Monday, 30 September 2013

Melksham Comic-Con Aftermath: 7 Strings, the Musical Star Wars

Now, before I talk about the book itself, I'm gonna point out two things. 1. Because I picked up so much reading material at Melksham Comic-Con last month, I've decided that anything I write about regarding said books is going to have a nice little "Melksham Comic-Con Aftermath" banner in the title (just like the big publisher comics). 2. Yes, what I wrote is true and 7 Strings is the musical Star Wars, but we'll get to that.

7 String Volume 1 by Nich Angell
So, yeah, anyway I've finally been able to get back to all the books I picked up (which is a shame, because they all look really promising) and I figured that I would start with the book I had failed to pick up at the Bristol Comic-Con; Nich Angell's 7 String. Now the premise of this book is a little different what what I'm normally into (but then I think I said the same about Afterlife Inc.), set in a very musically inspired world, Zachary Briarpatch has come across a most unique of weapons; a seven string sword (as all the weapons here have strings and musical themes) and sets out to avenger the death of his mother at the hands of a megalomaniacal villain who is out to conquer everything. What follows is Zach's journey towards finding his enemy, while the world around him gears up to war and other characters are introduced from these various sides of the coming conflict.

Now, earlier when I said that 7 String is the musical Star Wars, I meant it. Nich Angell has written a story that, while having no resemblance at all, felt like that great trilogy (the prequels don't count) the further I read, with a great example being the introduction of the character Tuner, who immediately made me think 'Yoda!!!' Of course, this doesn't discount from the title being incredibly engaging and showing off a world that is incredibly in depth with a story that shows a lot of heart, told with visuals that are just gorgeous somewhere between manga, steampunk and the more mainstream. In fact there is one panel that depicts one of the many cities in this world where I looked and thought 'That looks like the Fifth Element!!'

This book is a beautiful little title which, after reading a lot of mainstream series that have caused me to have doubts, it's nice that this is so epic and sweet that it renews my faith in the medium. In fact, if this book has any flaws it is that it doesn't seem to spend too much time with the main characters, focusing on what makes them tick. However, given this is only the beginning of this epic story, you just know that more about them will be revealed in the future installments.

So, in short, what am I saying? Is this 7 String as good as Star Wars? No, to me it's better and I'm seriously looking forward to where the story goes in chapter 2.

Friday, 20 September 2013

My dilemma about the Massive

So, I've been hammering through my very big backlog of a pull list (and I'm almost there, surprisingly) but last night though, as I'm starting to reach the end, I decided to focus on The Massive which, for me, has so far been anything but good. However, when I got to the most recent issue I came upon a serious surpirse that's left me questioning my plans for this series.

In case you've not read it, The Massive by Brian Wood and a rotating artist every arc (although mostly Garry Brown) tells the story of the Kapital, a ship under the command of Callum Israel, leader of the Environmental group Ninth Wave (which is kinda like Greenpeace, even down to the big, water polluting ship) who, in the aftermath of the world ending event called the 'crash', searches the high seas for the Kapital's sister ship the Massive, which has been missing since the world went belly up.

Now, when I first read the premise behind this book, I found it to be an interesting concept and, as I was beginning to wade into the unknown waters of creator owned titles at the time, thought this might be worth a look. Indeed as the first six issues came and went, I thought that maybe this could be a nice little sleeper hit, as the characters and world, as well as its past, were greatly fleshed out. However, from that point on my opinion of the Massive started to sink like the Titanic as the stories being told maintained a somewhat confusing status quo and while the characters and world continued to receive layers, the underlying questions (Where is the Massive? How did the crash occur?) continued to remain unimportant to the book. Eventually, the book just became laborous to read and it was becoming a rather costly chore and, as a result, issue 13 was my breaking point and I decided that the arc that was beginning (which would end at issue 15) would be the last where I follow Callum and the gang.

However, here is where the problem comes in. Although issue 14 continued to feel unimpressive, providing me with the knowledge that maybe I'd made the right decision, issue 15 completely blew that opinion out of the water. In a remarkable change of tone, the final issue of the 'Americana' arc, while not really answering the questions that are still yet to be resolved, became a lot easier and more of an enjoyable read, helpd by the crisper colours within the artwork. I've gotta say that this was quite possibly the most enjoyable issue of the series that I've read.

So, here's my dilemma. To I kick this series to the curb or not? In honesty, this series is tagged to be 30 issues long and will, most likely, not finish until next Christmas. This will mean £40 down the drain between now and then if the series continues to be as uninspiring as it has been prior to this most recent issue. That said, I'm a completionist (my need to get a perfect gamerscore on Xbox will attest to that) and if this is a sign of better things to come, then I want to have the whole story.

I'm probably going to just drop it now, as one blinding issue can't make up for several which display absolute boredom. A comic should be collected to be enjoyed, not because its only halfway through a story. I've been given no reason to care thus far and there are plenty other books I would enjoy that I could buy instead.

Of course, if anyone out there reads the Massive and wants to convince me otherwise then go for it, I'm always looking to be proven wrong.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

New Home, New Layout, Same old comics (for now)

Wow. It's been two months?? Doesn't Time fly when you're moving house!!!

It doesn't quite feel so long since I last wrote anything although, thinking about it it feels just that long since I read anything comic book related. Sadly, my comic book addiction has had to take a back seat while me and my beautiful lady moved to somewhere a bit bigger (which could store my already substantial collection of comics). Thankfully, now the new pad is (more or less) set up and computers are up and ready to use, I can get back to writing the crap I enjoy writing about on here.

Of course, not talking about comics hasn't exactly kept me totally away, during those five/ten minute breaks between working, packing and moving I have come back and totally overhauled the look of this blog, which I thought looked a little too dull. Now it isn't finished and, being a perfectionist I'll probably do a George Lucas and overhaul it again later, but all being well it's an improvement.

So, in two months, what have I missed? Well, quite a bit it seems. Not only have I got a big backlog of books to catch up on (and damn is it big), I missed out on talking about the casting of Batman for the Superman sequel, DC forcing more creative teams out, DC causing controversy (seems DC were very busy) and the goods I picked up at the Melksham Comic Con at the tail end of August (Yep, I did make time for that).

So, a fair bit to miss I guess. Well, hopefully I can come back from the dead a little now and get back to giving my two cents, as well as quell my comic book withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully Marvel and (more likely DC) will have more interesting stuff to happen as well as (more likely NOT DC) more good books to come out soon.