Saturday, 17 January 2009

Off the stack

Hey ho imaginary web chums! I hope all is well in your comic world. I've been enjoying plenty of sequential jollity over the last couple of days - much of it top notch. 

First off the stack Walking Dead TP #9. As per usual I read this latest installment from back to front in double quick time. I can't say Mr Kirkman's big seller is my favourite comic, but it's certainly the one I gobble up faster than any other. Won't spoil the latest volume for anyone who's not up to speed, suffice to say a good number of the surviving characters are now going properly bonkers (as you would if faced with the zombie Apocalypse). There are also a few new faces introduced in this volume, a device which provides the book with a nice (and frankly timely) injection of fresh blood.

Also recommended is Gravel, one of Warren Ellis' many projects for Avatar. We're up to issue #8 in this story of ex SAS magician Gravel's run-ins with Ellis' fucked up version of the Magic Circle. Gravel is part John Constantine, part Michael Caine and, I suspect, part Warren Ellis. Composite character he may be, but don't worry, his murderous rise up the ranks of Britain's magical hierarchy has been a rip-roaring, gut-splashing hoot. If you missed the first seven issues I'd recommend you pick them up in trade. When Ellis can't be bothered his comics are a drag, but when he's enjoying himself, as he clearly is here, there are few better writers. Gravel is a sharp treatise on Britain's enduring class system, but above all it's an action-packed comic which I can't recommend highly enough.

As far as the big two go, Final Crisis #6 was as excellent as the preceding five issues. Obviously the whole Batman thing is the big news (or at least it would have been in any week other than the one where Obama teamed up with Spider-Man), but the best part of FC #6 was undoubtedly the fight between Kalibak and Tawny - can't beat some good old cat on cat comic action. Woot!

Read the last couple of Matt Fraction's big Thor one shots for Marvel. Rich, meaty comics that are best read with The Anvil of Crom playing in the background and a flaggon of mead close at hand. Honestly, for a man who says he doesn't like fantasy, Fraction writes a fucking mean Thunder God. His take on the whole Asgard thing is MUCH BETTER than the regular Thor comic which I binned after two issues of mind numbing nothingness. Fraction's stories are rammed full of Frost Giants, Dwarves and Asgardian Gods knocking crap out of each other. It also helps that all of the books have featured the work of top notch artists. You're going to want to pick this one up in some sort of pretty harcover when it's eventually collected.


Jared said...

Did they publish a collected Gravel that costs less than a billionty pounds? Or am I still stuck selling my blood for the next two years to buy it?

Dom Sutton said...

There is a collection of the early gravel stuff and yes it is hugely expensive - fifty odd quid I think. It is a mighty tome though and it is a limited signed edition.

Anonymous said...