Monday 29 February 2016

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt Review

In a rural mountain area in an unknown part of the world (mainland Europe?) at an unknown point of time (mid-19th century?), a young man called Lucien Minor nearly dies from a terrible illness before his life has even begun. He miraculously survives, resolves to have something happen in his boring life and is subsequently appointed as the assistant to the Majordomo of the Castle Von Aux - an Undermajordomo - where his wish will be granted. Thieves, maidens, warriors, demented aristocrats await - and what is stalking the castle’s corridors in the night…? 

Madame Frankenstein Review (Jamie S. Rich, Megan Levens)

It’s the 1930s and the love of Vincent Krall’s life, Courtney Bow, has died in a car accident. But being a Boris Karloff fan - and more than a little crazy - Dr Vince decides to bring Courtney back to life using bits and pieces of other corpses. Madame Frankenstein… she’s ALIVE!!

Sunday 28 February 2016

Nightworld, Volume 1: Midnight Sonata Review (Paolo Leandri, Adam McGovern)

Some comics attract me because of the cover (yes I am that shallow!) and some comics, after reading them, leave me still admiring the cover – and little else. So it goes with Nightworld, Volume 1: Midnight Sonata, a comic with an intriguing Abe Sapien-type character on the cover (loves ya, Abe!) with gorgeous pop-art visuals throughout and, unfortunately, a completely pants story. 

Saturday 27 February 2016

Colder, Volume 1 Review (Paul Tobin, Juan Ferreyra)

Declan is a catatonic invalid who’s been “frozen” young for 70 years. Reece is his minder. Nimble Jack is an interdimensional demon who wants to eat Declan’s soul. Yup, that old chestnut - oh, the fun they have together!

Friday 26 February 2016

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 Review (Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello)

The evil Kandorians (the “Master Race” of the subtitle) are free of their miniature glass prison and, thanks to The Atom, are regular-sized. Their nutso leader Quar tell Earth what they want (which is the same thing Donald Trump wants): to be worshipped as Gods! But don’t worry because pensioner Batman and unfrozen Superman are here to fight back the crazy with their own brand of angst! 

Karnak #2 Review (Warren Ellis, Gerardo Zaffino)

Inhuman warrior priest Karnak has been hired by SHIELD to recover a kidnapped boy who has undergone terrigenesis - and is believed to be the Inhumans’ saviour. The trail leads Karnak to a German splinter cell where death and destruction awaits. For the kidnappers.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Jack the Ripper Review (Francois Debois, Jean-Charles Poupard)

The murders of five prostitutes - Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly – are attributed to the killer known as Jack the Ripper. Operating in London’s impoverished Whitechapel district between 31 August and 9 November 1888, “Jack” was never caught, his identity never revealed and he became history’s most famous serial killer. 

Wednesday 24 February 2016

The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 3: Commercial Suicide Review (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie)

I think the third volume of The Wicked + The Divine is where I leave this series – rather than improve after the disappointing second volume, it remains flat and at this point I’ve completely lost interest. It even takes things down a notch with artist Jamie McKelvie, whose work is the biggest selling point of the comic, being practically absent for the book – I wonder if that’s why the subtitle is Commercial Suicide? 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Batgirl, Volume 2: Family Business Review (Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr)

Move aside wet paint, there’s something else to tediously stare at for a while: the new Batgirl book! 

The current Batman is temporarily (and stupidly) Jim Gordon sans moustache who’s been chugging the handsome juice. He operates inside a robo-Bat suit and doesn’t know Batgirl is his daughter Babs – but she knows its him inside the Chappie-esque outfit. Hello cheap contrivance!

Midnighter, Volume 1: Out Review (Steve Orlando, ACO)

Superhero team comics have never been my thing. I’ve enjoyed the occasional X-Men adventure but I don’t think I’ve ever read a great Avengers or Justice League book. Somehow though, I loved The Authority. Maybe because they were subversive - two of its core members, Midnighter and Apollo, are meant to be Batman and Superman, but gay married - though it’s probably because my favourite comics writers and artists worked on the title. 

Monday 22 February 2016

I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After Review (Skottie Young, Jean-Francios Beaulieu)

Once upon a time, a little girl called Gertrude wished to visit a magical fantasy land - and then promptly found her wish granted! But when young Gertrude wished herself home, she discovered it not nearly as easy to leave Fairyland as it was to enter it… 

Twenty-seven years later - she’s still looking for the way out.

Sunday 21 February 2016

The Heart Broke In by James Meek Review

I suppose minor spoilers ahead for anyone planning on reading this, which is, oh, no-one? Thought so. Good choice, everyone! 

Sleazy ex-popstar turned sleazy reality show producer Ritchie Shepherd cheats on his wife with a 15 year old girl (not the first time either) and gets blackmailed by his sister’s jilted lover, newspaper mogul Val Oatman. Ritchie has to give up dirt on his sister Bec or Val will reveal his crime and Ritchie loses it all. 

Saturday 20 February 2016

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham Review (Mike Mignola, Richard Pace)

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham is a three-part Elseworlds story from 2000/2001 from writers Mike Mignola and Richard Pace who blended Batman with HP Lovecraft - a winning combo, right? Well, sort of… 

It’s 1928 and an Antarctic expedition to retrieve the missing Professor Cobblepot led by eccentric millionaire Bruce Wayne reveals an unspeakable horror sleeping beneath the ice! It’s up to Batman to save Gotham from Yogs, Thoths, Sh’thgloths, Yhueth’sHUThgtsthathgueanths and other creatures whose names you can’t pronounce properly without a mouthful of peanut butter! 

Thursday 18 February 2016

Cochlea & Eustachia by Hans Rickheit Review

This is the first page: a small man with black hair, spectacles and a rolling pin for a head emerges from a cavity in a hollowed-out tapir wearing a ruff and blue blouse with a window in its side. 

Puzzled? Reviled? Enticed? That first page is representative of the rest of Hans Rickheit’s Cochlea & Eustachia - one long nightmarish, surreal sequence bursting with bonkers imagery - and determines whether the reader is up for what it has to offer or not. 

Sunday 14 February 2016

Stories II by TC Boyle Review

TC Boyle: Stories II is an anthology of anthologies - this nearly 1000 page book contains the previously published short story collections After the Plague, Tooth and Claw, and Wild Child as well as an unpublished one, A Death in Kitchawank (hehe). I’ve already read/reviewed the first three (all great) so this review will be on the Kitchawank (hehe) collection. 

Saturday 13 February 2016

Letter 44, Volume 3: Dark Matter Review (Charles Soule, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque)

President Blades’ reveal to the world that the United States has discovered an alien race building what looks to be a giant weapon in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has not gone down well. In fact it’s kicked off World War 3! Meanwhile on board the alien’s weapon, nicknamed the Chandelier, the human crew of the Clarke have found first contact to be... not quite what they thought. And if that wasn’t enough, a mile-wide asteroid is headed straight to Earth! 

Friday 12 February 2016

Deadpool: The Ones with Deadpool Review (Gerry Duggan, Paul Scheer)

The Ones with Deadpool is the kind of book you get with really popular characters, ie. Marvel looked at the sales figures and realised Deadpool sells nearly as much as their flagship character Spider-Man and decided to put out as many comics featuring him as possible. That’s why we’ve got a book of three standalone annuals and an event tie-in none of which are very good, connected in any way or worth reading – but they sold! This volume should really be called Deadpool: Marvel Are A Business And Quality Control Doesn’t Extend To Every Title Especially The Ones We Rush Out!

Thursday 11 February 2016

Doctor Strange, Volume 1: The Way of the Weird Review (Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo)

The Sorcerer Supremes (magic love, oh magic love) in every dimension are being hunted down and killed by the technological inquisitors, the Empirikul and their lethal witchfinder wolves, who want to destroy all magic everywhere. Their next target? The Sorcerer Supreme of Earth: Doctor Stephen Strange. The Doctor used magic to protect the world - now he must protect the magic itself! 

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet Review (Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn)

Deadpool is hired by Dracula to bring his undead bride Shiklah back to New Yawk to marry and unite the Monster Kingdom! The only problem? Deadpool! 

Dracula's Gauntlet is officially my favourite Deadpool book. It’s this meandering odyssey through Europe covered with Marvel goodness and culminating in the kind of madcap chaos only Deadpool can pull off. AND it’s genuinely funny! 

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Superman, Volume 6: The Men of Tomorrow Review (Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr)

New parents in a desperate situation send their only son into the void to survive them and the destruction around them. The son grows up on an alien world and becomes a superhero. His name? NEIL! Uh… wha? 

The Men of Tomorrow sees lifelong Marvel artist John Romita Jr arrive at DC for the first time ever, a big deal for DC as they’ve had a real problem with creators leaving their company in droves these last few years – here’s a big name who’s actually joining them for a change! 

Prez, Volume 1: Corndog-in-Chief Review (Mark Russell, Ben Caldwell)

America, 2036. Beth Ross is a 19 year old college student working part-time at a corndog place, filming a training video where she accidentally burns her hair - which of course gets uploaded to the internet. The video goes viral and she becomes known as “Corndog Girl”. Regardless of being able to vote via Twitter, voter apathy is at an all-time high for the new election. Hacker collective Anonymous (they of the V for Vendetta masks) decide to put Corndog Girl up as a protest campaign - and she wins. Beth Ross aka Corndog Girl is… President of the United States!? 

Monday 8 February 2016

A City of Whiskey and Fire Review (Daniel Landes, Noah van Sciver)

A City of Whiskey and Fire is the first Noah van Sciver comic I didn’t like and that’s probably because he didn’t write it - someone called Daniel Landes did. 

It’s about the birth of modern-day Denver when, one night in 1863, a couple of drunks trying to scalp one another (as you do when you’re plastered) managed to set fire to the wooden bar. The blaze spread across the fledgling wooden frontier town, burning the whole place down. From then on all structures had to be made out of non-flammable materials. 

Star Wars, Volume 2: Showdown on Smuggler's Moon Review (Jason Aaron, Stuart Immonen)

Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the second volume of Jason Aaron’s Star Wars run sees the core group fractured. Luke has picked up Obi-Wan’s journal from Tatooine and is trying to reach the Jedi Temple on Coruscant at the heart of the Empire - a journey that only the most daring smugglers of Nar Shaddaa can help him with. Meanwhile, Han and Leia bump into a bounty hunter intent on turning them over to the Empire. Oh and she claims to be Han’s wife too! 

Sunday 7 February 2016

Slow Graffiti by Noah van Sciver Review

Slow Graffiti is an assortment of Noah van Sciver’s random sketches and short strips and it’s as mediocre as it sounds. I quite enjoyed the short about Sarah, a 30 year old woman at Christmas who gets nagged by her mother, reminisces with her manchild older brother, and witnesses a car crash. It definitely feels as directionless as Sarah’s life appears to be! 

The Lizard Laughed by Noah van Sciver Review

“Weak men can become fathers, too”

Deadbeat dad Harvey hangs out with another deadbeat dad smoking weed and staring at the rock formations of the New Mexico landscape. His estranged, grown-up son, Nathan, is visiting whom he hasn’t seen since he abandoned him at age 9. Awk-ward! 

Saturday 6 February 2016

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Volume 12: Metamorphosis Review (Mike Mignola, Peter Snejbjerg)

Johann leads a BPRD crew to their favourite location, Nowheresville, USA, where they encounter yet more idiot humans pointlessly protecting and worshipping monsters. He fails to take into account their feelings and does something insensitive. Also, Sledgehammer 44! 

More Mundane by Noah van Sciver Review

The origin of this comic is that Noah van Sciver’s girlfriend Jazzmyn pointed out a 30-page sketchbook in an art shop and he bought it to fill it up with diary comics. A fittingly ordinary explanation given the title and yet More Mundane was a surprisingly entertaining comic! 

Friday 5 February 2016

1999 by Noah van Sciver Review

Mark is a college dropout living with his mother in Arizona and working in a sub-shop. He doesn’t have any ambition or clue as to what he wants to do – until he meets married co-worker Nora and falls in love with her.

There are supposedly a handful of basic plots in fiction that get used over and over again and maybe that’s true. The plot of 1999 is the oldest one - boy meets girl, love happens, girl breaks boy’s heart. And it is really that straightforward here. 

Warzones: Where Monsters Dwell: The Phantom Eagle Flies the Savage Skies Review (Garth Ennis, Russ Braun)

It’s the 1920s and ace American pilot and war hero Karl Kaufmann aka the Phantom Eagle agrees to fly buxom English rose Clementine “Clemmie” Franklin-Cox to her husband in Singapore but wuh oh! A storm sends their plane wildly off course and suddenly the Phantom Eagle and Clemmie are… in the Savage Land?! 

Thursday 4 February 2016

Charly 9 by Richard Guerineau Review

Charles IX was King of France from 1560 to his death in 1574 and is best remembered for the mass killing of Huguenot (French Protestants) leaders that became known as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572.

Richard Guerineau’s comics adaptation of Jean Teule’s novel begins just as Charles is being emotionally blackmailed by his bloodthirsty mother Catherine de’Medici into ordering the massacre and then follows his descent into madness as the guilt becomes unbearable. Also, the comic was crap! 

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Invincible, Volume 3: Perfect Strangers Review (Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley)

With the Guardians of the Globe dead, we’re gonna have tryouts for a new superhero team! Also, Mark discovers the shocking truth behind his dad - he was never “Superman”, he was more like “Zod”!

The main part of this third Invincible volume is a ton of exposition from Mark’s dad, Omni-Man, a reveal I thought was pretty good - until I tried to follow the reasoning behind it all and, wow, was it confusing! So, unlike Superman whose powers change with different suns, Viltrumites’ (Omni-Man and Invincible’s people) powers work anywhere in the galaxy? Alright. Weirdly, Superman's explanation for his powers makes more sense but whatever, let's go with this lazy assumption. 

Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen Review

Adulthood Is a Myth is a collection of humorous strips from Sarah Andersen, an introverted, misanthropic twentysomething bookworm who hates responsibility and, y’know, doing stuff. A woman after my own heart! 

Tuesday 2 February 2016

If You Steal by Jason Review

Jason, one of the finest cartoonists working today, is back with another collection of inspired stories featuring his familiar cast of animal-headed mopers, If You Steal. 

I never knew I wanted to read a story about Frida Kahlo as a hitman until Polly Wants a Cracker but I loved it! Dark and thrilling, the title’s the only words spoken in the story giving it this arthouse/experimental vibe to it. 

Monday 1 February 2016

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 6: Icarus Review (Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato)

Batman breaks up a child smuggling ring in the Gotham docks leading to Bruce Wayne deciding to renovate the Gotham waterfront in an effort to gentrify it and eliminate the criminals who’ve marked out the area for their own. Which of course doesn’t go down well with the gangsters - especially the ones who’re making a mint selling a potent new drug called Icarus. 

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Volume 11: Flesh and Stone Review (Mike Mignola, James Harren)

So Flesh and Stone is another treading-water BPRD volume in this increasingly unimpressive Hell on Earth arc. 

Whether you care or not, Howards’ origins are revealed (he’s the dude with the sword on the cover). He’s a character who suffers from Darth Maul syndrome in that he’s got a cool weapon in lieu of a personality so it’s hard to shiv a git. He, Johann and a group of faceless BPRD agents fight more forgettable Kaiju in Nowheresville, Middle America. Wow, so exciting - never seen the BPRD do that before! Oh wait that's all they do, all the time!