Monday, 30 November 2015

The Goon, Volume 15: Once Upon a Hard Time by Eric Powell Review

Once Upon a Hard Time is the second half of the Occasion of Revenge storyline and it begins immediately afterwards too so don’t pick this up until you’ve read that. 

Goon is losing it. The coven of witches, or "Magpies", have him on the ropes and his alliance with Don Rigatti is broken. He sees death in every outcome - even his own. Will Lonely St. lose its champion once and for all? 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder, Volume 3: The Mysteries of Unland Review (Kim Newman, Tyler Crook)

This is the first new Witchfinder book in some time and it sees Mike Mignola step back as Kim Newman and Maura McHugh take over the writing - and unfortunately produce the only dismal volume in the series so far. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Secret Wars #7 Review (Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic)

Jonathan Hickman can sometimes - rarely - be a good storyteller; Secret Wars is not one of those times. 

So much has happened in between the last issue and this and it’s not clear when or how or why any of it happened - very sloppy writing. Maybe a lot of it happened in the spinoffs (Marvel are calling them “Warzones”) but I had hoped Secret Wars would be its own contained story and this issue proves that to understand how things went from issue #6 to #7 there’s going to be more than a few tie-ins you’re gonna have to read to fill in the blanks, which sucks. 

Archie Vs Predator Review (Alex de Campi, Fernando Ruiz)

I’m not really a fan of either Archie or Predator but I did want to read a comic where the cast of Archie get eviscerated by a bloodthirsty dreadlocked alien hunter! Is it worth explaining the premise? It’s a gimmicky comic in the vein of Archie Meets The Punisher. Predator comes to Riverdale and starts killing. That’s it!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Airboy Review (James Robinson, Greg Hinkle)

James Robinson is in a bad place. He’s spending too much time getting fucked up on booze and drugs because he’s dissatisfied with his work at DC and the pigeonhole he’s found himself in at this point of his career as “the guy who reboots Golden Age characters”. So when he’s approached by Image publisher Eric Stephenson to reboot Airboy, another Golden Age character, he’s hesitant but takes the job for the cash. 

The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig Review

This book collects five of Stefan Zweig’s novellas: Chess, Fear, Confusion, Journey Into The Past and Burning Secret. 

I became a Zweig fan after first reading Chess a few years ago – little did I realise that that was his only good book and the rest of his output is very poor! I am a Zweig fan no longer. 

The Punisher MAX: Frank Review (Jason Aaron, Steve Dillon)

Frank’s final encounter with Bullseye has left him half-dead and in prison. But what’s really shaken him are the words Bullseye whispered to him right at the end of the last book – the words he figured out that Frank said to his wife before she was killed along with their kids all those years ago. As Frank slowly heals, the prison gangs are circling him like vultures, waiting for their moment to slay the Punisher once and for all. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Confusion by Stefan Zweig Review

Confusion is about a university student who goes from party monster to serious student, becoming obsessed with his charismatic literature teacher – who has a “dark secret”! The two become close as the student helps the teacher write a book on Elizabethan theatre and then… things happen. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 Review (Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello)

The Batman hasn’t been seen in Gotham for three years. Where is Bruce Wayne? Where is Carrie Kelley? 

Ah nostalgia, you are the theme of 2015. You make us forget the likes of Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 to crown Jurassic World the biggest movie of the year (despite also sucking). You make us forget the Prequel Trilogy to have Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens soon supplant Jurassic World as the biggest movie of the year (despite probably only being mediocre). 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller Review

On the morning of Thursday, August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Their killer - or killers – struck them repeatedly in the head with a hatchet until they were both dead: first Abby, while she made the bed in the guest room, then Andrew when he returned from his morning walk and was resting on the sofa. The prime suspect? Their 32 year-old daughter, Lizzie. 

Superman/Wonder Woman, Volume 3: Casualties of War Review (Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke)

Welcome back to another edition of Grindin’ Out Product by DC! This week it’s the latest Superman/Wonder Woman collection. Stuck for ideas? Always? Just have these two characters, who’re best known for punchin’ stuff, punch someone they haven’t punched in a while! So, without giving away the Big Bad of this book, Superman/Wonder Woman have to punch the villain really hard to defeat him and that’s the whole book. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Action Philosophers Giant-Size Thing, Volume 3 Review (Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey)

The third and final volume in Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s excellent Action Philosophers series covers: The Pre-Socratics, Aristotle, Epictetus, Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, Georg Hegel, John Stuart Mill, Baruch Spinoza, Confucius, Gottfried Liebniz, David Hume, Diogenes, George Berkeley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lao-Tzu, Michel Foucault, Sir Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Phew! 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Outcast, Volume 2: A Vast and Unending Ruin Review (Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta)

In the first Outcast book we met Kyle Barnes, a divorced mess of a man with a past riddled with seeming demon possession. He mooned over being separated from his wife and kid, he helped out the Reverend Anderson in exorcising some demons, and he wondered what an Outcast was. Satan, or someone like him, possessed an old man and moved into Kyle’s neighbourhood. 

Godzilla in Hell Review (James Stokoe, Bob Eggleton)

I’ve never read a Godzilla comic before so I’m not sure if this is like Hellboy in Hell where it’s the next part of a years-long story or whether Godzilla in Hell is just a one-off, standalone Elseworlds-type deal. It seems self-contained anyway so newbs like me can experience comic book Godzilla in a done-in-one book. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Fear by Stefan Zweig Review

I’ve read a few of Stefan Zweig’s novellas and found them to be generally pretty decent; Fear is the first one I haaaaated!

Irene Wagner is a 30 year old wife and mother, married for 8 years to a successful lawyer, who decides to have an affair with a young pianist(hehe!). Except she begins to be blackmailed by her lover’s former mistress who discovers her infidelity and the fear of being found out drives Irene to the brink of suicide. What’sa she to do!?

The Punisher MAX: Bullseye Review (Jason Aaron, Steve Dillon)

This is the moment, the first time I read this in June 2011, where, after the first chapter of this book, I flicked back to the cover and told myself to remember this name: Jason Aaron. This is a man who can write like Satan himself and after finishing this I proceeded to devour everything I could find by this guy. I’m still a huge fan to this day but this one, Bullseye? This is Aaron leaving comparisons to Garth Ennis behind and carving out his own brand of Punisher comic. This is something. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction Review (Mark Waid, Paul Smith)

Set in 1941, a Central City councilman's corpse appears on the West coast mere hours after he was last sighted on the East! How could that be possible when a cross-country 1940s plane ride takes 20 hours? The Spirit heads out West to find answers and encounters California’s own colourful character, The Rocketeer. The two heroes team up to uncover the dastardly secrets of… television! 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Uzumaki, Volume 1 by Junji Ito Review

The small town of Kurozu-Cho (a Japanese version of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth) is haunted by… a pattern! Wooooo! Yup, spirals - lines going round and round - are deadly. It sound silly but that’s pretty original really. I don’t think I’ve read a horror that’s got so abstract a big bad, AND Junji Ito manages to make them disturbing too so kudos!

Red Sonja, Volume 3: The Forgiving of Monsters Review (Gail Simone, Walter Geovani)

The Forgiving of Monsters is the third and final volume in Gail Simone and Walter Geovani’s wonderful Red Sonja run. Unfortunately, they close out with an uninspired last gasp. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco Review

Phewf – how’s this for a convoluted and dreary premise? Umberto Eco’s latest novel is set in Italy, 1992, where a hack writer is hired by a wealthy chancer to write the story of a newspaper/magazine he will establish – except, while he’ll still hire a staff to create editions full of content, he doesn’t intend to actually publish anything - that’ll apparently threaten the concerns of an even wealthier businessman who’ll get him to shut down the publication with a big payday. 

The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell Review

A young girl is possessed by the devil - a Catholic priest and bishop must perform an exorcism to save her! 

Ray Russell’s The Case Against Satan was published in 1962, 9 years before William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist but it’s less well-known probably because of the enormous popularity of the 1973 movie adaptation of Blatty’s book. I’m sure for audiences in 1962 this was fresh and exciting as well as influential (I wonder if Blatty and Stephen King read Russell’s novel?) but half a century later... 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Punisher MAX: Kingpin Review (Jason Aaron, Steve Dillon)

Garth Ennis’ run on The Punisher is THE definitive version of the character in the same way that Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting’s Captain America and Matt Fraction/David Aja’s Hawkeye are the pinnacles for those characters - nobody did it better, before or after, and those characters were completely changed (for the better) after those creators left. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Doom Patrol, Volume 1: Crawling from the Wreckage Review (Grant Morrison, Richard Case)

A depressed human brain in a robot’s body; a woman with 64 different personalities, each with their own superpower; a hermaphrodite spirit; an ape-faced girl with powerful imaginary friends; a guy who shoots energy beams from his arms but prefers to be an office admin rather than a superhero; and a guy in a wheelchair who likes chocolate bars - welcome to the Doom Patrol! 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Rocket Raccoon, Volume 2: Storytailer Review (Skottie Young, Jake Parker)

Stuck on an ice planet, Rocket’s gotta steal a dragon’s egg to save Groot’s life! Kaiju-sized Groot fights Rocket Jaegar! Rocket reads the Book of Halfworld and discovers his past!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Goddamned #1 Review (Jason Aaron, RM Guera)

My latest review for Need to Consume was Jason Aaron and RM Guera's The Goddamned #1. Read the full piece here:

Chess by Stefan Zweig Review

On a cruise ship to Buenos Aires, a mysterious stranger unexpectedly beats the world chess champion in a match – but who is the stranger, how did he become so good at chess and why did he not pursue a career in the game? 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

By Chance or Providence: Stories by Becky Cloonan Review

By Chance or Providence is a trilogy of previously published short stories – Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter - by Becky Cloonan collected together in one volume. I reviewed all three individually in 2013 – those reviews are below. Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland Review (Joe Hill, Charles Wilson III)

I didn’t know it when I picked it up but apparently The Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland is a sequel/prequel (as in it was published after but the story is set before) to Joe Hill’s prose novel NOS4A2. Like Nosferatu, geddit? Sheesh, what uninspired “cryptic” wordplay. Well, like father, like son, eh Redrum? 

I Hate Fairyland #1 Review (Skottie Young, Jean-Paul Beaulieu)

Once upon a time, a little girl called Gertrude wished she could visit the magical Fairyland - and lucky her, her wish came true and she was whisked away to that enchanted place! But she realised she didn’t really want to be there and asked the benevolent Queen Cloudia to go home. The smiling Queen gave her a map and a cheerful companion to help Gertrude get home in no time at all!

Twenty. Seven. Years. Later. 

She didn’t make it home.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Pixu: The Mark of Evil Review (Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan)

Four great artists – the Brazilian twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Becky Cloonan and Vasilis Lolos – tell four interlocking stories of tenants in a haunted house whose lives simultaneously fall apart. Pixu: The Mark of Evil should be awesome given the talent involved but it’s a comic that is instead frighteningly tricky to understand and enjoy! 

Batman, Volume 6: Graveyard Shift Review (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

Most of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s acclaimed Batman run has been one event story after another: The Court of Owls, Death of the Family, Zero Year, and Endgame. But there have been a few random issues appearing in between the arcs to give readers a bit of a breather before launching into the next one – those are collected in this volume, the generically-titled Graveyard Shift. And, like many short story collections, it’s an uneven mix of quality. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park Review

I’ve always been curious about life in North Korea but didn’t really make an effort to find out just how weird and harrowing it was until I saw Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live - a memoir of a girl who grew up in North Korea, defected, and now lives in South Korea - and decided to find out. Well… I found out. Weird and harrowing doesn’t come close.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Our Expanding Universe by Alex Robinson Review

Alex Robinson’s best known book, the unbearably long and outdated Box Office Poison, featured a group of boring people talking about their boring lives – hey, it was the ‘90s when that sorta thing was hip and fresh! Years later and Robinson’s back with a (thankfully) much shorter book about boring older people talking about their boring lives in Our Expanding Universe. 

Deadly Class, Volume 3: The Snake Pit Review (Rick Remender, Wes Craig)

The Snake Pit picks up where the last scene from Kids of the Black Hole ended: Marcus and co. have successfully raided Fuckface’s stronghold but are faced with a new threat: Mexican gangsters – the same evil muthas who killed Maria’s family! Things go from bad to worse as one of Marcus’ friends is killed and, as a result of the raid, another is taken out too in King’s Dominion no less! The guilt, along with an increasingly messed up love life, sends Marcus into a tailspin of depression and paranoia exacerbated by his growing drug use as he becomes a one-man island of emo moping! 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Harrow County, Volume 1: Countless Haints Review (Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook)

The people of Harrow County burned the witch, Hester Beck, on the hanging tree. Before she died, she told them she’d come back. 

Years later… 

Emmy has turned 18 and isn’t sure what she’s going to do with her life. But strange things are happening around her pa’s farm with cattle mysteriously dying. That is, except for the one Emmy laid hands on. To her father’s horror, he realises the witch has returned in the form of his daughter! 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Manifest Destiny, Volume 3: Chiroptera & Carniformaves Review (Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts)

Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea and the crew continue on their way into the wilderness that is the western half of 1804 America - and who’da thunk it, they discover another dang arch! Which of course only means one thing: horrible things are on the way! This time it’s a vampire bird monster called the Vameter and a group of small bear/bird hybrids called Fezrons. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Bone, Volume 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith Review

Fone, Phoney, and Smiley Bone are run out of Boneville after Phoney’s latest shenanigans. Lost in the desert, they become separated and Fone Bone, our protagonist, ends up in The Valley, a human-dwelling part of the world, for the winter. There he meets a beautiful young woman called Thorn and her kindly cow-racing grandmother Ben. But danger looms on the horizon as the Lord of Locusts and the rat creature army are massing…