Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
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Monday, 15 March 2010
Choker - a detective story in a very Blade Runner-esque setting with plenty of science fiction, horror and some very, very dark comedy thrown in for good measure. What we see in this issue is the story of an ex-cop turned private detective living a life he’s not particularly happy with being offered one more chance to get back to the job he thinks he deserves.
McCool’s foul language and disgusting descriptions do not hide the fact that he’s an excellent writer. With writing that flows effortlessly and pushes the story forwards at a perfect pace his dialogue could compete with the likes of Brian Michael Bendis. Choker will no doubt draw comparisons with Fell due to the art and McCool’s style of writing but it’s funnier, darker and (hopefully) comes out on time and doesn’t just disappear from the face of the Earth. Yes, McCool might write like Ellis but more the on-form Ellis Planetary, Desolation Jones, Fell and so on not the stuff that generally just pours out of that big brain of his that Avatar put into print. A name like Ellis’ is a license to print money in the comic book industry and if Ben carries on like this he could be on track to building the same sort of reputation.
The second Ben on Choker is a certain well-known artist by the name of Mr. Ben Templesmith. Now if you like his style, then you’ll struggle to find a piece of work that isn’t incredible. With Choker each panel looks like one of his signature covers and would look fantastic framed on anybody’s wall. Using a mix of vivid colours in addition to his usual dark palette he brings Shotgun City and its characters to life, and sets the tone of the book perfectly.
This first issue is a must buy, a great introduction for what will hopefully be just the first of many Choker tales. McCool has a bright future ahead of him and Templesmith continues on track with the brilliant career he has carved himself out as one of the industry’s leading artists in the alternative sector.
Siege is Marvel’s big event for this year. Not being content with being the most powerful man on Earth the book is centered on Norman Osbourne and his invasion of Asgard using all of the super villains and HAMMER agents at his disposal.
The first part of Siege: Embedded accompanied the opening issue of the main Siege title fairly well. Apart from a couple of timeline discrepancies (which all comic readers should be used to by now) it filled in a couple of gaps but it also left a lot of questions unanswered. People hoped that would change with the series as it moved on to the next issue but that just isn’t the case.
This issue is just twenty pages of Urich and Will, the two journalists this book is based around, continuing on their journey and interviewing members of the public about the ongoing events in the Marvel universe and that’s about it. In between a lot of dialogue we get a couple of scenes with the outspoken newsreader who’s now in the employ of Norman Osbourne thrown in for what feels like no reason whatsoever.
Virtually nothing at all happens in this issue, which just seems to be plodding along at a stupidly slow pace. One action set piece in the middle of the issue is used to break up the monotony but all that does is break the flow and interrupts the story. The one thing Reed does do really well is the way he writes Volstagg – the roundest of all Asgardians is portrayed as an innocent child seeing the World for the very first time and it helps you emphasise with him just that little bit even though he’s responsible for the death of thousands.
Volstagg might be written well, but everything else in the book comes off so flat and uninteresting that there’s just no connection to the story. By the end, you just don’t care that its obviously all going to end terribly for all involved.
Samnee’s art is not bad but it’s nothing amazing and it is a shame that it can’t save this book from being mediocre at best – an extra, unnecessary tie-in. If the events occurring in this story are important enough then they should be in the main Siege book, possibly even as a back up story. Siege: Embedded is a nothing book, not required to enjoy the main Siege storyline and is only of any interest for absolute completists.
Friday, 12 March 2010
but the back issue section keeps growing and growing!
Check back often as we will be uploading images of some of the choice pieces that have been coming into the shop.
So now is the time to start catching up on some of the more classic and hard to get hold of stories. It's up to you how you decide to do it!
Monday, 8 March 2010
Scalped is the fantastic creator owned series written by Jason Aaron with the majority being drawn by R.M. Guera. The book is based mainly around the exploits of an undercover FBI agent operating within a Native American reservation.
The final issue of the five-part “The Gnawing” arc is exactly the way you expect one of the best books on the market to finish its best story to date. The issue starts as it means to go on - answering questions and leaving a bloody trail in its wake. The beating on the very first page is nothing compared to what we see later on in the issue and as usual Aaron uses the violence to drive his story forwards rather than to just fill his page count.
A true sign of Aaron’s writing skill is how readers have learnt to love Dash Bad Horse, Scalped’s main protagonist no matter what his actions. His actions in this issue, though more brutal than usual, are going to re-affirm most people’s feelings about him. This is due to the fact that much like another character Aaron is writing at the moment his reasons could be seen as just and fair.
Aaron’s ability to blur the lines between heroes and villains in Scalped, coupled with an awareness of exactly how and when to use a twist in the means that this culmination of 34 issues sees every plot twist and brilliant piece of careful characterisation come together perfectly.
R.M. Guera’s art gets better and better, ideally suited to the story and the dark colours from Giulia Brusco only help to cement the tone of this great book. Guera truly brings the brutality of both Red Crow and Dash to life, the ability to draw Dash at his scariest and yet being able to make him look calmer than we have seen him in a long time is truly an impressive thing to do.
All in all this is another brilliant issue of Scalped cementing it’s place at the top of the buy pile. There are six collections available and all are essential catching up. We are apparently at the mid-point with this series and this is certainly a book you do not want to miss as it reaches the build up to what we know will be a ridiculously good and bloody finale.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Ladies and gentlemen the store has now taken delivery of the new Kick Ass hardcover collection published by Marvel comics' Icon imprint. Written by Mark Millar and drawn by the incredible John Romita Jr. The book is soon to be released as a major motion picture so pick yours up now for only £14.99. Get it before it sells out!
Monday, 1 March 2010
A change in direction for the covers of this book could fool you into believing that it is no longer based on Batwoman at all but back to being about the Batman himself. Now this is not the case but Batman does feature in this arc heavily and has his fare share of the page count in what used to be another of his very own books.
The arc is based around a new villain inventively named ‘The Cutter”. Not only is the name not particularly original but his methods have also been seen before a fair few times. Now do not let this put you off the book as we know that most things have been seen before and it just relies on how well they are done and in all honesty in this issue the staple villain is done justice. The issue is divided between both the Batman’s investigation into a missing girl and Batwoman’s investigation into recent murders of college students. After the first six pages starring Batman and with no explanation and no exposition we jump straight into Batwoman’s story of her taking on the previously mentioned perp. The writing can seem a little obvious; as we soon make assumptions that these investigations will be linked further down the line somewhere but Rucka does not give everything away straight off the bat.
Now normally reviews full of spoilers are bad reviews but what you’re about to read should not be seen as a spoiler. The Batman scenes are a flashback and this can be seen as a clever move on by Rucka and also a fairly useful storytelling device but the weakest part of this is figuring out that they actually are flashbacks. Although this could be a move Rucka makes on purpose but if not then you have to be a Batman buff to figure it all out. The only two clues are the fact Batman is wearing his old costume and a reference to Jim Gordon as being captain and not commissioner.
Crime fiction comic books are Rucka’s bread and butter and there is a reason for this, its because he is good at them (just check out his new series Stumptown from Oni press). Detective Comics should be a crime story above all else as there are enough books on the shelf that concentrate on the action side of Batman’s adventures and not enough on the crime solving anymore. The fact that this book is now more about Batwoman than Batman does not make the story any less great.
Jocks art and panel layout is as usual flawless. Bringing with him the a-game pencils and practices shown to us with his last work for DC, the fantastic Green Arrow: Year One. An incredible centre page double page splash is really the jewel in the crown for this issue of Detective Comics and could be one of the finest things Jock has drawn. People are going to compare the art in this to J H Williams previous run on Detective and that is the wrong thing to do. Not many people in the industry are on par with Williams (hence the reason he takes so long to draw anything) and Jock brings his own dark and heavily inked style to this book, which it suits perfectly.
Overall it will be interesting to see if the flashbacks are the big twist in the or whether we were supposed to work that out from the start. Either way it will be interesting to see if Rucka can continue making this one of the best Batman books on the shelf and whether he can side step the clichés and give us a surprise twist with the next part of this story. This is a perfect jumping on issue as after this arc Batwoman begins her very own ongoing series written by Greg Rucka.