Wednesday Adventures 18th July

Uncategorized

banner2-medium

A brief weekly rundown of recommendations of new releases I’m intrigued by, excited for and will be grabbing off the shelves to curl up with every new comics day before delving into them later in the week! Have you hugged your local comic store owner today?

 

skyward4

Skyward 4- Image

Henderson and Garbett are slowly but surely building up and expanding on the premise of Skyward and it’s ‘low g’ world, with every issue bringing an interesting new concept to the forefront alongside the rip roaring action, simultaneously exploring the ramifications for those left living after the event’s of ‘G day’ and the story of Willa,who has quickly become embroiled in plots from parties wanting to either restore the earths gravity or keep the current status quo, both, unsurprisingly for their own financial gain.

Four issues in and the team are still crafting a story that like it’s protagonist floats effortlessly between the childlike wonderment of flying and low gravity parkour that the younger characters experience and the scars left by the devastation of the world changing event, felt by those who were old enough to experience it first hand. A great deal of this is from Garbett’s striking artwork, juxtaposing both sides of this new world from the gorgeous mid air acrobatics with images of terrified people floating of into space, capturing both the excitement and horror of this upside down world.

With more ideas then it possibly knows what to do with, Skyward feels like a world that could be explored for along while to come, without ever seeming gimmicky in any way. Issue four looks set to deliver on more of it’s breathtaking and gently frightening world as Willa heads out of the relative safety of the city into the wider world, where the sky is even more dangerous then ever.

 

royalcity

Royal City 12- Image

Ever since Essex County through to The Farm of superhero epic Black Hammer, Lemire has always made the locations and geography  of his stories as much  characters as much as any of his human protagonist. The crumbling, fading glory of Royal City is no exception. The perfect backdrop for his slowly unfolding family drama, populated with the deeply complex and richly fleshed out residents that keeps you coming back month after month in an attempt to understand and pick apart their puzzling inner lives and secretive pasts.

Lemire’s intimate and heart wrenching story of a family torn apart by tragedy continues and while it has been a series I’ve had to have on the day of release since it’s debut issue. It’s twelfth issue, even more so. It’s rare a comic can make me audibly gasp and then bring me almost to the brink of tears, but the shocking revelation of Clara’s daughter’s relationship to the rest of the Pikes is one that did just that, and left me eager to see how it will change the families already fractured dynamic going forward.

Advertisements

“You fucking resplendent flower!”- Chuck draws anxiety and depression, but mostly Pigeons

Uncategorized

whoami.png

What’s the first thing to pop into your mind if I were to mention pigeons? The noble racing bird? Hmm, maybe. Dirty diseased rats with wings? Most likely. A way to embody, personify and express mental illness? Probably not, maybe the last one was a little too specific to Chuck Mullins who uses the unjustly maligned bird to process and explore her own experiences of dealing with long term depression. For anyone who follows her twitter or tumblr feeds however, I’d wager good money it’s the first thing they think off now whenever they spot one of our fearless feathered friend’s pecking at bread crumbs or chips on the street. A regular dose of cathartic pigeon positivity, a wing on their shoulder and a comforting coo in their ear to keep on keeping on.

“I feel a pigeon makes a very good ‘underdog’ figure that’s good for projecting a lot of my feelings onto!” Chuck has said on her website when asked why she chose them to document and work through her own anxiety and depression, which she has stated started back in her teens. Her delightfully plump pigeons show the up and downs in the often exhausting battle (even once being shown like this, pigeon tap tapping forward in medieval armour) with depression along with the extra societal pressures to add on top such as the worry of how people perceive mental health, the still ever present stigma of medication, how those meds often help but are not an instant fix or indeed, a constant one. Depression itself often just showing up full blown deeply negative and self destructive, depicted as a dark, avian presence looming over her protagonist pigeon. While she has stressed and even made fun of not being able to make each and every strip outright funny ,Chucks comics are frequently both hilarious, deeply touching and motivational. Although sometimes, like depression itself, some strips just…are, and that’s okay too.

 

tumblr_p8ojzlRhtZ1v9pyzno1_1280.png

As weird as it might sound, although I love the strips that make me laugh out loud (often in the worst places!) some of my real favourites of her strips are these “just are” ones. The one’s that show not the dramatic highs or heart wrenching lows but the strips which try to communicate the middling joyless grey that comes with dealing with depression on a daily basis. It’s an important point to communicate, as with “Sometimes I’m a Possum” which I wrote about recently, Chuck has addressed how it can become self defeating when trying to be funny with every strip or converting difficult experiences down to be consumed by an audience. Yet, Chuck’s strips have found an audience, and one that has been more than eager to tell the artist how much her work has resonated with them and  helped them with their own mental health. Chuck is currently collecting them together alongside new material such as her writings on mental health into a crowd funded book. The appropriately titled “Bird Brain” it’s already 70% funded with a physical copy of the book costing a backer about £15 or an ebook version for £10.

tumblr_p8fh4tcJyR1v9pyzno1_1280

As someone a year into getting on top of things mentally I love this new crop of comics and creators willing to put themselves out there and openly discuss mental health issues. It’s often difficult to get help and it’s wonderful to have reminders like Chuck’s pigeons that we are doing our best and to look after ourselves, that life is still worth the effort through the grey “meh” times. Maybe even to laugh at ourselves once in a while. Her strips are honest, heartwarming and most importantly while helping herself can help us all to loudly and honestly stare that red eyed looming presence on our shoulders and yell “I’m getting better bitch!”

tumblr_p23vh7QwLv1v9pyzno1_500

Chucks strips can be found over at chuckdrawsthings.tumblr.com or you can contribute to the “Bird Brain” kickstarter efforts at unbound.com.

Wednesday Adventures 4th July

Uncategorized

banner2-medium

A brief weekly rundown of recommendations of new releases I’m intrigued by, excited for and will be grabbing off the shelves to curl up with every new comics day before delving into them later in the week! Have you hugged your local comic store owner today?

 

cosmic ghost rider

Cosmic Ghost Rider 1- Marvel Comics

Rule of Cool: (1) The limit of the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to its degree of coolness. (see also; suspension of disbelief, Rad Herring)

Despite what you might assume from some of the lengthy, borderline pretentious posts around here on comics as art or books tackling deep, heavy subjects I still love the comic books potential to just be bizarrely and unashamedly out there. To be fun, silly and perhaps most importantly, cool. If ever there was a book to give us all that and more whilst stretching and twisting the rule almost to breaking point, it has to be Cates and Burnett’s Cosmic Ghost Rider. Revealed to be non other than Frank Castle, the now insane earth based vigilante finds himself space bound on weirder and weirder cosmic adventures.

Riding out of the pages of Thanos into it’s own five issue title, Marvels unexpected character find of the year and weirdest “What if Story” feels like it’s been ripped wholesale from the mind of a daydreaming fanboy and makes it impossible not to sound like a little kid on a crazy sugar high when breathlessly explaining “it’s Ghost Rider, in space, but, you know, also Punisher..oh and and…Silver Surfers Power Cosmic and also right hand of thanos combined”. With more smile inducing character mash-ups like the unstoppable Juggerduck the team will hopefully be able to carry the bonkers energy on with the space faring Spirit of Vengence.

squrrel

Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel 1- Marvel Comics

Having begrudgingly adjusted to a Henderson-less Squirrel Girl, I’ve found myself really enjoying this all star team up of two of Marvel’s most surprising heroines of recent years Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel as well as the equally thrilling combination of North and Wilson on writing duties. The two characters  played of each other perfectly in the previous issue of this series, coming together to defend their college campus against the new Inhuman menace, Emulator and her video game based abilities.

Relevant without ever becoming preachy, amidst the fun of the super hero team up Marvel Rising takes on a lot of “ripped from the headlines” issues with Ember herself bullied by overzealous gamer bro’s in it’s set up for it’s central “villain” which seems perfectly suited to both Doreen and Kamala’s skills of non violent problem solving, asking questions first, and maybe punching later.

 

shade

Shade the Changing Woman 5- DC Comics

If  you’re “looking for a little heart” in your pull list then Young Animals Shade the Changing Woman should be among your purchases before it reaches the end of it’s gloriously mad and grown up second arc, with Loma Shade as she peruses her own hastily cast aside heart whilst the world around her succumbs to madness.

Following the mind melting Milk Wars, Castellucci has spun the series towards slightly more grounded storytelling and themes. Previously in Shade the Changing Girl Castellucci and Zarcone explored personal isolation with Loma and it’s high school setting, the change in title and time jump has resulted in these themes being magnified, heightened to a global scale with the world falling into paranoia over “aliens” on planet earth. At the same time the pair keep Shade’s story is wonderfully dreamlike and abstract in no small part to Zarcone’s artwork as it continues evolving and morphing into a series that you really have to feel your way around and experience first hand.

Wednesday Adventures- 27th June

Uncategorized

banner2-medium

A brief weekly rundown of recommendations of new releases I’m intrigued by, excited for and will be grabbing off the shelves to curl up with every new comics day before delving into them later in the week! Have you hugged your local comic store owner today?

 

mutliple-man-1-1086588

Multiple Man 1- Marvel Comics

Through the various incarnations of the X-Factor all the way to the haunting image of piles of his killed by the Terrigen Mists, Madrox has always been one of my favourites among the X-men’s huge roster of mutants. So it was little disheartening to see him unused for so long only to appear and quickly pop his clogs in the “Death of X” story line. As any good Marvel fan knows you can’t keep a good mutant (or profitable IP) down for very long as the Multiple Man returns from his two year dirt nap this week with the team of Rosenberg and Macdonald’s new miniseries.

Already no stranger to the X-Men franchise with the writer currently penning the “New Mutants: Dead Souls” series, Rosenberg looks to be leaning hard into the problem of Jamie being, well…dead, hinting that the series will focus heavily on his grizzly and untimely on Muir Island and ultimately how to keep himself that way. Rosenberg has a darkly comedic style I can see lending itself well to Madrox as he grapples with mortality and mysterious mutants hot on his trail.

 

SexCriminals-25_cvrA

 

Sex Criminals 25- Image Comics

I’ve wavered back and forth like a maniac over Fraction and Zdarsky’s most recent arc declaring myself done with the series more than a few times, but much like Jon and Suzie, I find myself unable to resist Sex Criminals many enduring charms even as it plunges into more downbeat and sombre subject matter with at times a much more disjointed storytelling even as far was last issues “previously on” cutting to the point with a short and terse “Everyone’s miserable”. Yet, while I’ve found much of Sex Criminals initial energy missing with this story arc, at it’s core there is still a comic with an important and positive message to impart which makes it a  book that is damn hard to stay upset with. “Five Fingered Discount” draws to an end with Myrtle Spurge reluctantly turning Sex Criminal herself after butting heads with her thoroughly dislikable former boss, Kuber Badal and hopefully the much needed reconciliation of Jon and Suzi we’ve all secretly,desperately been pinning away for these last five issues.

 

STL084323

Marvel Two–In-One 7

Two-in-one and two for three for Chip with this week’s purchases as I found myself quickly and quietly obsessed with his Human Torch and Thing driven series after reading last weeks surprisingly touching annual and it’s war of words between Victor Von Doom and his longtime adversary. Anyone who thought Marvel’s first family would be missing from the comics landscape for very long or brought down by a lacklustre silver screen outing is clearly kidding themselves.

While we can probably expect the remaining members impending return to be the usual Marvel wallet draining next big event, it’s surprising that what could have been just an exercise in keeping two of team in publication or just a cynical cash-in has been an exciting and thoughtful series from Zdarsky whose writing on this and Spectacular Spider-man has proven his writing skills match his considerable art talents.

 

“Gravity’s just a habit that you’re pretty sure you can’t break” – Low G fun in Henderson and Garbett’s ‘Skyward’

Uncategorized

Skyworld_01-1
“Don’t stop,Can’t stop
Until you feel it goin’ down
I wish I had said the things you thought that I had said
Gravity’s just a habit that you’re pretty sure you can’t break”

“I’m tired of dystopias. I think we’re all fatigued by them” claimed John Henderson in a recent interview about his debut comic , Skyward “This is a world where something terrible happens, and then humanity moved on.” Created with artist Lee Garbet, Skyward is certainly a comic more in line with societies tenacious nature, peoples’ tendency to pick up the pieces and just, you know, get on with it. Certainly as far as dystopias are concerned, it’s been a long time since one we’ve breathtakingly dangerous yet appealing. Dare I even say…cool?  Truthfully I didn’t initially pick this up when it was released, it took a few days of daydreaming about the simple yet alluring premise of Henderson and Garbet’s world, the double page spread of our young protagonist Willa leaping gracefully and effortlessly between Chicago’s skyscrapers that I was compelled to pick it up. It stuck with me and made me smile the way a half remembered dream does. The fact that flying is a sleepy time staple only reinforces this even further in a book already created to appeal to that child like fantasy of flight, that sense of wonderment at seeing and experiencing the world a new.

Henderson succeeds in delivering to us with both a dystopia and a joyous story too, achieved in part through the flip in perspective from how a story like this would usually be presented. Henderson choosing to present a post “G-Day” world not through the eyes of the more experienced Nate, but instead his high spirited daughter Willa as she leaps and bounds across the windy cities skyline, using places and spaces as they were never intended to be used all the while sporting an unshakeable smile and and sense of delight. Born just after the Earths gravity diminished, Willa knows only this strange new world, which to her is now simply just ‘the world’ not matter how strange it is. Even in her first appearance as a child she seems perfectly calm and wide eyed floating around her nursery. Early on we see relics of the old world treated with humour and derision, stuffy artefacts best left in a boring and dusty past. It’s a compelling way to present a story about the distance and differing experiences between generations using a sci-fi setting. Hinting at friction between conflicting world views, in particular her scientist father who is literally being held down in this new world by the past and personal tragedy while his daughter makes the best of it, setting up the dynamic that looks like it will be at the centre of Skyward going forward.

skyward1

 

Although a regular length comic, most readers will find themselves breezing through Skywards debut issue in a matter of minutes and might feel a little slight to many, but it’s mostly down to the light and speedy pacing, not surprising when Henderson hails from a TV background (most noticeably, the fluffy yet impossible not to enjoy Lucifer). To me at least it’s perfectly suited to a story focused around movement and low gravity. It feels like there are countless things that could be explored in this environment and this issue hits the perfect balance needed for a first instalment, setting up likeable and intriguing characters and showing just enough of the world to want to see more without falling into a front heavy exposition trap with the bulk of this task left up to Garbett to show visually.

Gabbet’s art captures the quick paced, gravity defying parkour like action and free flowing movement of it’s characters and even in the comics few dialogue filled pages, favours character designs that only further serve to illustrate the subtle difference in this world, presenting the effects of the low gravity world in visually inventive ways. Willa’s hair billows and flows about and when embarrassing herself in front of her legless coworker slumps upside down onto the ground in an exaggerated show of embarrassment and defeat. His pages are filled with small background details of the differences in this world such as impossibly high up advertising signs, entrances and safety ropes that are just begging to be explored in future issues.

Although feeling like a breezy and slightly light read at times, Skyward’s first issue still packs in all the joyful exuberance of a hazy, dimly remembered flight dream brought to the page with a stylish and youthful flair.

Skyward issue 1 released April 18th with Issue 2 to follow on 23rd May

sky

“A weirdness creeping around the edges of things” – Jeff Lemire unearths family ghosts in Royal City-Next of Kin

comic, review, Uncategorized

GA2524

“and then nothing turned itself inside out”

Yo La Tengo

Ever since learning about, and subsequently becoming hooked on Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth I quickly and almost slavishly devoured everything he’d  put out, reading back from his indie roots in Lost Dogs to his more recent work with the more established stable of super hero types for the big two. Indeed some of my favourite stories of his feature the “long underwear” lot, making me deeply invested in characters I had no previous interest in such as Old Man Logan, or following up already acclaimed runs of both Hawkeye and Moon Knight to pull and stretch them, twisting their own recently established styles and motifs around and back in on themselves to surprising effect. Between this and his Image work like Plutonia and Descender there really hasn’t been a shortage of stories to enjoy from the prolific writer. Still, there’s something truly magical when Lemire swaps powers for the powerless, spandex for flannel with his more personal projects. Taking over both art and writing duties, this years Royal City is the book I’ve really been waiting for.

Struggling to write his make or break third novel Patrick Pike is unexpectedly and reluctantly drawn back to the squat, broken down city of his youth after his father suffers a stroke that leaves him in a coma. The once thriving city and the families relationships have both seen better days as Patrick quickly become entwined once again in the lives of his mother and his two elder siblings. Noticeably more grounded than a lot of his other recent work, a quick description of Royal City makes it’s initial premise sound very simple, which at first, it is. However, the real draw here is how intricately and complex and raw he writes each member of the Pike family.

In lesser hands it’s easy to see how they could be reduced to simplistic one note characters. The Bitter arguing couple, the burnout, the beleaguered father and passive aggressive mother, Royal City takes it’s time to explore these characters where other books would skim the surface. Lemire digs deeper here and mines the darkest and most destructive elements of the family, yet still manages to round them out and humanise them into a deeply flawed yet relateable cast. Slowly peeling back the years of familial resentment in it’s first five issues, it presents everyone as a lot more complex then they at first seem, showing the choices and circumstances that shaped each of them, including the devastating event at the centre of the book that haunts the family. Lemire even uses the familiarity some might be feeling with both the set up and his work to great effect here, the subtle supernatural element at work throughout is used to show each character failing to deal with the loss that it leaves the reader wondering if there really is “something different about this place” or simply the effects of psychological trauma on the family. For those waiting for a high concept twist, Lemire teasingly dangles one in front of the reader early on and instead turns a reference to his one of his previous works into a poignant and succinct summation of the relationship between Christopher and his wife Greta.

img_0782

Expecting artwork more akin to Sweet Tooth, I found myself reading it back at the same time and was instantly struck by how even more stripped back and stylistic the artwork of Royal City is. This book is probably the most “Lemire” of his work and we see him as an artist stripping everything back to it’s simplistic forms and telling a deep and moving story in the most economical way possible. There’s a deserted abandoned feel to the eponymous city and the gaunt, troubled faces of it’s inhabitants. His lines are loose and expressionistic, complimented with a muted pallet and washed out watercolours. Sparsely beautiful and haunting in it’s own unrefined way.

While I loved reading Royal City monthly and enjoyed the wait between issues and the time to re-read and speculate about it’s developments, Lemire is telling a very slow burn human story and some issues don’t have a ‘story shaped’ conclusion or cliffhanger in the typical way comics readers might be looking for. Despite all the back material, essays, playlists and the like, it might make for a more satisfying experience collected as a trade for the majority of readers. Royal City succeeds in giving readers something wholly fresh and compelling out of instantly recognisable characters and settings by pausing to look at their motivations. Lemire’s choice of a slower pace to allow them to time and space to play out in detail over the course of it’s first arc, becoming more complex and nuanced every issue. The paired down artwork and minimalist approach to dialogue makes the book initially feel a lot simpler then it turns out to be, quietly obscuring all the hard work being performed on every page and every panel right in plain view. Five issues in and Royal City is a title that Conveys perfectly the feeling of lost time and potential through both the Pike family and the ailing city, that permeates through it’s engrossing first story arc.

Royal City Next of Kin is released September 27, 2017

Royal City Issue One playlist

WEDNESDAY ADVENTURES- 16th AUGUST

Uncategorized

banner2-medium

 

A brief weekly rundown of recommendations of new releases I’m intrigued by, excited for and will be grabbing off the shelves to curl up with every new comics day before delving into them later in the week! Have you hugged your comics store owner today?

 

Spy_Seal_01_cvr_FULL

Spy Seal- Image Comics

Straight from the then thirteen year old imagination of the writer and artist that brought us the hauntingly beautiful She Wolf  comes action! Espionage! Seals? Thought up when Tommasi was just thirteen, his new book over at image takes heavy inspiration in both tone and aesthetics of the Franco Belgian comics such as Tin Tin as we enter the the world of suave Cold War spy Seal, Malcolm Warner.

Tommasi’s debut issue centers around the charmingly Sam Spade named “The Corten Steel Phoenix” that has out hero bumping into the pre-requisite mysterious stranger, a buxom rabbit who quickly embroils the seal in a high stakes museum heist  and a journey to join MI6 and become England’s “slickest spy”. Action and anthropomorphic espionage mix,with Spy |Seal looking to deliver the qaulity quips, daring action and globe spanning spy-hijinks of a classic Connery Era Bond film.

 

STL051468

Secret Weapons- Valiant Comics

I’ve professed my love before (a lot) on this blog, for Marvels stable of teen X-men and their school based mutant adventures. A love that has been tested many times before and endures no matter how many killings or cancellations they go through. From Wolverine and the X-men, Academy X and Generation X I’ve read them all but it’s the latest reboot under the Generation X title that has really, really tested my love. A forgettable line up and bland characterizations for them pretty much killed any interest stone dead. The biggest compliment I can give Heisserer’s Secret Weapons is that it does in two issues what Generation X is struggling to do with five.

Even with a universe I’m unfamiliar with beyond a smattering of Archer and Armstrong  issues, the team makes easy work of catching readers up. Teens left with esoteric and seeming useless power shipped off to be forgotten about, we follow four such teens Owen , Nikki,, Martin and Sunil under the guidance and protection of Livewire. An exhilarating exploration with some genuinely relateable and interesting characters all trying to make their way in a world with some seriously duff powers.

“I only want to do good things”- Gerard Way is rebuilding the Doom Patrol, Brick by Brick..

Uncategorized

640.jpg

“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there!-

Grant Morrison

Three months into the new Gerard Way penned Doom Patrol and issue one still seems to be kicking around the place with it’s peelable, Warhol inspired gyro sticker still clinging defiantly to the front cover, taunting me. I can’t help but fret over what’s underneath? Am I missing something vital? Pealing it off seems obvious, right? One flick of the wrist is all it takes, and yet..surely Gerard knows the average comic readers mentality? No  matter how cool and hip you make your new imprint, the strongest instinct is to store these away like priceless artefacts, bagged and boarded, catalogued and cared for. Not very rock and roll is it? Not exactly what a ‘dangerous human’ would do. A dangerous human would have stepped out of the comics store, peeled it off immediately without even a second though and months later found it at the bottom of an increasingly precarious pile of these beautifully inspiring but ultimately disposable objects, the delicious sticker stuck onto the fridge among crappy takeaway menus, gig tickets and terrible snapshots. Fuck it! I’ll probably just go and buy a second copy…

I only mention this because looking back it seems the perfect representation of his Doom Patrol work, even for a series only on it’s third issue. From to this little hoarding, compulsive tic, Way knows how our minds work, how His mind works. He knows us, he is us. It’s been clear from the get go, issue one, the cover, that he’s going to use all that against us. It’s not going to be an easy ride. “Think you know the Doom Patrol?” you can almost hear Cliff Steele snarling from the page “think again, Jerk sauce!” In any given issue Way can take a Morrison idea, turn it through itself  and twist expectations, your own preconceptions against you.  Just in case you thought you’d got a grasp on Doom Patrol, he makes what at first seems familiar into the unfamiliar again with a few simple twists and tweaks into a different directions. A lot of the imagery might seem similar with its stylistic callbacks to iconic Morrison moments almost as a stepping on point, but the delivery and pacing is pure Way. It’s the Doom Patrol at a breakneck speed with a rock star sneer, lyrical dialogue and confident cocksure attitude. It’s the comics equivalent of a dizzying wall of feedback buzz, the clatter of drums and hum of guitars as he splices in the DNA of a fizzling, defiant two-minute-something punk-pop song onto the printed page with the pure unbridled energy you’d find in any of his music.

“I’m going to put it in a fucking blender” claimed Way before the first issue when asked about the Doom Patrols history and legacy and three issues on he’s not shied away from this claim as we enter issue three, as questions are answered while more sneak up behind your back. No matter how far into weird and experimental areas of comics writing Morrison’s went into during his tenure, the book always had a solid anchor in the characters he explored as part Doom Patrol roster, all with bizarre, grotesque yet simple origins and ultimately relatable drives and personalities. It’s a trick that Way has continued here to great success already. In this respect this issue is perhaps the most conventional and straightforward of the new Young Animals incarnation, not to say that the easy read makes it any less creative when this issue turns out to the be super secret origins issue of new protagonist, Casey Brinke in more ways than one. It’s an origin story told perfectly in step with the Doom Patrol style.

dpa_3_2Last issue Casey found herself face to face with the man of muscle mystery, Flex Mentallo and we pick up with the Hero of the Beach welcoming her through the Perpetual Cabaret and on to Danny Le Street as she reluctantly and irreversibly throws her lot in with the still disparate Doom Patrol, her strange origin finally revealed to her. Taken on a “it’s a small world after all” ride in Danny-Land, he introduces her and new readers to the team of misfits greatest hits album, The Scissormen, The Painting that ate Paris all rendered like cheap, wooden  carnival dressings for her to walk around. Elsewhere we get caught up with Cliff and Larry dealing with Way’s new spin on the negative spirit with some terrifying and stunning panels courtesy of artist Nick Derrington, who brings a sharp visual style to the title. Some pieces fall into place at least thematically this issue, as we start to realise the small  touches that make this such a fascinating read. At first it seemed Flex Mentallo showing up was a welcome, if random callback, while this issue reveals why Danny felt it best for him to the be the one to usher her towards joining the team as she reluctantly and irreversibly throws her lot in with the still disparate Doom Patrol.

Storywise, this series third issue once again goes a long way to re-introducing elements of the Doom Patrols now pureed ‘legacy’, establishing it’s own idea and also firmly re-cementing the team’s roles as DC’s finest band of outcasts as they both deal with the sorts of threats that would send the average hero mad and provide refuge and a purpose once again for the misfits and outcasts. Like Danny-Land this comic is one hell of a ride. Chaotic, confusing, and gloriously silly.

Also posted to Graphics Policy

“Doom will consider your request!” -Victor Von Doom suits up as the Infamous Iron Man

Uncategorized

stl019973

 

Tony Stark is dead. Sorry, spoilers I guess. Although considering this is only one of two Stark-less Iron Man books hitting the shelves it should hardly be a surprise that everyone’s favourite playboy, billionaire, philanthropist would be taking time off from heroics and calling in dead for the foreseeable future. Along with the invincible Iron Man Riri Williams, longtime villain Doctor Doom on a questionable path of redemption after Secret Wars will be filling the shell head’s Iron shoes as a more, infamous hero.

It’s a headline grabbing premise and one with a proven track record, even as recent as Doc Oc becoming the Superior Spider-man and now as Doom becomes the latest of the Marvel rogues gallery to start “breaking good”.  Although here it somehow doesn’t feel as natural a fit as Slott’s tale. Whilst ‘rescuing’ Sheild’s Maria Hill and demonstrating his own brand of heroics, Victor gives a brutal  verbal strip down of a c-list science villain and whilst it’s a cool moment in a book sorely lacking them it does highlight why this first issue lacks any real conflict or excitement. Stripped off all the bombastic, larger than life theatrics Doctor Doom comes across as creepy, rather than menacing. Bendis sets Doom up to be an intimidating presence even in a regular business suit but it feels like we are the ones who are following a c-list bad guy rather than one of the companies most feared and wildly popular characters.

While Bendis has always had his fair share of detractors from his pacing and decompressed style, this issue feels almost glacial in it’s pacing. Opting to spend the bulk of the issue reiterating Victor’s desire to atone for his past, moving along slowly until a first reveal of him suited up in new Iron Man armour. Considering the character has spent the majority of his time already encased in metal, what should have been a jaw dropping final page feels decidedly underwhelming and doesn’t have anywhere near as much punch as I suspect the creative team intended. While Doom’s debut as Iron Man sets up some interesting ideas with his struggle to prove he can do good in the world whilst struggling with and exploiting his reputation and could make this an interesting series, the sheer lack of exciting moments and it’s slow pacing left me without any real interest or indication where the story might lead.

Picks of the week 19/10/16

Uncategorized

Even a few titles in, Gerard Way’s ‘Young Animals’ is already proving to be a shot in the arm for DC’s comics line, with the My Chemical Romance front-man and his team embracing the weird and cherry picking the most obscure and weird characters from the company’s vaults.They don’t come any more obscure than Cave Carson, the one with the cybernetic eye, first appearing in four issues of the ‘Brave and the Bold’ in the 60’s before making his way onto the aptly named “Forgotten Heroes” along with Animal Man in the 80’s.

“Inspired by the visionary work of DC’s experimental past, but shaped and focused on the absurdity of today” is the imprints mission statement and it would seem that Way and Rivera are taking the spelunking hero down a psychedelic, self exploratory path as he struggles with his grip on reality after his wife’s death.

Following in the footsteps of Doctor Octopus as Superior Spider-man, this month Iron Man becomes infamous as the leader of Latveria dons Stark’s armour. One of two characters taking over the Iron Man Mantle along with Riri Williams it remains to be seen if Bendis and Maleev’s Victor is truly on a path to redemption or working an angle to a new devious master plan.

While his last big plan saw Doom elevate himself to the status of God of the newly formed battleworld, can one of the biggest and most complex villains of the Marvel Universe really step up and become a true hero? With the series’ second issue featuring long time adversary and sure to be sceptical Ben Grimm, it’s sure going to be an interesting look into an already layered character.