Fairy Tale In Emerald – The Green Lantern #7 Review

The Green Lantern 7 coverTo date, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s run on DC’s The Green Lantern has been a lot of fun. Billed from the start as a space police procedural, its initial six issue arc has been suffused with the kind of sharpness, creativity, cleverness and borderline silliness that can justly be described as quintessential Morrison. In the hands of a lesser artist, this approach might have ended up more confusing and silly than clever and sharp, but Liam Sharp’s art is uniquely suited to the demands of Morrison’s scripts. The fecundity of his imagination and his consummate skill as an artist are on display in boldly-crafted layouts, jaw-dropping alien vistas and bold alien designs that, despite their strangeness, never lose their sense of physical presence.

Issue 7, however, is a whole other level of storytelling.

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Martian Manhunter #1 (2019) – Review

Martian Manhunter 1When hearing the words ‘Martian Manhunter’, which three words first spring to your mind? Fire? Shape-changing? Invisibility? For me, it’s probably: strength, dignity and Oreos. But that’s probably just me. I’ve always had a soft spot for J’onn J’onnz. His tenure as a member of various incarnations of the Justice League in the 80s and early 90s included some of that team’s stint in Detroit and the extraordinarily fun Giffen/DeMatteis run. Throughout, the character possessed the kind of dry, understated wit that was tailor-made for a teenage me who had just discovered sarcasm and was exploring the possibilities offered by sardonic irony. (And, yes, I was mostly insufferable to be around back then…) The question, I suppose, is what kind of Martian Manhunter am I going to find in this series? Well, we’re not going to find out if we just hang around in the introduction all day, are we?

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Low Expectations – The Unexpected #5 Review

The Unexpected 5 - coverLurching from one stale encounter to another with all the grace of a 65 year old on their way home from a night on the town two months after a hip replacement operation, The Unexpected has been one of the most sense-bereft comics I’ve read this century. Featuring admittedly potentially interesting characters Neon and Firebrand and their quest for… something to do with the wildly dangerous and profoundly unstable Nth Metal Isotope that improbably came into existence at the end of issue 1 just when the pair of them needed something to do, this series has become a manic travelogue of the DC universe. We’ve had Slaughter Swamp and Blackhawk Island. In issue 3 it was Monster Valley; in issue 4 it was Gotham. (No sign of Batman. Mind you, Neon and Firebrand did arrive during the day…) This time around it’s the Bavarian Alps and Castle Frankenstein where awaits Hawkman. Who might, to be fair, actually know something about the incredibly dangerous Nth metal isotope which has existed for four issues and still hasn’t exploded yet.

One can but hope. Here’s a review of issue 5, people!

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #4 – Review

Snagglepuss 4 CoverHeavens to Murgatroyd! It’s Snagglepuss time! After last month’s gentler, more reflective, issue, which gave us a break from Gigi Allen and her one-woman crusade to rid 1950s America of cultural deviants and ‘agitators’ (a word we’ll hear more of in a moment), this issue sees the return of a more explicitly satirical focus. Will Ms Allen succeed in ensnaring our pink-haired hero and get the evidence she needs to out him as a gay man (lion)? Will Huckleberry Hound find the love and acceptance for which he’s been longing most of his life?

There is, as ever, only one way to find out…

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Conan The Carefully Crafted – Conan The Barbarian (2019) #2 Review

Conan The Barbarian 2 - coverMarvel’s recent re-acquisition of the Conan licence may not have had quite the same fanfare as the company’s similar re-acquisition of Star Wars a few years ago (to be fair, Star Wars had been transferred to the ownership of Marvel’s parent company Disney and that meant films as well as comics), but it’s no less significant to this comics fan. In the 80s, I read Marvel’s colour Conan The Barbarian comic assiduously and went through a short-lived but nevertheless intense phase of reading the Sphere paperbacks that collected the original Robert E Howard stories as well as those by other writers like Lin Carter, L Sprague De Camp and a pre-Wheel of Time Robert Jordan. When Marvel announced that the company would be publishing a new series of Conan The Barbarian, I was cautiously intrigued. When they announced that the series would be written by Jason Aaron, that intrigue became genuine excitement.

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Shock and Awe – Electric Warriors #1 Review

Electric Warriors 1 coverWell, I’ve been wanting something like this for a while. For too long, the Rebirth of DC has seemed to me to have a fairly narrow focus on a relatively small core of characters and the more obscure corners of the DC Universe have remained unexplored. But, no longer! Unlike the Electric Warrior title of the late 80s, Electric Warriors is in continuity and might end up bridging the gap between the DC Universe of the present and its curiously Legion of Superheroes-empty far future. Crikey! Buckle up, pilgrims. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

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The Wild Storm #15 – Review

The Wild Storm 15 - coverAnother month, another slice of beautifully rendered, elegantly presented sci-fi comic goodness. John Lynch’s road trip across America and through the secret history of the Wild Storm universe continues as do the ramifications of the cold war between IO and Skywatch turning hot. Last month we saw Lynch meet Fairchild’s mother. Who will it be this time around? Will Lucy Blaze’s single-handed slaughter of two IO Razor CATs go unanswered? And will Jack Hawksmoor finally work out who he is? There is only one way to find out…

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The Shadow/Batman #3 – Review

The Shadow - Batman 3 coverDespite the odd bit of wonky storytelling, the ongoing exploration of the relationship between DC’s most iconic non-powered hero and the pulp giant on which his character is based continues to be an engrossing and, more often than not, entertaining read. In the first series featuring Batman and The Shadow, we saw the pair in Gotham and the mythical environs of Shamba-La. In this, the third issue of their second adventure, we see them in the setting of the boardroom of Wayne Enterprises as they try to make a dent in the nefarious vast criminal empire of the Silent Seven (or, if we’re being honest, two). Batman and The Shadow as vigilantes of the stock market? Alright, then…

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The Shadow/Batman #2 – Review

the-shadow-batman-2-cover-e1553342442420.jpgMy review for the first issue of this Dynamite/DC series ended with a forlorn hope for better things. After an initial issue that attempted to hook me with action and mystery, but instead only managed to alienate me with a confusing in media res opening and dialogue from the Melodrama 101 handbook, I must confess my expectations for this issue were on the low side. Imagine my surprise, then, when this afternoon I read a comic book that not only was reasonably easy to follow but also delivered a bona fide emotional punch to the gut. Yeah, I know. Let me tell you all about it…

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Boys’ Own Action! – Warlord #383 – Review

Warlord 383 - coverI was born in 1970 and I loved the Second World War. In 2018, the UK has largely shaken off its obsession with World War 2, arguably the last ‘good’ war in which the country has taken part, but it’s fair to say that my childhood was dominated by a conflict that left the UK without its Empire, in horrendous levels of debt to the US, in need of national re-building and yet somehow one whose result could reasonably be seen as a ‘victory’. Perhaps because of that strange dichotomy between patriotic satisfaction at a job well done and the real geopolitical and economic consequences of that endeavour, UK pop culture was positively saturated with World War 2. Airfix models of planes, tanks and soldiers; TV shows like Dad’s Army, Colditz and Secret Army (and latterly its far more successful parody ‘Allo, ‘Allo); the novels of Alastair MacLean and Sven Hassel; Biggles; comics like Commando and Battle Picture Library: as a boy growing up in the 70s, it was impossible to escape the war. And that’s not including the personal reminiscences of my grandparents (my dad’s father, not fit enough to fight on the frontlines, nevertheless helped man an AA battery on the North West coast of England that one night downed a Junkers 88 bomber on its way to bomb Liverpool) or the various documentaries about the war which regularly appeared on our black and white (and eventually colour) TV screens.

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