21 Dec 2014

Mini Reviews 21/12/2014

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.

SQUARRIORS #1
Writer: Ash Maczko
Art: Ashley Witter
Devil’s Due $4.99

Stewart R: The dark and bloody tone of the cover to Squarriors really does capture the mood within the pages as this is one gloomy, yet undeniably engrossing read. Maczko briefly provides a flash of mankind’s final days, hinting at a great disaster and showing the kind of brutality that might be found during such turbulent times. That past echo then passes on its violent theme to a scene set a decade later as a mouse scout comes under attack from a host of spear-wielding enemies and Witter delivers a striking and grim execution page that will linger in the mind for some time. From there we’re introduced to the clan who form the focus of this tale, learn of their current struggle to survive in an unforgiving landscape, and gain a little insight into the political balance of the surrounding clans and the strained and dangerous relations between them all. There are a lot of names flying around early on, but once you get to know who everyone is - Witter does a good enough job of making each character as distinctive as possible whilst sticking to a relatively photo-realistic approach to the animals themselves - it becomes easier to follow. This is a big read, as can be expected from the price tag, and at its end we’ve been given a lot including character introductions, bloody skirmishes, a constant sense of tension and imminent danger, and rather gorgeous artwork. It’s a strong start for this four-part series and further evidence that in spite of high profile failures, Kickstarter still remains a viable option for ambitious comic book creators. 8/10

16 Dec 2014

On The Pull 17/12/2014

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.

Stewart R: Soooo...

Here comes Squarriors,
Here comes Squarriors,
Right down Devil's Due Lane!
The tails are fluffy,
The teeth are sharpened,
Brace yourself for blood and pain!
Clans are warrin', creatures a'clawin',
Get ready to see a fight,
The humans are gone, fuzzy mammals are here,
'Cause Squarriors comes tonight tomorrow!

Yup, the glorious art from Ashley Witter and an interesting survival premise from Ash Maczko made Squarriors an instant lock as soon as it become apparent that it would be available outside of its successful Kickstarter campaign. Admittedly the great start to Kurt Busiek's Autumnland: Tooth and Claw now gives Squarriors some top quality, animalistic competition, but they appear to be different enough at initial glance for there to be no danger of a repetitive feel. I'm giving three books a shot with their second issues, with The Kitchen, Drifter and Spider-Woman all having their sophomore efforts landing this Wednesday. Of those three, however, I'm only confident on Drifter remaining long term after a really enjoyable debut, though I remain open to the idea that the others might convince me of their longevity this week. Last to get a mention is the welcome return of Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads' modern warfare series for Image, as a double-sized Activity #16 rolls into view after a year's hiatus and promises the special ops team is going to war, or perhaps war is coming to them!

15 Dec 2014

Mini Reviews 14/12/2014

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.

BITCH PLANET #1
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Valentine De Landro & Cris Peter
Image $3.50


James R: Terrific title, highly promising first issue. I have to say that I wasn't a fan of DeConnick's Pretty Deadly, but the pitch for this one certainly piqued my interest. A prison planet for 'Non-Compliant' women? It's a great idea, and certainly one that's got some resonance in popular culture. Recently, Orange Is The New Black has used a female prison to great effect on TV, and exploration movies such as Chained Heat have revelled in the salacious side of the idea. DeConnick's script has hints of both, but it adds a fresh perspective too. As a man brought up in a female-heavy household, I saw and heard first hand how badly women are often treated by society, and I'm always amazed at how unaware men are. Moreover, recent events such as Gamergate have highlighted that sadly, many men's view of women is shockingly ignorant. The script of Bitch Planet hints that DeConnick will use this book as an opportunity to address the patriarchy, whilst simultaneously weaving a great escape plot into the mix. A fine start, and another hit for Image. As our colleague Kenny said in his Paradoscar awards write-up for Best Publisher, we really can't call DC and Marvel the Big Two anymore - Image surely now makes it three. 8/10

13 Dec 2014

The Paradoscars 2014

Following an increase in the amount of votes received by over 300%, 2014 has been the most popular year for the Paradoscars yet. In some categories the voting was very tight, in others (*cough*Best Publisher*cough*) the winner left their fellow nominees in the dust.

The winners have now been announced, once again at the local curry house with a tipsy PCG. If someone wants to finance a glittering awards ceremony for 2015, please get in touch. While all the nominees deserved the limelight, we feel the winners have come out on top because they deserved to be there – in other words, they’re the best of the best.

Thanks to everyone who voted, especially considering many of our nominees weren’t more mainstream, predictable choices, and we do hope you all come back for more passionate opinions on our beloved medium next year.

And so here they are, the winners of the Paradoscars 2014:

12 Dec 2014

Ten Forward: February 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 December issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in February 2015.

CURB STOMP #1
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Art: Devaki Neogi
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Rob N: It's been quite a while since a new BOOM! title appeared on my radar – maybe too long – and it's probably a sign of my advancing years that I wasn't familiar with the term 'curb stomp' and had to look it up on the Internet. Now that I have done I know that it's something to do with street violence, which is something that we have no real experience of here in our sunny Bournemouth/Poole utopia by the sea. But apparently where you live it's a very different world fraught with crime and street gangs and graffiti and some of those street gangs may or may not be glamorous looking All Girl Gangs, like the glamorous looking All Girl Gang in Curb Stomp the comic! I confess I have a certain fondness for glamorous looking All Girl Gangs in genre fiction and I'd like to think that in a perfect world most street-based crime would be handled by them and not, for example, by the usual squint-eyed rat boys in oversized parkas and tracki-bottoms that are likely to jemmy open your front door and make off with your laptop while you're in the pub. Crime is ugly, yes, but as this comic shows, it doesn't have to look ugly. Nice one, BOOM!

9 Dec 2014

On The Pull 10/12/2014

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: Bitch Planet. There's no way I'm leaving a book with a title like that on the shelf! Okay, so a prison exploitation tale with an added dollop of sci-fi sounds like a whole lot of fun, but the worry is that exploitation tales are often very trashy and there's a danger that an homage will come across as trashy too. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples of creators in various mediums taking exploitation material as their template and making something wildly entertaining and profound (Tarantino is a master of this!) so I'm hoping that whatever Kelly Sue DeConick and Valentine de Landro have up their sleeves falls into that camp. As well as Bitch Planet #1, Image take up the bulk of my pull-list with the likes of Southern Bastards #6 and Copperhead #4 also due to be welcomed into my collection come Wednesday. For fans of East Of West there's also the East Of West: The World #1 one-shot which will attempt to bring further clarity to the fictionalized environment that Jonathan Hickman has been crafting for the last couple of years. Apparently they'll be stuff in here you won't see in the regular series, so my advice is you should probably make sure you nab a copy!

8 Dec 2014

Mini Reviews 07/12/2014

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.

CROSSED PLUS ONE HUNDRED #1
Writer: Alan Moore
Art: Gabriel Andrade & Digikore Studios
Avatar $3.99

Matt C: The various other Crossed series hypothesize the immediate after effects of a worldwide zombie-like plague and how civilization and humanity – essentially, what it means to be human – is irrevocably altered. In a surprising move into an ongoing franchise, Alan Moore imagines where the world would be one hundred years later, when the initial outbreak is a thing of the past. To everyone alive it’s history they didn’t live through, all their knowledge of it being second hand, and the reality of the ‘new world’ is the only one they’ve experienced. Being no slouch in the writing department (!), Moore offers a compelling take on this post-apocalyptic future, with characters that are recognizably human but are demonstrably changed from what we’re currently familiar with. Their sense of morality and empathy has evolved, along with their lexicon, a literary conceit that’s not especially original (see Brian Azzerello’s Spaceman series as a recent example) but in Moore’s capable hands, although it takes some getting used to, it’s ultimately highly effective. Andrade proves to be a more than capable artist of delivering a vision of the future that’s moved beyond an extinction level event onto something approaching the cusp of a revised status quo. This is unlikely to one of Moore’s classic works, but it shows he’s far, far from away from being devoid of inspired creativity. 8/10

2 Dec 2014

On The Pull 03/12/2014

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: The Crossed 'franchise' (with that many associated titles, that's essentially what it's become) has never really appealed to me unless its originator, Garth Ennis, is steering the ship. He's the only one who seems to get the balance between horror (extreme horror, no less) and humanity just right. So there hasn't been much expectation on my part to look at another Crossed book without Ennis' involvement... until Alan Moore entered the mix with Crossed + One Hundred. It's a surprising move for someone who's purportedly claimed he doesn't read any current comics, and has arguably become more newsworthy for his cantankerous interviews rather than his output of late, but he remains on of the titans of the medium so there's no way I'd overlook this one. It's set 100 years after the initial outbreak which should provide Moore with an opportunity to confirm he can also do that horror/humanity balancing act with aplomb. Another new title to note is werewolf miniseries Wolf Moon #1 from Vertigo. Now, contrary to these last few sentences, I'm not really that much of a horror buff (or werewolf buff for that matter!), but there are several contemporary writers who I feel can really make the genre work on the page, and Bunn is definitely one of them. Elsewhere it's business as usual with Image taking up the bulk of my pull-list (highlights being Birthright #3 and Tooth & Claw #2) and the only Marvel title I'm picking up isn't strictly a Marvel title, being the incredibly but brilliantly bleak Men Of Wrath #3 through the Icon imprint.

30 Nov 2014

Mini Reviews 30/11/2014

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.

ODY-C #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Christian Ward
Image $3.99

Matt C: Judging by the reaction I’ve seen over the last few of days it appears I’m going to be one of the few dissenting voices when it comes to ODY-C. Look, I can appreciate the obvious ambition involved in this reimagining of Homer’s Odyssey, the luxurious, lavish and lysergic artwork of Ward, and the way the book’s been packaged (the fold-out intro!) but the info-dump at the beginning had me disengaging immediately and once the story proper commenced the situation didn’t change. It is an undeniably dense read, but unless you’re switched on to the contents very swiftly, you’re likely to have hard time with it just like I did. I can take a heavy dollop of pretension as well as the next man, but by the end of this issue it felt like the contents had become background noise to whatever else was on my mind at the time. 5/10

25 Nov 2014

On The Pull 26/11/2014


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: There's an argument that Matt Fraction produces his best work when he tackles more out there concepts, and while I believe that argument has a lot of validity, it sort of discounts some of his incredible work on Invincible Iron Man and Hawkeye. That said, you can't ever overlook a new series from the man behind Casanova and Sex Criminals, and ODY-C #1 looks like it's going to be a mind-bending, lysergic sci-fi necessity. That's just for starters, as this week also sees Image put out the next instalment of my current favourite comic, Lazarus. I'm sure no one else needs convincing of its brilliance, so I'll just leave it at that. C.O.W.L., on the other hand - returning from a short break to allow the first TPB to fill the gap - needs to be placed in the hands of many more people. Power, corruption and superheroes in mid-20th Century Chicago, this is smart, human storytelling that deserves a far wider audience than it appears to be getting. Pick up that recently released trade and the latest issue to see what I'm talking about. Oh, and while I'm here, after last week's abundance of riches, this week I'm not getting a single Marvel comic. They need to think about spreading they're great titles more evenly across the month! (What's that you're saying about subjectivity...?)