Tuesday, 29 March 2016


After finishing Dead Roots late last week, I found myself fancying another anthology book. Now this isn't a surprise given my belief that anthologies are a concept which is not given enough praise.

Meanwhile at the same time, I was thinking of ideas of my own that I had been coming up with and what artist I'd like to work with on them (should I ever get that good).

As, such it seemed like an obvious choice in next reading the Andythology as it was not only an anthology, but one which showcased the talents of creator Andy Bloor, whose art style I really love. The Andythology brought together varying stories by writers Kieren Gillen, Mo Ali, Leah Moore and John Seppion, all of which had only one connection; to have been drawn in the unique style of Bloor.
Now, much like Dead Roots, this was a book with a selection of very dark and twisted, but ultimately well written and I have to say that really enjoyed every single one. However, I've got to say that the stories were not the reason I bought this book, Andy's art was and I was in no way disappointed. I loved Andy's dark, gothic monochrome style the first time I laid eyes on it during Midnight Man and once again here I found it looking so, striking, so bold, so gorgeous. The stories may have been good, but they could have been bad and I'd have still bought this book for panels so beautiful.

So, all in all, this was money well spent when I picked it up at True Believers and I'm glad I've finally gotten round to reading it. However, my wife doesn't seem to think so, probably because she knows that if Andy Bloor keeps drawing like this, then I'll keep giving him all our money for his comics.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

My wants from DC Rebirth

So, DC announced the creative teams for their little 'Rebirth' event happening in a few months and, thanks to the miracle of Twitter, I've seen everyone and their mothers talking about what interests them from all this talk.

Well, after going through all the info, I actually found 10 books (can you believe? 10!!) which actually interest me and make me tempted to pick up.

So, I thought I'd write a little list of them, along with the reasons why they tempted (as well as some reasons why I might also be put off).

So, here they are:

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
- I was a big fan of Gail Simone's final, pre-52 run with Oracle, Canary and Huntress. Therefore, the return of the original cast (sans Lady Blackhawk) has me tempted. However, Julie and Shawna Benson I've never heard of an so, to me, are unknown quantities. That said, I'm happy to take a look at their work and check it out.

Blue Beetle - This is of big interest for me as it brings Ted Kord back into the DC fold and with Keith Giffen writing, I think Ted and Jaime Reyes would be well represented. However, on the flip side, I'm not a fan of Scott Kolins art, which would make this book a bit hit and miss in my eyes.

Cyborg - I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Cyborg and so this book might be the bottom of the bunch. However, it makes this list for one simple reason; Paul Pelletier. His work has always been a favourite of mine since he was on Fantastic Four with Strazynski and McDuffie, hence my willingness to consider this series.

Deathstroke - I read the Client, the Black Panther arc by Christopher Priest way back when and it was really good. So, seeing him return to comics, and on Deathstroke no less, really makes me tempted to buy this. The only downside is that the series will be twice monthly, an aspect of Rebirth which doesn't interest me.

The Flash - Like Deathstroke, the Flash suffers from being a twice monthly book. The reason for it being on this list though is the art team includes Carmine Di Giandomenico, whose work on Magneto: Testament was really something and is all the evidence he needs to make me want to see what he does on here.

Suicide Squad - Along with Cyborg, Suicide Squad is probably the least interesting on this list as it consists of the movie cast and is a twice monthly series. In the plus column is the fact it's written by Rob Williams, who I hear to be quite the writer, despite my struggle to get on board with his Martian Manhunter and Unfollow. Oh well, third time could be a charm there.

Teen Titans - Teen Titans has one positive and one negative for me, both of which revolves around its cast. In the positive corner is the fact Wally West returns as Kid Flash (yay!!!) but the negative is the fact the Damian Wayne is included as Robin (bring back Tim Drake). Petty I know, but I'm a not a Damian fan.

Titans - I think this could be a winner, if not in the top three because a. It's single issue monthly, b. Dan Abnett is the writer and c. It's the original Titans. That's enough to sell it to me.

Trinity - Trinity is another top level book for me because not only is it about the Man of Steel, Dark Knight and Amazon Princess together, but it's a single issue monthly and it's all done by Francis Manapul a.k.a artist extraordinaire.

Wonder Woman - To finish my list on a high, here's Wonder Woman, to which I've added because, out simply, Greg Rucka's writing and Nicola Scott is on art (for at least every other issue). This could almost be considered a sure thing on creators alone if it wasn't ruined by being yet another twice monthly series. However, if Rucka and co. can recreate what Renae De Liz is doing on the Legend of Wonder Woman, then I'm in regardless.

And there we have it.

At the moment, I've got to admit that Wonder Woman and Trinity are my front runners, but how many of these books I pick up will depend entirely on budget, so I'll have to wait and see.

For now though, lets bask in the glory of knowing that DC have me excited about their books again, for the first time in what feels like a long time (say New 52 start time).

I just hope they can keep me excited beyond their issue 1's this time round.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dead Roots

So, recently I decided to go back to the archives (as in those many boxes of comics held under my desk) and start reading some stuff which I haven't read in a good long while.

However, I've since decided to hold off on that when I found a book which, despite owning for nearly three years, I've never actually read. Therefore, after almost two weeks (I really haven't had time to read much of late) I have finally completed the anthology series Dead Roots.

For those not in the know, Dead Roots is a collection of short stories from a large and varied selection of British small press creators brought together by awesome writer Mike Garley. These stories, while varying in plot and style, are all connected by a singular premise; zombies (or 'walking dead' if you prefer).

Now, after reading it I've got to admit that anthologies, while somewhat of a non-entity these days in mainstream comics, are still fantastic part of the comic medium, to which Dead Roots is no exception. I really enjoyed this book as not only did it give me access to work of creators whose talents I'd not encountered before (as well as many I do know, and whose work I enjoy), but it was also surprisingly consistent, with almost all of the stories inside reading so well, looking so good and, generally, pulling me in and keeping me hooked.

Of course, not all the stories were that great, as some were faltered by the story and others by the art. But, in my opinion, that was more down to my personal tastes than any technical problems as, regardless, the book was so flawlessly executed that I'm kind of kicking myself that I waited so long to pick up this book.

But, in the end, I did and I'm glad to have done so. Dead Roots is yet another reminder to me as to why anthologies are so good and necessary in comics, especially when they are made this well.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

February 2016's comics

So, it's been a few weeks since I've posted here nan's that wasn't exactly what I had planned. Sadly, once again, real life (along with a tonne of small press reviews) have been keeping me busy.

Fortunately, this has given me plenty of time to get through all my comics picked up during February.

So, first up this month was Black Science #20, which continued the creation of a hero in lead character Grant McKay as he began his search for his team, and ended facing off against some ghosts from his recent past. Now, Black Science has been one of two true highlights in my pull list since the moment it began, but with this Godworld arc, it just feels like it's risen to a whole other level. Once again, this was an issue which was break neck, cover-to-cover action as McKay overcame obstacles and enemies to continue to rise higher and higher as the hero this story deserves. And with the still incredibly solid, pulpy looking art by Scalera, the only thing I'm hating about this book is the fact there is a month between issues because if this book was weekly then I'd still consider it money well spent (despite my limited budget).

Next on my pile was Superman: American Alien #4, which this time saw a slightly older still Clark Kent going to an intern job at the Daily Planet where his assignment is to cover a business meeting between DCU mainstays, Lex Luthor, Oliver Queen and Bruce Wayne. Now I couldn't get on board with this issue on the first read through, but on the second time I found this yet another enjoyable issue as it continued with concept of the building up the eventual man of steel. What I found most enjoyable here was the different points of view which were given by the various characters, each very different but so valid. However, I didn't take to the art so much for, while Jim Lee's style is very unique and I liked it on Batman Superman, here it is just too jarring and distracts me from the story. Despite that though, it's still an enjoyable series and I look forward to how it continues.

Then came Daredevil #3-4 which, this month, were the only print comics on my pile (Black Magick #2 was STILL not in yet!!!). These two issues continued the Tenfingers story with issue 3 seeing the man without fear protecting his new enemy against an old one while issue 4 saw him go and assist and the original Captain America in exchange for advice. Now, I feel really cruel for saying this, because I hear so much praise for this run, but these two issues continued  to be a struggle to get into. I think that the main problem is that, coming off of the tremendous Waid/Samnee run, this one had an uphill struggle to meet those standards anyway. However, the 'genie in the bottle' mentality of DD's secret identity just rubs me up the wrong way, as well as the fact that this character doesn't read like the Daredevil I know. There is nothing technically wrong with these issues (although the Cap issue felt a little shoehorned in), as Ron Garvey's art is still terrific, but I'm think my time reading Daredevil is done and these two issues really didn't do much to change my mind on that.
And finally, over the course of the month I continued the week-by week reading of The Legend of Wonder Woman #13-15, which let us see Diana learn more about the war and meantime discover a worrying revelation regarding her mother while running into a very familiar face while trying to confront said revelation. Now, after reading this, I find myself asking why it is that DC can't make books in its actual continuity which are as good as this as Renae De Liz continues to craft an incredibly engaging story which makes Wonder Woman's more traditional origin a lot more relatable to me. And although the story is starting to slow down a little (most likely to draw it out so it fills the 9 standard issues it is solicited for) it is still written so lovingly and the art is so vibrant that if this origin isn't considered the standard for the main (and film) versions of the character, then there really isn't anyone with taste in charge at DC.

So, that was February for me done and, while it was a bit of a let down given that Daredevil is dropping off my pull list for the first time since Dakota North was in the book, the other three books were so good that they more than made up for it when it comes to my enjoyment levels. Therefore, I should say that choosing my book of the month should be difficult and it almost was as Wonder Woman has been SO good. However, at the end of the day it still can't hold a candle to the awesomeness of Black Science #20 which is, without doubt, my favourite read of this bunch. Never mind though, maybe WW will take the top spot in March.

That said, I've still got to wait another (longer) month to find out. In the meantime though, back to indie comics I go!!!