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 entrée 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.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Batman: Birth of the Demon Review (Dennis O'Neill, Norm Breyfogle)

Batman: Birth of the Demon is Ra’s Al-Ghul’s origin story – and it’s so astoopid!

Set hundreds of years ago, Ra’s was once the kind and gentle Middle Eastern doctor to the Salimb (an Arabic king) – middle middle middle, he becomes the evil Demon’s Head who hates Batman and wants to destroy humanity.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Moby Dick Review (Christophe Chaboute, Herman Melville)

Artist Christophe Chaboute adapts into comics what is considered to be THE Great American Novel, Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick. What’d I think? Call me… ambivalent! 

Chaboute’s adaptation is faithful to the original, including all the major themes/scenes/characters and hitting the same story beats, bar the most famous opening line in all world literature - “Call me Ishmael” - which is cleverly relocated. The story, if you’re somehow unfamiliar with it: set in the 19th century at the height of the whaling industry operating out of Nantucket, New England, our humble narrator Ishmael sets sail on what turns out to be the tragic final voyage of the doomed whaling ship, the Pequod. Its captain is the mad Ahab whose obsession with hunting down the vicious white sperm whale who ate his leg, Moby Dick, threatens to kill his entire crew.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire Review (Neil Gaiman, Shane Oakley)

“Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire” - quite the title, eh? Shane Oakley adapts into comics Neil Gaiman’s short story taking the piss out of the kind of classic 18th/19th century Gothic Romances that Ann Radcliffe and Horace Walpole wrote.

Batgirl, Volume 1: Silent Running Review (Scott Peterson, Kelley Puckett)

Batgirl/Cassandra Cain was definitely the breakout star of the sprawling early ‘00s Batman storyline, No Man’s Land. The full-face mask and the not speaking made her extra-mysterious and cool. It’s taken me a while to check out her solo series but I kinda wished I hadn’t bothered as unfortunately it’s not very good. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The New 52: Futures End, Volume 1 Review (Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire)

Once upon a time Batman and Mister Terrific created a sentient AI called Brother Eye. 35 years later Brother Eye enslaved all of humanity! Dawww, they grow up so fast, don’t they? 

So, taking a page from Marvel’s playbook of clichés, Batman Beyond/Terry McGinnis travels back in time to avert this disaster and stop Brother Eye’s creation. Except he misses the mark, arriving five years too late. These Batmen, eh? Utter fuck-ups!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

I Hate Fairyland, Volume 3: Good Girl Review (Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu)

Gertie’s still stuck in Fairyland looking for a way out. Could she finally escape if the murderous lil’ psychopath does the unthinkable: become a… Good Girl???

Like the second volume, the third I Hate Fairyland book is just ok. The “Gertie getting home” storyline is definitely feeling stale at this point and her attempts at being “good” aren’t that interesting. She goes to a fantasy con and meets her biggest fan, fights shiitake mushroom samurais, and goes up against a Jareth from Labyrinth pastiche – all very meh.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Redneck, Volume 1: Deep in the Heart Review (Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren)

Texan vampires fight Texan Christians in the mightily underwhelming first volume of Redneck. 

The thin story is unnecessarily convoluted given how simplistic it is, the characters are a hateable bunch of dreary idiots and Lisandro Esterren’s artwork is absolutely horrible and ugly – we’re talking high school level doodling. Worse, the comic is narrated in a pompous, self-important and unconvincing “wise” tone that it hasn’t earned. Like his other unimpressive Image series God Country, Donny Cates is once again doing his best Cormac McCarthy impression and making a fool of himself in the process.

I was bored the entire time – everything about Redneck sucked. It’ll inevitably invite comparisons to the superb Southern Bastards, purely because every comic set in the American South seems to these days, but don’t you believe it – Redneck is trash.

Green Valley Review (Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli)

An elite group of knights are hired by villagers being terrorised by a wizard and his dragons. Unoriginal, generic, clichéd? Sounds like a Max Landis comic to me!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Midnight Fishermen: Gekiga of the 1970s by Yoshihiro Tatsumi Review

Midnight Fishermen is the final book by Yoshihiro Tatsumi to be published before his death in 2015. It collects nine stories from the early 1970s, so unfortunately there’s no new material here, though they’ve never appeared in English translation before and they’re mostly good too. 

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger Review

Is Western civilization the pinnacle of human achievement? In Tribe, Sebastian Junger questions this notion by looking at, among other examples, why colonial Americans left behind the burgeoning settlements to live with the tribal Indians; why, as technological advances have sped up over time (and accelerate still faster today), we are all “connected” and yet more and more of us feel isolated, depressed and unsatisfied with life in the Information Age; and why comfort is killing us and, rather than avoiding it, hardship and intense trauma like war can be the greatest and most cherished experiences life can offer.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Walking Dead: Here's Negan! Review (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard)

Heeeeeeere’s.... an obvious cash-grab! Ahhh, who can blame Image, eh? The Walking Dead is their Batman/Spider-Man - that they haven’t exploited it as much as DC/Marvel have their own properties is pretty remarkable in itself! So, in order to make their Image+ magazine successful, a short, serialized Walking Dead spinoff starring the title’s best character, Negan, was included. And it wasn’t bad! 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Superman: Camelot Falls, Volume 1 Review (Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco)

Kurt Busiek’s written a couple of great Superman books but unfortunately Camelot Falls ain’t one of them! 

A 17th century wizard time-travels to the present to warn Superman that the future is grim if he keeps up being heroic. In a totally unconnected subplot, Supes has to punch a crappy Doomsday-knockoff before having to fight an even more one-dimensional baddie called Khyber. Deeeerivel? Yope – drivel indeed!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Relive Box and Other Stories by TC Boyle Review

TC Boyle is a fine novelist but, if you want to see this literary eagle soar, you need to read his short stories. Boyle shows why he’s one of the best short story writers in the world with his latest brilliant collection, The Relive Box and Other Stories.