Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II Review (James Tynion IV, Freddie E. Williams II)

If could do just one long burp, that’d about sum up this book. So Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cross-over again because I suppose the first one sold well enough!

Kill or Be Killed, Volume 4 Review (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips)

Dylan’s in the nuthouse - but how will he continue to kill the guilty for The Demon from there?! And what the what: there’s a masked killer wearing the same outfit, executing criminal scum with the same MO - did Dylan just imagine he was an angel of death? All questions will be answered in this final volume as we find out whether Dylan will… Kill or Be Killed!

Monday, 30 December 2019

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami Review

Haruki Murakami’s latest short story collection is also my least favourite of his so far. Out of the seven fairly longish stories, only one of them was half-decent while the others ranged from bleh to agonisingly dull.

Shipwreck, Volume 1 Review (Warren Ellis, Phil Hester)

A man staggers across a desolate landscape, unsure where he is or how he got there. What few people he encounters live a brutal life, butchering one another for food or performing ritual killings. Birds ominously circle overhead. Is he dead – is this the afterlife? Or is he somewhere else… and who is he anyway?

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Crisis on Infinite Earths Review (Marv Wolfman, George Perez)

Every year I read at least one “classic” book, despite knowing it’ll probably stink, because sometimes they surprise me by showing why they’re considered classics in the first place. So I picked up the granddaddy of event comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and unfortunately it didn’t surprise me. In fact, it wasn’t just bad – I think this is the worst superhero comic I’ve ever read. Classic piece of shit more like!

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari Review

In an attempt to get a gold star from teacher and prove he’s a big brain, Yuval Noah Harari tackles the mind-boggling task of writing a narrative history of humanity – homo (hehe) sapiens – condensing some 70,000 years (to be fair most of that was undocumented and could easily be covered) into a modest sub-500 page book! Which he nevertheless almost achieves, albeit in what turns out to be a rather dry and dull read in Sapiens.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The Sandman Universe #1 Review (Neil Gaiman, Si Spurrier)

Like DC Universe Rebirth #1 a couple years ago, The Sandman Universe #1 is a one-shot sizzle reel showcasing the upcoming line’s titles. And, like DC Universe Rebirth #1, The Sandman Universe #1 buh-looooooows!

French Exit by Patrick DeWitt Review

Sixtysomething Manhattan socialite Frances, her 32 year old son Malcolm and their cat, Small Frank, live a relaxed life – until the family fortune runs out. Suddenly homeless, they head to Paris, France, to stay in a wealthy friend’s apartment where destiny awaits…

Friday, 27 December 2019

Rat Queens, Volume 5: The Colossal Magic Nothing Review (Kurtis J. Wiebe, Owen Gieni)

Some evil mage is erasing people from existence for some reason. Also: how orcs procreate!

Hmm. So it’s been a couple years (or a billion quadrillion years in internet time!%^8!) since I last read Rat Queens and unfortunately it’s not improved. The subtitle is quite apt - this book is one big.... magic! I mean nothing! I do mean nothing, don’t I… (harps)...

Letter 44, Volume 6: The End Review (Charles Soule, Alberto Jiménez Albuquerque)

Eesh. I used to love Letter 44 but, after a strong start, the series started to rot halfway through and never recovered. So it goes with Volume 6: Thank God! The End - It’s Finally Over! (I know, I thought it was a weird subtitle too), which isn’t as bad as the previous book but is still terrible and a crummy finale to boot.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

The Seeds #1 Review (David Aja, Ann Nocenti)

From what I’ve read of Ann Nocenti - New 52 Catwoman, Katana and Joker’s Daughter (the latter - just, no) - I’d say she’s arguably the worst comics writer working today. But hey, that’s a competitive category maybe she deserves a second chance? Maybe she’s improved in the 5 or so years since I last read something by her? Nope!

Star Wars, Volume 7: The Ashes of Jedha Review (Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca)

The Screaming Citadel was as big a flashing red warning sign as there could’ve been that Kieron Gillen was NOT the writer to be taking over Star Wars from Jason Aaron and yet he still did. And The Ashes of Jedha is as terrible as The Screaming Citadel was. Right again, Marvel!

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata Review

Keiko has worked at the convenience store her entire adult life. But as she nears 40, the pressure to find a “real” job or get married is mounting – what sort of life awaits Keiko outside the comfort zone of the store and will she step out to meet it?

Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? 1 by Makihirochi Review

A couple of real estate agents show prospective tenants around Tokyo’s many rentable apartments. Didja know the trendy Tokyo district of Kichijoji isn’t the only cool place to live in the city?? And that’s the book - there’s no plot and creator Makihirochi makes no attempt at one either!

That sounds sooooo pants, right? And yet… I kinda dug it?! Makihirochi’s unabashed love letter to Tokyo is infectious!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman by Liam Sharp Review

Faeries and leprechauns are having a spat and a magical Gaelic king has been supposedly murdered – whodunit? Wonder Woman and Batman are on the case?

The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman was neither brave nor bold but was an extremely boring read! Honestly, I’ve read more interesting legal documents than this superhero comic!

Calypso by David Sedaris Review

David Sedaris’ latest collection of humorous essays, Calypso, isn’t up there among his best books but it’s not a bad read either.

The most impressive essays were on his sister Tiffany and mother Sharon. Not that they’re exploitative – Dave’s the celeb, not his immediate family (except for Amy, his actress sister) – though they are revelatory. Tiffany committed suicide in May 2013 just before her fiftieth birthday and Sedaris talks about her troubled relationship with the family, the squalid conditions she lived her and her mental problems.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Flayed Corpse and Other Stories by Josh Simmons Review

Flayed Corpse and Other Stories is a decent anthology of horror comics mostly by Josh Simmons.

I enjoyed the two longest stories here, the best one being The Incident at Owl’s Head where a drifter is taken in by a gay weirdo called Ambrose who seems to run the small town and everyone’s in thrall to. I read the Ambrose Bierce short story An Occurrence at Owl’s Creek Bridge years ago but I can’t remember what happened in it so I’m not sure why this story is referencing it or what similarities it shares.

Naive. Super by Erlend Loe Review

Back in 2006 or so Amazon had this “Listmania” feature where, youse guessed it, people made lists of stuff to share with others. I’d waste way too much time browsing those lists but I’d get recs for some pretty decent books to read that were similar to books I’d read before. One such book that appeared a lot was Erlend Loe’s Naive. Super, which I read a few pages of and decided wasn’t for me. Cut to the other week, some 10+ years after that encounter, when I happened to see it on a bookshelf and decided, what the hey, I’ll finally read it cover to cover. Mebbe I was wrong? Nope, my instincts was right the first time because this novel suuuuucked!

Sunday, 22 December 2019

High Soft Lisp by Gilbert Hernandez Review

This is the tale of self-help scumbag Mark Herrera and his ex-wives, in particular the blimp-chested gal on the cover, Rosalba “Fritz” Martinez. The book takes the form of a collection of short stories; some is good, some is bad - Gilbert Hernandeth’th High Soft Lithp ith all in all a decent comic.

Regression, Volume 2: Disciples Review (Cullen Bunn, Danny Luckert)

Cultists have kidnapped Adrian believing he’s their reincarnated leader Sutter – but is there truth to that? Molly and Detective Graymercy hit the trail to save him.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Loverboys by Gilbert Hernandez Review

Loverboys is Gilbert Hernandez doing what he does: mixing Latin soap opera with David Lynchian woowoo! And it’s not bad.

Handsome young buck Rocky starts a relationship with an older woman, his former teacher Mrs Paz (another one of Hernandez’s trademark giant busty women) while his lil sis Daniela explores the small town of Lagrimas. There’s a secret building supposedly full of dynamite; a strange hole in a tree; and then there’s the tiny people…

Batman: Sins of the Father Review (Christos Gage, Raffaele Ienco)

Spinning out of the godawful Batman: Telltale game series, Sins of the Blahblah is set in another, stupider universe where Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s dad, was Gotham’s answer to Dr Mengele! Among Thomas’ victims were the Lawton family whose troubled son, Floyd, grew up to be Deadshot. This book retells his origin and first encounter with Batman, centred around his beef with the Wayne fam.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica Review (Paul Dini, Laura Braga)

Ivy’s determined to stop the Riverdale wetlands being destroyed in favour of a new development by Veronica’s wealthy pops – and Harley tags along for funsies! But first they decide to stop by a fancy dress party because plot! One Freaky Friday-type spell from Zatanna later and Harls and Ives are in the bodies of Ronnie and Betts and vice versa – wooooahh keraaazeee comics gubbinz!

Avengers: No Surrender Review (Al Ewing, Mark Waid)

Two Elders of the Universe - the Grandmaster and the Challenger - decide to play a game against one another. Their board: Earth. Their pieces: Marvel characters. So, basically Contest of Champions.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Munich by Robert Harris Review

With the recent movies on Winston Churchill it’s refreshing to see someone focus instead on his overlooked predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, and his significant role in the lead-up to World War 2. In Munich, Robert Harris takes us back to 1938, the year before the war started, and the crisis in Czechoslovakia: Hitler wants to unite the German-speaking peoples in the Czech Sudetenland to the Fatherland, and will use force if he has to. Should he invade, France will be bound, by treaty, into fighting Germany, which will bring in Britain as well due to a treaty with France. Chamberlain leads the delegation for appeasement to stop the war at the Munich conference.

The Defenders, Volume 2: Kingpins of New York Review (Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez)

The Defenders got their own cruddy Netflix show so, because corporate synergy, we got this cruddy Defenders comic. Gotta keep cranking out the product, Marvel, don’t worry about the quality!

A former Kingpin enforcer, Diamondback, is dealing drugs that temporarily gives the user superpowers. So… the same recycled storyline from Bendis’ Daredevil run when The Owl was dealing mutant growth hormone that gave users temporary superpowers? Bendis’ Marvel stuff got really stale and repetitive towards the end, eh?

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Book Two by Enrico Marini Review

Bruce Wayne’s just discovered he has a daughter only for Joker to have kidnapped her – Batman to the rescue!

I feel the same way about Enrico Marini’s second and final part of Batman: The Dark Prince Charming as I did the first part: the artwork is outstanding, the writing and storytelling is very poor.

The Man of Steel Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis)

Here it is: Mister Marvel himself, Brian Bendis, finally made the move over to the enemy, DC, after years of writing for Marvel, and this is his much anticipated first DC book, his big debut - with the most iconic superhero of them all, no less, Superman - in The Man of Steel. Ohhhh boy! Ohhhh… crap. Unfortunately we got Blandis. I was severely unimpressed with this one.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The Darkness 20th Anniversary Collection Review (Garth Ennis, Jeph Loeb)

Listen guys, if you’re looking at this thinking What the Fuuuuudge is “The Darkness?!”, in the immortal words of rage-drunk Chris Bale, WELL, GOOD FOR YOU! I’m gonna tell you but beyond this review, don’t bother looking any further: The Darkness is a twat.

I Am Not Okay With This by Charles Forsman Review

15 year old Sydney explores her burgeoning sexuality against a typical high school and home life background. But Syd is extraordinary in one way: she gots the telekinesis!

Monday, 16 December 2019

Is This Guy For Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman by Box Brown Review

Box Brown returns to the subject that gave him his breakthrough in Andre the Giant: Life and Legend - wrestling, in Is This Guy For Real? And it’s for real a decent biographical comic on the great comic Andy Kaufman, mostly focused on Andy’s wrestling.

Captain America: Home of the Brave Review (Mark Waid, Chris Samnee)

The acclaimed creative team behind Daredevil and Black Widow, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, take over Captain America after Nick Spencer’s atrocious run on the character - and fail to improve the title’s quality. Unfortunately the overly-politicised nature of the series - one of the main reasons why Spencer’s run was such garbage - continues.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami Review

Haruki Murakami tends to write two kinds of novel: ones with a story and ones without; Pinball, 1973 is unfortunately the latter.

A translator with twin live-in girlfriends (I know, just humour the author’s sad wish fulfilment fantasy) develops an obsession with pinball, specifically a pinball machine called Spaceship. One day his machine disappears. He half-heartedly goes looking for it…. zzz…

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield Review

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is essentially an extended pep talk/motivational speech meant to pump the reader up into doing what they’re putting off doing, be it going for a new job, starting a new diet or whatever, though ostensibly it’s aimed at wannabe writers.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time Review (Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward)

When he’s not heroically saving the children from racist cereal boxes, Saladin Ahmed’s writing craptastic comics like Black Bolt.

I haven’t been reading any Inhumans titles as I couldn’t care less about them so I don’t know if this is part of a larger storyline but Blackagar Boltagon (to use his full stupid name) has been tricked by his brother Maximus into space jail. Sounds like something that’d happen to Black Dolt, and guess wud? He gonna bust out of the pokey. Oh, hello edge of the seat, we meet again! Oh wait, I meant complete and utter boredom - I see you way too many times whenever I pick up a superhero comic these days!

I Pass Like Night by Jonathan Ames Review

A bisexual man documents his sordid sexual escapades with rando hookups and prostitutes in ‘80s New York. I Pass Like Night is Jonathan Ames’ first novel and it certainly reads like it!

Friday, 13 December 2019

Royal City, Volume 2: Sonic Youth by Jeff Lemire Review

With Volume 2: Sonic Youth, Royal City goes from being a mediocre series into a flat-out terrible one.

The whole thing is a pointless flashback centred around the Kurt Cobain-looking kid, Tommy, the ghostly character every other surviving member of his family was haunted by in the first book. It might’ve been good if Tommy was an interesting character but he’s not. He gets headaches and he makes lists of his favourite albums. ... fascinating…

The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2 Review (Jonathan Hickman, Tomm Coker)

In the first book of The Black Monday Murders we found out that an American rich dude was murdered by a Russian rich dude; in the second book of The Black Monday Murders, the investigating detective finds out what the reader already knows: that an American rich dude was indeed killed by a Russian rich dude. Jonathan fucking Hickman…

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Catwoman #1 Review (Joelle Jones, Laura Allred)

Like Selina suggests on the cover, if you want to know how her wedding to Batman went, check out Batman #50. Though, I expect if you do care, you’ve already read that issue and know, and if you haven’t then you probably don’t. Not that it matters anyway as it doesn’t really play any part in Catwoman’s new solo series!

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch Review

Somebody’s murdered - whodunit?

Doesn’t sound like much of a story does it? It’s not. Honestly, I was gobsmacked that Ben Aaronovitch got a 400+ page novel out of something so insubstantial. Nothing. Happens. For hundreds of pages! This is how you write like a hack professionally, guys.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Batman, Volume 7: The Wedding Review (Tom King, Tony S. Daniel)

On page two of this book Green Lantern commits suicide by power ring and blows his own head off. Wow - top that for a wedding toast! I knew a Batman wedding was never going to be normal but I don’t think anybody expected that!

Batman #50 Review (Tom King, Alex Sinclair)

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the culmination of months of storylines with the wedding of the Bat and the Cat. Do I take Batman #50, to have and to hold, to be as good as I’d hoped? I… don’t.

I know, I’m disappointed too. But this bumper-sized wedding issue is unfortunately very underwhelming. Bruce and Selina prepare for their big night on the rooftops (where else to marry but the place they’ve been chasing each other for decades?) and… then there’s the end. In between? Nothing much.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Star Wars, Volume 6: Out Among The Stars Review (Jason Aaron, Salvador Larroca)

Jason Aaron closes out his mediocre Star Wars run with Volume 6: Out Among the Stars, a meh collection of short stories.

Sana (basically Han without a willy or a giant crossbow-gun-wielding dog) with Lando in tow, double-crosses one group of villains after another in a cleverly-plotted episode. The other interesting stories feature Han outwitting Grakkus the Hutt to find out where his weapons/supplies cache is hidden while R2 rescues C-3PO from Vader’s grip in a pretty fun tale.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast Review

Roz Chast relates the story of her 93 year old parents’ final years in her excellent comics memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

I’ve seen this book on shelves for years now and every time I’ve looked at it I’ve thought that I’ll probably like reading it but never picked it up because I thought it’d be a downer; I was right - I loved it! - but I was wrong in thinking it’d be depressing. It is in a way - how could the story of two elderly people slowly dying not be? - but the book is much more than that.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Fantomas Review (Marcel Allain, Pierre Souvestre)

It’s all Grant Morrison’s fault.

Years ago, before his falling-out with Marvel, he wrote a pretty decent New X-Men series where he introduced his character Fantomex, a pseudo-French mutant assassin clad entirely in white, in part inspired by an obscure series of trashy French novels from 100 years ago featuring a bad guy called Fantomas. And, because I’m a huge Morrison fan (and, to a lesser extent, Richard Sala, who’s also clearly a fan of these books), that’s all it took for me to pick this one up! But, to be fair, a novel about a prototypical supervillain thief doesn’t sound half-bad, right – it could be fun? Bah! It wasn’t. It’s sooooo bad!

Southern Bastards, Volume 4: Gut Check Review (Jason Aaron, Jason Latour)

Post-Homecoming and the Runnin’ Rebs are losing one game after another. But Coach Boss’ troubles don’t stop at the field - a rival drug-lord from a nearby town is threatening his business operations and Roberta Tubbs, daughter of Earl whom he murdered earlier in the series, has him in her sights for revenge. Is this the end for Coach Boss or will he get a last minute hail mary?

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Hit-Girl, Volume 1: In Colombia Review (Mark Millar, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz)

Hit-Girl: the hyper-violent teen ninja “superhero” we saw kick ass with, erm, Kick-Ass in, er, Kick-Ass. Now she’s back doing what she does best: killing bad guys, this time in Colombia for no reason. Is there anything more to this book than that? Noooooooooooope. It’s just that uninspired!

X-Men: Magneto Testament Review (Greg Pak, Carmine Di Giandomenico)

I don’t know why but this is one of my most rec’d books. It’s not like I wasn’t aware of it before people started telling me to read it as I did try reading it three, maybe four years ago, but I stopped after a couple issues and never rated it. Anyhoo, to stop the recs for this ‘un I finally read the bugger and here be me thoughts on X-Men: Magneto Testament:

‘s ok… YA HAPPY NOW!?!1 Alright, I’ll do it proper.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Ice Cream Man, Volume 1: Rainbow Sprinkles Review (W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo)

Satan’s taken many forms in fiction: John Milton’s tragic fallen angel; the popular cartoonish red horned dude with cloven feet; Ned Flanders in that Simpsons Halloween episode; and now… an ice cream seller?! I don’t know exactly why they made that choice, other than some kind of playful juxtaposition with the innocence of childhood, but so it goes with W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo’s pretty decent horror anthology comic, Ice Cream Man.

The Magic Order #1 Review (Mark Millar, Olivier Coipel)

Gob Bluth is why I can’t take magicians in fiction seriously anymore - in the best possible way, because Arrested Development is too damn funny! But y’know what? Surprisingly, The Magic Order #1 wasn’t abracada-bad. Even more shocking - this was written by Hack Millar! Quite the trick indeed.