Monday, August 18, 2008

Where are.........................????

Where are

Resurrection #6 (out end of august????)
Kick-Ass #4 (again, reportedly out last week in August)
Pretty Baby Machine #2 (heard nothing about this one)
Infinite Horizon #4 (again, not a sausage)
Zombies! Hunters! #2 (I think this has just sunk without trace)

Come on, where are these comics!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Review - The Boys #21 (Dynamite Pub.)

This issue of Garth Ennis' 'The Boys' is up there with the best of the year -(The Walking Dead #48, Kick-Ass #3, Mighty Avengers #13, Judenhaus). It came out around 10 days ago, but I have only just got around to reading it, and I need to express my admiration for it.

This is the 3rd part of the current story arc 'I Tell You No Lie G.I', and recounts the involvement of the super-team 'The Seven' in that worlds version of 9/11. The President has all the intel on the planned terrorist atrocities and the Military are primed to intercept the threat. On the day, all but one of the hijacked planes are intercepted and shot down, but the last plane is ordered to be left alone. Why? So 'The Seven' can use their powers to save the plane and the passengers and kill the bad guys. There is a vested interest in this, in that the Vice-President is heavily involved with the Company who 'own' the Superheroes who comprise 'The Seven'. This sort of superhero involvement would generate lots of good press, and lots of money-making opportunites as a result. Cash from chaos and bloody murder.

Things do not go to plan. The Superheroes are ill-prepared to face the threat and their incompetence soon becomes apparent. Uncompromising and blackly comic in its narration of the hijack rescue as it is lacerating in the anger toward the collusion between Industry, Government and Military, this issue is angry and shocking, and a fantastic read. The art matches the bleak storyline, as it judders towards its Munich massacre/UA Flight 93 conclusion.

The Boys is a brilliant title, dark, comedic, crude, bloody and a smack in the face of the belief that because there are Superheroes, they must be doing the right thing and are beyond reproach in their actions, and these actions (of course) only have consequences for the villains. Recommended (get the first 2 Trades and work your way up to #21)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Review - Welcome to Hoxford #1 (IDW)

Ray Delgado has lived a bad and disturbed life. He has been created from pain, abuse and misery, and is now the one who deals out pain, abuse and misery. A lifer with no chance of parole, he and several others who are beyond salvation are sent to a maximum security facility that is privately owned by a Russian security firm. You know that there is some other motive other than rehabilitation about the place, and the pay-off is well worth buying this book for. When a violent, unlikeable psychopath looks like they are going to play hero, you know you are in for something a bit beyond the pale. This has the makings of being up there with the best high concept mash-ups in comic form. Templesmith keeps the language gritty, the story repulsive and the art is a brilliant blend of photo-realism and celebratory gore.

It is isn't going to be for everyone, but along with the release of Crossed last week, this is proof that Horror fiction is best played out in comics right now.

Consider me *ahem* 'hooked'.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reaction to The Walking Dead #51

The Walking Dead #51 is deservedly getting a great big YESSSS! from anyone who has read it, seemingly; - IGN
- Comics Bulletin - ifanboy

and my take on it is here

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Out of a cannon, like a daredevil......!!

This has to take the prize for the worst pitch for a superhero cartoon ever - check out the link and you too will believe that a man without fear can be called Daredevil, and have a crime-fighting sidekick sight dog and a young niece who fires him out of a cannon from the back of a van;

and then give thanks to Frank Miller, for this cover;

Was Matt Murdock aiming the gun at anyone particular (like the ABC executives??)?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Walking Dead 51 Review (2008)

First of all, let me say that that cover is great - a POV of a fatal zombie attack with a kind of pink hue makes for one of the more interesting covers of the year so far. I like what Adlard does with his covers, and the way he uses a dominant background colour to denote something or other (like with the reds of the 'No-one is safe' arc.

So issue 51 finally comes around, 6 weeks after the 'standalone' issue 50, which was all about Carl. This issue is more balanced, with Carl still getting a chance to develop as a character (and Kirkman gets to put an educational message across about the joy of reading). You get the sense more and more now that this is a child who is having to grow up fast, but for all his steely resolve and pragmatism, the child in him still manifests itself on occasional moments that are touching and real.

Rick is troubled, and this is understandable, but the way this is developing gives cause for concern (for the character). I will say no more on that, other than to praise the plot device that enables it, alongside the big full page reveal, and the subsequent aftermath where Rick realises (maybe) what is going on.

Out in the world beyond their current bolt-hole, there is a zombie attack (hence the cover). I'll say no more on that. It works, it sums up the desperation and lack of hope in a disturbing, horrific way.

This is another issue where you could say that nothing much happens, but I would argue that this issue may prove significant in determining the futures of both Rick and Carl. Is Ricks grief at the death of his wife and infant child going to take its toll? Is the hopelessness of their situation finally weighing him down? I hate to make comparisons but when I am reading through this issue I cannot help but think of 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy - the strong bond between father and son, the massive importance on the basics of life (food, shelter) and the tangible feeling that the burden of responsibility on the father may ultimately prove too much, mentally and physically.

I don't care what happens next issue - I trust Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard to deliver. It looks as if someone from the recent past may show up, and that may be the beginning of a new chapter in Rick and Carl's life. If that is the case, then this brief glimpse into the father and son dynamics, played out since the end of the 'no-one is safe' arc, has to be cherished as a change of pace and scripting that worked beautifully.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Listening for the Letterbox, August 13th, 2008

A regular feature where I look ahead to what I have on order from the releases of the week. This is obviously not a definitive release schedule - for that, try Diamond for the list of next weeks releases and this weeks releases (updated every monday).

The Walking Dead #51 (Image)

The cover is intruiging enough - though, if like me, you tend to hunt out future comic covers, you may or may not be too excited by the tease on the cover. Whose hands are those??? At the very least, it looks like we are in for some zombie action...

Last issue was a bit (*sigh*) of a let-down really. A bit forgettable, not long enough for a 50th issue and didnt really take the story anywhere. It was still better than most anything else that week (or that month), but that is not the point. Standards are high with 'The Walking Dead', and when they dip a little, especially combined with the slipped shipping dates, it can make it a bit of a disappointing experience. Still, I have high hopes for this issue - bring back the rest of the cast!!!

Young Liars #6 (Veritgo)

Well, where do you go after the final pages of #5? I cannot imagine. For anyone thinking of jumping on at this point, I would suggest they go back and investigate from issue 1 - this is NOT the sort of tale you can just dip in and out of. The situation that some of the main characters find themselves in as of the end of #5 are so dire, so life threatening and so truly horrific that it really would make no sense to newcomers. It doesn't make that much sense to me either, and I have been reading the thing since #1. Probably the most intriguing release of the week, and will more than likely be the most controversial.

A couple of huge titles out this week - namely 'Secret Invasion' #5, and Batman (RIP) #679, which should be well worth it, and these Secret Invasion tie-ins;

Captain Britain & MI13 #4
Secret Invasion: Thor #1
Secret Invasion: X-Men #1
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1

all look promising - all in all this is looking the best week in several for titles. Which is good, beacuse the weather here is rubbish and there seems to be no let up.

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Review - Crossed (Avatar)

Out now as an issue 0 (and cheap at under £1 - you shouldn't expect to pay more than 75p) this is the new Garth Ennis title, with art by Jacen Burrows. It starts off with a startling first page;

and from there it gets more and more nightmarish, anarchic and nasty. Told from the perspective of a young man seemingly content to drift through life, the text is sharp, concise and knows when to drop a startling, sickening observation on the madness that ensues. Although there are only 11 pages, this truly is a showcase on how to get readers locked into a story. The horror is bloody, disturbing and visceral - I found myself turning pages and wondering how much more perverse and gory it could get. That is a recommendation, by the way. Great way to end the issue as well. Burrows art keeps up with the manic thrills and does a good job of illustrating a towns descent into hell.

As horrific and post-apocalyptic as it gets, Crossed is on my pull list, joining the likes of Kirkman's 'The Walking Dead' and Guggenheim's 'Resurrection'.

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