Saturday, 19 July 2014

The October 2014 Solicits.

Finally!!! Last week saw the solicitations released for October 2014, which (for me) has got to be the most anticipated month for comics yet. As with the September 2014 solicits, I decided to go through and pick pretty much everything which interested me, although on this occasion it seemed a lot more difficult (or maybe it was just easier) than it was previously.

However, let's get started. What I hope to pick up in October is....;

Batgirl #35 (DC Comics) - Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know why this is on my list. A new creative team with what looks to be fantastic art by Babs Tarr along with a really awesome costume concept makes me tempted to dip my toe into DC's bat infested waters with this book.

Black Science #10 (Image) - it's been a while since I read an issue of Black Science (damn staggered release) but the synopsis details the leader Kadir making a mad rescue attempt, which totally makes me want to read not only this issue, but all issue between now and then. I mean, how can Kadir be leader, right?

Daredevil #9 (Marvel) -  Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's run has been an incredibly fun, light-hearted story, so I'm a bit iffy about the 'new, grim chapter' reference in the solicits. However, 2 things. 1. I never underestimate Mark Waid and 2. Previous solicits imply an appearance of the Purple Man, which I'd be down with.

Detective Comics #35 (DC Comics) - I'm not normally a Bat universe fan which, like Deadpool, feels over saturated. However, with a two part story by a guest creative team which feels insulated by the series' current arcs beginning here, I found myself oddly tempted to delve deeper.

Earth 2 #27 (DC Comics) - Despite this issue being the first to not have Nicola Scott on art duties, this issue (I would suspect) ties this main series to the Worlds End event. Earth 2 is certainly up there as my favourite series at present and am interested to see how the new artist and co-writer hit this book I love so much.

Earth 2: Worlds End #1-4 (DC Comics) - IT'S HERE!!!!! The main event of the October solicits I've been waiting on since it's announcement, Worlds End, which looks to focus more on the battles of the Apokolips war, sees the first four issues released and I'm willing to give it a look if it maintains the main series quality.

Fantastic Four #11-#12 (Marvel) - I was willing to write this series off sometime ago but, shockingly, the original sin tie in turned me around. Now, with these issues, Ben Grimm gets into a prison fight, Johnny Storm tries to become the Human Torch and Reed Richards has a fight with Tony Stark. Yeah, I am SO reading these!!!

Lazarus #12 (Image) -  I'm no longer sure if I buy this title for the story or just to learn more about the world Rucka and Lark are building. Either way though with this issue showing more of the families in power working for their own ends, I'll be getting what I want, whichever of those things it may be.

Low #4 (Image) - Despite not yet having the first issue released, Low still remains on my list because the premise just seems so cool. Couple that with the fact Remender is writing, more than beats Tocchini's art (although recent shots of said art have me thinking it maybe perfect for this book).

Sensation Comics ft. Wonder Woman #3 (DC Comics) - At this point, this title is more of a long shot than any of the others in my list due to not reading an issue yet (next month) and my general ignorance of the character. That said, I want to get on board with Wonder Woman in some way and this seems like the best solution (for now).

Worlds Finest #27 (DC Comics) - This series is being retooled as a result of prior story arcs returning the leads to the Earth 2 series, making it more of an anthology series focusing on the Earth 2 Batman/Superman team. I like the Earth 2 universe, I like the Batman/Superman concept and the new Bats/Supes of that world. This seems like a no brainer to me.

And that's my list. Unfortunately, not all will be able to make the final cut (even with a slightly enlarged comic book budget) but, in truth, I really hope I do. This is quite possibly the best list I've put together in a long time, where I'm excited about every title on it. However, I'm realistic that what I want isn't always what I can get.

But as long as I get a copy of Batgirl, I'll be happy!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review: Afterlife Inc. - The Everthere

By this point (on the condition that you've been reading what I write for a while) it shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone of my affection towards the series called Afterlife Inc. This series, which helped me open my eyes and be a bit more open-minded towards inpedendently created books, is something I truly enjoy to the fullest extent of that word. I have Volumes one, two, three as well. Heck, I even have the Book of Life!!!!

So it shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that I got hold of The Everthere, a new Afterlife Inc. universe set short story brought to us by series creator Jon Lock and Volume 2 artist Will Tempest.

The Everthere is a story which shows a day in the life of the Stooges, three spirits who have shuffled from the mortal coil on toward the Emphyrean, who, in the wake of the remanagement of the Afterlife, creat a niche market as 'finders and seekers' of any items the newly died bring with them to the other side. However, when one man comes to the trio seeking something that just isn't possible to find, Ronan, Mickey and Harnk drown their sorrows together and reflect upon the predicament brought to them.

I've gotta admit, as much as I love the stories these books bring about, this is really something special. The Everthere takes the focus away from the main cast and focuses more on a cast which feels a lot more day to day. Kinda like leaving Star Trek and going to Firefly instead. In fact, Ronan in particular (who should be considered the lead here), feels well rounded to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make more of impact in future stories.

Of course, charactisation isn't the only good point in this short, as Will Tempest utilizes his very etherel art to fantastic degree, especially in a flashback sequence (I assume it is, though in this book anything is possible). The art work really works with the story being told throughout and up until what is (well, I think) a rather sombre end.

When I last spoke with Jon Lock I asked him when we'd get volume 4. This isn't volume four, but it's a beautifully well written placeholder that will give current fans (of which there are numerous) something to keep them at bay, while maybe even enticing a few new ones (hint hint, nudge nudge).

You can pick this story up from Jon Lock's shop for only 99p. So if my words convince you then give it a shot, because this is one of only a few things in life that can be enjoyed for less than £1.

July's comics - Part 2.

I'm a few weeks late writing this post, but it can't be helped as putting the finishing touches to a wedding (apparently) takes priority over reading comic books. Thankfully, I've (somehow) found time amongst the table decorations and honeymoon packing (as well as an evening watching Guardians of the Galaxy) to get the last of my July comics all read up.

So, without further ado, here we go;

Low #1 - Rick Remender's new sci-fi title with Greg Tocchini on art tells the story of Stel and Johl who live in a society existing at the bottom of the sea as the surface is cooked by the supernova-like sun, a world Stel is working to escape. In this issue however, the two go out to hunt for food with their children, only to find themselves set upon by an enemy intent to conquer their homes. Unfortunately, while there is nothing wrong with the premise, I found this title very difficult to get into (making the second of Remender's three titles to end up this way). This wasn't helped by Tocchini's art, which I always find difficult to follow and didn't have any better luck here. I read it twice and maybe I'm not giving it a fair chance, but issue 2 won't be coming back to my pull list.

Black Science #7 - afterwards though, came Remender's old sci-fi title which saw the anarchist league continue travelling between dimensions following main character Grant's death. Here, Kadir takes charge and mounts a rescue when Rebecca, Shaun and the kids are captured, but all doesn't go to plan, resulting in further losses for the league. Now, even though they are written by the same writer, I found this issue much more engrossing and easier to follow. Remender continues to tell the story at breakneck speeds which combined with Matteo Scalera and Dean White's art, make this, as usual a must read book (although some of the panels seemed a little off this month).

Mass Effect: Foundations #13 - And then was the final Mass Effect issue, finally!!! This saw the culmination of Rasa's storyline as she fought to escape Cerberus with the clone of Commander Shephard, though not if Miranda Lawson has her way. I've gotta admit though, for an ending the issue was very difficult to follow however, much like most prior episodes, this issue did help fill in the gaps and backstories from the games (this one connecting to the Citadel DLC) and I did like it for that. But it's done now after a VERY long release period and that makes me happy.

Daredevil #6 - the final title read of my July comics, this issue saw Daredevil, caught up in the Original Sin event, discover a startling, unwanted truth about his father. This in turn lead Murdock to his mother for details, who he finds has been disproportionately punished for a seemingly minor crime. Now, much like Fantastic Four #6, this issue started bumpy due to its connection to the big Marvel event. However, Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez, along with stellar input by Alvaro Lopez covering on pencils, managed to turn the story around and use the original sin as a springboard into a truly compelling conspiracy story. Once again, a marvel tie in book I actually look forward to the next issue for.

And that's July done. Four more titles to go with the five for earlier in the month (was that truly all?). With that I'm done for a while as I get to go on Honeymoon and all of that. However, (touch wood) when I get back I'll have a big stack of comic books to read.

Friday, 11 July 2014

July's Comics - Part 1.

It's been a busy few weeks for me. As I write reviews for Pipedream Comics, look for a new job and get everything ready for my upcoming (which is much sooner than even I expect) wedding, it's meant having less time to write my own thoughts here. All being well, with the job situation resolved and the wedding almost done, I'll be able to put more attention to here and put a lot more of my thoughts to paper.

That said, I was able to carve a little time out for myself and now that I'm getting my comic collecting/reading has stabilised and I've gotten into a routine, I figured I'd use this rare abundance of time and just have a run through of what I've read in the first two weeks of July and give my thoughts on them. I'm trying something new here so bare with me.

Earth 2 #25 - The battle for Earth 2 between Superman and the forces of Apokolips and the Wonders of the World Army enters the (seemingly) final battle as the good guys put in motion a plan to save the world, while Val-Zod finds the courage to face Kal-El for the world (and the title of Superman). This is kind of a bittersweet issue, given the recent revelation that Nicola Scott is leaving the book, however, it is also quite possibly the best issue of the run yet with tonnes of action, great moments for all the cast and (as usual) gorgeous panels from start to finish. Even with it being a bigger issue, there still wasn't enough here and I was salvatigin a bit at the end for the next issue.

Lazarus #9 - In the final issue of the 'Lift' arc, while the Barrets start through the selection process at the Denver Lift, Forever continues to seek out the Waste terrorist intent on destroying the event. Unfortunately, this is the weakest issue of the arc, fortunately, it's still pretty damn good. Rucka and Lark continue to world build as well as deepen the main character, both is story and flashbacks. I thought the ending was a bit of a shame as it went against the dark, grim concept of the book, however it was still an extremely engrossing read and I'm more than happy to ignore something as superfluous as that.

Daredevil #5 - This issue is more of a flashback issue as time returns to before Matt Murdock's relocation to San Franscisco as the story of Foggy Nelson's 'death' is explained. Despite my struggle with the early issues of this run, issue 4 felt like a turning point to me. Issue 5 continues on this track with yet another fantastic, done-in-one story which feels more like the prior volume and really highlights what makes Waid and Samnee such a great creative team on this title. The only gripe I have with it is that I'm sure Murdock already knew that the original Leap Frog was dead (During the Bendis run I think), yet he kept referring to him as alive. Maybe I'm nitpicking there though.

Fantastic Four #7 - This Original Sin tie in is wrapped up as it is revealed Johnny's original sin which cause Ben Grimm to remain the Thing. Unfortunately, Ben's woes are yet to end as, upon responding to a call for help, he finds himself in the position of being in a LOT of trouble!! Much like Daredevil, I did have problems getting on board with this book, but it did start to improve. I did fear the tie in would undo the improvement (I hate tie ins), but Robinson puts this handicap (I REALLY hate tie ins) to his advantage, wrapping it up quickly and using the fallout to help inform reasons behind Ben's later circumstances. I'm annoyed that Sue's fight with the Avengers was glossed over, but the way the book is heading, along with Kirk's beautiful art, allows me to not worry about it so much.

Spread #1 - Spread is a new book by Justin Jordan and Kyle Strahm which tells the story of No, a man surviving in a world where the spread, an organism which absorbs everything it comes into contact with, covers almost every inch of the planet. However, when a child is found who might contain the key to destroying the Spread, it's up to No to rescue her. Despite incredibly visceral artwork and an interesting premise, I just couldn't get into this book, which is a shame given the creative teams previous awesome work. What's worse is that there is nothing inherently wrong with book, only that it didn't draw me in as much as I like a comic book to do. Unfortunately, Spread is a prime example (for me) that even if you have the right combination, that still doesn't make something great.

And that was it. Five books so far this month and, although I'm upset that the newest release didn't appeal to me as much as I like, it has so far been a pretty good month regarding what I read, which is a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, my last four books aren't out until the end of the month, so nothing new until then. Of course, it gives me time to get to get excited about those books, especially as they include Alex + Ada, Black Science and Low. Now that's worth the wait. 

Although, now that I think about it, I'd rather then was now.