Category: Comics

Wonderful! – The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #7 – Review

Michael Cray 7 - coverIt’s Michael Cray time! A combination of work stress and having to read Hanna-Barbera comics for a while has, quite honestly, made me more than a little desperate for this book. Which is kind of ironic, because a couple of months ago I’d more or less given up on it. What a difference a single issue can make! Bryan Hill’s decision last time to bring to the foreground the mystery of our titular hero’s tumour did enough to hook me back into this series that had been threatening to sink under the weight of a story structure that was formulaic and predictable. Now, though, with the introduction of the Wild Storm universe’s John Constantine and a sense of things spinning out of Cray’s (and Christine Trelane’s) control, all bets are off. Who knows what might happen this issue? There is, as they say, only one way to find out…

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #3 – Review

Snagglepuss 3 coverI must admit I was a bit harsh on this series to begin with, but it’s beginning to grow on me. After last issue’s ending, which indicated that our pink hero would soon have to appear before the government committee trying to clean up the performing arts in 1950s America, the stage seemed to be set for some kind of confrontation and, presumably, a considerable quantity of drama. While there is indeed a fair number of dramatic goings on here, it’s very much an incidental issue, replete with charm, humour and a surprising level of pathos.

Let me explain…

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She’s The One – Aquaman (Rebirth) #10 Review

Aquaman (2016-) 010-000The Rebirth Aquaman series is a funny beast. While I’ve generally tended to enjoy Abnett’s prose writing (particularly his Warhammer 40,000 and Horus Heresy novels), his comic work has been a bit more hit and miss. His work on Aquaman, for example, has been variable. His stories are solid, but the overall pacing of the series has often been more languid than it could (and perhaps should) be. The recent Corum Rath saga, which took well over a year to resolve, is a case in point. Issue 10, however, is an issue I like a great deal. This is from back when the series was bi-weekly, Aquaman was king of Atlantis and Mera was his bride-to-be. In short, this was when the positive promise of Rebirth was still a thing (Arthur and Mera’s marriage had featured in the special) and there was a nice upbeat feel to the series. That said, at this point, Arthur had just faced off against the Shaggy Man (no, really – that’s a thing. Look it up!) and Mera was being tested by the Silent Sisterhood who are a bit like the Bene Gesserit from the Dune novels but sound like they should be an order of mute, psychic power-nullifying warrior maidens from the 41st Millennium. Ahem. It’s this testing that forms the basis for the first half of the issue.

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Classic Comic Covers (John Byrne edition – part 1)

Uncanny X-Men 135

She’s so powerful she’s crushing the title! The title! That’s how powerful she is!!!

What, seriously, can be said about John Byrne that hasn’t already been said? Responsible for one of the best-regarded runs on Fantastic Four, creator of Alpha Flight and co-creator of characters like Kitty Pryde, Arcade and Maggie Sawyer, as well as being the man DC entrusted to reboot Superman after the company’s epic house-cleaning extravaganza Crisis on Infinite Earths, the man is quite rightly regarded as a comics legend. He is also, as it happens, rather good at drawing covers…

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Classic Comic Covers (Joe Kubert edition)

Joe Kubert (1926-2012) was one of the most prolific artists in comics and his covers have graced an incredibly wide range of comic books over the years. Perhaps best known for his work on DC Comics’ war titles and particularly Sgt Rock, his covers are bold, powerful and extraordinarily vivid. Here are just a few of his most striking images…

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Wonder Woman/Conan #6 – Review

Wonder Woman Conan 6 coverApproaching this final issue of Wonder Woman/Conan is a decidedly bitter-sweet experience. The series has been generally excellent and, with Marvel having reacquired the license to everyone’s favourite barbarian, further adventures featuring these two characters looks rather unlikely. A shame, but let’s not dwell on what may or may not be, eh? There’s a city to save and crow-goddesses to defeat. Let’s hope Conan can figure out what on earth he’s meant to do with that mystically glowing lasso…

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DC In Crisis? – Heroes In Crisis #1 Review, Analysis and Spoilers

HIC CoverHas there ever been a more controversial event book than the current DC title Heroes In Crisis, the first issue of which dropped last week?  Having variously been marketed as an exploration of themes such as PTSD and what writer Tom King has termed the “new war generation”, a generation of men and women who have “spent their twenties overseas fighting terrorism”, as well as a murder mystery, the title was already generating a fair amount of controversy and comment with the revelation that the series would be centred around the Sanctuary, a bespoke high tech facility to which traumatised heroes can go to receive psychological treatment, and that at least one (reasonably) well-known hero would be killed off during the story. Given that build-up, is it any wonder that there’s been a mixed reaction to the first issue hitting and fans finding out the identities of some of the heroes who have been killed?

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The Ruff and Reddy Show #3 Review

The Ruff and Reddy Show 3 coverChaykin and Rey’s The Ruff and Reddy Show is one of the strangest comics I’ve ever been asked (oh, okay – volunteered) to review, but I think this might be the issue when I finally get some kind of handle on it. The last two issues have seen our titular pairing, after a long period of separation and obscurity, reunite in a bid to relaunch their careers. That it’s taken this long to reach that point is largely down to Chaykin’s decision to turn his ‘story’ (if that’s the right word for a narrative this threadbare) into a vehicle for a satirical look at the entertainment business, whose scattergun approach has yielded entirely predictably mixed results. The end of this issue marks the midway point of this story, though, and it looks light it might actually be moving a bit more purposefully. And thank goodness for that…

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Classic Comic Covers! (Carlos Ezquerra Edition)

Carlos Ezquerra died of lung cancer today at the age of 70.

He was best known as the co-creator of Judge Dredd for 2000AD and Strontium Dog for Starlord until the comic was merged with 2000AD in 1978. His art has graced a variety of comics. As well as his work in 2000AD, he has drawn strips for IPC’s war titles and has provided art for a number of collaborations with Garth Ennis including Bloody Mary and Battlefields.

His stuff is really really good. It is gritty, detailed and generally defined by a sense of muscular physical action invariably involving grim, brooding heroes. Or anti-heroes as the case may be.

His work was an integral part of my childhood. The word ‘legend’ is bandied about far too readily these days, but I think, in this case, it’s entirely deserved. Here’s why…

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Classic Comic Covers! (Kevin Nowlan Edition)

This post could quite legitimately be extremely long. I first encountered Kevin Nowlan’s cover work on The New Defenders where he was a semi-regular cover artist throughout the run but particularly in the first year or so of the title. In marked contrast to the more traditional internal art of Don Perlin and Kim DeMulder, Nowlan’s covers possessed a stylish fluidity that was utterly captivating. I’m delighted to say that Nowlan is still illustrating covers today and that means that there’s a heck of a lot of stuff to choose from when putting together this post. There’s plenty of stuff I’ve missed out. Plenty of good stuff. But this is what’s appealed to me…

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