Friday, 31 July 2015

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter Review

Julia Carroll was a 19 year old student with a bright future. And then she was apparently abducted and never heard from again. Her disappearance shattered her family. 

Fast forward 24 years to the present day. Julia’s two estranged younger sisters, Lydia and Claire, have grown up to lead wildly different lives. Lydia ended up a junkie but cleaned up when she became a mum. Claire married Paul, an architect who founded a hugely successful firm and became a multimillionaire. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Tune, Book 1: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim Review

Andy Go drops out of art school believing his obvious talent will instantly land him lucrative illustration jobs at The New Yorker and similar high profile magazines. Except nothing happens after he drops out - who’da thunk it? Sat on his couch for weeks, Andy’s parents eventually push him out into the big wide world to get a job. But the job hunting doesn’t go well – until a peculiar opportunity at a zoo appears…

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Deathlok, Volume 1: Control. Alt. Delete Review (Nathan Edmondson, Mike Perkins)

Whiskey David.

Didja turn into a cyborg killing machine? Congratulations, you’re NOT a Deathlok!

Right now Nathan Edmondson’s essentially writing three variations of the same Marvel character: The Punisher, Black Widow and Deathlok, ie. non-super-powered anti-hero killers with guns. Also, none of those titles are very good!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Review (Denise Mina, Andrea Mutti)

I never really understood the whole Stieg Larsson phenomenon. He wrote a trilogy of books that were bloated first drafts of some bad CSI episodes, threw in a ridiculous goth chick hacker character, and then died. Lisbeth Salander’s a sort-of interesting character (though that rests largely on her appearance in contrast to the staid looks of everyone else in the series) but the others? Not even slightly.

Batman: Arkham Manor Review (Gerry Duggan, Shawn Crystal)

Spinning out of DC’s weekly series Batman Eternal is Arkham Manor. When Arkham Asylum is destroyed (see Batman Eternal Vol 2), where does the city of Gotham end up housing its dangerously disturbed inmates? Wayne Manor of course! Because martial law is arbitrarily enforced and everyone’s private property is fair game. Was that really why martial law was declared in Batman Eternal Vol 2 – so we’d get Arkham Manor?! It wasn't worth it.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Harder They Come by TC Boyle Review

The Harder They Come revolves around three characters: Sten, a 70 year-old retired school principal and Vietnam vet; his mentally unbalanced son, Adam, 25 years old; and 40 year old paranoid libertarian Sara. Set in present-day Fort Bragg, California, the novel sees Adam’s mind slowly unravelling as he becomes more and more obsessed with historical figure John Colter, a scout on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Adam’s untreated schizophrenia, exacerbated by liquor and hard drugs, can only end one way once he grabs his gun and heads into the woods.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ms Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed Review (G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa)

I love this series - and I think I’m falling in love with Kamala Khan too! It’ll never work - she’s a drawing, I’m a sketchy character… 

The first issue in Ms Marvel, Volume 3: Crushed is a crossover with “hipster Viking” Loki who drops in on a Valentine’s Day dance at Kamala’s school looking for something magical for the All-Mother. It sets up the theme of this book: love, so get yer puke buckets out! 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Ballistic Review (Adam Egypt Mortimer, Darick Robertson)

Repo City State is a living city where DNA and machines are fused together for some reason. Butch is an air conditioning repair guy with a talking gun which is also a drug addict. Yeah, it’s one of those books. “Look how quirky we are!” etc., “we’re being imaginative and different so we’re automatically great! Doesn’t matter that we can’t string together a coherent scene or create defined characters, this should be enough!”. Together they’re going to… take on a mob boss and… er… ?

John Constantine, Hellblazer: City of Demons Review (Si Spencer, Sean Murphy)

Ah, John Constantine. Poor bugger can’t enjoy a quiet pint down his local boozer without some rudeboys pulling out knives on him (to be fair, that’s most North London pubs, whether or not you’re Constantine)! And then the evening’s coup de grace: getting knocked over by a Land Rover!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack by Nicholas Gurewitch Review

Real life Mario and Luigi – Mario drowns in a pipe. A maths problem on a blackboard in a university, like in Good Will Hunting – the janitor writes “boobs” as the answer. A kid looks at a magic eye book and spots the illusion – everybody else sees the kid holding thin air.

Welcome to the world of The Perry Bible Fellowship (no clue why it’s called that)!

Batman & Dracula: Red Rain Review (Doug Moench, Kelley Jones)

I’m stunned once again by how much Batman work Doug Moench got in the ‘90s considering what a shockingly bad writer he is. Was there really no-one else capable enough - was he the best of a bad bunch?

Red Rain is the first of the Batman: Vampire trilogy Moench did with Kelley Jones. It’s an Elseworlds book (meaning it happened somewhere in the Multiverse outside of DC canon). Dracula comes to Gotham, turns some people into vampires, Batman fights the vampires and Dracula. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Hawkeye, Volume 4: Rio Bravo Review (Matt Fraction, David Aja)

FINALLY! Finally we get the conclusion to Matt Fraction and David Aja’s defining run on Hawkeye! I read this one in single issues and the earliest one in this collection was advertising Thor: The Dark World, coming soon, to the latest one advertising Ant-Man, in theatres now - that’s how long it’s taken! 

The Goon, Volume 13: For Want of Whiskey and Blood by Eric Powell Review

Dynamite zombies! Possessed mannequins! Ossified babies! Lagarto! Man-eating Kaiser gorillas! Richard Nixon: Frankenstein F**ker!

13 volumes in and Eric Powell’s The Goon is going as strong as ever. For Want of Whiskey and Blood is a collection of absolutely brilliant vignettes from Lonely St.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

New Suicide Squad, Volume 1: Pure Insanity Review (Sean Ryan, Jeremy Roberts)

Um… New Suicide Squad is… good?!

I wasn’t a fan of Adam Glass, Ales Kot or Matt Kindt’s takes on New 52 Suicide Squad and I’m not really sure why DC decided to reboot the series as New 52 New Suicide Squad, but Sean Ryan’s version of this title is really surprisingly good! 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee Review

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth,”
Isiah 21:6

The book opens with Jean Louise “Scout” Finch on a train journey from the North to Maycomb, Alabama. It’s a journey that’s taken five and a half decades in the real world, since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, but only some twenty years have passed in Scout’s. 

Villains United Review (Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham)

Dr Light’s told everyone what happened to him at the hands of the heroes in Identity Crisis (boo!) so now the villains are uniting in a Society to prevent any further mind-wiping (and here’s me hoping Villains United was a football team). However, six villains hold out so the Society decide to kill them and find out the identity of their secret benefactor, Mockingbird. Even though none of that makes any sense. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Batman, Volume 7: Endgame Review (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

He’s baaaaaaaaaack!

Resident Alien, Volume 1: Welcome to Earth! Review (Peter Hogan, Steve Parkhouse)

A friendly alien crash-lands on Earth. Using his psychic powers to make everyone see him as human, he establishes himself as a semi-retired doctor called Harry in a small American town. One day a serial killer begins a murder spree and Harry decides to crack the case. 

Recorder and Randsell, Volume 1 by Meme Higashiya Review

Atsumi is a high school sophomore but her short height makes everyone thinks she's a much younger kid. Atsushi is a fifth grader with the body of a grown man but of course his mind is much younger. These two always get mixed up and their everyday misunderstandings will warm readers’ hearts! 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Rasputin, Volume 1: The Road to the Winter Palace Review (Alex Grecian, Riley Rossmo)

If you don’t know anything about Rasputin, this review might be considered to contain spoilers even though (most of) these events actually happened and are a part of history. Such is the world we live in today, though. 

Life with Mr. Dangerous by Paul Hornschemeier Review

Amy is a soon-to-be 26 year old retail clerk in a clothes store. She just broke up with yet another bad boyfriend, hates her job, doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, and pines for Michael, a friend whom she calls every night because he lives far away in San Francisco. Her only friends are her cat and the TV show Mr Dangerous. That’s right, it’s another instalment of: Sad Bastard Comics!

Lazarus, Volume 1: Family Review (Greg Rucka, Michael Lark)

America, sometime in the future. It’s a libertarian’s dream as the durn govm’t’s gone! Except society has devolved into a feudal-type state where ruling families control vast fiefdoms and the people are divided between the Serfs (who work for the families) and Waste (those who do not but live on their land).

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline Review

Teenager Zack Lightman is the 6th best Armada player in the world, a sci-fi shoot ‘em up where you pilot a ship blasting away alien invaders. And then he discovers the game was really designed to find the best pilots in the world and he’s been drafted in a real-life war against aliens! 

Big Man Plans Review (Eric Powell, Tim Wiesch)

1979, Nashville, Tennessee. An ex-Vietnam war vet returns home to the town he bitterly left years ago for one final mission: revenge. And he’s also a little person. With Big Man Plans.

Justice League, Volume 6: Injustice League Review (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis)

Spoilsies ahead!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Batman Eternal, Volume 2 Review (Kyle Higgins, Jason Fabok)

I usually try to summarise a book’s story at the top of a review but there isn’t really a plot to Batman Eternal, DC’s weekly Batman series, just a lot of little storylines playing out. I suppose the main bad guy is Hush doing what he always does - “I wanna be Bruce Wayne, waaah!”. Put a sock in it, Tommy!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Death of Wolverine: Wolverines, Volume 1: Dancing with the Devil Review (Charles Soule, Nick Bradshaw)

The Wolverines are: Mystique, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Daken and X-23. Together with Paradise (the team from The Weapon X Program book) their task is to find and retrieve Logan’s adamantium-encased body from Dr Cornelius’ abandoned facility. But, wuh-oh, naughty Mr Sinister steals it first! Now they gotta steal it back! 

The Motorcycle Samurai, Volume 1: A Fiery Demise by Chris Sheridan Review

From page one I knew this was going to be bad: the Motorcycle Samurai monologues about sand like Anakin does in Attack of the Clones. “I hate sand. It gets everywhere and…etc.” (throws up). Holy fuck, is there a worse way you can start your book? 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Ghost Fleet, Volume 1: Deadhead Review (Donny Cates, Daniel Warren Johnson)

A Ghost Fleet is a secret truck run that delivers classified information/cargo. Two partners, Trace and Robert, are tasked with protecting one such truck and are ambushed by masked gunmen with missile launchers. Things go badly and the ghost fleet is upended. Then Trace takes a look into the blown-open truck’s hold – and everything changes…

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Vision: Yesterday and Tomorrow Review (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis)

Before becoming DC exclusive, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis were making a hash of things over at Marvel, like this four issue Vision miniseries from 2003/04. And in true Johns fashion, his Vision is angry, brain-dead and violent in a badly plotted story that doesn’t hang together well - all qualities he would go on to imbue his DC books with!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

A Tale of Sand Review (Jim Henson, Ramon Perez)

Prior to reading A Tale of Sand, my knowledge of Jim Henson began and ended with The Muppets. It turns out that before he made his name with that show he was an avant-garde filmmaker who produced a couple of award-winning short films, Time Piece and The Cube, before writing the script for a feature, A Tale of Sand, with his collaborator Jerry Juhl.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Graveyard Shift Review (Jay Faerber, Fran Bueno)

The generic title – “Graveyard Shift” – is appropriate for such a bland vampire story. Liam, a homicide detective, is in love with Hope, his artist girlfriend. Then she gets bitten by a vampire! Will love triumph over all? Fart.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Midnight in Peking by Paul French Review

Peking, January, 1937, and the body of white teenager Pamela Werner is discovered in the early hours of the morning. Her body has been viciously mutilated, her face damaged nearly beyond recognition, and her heart cut out. The murder caused an enormous scandal across the Empire – who killed Pamela?

Monday, 6 July 2015

Shiba Inuko-San by Uzu Review

Oh my gaawwwd, I nearly had an aneurysm reading this… this thing!

Incredible Change-Bots Two Point Something Something by Jeffrey Brown Review

Jeffrey Brown’s hit upon a million-dollar idea: robots that transform into other objects, like trucks and planes – it’s brilliant! But some robots – in disguise – are good and some are bad. They fight each other with laser guns and junk. NOBODY has ever seen anything quite this original. Robots that transform – they need a catchy name… how about Incredible Change-Bots! Genius – why isn’t EVERYONE talking about this ORIGINAL, AMAZING comic?!

Star Trek/Green Lantern #1 Review (Mike Johnson, Angel Hernandez)

My latest review for Need to Consume was Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez's Star Trek/Green Lantern #1. Read the full piece here:

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Strongman, Volume 2: Oaxaca Tapout Review (Charles Soule, Allen Gladfelter)

Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter reunite for another tale of El Tigre, the superhero luchador, in Oaxaca Tapout! 

El Tigre’s best friend, Bujo, is dying. He wants to spend his last few weeks in his homeland, Mexico, so Tigre takes him back - only to discover Mexico’s changed quite a bit in 35 years! Drinking, donkey shows, and drugs flood the streets and gangsters rule. El Tigre to the rescue! 

Dream Thief, Volume 1 Review (Jai Nitz, Greg Smallwood)

Minor spoilers ahead but that’s only for people who are going to read this. In addition to those readers I’d say DON’T read this crap, spare yourselves the misery! 

Spandex - Fast and Hard by Martin Eden Review

Spandex is an all-gay superhero team based in Brighton, England, who fight giant women, pink ninjas, and conformity! It’s also, unfortunately, like too many superhero team comics, not very good. 

Ghostbusters, Volume 5: The New Ghostbusters Review (Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening)

I haven’t read any Ghostbusters comics before (and after this I won’t be reading any more!) so I’m not sure if it’s just this volume or if the entire series is like this but for a book calling itself “New Ghostbusters”, it sure uses a lot of old stuff from the two movies! 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter Review

While it’s listed as a short story, Karin Slaughter’s Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes is more of a prologue to her latest novel, Pretty Girls. It’s just sold separately for some reason (coughmoneycough!). 

Set in 1991, Julia’s a pretty 19 year old college student studying journalism. There’s been a spate of attractive young women being abducted in the area and it’s worrying everyone. Guess what happens to Julia at the end of this story? 

Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar Review (Marjorie Liu, Mike Perkins)

How about that - gay marriage is legal in America! Well done, Supreme Court, fuck you hateful religious nutters! (Gets down from imaginary soapbox)

In celebration of the occasion I wanted to read some comics with gay marriage featured - and came up short! There are a few out there though and Astonishing X-Men, Volume 10: Northstar is one of them (from no less than 3 years ago too) - good on you, Marvel! 

Catwoman, Volume 3: Death of the Family Review (Ann Nocenti, Rafa Sandoval)

When you’re out of beer, or whatever your drug of choice is, and just gotta lose some brain cells, DC’s got you covered: look for anything with Ann Nocenti’s name on the cover. It’ll do the job but good!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Marvel Star Wars: Princess Leia Review (Mark Waid, Terry Dodson)

Princess Leia is the third release from Marvel’s new 2015 Star Wars line - and it’s also the worst so far! 

Like the other two books, this series is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Leia’s home planet Alderaan has been blowed up by the Death Star so she decides to fly off with Artoo and a female Alderaanian pilot called Evaan, and collect as many surviving Alderaanians from the rest of the galaxy to… uh... and then the books ends after five issues! 

Chew, Volume 10: Blood Puddin' Review (John Layman, Rob Guillory)

I think I’m done with Chew. 

It’s been fun but we’re now onto Volume 10 (with at least two more volumes to go) and shit’s become formulaic, boring, and messy in contrast to the fresh and exciting earlier books. 

Zombie Kid Diaries, Volume 1: Playing Dead Review (Fred Perry, David Hutchison)

So I got this off Netgalley thinking it was a comic - and it’s not. It’s a kid’s book for the 6-10 year old crowd who probably love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and want to read that but with zombies. But I said I’d review it so I read the darn thing and here’s what I think: boo! As if I was going to love this - I’m a sophisticated grown-up reader on the prowl for free superhero comics galleys to read in my Batman pjs! 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

King #1 Review (Joshua Hale Fialkov, Bernard Chang)

Set some 300 years in a destroyed Los Angeles, King is the last man alive searching for the Life Seed to restart the fallen world, or something! Hindering his quest are hyper-intelligent dinosaurs, humanoid animals called CrossFreaks, and robotic karate bears. 

The Private Eye, Volume 2 Review (Brian K Vaughan, Marcos Martin)

We head one last time into Brian K Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente’s oddly un-futuristic future world of The Private Eye in this second and final volume. 

60 years ago at the start of the 21st century, The Cloud burst, giving away everybody’s private information and internet was subsequently outlawed. Privacy became a primary concern, so much so that people wear Halloween masks all the time in public to keep their identities secret. 

Masks, Volume 1 Review (Chris Roberson, Alex Ross)

Long-forgotten Golden Age “superheroes” remind you why they were forgotten in the first place in Masks! When the Justice party, a thinly veiled facsimile of the Nazis, somehow takes power in America, it’s up to these heroes to battle them in the streets, miraculously never getting shot despite fighting hand-to-hand most of the time and many of them not possessing any powers to protect them! Also, they’re all based in one city but they’re fighting for the whole of America, or something! 

Airboy #2 Review (James Robinson, Greg Hinkle)

My latest review for Need to Consume was James Robinson and Greg Hinkle's Airboy #2. Read the full piece here: