Death Metal – Death’s Head #1 (Review)

Death's Head 1 coverIt’s a bit weird seeing a character who first appeared in an issue of Transformers UK back in 1987 getting his own mini-series in 2019. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the robot bounty hunter in his publishing career. His initial popularity with Marvel UK readers earned him guest appearances in US comics like Fantastic Four and She-Hulk, but his publishing history is as much marked by near-misses and failures as it is by successes. Will this mini-series see him return to his former glory? There’s only one way to find out…

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Strong and Silent – Conan: Exodus Review

Conan Exodus coverIt is tempting to read Conan: Exodus #1 quickly. There is very little dialogue and what there is is rendered as Nordic runes, incomprehensible to the young Conan leaving his inhospitable homeland and to the reader following his adventures. I would recommend taking your time with this issue, though. Writer and artist Esad Ribic’s decision to rely solely on image and layout to tell most of his story forces the reader to dwell longer on the visuals of the story and he is a good enough storyteller to make it worth your while to do so. Allow me to explain…

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The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #10 – Review

Michael Cray 10Over the last few issues, this title has become a lot more of a character study of its titular character than anything else and it is all the better for it. Writer Bryan Hill has, with no little skill, put Michael Cray through a wringer that, I suspect, still has one or two turns before it’s done. A few weeks ago on Twitter, Hill expressed his belief that heroism is in large part about suffering and endurance, in which case Cray might just be about to become the biggest and baddest hero of them all. With a psychotic John Constantine showing up at his love interest’s door at the end of last issue and an uppity sentient tumour in his head, Cray’s got his work cut out. And that’s not including a boss who doesn’t trust him and an insane version of Wonder Woman intent on bringing back some extra-dimensional entities and destroying half the world in the process. Let’s see how he gets on, eh?

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Biting Off More Than We Can Chew… – Electric Warriors #3 Review

Electric Warriors 3 coverA state of post-flu weakness – light-headed, enervated, lacking appetite, gullible – might actually be the ideal condition in which to read a Steve Orlando comic. Too feeble to rant and rail against the excesses of the script, one tends to just let the story flow on, absently noting its inconsistencies and heavy-handedness while not being able to summon up even the smallest shred of indignation about how silly it all is. And so it has been with Electric Warriors 3. Last month’s cliffhanger is about to be resolved. And a couple of significant mysteries are about to be revealed. (The mysteries themselves, that is – any explanation of them is some way off yet.) Buckle up, pilgrims! It’s going to be a ludicrous – and curiously chewy – ride…

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Peacemaker – Wonder Woman #55 Review

Wonder Woman 55 coverI must confess that Steve Orlando’s short run (which ends this issue) on this title has been less terrible than I’d expected. While a number of problems that are pronounced enough in the writer’s work to earn the adjective ‘Orlando-esque’ have persisted, there has nevertheless been a thematic coherency to the five issues that has been very welcome – namely a clear focus on Wonder Woman’s compassion and peace-making, on her dignity and moral strength. This continues with the current issue which, while by no means perfect, manages to leave this reader at least with a rather pleasant feeling of satisfaction.

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The Wild Storm – Best Covers

Wild Storm 1 variant

The Jim Lee variant for issue 1. It’s good, but not the best cover you’ll see below…

The Wild Storm came to a close last month and it occurs to me that I should probably mark the occasion properly instead of just putting up months-old reviews of mine from the Weird Science website. It is impossible to do justice to just how excellent and visually impressive this series is. Was. Whatever. Central to that was the exceptional art of Jon Davis-Hunt, who should probably get a post all of his own. His meticulous attention to detail; his grasp of layout; his designs of characters and hardware; the determinedly low-tech, slightly worn and grubby look of the series: all of the above contributed powerfully to the success of the series. (Although I should also point out that both the Buccellatos did phenomenal work on the colours throughout the series.)

Warren Ellis quite rightly gets the plaudits for creating a highly complex but believable world of super-powered experimentation and espionage, complete with its own secret history that goes back thousands of years. His script was erudite, sharp and suffused with his characteristic dry, somewhat cynical wit, and is an absolute delight to read. The comic book, however, is – say it after me, everyone – a visual medium and any script, no matter how good, needs a top notch artist to realize it and make it fly. Having extraordinary covers helps too. The Wild Storm had a lot of them. And here are some of the best…

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Gloria – The Wild Storm #16 Review

The Wild Storm 16The expansion of the Wild Storm universe continues apace this issue as John Lynch’s road trip brings him into contact with possibly the weirdest and creepiest Project Thunderbook alumnus yet, and elsewhere Angie Spica finds a new friend on the internet. (Well, it’s all about connecting people, isn’t it?) Let’s dive in and see how they get on…

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Ding-Dong In The Desert – Wonder Woman #54 Review

Wonder Woman 54 alt cover

Jenny Frison’s covers are one of the highlights of the Wonder Woman book. Just. Awesome.

So, Wonder Woman, eh? I’ve been a Wonder Woman reader and fan for a lot of my life and it’s always an honour and a privilege to read and review her adventures. The last couple of issues have seen Diana team up with Artemis and the new Aztek in order to free her aunt Atalanta from the clutches of Tezcatlipoca, the Shadow God and sworn enemy of Aztek and the now-defunct Q-Foundation. While the art for those two issues (by Aco) was astonishing and there were some rather nice ideas thrown into the mix, it’s safe to say that the story’s resolution, depending as it did on a somewhat hackneyed ‘let’s-all-band-together’ Maguffin and a typically Orlando-esque quantity of technobabble (“I’m hacking a weapon from a higher plane of existence and hoping I don’t lose my mind, okay?” – Hmmm. Passive-aggressive technobabble at that), left much to be desired. It’s a good job, then, that this issue the creative team lowers its sights a little and decides to tell us a tale that’s more grounded in political reality.

Let’s find out how they get on…

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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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