition for an assassination of yet another tiresome ‘just when disaster seemed unavoidable our hero reverses time and stops his own conception’ cliché (chronoclasm as contraception - hmm, should market that), I found myself giggling at the little cutaways describing various bits of loony future-tech and guiltily indulging in blatant parody of sci-fi, which for me had always been a pretty formal business. This gave me my start, and was followed by a little dabbling with more Kindt and more sci-fi (Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard stands out - more please!). And then I met the Paradox Comics Group.

I won’t drone on with a full history of my year - I’m still new to writing (if you weren’t aware, I’m a mathematician, writing anything longer than ‘...and hence since this is true for n=1 and the truth for n=k implies truth for n=k+1, this must be true for all n greater than or equal to 1’ is new world for me) and my tendency to to ramble verbally isn’t tamed in the written word yet, so I’ve used my extensive research in the field of social media and opted for a list, because apparently that’s what gets clicks.

Here then, presented for your delectation, is my list (YOU WON’T BELIEVE NUMBER 6!!)...

6 Feb 2018

On The Pull 07/02/2018

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.

James R: Following a barren week for me last new comic book day, I'm pleased that this week sees things returning to normal for my pull-list. In keeping with the Tom King-lead renaissance, I'll be picking up the latest issue of Batman, but I'm even more interested to pick up the Swamp Thing Winter Special that's finally released this Wednesday. With a script from King, and art from Jason Fabok, the issue is a tribute to Swamp Thing creators Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein, and from what I've seen of the book, this has the makings of something special. The next chapter of Batman: White Knight, Sean Phillips' visually beautiful Dark Knight tale, joins Mister Miracle in running to multiple reprints - looks like the secret to a running a successful comics company is to give talented creators the chance to do innovative work...who knew?! The other issue of note on my pull is VS from Image. This science fiction tale comes with a script from Ivan Brandon, but what's sold me is that Esad Ribic is on art duties. Ribic is one of those artists whose work is so good, I'd be interested in seeing it even if it was a My Little Pony tale (okay, maybe that's a step too far, but you get the idea).

4 Feb 2018

Mini Reviews 04/02/2018

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.

MOTHERLANDS #1
Writer: Si Spurrier
Art: Rachael Stott & Felipe Sobreiro
DC/Vertigo $3.99

Jo S: Si Spurrier was my draw to this tale of interdimensional bounty hunters, and he’s once again weaving his magic, designing a universe of connected alternate dimensions, and connected generations. Tabitha is a trawl-runner, a bounty hunter, jumping between ‘strings’ in pursuit of criminals, earning a meagre living in a cut-throat industry, trying to escape her family history. And her family IS bounty hunter history; she is the daughter of the Scarlet Sylph, a legendary celebrity in her field, now tucked under a rug in an old folks’ home. Spurrier again demonstrates his skill as a builder of worlds, and his telling of Tabitha’s grimly bitter resignation to the need to ask for her mother’s help is captured eloquently by Stott’s pencils. I like the clever intertwining of flashbacks to Tabitha’s childhood with ‘present day’ events, and enjoyed how Spurrier plays with the idea that the way the previous generation did things is now considered politically incorrect. An efficient introduction to the world, with a catchy hook to the main story at the end - I’ll come back for issue #2. 7/10

30 Jan 2018

On The Pull 28/01/2018

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: A double hit of Jean Grey blazes into my list this week, with the final issue of Phoenix Resurrection partnering up with the new arc of young Jean Grey’s own series. The Phoenix has been imminent throughout the five weeks that the former has been running and the suspense has morphed into feverish anticipation. Hopeless’ series left young Jean just as the Phoenix finally arrived - she has the support of former Phoenix hosts but how will she survive its arrival this time? My other Marvel pick this week is Tales Of Suspense #101: recent renumbering leaves this confusingly labelled #101 (of 5) but I bear no confusion at all over how much I'm looking forward to seeing the Clint and Bucky team-up deepening their investigations into the assassinations of Natasha’s own hit-list; who but the Black Widow could be wiping out her enemies so efficiently? A couple of issue #1s complete my pull: I've been waiting for Si Spurrier’s Motherlands since previewing it and I'm looking forward to seeing how his skill as a creator of other worlds sets off a tale of celebrity bounty hunters and a mother and daughter forced into a strained working relationship. Lastly, I'm very excited to see JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1, not just because it introduces Milkman Man (!) but also because the art is by Aco. Aco is something of an enigma in terms of his background but his entrancing, psychedelic work on the Nick Fury series last year was a real stand-out for me.

28 Jan 2018

Mini Reviews 28/01/2018

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.

LEGION #1
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Wilfredo Torres & Dan Brown
Marvel $3.99

James R: It's a turbulent time in the House of Ideas: following the loss of some very high-profile talent and some questionable editorial choices, there's definitely the sense that Marvel are going through a relatively fallow period right now. I'm only picking up one title from them currently but I always hope there's going to be a magical new series to bring me back. I decided to give Legion a shot as I'm a massive fan of the remarkable TV series from showrunner extraordinaire Noah Hawley, and my hope was that Peter Milligan would continue to mine the mind-bending and philosophical aspects that became the hallmark of that show. The plot sees the son of Charles Xavier on another quest, this time, seeking out the help of celebrity psychologist Dr Hannah Jones to help him with the latest psychic chaos tearing through his fractured mind. Wilfredo Torres is an interesting choice for the art on this series - his style is immediately distinctive from a standard Marvel house style, but I'm not sure it's the best fit here. I wanted to see something as quirky and idiosyncratic as David Haller, but Legion felt very standard-issue. 6/10

23 Jan 2018

On The Pull 24/01/2017

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: It's a close call this week as two titles contend for top spot on my to-read pile. Will it be Marvel Two-In-One #2, the 'non-Fantastic Four comic that really is a Fantastic Four comic' or Southern Bastards #19 which I was beginning to worry would never, ever, see the light of day? I'm still undecided but both are eagerly anticipated. The Thing and the Torch travel to Monster Island in search of the secret of Reed Richards, and Doctor Doom is hot on their heels. This issue features a familiar looking cover, which FF fans should lap up. Chip Zdarsky and Jim Cheung are making this a must-reed *ahem* -read. It's been almost four months since the last issue of Southern Bastards but it's so good I can forgive Jason Aaron and Jason Latour for that. Roberta Tubb is a force to be reckoned with and, love him or loathe him, Coach Boss is a stand-out character. Please don't leave it too long for #20! Talking of love or loathe, it's Doomsday Clock #3. People are still debating the pros and cons for this book but for me the Gary Frank art will win out, every time. Avengers #677 continues the weekly 'No Surrender' story and it's the return of Quicksilver that is the highlight of this issue. Manifest Destiny #33 is another Image title I'm looking forward to. Like Southern Bastards, I've really enjoyed the way the characters have been crafted and Manifest Destiny still manages to spring plenty of weird and wonderful twists and turns in its storylines.