Comic Book Review: All New Inhumans #7

Marvel has been trying very hard in the last few years to make The Inhumans a thing. There's a whole corporate politics angle to that and while Marvel won't admit it the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong. Marvel can't use the X-Men characters on screen and recent story developments have turned Inhumans into something that closely resembles Marvel's mutant characters. The push has been a strong one and as well as their regular presence on TV in Agents of SHIELD, they are currently supporting not one but two monthly books. There's a problem with ramming things down the throats of comic book fans though. They are a rather conservative and …Read more  »

Comic Book Review: Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm comic book fans have been waiting for Star Wars to return to home.  The very first licensed Star Wars comics were produced by Marvel so there is a nice symmetry to this, though we shouldn't dismiss the fine work done by Dark Horse with the franchise over the years. So how does the new Star Wars #1 stack up against previous comics? Is this a must buy, or just another cheap cash in? A-List Creators Say This Book Matters Just based on the talent that Marvel is throwing at the book, I'd say they aren't just cashing in. Jason Aaron may not be a household …Read more  »

Comic Book Reviews: The Hypernaturals

Comic Book Reviews: The Hypernaturals Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's The Hypernaturals deserved a longer run than the 12 issues it got. On the plus side however, those 12 issues essentially tell a single story so the result is a maxi-series. To put this comic in context, thing Legion of Superheroes only with a bit more edge and just a more modern feel to it. I'm generalising of course but it will give you the general feel and it's an appropriate comparison given that DnA did write Legion of Superheroes for a while. It's a great mix of superheroics and sci-fi concepts. I don't think any of the individual elements …Read more  »

Comicbook Review: Ms Marvel #1

So having finally promoted Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel a year or so back, Marvel have decided it's time to introduce a new Ms Marvel to the Marvel Universe. There were a lot of Marvel's in the sentence. And as part of a concerted effort to widen the scope of their characters beyond white and 90% male, this time they went with a teenage muslim Ms. Marvel. A choice that inevitably created a certain amount of backlash because.. well... people. Anyway I thought I'd give the first issue a shot and see what direction they were going in. I'd say the archetype we're working with here is female Spider-man. There's …Read more  »

Comics Review: Captain Marvel

If you're looking for a largely traditional superhero comic with a female lead then the current iteration of Captain Marvel is well worth a look. Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick and drawn by assorted artists this is a book that features a superhero doing the sort of things you expect Marvel superheroes to do (no not fighting each other, the first 12 issues are actually largely free of crossover). Captain Marvel was of course originally a male character but he died (and has surprisingly stayed dead). What we have here is Ms. Marvel/Warbird/Binary finally taking on the title that she clearly should have. And early on there's a fair amount …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Judge Dredd: Year One

In some ways the name of this story Year One is misleading. The story is set during Dredd's first year as a Judge, but there's really nothing about it that actually has to be. Yes some of the character reference Dredd's rookie status. But he doesn't act like a rookie. He's Judge Dredd! Writer Matt Smith is the editor of 2000AD so he knows the character well and this certainly feels like Dredd. It just doesn't feel any different to normal. Maybe that's the point? Having got that gripe out of the way though, this is a good Dredd story with a bit of a twist towards the end that …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice

Graphic Novel Review: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice This is a difficult story to review. Like the comic book series that it has spun off from, Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice is in part about the acts of writing and creating. In this stand alone tale we get to know the origins of both Tom Taylor and Tommy Taylor. Biological origins in one case and literary origins in the other. And I'm guessing that those of you who haven't read any of The Unwritten really won't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about by this stage. Suffice to say there are …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Justice League Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis

Throne of Atlantis is volume three in the latest Justice League reboot and part of the so called New Fifty Two reboot of the entire DC Universe. So what we get here is a a Justice League that is much younger and less established than we are used to. Which certainly opens up some interesting storytelling opportunities. Unfortunately here, mostly what we get is bickering. Well... what would a superhero team book be without bickering? The name of this volume refers to the story which ran through issues 15-17 of Justice League and 14-16 of Aquaman. Yes it was a crossover, but they've given you all that material here to …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Kill Shakespeare Vol 3: The Tide Of Blood

If I wanted to give a comic book reader a quick idea of Kill Shakespeare I'd probably say it's like Fables only with you know... Shakespearian characters. Because, well, it is. Which is cool, because I like Fables. Pulling this off with characters and settings from probably the best known name in western literature is a bit more difficult than shuffling around already heavily used fairy tale characters though. There are certain expectations here. One thing you won't get is full on Shakespearian verse. The writer makes no effort to mimic Shakespeare's writing style in that sense. He does pull out the thees and thous on a regular basis though …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Masks

Masks is a rather ambitious cross-over for Dynamite gathering together a slew of golden age heroes that they either have a license for or who may have conveniently fallen into the public domain. The Shadow, The Green Hornet and Kato, The Spider Zorro, the Green Lama, Miss Fury, Black Terror, and the Black Bat all feature in this eight issue series. Some of these characters are well known, others much less so. None of them, however, have really been able to maintain an audience in modern comics. Writer Chris Roberson doesn't attempt to update or modernize them, but rather gives us a story set in 1938 and emphasizes all their …Read more  »

Book Review: ZVR: Diplomacy

ZVR is short for Zombies vs. Robots. ZVR: Diplomacy is a prose offshoot of the ZVR comic books. It takes the same basic high concept... robots are fighting zombies and explores how this zombie plague is affecting other countries, namely Russia and Britain. Diplomacy makes for a cool name, but let's be clear there's not a lot of negotiations going on here. Pretty much as far as the Robots or the Zombies are concern it's just a great big fight. However, humans are caught in the middle and that's the element that brings variety to this anthology series. In fact the single most impressive thing about this is probably the …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: A Distant Soil — The Gathering

I recognize that A Distant Soil is a highly significant comic book for several reasons including its self-published status and having same gender couples as prominent characters. And so for those reasons I would probably recommend that people read this for themselves. Unfortunately at least for me, this doesn't have much else to recommend it. I like a lot of Colleen Doran's artwork, but not this early stuff. I find it too stiff and cold and a lot of the characters faces are very samey. To make matters worse the early sections of the book contain some major info-dump portions without nearly enough in the way of character building. The …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Doctor Who — Winter’s Dawn, Season’s End

Since I was working from a partial review copy, I didn't have the full volume to read, just the first 4 issues (2 stories). Specifically The Hypothetical Gentleman by Andy Diggle and Mark Buckingham and The Doctor and the Nurse by Brandon Seifer and Philip Bond. This should be fairly representative of the material available in the full volume though. It is a collection of issues from the monthly comic featuring the (then) current teaming of Matt Smith's 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory. In The Hypothetical Gentleman we get a story that really could have appeared on screen with only a few minor adjustments. Diggle has no trouble capturing the …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: The Thrilling Adventure Hour

So in origin The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a stage show that turned into a podcast that has now spawned this graphic novel. And the concept it simple enough. It's a pastiche of Olde Timey radio shows played pretty heavily for laughs. There's a series of skits each with their own characters (though some overlap) and all playing on that radio serial vibe. Complete with phoney adverts that fit the time period. Here in the graphic novel Acker and Blacker are trying to achieve the same thing. But without the voice cast, it's that much more difficult. They're working from the same template though right down to the fake adverts. …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Fatale by Brubaker and Phillips

Perhaps I was expecting too much. I mean Ed Brubaker writing a noir comic, with art by Sean Phillips. That's a pretty strong combination. And on top of that I've seen some rave reviews for the series. So I did have very high expectations. And it's not that it's bad, but I just didn't seem to connect with it. And the artwork easily lived up to my anticipation Sean Phillips is a seasoned artist and he's worked with Brubaker several times before. His art is ideal suited to the noir influenced stories that Brubaker writes. The plot is good too. The mystery is well developed and I like the mixture …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples

So close! This had all the elements lined up to be a great book and yet it just doesn't quite come together. Admittedly the biggest draw initially for me was the art by Fiona Staples because I love the work she has done on Saga. And she doesn't let me down here. But there were other exciting elements here. Jules Verne's brain in a giant robot? Yup that's cool. A husband and wife mystery solving team? Yeah I'll go for some of that. You see this book really wants to be wacky and crazy and it throws out some big ideas. The husband and wife team are ridiculously, crazy rich, so …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: The High Ways by John Byrne

The High Ways is one of comics legend John Byrne's latest books. Which he both writes and draws. Which is either good or bad depending on how much you like John Byrne I suppose. There's no doubt that his impact on comics in the 70s, 80s and 90s was substantial. But his visibility has dropped significantly over the years although he has continued to work primarily at smaller publishers like IDW. To my mind this book shows both the good and bad points of Byrne's more recent work. In terms of story telling clarity and just basic cartooning The High Ways is hard to beat. It's easy to follow, there's …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: The New Ghostbusters Volume 1

The title of this volume (The New Ghostbusters Volume 1) is a bit miss-leading. What it really is is the first story arc of volume 2 of IDW's monthly Ghostbusters comic. As such it references events and uses characters from the run to date and it will leave you on a cliffhanger ending because... you're supposed to get the next monthly comic (or the next collection). If you go in understanding that, there's quite a bit to like about this. This clearly a continuation from the original Ghostbusters movie with most of the characters showing up in some role, along with a supporting cast that the comic has built up. …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol 2

Saga Vol 2 gives us issues 7 through 12 of the ongoing Saga... saga written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples. And this is very much an ongoing book so we come in mid-story and we go out mid-story. If you can, get Vol 1 first, but either way read Saga. Beyond simply being one of the best comics published today, Saga is a Space Fantasy (think Star Wars) on a galactic scale. We have magic, we have technology, we have robot bounty hunters (who happen to be royalty). There's guys with wings. There's guys with horns. There's naked giants with warty scrotums (I am not kidding). …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth — The Return of the Master

B.P.R.D originated in the pages of Mike Mignola's Hellboy but eventually spun off into its own series of series. B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth is the title that represents the current status quo of the B.P.R.D. world (it's not good). Originally B.P.R.D. was presented as a series of self-contained mini-series but that is no longer the case and this is probably a particularly difficult jumping on point for a new reader since it calls back to earlier B.P.R.D stories and some earlier Hellboy stuff as well. On top of which is reintroduces characters who haven't been seen in some time and picks up on the overarching storyline. That said I'm not …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Moriarty By Daniel Corey

Moriarty is a deluxe hardbound graphic novel that contains the first two story arcs from the Image comic book (The Dark Chamber and The Lazarus Tree). Sherlock Holmes inspired stories aren't exactly a rarity and this particular series claim to uniqueness is the focus not on Holmes, but rather on Professor Moriarty. The story starts some 20 years after Moriarty has faced and killed Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls. After this encounter it seems that Moriarty has essentially lost his purpose in life and falls into a sort of shabby imitation of Holmes own consulting detective function only for the less legitimate side of society. But now there seems to …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: The Rocketeer — Hollywood Horror

 I went into this one biased towards liking it. First off it's Roger Langridge and he has written some phenomenal comics over the last few years and shown a particular knack for hitting the right tone on other people's properties as well. On top of that it's the Rocketeer. Before the movie (which I rather like) there was a comic book written and drawn by Dave Stevens. He created the Rocketeer as a homage to the black and white cliffhanger serials of the 30s and 40s. The Rocketeer character itself is clearly influenced by serials like King of the Rocketmen which Cliff Secord's girlfriend seems to look remarkably like one …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Western Publishing Years Vol 1

  Products like this have a very niche audience. A large number of you will recognize Buck Rogers. He along with Flash Gordon symbolize pulp sci-fi. Many of you will also remember the late 70s tv adaptation with Gil Gerard as Rogers and perhaps more importantly to the average male teenager at the time Erin Gray as Wilma Deering. This hardcover compilation contains the comic book adaptations from the initial movie and then subsequent tv series. And, given the standards of the time, this is decent stuff. Not exceptional, not special. But decent. I remember the movie pretty well. I've actually seen it several times. It was campy even in …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Comeback by  Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh

Reconnect is an organization that promises to travel into the past and rescue your loved one before they die. For a modest fee ($5 million). Agent's Mark and Seth do the snatching. But maybe Reconnect's actions aren't as clean as they appear to be. It's a fascinating premise for a story and although I'm really not a big fan of time travel stories I was curious to see where this went. In tone it seems to be going for a hardboiled feel. There's lots of blood and violence and all the characters emotions seem stunted. Even the actual "good" guys. That's a tone that not everyone is going to like, …Read more  »

Graphic Novel Review: Tib & TumTum #1 — Welcome To The Tribe!

  Tib is a young boy who is regularly picked on by other members of his tribe for the birth mark over his eye. His mother is over-protective and his father has a fondness for tall tales. He discovers a dinosaur TumTum but cannot persuade any other members of the tribe it exists since dinosaurs have been extinct for years. The setting is very loosely a prehistoric caveman one, though there is a liberal use of modern terms and ideas. The author isn't trying for realism here. What we get is a series of scenes each lightly amusing/entertaining as Tib tries to convince the rest of the tribe about TumTum's …Read more  »