Saturday, 28 February 2015

Superior Iron Man, Volume 1: Infamous Review (Tom Taylor, Yildiray Cinar)

In Superior Spider-Man, a dying Doc Ock successfully switched his mind with Peter Parker’s, putting Peter into his body and himself into Peter’s. While retaining some of his super-villain mindset, he nevertheless became an extremely effective Spider-Man – the Superior Spider-Man. Some Spidey fans objected to the radical change but most readers enjoyed it, secure in the knowledge that Peter would inevitably return and the dull status quo reinstated (which it was). Superior Spider-Man, critically and commercially, was a resounding success.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thor, Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder Review (Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman)

"Whosoever holds the hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of... Thor" – inscription on the side of Mjolnir. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth Review

I’ve heard that most people who read comics rarely read them every year of their life continuously unlike, say, “regular” books. The habit is patchy. Read comics for a year or two, maybe give them up for a few years, return later, etc. I can speak to the truth of that as I gave up comics from the end of high school to the end of university. Then I went and did something most people do in between high school and university and went on a gap year, travelling America for six months, Japan for the other six. 

Criminal Special Edition One-Shot Review (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips)

My fourth review for Need to Consume was Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal Special Edition One-Shot. Read the full piece here:

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

MPH Review (Mark Millar, Duncan Fegredo)

In the mid-1980s, the US government caught a superhuman - the fastest man alive. They lock him up and do nothing else. Fast forward to Detroit in 2014 where we meet Roscoe, a two-bit coke hustler with the dream of putting together enough cash to start a legit life with his girl Rosa. Except he gets set up and sent to the slammer for 15 years.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Criminal, Volume 2: Lawless Review (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips)

Tracy Lawless is on the hunt for his brother’s killer. But his brother, Rick, was mixed up with some ne’er do wells who are planning a Christmas heist. Tracy’s got to infiltrate the group and figure out who offed his little brother - and make them pay!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Punisher, Volume 2: Border Crossing Review (Nathan Edmondson, Mitch Gerads)

When last we left Frank he was escaping the Howling Commandos with a bullet in his chest. He’s now south of the border and desperate for a doctor – and that’s when he’s captured by a drug cartel and handed over to the villainous Crossbones. Frank’s rambling quest to end the supply of drugs into LA takes him into the jungles of Central America, a Mexican prison, a covert ship, an unexpected crossover with Black Widow, and the murder of the current Fantastic Four movie cast (but not really)!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

She-Hulk, Volume 2: Disorderly Conduct Review (Charles Soule, Javier Pulido)

Aw, man – double disappointment! Not only is this the end of Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk but the second volume also falls short of the first!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Ms Marvel, Volume 2: Generation Why Review (G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona)

Kamala Khan: Muslim? American? No – Inhuman!

Kamala, a teenager from New Jersey, gets superpowers after encountering the Terrigen Mist (the fallout cloud from the Terrigen bomb detonated by Black Bolt during Thanos’ latest invasion of Earth). She has a healing factor, she can grow large or small, and she can shapeshift; Kamala Khan is the new Ms Marvel!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett Review

The Deep Web is a significant part of the internet that doesn’t show up on regular search engines and can only be accessed via TOR encrypted browsers. Probably the most famous part of the Deep Web is Silk Road which became famous for successfully selling drugs in vast quantities over the internet. The “dark internet” is dead data that can no longer be reached via computers and Darknet is a file-sharing network that’s part of the Deep Web.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Punisher, Volume 5: Streets of Laredo Review (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)

Streets of Laredo is a four-part Western-type story of The Punisher going to a small Texan town and raining righteous fury on the gun traffickers he finds there. Also included in this book are three one-shots (two drawn by Steve Dillon, yay!) that sees an injured Frank team up with Joan, an old friend from Welcome Back, Frank; Elektra and Punisher having the bloodiest courtship ever; and punching bag Detective Soap getting one more kick in the nards from (Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon)life. In short, this book is all kinds of awesome!

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Sandman, Volume 3: Dream Country Review (Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess)

I’ve been re-reading a lot of books that I enjoyed years ago recently and it’s been very rewarding for the most part, rediscovering books I loved all over again. Unfortunately Sandman - a series I really liked the first time round - is not among them and it’s so disappointing! What I remember of Sandman was that the first two volumes weren’t that great (and that checks out) but that the series starts to take off in this third volume, Dream Country, and… it doesn’t. It’s basically stuck in the mud for the third time. 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli)

Teenage Jean Grey, along with teen Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Angel, are brought from the past to the present day - this is the All-New X-Men series setup. We’re multiple books into the series now and for some reason nobody’s decided to send them back in time where they belong. Anyway, the Shi’Ar take it upon themselves to punish teen Jean for the crimes her older self committed as Phoenix and abduct her for a trial in their kangaroo court. Guardians and X-Men dutifully follow. 

Bumf, Volume 1: I Buggered the Kaiser by Joe Sacco Review

Joe Sacco is the acclaimed, Eisner Award-winning cartoonist of Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, and several noteworthy non-fictional comics on real world conflicts. More recently he released the extraordinary work The Great War, a 24-foot panoramic look at the first day of the Battle of the Somme. So it’s surprising - in a good way - to see that he’s really gone in the other direction for Bumf, Volume 1, subtitled I Buggered the Kaiser!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow, Volume 2 by Shunju Aono Review

In the first book, we saw Shizuo give up his job as a salaryman (office worker) to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist, despite being in his 40s and manga being an incredibly competitive field. The second book is more of the same. Really - read the first book? Then you’ve basically read the second one too as nearly the same things happen. Shizuo submits manga and it gets rejected. He bums around playing games and watching cartoons when he’s not creating manga or working at his fast food job. 

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 Review (Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez)

I realised a couple things after reading just a few pages of this book: 1) I’d read the first story before in Jaime Hernandez’s God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls book, and 2) of all the Hernandez brothers, Gilbert is the only one whose stories I really enjoy. Jaime’s art is fine but his writing and Mario’s are beyond boring. God and Science? I gave up on that one after just 6 pages! In fact, I don’t think I’ve finished a single Jaime book and only got through ones with his name on because of his Gilbert’s work tacked on. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Punisher, Volume 4: Full Auto Review (Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon)

Wow, I didn’t think it was possible but Full Auto is the first Garth Ennis/Punisher book that I didn’t love. That’s not to say it’s bad but a couple of the stories here are just too blah for me to say it was good. Plus Steve Dillon disappears for the last three issues, replaced by Tom Mandrake. Ennis Punisher without Dillon just doesn’t feel right. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Zero, Volume 1: An Emergency Review (Ales Kot, Tradd Moore)

James Bond. George Smiley. Jason Bourne. Edward Zero? Nuh-uh. Although Ales Kot really wishes it were so, his spy/secret agent “character”, Zero, is as archetypical as they get - a bland, yes I’ll make the obvious pun, zero who never feels vaguely real or interesting. But he’s the “star” of this series so settle in for some generic spy stories in this first volume, An Emergency. 

Marvel Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 Review (Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca)

The stench of the prequels hovers over this comic as if the ghost of Jar Jar (you know he hanged himself after Revenge of the Sith) blundered into the presses and farted on the paper before the comic was printed. 

It’s interesting that Marvel chose Kieron Gillen to write this Darth Vader solo series because he also wrote a (terrible)Wolverine miniseries, Origin II. The two characters are comparable in that they are standouts in an ensemble cast but take them away and bring the focus entirely on them? They lose their magic. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Fade Out, Volume 1: Act One Review (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips)

Hollywoodland, 1948, the tail end of the Golden Era of Film. Charlie Parish is a screenwriter for Victory Street Pictures, one of the largest studios in Los Angeles, who, after a wild party, wakes up near the corpse of his latest film’s starlet, Valeria Sommers. She’d been strangled and left on the floor, just feet away from a passed out Charlie! Besides a police investigation, the death of the leading lady means expensive reshoots for the studio and rewriting for Charlie. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Just the Tips Review (Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky)

Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals has arguably the most unusual and varied array of readers’ letters at the back of each issue. All are sex-related letters of embarrassing and funny stories, questions, jokes, and so on. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Review

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain: 
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, 
Gang aft agley, 
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 
For promis'd joy!

To a Mouse - A Poem by Robert Burns

Outcast, Volume 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him Review (Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta)

Kyle Barnes is an outcast exorcist. He exorcises demons - but he can’t exorcise his own personal demons! Ironyyyyyyy! In this book we’ll meet a kindly reverend who’ll team up with Kyle to rid West Virginia of as many possessed people (which turns out to be quite a few!) as they can in between moping sessions. Settle in, folks, this is volume one of probably several dozen if his other titles Invincible and The Walking Dead are anything to go by, because Kirkman’s more interested in setting up long-running franchises than telling tightly plotted stories, especially when he can sell these comics’ pitches to TV execs! 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Empire Review (Mark Waid, Barry Kitson)

The idea to Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s Empire is sound: what if a Doctor Doom-type beat the superheroes and established an empire that was slowly taking over the world. What would that empire look like? What would the story of villainy triumphant be like? There’s certainly merit to the idea because a lot of it is new ground - except Waid doesn’t realise any of it in this very tedious comic. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Sex Criminals, Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop Review (Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky)

Suzie and Jon both have a special superpower: when they orgasm, they can stop time. Then they meet, fall in love, and decide to save Suzie’s library from foreclosure by the bank by robbing said bank of its filthy lucre! And so they ran like the sex criminals they were – in love, robbing the rich to give to the needy, and evading the sex police. A perfect ending!

The Coma by Alex Garland Review

I remember reading The Coma when it first came out some 10 years-ish ago, flying through it in a day and dismissing it as “eh, dream story, got it”. I’m glad I came back and re-read it and thought about it more afterwards as there’s a lot more to it than that (and understanding what I read, rather than chalking it up as another book down, is the whole point of why I write reviews anyway). 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Star Wars #2 Review (Jason Aaron, John Cassaday)

Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Leia has led the rebels in an attack on the Empire’s weapons factory on Cymoon 1 - only to find Darth Vader there! It’s Luke vs Vader as Leia and Han navigate a hotwired AT-AT against the stormtroopers, while Threepio does his best to stop scavengers from taking apart the Falcon! 

Bigfoot by Pascal Girard Review

Jimmy’s rotten friend Simon uploads a video he secretly took of Jimmy dancing and it quickly goes viral - suddenly everyone knows who “Disco Jimmy” is and it’s ruining poor Jim’s life! Then his uncle shoots some footage of what he insists is Bigfoot and the media swoops in to focus on the family - as if the teasing at high school wasn’t bad enough, poor Jimmy’s gotten yet more unwanted attention! 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Nameless #1 Review (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham)

My first review for Need to Consume was Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Nameless #1. Read the full piece here:

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald Review

The Blue Flower is another of the books my dear old dad got me at Christmas and, like the other one I read, What a Life! by JB Priestley, it is a stone cold turkey! I’m not sure what my pa asked for when he went into the bookstore, but I’m pretty sure it was “I want to bore my son like he’s never been bored before - what books do you suggest?”

Original Sin: Thor & Loki - The Tenth Realm Review (Al Ewing, Lee Garbett)

During the 2014 Marvel Event, Original Sin, The Orb uses one of The Watcher’s eyeballs to somehow reveal all of the Marvel superheroes’ secrets. Thor’s big surprise? He’s got a sister: Angela. So he and Loki saddle up the interdimensional goats to travel to the hidden Tenth Realm, Heven (there were previously nine, including Asgard and Midgard) and meet their long-lost sibling. Predictable fighting ensues! 

Jason Conquers America Review (Jason, Kim Thompson)

Jason Conquers America is a one-shot issue from 2011, celebrating Jason being published in America for 10 years. It includes a few short strips, some unpublished, as well as an interview with Jason by Eric Buckler and an interview with Hubert, Jason’s colourist, by the late great Kim Thompson. Also included are tributes from Kim Deitch, Mike and Laura Allred, and Rich Tommaso, and a checklist of Jason’s books. 

Batman - Detective Comics, Volume 5: Gothtopia Review (John Layman, Jason Fabok)

Batman awakens to a utopian Gotham - a “Gothtopia” (which sounds like a club for Cure fans) - where crime is all but wiped out and he has a happy existence with his partner in crime and in life, Catbird, aka Selina Kyle. But can this really be the White Knight’s real life - or is it a mirage? 

Monday, 2 February 2015

Letter 44, Volume 2: Redshift Review (Charles Soule, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque)

The setup for the series: the first non-white President of the United States, Blades, inherits war in the Middle East and an economy in free fall. He learns from former President Carroll in a letter that the reason for the wars and the financial meltdown has to do with a massive secret: there are aliens camped out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and they’re assembling what looks to be a giant weapon or mining tool. A ship - the Clarke - was dispatched years ago to make contact with the aliens and has only just reached them. But are they peaceful - or hostile? 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Stray Bullets, Volume 3: Other People by David Lapham Review

David Lapham takes Stray Bullets in a less crime driven direction towards more romantic ground in Other People. Like the other two volumes, this book is made up of short stories, some of which are connected and some which are standalone.