Friday, 20 October 2017

The Walking Dead: Here's Negan! Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

Heeeeeeere’s.... an obvious cash-grab! Ahhh, who can blame Image, eh? The Walking Dead is their Batman/Spider-Man - that they haven’t exploited it as much as DC/Marvel have their own properties is pretty remarkable in itself! So, in order to make their Image+ magazine successful, a short, serialized Walking Dead spinoff starring the title’s best character, Negan, was included. And it wasn’t bad! 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Superman: Camelot Falls, Volume 1 Review (Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco)

Kurt Busiek’s written a couple of great Superman books but unfortunately Camelot Falls ain’t one of them! 

A 17th century wizard time-travels to the present to warn Superman that the future is grim if he keeps up being heroic. In a totally unconnected subplot, Supes has to punch a crappy Doomsday-knockoff before having to fight an even more one-dimensional baddie called Khyber. Deeeerivel? Yope – drivel indeed!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Relive Box and Other Stories by TC Boyle Review

TC Boyle is a fine novelist but, if you want to see this eagle soar, you need to read his short stories. Boyle shows why he’s one of the best short story writers in the world with his latest brilliant collection, The Relive Box and Other Stories. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Providence, Act Three Review (Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows)

And so Alan Moore’s meandering and flummoxing mash note to HP Lovecraft, Providence, comes to an awkward, unsatisfying and confusing end in Act Three. Watch in dismay as Robert Black continues to tediously research his book on New England folklore until he doesn’t and then the world sort of ends! Oh my god, what a load of pretentious bollocks!

The Valley of Fear Review (Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Edginton)

A wealthy American businessman is murdered in his English manor house, his head blown off by a double-barrelled shotgun - whodunit and why?

The Valley of Fear is one of the better Sherlock Holmes stories but it’s still a fairly mediocre read. It’s a fine story of revenge and intrigue full of American gangsters and Freemasons (like A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle clearly viewed the United States as a romantically dangerous country full of rogues!), and the mystery is well put-together. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Batman: Bride of the Demon Review (Mike Barr, Tom Grindberg)

BLEURGH! Nothing to see here guys, move on, really. I thought I’d turned a corner with Mike Barr’s Batman comics after being pleasantly surprised with both The Wrath and Son of the Demon - and then I read Bride of the Demon. And while it’s not as offensively bad as Year Two, it’s still absolute garbage. 

James Bond: Black Box Review (Benjamin Percy, Rapha Lobosco)

Black Box is the first stinker in Dynamite’s otherwise strong new line of James Bond comics. From the Alpine opener to the showdown with the villain, the whole book reads like Benjamin Percy sat down and made a list of things readers expect to see in a James Bond story and then wrote his script, ticking them off as he went! 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Mighty Thor, Volume 3: The Asgard/Shi'ar War Review (Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman)

Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s once-great Thor series tanks HARD with this turd volume, The Asgard/Shi’Ar War, a boring book full of inconsequential, dull stories. Malekith’s still kicking up a stink with the War of the Realms storyline but that nonsense only lasts for a couple of issues before we get into a useless five issue storyline where Thor has a contest with the Shi’Ar Gods over who’s the better god. And will Jane Foster hang onto her senate seat?! Snore… 

Royal City, Volume 1: Next of Kin by Jeff Lemire Review

The fractured Pike family are brought back together to the dying industrial town of Royal City when the elderly patriarch, Peter, suffers a stroke. But they also have another shared commonality: dead Tommy Pike, drowned at age 14, who haunts each of the family in his own way. In this time of crisis, the family must finally confront their dark past. But is Tommy somehow still alive…? 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City Review (Peter Milligan, Kieron Dwyer)

I haven’t been reading Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights: Metal (I will though) but apparently their story, kinda like Grant Morrison’s Batman RIP and The Black Casebook, takes inspiration from all sorts of random DC comics from the past like this stinker from 1990, Peter Milligan’s Dark Knight, Dark City. And I bet it’s the flimsiest of connections too like the demon Barbathos who appears in this book shows up in one scene in Metal or something.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Punisher MAX: The Platoon #1 Review (Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov)

After a break of nearly ten years, the definitive Punisher writer, Garth Ennis, is back for a new addition to arguably the character’s finest series, Punisher MAX, with Platoon. Except it’s not really a Punisher comic. I mean, it is in that it’s about Frank Castle, the Punisher, but it’s about Frank’s first command in the Vietnam War and Frank became the Punisher after his third tour of duty (see Punisher: Born for that story). So Platoon is essentially a Vietnam War comic with a slight Marvel flavour and a prequel to a prequel to boot! 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Unbelievable Gwenpool, Volume 3: Totally in Continuity Review (Christopher Hastings, Gurihiru)

Totally In Continuity is the first misfire in Christopher Hastings’ otherwise excellent Unbelievable Gwenpool run. Not that it’s completely bad but it’s definitely not as good as the first two books. 

I think that’s because it’s a grab-bag of random stories so this volume feels like a transition/buffer book between the first story arc and the next. It opens with a throwaway story where Gwen’s hired to protect some supernatural folk from Blade the Vampire Hunter. It’s a meh read and unfortunately doesn’t feature series regular Gurihiru’s sublime art. Instead we have to make do with Myisha Haynes’ Squirrel Girl-level art which is plain at best - it’s really no substitute. 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Sex Criminals, Volume 4: Fourgy! Review (Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky)

This comic. This fucking comic. Sex Crimz is back on form with the brilliantly titled Volume 4: Fourgy!

Story-wise there isn’t much happening and that’s my only complaint about this book. Essentially it’s still Sex Criminals vs Sex Cops but there’s barely any conflict between them here. Kegelface fucks with Ana’s teaching job and… that’s it.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

England Your England by George Orwell Review

George Orwell thinks England’s not that bad and up yours to anyone who thinks otherwise! 

Orwell’s essay takes a meandering and questionable look at the nebulous British national character with its positives and negatives. Among the topics touched upon are the distinct class divides, the curiously anti-militaristic attitude of the time juxtaposed with the existence of the Empire (maintained through military strength), and the not especially patriotic views of the general public - until a bully like Hitler starts throwing his weight around and then everyone’s signing up to fight for King and Country!

Orwell never fails to write well but this time the content didn’t grab me in the way it normally does. The subject matter is not especially compelling or insightful and his conclusions were unconvincing and felt largely pointless. I guess he was in a nationalistic mood while Hitler was bombing London and this was the result? 

George Orwell was a fantastic essayist whose reportage is absolutely worth reading but the rambling England Your England is definitely not among his best work.