Posts Tagged ‘ Comic Reviews ’

Countdown To Final Deadline

I’ve been working my way through a massive stack of comics at the minute.  It is essentially a huge back log of reading that I’m finally getting to grips with.

countdown vol 1 I’ve just finished the first two volumes of DC’s Countdown to Final Crisis.  This mammoth epic calls on a huge range of DC’s top talent with Paul Dini at the helm.  It is a cracking good read that is intriguing and exciting.  I’m not usually a fan of big crossovers as I tend to cynically see them as a marketing ploy.  However I enjoyed seeing the links between Will Pfeifer’s Catwoman dies and Superman 3-2-1 Action.


321 action Which neatly leads me to Busiek and Evanier’s Superman collection.  I quite like the aforementioned story even though they are more Jimmy Olsen stories.  Though it is good to see the limelight cast on the supporting cast for a change so that they can demonstrate their own courage and heroism.  It puts me in my of the Buffy the Vampire slayer episode the Zeppo which concentrated on Xander rather than the invulnerable hero.  In the same way it is good to focus on Olsen and his developing relationship with superman and his attempts to come to grips with his strange new powers.

redemption Redemption on the other hand deals with the theme of faith.  It is quite mature examination of faith and its impact on society ranging as it does from Superman’s ability to inspire us to be better to a meta-human powered by faith acting sense of false righteousness and fanaticism.

Of the two collections Redemption edges it for me with its more sophisticated storytelling.  3-2-1 Action is just a little too pulpy for my taste.

Speaking of grownup storylines Catwoman dies has to be one of the most moving and effective I’ve read in a while.  Selina Kyle has to make a particularly harsh choice after seeing her daughter’s life consistently threatened.  Pfeifer and Lopez  have created a heartrending masterpiece and it is a great read for any comic fan.

Catwoman: Catwoman Dies by Will Pfeifer (Author), David Lopez (Author), Alvaro Lopez (Author)

Superman: Redemption by Kurt Busiek (Author), Fabian Nicieza (Author), Walter Simonson (Illustrator)

Superman: 3-2-1 Action by Kurt Busiek (Author), Mark Evanier (Author), Steve Rude (Illustrator)

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Double double toil and trouble

Robert Deas’ Manga Macbeth is a refreshing change. For those of you who don’t know I teach English and I’ ve had to endure teaching Macbeth for years.  So to say the play is a bit stale for me is an understatement.  Deas has revitalised the story for me.  To see such a familiar story alongside such vital art is a treat.  Its a bit like waking up and re appreciating the view from your window.  The violence and ambition of the story unfolds across the pages and Macbeth’s fall while totally re-imagined is at the same time completely authentic.  I’ve waxed lyrical about Deas’ work before and I’m unashamedly a fan so I’m a wee bit biased.  However, as I mentioned when I first reviewed a couple of the Manga Shakespeare titles, I wasn’t expecting to like them and I thought they’d just be a sales gimmick.  Fortunately I’ve been proven wrong as this is a well considered project that has showcased some excellent talent.  If your last experience of Shakespeare was being bored in a classroom this will change your mind.  On the other hand if you like well executed manga from an excellent artist then you’ll like it too.

Mean Green and awesome to read

I’ve just finished my Hulk marathon and I’m blown away.  Planet Hulk and World War Hulk made for an entertaining weekends reading.  Greg Pak has revitalised the character for me.  For a long time the mean green had become for me a disappointing comic that traded on past success.  Well not anymore.  The series blends what is best with the Hulk of old and throws in the good bits of Conan and John Carter of Mars.  Its a rip roaring testosterone soaked adventure and I found myself loving every minute of it.  Don’t get me wrong the writing had flaws ( you could tell that Hulk and Caiera would end up together from the clumsy tension when they first locked heads) but its the kind of story where you strap yourself in for the ride and ignore the occasional bump.  World War Hulk just offers more of the same and it has to be said it was worth seeing all those overly smug heroes taken down by the ultimate grouch.  Now it’s out in prestige format its worth shelling out to have it all in one place, your bookshelf.

Bayou Brilliance

Bayou captures the sense of innocence and wonder of childhood, when magical worlds are just out of the corner of your eye.  However this innocence cannot last and the stark horrifying reality of life in the deep south of Jim Crow laws and lynchmobs soon intrude.  This story reminds me of Alice Wlakers short story The Flowers as it too captures a feeling of childhood innocence shattered by the discovery of the body of a lynched man.  This comic reverse the idea, Lee the title character is searching for the body of a boy accused of ‘whistlin’ at a white woman’.  That is not to say that this is simply a tale of black people as victims.  Far from it, these characters have a strong sense of self and awareness of a family history of resistance to slavery and hatred.  lee encapsulates this in her stubborn refusal to accept that this is the way things are and in her demand for justice.  Into this horrifying example of racist hate the author interjects a vision from fairytale.  The horror of this story is all the more terrible as we know that racist murders and terrorism like this happened.  Juxtaposing this bleak reality with a fairytale world full of wonder and a fair amount of horror of its own is an incredibly effective technique.

My new home

I’m practically living at Zuda comics at the moment because they’ve got some excellent talent showcased over there.  I’ve just finished reading High Moon by David Gallaher, Steve Ellis and Scott O Brown and damn I’m impressed.  Now you might think werewolves, cowboys and vampire batmen with too many eyes wouldn’t mix with the old west.  You might also think that its all been done before.  In spite of this High Moon works.  It has the virtues that all good comics require good writing, excellent art and memorable distinctive characters.  Speaking of which the mysterious Matthew Macgreggor the ex-Pinkerton hero of the piece is great.  Take Clint Eastwood’s Man with no name, mix in Wolverine with occult knowledge and you’ve got a rough idea of what he’s like.  Now I say this as a shorthand to description rather than as a critique of the character.  Yes he draws upon some fairly iconic archetypes but he is his own character.  All of the supporting cast are excellenta and it is the quality of Gallaher’s writing that immediatley pulls you headlong into a mystery that manages to defy your expectations.  Ellis’ art is deeply atmospheric in the sense of horror and in capturing the period.  It is this that initially hooks the reader and once you’re eyes are glued to the page the writing keeps you turning pages.  Finally Scott O Brown’s solid work on lettering helps to finish off the whole package.  This is one that I’ll be voting for and I can’t wait for the next installment.


I’ve just finished reading the first two issues of “E” by Crawdad Jones over at Zuda comics. Its brilliant but bizarre faire. The characters have an idiosyncratic look with triclopean (is that a word?) heroes and trollish villains. The main character is iconic and although his sidekicks draw upon his image for their look they stand alone as intresting and visually arresting figures. There is no spandex in sight if you’re normally not a fan of superhero comics so don’t let the genre put you off. You would miss out on a quirky but masterful artistic style and an amusing and intriguing story. It’s blend of offbeat humour and outlandish art is what the genre has needed for a while.

Manga Shakespeare

I’ve been really busy at work but at last I’ve managed to twist a little reviewing out it and not feel slack. The new range of Manga Shakespeare texts published by Self made hero are designed to make the Bard more appealing to kids. I’m not certain if that will happen but I don’t really care because I enjoyed the read. Now I’ve only read The Tempest and Richard III so far in the series but they are an excellent taste of what the series has to offer. Lets face it Richard lends himself well to the role of Manga villain with his gloating evil and sinister plots and Patrick Warren perfectly realises the gllomy doom laden plot of the play. Paul Duffield has the harder task as far as I’m concerned with The Tempest. To start with its a comedy, Shakespearean comedies are not great in the main and with the exception of some cracking speeches this is not my favourite Shakespeare play. All that said Duffield does a great job of bringing the enchanted isle to life and merging the Bard with Manga style. I’m looking forward to Macbeth which is being illustrated by Robert Deas of Instrument of War fame. From the material he’s posted on his site it looks to be good.