Rainmaker – The Wild Storm #17 Review

The Wild Storm 17 - coverAnother month, another stop on the John Lynch/Gen-12 reunion tour. While the general level of quality in terms of writing and art continues to remain extraordinarily high in this series, there’s little doubt that Ellis’ decision to shift focus from both the brewing IO/Skywatch war and Jacob Marlowe’s WildCAT to Jenny Mae Sparks’ Authority-building and Lynch’s trek down memory lane has resulted in a slowing down of pace and a certain structural repetition that, personally, I could do without. This issue sees Lynch visit yet another Project Thunderbook subject. Let’s see how he gets on…

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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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California Burning – American Carnage #1 Review

American Carnage - 1 coverWhen the new wave of Vertigo titles was announced to great fanfare earlier this year, there was only one that really caught my eye. Since first encountering his writing in The Wild Storm: Michael Cray, I’ve come to appreciate Bryan Hill as a thoughtful writer of action comics and a refreshingly calm and personable presence on Twitter. And here he was being announced as the writer of a six-part mini-series dealing with themes of racial tension and violence in the age of Trump, increasingly vocal pushback against the perceived excesses of political correctness and the social justice movement, and the reemergence of white supremacy exemplified by the tragic events of Charlottesville. I was intrigued and a little worried. The potential for American Carnage to be a simplistic anti-Trump spleen-venting (the title is lifted from arguably the most controversial section of Trump’s inauguration speech) or a jeremiad on the dangers of white (gun) violence was certainly there, but Hill is a writer I’ve begun to trust, so I approached this first issue with more hope than trepidation. Let’s find out if I was right, 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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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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Smouldering – Martian Manhunter 2 Review

Martian Manhunter 2 coverDC’s second twelve-issue series in a row featuring characters whose initials are ‘MM’ trundles on this week. After a quite frankly bizarre first issue which mixed noirish sensibilities with an (at times very) intimate look at pre-catastrophe Martian society, will things settle down this issue or will the madness keep on coming? There’s only one way to find out…

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

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A Greener Shade of Kale – Superman/Top Cat Special Review

Superman Top Cat coverAlong with Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey and Captain Caveman, Top Cat was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that became a staple part of my childhood in the 70s. So, when the call came out from Weird Science Towers for people bold, crazy or stupid enough to review the latest round of DC/Hanna-Barbera specials, I got my request in quickly. Not having read any of the solicits for these issues (I mean, really, why would you?), I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Would this one-off special be an overly earnest disappointment, a right-on politically correct ‘satire’, a rollicking good-time adventure or something else entirely?  Let’s find out!

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Belit Comes of Age – Age of Conan: Belit #5 Review

Age of Conan Belit - coverI was excited about this book when it was first announced. Belit is one of the more remarkable creations in Robert E Howard’s cast of characters. The prospect of the beautiful and fierce pirate, self-styled ‘Queen of the Black Coast’, starring in her own mini-series in the new Marvel Conan universe into which Jason Aaron and Gerry Duggan had already breathed so much new life was cause for celebration.  And I did celebrate. Until I read the first issue and encountered a much younger Belit, whose father was a ‘dread admiral’ and whose mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and I realized we were going to get a Belit origin story. Oh, well. To be fair, Tini Howard’s Belit is a strong, engaging character and Niemcyk’s art (although not really my favourite style) has grown on me and both do a decent job of telling their chosen story. The fact it’s not really the story I wanted is just one of life’s little annoyances, isn’t it? Let’s see how it ends…

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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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