Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the First: The Bad Beginning Review (Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist)

The Baudelaire children - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - are suddenly orphaned when their parents tragically die in a fire. Their new legal guardian? A distant relative, the devilishly conniving Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing - not even murder most foul! - to get his hands on the Baudelaire family fortune. So begins the children’s Series of Unfortunate Events… 

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Doomsday Clock #2 Review (Geoff Johns, Gary Frank)

The Doomsday Clock is ticking and only Dr. Manhattan can stop the end of the world. But first Ozymandias must find him and needs help from two of the smartest men from the universe Manhattan escaped to: Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor - the question is, will either of them want to? 

Friday, 29 December 2017

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Review (Matthew K. Manning, Jon Sommariva)

The Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show crosses over with Batman: The Animated Series in this dreariest of comics. Batman’s rogues start jumping into portals appearing around Gotham and get transported to the Turtles’ world – Batman and the Bat-family follow. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwnnn! 

Gawd amighty it’s a challenge to stay awake reading this one! NOTHING matters, every character plays their clearly defined role predictably, the goodies effortlessly defeat the baddies, and there are zero stakes. It’s so unimaginative and no part of this is in the least bit entertaining. The story is so lacking in anything remarkable. Donnie has a thing for Batgirl and Mikey cocks up the Batman Animated Series intro HAHA… boring, safe rubbish. 

Not that it’s a great comic either but if you’re after a better Batman/TMNT crossover, check out James Tynion IV’s version and give Matthew Manning’s feeble, tedious effort a miss.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada Review

Berlin, 1940. While Hitler celebrates conquering France, a working class German couple – Otto and Anna Quangel – mourn the passing of their son, Ottochen, who fell in the fighting. Bitterly upset at the Fuhrer, they begin a quiet campaign of civil disobedience against his Third Reich, dropping hand-made postcards with anti-Nazi slogans printed on them across Berlin. The treasonous postcards are soon noticed and the Gestapo quickly take up the hunt for the culprits – but how long can the Quangels evade capture? 

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 9: Gordon at War Review (Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin)

It started with Joker pointlessly cutting his face off before his latest escape from Arkham Asylum and it ends with Jim Gordon shaving off his ‘tache and pretending he’s Batman. Yup, the New 52 line of Detective Comics sure was crapalicious! 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe Review

A crew stumble across a drifting space hulk, find Xenomorphs inside, and get picked off one-by-one. So, Dead Orbit is like every other Aliens story? YUH HUH! 

James Stokoe’s stunningly detailed art is matched only by his stunningly unoriginal Aliens story! The visuals are terrific and his Xenomorphs look awesome but, wow, did no-one point out when it was being commissioned how absolutely generic, unimaginative and archetypal Dead Orbit was?! It plays out exactly like every other Aliens story complete with cardboard cut-out “characters” for the Xenomorphs to snatch up. 

Unless you’ve never read or seen an Aliens story before, Dead Orbit is totally missable. An utterly boring and instantly forgettable comic – for fans of Stokoe’s art only.

Monday, 25 December 2017

DC Meets Hanna-Barbera Review (Amanda Conner, Ariel Olivetti, et al.)

DC superheroes go on adventures with Hanna-Barbera characters: it shouldn’t work – and it doesn’t!

Way too many of these stories were plain terrible for this whole concept to have ever been a thing. Booster Gold and the Flintstones, Green Lantern and Space Ghost, Ruff’n’Reddy (sheesh, how obscure can you get?!), Adam Strange and Future Quest, Batman and Top Cat (Dan DiDio should be banned from writing comics), Suicide Squad and the Banana Splits – poo on all of them! Arbitrary, uncreative match-ups, uninspired, forgettable tales – especially James Tynion IV and Christopher Sebela’s horribly convoluted Green Lantern/Space Ghost issue – make most of this book a chore to slog through. Much of the art is equally unimpressive. 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro Review

Set in Japan right after WW2, Masuji Ono, a retired artist, looks back on his life and career from when he was a celebrated painter in the pre-war years to the social pariah he now is in the post-war years thanks to his ties to imperialist Japan. Doesn’t sound like much of a story, does it? It isn’t!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Scooby-Doo Team-Up, Volume 1 Review (Sholly Fisch, Dario Brizuela)

Scooby-Doo and the gang team up with various DC characters like Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League for a series of all-ages adventures in Scooby-Doo Team-Up, Volume 1. And it’s not bad! 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Top 10 Best Comics of 2017

Here’s the rub: every time I’ve done my top 10 picks for best comics of the year since the goshdarn series started, I’ve plumped for Giant Days – with good reason, it really is the best comic in the world! So this year I’m adopting a similar view that film critics have taken with Citizen Kane and “Best Movies of All Time” lists – Giant Days is the undisputed greatest, that’s a given, so let’s just push that to the side and give something else a chance! So this year’s Top 10 Best Comics list doesn’t include Giant Days but it’s definitely my actual pick for the top spot. Onto the others!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Volume 3 Review (Peter Milligan, Paul Jenkins)

So Legends of the Dark Knight, Volume 3 is an utterly pants collection of Batman stories but was it really too much to ask that there be at least ONE good - hell, I’d take half-decent! - short in the bunch?! As it is, this is one brutally boring tale after another. This is reading as an endurance exercise against wave after wave of impossibly tedious garbage.  

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Death and What Comes Next by Terry Pratchett Review

A dying philosopher attempts to smugly outsmart Death with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics before being coolly checkmated by the Reaper Man. I SEE YOU… 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr Seuss Review

“All the windows were dark
No one knew he was here
All the Who's were all dreaming
Sweet dreams without care…”

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Red Lanterns, Volume 3: The Second Prophecy Review (Peter Milligan, Miguel Sepulveda)

Of all DC’s Lantern titles, I like Red Lanterns the best - at least, in terms of concept rather than execution. Hateful monsters who spew blood, live off rage and want to kill everything AND have Lantern rings? That should be a slam-dunk of silly fun but Red Lanterns, Volume 3: The Second Prophecy (wait, what was the first prophecy…?) is unfortunately an overlong and boring read. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Superman: Action Comics, Volume 4: Hybrid Review (Andy Diggle, Tony S. Daniel)

The long and the short of this one is that Action Comics, Volume 4: Hybrid is yet another crummy Superman book to add to the teetering pile of bad Superman comics already out there!

“Hybrid” is an appropriate subtitle as this volume is made up of issues from numerous writers and artists. After Grant Morrison’s departure, Andy Diggle seemed like a promising replacement - except he jumps ship a mere two issues into his run (creators suddenly abandoning DC was an all too frequent problem in the New 52 days), leaving DC Editorial scrambling to figure out how to right the title’s course! 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Letter 44, Volume 5: Blueshift Review (Charles Soule, Joelle Jones)

Up ‘til now Charles Soule’s lesser writing efforts could only be found in his blander-than-bland Marvel work but now it’s unfortunately crept into his best ongoing and creator-owned title, Letter 44. Take the word “blue” and letter “f” out of Blueshift and you’ve got an accurate description of this fifth volume’s quality!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville #1 Review (Grant Morrison, Dan Mora)

When families start disappearing after stopping in the Pola-Cola Corporation’s Xmasville – a year-round Christmas-themed town full of Santas – Klaus and Lilli step in to investigate and kick some holly jolly butt, seasonal style!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Shirtless Bear-Fighter! Review (Jody LeHeup, Sebastian Girner)

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big (pixelated) surprise… 

The bears have invaded. Hopped up on magic bacon, with the backing of Big Toilet, they’re an unstoppable force of furious furriness – not even the army is a match for them! Only one man is naked enough to take them down, if he’ll come out of retirement for one last job: Shirtless Bear-Fighter!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Gotham City Sirens, Volume 1: Union Review (Paul Dini, Guillem March)

Paul Dini is undoubtedly one of the all-time great Batman writers. He gave us the Batman Animated Series, the first (and best) two Arkham games, a bunch of awesome Batman comics and, probably his most significant and lasting contribution to the world of Batman, co-created Harley Quinn. That said, he’s not infallible and has written his share of forgettable drek which unfortunately includes this first volume of Gotham City Sirens. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen Review

Sarah Andersen returns with another Sarah’s Scribbles book - and unfortunately it’s one too many. Looking for a series of trite, lazy, uninspired and unfunny observations, cascading one after another likes waves of diarrhea? Herding Cats is for you! 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Batman: The Dark Prince Charming #1 by Enrico Marini Review

A woman claiming to be Bruce Wayne’s baby mama rocks up with his “daughter” demanding he cough up millions in owed childcare. And then the Joker kidnaps her. Prepare for boredom with Batman: The Dark Prince Charming #1! 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Batman: White Knight #1 Review (Sean Gordon Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth)

White Knight is a role reversal story where Batman suddenly loses the plot and gets banged up in Arkham while the Joker becomes “good” and decides to save Gotham. And the first issue is gahbage!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Confession by Jo Spain Review

Julie’s seemingly idyllic life is shattered one night when a stranger walks into her home and beats her banker husband near to death in front of her. He whispers something into his ear before giving himself up to the police and confessing to the assault – whydunit?

Dark Nights: Metal #1 Review (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

Choo-choo, all aboard the stupid train to HotMessville! Celebrated New 52 Batman creative team Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo – or “Doom Commander” and “Pain Bringer” as they’ve bizarrely nicknamed themselves here like a pair of spergy ‘tards! - reunite for the sprawling event, Dark Nights: Metal. Unfortunately the low quality that plagued the tail end of their New 52 run hasn’t improved – Dark Nights: Metal #1 is rubbish! 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Smell of Starving Boys Review (Frederik Peeters, Loo Hui Phang)

There’s not much of a story to The Smell of Starving Boys. It’s set in the 19th century on the American Frontier where a sleazy American, an Irish photographer with a shady past, and a teenage assistant are surveying Comanche territory. There seems to be a bounty hunter after the photographer. And… that’s it?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 Review (Tom King, Lee Weeks)

I think like most people I viewed the DC/Looney Tunes crossover comics skeptically, that they were simply novelty products that couldn’t possibly be any good. And while I can’t speak to the quality of the others as I haven’t read them, Batman/Elmer Fudd was bizarrely quite decent! 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Giant Days 2017 Holiday Special #1 Review (John Allison, Jenn St-Onge)

Giant Days crosses over with another part of John Allison’s Scary Go Round-verse as Esther, Susan and Daisy visit Shelley Winters in London for a festive tribute to Love Actually (minus Hugh Grant’s dancing = huge positive)!

The Giant Days 2017 Holiday Special is a delightful bumper-edition of probably the greatest comic in the world, just like last year’s was. I love that this is an annual thing now too!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Doomsday Clock #1 Review (Geoff Johns, Gary Frank)

8 years after Watchmen… 

Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias’ warped plan to stop the Cold War has been exposed making him the most wanted man in the world. His empire fallen, Veidt is now in hiding. Meanwhile Rorschach’s journals have been published – except he’s been spotted walking the streets dispensing his unique brand of brutal justice! But Rorschach’s dead – isn’t he? And as talks break down between the US and Russia, World War 3 seems imminent. The Doomsday Clock is ticking again. Where is Dr Manhattan? And what does Superman have to do with all of this?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Review

Theo Decker’s life changes forever after becoming one of the few survivors of a terrorist bombing at an art gallery. Not only does he lose his beloved mother in the attack but he rashly decides to take advantage of the unfolding chaos to steal Dutch impressionist Carel Fabritius’ painting, The Goldfinch, for reasons even he’s not sure about. Will he get away with it? And where does he go from here?

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Dragon Ball Super, Volume 2 Review (Akira Toriyama, Toyotarou)

In the second volume of Dragon Ball Super, Dragon Ball does what Dragon Ball does best: fighting tournaments! It’s Universe 6 vs Universe 7 for the prize of the Super Dragon Balls! Who’ll win? (Clue: Goku is on Universe 7’s side!) 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive Review (Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker)

Indicted for the murder of his girlfriend Vesper Fairchild, Bruce Wayne escapes Blackgate Prison and “goes on the lam” leaving it up to Batman to find her true killer. Except, heh heh, Bruce Wayne IS Batman so nothing really happened! Ehhhh… So who really dunit?? Spoiler: nobody bloody caaaaarress!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Batman, Volume 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles Review (Tom King, Mikel Janin)

The Joker’s lost his sense of humour and he’d kill to get it back - specifically Batman but also anyone standing in his way. Like The Riddler, whose ego won’t allow anyone else to take down Batman but him. And so the two go head to head in all-out war on the Gotham streets, roping in every villain in town in Batman, Volume 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Asterix and the Chariot Race Review (Jean-Yves Ferri, Didier Conrad)

A Roman Senator is shamed into defending the crumbling state of the famous Roman roads by proposing a chariot race across Italy. Thus the first Trans-Italic Race (an Ancient version of the Gumball Rally) is born with competitors including our Gaulish heroes, Asterix and Obelix! 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Magritte: This is Not a Biography Review (Vincent Zabus, Thomas Campi)

A man buys a bowler hat that magically transports him into the surrealist world of painter Rene Magritte, surrounded by the artist’s images and themes. Why a bowler hat? Because of Magritte’s most famous painting, The Son of Man (the businessman in a bowler hat whose face is obscured by a green apple). 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future Review (Alan Grant, Steve Pugh)

Say hasta la vista to any hopes of being entertained with this tedious crossover between iconic franchises, Superman vs The Terminator: Death to the Future!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Vegetarian by Han Kang Review

Set in South Korea, a woman called Yeong-hye decides to stop eating meat – my, the scandal! Her family is outraged and things get progressively stranger and more disturbing for poor Yeong-hye from there.

If we look at the three parts that comprise Han Kang’s The Vegetarian as a three course meal (purely because food is how all of this begins), I’d say I loved the starter, didn’t mind the entrĂ©e and was left disappointed with the dessert; all in all, a middling meal! 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Batman and Robin, Volume 4: Requiem for Damian Review (Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason)

Set in the wake of the dramatic events from Batman Incorporated, Volume 2: Gotham’s Most Wanted, Batman mourns his son’s death. And then goes mental trying to bring him back to life! Someone should’ve told Bruce to chill – superheroes never stay dead for long!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Regression, Volume 1: Way Down Deep Review (Cullen Bunn, Danny Luckert)

Haunted by waking nightmares and at his wits’ end, Asian Tom Hiddleston-lookalike Adrian goes to see a past life regression hypnotist in an effort to find peace of mind. Except the session only opens the door for something wicked to enter our world… !

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Tomb Raider, Volume 1: Spore Review (Mariko Tamaki, Phillip Sevy)

Her bewbs may not be the focus (for some) anymore but Mariko Tamaki still fails to give Lara Croft much of an identity in Tomb Raider, Volume 1: Spore.

This book is basically a crappier version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Lara and her ragtag bunch have to find some magic mushrooms (not the fun kind) that grant immortal life - but not if the ‘shrooms’ protectors stop her first!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Batman: Legacy, Volume 1 Review (Chuck Dixon, Jim Balent)

Yikes, that was terrible! So Batman: Legacy, Volume 1 is Utterly Garbage Batman Book #874 or thereabouts (I’ve lost count at this point). It’s so, so bad!

The first third is about a shit Punisher ripoff called Lock-Up who kidnaps criminals from prison so he can Lock them Up (geddit - like his name?! Yup, that’s the level of inventiveness Chuck Dixon operates at!) in his own prison. What? Why?! It’s not just that it’s beyond boring to read but it’s got absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the book. It’s a complete waste of time. 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Swamp Thing, Volume 7: Season's End Review (Charles Soule, Jesus Saiz)

Here comes DC with another load of old cobblers in Swamp Thing, Volume 7: Season’s End! It’s the Kingdom of the Green vs the Kingdom of the Machines in Charles Soule’s final dreary Swamp Thing book. Who’ll win? Who cares!? 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Giant Days, Volume 8 Review (John Allison, Max Sarin)

Boyfriends and girlfriends behave badly threatening friendships left and right in Giant Days Volume 8! Daisy’s girlfriend Ingrid runs up a disastrous heating bill forcing poor Daisy to choose between her love and her best friends Esther and Susan. Meanwhile, just as Esther befriends Emilia, Emilia’s beau McGraw reveals his on/off relationship with Susan has been secretly on for months! Will he and Ed Gemmell (sporting an unwise Anakin Skywalker braid) survive Emilia’s brothers’ wrath? Also - find out McGraw’s first name! 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Old Geezers, Volume 1: Alive and Still Kicking Review (Wilfrid Lupano, Paul Cauuet)

After his wife passes away, Antoine discovers that she once had an affair with his sworn enemy, the factory owner he spent his whole life campaigning against for workers’ rights. Grabbing his gun, he sets off in his car on a final road trip to kill him and get a cuckold’s belated revenge – but not if his two besties and pregnant granddaughter can stop him first! 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Back to Basics 2: Making Plans Review (Jean-Yves Ferri, Manu Larcenet)

I read the first Back to Basics book a couple weeks ago and didn’t think much of it at the time. A young couple moves from the city to the countryside for the idyllic quiet life but find themselves unsuited to the harsher environment and surrounded by unnerving eccentrics. It’s made up of light, amusing episodes that quickly become formulaic, even a bit tiresome – ultimately it’s largely unimpressive. And yet… it unexpectedly stayed with me. So much so that I ended up getting the second and third books to see what happened next! 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens: Splice and Dice Review (John Layman, Chris Mooneyham)

You know what’s interesting about Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens? Nothing.

An emoji-themed cult leader being pursued by Dredd and an unoriginal Doctor Moreau-type experimenting with splicing Xenomorphs with humans and animals bring the three franchises together for a brief and forgettable argy-bargy.

Friday, 3 November 2017

X-Men: Blue, Volume 1: Strangest Review (Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina)

I have no idea why this X-Men series is called “Blue” and no explanation is given either! One thing’s for sure: Cullen Bunn wrote down a list of things you’d associate with the X-Men and then proceeded to tick them off here. Seriously, this is the most generic, boilerplate X-Men book I’ve ever read. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Ghost Rider: Four on the Floor Review (Felipe Smith, Danilo S. Beyruth)

Felipe Smith hasn’t been the Ghost Rider writer for long but he’s already run out of ideas! Ghost Rider, Volume 1: Four on the Floor instantly relegates Robbie Reyes and the Spirit of Vengeance to supporting characters IN THEIR OWN SERIES in favour of Korean Hulk and female Wolverine. The title should really be Ghost Rider Team-Up or better yet Arbitrary Diversity Superheroes!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Judge Dredd, Volume 3 Review (Duane Swierczynski, Nelson Daniel)

Hmm. I am NOT having much luck picking out good comics this week! I’m not a huge fan of Duane Swierczynski’s but he’s written some ok books in the past. Unfortunately I seem to have managed to grab two of his worst comics efforts with Birds of Prey Volume 3 and now Judge Dredd Volume 3 - and I’m gonna be avoiding any books with his name on going forward! 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Superman vs. Predator Review (David Michelinie, Alex Maleev)

Superman vs. Predator should be a more fun read than it is. I mean, I expected Superman to be depowered instantly (which he is) because if he weren’t, it’d be the quickest of fights but I hoped to be more entertained than I was. As it is, this book is unfortunately a tedious and overlong bore of a read.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Birds of Prey, Volume 3: A Clash of Daggers Review (Duane Swierczynski, Gail Simone)

Birds of Prey, Volume 3: A Clash of Daggers is the most braindead DC comic I’ve read since the last one; so, since yesterday! It stars a group of morons who, when they’re not arbitrarily fighting each other, are fighting a series of cookie-cutter villains in one repetitive story after another. It’s books like this that cause non-comics readers to look down on superhero comics in the first place.