Tagged: reviews

Waiting Room – The Wild Storm #10 (Review)

The Wild Storm 10 coverWhy do we love comics so much? (I know I’m assuming here, but you’ve just started reading a comic book review so I’m reasonably sure there’s some comic love going on in that heart of yours.) I would imagine that there as many answers as there are comic book fans, but for me, it’s the coming together of a number of different factors. First, there’s the whole extended universe thing – the excitement you get from being plunged into a world that is rich and varied and capable of expanding in often surprisingly new directions. Then, there’s the fact that it’s a hybrid medium, a unique combination of image and text. Much has been made of comics’ increasingly filmic qualities and I get excited about that too, but a page of comic art can be studied in ways that a film scene can’t. That each figure is drawn, is deliberately posed, gives the artist greater control and, potentially, subtlety when it comes to conveying meaning (and, yes, we’ll be getting to some specific examples in a moment). Although, like film and television, the comic is a collaborative medium, the creative aspects of that collaboration are smaller-scale, meaning that the story can be created more precisely. Plus, comics are fun. Their potential to surprise, to play with narrative form and structure, is exciting. Anything can happen in comics. Anything at all.

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Stalling Beautifully – Wonder Woman/Conan #4 (Dark Horse/DC Comics)

Wonder Woman Conan 4 1This series has quickly become one I look forward to every month. The decision by Gail Simone to supplement the main story featuring Conan and Diana with a developing flashback featuring a younger Conan and a girl called Yanna who looks (and acts) an awful lot like our favourite Amazonian princess has proven to be an astute one. With an increased opportunity for mirroring and foreshadowing, it’s added greater emotional depth to the narrative and, indeed, last month’s cliffhanger emerged out of that flashback plot rather than the main one. Having finally brought our heroes into direct contact (and conflict) with the Corvidae, the story’s principal antagonists, we enter the second half of the story with a fairly clear idea of where the plot – and our heroic duo – is headed. What is less clear is how the action of the present ties in with the memories of Conan’s past. Will we get some clarity this issue? Let’s see…

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Feeling Blue – Elves vol 1 (Delcourt/Soleil)

Elves vol 1 coverPublished in translated form by Delcourt, Elves is an interesting series. Originally comprised of a group of two-issue stories, these mini-arcs have been collected and made available on Comixology as single volumes. The first deals with a society of blue elves and, as is often the case with fantasy literature, an important prophecy connected with an extremely powerful crystal which has been secreted at the bottom of the ocean where it is guarded by a huge sentient cephalopod.

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Great Cthluto Lies Sleeping – Dastardly and Muttley #5

Dastardly and Muttley 5 coverMy experiences with Hanna-Barbera comics have not been exactly great lately, and I was hoping that this issue would see me break out of “what the hell did they think they were doing?” mode and actually give me something that I could enjoy. I know, I know. It’s a radical concept, but, lo and behold, the Ennis/Mauricet team actually seem to embrace it, brazen innovators that they are. That’s not to say there aren’t problems this issue. There’s an awful lot of exposition going on here, but the issue is, for the most part, a lot of fun. Allow me to explain why…

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Ballbuster! – Dastardly & Muttley #4

Dastardly and Muttley 4 coverYou know, I love comics. Comics are the medium in which anything can happen, in which image and word can interact in quite startling ways and in which, apparently, a beloved Hanna-Barbera property can become an insane fusion of commentary on the military-industrial complex, sexism, and politics, and the kind of comedic sensibility generally found in, well, cartoons. Fancy that, eh? If all that sounds like your cup of tea, then step this way. I’ve got a comic to sell you.

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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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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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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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