Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Previews of The Boys #32 and Dead Run #2 at CBR

Boys #32 preview at CBR

Dead Run #2 preview at CBR

Michael Jackson was also in British Kids comics - as Doomlord! (1988)

Being ubiquitous, Michael Jackson even managed to infiltrate the UK comics scene in the 1980s. It's true - here he is in issue 391 of the (then) newly merged Eagle and Battle comic (February 1988).

That's Bad. Meaning Good.

I take no credit for the original scan - I am grateful to the rather nice blog below for that;


Monday, June 29, 2009

Forthcoming Attractions (anticipated releases this week - 01.07.2009)

My picks for this week;


The second issue of the new Batman and Robin
is out this week. The first issue was brilliant, a truly great opener, and I reckon the second issue will fulfill fans expectations again. Solicit reads;
"Batman Reborn" continues with the reteaming of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men)! In a blazing Gotham City police department, the new Batman and Robin face the bizarre, fighting freakshow that is the Circus of Strange and find that they don't make as good a team as Batman had hoped! Meanwhile, the mysterious Sasha escapes from Professor Pyg and vows vengeance on the people who killed her father. Preview of Batman and Robin #2 here - http://comics.ign.com/articles/997/997159p1.html

Dead Run #2 continues its B-Movie style, journey through a Post-Apocalyptic America. Solicit reads;
"All Speed. No Limits." The end isn't near... it's here. America has become a wasteland, leaving the few cities that remain transformed into impenetrable fortresses. NICK MASTERS a driver, the best there is. If you need something picked-up, delivered, or disposed of, Nick's your man. But when he fails to deliver… all hell breaks loose. Part two of the epic saga that redefines the science fiction action genre. From the writer of HEXED and FALL OF CTHULHU, Michael Alan Nelson, collaborating for the first time with EUREKA creator Andrew Cosby!. To be honest, I thought the first issue was a lot of fun, even if the dialogue was BAAAD, in a Post-Apocalytpic Italian B-Movie of the early 80's kind of way. I expect the second issue to be more of the same, which is no bad thing at all.

The Boys #32 continues with the hugely entertaining 'Self Preservation Society' arc. Worryingly, the solicit kicks off with the ominous words;
'With the Female gone and the survivors left reeling,'
which does not sound good at all, but after the monumental scrap she had last time, could she really be dead? Anyway, the rest of the solicit reads;
'...the Boys find out who's after them the hard way- walking straight into a nightmarish trap. Pulping teenage supes is one thing, but how will our heroes fair against a front-rank supe team of unimaginable power? Blood flies and bones shatter, as Butcher decides to meet fire with fire... in The Self-Preservation Society, part two.'

Deadpool Merc With a Mouth #1. Marvel seem pretty keen to make Deadpool the new Wolverine, with countless iterations of the character in various titles, running alongside each other. Here is another...the solicit reads;
“HEAD TRIP,” Part 1 of 6 It’s the Merc with two mouths! Deadpool travels to the Savage Land to retrieve what might be the deadliest bio-weapon the universe has ever seen. What is this deadly object? Well, Deadpool's employer is being a little vague about that. Let’s just say when the secret is finally revealed, it's enough to throw even the Merc with two Mouths for a loop…Oh hell, we can’t keep a secret, it’s the severed-but-still-hungry head of the Marvel Zombies Deadpool! To save the universe, Deadpool must team up with himself to dodge Hydra operatives, dinosaurs, cavemen and zombie cavemen as he attempts to take his not-so-precious cargo back where it came from: the Marvel Zombies Universe. Plus, a bonus reprinting of the first apperanace of Deadpool from New Mutants #98!
It has a great Sudyam cover, and Deadpool titles are generally entertaining, so expect something good. The Zombie-Deadpool has been the best thing about Marvel Zombies 4, so it is reasonable to expect Marvel were going to get some more mileage out of that character. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2932&disp=table - Deadpool MWAM #1 preview

Destroyer #4 has come around pretty quick - only been 2 weeks since the last issue. This time Destroyer at long last comes face to face with the legions of HORDE, and buried deep within their secret base lays a threat like none Destroyer has ever faced before. This issue, the violence gets turned up to 'awesome', apparently, so this should be something pretty unique as last time around the whole issue was soaked in blood and gore (and not a lot else to be honest). http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2933&disp=table - Destroyer 4 preview

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Image of the Week (24/06/09)

Michael Larks moody, noir art in all its glory in a few (stunning) opening panels of the latest Daredevil (issue 119, out now). He captures the fury of battle, the grisly police procedural, and its in the little details (like the chalk mark of the headless corpse) that he is superb. Enjoy this while you can - he leaves the title after the next issue.

Comic of the Week (24/06/09)

Unknown Soldier 9 cover

It is a great comic. I talk about it a lot. Read the reviews on the site. There is a CIA agent called Jack Lee Howl in it, which is probably the best name ever in a comic. Maybe you can think of a better one, but I cannot.

Consistently high quality, I just hope it gets a good long run, and does not fall victim to cancellation due to low monthly sales, because this is something unique and is not competing with the massed ranks of Superhero titles. Cherish it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Review - Daredevil #119 (Marvel, 2009)

It is in the little details - the chalk line around the removed corpse, along side the comment that the head was found some way from the body. Then you look again at the chalk mark that was made around the murder victim and then it registers that this was a decapitation. The comment that The Hands foot soldiers turn to ash when they are killed. Like I said - Little things, those tiny details that keep this title a rich and endlessly interesting one. It mixes the 'normal' life of Matt Murdock (which has completely crumbled into chaos) and the extraordinary life of Daredevil adeptly. You cannot see the join, there is no jarring of styles. The whole title is swathed in dim light, a grainy haze where the good get 'got' with depressing regularity, and the bad survive and thrive. Against this, Daredevil (and in the periphery, the likes of Frank Castle (aka Punisher)) pursue their agendas, vendettas and/or fight for right.

In this issue, as we near the end of the 'Return of the King arc, new alliances are forged while others crumble away, and it is this latter development that poses a threat, unknown to those who believe to be working with others for a greater good. What I am trying to say is that Daredevil adopted a high risk strategy in deciding to ally himself with his greatest enemy. On top of that, all whom he loves are in very real danger. So its high tension time, each scenario right on the edge of blowing up. Then the issue ends, with the promise of issue 500. If I had to review this issue purely on its own merits, I would say that the come-on (in this case, the cover depicting a Lady Bullseye / Kingpin face-off) was a lot more exciting than the actual experience, but the quality of the title is so strong that you are completely immersed anyway.

As you probably know, issue 500 marks the end of the Brubaker / Lark involvement in the title, which is a real shame as he has made Daredevil vital and I know that there are comparisons with the Miller era, but they are valid. They have been on the title for over 3 years and will be missed, though I am sure Andy Diggle is going to surprise a lot of people and carry on with the high quality we have come to expect.

Verdict - a slow burner of an issue, but it has a seductive, dark charm that still engrosses you. 8 out of 10

Anyway, while we are on the subject, check out the amazing cover for #500 (Daredevil is returning to its original issue numbering from now on...);

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review - Unknown Soldier #9 (Vertigo, 2009)

Unknown Soldier 9 cover

This issue is mainly about Jack Lee Howl, the CIA operative 'lost' in Africa, both physically and spiritually, and up to his aging neck in trouble, mired in bluff, double-cross and more bluff. Caught up in an intrigue with militants trying to highlight the plight of Sudan, he becomes a pawn in a plan to kill a high profile American actress. Howl is offered the chance to find the Unknown Soldier, who the militants aim to convince to help them in their cause.

The art and story are, yet again, wonderful in a brutal and uncompromising way - if that sounds like a bizarre thing to say, then let me explain. The Unknown Soldier does not attempt to hide the truths of armed struggle in Africa. For example, it highlights the use of child soldiers. Does this title shy away from showing those children being slaughtered? No. Does it shy away from the protagonist killing these child soldiers? No. what it does do, is portray these terrible things in a graceful and intelligent manner. There is no treacly sentiment, or bludgeoning home a particular agenda. It shows things as they are, in a compelling and articulate way.

This is why The Unknown Soldier is such an important title of this medium. Graphically compelling, with a rich context to explore and gripping story lines. It demands your attention.

Verdict. 9 out of 10. It is effortless in its storytelling, and gripping in its execution. It is one of the top 3 titles available now. Let us hope Vertigo stick with it, as the monthly sales on it are not brilliant.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Forthcoming Attractions (anticipated releases this week - 24.06.2009)

Two great titles, and one I am curious about, are coming out this week. Here they are;


Daredevil is coning to the end of its Brubaker run, but with the return of Kingpin, this is a good way to bow out. Lady Bullseye makes a lethal appearance this issue, so things should get really exciting. Unknown Soldier #9 continues its audacious 'Easy Kill' storyline, and Rapture - well, it just looks fairly original. solicitations below;

Daredevil #119

It's the penultimate chapter of the riveting RETURN OF THE KING arc! Kingpin's true agenda is revealed, as Lady Bullseye and her minions come out of hiding to begin the final confrontation in Hell's Kitchen.

Rapture #2

Writer: Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Val Staples
Cover Artist: Taki Soma
Genre: Action/Adventure

Evelyn Town never asked to be a champion. All she wanted was to be reunited with her boyfriend, Gil. But after the rapture-like disappearance of the world's heroes left the planet in ruins, she had little choice if she wanted to survive. Now, only "the damned" remain, struggling for survival against the vicious religious cannibals who prey upon them. Using a powerful spear given to her by a strange entity called The Word, Evelyn defends those who can't defend themselves. Branded a returned champion, Evelyn's newfound power may cost her innocence. But is her sacrifice in vain? Has her lover Gil moved on?

From the co-creator of Powers and Mice Templar

Unknown Soldier #9

Written by Joshua Dysart; Art by Alberto Ponticelli; Cover by Dave Johnson

The life and times of rogue CIA agent Jack Lee Howl. How is it that a man who just wants to be left alone can find the time to be coerced, kidnapped, lied to and beheaded all in one day? Charming, deceitful and – in the end – always out of luck. That's our Jack.


http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=%202871&disp=table Daredevil #119 preview

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Comics of the week (17/06/09)

Captain Britain & MI13 #14 (Marvel)


Young Liars #16 (Vertigo)

Because they will not be with us for much longer, and because they are 2 of the best titles that come out on a monthly basis, superior in every way to a lot of the generic superhero titles. It is a crying shame they are nearing the end of their runs, and they will be missed.

Quick reviews of other comics released ths week (17/06/09)

Marvel Zombies 3 #4 (Marvel)

Had some good moment, especially the airborne virus, and the appearance of the Man-Thing was a nostalgic treat (if not much else besides), but the real star of the show was Deadpool - or rather, the zombie Deadpool head, with mobility courtesy of Simon Garth. He has the best lines, the best scenes and somewhat overshadows the main characters. In terms of the overall story, to be honest I got a bit disinterested toward the end, but there is enough going on to make me come back for the final episode in this current run. 7 out of 10.

Captain Britain & MI13 #14 (Marvel)

The opening scene is completely WTF!!! but I obviously will not spoil it for you. Whether the WTF!!! scene strikes you as a nice plot twist or a bit hammy depending on your tastes. The rest of it gallops along brilliantly, as we approach the finale of 'Vampire State' and the end of this title. Paul Cornell has created an ensemble cast who are all engaging, the villains have been very well chosen and the scenarios have been British but with themes that are universally understandable. Dracula heading an armada of Vampires from the Moon to invade Britain is probably the best idea in a comic strip this year - it's just a shame that Marvel could not keep the faith with this superb series. Not long to go now. 8.5 out of 10.

Image of the Week (17/06/09)

Deadpool tackles a Paul McCartney 'classic', to the evident horror of his victim. Classic. The 'Merc with a mouth', and not much else, steals the show every time he appears in this iteration of the Marvel Zombies franchise.

Taken from Marvel Zombies 4 #3, which is out now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review - Destroyer #3 (Marvel MAX, 2009)

This is Kirkman without the human relationships angle that he employs to great effect with the Walking Dead, and a lesser extent Invincible, but look! Destroyer has lots of blood and fighting, made pretty by the clean lines of Cory Walker! This issue (the third of five) is just one big fight scene for Destroyer, and the big showdown with Scar, with Marlowes (aka Destroyer) Daughter kidnapped and in peril to add spice to the proceedings. There is a ton of blood and guts and smashing fists and pulverized bodies and heads. It ends up as a cross between the Sin City series 'That Yellow Bastard' and something Peter Jackson would have done in his pre-Lord of the Rings days. It's fairly mindless and fairly entertaining, and very violent and very, very gory. Oh, and there is a big explosion because that gives them an opportunity to do the 'KA-BOOM' lettering all pretty like what they do in Invincible - you know, like this sort of lettering;

Verdict. Hey, you probably know if you like this sort of thing. Minimal exposition, minimal dialogue, just lots of fighting that degenerates into a bloodbath, all pretty much done with super-powered fists. The premise, as you may know, is about an old superhero from the Golden Age, called Destroyer, who is dying and so he feels obliged to take out as many bad guys as he can before he dies. That's it. It is no frills, lean, mean storytelling. A high concept committed to the comic book medium. I like it, but I don't love it. Its not bad, its just not really good - it doesn't really draw me in to Marlowe's world and make me want him to succeed. It will just about justify its 5 issue run. 6.75 out of 10.

Review - Young Liars #16 (Vertigo, 2009)

This just makes me sad. There are only a couple of issues to go and now it seems as if we are going to get some sort of resolution when it feels like there is no good way of wrapping this up now. This time round we get the back story of Joanie and her half-brother Ronald, and their sandwich shop in Freedom. Then the Brown Bag corporation turn up, and if you read the title, or have even a basic grasp of modern commerce, then you'll know it ends badly for the little guy. Its another fascinating peek into the murky and convoluted world of the 'young liars', including an appearance from 'Loreli Sweetwater'...but with so little time left before the series ends, did we really need this? I just do not know how this is going to be resolved. I hope it gets some sort of closure. I feel for David Lapham and his dilemma in getting this wrapped up. In his own words;

Got word yesterday. 18 will be the last. There will be plenty of mind blowing shit in every issue till the last. I’m not going to try and force my “ultimate” ending in there but we will have an end, and as this is a series of endings, I can hold out hope that one day I may see it through to the end I had intended be the end, end..

taken from


Verdict. Reading the Young Liars up to now has been a bit like where you wake up after a great dream and think its Monday morning - only to find out it is Saturday morning. It started great, got confusing and disorienting a few issues in, only to come out of the confusion with an energy and vitality, combined with audacious plotting, to make it all worthwhile. I cannot really score this issue because any score on this issue is loaded with the knowledge that there is only 2 more issues to go and I feel unhappy about this. It is probably too late to invest in the single issues now, so get the trades instead. Please - get the trades, and invest in one of the most original titles in years, shot through with a true rock n roll spirit, full of youth and excitement.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review - The Boys: Herogasm #2 (DE, 2009)

More debauchery, graphically illustrated, continues unabated at the Herogasm R&R event for the Supes. Everywhere you look are the sights and sounds of unchecked power, the loss of responsible behaviour to the raging thirst of powerful desires. It is a powerful argument as to why The Boys exist. They do not really come into it until the end, but their cameo is worth the price of admission, and sets up the next issue so well its just a pity it could not have been brought into this issue with some of the (literal) excess trimmed. It is a slight gripe, but otherwise the issue is another cracker. The Vought American powerplay moves into gear, with the plan to take out the Boys being pushed to one of the super teams - and it gives some explanation to some of the events in the already released Boys #31.

This issue is drenched in debauchery. Be warned. Especially if you are an older reader and have young kids. Don't leave it lying around, unless you want to answer some awkward questions. So, in summary, NSFW, NSFK (not safe for kids) but bloody good fun. He is a very naughty boy that Garth Ennis, and has a very fertile imagination, especially when it comes to the supes choice of drug consumption (you probably wouldn't be able to guess....but when you find out, you will not be surprised that he (Ennis) thought of it either....) His mate Darick Robertson provides a suitably risque cover, and John McCrea is very adept at illustrating all the SEX and DRUGS that fly around the panels.

I am getting used to a dose of The Boys world every 2 weeks. Can we make this a permanent fixture please?

Verdict - Don't leave it lying around unless you are in the company of people who understand the sort of work Garth Ennis produces. If a non-Ennis-aware individual picks this up in horror, then quickly show them Crossed #1, and at least they will know he is capable of things far more twisted than this. 8 out of 10. Plus an extra .25 for the highly imaginative drug preferences. So, 8.25 out of 10.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Boys #33 and Herogasm #4 Solicitations for August 2009 (Dynamite Entertainment)



Rating: MATURE
Covers: Darick Robertson
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciller/Inker: CARLOS EZQUERRA
Colorist: TONY AVI?A
Awards: N/A
Publication Date: AUGUST, 2009
Format: Comic Book
Rights: WW
Age range: 16+

UPC: 725130125552
With the rest of The Boys out of the picture, the surviving members of Payback find themselves at an advantage of four to one- unfortunately for them, the one is Butcher. As the carnage unfolds, Vought struggle with ongoing internal divisions, Hughie calls in reinforcements, and Annie finds herself up against the Seven's biggest guns- but an unexpected ally may yet save her honor...

As yet, no cover for Herogasm #4.....



Rating: MATURE
Covers: Darick Robertson
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciller/Inker: JOHN McCREA
Colorist: TBD
Awards: N/A
Publication Date: AUGUST, 2009
Format: Comic Book
Rights: WW
Age range: 16+

UPC: 725130125569
The first-ever Boys spin-off mini-series features the pairing of Ennis with Hitman artist John McCrea and covers by Boys artist and co-creator Darick Robertson!
The fun and games go on hold as The Boys' true mission is revealed, and secrets are spilled regarding the worst day in recent American history. As Vought-American's true agenda is revealed, the corporation makes plans to take things to the next level- and the Homelander hints at a certain scheme of his own...

Forthcoming Attractions (anticipated releases this week - 17.06.2009)

Lots of issue #3's this week! My bountiful picks this week are;


Boys: Herogasm #2
Ennis is on a hot streak with this and the main Boys title, so I expect this to be business as usual, and will expect nothing less than excellence with part 2 of this first Boys spin-off.
Here is the solicit;
Things heat up at the super-retreat, as new heights of hedonism are scaled and Jack From Jupiter introduces A-Train to the depravity of "Forbidden". The Homelander, meanwhile, is indulging in a little peccadillo of his own- one that will have far-reaching consequences for the world's superhuman community. Hughie finds himself talking dirty, Payback get an offer they can't refuse- and the Boys put their own plan into operation...

Captain Britain & MI13 #14
The penultimate episode of 'Vampire State', which is also the penultimate issue *sob*. Solicited as;
The pieces are all in motion. Dracula, Lilith and Captain Fate are heading for Earth with their invasion force, as the Vampire Lord’s deal with Dr. Doom and master plan all come together. MI13 has been taken apart and the world is ripe for the taking.
Gutted that this title is coming to an end, though at least they have given Paul Cornell the opportunity to finish this on a high. Awesome cover.

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #3
This has been a lot of fun so far, dark humour for a Dark Reign tie-in, its twisted and fast paced and stands up on its own merits. Andy Diggle is doing a brilliant job with this one.
Solicited as;
From the pages of DARK AVENGERS! The psychopath formerly known as Bullseye has been painting the town blood-red in the guise of the heroic Hawkeye. But the hero mask is starting to slip--along with his tenuous grip on reality! As the cold blooded killer struggles to cover up his murderous excesses and hide his deteriorating mental state from Norman Osborn, who should he be more afraid of--the killer within or the hero without?

Destroyer #3
Destroyer at long last catches up with his most hated enemy -the dreaded SCAR! While Destroyer was hunting down and murdering his villains, Scar set his sights on him! The hunter becomes the hunted! So it goes - personally I found the second issue a bit of an anti climax after the rousing debut, so hoping for better things here.

Marvel Zombies 4 #3
So far so very good for this latest iteration of the franchise - and in this issue we get a toxic cloud that zombifies everything in its way. The Midnight Sons can't enter the deadly mist, so they call in a reserve member who can, so we get the return of another Seventies Horror Superstar - the macabre Man-Thing! Throw the Hood in the mix and this promises to be another crowd pleaser, with Van Lente and Walker at the top of their game.

Phonogram Singles Club #3
Another winner from Image, who are releasing some top quality titles at the minute, with the likes of this, The Walking Dead and The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft. Solicited thus;
As the Ice Queen of the Phonogram universe, Emily Aster is only afraid of two things: her past catching up and spending time in dodgy indie venues. In the latest of the seven-stories-in-one-night of the Singles Club, she's having to deal with both. Plus, two complete back-up stories featuring the art of LEIGH GALLAGHER (2000AD, The Witching) and LEE O’CONNOR.
Now that's what I call a title - 'We Share Our Mother's Health'. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Young Liars #16
How will we cope without this fantastic title? Not long left now (2 more issues after this....)
Solicit reads;
Danny suffers the horrible effects of looking through the hole in the wall, causing a rift between himself and Loreli. Loreli turns to Danny's archrival, Puss-Bag, for comfort which leads to a night of violence and horror. History repeats itself as the spider's plan is revealed and a mysterious phone number brings both help and destruction from the past.

PREVIEWS of several of the titles are below - follow the links;

http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2817&disp=table Hawkeye #3 preview

http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2820&disp=table Destroyer #3 preview

http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2825&disp=table Marvel Zombies 4 #3 preview

http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2850&disp=table Phonogram Singles Club #3 preview

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Comic of the Week (10/06/09)

The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #2 is my comic of the week - it's fantastic in the real sense of the word, and is a genuinely inspiring take on the legacy of Lovecraft. The art is amazing, giving the title a sense of foreboding and darkness that is absolutley required. The dialogue is pitch perfect, with Lovecraft especially coming across as cerebral and sympathetic - that is a feat. The whole package is a treat and will be, I am sure, regarded as one of the better titles of 2009. A major victory for Image comics.

Also, worthy runners up this week are The Walking Dead #62, with its electrifyin mix of inter-camp tensions and the new threat of the Hunters emerging, and Batman #687, for a seamless and touching handover to the new man in the cape. The ending in particular gets you up out of your seat, cheering.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Image of the Week (10/06/09)

The full horror of the imagination of HP Lovecraft, rendered beautifully by Tony Salmons. This book is a real treat - don't miss out on it, it will be up there amongst the best of 2009.

From The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #2, page 28

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Walking Dead #65 solicitation (Image, 2009)

Warning - potential spoliers


His time is up.


Warning - spoilers (discussion of current events in Walking Dead up to issue #62)

Well.........this puts a bit more meat around the bones of what happened at the end of issue 62....so the Hunters are going to keep Dale alive for a while yet. Though he may rather be dead after a few hours with those sadists. Grim. Bad news for Dale, probably good news for the reader, as this looks really tasty. Wonder who the Hunters are going to get in the meantime?

Quick reviews of other comics released ths week (10/06/09)

Deadpool #11 (Marvel)

The cover (which is cover of the week without a doubt) should give you some idea about the contents, as Deadpool and Hawkeye continue their Battle Royal. Its slapstick with the emphasis on slap, and there are lots of meat cleavers and scenes in abattoirs and a guy who looks like the big bald guy who got in the way of an aeroplane propeller in Raiders of the Lost Ark. As well as all that, you get a glimpse of Deadpool and Hawkeye (aka Bullseye) in their school days, and Wade gets to fulfill a boyhood dream. Verdict - It's funny and throwaway, like I thought it would be. That is not a bad thing, in case you are wondering. Warning - this comic contains a meat suit. 7.5 out of 10.

The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft #2 (Image)

This is a seriously good read. Lovecraft struggles with the mystery of the murdered seaman, a catatonic Mother, his own frustrated desires and the growing unease at what he may be unleashing. The art is beautiful, the dialogue and script pitch perfect and the the whole package is a real treat. Verdict - Wonderful. If you have any interest in HP Lovecraft, horror fiction or you just like to be surprised by GREAT comics, then get this, and issue 1. I give it 9 out of 10.

Review - Resurrection Volume 2 #1 (Oni Press, 2009)

So, here we are with the Resurrection reboot. It's the same story, told from the viewpoint of different survivors, and in it is in full colour and will be a monthly title. So far so good. Issue #1 kicks off with an address from Bill Clinton, as the US President, explaining that the Earth is receiving a visitation from Aliens......and then things start to go wrong aboard Air Force One. And to be honest, that is when things start to go wrong with this issue. I just was not engaged at all. The characters left me unmoved, the action was largely uninvolving, though I did like the addition of the 'Burns' (humans who were experimented on by the Aliens aka the 'Bugs') and the 'Road Agents' (human brigands basically, who seem to like attacking with bows and arrows), but the main story left me cold. I didn't care that one of the central characters died, followed by another shortly after. That was it. There was too much going on, and not enough focus on making characters and situations interesting.

One of the main faults is with the art. I don't 'get' Greenwoods art - you get no sense of desolation, of the aftermath of destruction. Its like its been filtered through that old Dreamcast game, 'Jet Set Radio',

and I get no sense of the despair or anguish, the hurt or suffering of the survivors. Their faces tell me nothing, other than they may have once lived in a videogame.

The end of issue is a bit 'who cares?' for me. Who cares that some guy ends up at a safe zone and one of the armed authority type figures was his wife? So What? That is how it left me. The first volume of this story generally had enough going to keep me involved. I fear that this time round that will not be the case.

Verdict. It is a reboot, so if you read it last time around you will get the central theme. The start, starring Bill Clinton, is great. However, the characters lack character and the art is too 'cartoony' and the colour adds nothing (in fact, and in retrospect, Volume 1 gained a lot of atmosphere and tone with its all Black and White pages). It just leaves me cold, and I wish it wasn't so. 5 out of 10.

Review - The Walking Dead #62 (Image, 2009)

Warning Spoilers

First of all, although this is the first in the 5 part ‘fear the hunters’ arc – the first true arc since the ‘no-one is safe’ prison siege concluded nearly 18 months ago – this is more of a prologue, as the hunters are not revealed until towards the end. Rather, issue 62 is a continuing exploration of the tensions that are ripping apart the very fabric of the current survivors – and we get a lot more besides. Dale becomes ever more disillusioned – he really appears to be at his wits end, following the tragedy that has befallen him recently. Heartbroken, unfocused, scared and distancing himself from the main group, his situation becomes dire by the end of this issue.

Carl, meanwhile, is developing a character that is embittered, yet focused and ultimately pragmatic. Schooled in survival under the most extreme of circumstances, his personality has recently undergone a massive shift in tone. His rapid rise to prominence within the group, his importance to the title, is now unquestioned. He may not be always likeable, as evidenced here, but that does not make him any less fascinating. His development is a testament to the work that writer (Kirkman) and artist (Adlard) can produce. There is a scene where Carl is alone, in the dark, where Kirkman gives the artist a few panels where there is no dialogue, but magnificently, heartbreakingly show the tensions within this troubled young boy. This is a real highlight of the issue.

Michonne finally comes back into focus, having been on the periphery for several issues. She gets one very funny scene that briefly lightens the tone, and then an altogether more awkward one later on, where she confesses to Rick about her feelings. This piece surprised me, as I thought there was room there for a relationship to strike up between her and Rick. I won’t spoil it for you and tell you who the object of her desires is, but there is a tantalizing end to the scene when Rick seems like he is about to reveal something about the person, along the lines of ‘there is something you should know about (that person)’. But this is cut short, and we never get to find out. No doubt we will find out, but when? Intriguing.

More intriguing, and disturbing, is the discovery that Eugene is a voyeur. This opens up a lot of possibilities about his character. If he is a deviant, what else is he capable of? The fact that Abraham and Rosita are aware of his actions (it is them that he is watching), is also worrying. Are they that convinced of his story, and the purpose of getting him to DC that they are blind to his true nature? Then again, ‘needs must’, and in this changed world, what if voyeurism is all you have, a link to intimacy that is now gone with the millions who perished in the apocalypse? In that case, is Eugene to be pitied?

Father Stokes is still around, giving nothing away. I still cannot decide if he is in league with them hunters or not. Maybe he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps. We learn he has a dark sense of humour, but not a lot else transpires. He is probably in the firing line to take the blame when the really bad stuff kicks off with the Hunters.

Finally, we get the highly anticipated appearance of the hunters. Well, we only get to see them briefly, and in shadow, but it’s pretty effective, especially when they discuss with each other what they achieve in this issue. Interestingly, early on in the story we get a zombie attack. They seemed to come out of nowhere – were they used by the hunters as means of unsettling the survivors. Is this part of their ‘game’? Things are about to get serious indeed.

This episode is a great scene setter – the cliffhanger is there to plunge us straight into the drama next time. So much going on, so many reveals about characters, and the hunter’s presence gives this brilliant title a deadlier shade then we have probably ever witnessed.

Verdict - As good as ever, setting up the 'fear the hunters' arc, though a slight moan - was it really the first part of the arc? 9 out of 10.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who will fall at the hands of the Hunters? My Walking Dead sweepstake on the winners and losers.....

Warning - potential spoilers - disclosure of recent events in The Walking Dead up to issue 61

There are my predictions on those who will fall during the forthcoming ‘Fear the Hunters’ arc;

Dale 2-1
Andrea 2-1
Glenn 5-1
Morgan 5-1
Rosita - 7-1
Sophia 10-1
Maggie 10-1
Eugene 12-1
Rick 25-1
Michonne 25-1
Carl 50-1
Abraham 50-1

and those who might fall at the hands of the survivors;

Father Gabriel Stokes 5-1

As you can see, I am probably playing it safe and not going for any bold picks - Dales exit has been telegraphed for the last few issues, I reckon Andrea will fall with him, Glenn is expendable as he is never really at the forefront... Rosita and Morgan are probably good outside bets, though I think Kirkman will not want to waste such an interesting character as Morgan, especially when he held him in reserve for 5 years and only recently brought him back, with the tragedy of losing his son. Then again, he might well dispense with him. It is that unpredictable. That is why he is at 5-1. There is a lot of mileage left in the mystery that is Dr Eugene Porter, and Abraham and Carl are virtually guaranteed safety, as they are the most interesting and fulfilling characters in the series at the minute - the way Kirkman has written Carl further, deeper into the story is quite brilliant, the child turning into an embittered, embattled survivor before our eyes. The difference between him and Sophia (who is still largely mute and maybe even more of a child than ever, regressing further back after all that has happened) is more than a chasm. Their relationship is more protector / protected than childhood friends.

But....if another child goes (and lets face it, there are only 2 left at the minute) it will be her - though I doubt Kirkman will do that. For now. Rick is a little less safe than Abraham and Carl, but should make it. Michonne is the one that perplexes me most. Largely absent from the main story since the Prison siege and the Woodbury attack, she seems to be waiting to be struck out of the series, just treading water.....but surely Kirkman would not get rid of such a fantastic and strong female character (especially if Andrea goes)? Maggie does not carry the same authority as Michonne or Andrea, so maybe she is a more obvious candidate for the chop, especially as she is suicidal and not in the best frame of mind. She could fall prey to the Hunters.

Is Father Gabriel Stokes all he seems? This is another fascinating question. Personally, I think he is there as a plant amongst the group, a beacon for the Hunters. He could fall quickly if he is identified as an imposter. Lets face it, Rick, Carl and Abraham do not waste any time in getting rid of potential threats - there is no hand wringing or moral quandry. He could be one of the first to go. My prediction is that Sgt Ford does the deed.

Finally - an outside piece of speculation;

EUGENE PORTER IS WITH THE HUNTERS. HE HAS LED THE GROUP TO THIS SITUATION. THE ROAD TO WASHINGTON IS A PLOY TO BRING NEW SPORT TO THE HUNTERS. Maybe Porter is in debt to them. Maybe he is coerced into helping them (maybe they have his family or something like that). Whatever it is, the guy is no good, and I reckon we could be finding out why in the next 4 or 5 issues.

Odds on that? 75-1. You never know.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Kirkman gives us the odds on who will survive 'The Hunters' in upcoming Walking Dead arc (2009)


Check out the CBR link below to find out, amongst other things, that the Hunters do indeed hunt for sport, and that Glenn is likely to be one of their victims.....


Monday, June 08, 2009

Forthcoming Attractions (anticipated releases this week - 10.06.2009)

A power trio of comic book titles this week - really, really good issues hitting the shelves, including a welcome return for Resurrection and oh-my-god-its-the-new-arc-with-the-hunters-in-it Walking Dead!! Plus! Issue no.2 of that brilliant curiosity about HP Lovecraft that blew me away with its first issue of the Horror writer and his morbid, unreal dreams. Amazing!


http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2464&disp=table Resurrection Vol 2 #1 preview
http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2783&disp=table HP Lovecraft #2 preview
http://comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=2788&disp=table Walking Dead #62 preview

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Comic of the Week (03/06/2009)

Comic of the week is The Boys #31 for 2 very good reasons (and lots of other good reasons, but for brevity we will stick to the very good reasons);

1) Carlos Ezquerra on art. Fantastic artist, great style, stirs up wonderful memories of 2000AD and Strontium Dog, Stainless Steel Rat and Judge Dredd. He gives some of the characters a slightly different edge - Billy Butcher looks more like a football hooligan with his closer crop and menacing smile. Hughie looks more scared, more vulnerable, and less like Simon Pegg - which is a good thing. It makes Hughie more like Hughie and less a sort of tribute to Pegg.

2) The fight scene involving The Female is one of the most visceral and shocking I have seen in a comic. With Ennis, you expect no quarter, but this was brutal, reminding me of the Arquette / Gandolfini dust-up in 'True Romance'. Amazing.

Oh, and the story was EXCELLENT.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Image of the Week (03/06/09)

Pure post apocalyptic imagery. This is what 'Dead Run' promised, and it delivers. Great art, great imagery, courtesy of Francisco Biagini.

From page 4 of Dead Run #1 (Boom! Studios)

Review - Dead Run #1 (Boom!, 2009)

I love Mad Max 2. It is one of the best movies ever made, and was revelatory to me when I first watched it one sunny summer afternoon 26 years ago. George Miller is a hero to me, having directed one of the most stunning action movies of all time. I have a VHS copy of The New Barbarians, Exterminators of the Year 3000 and She (starring Sandahl Bergman). I have watched Endgame, Bronx Warriors and The Atlantis Interceptors.

You get the idea - not only am I a sucker for truly awesome post-apocalyptic movies, but I am a sucker for the rash of Italian exploitation copies that proliferated in the wake of George Millers Australian after-the-bomb nightmare. After watching Mad Max 2 many many times in 1983, I was inspired to create my own version of post-apocalyptic fiction, as a comic strip, on reams of A4 paper and illustrated in black biro. 'Uruz', as the comic was known, was the adventures of the titular hero as he wandered a bleak post-apocalyptic desert. Saving people. Killing baddies. In a desert, full of big customised cars etc.

It was with great delight that a few months ago I learned of a new title, 'Dead Run', from Boom!, that seemed to be a cross between Mad Max 2 and Roger Zelazny's short story, 'Damnation Alley'. After reading the first issue, I can confirm that it is a cross between the aforementioned works, with a dash of Judge Dredd epic 'The Cursed Earth' (which itself borrowed heavily from the Zelazny novel) and, more interestingly, the Italian expolitation films previously referred to, with a splash of Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. Now, that might seem like a lot of references for a 22 page comic, but its all there;

Bad guys in outlandish biker costumes and outlandish weapons? Thats the Mad Max 2 / Italian exploitation films influence.

One guy delivering a package across a ravaged and extremely dangerous post nuclear landscape? Thats 'Damnation Alley' and 'The Cursed Earth' influence right there.

The guy undertaking the journey is joined by a young girl with attitude, who he initially is reluctant to allow travel with him? That'll be Spacehunter (and it's a great film - it has Michael Ironside in it, so need I say more?)

The dialogue. well, the dialogue is cheesy in the extreme. But I get it. I do. This is the homage to the cliche ridden nonsense that you would expect to hear in the likes of 'Exterminators of the Year 3000'. The main man, Nick Masters, is a tough talking, no nonsense sort of guy, where lines like;

"Over my dead and rotting corpse. Nobody drives my ride but me."

are delivered in plentiful supply. This sort of generic action-flick dialogue does not detract from the experience. Rather, it adds to it. Like a print version of an Italian post-nuke flick from the 1980s. Nothing wrong with that. The plot is as simple as this:

Nick Masters is a 'courier' - he delivers whatever, wherever in this dangerous new world. He lost a drug consignment that belonged to a 'Mr Big' called Kane (well what did you expect - Gerald? Kevin?). Kane has kidnapped Masters Sister, and in order to get her back safe, has to make a 'Dead Run', with a consignment of whatever it is that Kane wants him to courier. Joined by a girl whose Father was a courier who made the 'dead run', they set off. Thats it in a nutshell. Channeling all that is good and daft about the genre, 'Dead Run' holds a lot of promise for its limited life (its due a 5 issue *ahem* run).

Verdict - trashy post-apocalyptic nonsense. Generic storyline, cheesy dialogue, a literal cliffhanger at the death. It gets my vote! 7.75 out of 10.


IMDB entry for Mad Max 2
IMDB entry for Spacehunter
IMDB entry for The New Barbarians
IMDB entry for Exterminators of the Year 3000
Damnation Alley at Wikipedia
2000AD org info on Judge Dredd epic 'The Cursed Earth'

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Review - The Boys #31 (DE, 2009)

First off, let me say that Carlos Ezquerra fits right in. He brings that Dredd and Strontium Dog nostalgia, but proves he can still summon up some great panels - an example being the full page blow out of violence and gore on page 5. Also, personally speaking, he seems to imbue Billy Butcher with a bit more of the football thug that has obviously been struggling to come out these past few years - there is something of the Jimmy Pursey about Billy Butcher...

The story? It is fantastic. Kicking off 'The Self Preservation Society' arc, we have some amazing violence to start with (the Boys in full flow), and then in the aftermath we get Hughie letting off steam, feeling disillusioned, discovering he does not like his job that much and just wants to take his girl and run as far away as possible. Who hasn't felt like that? So we connect with Hughie, like we usually do, because Hughie is a little bit like us. The nice, good guy. The 'supes' plot and scheme against their tormenters and finally strike, and it is devastating in a Tarentino True Romance (thinking - Arquette and Gandolfini) / Kill Bill type of showdown. It looks like it hurts. Its brilliant. Just dont touch the dog. Though judging by the cover of issue 32, not everyone is on-message.

Verdict. Love the fact that Ezquerra is doing this arc. The plotting is tense and thick with plots and darkness. Billy Butcher manages to cram in a story about space viruses to lighten the mood, but its only a brief respite. The book continues to maintain an astonishing high quality. 9.25 out of 10.