Saturday, 30 November 2013

Crumbles!! Cracking the prophecy of Earth 2.

Crumbles...the queen! It crumbles. green!
Crumbles, the queen. Speed broken! The child, the resurrected hope. Angel in the slaughter. They come from the fires! The alien. Crumbles green. It crumbles.

Prophetic words indeed!! This is what was said by Dr Fate during the events of Earth 2 issue 17 (which was pretty awesome by the way) after he'd had his ass handed to him by Brutal.

Now, since it came out, I've seen a few things on the net about what it means and I too have really wondered if it could spell out what to expect from Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott's run or if is just random words spoken by a crazy person. Of course, as it's Dr Fate, I suspect it's the former, so I figured I'd have a look.

(Warning, spoilers are present below.)

"Crumbles...the queen! It crumbles. Green!" - So, who is the queen? I think, given the shock reveal at the end of issue 16, it isn't a stretch to assume the Wonder Woman may return (though it also may refer to Fury, WW's daughter). As for green, that's obviously Green Lantern.

Speed broken! - gotta be the Flash. Is badly injured or even killed maybe?

The child, the resurrected hope. - now, I suspect this means Lois Lane/Red Tornado as A. She's the Generals child, B. She's back from the dead and C. Sam Lane refers to her as the 'only hope'.

"Angel in the slaughter." - might be a bit of a stretch, but it think this is Hawkgirl.

"They come from the fires!" - an invading army from the fire pits, as implied when captain Steel returned from them looking in bad shape.

The alien. - this is either Superman, or the maybe even Darkseid (if he comes out of the fires).

It crumbles - crumbles is the most used word but the term is more often 'it crumbles', suggesting a thing. I think this is the earth dying, or crumbling apart in this case.

So, I think this 'prophecy' means that once the queen arrives, the flash will die, red tornado will rise up and join the fight with Hawkgirl and, as more monsters arrive from the fire pits, Superman will kill the Green Lantern which, as the avatar of life in this world, will cause the Earth to die.

This is probably totally wrong but, if I am, I'll be interested to see how far off I will be.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Afterlife Inc. Vol. 3: Lifeblood Advance Review

I received an email a couple of days back from Jon Lock, an awesome writer/creator whom I had first met back in May at the Bristol Expo, asking me if I would be interested in reading an advance copy of his new title, Afterlife Inc Volume 3: Lifeblood, the previous two volumes of which I'd really enjoyed immensely (See my thoughts on those here).

Obviously, I couldn't say yes fast enough!!!

Lifeblood, the third volume of Jon's terrific Afterlife Inc. series, brings about the return of Jack Fortune, App, Nuriel and rest of the gang for another action packed adventure that comes about as they continue to run their heavenly enterprise. This time round, as Jack is putting plans in place to make living in heaven easier and more efficient to all (and causing friction with other board members in the process), the company you can believe in is finding itself at odds, underprepared and overwhelmed with a new cult emerging on the fringes of Empyrean, one which may just have links an ancient evil that none of the board expected, and might not survive.

And so, once again, I let my mind be taken on the ride of a lifetime, just as this books foreword tells you to expect. Lifeblood, like it's predecessors, is a tour de force of a story that plunges you at break neck speeds through an epic location and equally epic event. From the second I picked this up, I just couldn't put it down and I was gripped by every twist, turn, funny quip and brutal fight scene that could be thrown at me. With every panel beautiful and every character charming, the only upsetting thing for me about the entire reading experience came about when I reached the end, knowing I had no story left to follow after that final page.
Based on his last two volumes, I think that Jon Lock is a truly terrific writer but with Lifeblood It is possible that he's excelled himself. This is quite possibly his masterpiece, with each character seeming so alive in his writing, the story flows beautifully with an almost flawless pacing. There is no sluggishness to this book, no clunkiness in its text, I couldn't pull myself away from this book and not once did it struggle to keep my attention. This title's writing is truly brilliant and, I think, could go toe-to-toe with almost any work of any big name writer going. In fact, If there is one downside to this book it's that not all the main cast get enough screentime, with Temp and Nuriel losing out here. However, with a main cast of eight characters and 75% of them having major parts in the story, it's a flaw that can be easily forgiven (though really like reading Nuriel).

As for the art, well what else can I say, I still loved it!! Ash Jackson, Nathan Ashworth and Taz Ashworth have once again excelled themselves with fantastically vibrant colours and each panel displaying so much detail. Much like the writing, the art has evolved as, while it continues to embody the Templesmith-esque style it now pulls off a rather more retro look. This is possibly due to richer detail, though helped by the colours, which are far more bold than in the previous volumes, greatly enhancing the visuals throughout. Again like the writing, the art in the last two arcs was amazing, but with this volume it feels as though it has reached perfection.

When I read volumes one and two, I said that Afterlife Inc. was a series you could believe in. However, after reading volume three I have far greater belief in that statement. Jon Lock told when I first met him that his plan was for three volumes and, if that's the case, this is a fantastic finale to what is quite possibly one of the best series I've read, I could wish some more well known books were this good. I just hope the creators can continue their stories in some form going forward, but even if they can't then that's ok, because this has been one hell of a ride!!

Afterlife Inc. Vol. 3: Lifeblood will be released next weekend at Thought Bubble in Leeds. If you end up being there, pick it up. Actually, on second thought, pick up all three volumes because ( and Trust me on this) you won't regret it.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Alex + Ada #1 Review

Alex + Ada #1
Alex + Ada #1 is the first part of the first story from Jonathan Luna in three years (though I have to admit this is the first thing of his I've read) which, upon reading the solicit for it back in September, I found myself inexplicably drawn because of it's cover and very unique synopsis. Here, Luna (along with help from Sarah Vaughan) looked to create a scif-fi Romeo and Juliet story that I, for some unknown reason. wanted to check out.

The premise is a simple one; Alex is a young man with a good life; nice job, good friends, loving family. But his life is also a very lonely one as he lives alone and avoids the company of others. But on his birthday he receives, as a present, an X5, the most realistic android on the market.

Now, I've read this issue three times since I've got it and I've gotta admit, though it took me some time, I really enjoyed it. I suspect my biggest problem was this is not a normal comic book as I usually buy; there are no superheroes, no action set pieces, this is just a story about a guy living his life after losing love. I think that's what has appealed to me after getting over the difficult transition from what I normally read to this, this is a character that everyone can relate to at some point in their lives.

A match made in (silicon) heaven??

Jonathan Luna has put together a well thought out start to this story and I think he has executed it flawlessly. The story is fantastically realistic (being a guy whose previously suffered depression, every aspect of Alex's social interations ran true with me) but it's the art that really makes this book great.

This book is so light and crisp. Some might say it's simple art, but for me that's its draw. Alex+Ada doesn't try to be complicated, but instead gives everything needed to tell the story, and boy does it. Every panel tells this story greater than the words that accompany them. The wordless panels in fact put across Alex's isolated nature to a T and just brings out my sympathy for him.

I was concerned after the first read through that this title wouldn't amount to much, but after looking at it again I'm glad I looked again. This was a beautiful issue and if the rest of the series is like this then it's gonna be one hell of a story.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Superior Spider-man Team-up Special #1 review

The final part of
'Arms of the Octopus'
So, I've just finished reading Superior Spider-man Team-up Special #1 (boy, that's quite a mouthful), the final part of the 'Arms of the Octopus' story which began within the All New X-Men Special and continued in the Indestructible Hulk Special . Now say what you will about the story as a whole (and I might just do that later), but I found this issue to be, well pretty good actually.
So, what's it about? Well, as it follows on from the other two specials, this Spidey special picks up the story right where they left off, with Spidey, Hulk and the X-men battling past bad guys Doc Ock adn Abomination as well as the forces that brought them to the present. The only difference here, much like the other two books, is that the narration now comes from Spidey and not either Banner or Beast.

Spidey should have kept these
arms for his regular series.
Now, once again Mike Costa takes up the writing duties, providing the overall plot a sense of continuity and, I've gotta admit, he has done a real good job with this issue. Unlike the Hulk special, which just seemed like dead weight for most of it, this Spidey special was far more engrossing than I was expecting, with Costa putting across an interesting, albeit creepy and arrogantly dislikable, Spider-man. If there is one downside here, it's (like the other two specials) the X-men (other than Beast), who seem to do nothing but take up panel space, although they have more of a prescence here than in the last two installments. It would have been nice to see them contribute more, although it's a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things.

Where the issue stumbles is with the art. Michael Dialnyas takes over duties and, unfortunately, his isn't a style I can get on bored with. There isn't anything inherently wrong with it, I just find the art in this title very inferior to a lot of the other books I pick up, and certainly the weak link in regards to the art within this crossover.

Despite that though, I still enjoyed this Superior Spider-man Team-up Special and, given I picked up the rest of the crossover I'm glad I did, as the story certainly had a satisfying conclusion, even if everything returned to the status quo. That said, if I could do it all again, I probably wouldn't. This story was good, just not that good.