Sunday, 30 April 2017

Batman '66, Volume 3 Review (Jeff Parker, Jonathan Case)

Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case are back for another round of Batman ‘66 stories featuring Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, Riddler, Egghead and a whole cavalcade of esoteric characters who’re up to no good - Adam West Batman and Burt Ward Robin to the rescue!

27, Volume 1: First Set Review (Charles Soule, Renzo Podesta)

Rock star Will Garland damages his hand and can’t play guitar anymore. Desperate for a cure, he seeks out a mad scientist with a demented plan to harness the power of 9, a number representing creativity itself, to somehow fix Will’s hand. Except things go wrong and the 9 set out to kill him instead! 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Green Arrow, Volume 2: Island of Scars Review (Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt)

I requested Green Arrow Volume 2 before reading Volume 1 otherwise I wouldn’t have requested it - that first book is DIRE! But I’m glad of my impetuousness (for once!) as Island of Scars turned out to be miles better than the first volume and not a bad comic considering Rebirth’s overall quality!

Batman of the Future Review (Hilary J. Bader, Rick Burchett)

Batman of the Future is the first Batman Beyond book, spinning off from the late ‘90s animated TV show and, like every other Batman Beyond book, it sucks!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Green Tea by J. Sheridan Le Fanu Review

A clergyman drinks green tea, inadvertently opens his “third eye” and starts seeing a small monkey with glowing red eyes (the Devil, it’s implied). And that’s Green Tea by J. Sheridan Le Fanu! Absolute rubbish. 

It’s written in a plodding, dreary Victorian style which you can’t help but notice given how little actual story there is. I couldn’t believe that all there was was some dull clergyman wigging out over hallucinations! I guess the subtext might be the author’s xenophobia/fascination about the East (green tea is drunk a lot in countries like Japan)? But what the hell, did Le Fanu think Japanese people wander about seeing Satan monkeys everywhere?!

Green Tea is garbage Victorian “horror” that's not even remotely interesting – don’t bother. Le Fanu’s lesbian vampire novella Carmilla is a much better read instead.

Marvel Zombies Review (Robert Kirkman, Sean Phillips)

Robert Kirkman writes a Marvel version of The Walking Dead with Marvel Zombies, and, like a lot of The Walking Dead, it’s pretty bad!

I like how Kirkman launches straight into it. There’s a little bit of text at the start with some nonsense about how everyone became zombified but it’s basically Marvel hero zombies trying to eat the few survivors from start to finish. They wanna eat Magneto, Silver Surfer and Galactus (Galactus usually hungers – now HE’S the food! Boom… boom…) – yeah, the already thin “story” gets stale real quick. 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas by Penelope Bagieu Review

Penelope Bagieu’s California Dreamin’ is a biographical comic about the early life of Ellen Cohen aka Cass Elliot of ‘60s group The Mamas and the Papas. It’s not a bad read but it definitely has its flaws. 

Batman: The Cat and the Bat Review (Fabian Nicieza, Kevin Maguire)

This is the second time in a week that my comics beliefs have been shaken! First Mike freakin’ Barr and Tony Bedard’s The Wrath turns out to be a great Batman book, and now Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza - whom I previously thought couldn’t write a good comic unless someone talented did it for him and left the credits blank so he could write his name in - has written a brilliant Batman comic with The Cat and the Bat! I wonder if I’ve somehow suffered massive head trauma sometime last week and forgotten it and that’s why these books seem awesome to me… 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Moonshine, Volume 1 Review (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso)

Prohibition-era America and the mob grows rich bootlegging illegal hooch for the thirsty populace. Up in the Appalachian Mountains, Hiram Holt brews the best damn ‘shine in the States and Joe Masseira, mob boss of Noo Yawk, wants to sell it - but Holt ain’t interested. So Joe sends Lou Pirlo to convince him to do business with him… it’s eye-talian gangsters vs yee-hawin’ hillbillies in Moonshine! Also, werewolves. 

Batman/Aliens 2 Review (Ian Edginton, Staz Johnson)

Batman fights Aliens again – this time in Gotham!

Ian Edginton and Staz Johnson’s crossover sequel to the surprisingly decent first book is also… surprisingly decent! Story-wise, the title and cover say it all: Batman tangles with Xenomorphs. It’s not the most cerebral of plots and it shouldn’t be. But the action scenes are well-done in that the fighting is imaginative and exciting and the art is suitably dynamic – I definitely wasn’t bored reading this.

It does go off the rails in the third act though once the stereotypical shady government person starts doing insanely stupid experimental things with the Aliens that’s just begging for trouble. As soon as I saw what Batman would be fighting - on an oil rig in the sea for some reason! – I knew this book was one issue too long.

Otherwise, while Batman/Aliens 2 isn’t the most intelligent or memorable of stories and easily has its fair share of cheese, it’s not a bad comic either – a mildly entertaining Batman outing that delivers on its premise!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Animal Man, Volume 1 Review (Grant Morrison, Chas Truog)

Grant Morrison is one of my favourite comics creators - I definitely think he’s the best comics writer there’s ever been - but I don’t love everything he’s written. Case in point: his late ‘80s Animal Man series which was also his first major US title. Me no likee! 

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 2: Scare Tactics Review (Tony S. Daniel, Ed Benes)

Detective Comics, Volume 2: Scare Tactics is an assortment of bad Batman short stories, mostly written by Tony S. Daniel, a guy who can draw right good but cannot write right at all! 

Monday, 24 April 2017

James Bond: Hammerhead Review (Andy Diggle, Luca Casalanguida)

Spinning off from Warren Ellis’ James Bond series, creators Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida take 007 on a new adventure in Hammerhead. A villain called Kraken is targeting Britain’s nuclear arsenal with plans to wipe out London - here comes Bond to save the day! Bah da bah baah, bah da daah! 

Death of X Review (Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule)

The post-Secret Wars X-Men titles bizarrely began eight months after the Marvel Universe was put back together again. We found out Cyclops had died in those eight months and the Terrigen Mist spelled the extinction of homo superior! That was bonkers enough but why did Marvel structure it this way with the time jump? Dunno. So we could get Death of X, I guess, which takes us back eight months to show us how Cyclops died? And boy is it unnecessary and boring! 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Daredevil, Volume 10: The Widow Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

Madame Hydra is captured in Bulgaria but the local authorities won’t give the Avengers the collar – unless they give them Black Widow in exchange. The US government quietly sends someone out to capture Natasha who decides to hide in plain sight with Matt Murdock – who also has a big target on his head now that he’s the Kingpin! Ah, quiet reunions are never a thing between exes anyway!

Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle Review

1884 Oxford and a medical student buys up a bunch of Egyptian stuff at an auction – including lot no. 249: a mummy! Shortly after, the medical student’s (laughable) “enemies” start getting attacked by a mysterious assailant. Surely it’s not the mummy, what??

Arthur Conan Doyle may have written some stonking good detective yarns with Sherlock Holmes but his attempt at horror in Lot No. 249 is pretty crap.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Who Is Oracle? Review (Shawna Benson, Claire Roe)

Oh Rebirth, you are so boring! Batgirl and the Birds of Prey (emphasis on Batgirl I guess because people like Babs and don’t give a fuuuuuck about Black Canary and Huntress – to be fair, I don’t either!) is another pile of wanky, tedious comic sludge. 

Batman: The Wrath Review (Mike Barr, Tony Bedard)

Two parents are shot on the streets of Gotham one night, leaving their son an orphan. That son grew up to be… The Wrath?!

Right: first? I’ma eat some crow! Ever since Year Two: Fear the Reaper I’ve called Mike Barr one of the worst Batman writers ever. Tony Bedard never wrote anything as heinous but he’s never impressed me either. So I’m glad that I occasionally give these bad writers a chance to redeem themselves because, credit where credit’s due, Batman: The Wrath positively stunned me with how good it was!

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville Review

If you ever wanted to read a book about a guy smelling his own farts for 160 pages, this one’s for you! “Ohh (fart), I’m (fart) China (fart) Mieville and, oooh (fart) I know sooooo (fart) much (fart) about (fart) Surrealism! (FAAAAARRRRTTT)”

Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman is apparently traumatised after her identity was stolen by the Skrull Queen in the pap that was Secret Invasion. So Jess jumps at the chance when Abigail Brand, the head of SWORD, approaches her to kick some Skrull boo-tay in revenge. And that’s all the story Brian Bendis needs for a 7-issue book!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie Review

A gold-digging man is accused of murdering a wealthy old woman who took a shine to him. He says he’s innocent but the evidence looks damning. Did he or did he not dunit? His defence lawyer sets out to uncover the truth. 

This writer - Agatha bloody Christie! - always makes me feel like a fool and I love it! She effortlessly leads me by the nose, taking me exactly where she wants me to go while making me think I’m totally in charge and know where things are going. I thought I knew where the story was headed, just like I do with every Agatha Christie story I read, and then old Aggie pulls the rug out from under me with that terrific final twist. Wrong again, buddy! And, like most twists, it seems so obvious in retrospect but there lies the genius. 

The Witness for the Prosecution was a thoroughly entertaining murder mystery with some clever misdirection and lots of great dialogue – easy to see why it was adapted for the stage and keeps being made into movies. Dame Agatha the Queen of Crime strikes again!

All-Star Batman, Volume 1: My Own Worst Enemy Review (Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr.)

Batman has the opportunity to erase Two-Face’s Hyde persona leaving only the “good” Jekyll part of him, Harvey Dent. They have 500 miles to travel to get the cure. Only problem is Two-Face has placed a massive bounty on the Dark Knight’s head and all the rats have crawled out of the woodwork and are gunning for him en route! Will they make it - and will the cure work? 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Civil War II Review (Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez)

Marvel does Minority Report in Civil War II as a new Inhuman called Ulysses appears with the ability to see the future! The battle-lines are drawn between Captain Marvel, who wants to use Ulysses to stop future crimes before they happen, and Iron Man, who doesn’t want anyone arrested for crimes they haven’t committed yet – or might not commit at all! But after a disturbing vision of an iconic hero’s murder of another iconic hero, how accurate are Ulysses’ visions and is Tony Stark willing to risk his friends’ lives to find out?

Kiosco by Juan Berrio Review

Juan Berrio’s Kiosco is a Spanish comic but it’s wordless so there’s no translation issues! It tells the story of a man who runs a small kiosk in a park having a really slow day without customers – until a woman walking her dog appears to brighten him up.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Daredevil, Volume 9: King of Hell's Kitchen Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

A year has passed since Daredevil became the new Kingpin. Nelson and Murdock were awarded hundreds of millions of dollars after winning their libel case against The Daily Globe which Matt’s put to use rejuvenating Hell’s Kitchen at the same time his alter-ego’s been cleaning the place of criminals. He’s done so well in fact, the Democratic Party want him as their nominee for Mayor of NYC! But Matt’s life is never a bed of roses for long and the West Coast Yakuza (Japanese mob) are in town to challenge his rule… 

The Hellblazer, Volume 1: The Poison Truth Review (Simon Oliver, Moritat)

I’ve read 16 Rebirth titles now and only liked 1 (Tom King’s Batman) – 1! Hellblazer Rebirth makes 17 and takes the score up to 16-1. Rebirth is the worst relaunch EVER! 

Monday, 17 April 2017

NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E., Volume 1: This is What They Want Review (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen)

HATE are the Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, aka, like SHIELD, someone really wanted to spell HATE! Dirk Anger (of course) is the Director, a bile-spewing Spider Jerusalem knockoff, and his agents of HATE (or are they Nextwave? Ah, I don’t care!) are Machine Man, a sassy robot who likes beer, Monica Rambeau, a former Captain Marvel, Elsa Bloodstone, a sorceress or something, and some weirdo called The Captain who used to have a dirty name.

Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside Review (Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque)

Batgirl’s decided to get some martial arts training in Asia and squeeze in some backpacking at the same time. But blah blah is blah blah and Babs is gonna have to blah blah to blah blah - blah? Blah. Reblah. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks Review

Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy boarding school but soon finds herself at odds with the rich toff girls who see poor people as entertainment. The war between Jun and the Ellsmere mean girl posse begins! 

Election by Tom Perrotta Review

High school senior Tracy Flick wants to be School President but faces opposition from the school’s most popular jock, Paul Warren, and bitter middle-aged teacher, Mr M, in the lead up to the election. Who will win – Tracy or Paul? 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Cyborg, Volume 1: The Imitation Of Life Review (John Semper Jr., Paul Pelletier)

Oh my gaaawwwwd, I can’t get over how tedious this book was! Seriously, it shouldn’t take two weeks to read a superhero comic but this was so shitty I kept finding reasons to read other stuff over this garbage! 

Batman, Volume 2: I Am Suicide Review (Tom King, Mikel Janin)

Batman needs Psycho Pirate to undo the mental damage he inflicted on Gotham Girl – except he’s holed up on the island prison of Santa Prisca, Bane’s domain! For his daring kidnap mission, Batman must assemble his own Suicide Squad, an unlikely assortment of characters including the Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger, Jewelee and Punchee, and Catwoman. Will he succeed or will Bane once more break the Bat?

Friday, 7 April 2017

Daredevil, Volume 7: Hardcore Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

Kingpin’s back to reclaim his empire and dish out furious vengeance on those who betrayed him. Only one person stands in his way: Daredevil!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Batman: Night of the Monster Men Review (Tom King, Steve Orlando)

For me, DC’s Rebirth has been a disappointing parade of astonishingly low-quality comics - except for Tom King’s Batman which was surprisingly decent. So I was actually looking forward to Night of the Monster Men, the first Rebirth crossover book, thinking King was writing it. And then I saw the credits page: “Plotted by Tom King/Tim Seeley/James Tynion IV - Script by Steve Orlando” and my heart sank. Steve fucking Orlando.

The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott Review

Well, that was an underwhelming load of nothing! Jake Arnott takes us back to early 18th century England where we follow the uninteresting lives of Edgworth Bess, a prostitute and thief, and her man Jack Sheppard, a thief, two star-crossed ragamuffins destined for the gallows - or are they…? 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Silver Surfer: In Thy Name Review (Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat)

Silver Surfer stumbles across a utopian planet that turns out to be anything but. Zzz…

In Thy Name is quite the stinker. It’s less a story than a heavy-handed extended metaphor for Earth and humanity. Look at this wonderful planet these idiots are spoiling with their selfishness! Look at the wars they fight over nothing – how petty! In mocking a thinly-veiled Christianity-type religion, the Surfer finds himself in the role of the Second Coming of Christ and a new wave of fighting ensues – religion is stoopid and baaad! 

Mystique, Volume 1: Dead Drop Gorgeous Review (Brian K. Vaughan, Jorge Lucas)

Kid mutants are being harmed in Cuba and rumours of Fidel acquiring Soviet Sentinels abound but the US Government has banned Xavier and his X-Men from going over there. Enter Mystique, a deadly shape-shifting black ops agent with no qualms about borders or doing what she needs to do to accomplish the mission!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Magneto: Not a Hero Review (Skottie Young, Clay Mann)

Guys, Magnet-Man’s not a hero - except he IS say whaaaaat?! OMGFHFHGH! Nah, he’s just the star of another shit comic. “Magneto” kills some anti-mutant protestors - or did he?!?!!? Snore…

Magneto: Not a Hero was awful! If Marvel’s top two corniest tropes are time-travel and “Secret” events, their third is clones and this turd is riddled with ‘em! Magneto fights a clone of himself and then clones of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Bo-ring!

I don’t know what the point of this one was but entertaining it was not! Skottie Young’s usual playful sense of storytelling is totally absent from this one. Clay Mann draws the book with all the personality of a turnip – he really is one of the dullest, most forgettable comics artists working today.

God, this was tedious! It should be called Magneto: Not Worth Bothering With!

The Mighty Thor, Volume 1: The Galactus Seed Review (Matt Fraction, Oliver Coipel)

Post-Fear Itself, Odin sends Thor diving in the World Tree for a powerful MacGuffin – a MacGuffin that will also satiate Galactus’ hunger finally so he’ll no longer devour worlds! But Odin’s not gonna give it up that easily. Time for a cosmic punch-up: Odin/Thor vs. Galactus/Silver Surfer! 

Monday, 3 April 2017

Silver Surfer, Volume 4: Citizen of Earth Review (Dan Slott, Mike Allred)

Oh lordy I yawned a lot during this one! Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd’s people of Zenn-La try to remake Earth in their supposedly superior image and Norrin has to decide: his people or his adopted homeworld? Ah, why even pretend this is a real conflict – he punches the Zenn-Lavians! He also has a team-up with Spidey in Frisco where they punch more terribly exciting aliens… zzz…

Black Widow, Volume 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)

Black Widow’s stolen something from SHIELD – get her! 

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee reunite after their acclaimed Daredevil run to work their magic on Black Widow… and unfortunately it doesn’t take. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Daredevil, Volume 6: Lowlife Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev)

Mutant Growth Hormone is hitting the streets courtesy of The Owl who’s moving in to fill the void left by the Kingpin. Elsewhere, the owner of the Daily Globe, who’s being sued by Matt Murdock for accusing him of being Daredevil, gets his head ripped off by an unknown assailant. Time for Daredevil to punch The Owl and scratch his chin! 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Deathstroke, Volume 1: The Professional Review (Christopher Priest, Carlo Pagulayan)

Did you know Rebirth is a massive hit for DC? They’re selling a buttload of these comics! But is anyone reading them? Because if they are, how are DC still managing to sell so many comics when they’re this bad?? I’m honestly at a loss to explain it.