Saturday, 11 July 2015

SECRET WARS #4 – MARVEL COMICS

Secret Wars #4 
Marvel Comics 
Writer: Jonathan Hickman 
Art: Esad Ribic

I'm really not a big fan of massive event stories like Secret Wars, Convergence and the like, as I feel they sometimes take the focus away from great stories and instead overloads the reader with continuity, not to mention very quickly draining the wallet of the reader very quickly.

That said, there have been some very strong comics coming out of Marvel's current Secret Wars event, such as A-Force, X-Men 92 and the main title itself.

I've started checking Secret Wars out at the recommendation of a good friend and I haven't been disappointed. The idea of a patchwork world ruled by an omnipotent Doom is intriguing, and the main title is being handled well.

This issue deals mainly with the relationship between Doom and Strange, with another very familiar face arriving in the latter half of the book. This is a good approach for this stage of the story, as it stops things becoming overly confusing with the countless realities mashed together into one world.

The script and art are solid, and while it's part of an event story which rebuilds a universe from chunks of other realities, it's surprisingly low-key. Now at the halfway point, it'll be interesting to see how this epic story is brought to a suitable close. A good issue, but not one which rocked my world.

7/10

Friday, 10 July 2015

HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL #1 – DC COMICS

Harley Quinn & Power Girl #1 
DC Comics 
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray 
Art: Stephane Roux 

According to DC, this miniseries tells the story of what happened between two panels in HARLEY QUINN #12, and why not? This is a ton of fun from writers Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, who specialise in this kind of screwball but affectionate romp, and they're on good form here.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl find themselves flung through a teleportation portal and into a bizarre landscape of small creatures and giant monsters, which provides both a lot of comedy and a fair bit of action for the price of admission.

The story is a little bit silly in places, but that works well with the characters. The interplay between the hyperactive Harley and the superhero bluster of Power Girl is a delight throughout, and lifts what could have been a muddle of an issue right up.

Ending with nice cliffhanger for the next issue, it's an entertaining sci-fi yarn with lashings of the comedy we've come to expect from the characters and the creators. The script is tight and paced well, and the art of Stephane Roux is exquisite. There's so much going on in the facial expressions that the characters really come to life on the page. A raucous and fun read.

8/10

BLOODSTRIKE #1 - Image Comics

BLOODSTRIKE #1 
Image Comics 
Story and art: Rob Liefeld 
Colours: Jeremy Colwell 

I picked this up mainly due to nostalgia. I'd read bunch of BLOODSTRIKE comics in their original 1990s guise, and figured it would be fun to revisit those overly muscular purveyors of violence and one-liners again. Written and drawn by the much maligned yet actually pretty solid Rob Liefeld, this is an M rated version of Bloodstrike rather than the initial version I remember.

Thus there's a hell of a lot of gratuitous gore (including Cabbot chewing his own arm off in an early scene), nudity and swearing, which took me right out of the issue and ultimately soured the title for me. The art is exactly how it was in the nineties, which was cool to see and my favourite thing about the issue.

The story is decent, as are the panels of stylised action, but the giant penises and severed heads on display weren't really what I wanted to lay money down for. I still have a lot of love for Liefeld (he drew a ton of the comics which grabbed my attention back in the day), but I won't be following this series further. Sorry fella!

5/10

STARFIRE #2 - DC Comics

Starfire issue 2
DC Comics 
Script: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: Emanuela Lupacchino
Inks: Ray McCarthy

I'd heard good things about this title on the iFanboy podcast, that it was quirky and good natured and fun. They weren't wrong. This is a really nice, fun comic title with a pleasingly straightforward story which isn't bogged down with continuity or forced involvement in a crossover or anything.

Starfire is drawn in a typically sexy superheroine manner, but it's never gratuitous, instead having an edge of Cheesecake. The story of the issue is essentially Starfire rescuing people from a storm, but there are some sweet little character moments which give the action some depth.

The human characters are well realised and add some grounding to the tale. I would expect nothing less from Conner and Palmiotti. Lupacchino's pencils are kinetic and stylish, refined further by McCarthy's inks. A proper comic book. Marvellous.

8/10

Service is resumed

Hey all. I haven't been having a great time lately with one thing and another, hence the lack of regular posts. I've had some health issues and other stuff to deal with, and while those are ongoing, I want to get back in action. So here I am. There'll be some reviews and some pieces on the writing life to come. I love you all. Even you.