Tick-Tick-Boom! – Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E. #1

NextWave 1 coverQuick question. Which Marvel comic ends with the line “Oh my God. It’s wearing underpants.”? (Hint: You’re about to read a review of it.) Like all the best comedy, NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a relatively short, but still memorable reading experience. Fawlty Towers, The Day Today, Father Ted – none of these classics of British TV comedy outstayed their welcome; all of them have attained legendary status at least in part because their legacy is unsullied by mercenary attempts to milk the golden cow long after the creamiest parts of its output have been savoured. (That metaphor got away from me a bit there.) NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a similar beast. Only 12 issues of it exist, but they are among the funniest superhero comics you will ever read. So buckle up, turn off your Etheric Loop Recall Televocometer, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of… well, profanity-laced madness, mostly. Oh, and underpants. Really big underpants.

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The Ruff And Reddy Show #1

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

 

I volunteered to review this title. I just want you to know that.

 

The Ruff N Reddy Show - coverDC’s idea of updating old Hanna-Barbera properties for 21st-century comic sensibilities is not necessarily a bad one, but I think it’s safe to say that its execution has been decidedly mixed. For every Flintstones, there’s been a Wacky Raceland, and some of the concepts for the re-vamping have been decidedly ill-judged. So, what to make of this – a six-issue mini-series based on a cartoon show that first aired in 1957 and is culturally important more for what it led to than anything else? To be fair, I like Chaykin and I did volunteer. Time to jump in…

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The Wild Storm #7

The Wild Storm 7 coverWell, we had to wait a little longer than usual for this installment of what is shaping up to be one of the year’s best series. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this issue has been worth the wait. Issue 7 marks the start of the series’ second story arc and sees an expansion of the title’s cast of core characters. It also fails to deliver on the dramatic ending of issue 6, but you can’t have everything, can you? Although we may have to wait to see exactly how Henry Bendix’s response to the revelation that IO has been stealing Skywatch tech plays out, let’s see what we do get…

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It’s All Kicking Off! – Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #5

Planet of the Apes-Green Lantern 005-000DC Comics’ and Boom! Studios’ Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern crossover has been, if not exactly ground-breaking, certainly fun so far. While certain elements (e.g. Hal repeating Taylor’s journey in the first film; Sinestro doing his whole mustache-twirling villain thing) have been predictable, others have been much less so. The introduction of Gorilla Grodd; the presence of the Red Lanterns; the un-named Green Lantern who first brought the Universal Ring to the alternate Earth; the centrality of Cornelius to the action: these have been the elements that, for me at any rate, have been genuinely intriguing. Now that we’re nearing the series’ climax, it’s time for those disparate elements to come together. Will the creative team have more surprises up its sleeve? There’s only one way to find out.

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A Bit of Self-Promotion

I should have mentioned this ages ago, but a conversation on the Weird Science DC Comics Slack chat earlier this evening reminded me – I have some fan fiction up on FanFiction.net. It’s mostly stuff from my Warhammer/Warhammer 40K writing days and generally takes the form of either short 1,000 word pieces or one ludicrously huge magnum opus, Nine-Tenths, which is an Inquisition procedural. Sort of.

Anyway, the link to my stuff can be found here. Enjoy – if you’re so inclined! 🙂

Recommended Reading for Adolescents: Fiction Series

A very detailed list of a range of book series available for young teens and pre-teens. A great resource if you’re looking to give the gift of reading this Christmas! 🙂

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There are 377 books in the 41 series below – something for everyone!

One of the great pleasures of teaching is to connect students with books, and a sound strategy for keeping them reading is to turn them on to a good series. If they like one book by an author, they’ll almost certainly want to read more in the same series. In this way we can hugely increase reading mileage without having to constantly foist books on our students. Not only that, but as their enthusiasm builds, so does their willingness to share. If they are hooked on a series, they will tell others about it. Hooked readers are the best advertising.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of authors and series – some more recent, some from a few decades back, and others from the mists of the early twentieth century – for students who…

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Crowing About It – Wonder Woman/Conan #3

Wonder Woman Conan 3 coverLast issue saw our two heroes fight each other in an arena, get transferred to a smuggling ship, get threatened by randy sailors, see the ship they’re on get rammed by a Zingaran patrol boat, jump overboard in a desperate attempt to escape and, finally, get menaced by some impressively-rendered sharks. Phew! If all of that sounds action-packed, well, it is. Although much of the action could easily be categorized as padding. Will this issue’s action be any more purposeful? There’s only one way to find out…

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A Man’s Best Friend – Astro City #48

Astro City 48The last issue introduced Andy Merton, a small-time crook who, thanks to the theft of a magical amulet and the companionship of a ludicrously cute corgi called Hank, has turned away from crime and now fights it in the guise of anthropomorphized canine G-Dog. The issue also ended, however, on the kind of gut-wrenching revelation that really pulls the rug from under you and makes you desperate to read more. So, does Busiek deliver a killer conclusion to this two-parter? There’s only one way to find out…

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Batman/The Shadow #6

Batman Shadow 6 coverThis coming together of Batman and one of his more influential antecedents reaches its climax in this issue and there is, in my mind, a fair amount of promise the series now needs to fulfill. So far, we’ve been introduced to the intriguing notion that The Shadow has woven himself into the tapestry of Batman’s personal history as a way of training him up to be his immortal replacement. In The Stag, we’ve also been given a villain whose costume design is genuinely unsettling and whose very nature seems to be up for grabs, a mystery whose answer must surely be revealed in these pages. Last issue left us with several important questions in urgent need of answering. Who is The Stag? Who or what exactly comprises his glowing ‘army’ currently in the process of tearing down Shamba-La, the mystical haven in which The Shadow was born? How will a fatally wounded Batman survive this encounter, much less triumph in it? Will The Shadow and Batman finally reconcile their differences? Which one of them was right about the nature of the universe? Will the Joker start doing something useful? Or meaningful? Will Orlando deploy another plant metaphor? Will the last five months of reading this title have been, after all, worth it?

There really is only one way to find out…

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Picking At The Threads – The Wild Storm #6

The Wild Storm 6Aaaand… I was right. It doesn’t happen very often so allow me to bask in my own self-reflected glory just for a moment. As I guessed last month, this issue does indeed open with the kind of action sequence to make Michael Bay go weak at the knees. It’s been a long wait (since issue 1 actually), but we finally get to see Deathblow in action and, bloody hell, it is brutally, gorily glorious. But, this issue isn’t just about Michael Cray putting the beatdown on two hapless IO goons. There’s a lot more going on here and I suggest you buckle up. There’s a lot to take in.

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