Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Mighty Thor #1

 The Mighty Thor #1
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Olivier Coipel

Action Ash
I have yet to see the motion picture known as Thor. I'm not particularly happy about this, so to console myself I have decided to review the first issue of the new ongoing The Mighty Thor. The original  title has reverted back to Journey into Mystery but seems to be concentrating on Loki, so I guess this is where Thor's main adventures will happen from now on.

Firstly, it looks great! I'm not surprised by this as I've always enjoyed Coipel's work. Asgard looks epic, as it should, and human and fantasy creatures alike are handled with great mastery. Laura Martin leads a trio of colourists that beautifully embellish the art, making the mundane, the cosmic and the fantastical equally attractive to look at. I praised Miss Martin recently in my post about Fear itself. This is the first time I've noticed a colourist as much as I would an artist, and I thoroughly enjoy her work.

Story wise not much happens, however it seems that this is just a set up for what could possibly be an epic meeting of Galactus and Thor. I enjoyed the side plot concerning the citizens of Broxton and their collective crisis of faith due to living so close to divine beings and witnessing their exploits. Also I enjoyed the dialogue. It was well crafted and notably every character had their own "voice" and expressed themselves according to how that character would speak (unlike a Bendis book).

Nice read, but doesn't take long. Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

 3 sticks of "great stabbing" out of 5

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fear itself: The crossover I've been waiting for.

Action Ash
Having read the one shot prologue and first issue of Fear Itself I am excited. I haven't been properly excited about a crossover since Civil War. I skipped Secret Invasion ("OMG! Everyone's a Skrull") because it didn't look particularly good and from what I've since heard from other people, it wasn't. I enjoyed the Dark Reign equilibrium but that obviously had to come to an end, which it did in a massively disappointing four issue fight sequence (the highlight of which, for me, was the Sentry being killed off and thrown into the sun). The most recent of these events, Shadowland, was good but it was a relatively small one and didn't quite fill the hole within me.

Now Fear itself is here, the first issue of which certainly grabbed my attention. And the best thing about it? It actually has a story. There is a bit action in the issue but not too much because the creators want to present to you the beginnings of a Sci-fi/Fantasy epic. The artwork does not let it down either. Immonen has beautifully crafted each page with the aid of Laura Martin, whose vibrant colours bring the pages to life.

I loved the first issue and I'm hoping it will stay this good throughout.I recommend anyone with an interest in superhero fiction trying this because I think it's what we've been waiting for. I look forward to the next issue, I think it will be most excellent and I hope I'm not wrong.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Comic Books of March: A Valhallahan's Eye View

Hi there!
Been a while, but now I'm back, from outer space! Well, Stevenage, but whatev's, the point is not where I was but where I am now. You know what I mean? The journey, though important is oft mooted by the destination. You dig? No? Ah sod you then, here's what I've been buying.

Mostly I've been buying from Chaos City in St Albans lately as I've been largely Herts bound and also because it's a jolly nice shop. It's a bit like when Silver Surfer was earth bound but with more pubs, less moping and a day job in social services.

Oh and Post It Notes. But I digress.

What I Got and Why...

Hellblazer: Original Sins
Inappropriate cover artist nothwithstanding (Jim Lee, WTF?) this is a loverly looking package. DC are finally reprinting Hellblazer in its entirety starting with his appearances in Swamp Thing. Thank The First of the Fallen for that! I started reading Hellblazer at around the #100 mark, so there's soooo much cool shit for me yet to read. Expect a full review of this when I'm done.

Joe The Barbarian #8
Finally this delightful little series has come to an end. I recently caught up on this series at Chaos City's sale, but I've been waiting for this issue to come out so I can sit and read it in one sitting. Sean Murphy's artwork in this is su-fucking-perb! He really is a superstar in the waiting. Also be on the look out for an American Vampire mini series from him soon. I can't wait. Never has a story about a young boy drifting in and out of a coma, whilst tripping balls looked so damned purdy. Top hole.

Sweet Tooth #19
The one we've all been waiting for... well, more like the one we've all been kinda curious about, but hey, this is my blog and I'll huckster all I like. This issue is primarily flashbacks and dream sequences, which has given series writer/artist Jeff Lemire a chance to rope in some other indie talent to give us their interpretation of his vision. and what a vision it is. A great issue, absolute top quality, well worth your shekels. This issue also pushes the overall story along in an exciting direction with the final pages' creepy cliffhanger. I bloody love this series.

American Vampire #12
Yee-Freaking-Haw! Danijel Zezelj, the unpronounceable master of the dark and moody, lends his considerable artistic talents to Scott Snyder's American Vampire this month., and a bloody good job he did too (pun not intended, but welcome). This issue is a standalone story featuring outlaw vampire Skinner Sweet going to and old timey rodeo show and reliving some past ignomies with some old... friends? This is one of those melancholy "how the west was lost stories" and a jolly good one it is too. I'd recommend this as a standalone, regardless of whether you're reading the series.

New York Five #2
I am now the proud owner of issues one and two of NY5. How is it, I hear you ask? I must like it right? Weelllll...... I haven't actually read them yet, I can't quite bring myself to. This stupid predicament stems from my ongoing beef with the artistic works of Brian Wood. I'm always suckered in by the gorgeous art, product design and premises of his stories, but I'm always disappointed by the characters. Every. Fucking. Time. It just seems to me that he can't write anything but pretentious hipster douchebags. Even his fucking vikings come across as hipster douchebags! How is that even possible? I'll read these at some point I'm sure but, maybe not soon.

Scalped #46
Scalped is Scalped. Scalped is good. Yep, it's still bloody great and I'm still loving it. I highly recommend this series to anyone comics fan or no comics fan. Actually, scratch that, I wouldn't recommend it to children or depressives as it deals only in adult themes and is truly fucking bleak. Anyway the point is, yet another top-notch storyline, back to the trials, temptations and failures of Chief Redcrow and the continual corruption of Dashiel Badhorse, and back on form after arguably dipping (slightly) with the Agent Nitz story a couple of months a go.

Jonah Hex #65
"Snow Blind" - Yet another classy Jonah Hex strip from Messrs Gray, Palmiotti and Bernet.Hex is one of those series that I have very little to say about month in, month out except that it's so damned entertaining, and such a quality package. $2.99 a month for a mean and fearless western yarn, that's done in one and features invariably monstrously beautiful art from some of the industry's most underrated masters. Just pick up a copy, I double dare you you sunofabitch!
Infestation: GI Joe #1
I'm still following the Infestation series, but after a little break, I'm losing enthusiasm. It really is absolute nonsense, good fun, but bloody stupid. The artwork in this GI JOE tie-in is proper shit though, someone should have a word as these 2 issues will probably outsell any other GI JOE book they produce, and they could have at least put a B or C caliber artist on this. To cap it all off the only character I've heard of in it is Baroness, and through boredom at work, Google and a childhood as an Action Force fan I probably know more than most about the franchise. They must know they can do better....and knowing is half  the battle (drumroll optional).  

Incognito: Bad Influences #4
When this issue came out I sat and read this series from #1 and boy does it read better that way! Don't get me wrong, I love reading my books periodically, but sometimes a book just takes an age to come out and you forget all about it. Anyway, Incognito is going from strength to strength. Expect a full review when we read #5 but suffices to say this is some of the very best super-work on the market. Brubaker and Phillips are so good at what they do it should be illegal. The Secret Ingredient is Pulp apparently...

Xombi #1
Xombi sees the return of an obscure Milestone character I know next to nothing about. I picked this up partly because the premise sounded kind of intriguing, but mainly because of the art by Frazer Irving who, to paraphrase, can make whippet shit look like the Sistine Chapel. The story, featuring living paintings, characters jumping from movie screens, inexplicable tuna sandwiches and mystery popcorn looks fucking mental. Expect a full review of this in due course.

Knight and Squire #6
I'm very sad to see this series go, but it has been a wild ride. I loved every minute of it. I wholeheartedly recommend this series. Also as Ash mentioned in the post below, writer Cornell had the dubious pleasure of meeting the bad guys last weekend. I loved what he did in Soundgarden.
iZombie #11
A slightly drab issue by comparison, but it's still so damned pretty. I really am enjoying this series immensely, despite the fact that it's mixture of supernatural action, soap opera, romance, pop-whimsy and occasional moping is not normally my bag.. Waitaminute, that's totally my bag, what am I on about? Anyway, check out this happening series daddy-o.

Casanova Gula III
Talk about happening! This series is happening as fuck! Not for squares dad, this is the heavy scene. If Jim Steranko and Ian Flemming wrote beat poetry this would be it. Dimension hopping, metaphysical espionage jazz from Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon.

Hellblazer #276-7
In which our hero (?) comes back from his honeymoon, tries to find a new thumb and deals with some pesky property developers all with the aid of nasty mysticism, demons and pure British obnoxiousness. I love Hellblazer. This run is really floating my boat at the moment, and as the cover to #277 says, it's the start of a new storyline and a fine jumping on point for new readers. Hellblazer hasn't been this consistently good for years. Long may it last.

The Walking Dead #82
Another series that it's hard to write any more about, either you're reading it or not at this point. All I'll say is that we're currently in one of Kirkman's "everything turns to shit" storylines and it's as exciting as ever. Who'd a thunk a zombie series could still be so good 82 issues in. Wowsers. I will add that TWD is one of those series it's worth starting from the beginning, if you start here, you're really missing out (and Vol 1 is really affordable, so do it).
The New Frontier
Many thanks to friend of the blog, Rene, who sent me The New Frontier Volumes one and two which I can't wait to get stuck into. Rene definitely earned a 2Badguys No Prize!
Stuff I didn't bother with...
FF #1
Because really, who gives a fuck? Does anyone really like the Fantastic Four in 2011? Anyone? Actually I can think of one guy I know, and he's a good bloke so I'll let you have that. Still not buying it though. I'll ask him what it's like next I see him and let you know.
Anything Deadpool
Because, despite the great covers from Skottie Young and Jason Pearson, I really don't find Deadpool funny, interesting or cool.
Vertigo Resurrected: Finals
Because it looks like some magic fairy wizard flute bullshit.
The Marvel Universe
Not really doing it for me at the moment. For the first time in a long time, I'm not reading any Marvel titles regularly. Feel free to suggest something to me to rectify this.
And Finally...
Wow, the new TV Wonder Woman costume looks like one of those naff "sexy" Halloween costumes.
The new Thor animation from Marvel Knight looks fecking awesome! 
I'm loving The Boondocks at the moment. Check it out. Thanks to Mr Nick for the recommendation.
Keep your eyes peeled for some bargain bin reviews coming up from me.
TTFN pendejos!