Saturday, 31 March 2007

The Weekly Shop #4

I really wanted to drop Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men this month. Obviously I ended up buying both. What a bozo.

Ultimate X-Men is DEFINITELY not going to be on my shopping list next month. I will probably borrow the trades from the library when they come out, but I'm done with paying for a book which has gone off the boil and shows no sign of heating up again.

I don't understand how as brilliant a writer as Robert Kirkman can fail to produce a good X-Men book but he has and, after 15 largely uninspiring issues, I'm getting out. Honestly.

Ultimate Fantastic Four was actually OK. Good enough for me to come back next month in fact. I still don't like it as much as I did when Millar was writing it, but the current arc is a lot snappier than "God War" which seemed to impress everyone who read it except me.

Ultimate Spiderman is in recovery. It hit a rocky patch with the appalling "Silver Sable" and "Deadpool" arcs, but the "Clone saga" and the current "Ultimate Nights" storyline have put the book back on an even keel.

When he's on form, Brian Bendis nails Peter Parker. I don't read all the Spidey books that are out there, but from what I've seen only Jeff Parker in the excellent Marvel Adventures* really gets how to write Spidey as well as Bendis does.

To be fair, anyone writing the character in the mainstream Marvel universe is hampered by the fact that Peter Parker has grown up. Bendis gets to write him as a wisecracking teenager and for me that's always been the best version of Spidey.

Other than the Ultimate titles I bought the second issue in Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's Batman run. Standard Batman fare really - the first half of the comic works best if you read it while listening to the Ski Chase music from "On her Majesty's Secret Service".

Inspired by 2000 AD Prog Slog I also bought my first issue of 2000 AD for about 10 years. Obviously I haven't a clue what's going on in any of the stories, but I still enjoyed it in a nostalgic sort of way. Nice to see Pat Mills and Carlos Ezquerra are still on board. I might buy it again next week.

* I forgot to mention Marvel Adventures in my last weekly shop, which is a shame as it's one of the comics I look forward to most. It is written for kids, BUT if you like your comics there's plenty for you to enjoy here, including a brilliant take on Spidey and a Hulk who still says this...

You can't go wrong with a bit of "Hulk Smash"

Friday, 30 March 2007

Crossovers that will never happen

The next time the Marvel and DC universes collide I want to see these two go at it...




Thursday, 29 March 2007

Awesome panel from Battle

Torn from the pages of Battle Picture Weekly...

It's racist, but this panel also features a crucifixion and a monkey on a lead, so it's not all bad.

Battle certainly warped its fair share of young minds. Apparently Garth Ennis was a fan as a kid, which explains a lot.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Another link

Another link for you. What a caring, sharing sort I am.

I wish I'd thought of 2000 AD Prog Slog, but I didn't and so I can only look upon it's wonder with jealous eyes.

I shall attempt to bask in the reflection of it's glory by placing it in linkorama (to your right and down a bit).

That is all.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Tyranny Rex

There I was moaning about the lack of 2000 AD reprints and I completely forgot that while trades of the more obscure stuff don't exist, you can still sample a selection of the best bits in 2000AD Extreme.

The stories in the latest issue are all a bit late for my liking, but it's worth getting the magazine for The Dead which features some classic Belardinelli art, and "Danger! Genius at Work!" an early Grant Morrison story from prog 479.

I'm less convinced by the other featured reprint: Tyranny Rex, which to be honest is a bit of a brain fart from the rear end of the 80's.

Others no doubt cherish her memory, but I think Tyranny Rex is a pooey character. A messy cross between Halo Jones and Babarella she's a "Sexpot" artist with a dinosaur tail who pays for her paintbrushes through various acts of future crime. Here she is knocking out the artist formerly known as Prince...

I admit that's sort of cool and to be fair the first three parts which revolve around Tyranny Rex's illegal cloning of 80's musicians are actually quite entertaining. There are even flashes of weird brilliance like this...

You can't go wrong with goo covered clones of Mel & Kim, Holly Johnson, Bono and Grace Jones, but once Steve Dillon's art ends the whole thing starts to fall apart and ploughing through it reminded me why I stopped buying 2000 AD in the first place.

Seriously I don't mind nonsensical comics, but they have to look nice and this one just doesn't...

Not a patch on the Steve Dillon stuff eh? I know Will Simpson is a really good artist, but his work on Tyranny Rex isn't much different to that of Earthlet A James, and he got a Rigelian hotshot for his troubles.

It's still worth a look for curiosity value, but I can't see myself tracking down any of Tyranny's other adventures.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

That's not an Obriun carnivore...

Way back in Prog 286 of 2000Ad, Tharg published a series of reader pics...

This was Tharg's favourite...

I have a very clear memory of seeing this at the time and thinking it was familiar. And in Prog 296 the truth came out...

Further proof that back in the 80's everyone (be they be plagiarist or tell-tale) played Dungeons and Dragons.

Whatever happened to Earthlet A. James?

Saturday, 24 March 2007

The weekly shop #3

Well what a fine Thursday that was: A day off work, some new comics and a night on the sauce with old friends Dave F, Ben W and Rayne P.

I feel like shit today of course, further proof that while my mind continues to regress, my body is steadfastly refusing to come along for the ride.

Enough about my inevitable decline though and onto this week's comics...

Captain America #25

Two weeks after it came out I finally got my hands on Captain America #25 and even though I was roaring drunk when I read it I could still see a damn fine superhero comic through the haze.

In fact if it really is the end for Steve Rogers then this issue stands as an excellent epitaph. It's crammed full of flashbacks for the fanboys to get excited about (THE INVADERS! OH WE LIKE THE INVADERS! GIVE US AN INVADERS BOOK MARVEL, GIVE IT TO US NOW!) , it's got some top notch action sequences and it left me feeling perfectly happy with the notion that Steve Rogers might really be dead after all.

The death scene itself is brilliantly done, (echoes of the assassination of both JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald in there methinks), and the last page should get a fair whack of the people who only hopped on board this issue coming back for more.

That's down to Ed Brubaker of course, a top quality comics writer who I’m sure will do as fine a job from here on in as he did with the first 25 issues. Whoever gets to be Cap, with Brubaker in charge it’ll be done well.

PS As much as I hate the evil of variant covers, I admit to buying both on this occasion. Not because I think they'll be worth fortunes but because I genuinely liked them. In fact the McGuinness variant goes down as my favourite cover of the year so far...

Cap comin' atcha!

Checkmate #12

It's obvious that I'm a Marvel zombie at heart, but DC do have several titles that float my boat, and there aren't many monthlies I look forward to more than Checkmate.

This is a book which demands concentration and hence made no sense to me on my drunken bus journey home last night. I reread it today though and thought it was excellent. Two issues into the new arc and the blend of espionage and superhero shenanigans is working better than ever.

As per usual I had to return to the previous issue and flip back and forth in the current one to get my head round the various twists and turns. But that's cool, I like comics that require a bit of effort and anyway there's still enough fighting in this book to keep me happy.

This issue deserves special mention for the appearance of Bane, a character who is most famous for breaking Batman’s back a decade ago. Like a lot of 1990's comic book villains he has a tiny head which is totally out of proportion to his HUGE body.

That combination leaves him looking slightly out of place in a savvy 21st century espionage comic, but I like the fact that Greg Rucka and co aren't afraid to embrace the 90's, and got a kick out of seeing Bane again.

Attack of the 1990’s

Shadowpact Volume one: The Pentacle Plot

Holy crap two DC books in a week. May Galactus strike me down, I feel like a traitor to the House of Ideas!

I certainly never envisaged buying any comic with the Blue Devil in it, even as a kid I remember realising that he was lame. I Blame Checkmate. Shadowpact guest starred in the last arc of that book and got me curious enough about the characters to pick up this trade.

I've only read 20 pages or so, but it looks OK. It's by Bill Willingham of Fables fame so it's probably half decent. I'm still not happy reading a book with Blue Devil in it, but I'm sure his inherent lameness will be counteracted by the presence of Detective Chimp. I'm yet to meet a talking monkey I didn't like.

Talking monkeys punching people. Yay, I just peed my pants!

Friday, 23 March 2007

You smart Superman, you also fool Ha-Ha!

I try to update this blog daily. But friends, tonight I am very drunk and scanning comics would likely make me vomit. So instead, here is an excelllent episode of Superfriends...

Back with some proper panelology tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

More Norbit/Hero for Hire #5

We've already established that Black Maria inspired the makers of Norbit, but in this panel she looks more like The Kingpin than Eddie Murphy.

Whatever guise she takes though there's no escaping her bulk. She's so fat she even falls through floors.

"One big mess'a female" is right Cage.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Thought for the day

I'm sure Norbit was inspired by Hero for Hire #5

The comic book database

All hail my mighty blogging powers, I've added a link on the right hand side of the page.

Maybe I'll add some more one day, maybe not. I daren't post any REALLY good ones, you'd only run off and leave me for something better.

So for the moment join me as I marvel at the comic book database a work of wonder and a fantastic way to waste precious time.

Here are some covers I found earlier...

Any FBI approved comic must be good, right?

I saw this on someone else's website before I looked for it
on the CBD, but it's ALF raping a seal for Christ's sake
and that deserves to be shared over and over again

The sick side of my brain likes to think
Lex is laughing as he delivers this line

Is that piss dripping from the Punisher's chin?
Innocent Vietnamese villagers will pay for this!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Better than Buffy, badder than Blade

Look out bloodsuckers it's Quincy Harker!

Paraplegic vampire hunter extraordinaire

Just one of the multitude of reasons to read Essential Tomb of Dracula.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Saigon 1967....

What the fuck??

Oh God no, please don't...

Too's The Nam #41!!!!

Yes, The Nam #41, the 1990 comic which dares to ask: "What if The Avengers had really existed and fought on America's side during the Vietnam war?"

A bit like the Watchmen, only BAD! Yes friends, this is a sick, sick book written by a guy whose heart is clearly in the wrong place.

Right from the get go when Thor smashes a Viet Cong patrol into submission...

Through to the moment when a racist trash-talking Cap skittles out the local militia with his shield...

It's jaw droppingly clear that this is going to be one hell of a politically incorrect ride.

Iron Man blasts commie missiles out of the sky

So that America can get on with bombing the shit out of the Vietnamese

Even Ho Chi Minh is not safe from Earth's Mightiest Heroes...

...and soon finds himself whisked away to Paris to admit the whole war was his fault.

Much like the petrified Ho Chi Minh, my mouth is still gaping at the sheer horror of the whole thing.

As wrong as it all is though, I still want a T-shirt with this panel on the front...

Tell me, does that make me as bad as them?

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Doctor Who Target books

Look what I found in Oxfam today...

Friday, 16 March 2007

The weekly shop #2

I still have no Cap #25 although I did put my name down on the list for a copy of the overprint. Maybe I should get a subscription to avoid problems like this. Then again part of the thrill of comics for me is picking them off the shelf myself. Sad but true.

Anyway, I didn't buy any trades this week but I did shell out for six monthlies.

Battlestar Galactica #7

While I think Greg Pak is doing a good job with the writing on Battlestar Galactica, I'm still annoyed by the fact that none of the characters look like the actors from the TV show.

NOT Kara Thrace

If Number Six was played by a 7 foot transvestite
with a crush on a man who looks nothing like Gaius Baltar

Madame President?

I've no idea if it's Darrin, but that's definitely not Dee

Oh my God, Sharon Valeri looks NOTHING like this

Of course I'm a sucker for Battlestar Galactica so I'll continue to buy this even though it makes me frakking angry.

Irredeemable Ant-Man #6

This book is going to get cancelled. I can feel it. Shame really. It's not a patch on Kirkman's Image books but it's a hell of a lot better than Ultimate X-Men or Marvel Team-Up.

This issue features a fight on the brim of Dum-dum Dugan's hat. Yet another excellent aside from the fringes of the Marvel Universe.

Spiderman Reign #4

An issue which wraps up a nice little mini-series.

For anyone that doesn't know, this is a Marvel version of Frank Miller's Dark Knight with Spiderman standing in for Batman. It works well and looks superb.

Any comic that has Spidey fighting The Sinister Six is alright by me. Spidey even gets to dispense some life lessons in this one...

Sage words indeed.

Tales of the Unexpected #6

I only bought issue #1 of this because it featured Andrew Bennett in the back-up to the main Spectre story. House of Mystery was a BIG favourite of mine when I was a kid and I was pretty obsessed with I...Vampire as an 11 year old, so obviously this had to be read.

To be honest I'm not even bothering with the main Spectre story anymore. The Dr 13 back-up featuring Bennett continues to keep me coming back though. I mean not only does it have I...Vampire it also has a monocled Nazi gorilla vampire. We need more MNGVs in comics.

Loved this panel from the latest issue by the way...

Thunderbolts #112

Judging by the griping on the letters page, long term Thunderbolts fans aren't happy with the new direction Warren Ellis is taking this book. Hopefully enough people out there do appreciate what he's doing though, because whatever the moaners say, this comic ROCKS!

The main complaint from fans seems to be that Ellis has dropped the whole idea of redemption. It's too early on in his run to say if they're right, but does it really matter? I don't think so.

There's plenty to enjoy in this book without redemption getting in the way. For a start the characterisation is superb. All of the central players are sociopaths, but it's clear that there are a whole host of different mental disorders at play here. Bullseye's sadism is a world away from Moonstone's calculated egoism and she in turn is a different animal to the magnificently crazy Norman Osborne.

It's a fascinating look into the minds of the criminally insane then, but Thunderbolts also has a lot to say about the hawkish philosophy which holds sway in the corridors of power and the moral vacuum at the heart of corporate America.

Yes it's cynical, but with apathy on the rise we need cynics to kick us every now and again. It's good to see a mainstream comic putting the boot into the balls of so many deserving targets. I hope Marvel continue to give Ellis the freedom to take Thunderbolts in the direction he wants.

Ultimate Spiderman #106

The Ultimate line has gone a bit cold for me. I'm not enjoying Kirkman's run on Ultimate X-Men, I can't get on with Ultimate Fantastic Four since Millar left, and The Ultimates is so damn late that I can't even remember what it's about.

Still, I've been buying Ultimate Spidey since Issue One and I'm damned if I'm going to stop just because the cover of the latest issue suggests that Daredevil and Spidey are about to get caught up in some kind of superpowered skipping contest.

"Get up and Double Dutch Wallcrawler"

Cover aside, this is actually a great issue which gets BIG bonus points from me for the inclusion of Ultimate Shang-Chi.

I'm a sucker for a bit of Shang-Chi although, take note Mr Bendis (he reads this blog you know), I prefer to see him in his red robe and headband than that metal contraption you've stuck him in.

A Gratuitous Shang-Chi shot to end on