Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The 10 Most Anticipated Comics of 2015

2014 was a really fun year packed with enjoyable comics. But what does 2015 have to offer us? Only a TON of great stuff! What am I talking about? Check it out:

Blacksad: Amarillo Review (Juan Díaz Canales, Juanjo Guarnido)

Set in 1950/60s America, a Jack Kerouac-type writer murders his antagonistic poet friend in cold blood and goes on the lam. Blacksad is mixed up in this beatnik writer’s life after the Cadillac Eldorado he was entrusted with gets stolen and trashed by him. But then the feds go after Blacksad after his wallet is found in the car – and the poet’s body in the trunk. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation Review (Gail Simone, Brad Walker)

Secret Six Degrees of Devastation Cover Gail Simone

Swiftly moving past the cruddy title - “Six Degrees of Devastation”, which sounds like an emo high school band’s name - I was hoping this book was going to reveal to me the brilliance of “fan favourite” Gail Simone’s Secret Six series that I’d missed with the last Six book (Cats in the Cradle) and the first issue of the New 52 re-launch that I’d read. And it didn’t. If anything, Six Degrees was worse than both and made me completely give up on the series! 

110 PerC by Tony Consiglio Review

I know Tony Consiglio from The Ink Panthers Show podcast where he usually drops in every now and then and completely livens up the episode with his funny stories, brilliant comic timing, and quick wit. It’s a shame the podcast is now twice-yearly (or thereabouts) instead of weekly or even monthly because Consiglio’s stories remain some of the most entertaining podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to. 

Monday, 29 December 2014

Polarity Review (Max Bemis, Jorge Coelho)

Hold. The. Phone. 

A Boom comic that’s not total poop? That’s unexpected! Polarity’s about a bipolar artist but it’s full of things I liked and didn’t like that I’m gonna sound a bit bipolar myself in this review as I go from one end of the spectrum to the other! 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Daredevil, Volume 1: Devil at Bay Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)

DC’s New 52 reboot made the company a lot of money in the short term and, a year later, Marvel followed suit with their Marvel NOW! relaunch which also made them a lot of money. Bottom line is: New #1s SELL and it seems both companies these days are scared of titles getting too many issues out, the high numbering sure to scare off prospective new readers. 

Dead Letters, Volume 1 Review (Christopher Sebela, Chris Visions)

Dead Letters 1 Cover Sebela Visions Boom

Some Guy appears in a generic city. He can’t remember who he is or anything. Then some guys show up and try to get them to work for him. Some other guys show up and try to get him to work for them. What work? Like guns and junk. He’s a hitman? He works for both but he’s really working for himself. The guys are God and The Devil. He is in Purgatory. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle Review (Gail Simone, John Ostrander)

I’m trying to educate myself about the Secret Six and figure out who they are and what they’re about but my library doesn’t have the whole sequence of books in order so I’m grabbing random selections as and when they appear. Cats in the Cradle seems like a good book to start with though as it’s the origin of Catman who I think is the Six’s leader.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Batman Annual #3 Review (James Tynion IV, Roge Antonio)

Do you remember this news story? It was during Bush’s War on Terror and US Forces were forcing terrorist suspects/brown people to listen to Nancy Sinatra or Metallica as a method of information extraction. I remember the reaction in the media too, one of humour over the silly and seemingly whacky, almost gentle turn that 21st century interrogation had taken - “Ho ho, I know how they feel - Andy Williams, ugh!” etc. - as if they were sat in a comfortable room with the music itself being played at a normal level. 

The 10 Best Comics of 2014

Lotta bad comics came out in 2014 – lotta good ones too!

Image produced some quality titles like they did in 2013 with special mention to Southern Bastards and the continuing saga of Sex Criminals while Marvel’s All-New Marvel NOW! yielded some sparkling treasures. Not mentioned on the list is Dan Slott/Michael Allred’s Silver Surfer and Charles Soule/Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk.

Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire Review (Jason Aaron, Roland Boschi)

The angel Zadkiel has toppled Heaven and, with the angels turned bad, it’s up to the demonic-looking but good Ghost Riders to unite and burn some wings! It’s Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch and an army of Spirits of Vengeance against the celestial forces – the ultimate battle between good and evil!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Midas Flesh, Volume 1 Review (Ryan North, Braden Lamb)

A few months ago I bought the Boom Studios Humble Bundle, where you get to buy a ton of electronic comics and name your price with the money going towards Humble Bundle, Boom, and/or a named charity – it’s basically a great deal and millions gets raised to help disadvantaged people. I ended up reading one book immediately, disliked it enormously, and promptly put the rest on the backburner. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Suicide Risk, Volume 1 Review (Mike Carey, Elena Casagrande)

Is the title a warning that the reader might just give up all hope somewhere in the book and decide to end it all for good?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Lumberjanes, Volume 1 Review (Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis)

A small group of friends spend their summer at Lumberjanes Scout Camp where things get surprisingly weird. The surrounding forest is full of talking Yetis, three-eyed snakes, three-eyed falcons – three-eyed everythings! All clues point towards a mysterious tower as the source of the oddities. And off they go – what will they find? 

Rocket Raccoon, Volume 1: A Chasing Tale Review (Skottie Young, Jake Parker)

Last year (2013) in the run up to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie this past summer (2014), Brian Michael Bendis was given the task of re-launching the Guardians of the Galaxy comic to prep and gee up the audience in advance. His Guardians series was fairly good (at least to start with) and did the job nicely - Guardians is now a top 10 bestselling comic for Marvel AND a major hit movie. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Goon, Volume 14: Occasion of Revenge Review (Eric Powell)

Eric Powell’s back with his first long-form story in quite some time with Occasion of Revenge. The Zombie Priest’s former coven of witches and sorcerers have decided that Lonely St is to be their new home - but not if The Goon can help it! We also see the tragic tale of Fred Paulsey and Sandy Wayne, the origin of Willie Nagel (the daisy-hatted zombie geetar playa), and the terrifying new villain, Longfingers. Oh, and Revenge Shit Giuseppe who… well, you can guess what the crack is with him! 

Violenzia by Richard Sala Review

An evil cult is sacrificing a young woman in a castle by torchlight - enter Violenzia who shoots all the bad cultists dead! There are crazy hillbilly murderers living in some survivalist camp in the mountains - enter Violenzia who shoots all them rednecks dead! 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Ghost Rider: Trials and Tribulations Review (Jason Aaron, Tony Moore)

Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider needs to be more well-known - this series ROCKS! The third volume though is an in-between kind of book. Heaven fell in the last book and this one pretty much treads water with Aaron looking at the scattered heroes in the run up to the sure-to-be-epic finale, Heaven’s on Fire, up next. Rather than a long narrative, each issue looks at a specific character: Sara the new Caretaker, Danny Ketch/Ghost Rider #2, and Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider. 

Curse Review (Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel)

Boom Curse Cover Moreci

Laney Griffith’s wife was murdered and his son has leukemia. Oh and here’s another kick in the nards: his money’s running out because of the stupid American healthcare system which bankrupts the sick and vulnerable. So when a maniac killer is running about the woods near his home slashing up innocents, Laney’s forced to take a major risk in trying to hunt down the murderer and claim the sizeable bounty. And then he finds out the killer’s a kerazy werewolf, say whaaaaaaat?!

The 10 Worst Comics of 2014

Lotta good comics came out in 2014 – lotta bad ones too. Here are my picks for the crappiest comics of the year. These all came out in 2014 so they’re the dregs of those published this year, as opposed to just bad comics I read this year, otherwise New 52 Savage Hawkman would run away with the worst of the worst!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Secret Origins, Volume 1 Review (Jeff Lemire, Lee Bermejo)

When the New 52 launched in September 2011, I expected the line-wide reboot to begin with the character’s origin stories as DC were aiming to familiarise new readers who perhaps didn’t know much about them; it didn’t. Justice League started five years in the past for some reason, and DC’s big cheeses, Batman and Superman, carried on, business as usual with their numbering back to #1 being the only change. In fact hardly any characters got origin stories! 

The Children of Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez Review

Gilbert Hernandez never fails to make interesting comics that are totally unclassifiable as a genre beyond “good”. They’re a little bit comedy, a little bit horror, some slice of life, some magical realism with some poetic, almost spiritual, qualities while always being deeply humanistic. They sometimes start a bit slow but I’ve never read a bad comic by this guy.

Friday, 19 December 2014

The Sandman: Overture #4 Review (Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III)

Morpheus, Morpheus Cat and a girl called Hope travel to a “star asylum” where a mad star (as in those massive cosmic balls of gas) threatens to end all of life everywhere. Can Morpheus save the day? Well, Sandman Overture is a prequel, so, duh! 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Batman #37 Review (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

(I go into some spoilers in this review but a lot of them are my own interpretations that are probably wrong. At any rate, if you want a spoiler-free review of New 52 Batman #37, hunt elsewhere.) 

It’s one of my favourite Joker panels; it was at the end of Death of the Family and Bruce is talking to Alfred about Joker, recalling a time when he - as Bruce Wayne, not Batman - went to visit Joker in Arkham. Joker had his back to him then turned and looked through him vacantly, and Bruce wondered if he knew his secret identity - or even if he cared. And what would that mean? But that look in Joker’s eyes in that panel - wow. 

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig Review

Set in a 1920s Austrian hotel resort, Edgar is 12 years old when the randy young Baron enters his life vying for his attention – except The Baron’s not really interested in him but his hot mom! When Edgar realises he’s been used, he acts as the ultimate cockblocker and realises profound things about childhood and adulthood on the cusp of adolescence. You’d think he’d be pleased he wasn’t going to be molested, eh? That’s upper class Austrian kids from the early 20th century for you!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1 Review (Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart)

Even though legally Marvel own the name Captain Marvel (and their character is a woman) and DC’s old Captain Marvel is now called Shazam, I guess DC and Marvel must’ve come to an agreement for this one issue because Billy Batson’s alter ego is called by his original name: Captain Marvel. Which is neat. 

Ghost Rider: The Last Stand Review (Jason Aaron, Tan Eng Huat)

Danny Ketch, the long-lost brother of Johnny Blaze, is also a Ghost Rider and he’s back (he was dead or something?). Danny’s travelling the world offing the Ghost Riders of various countries for the glory of Zadkiel, an angel who’s planning the first insurrection in Heaven since Lucifer. It’s up to Blaze to take him down – Ghost Rider Vs Ghost Rider! 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Storm by Tim Minchin Review

Tim Minchin Storm Graphic Novel Cover

This comedian Tim Minchin
Wrote a poem most bitchin’ 
Of a dinner party that went down the crapper

Cow Boy, Volume 1: A Boy and His Horse Review (Nate Crosby, Chris Eliopoulos)

Cow Boy Archaia Cover

Justice ain’t got no age…

Set in frontier times, Boyd is a ten year old kid who sets out with his horses - his custom popgun with a horse-head handle and his steed, Cee Cee – to take down the thievin’, no-good Linney family and put them behind bars where they belong. Only - the Linney family is his kin! In this first volume, Boyd aims for his paw Dub Linney, his scumbag brother Zeke, and his kindly but greedy grandpa. And they ain’t comin’ quiet!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Daredevil, Volume 7 Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)

The villains from the last book, the Sons of the Serpent, continue to bedevil Matt. Through Jester they incite riots in NYC and, by infiltrating the top levels of the justice system, give themselves carte blanche to cause havoc and get away with it. But Matt gets a clue on how to strike back at them – and the trail leads to the south where a motley crew of monsters awaits! 

Chew, Volume 9: Chicken Tenders Review (John Layman, Rob Guillory)

Tony’s hunt for The Collector, his sister’s murderer, is sidelined with personal matters and trivial cases that take him around the world. Meanwhile his friends and colleagues conspire to take down the dangerous killer themselves without Tony finding out. Will they succeed - and, if not, who will pay the price for failure? 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ghost Rider: Hell Bent and Heaven Bound Review (Jason Aaron, Roland Boschi)

“You know how many people God kills in the Bible? I mean, if you add up all the floods and plagues and fire ‘n’ brimstone. All the ‘God Smote’ this, ‘God Smote’ that… you know how many people he kills? Millions. And what about the Devil? The big scary Devil. What do you think his body count comes to? A paltry TEN. The seven sons and three daughters of Job. And that’s only after making a bet with God. Look it up. Kinda raises a big question. Between Heaven and Hell… which one should we really be afraid of?” - Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Sandman, Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes Review (Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth)

The Sandman Volume 1 Preludes and Nocturnes Cover Neil Gaiman

I read this one some 10 years or so ago when I was slowly returning to comics and, having re-read it now, I still maintain that Preludes and Nocturnes is a poor place to start with this series - though it’s a decent book. 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Superman: Godfall Review (Michael Turner, Joe Kelly)

Superman’s been brainwashed, shrunk and placed into the bottled city of Kandor where he awakens with an alien wife and son. In his new reality, he’s Kal, a father and bureaucrat within Kryptonian government. That is until the day some Akira-type biker gangs try killing him and he discovers he has unknown strength – superpowers! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber Review

Sometime in the future, humanity has discovered they are not alone in the universe: on a distant planet named Oasis dwells a race of supremely ugly aliens (their faces are described as two foetuses fused together!) - and they LOVE Jeebus. So much so that they’re withholding food from the handful of human colonists on their planet until they get a replacement missionary.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bitch Planet #1 Review (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro)

Bitch Planet 1 Cover De Landro Deconnick Image

No it’s not a chain of Kim Kardashian boutiques, this is Kelly Sue DeConnick’s latest comic: Female Dog Planet aka Orange Is The New Black… In Spaaaaaaaaaace! 

In yet another dystopian future, women are sent to a prison planet for the slightest of transgressions that go against the patriarchal ideal female who is subservient and compliant. Husband sick of the wife and wants to trade her in for a younger model? Pay some agency to get rid of her and shack up with Wife #2! 

The Valiant #1 Review (Jeff Lemire, Paolo Rivera)

The Valiant 1 Cover Jeff Lemire Paolo Rivera

Gilad Anni-Padda is the Eternal Warrior, Earth’s immortal champion, who fights whoever for whatever reason the Earth desires in its inscrutable master plan of guiding the human race. Gilad is informed of his orders via a Geomancer who can communicate with the Earth – except they are not immortal and frequently re-spawn through new human vessels. Why frequently? Because something Gilad imaginatively calls the Immortal Enemy (who is immortal and an enemy) has been killing Geomancers. And now, in the 21st century, Gilad’s new Geomancer is the latest target.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Batman: Eternal Volume 1 Review (Scott Snyder, Jason Fabok)

Batman turned 75 this year (2014) and, among the many things DC put out to celebrate their biggest moneymaker’s anniversary, they launched Batman: Eternal, a weekly Batman serial. Plotted by current Batman writer and DC’s MVP, Scott Snyder, and his regular collaborator, James Tynion IV, Eternal is a sprawling mass of comics that includes nearly as many creators as it does characters! 

Attack On Titan Volume 1 Review (Hajime Isayama)

In the future overly simplistic stories exploring the Japanese xenophobic mindset will bore you with their complete lack of imagination! The evil Titans (or, “foreigners”) threaten the tiny human population (or, “Japanese”) by eating them (or, “consuming their culture”). The humans live in medieval-type castle structures with multiple layers of walls that don’t work to attempt to protect themselves from the Titans who want to eat them for some reason. 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sugar Skull by Charles Burns Review

Sugar Skull Cover Charles Burns

Dear me. By the end of The Hive, Charles Burns cranked this beauty up to top speed - then in Sugar Skull he ran it smack into a brick wall. 

Sugar Skull was an immensely disappointing let-down to what has otherwise been a fascinating series. Charles Burns explains everything in this final volume of his X’ed Out Trilogy, which is something you’ll either appreciate, because you hate any ambiguity at the end of a story, or dislike because that’s not consistent with the way this has been written thus far. 

The Hive by Charles Burns Review

Re-reading series books in an actual series rather than as they come out over the years is worth it - at least for the good ones, which happily includes this title. I never noticed before but the cover shows Doug older and fatter, looking like he’s got some kind of office job, in contrast to the Doug that we left in the last book where he was wandering about as a younger man in his dad’s dressing gown in a haze with a bandaged head. 

Well, shall we? Deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole we go…

X'ed Out by Charles Burns Review

Before the story even begins, Charles Burns invites comparisons to Kubrick’s 2001 and Kafka’s Metamorphosis with a page of black and red panels followed by a picture of our protagonist, Doug, looking through a window at a vegetable monster lying in bed. This will be an unusual book.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Adventures of Tintin: The Shooting Star Review (Herge)

Before I read the final book in Charles Burns’ X’Ed Out Trilogy, I wanted to re-read Herge’s Tintin book, The Shooting Star, besides Burns’ first two books, to see if it would add anything to the overall experience. Having just finished The Shooting Star and from what I remember of Burns’ comics, there’s unfortunately no major connection besides the visual. It also turns out this Tintin book is pretty awful too - (not so) shockingly, my pre-teen self was wrong about this one (even though I didn’t remember a thing about it besides the cover)! 

Dark Reign: Elektra Review (Zeb Wells, Clay Mann)

What happens when a pair of no-name, low calibre wannabe-assassins target world-renowned, unkillable assassin Elektra? Yeah, they don’t have a chance - and yet they try because there are five issues to fill dammit! 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Stones of Power by Isora Azumi Review

A guy who likes expensive fish goes to work for a brother and sister, looking after their expensive fish – I’m already on the edge of my seat! The sister makes special custom-made jewellery that happens to possess magical properties – “power stones” - while the brother works as a sort of exorcist but for objects rather than people because that is so fascina… zzz.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe Review (Garth Ennis, Doug Braithwaite)

Set in an alterna-verse (where else?), Frank Castle’s family are murdered in the park when they’re caught in the crossfire of a battle involving Avengers, X-Men and supervillains. Blinded with rage, he begins his campaign of punishment against all supes. KILL THEM ALL, FRANK, MAKE THEM PAY!!! Ahem. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Secret Six #1 Review (Gail Simone, Ken Lashley)

What is the Secret Six? 

That’s not just the (almost word for word) tagline to this series, it’s an honest question because I’ve never read a Secret Six comic before this. But I have read Gail Simone before and have liked and disliked some of her work, and I heard Secret Six was getting a New 52 reboot, and, even though I’ve been burned more times by the New 52 than not, I’m an ever-optimistic (sap) guy, so I gave this a shot today. 

Doctor Strange: Season One Review (Greg Pak, Emma Rios)

By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, has Greg Pak ever written a decent comic?!

Even though Doctor Strange’s origins seem to be covered in every Doctor Strange book, Pak goes over it again (because this is a Marvel Season One comic? Is this series aimed at new readers?). Stephen Strange was once a world-famous surgeon whose hands got maimed in an accident. He goes searching for magic healers in the Himalayas, ends up learning magic and, by the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, becomes the Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Sheltered Volume 2 Review (Ed Brisson, Johnnie Christmas)

In the pre-apocalyptic survivalist camp of Safe Haven in isolated rural America, the kids have murdered all of the adults on the say-so of disturbed, and disturbing, teen leader Lucas. But not all of the kids have lost their minds and Victoria, whose family were the most recent converts to the cult-like group, is taking a stand. Now some outsiders have appeared and things become even more desperate. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet Review (Kevin Smith, Ralph Garman)

Holy expectations, Batman!

If you know anything about Kevin Smith’s last few years, you’ll probably know he’s churned out some pretty questionable art. Cop Out, Red State, and now Tusk are all very iffy movies, and I worried that Smith, in his weed-induced state, would somehow manage to botch this comic. Thankfully he didn’t and there are no sexual innuendo puns, flesh-lights, weed, Star Wars references, or a pair of overplayed stoners hanging about in the background!