Monday, 29 December 2014
Green Lantern Annual #3 (DC)
Robert Vendetti (w) Billy Tan (a)
The final chapter of the cosmic spanning adventure of the war between the various Lantern Corps and the New Gods reaches it's final conclusion in this Annual.
And boy was it worth waiting for.
When this story started I was a but weary of finding the New Gods being so powerful that the Lanterns Rings failed to harm them, but this edition sees the arrogant Highfather and his idiot son Orion get their comeuppance.
As if you didn't expect Hal Jordan to pull through!
The build up to this bumper edition required the reading of this weeks other releases, Red Lanterns #37 and Sinestro #8.
With a massive 4 page pullout at the beginning of the story you'll see why Black Hand is useful to the Lanterns and wasn't used by Highfather.
What happens is spectacular!
The beings trapped in the Source Wall come to life at the touch of the bearer of the ring of death. and the assault begins on New Genesis, where Sinestro is waiting for Hal to bring reinforcements.
Trouble is the beings aren't actually dead in the first place which causes a wee bit of a problem..
A long and satisfying read.
But will it...... don't look at the last page until the end...
Sunday, 28 December 2014
Previews: The Comics Catalogue
The latest issue of Previews has arrived and I've just finished making my order for those issues starting to arrive in March 2015.
Convergence #0 (DC)
Dan Jurgens/Jeff King (w) Ethan Van Sciver (a)
This is it. The big event of 2015. All roads lead to this. Futures End, Earth 2 War, Multiversity. The lot.
All DC story lines end this month as for the next two months all titles will be replaced with mash ups of characters from every reality that DC has ever published. The Silver Age, Post Crisis, Flashpoint and more.
Some details of these two parter titles on sale for April/May are already on line and will be formally solicited in the February issue. But first DC tell us:
Where do worlds go when they die?
The Earthquakes felt round the Multiverse, Superman's lost days after "Doomed," the World's End - all these points will converge as the history of the DCU is spun from a new perspective, the perspective of a mad god and his arrogant child. The biggest story in DC history ties into literally every DC story ever told - and it all begins here.
Kingdom Come, Red Son, Wild West Justice League, Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew - all the worlds you remember can still be found on Telos. Everything matters. Every story matters.
Don't miss the start of DC's April/May 2015 event with this special issue!
There's also a slew of final issues, 13 in all I think, as amongst others Klarion, Zombie GI and surprisingly, three of the Lantern Corps titles all end.Expect new titles after Convergence finishes.
Also out from DC are the new Wonder Woman, Batman/Superman & Sinestro Annuals.
Red One (Image Comics)
Xavier Dodson (w) Terry & Rachel Dodson (a)
Set in 1977 while the cold war still rages, Soviet agent Vera Yelinkov is sent to the USA to become the Yankee imperialists greatest superhero.
Sounds fun and with the Dodsons on art duty could be a winner!
The Fox (Dark Circle)
Mark Waid (w) Dean Haspiel & Various (a)
The second of Archie Comics Dark Circle line of comics arrives with the rather wacky Fox. The jury was out on the recent mini-series which I understand is part of the canon. The artwork as well as the story were odd, so maybe this is going somewhere. Of all the old Archie heroes this is not one that was particularly on my radar. However I thought I'd give it a try.
Comes with multiple covers (four in all) if that's your thing.
Project Superpowers: Blackcross (Dynamite)
Warren Ellis (w) Colton Worley (a)
Just when you thought that Dynamite had abandoned it's Project Superpowers line of comics (I can't even remember when the last one came out) along comes a new, supernatural based six issue limited series. With British writer Warren Ellis at the helm, this certainly was destined for my "pull list".
Blackcross is a small town on the Pacific North West of America and it holds secrets. Worth a try I would say.
Maybe if it's a success they'll actually finish the main story.....
Altered States: Vampirella (Dynamite)
Nancy A Collins (w) Francesca Manna
Comics done in an Elseworld or What if Style but for Dynamite characters. This one takes Vampi to the alien planet....Draculon.
Rivers of blood and all that. Sounds a bit familiar, but still always had a soft spot for Vampirella.
If you want to pre-order these go to your local comic shop or if you don't have one try 30th Century Comics. They do mail order if you not in this part of the world!
Friday, 26 December 2014
God is Dead #25 (Avatar)
Mike Costa (w) Various (a)
This comic is certainly not for the squeamish or the easily offended but makes a fascinating read. Exactly what would happen if the "Gods" came back to Earth. This title brings the horror of celestial and godly conflict to the fore of story telling.
The background to this series is "straightforward". The Gods of old are back and re-asserting their power over the world. The military fight back and fail, then the " Gods" start fighting amongst themselves. In a desperate attempt to stave off Armageddon a group of scientists splice "God" DNA with human DNA. Like that was ever going to work out well.
Meanwhile the atheists are hiding in aboriginal "dream time" and set off to find the big guy himself. The succeed but someones blown half his head off. God is Dead.
This landmark (and over-sized) issue continues the story after everyone thinks it's all over. Jesus has finally sacrificed himself after his "second coming" goes horribly wrong, ending the suffering of eternal life on a warring Earth. The "Gods" are seemingly defeated and have returned to their homes (or what's left of them) except of course it isn't.
Hades is wandering around making deals and there is a stirring.
Something is waking up.
The story continues.
The Titans have returned.
Saturday, 20 December 2014
Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures (DC)
Grant Morrison (w) Cameron Stewart (a)
The latest chapter of Multiversity has arrived and what a joy it was to read. This time the chosen Earth is the world of Captain Marvel and his "family" of superheroes. Captain Marvel Jr, Mary Marvel and the entire crew are here.
The villain? Not one but a whole hosts of Dr Sivana from across the multiverse of which just one, that's right just one turns out not to be a criminal. He has just "personal problems" and is a Nobel Prize winner. As for the rest? The Hannibal Lector variant looks extremly sinister.
The story? An assault on the Rock of Eternity, the "source of magic" and the imprisoning of the old wizard himself Shazam.
And a "Sivana" family of villains is created!
Oh dear trouble for young 12 year old Billy Batson, an intrepid news reporter and secret identity of Captain Marvel.
He needs to say that magic word and call for help.
Captain Marvel is of course an old Fawcett Comics creation from the 1940's that National Comics (the forerunner of DC) took legal action over as they claimed that this character was too similar to Superman. The fact that it outsold Superman for a while probably didn't please the the bosses at then National Comics.
Whiz Comics # 2, First appearance of Captain Marvel
Eventually after years of fighting in court Fawcett settled with National outside of court (paying $400,000, not sure what that is in today's money) and then pulled out of the superhero comics business. By the fifties the superhero genre was not selling and the character went into limbo.
An odd British connection is that Captain Marvel was published over here in blighty by L Millar & Sons. With the end of Captain Marvel, Marvelman was born. British readers were told that Cap had "retired" (how British).
Marvelman eventually transformed into Miracleman and itself became the subject of legal disputes over ownership until Marvel Comics got hold of the rights.
Ironically Captain Marvel got picked up by DC Comics in the seventies and was published under licence, unsuccessfully as this involved in payments per use. The other problem of course was by then Marvel Comics had their own Captain Marvel (an alien of the Kree race) and were not able to promote the title properly.
However in the 1980s as the comics market boomed DC purchased the rights to Captain Marvel outright and published the series Shazam: A New Beginning in 1987 which actually was quite good.
Since the launch of the "New 52" Shazam has appeared as a back up story in the Justice League title, but even with a film in development he has still not got a title of his own.
So pick up this alternate Earth story for now.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
Lost in Space (Collected Edition) (Bubblehead Publishing)
Bill Mumy (w) Michal Duthiewicz (a)
Lost in Space is probably the most famous of all the Irwin Allen TV shows which ran from September 1965 to March 1968 and was essential viewing not only back in the sixties as a young child, but later on in life when Channel Four re-ran the series.
Dated? Probably. Timeless? Maybe! Camp? Almost certainly, but not intentionally!!
Worth watching? Absolutley!
Trouble is like a number of programmes the story never finished, so a comic book continuation was long overdue.
And who better to write it!
Will Robinson himself, one Bill Mumy.
With an introduction by Stan Lee this collected volume of stories from the nineties, itself uncompleted at the time was finally published with new chapters back in 2005. I was reminded of this book after picking up a copy of "companion" series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
At 360 pages this volume is a good read if you can still pick up a copy. The stories are strongly reminiscent of the original TV show and although I might have one little criticism (there's the odd religious reference) the story flows well.
And of course is total illogical nonsense.
Forget the remake. The original will never be matched.
Does this story bring our intrepid family home? Nah. Did you really expect that! Treat it as a "lost season.
Danger Will Robinson! Especially if Doctor Smiths involved.....
Friday, 12 December 2014
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea #12 (Gold Key)
Irwin Allen produced a number of TV shows during the 1960s that captured the imagination and entertained a whole generation and their parents. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is on of these shows. Unsurprisingly it spawned a comic book.
The now defunct Gold Key company produced a comic on a very irregular schedule that lasted lasted 16 issues from December 1964 to April 1970, though the last two were reprints.
Prior to this there was also a one-off edition published by Dell in 1961 based on the original movie.
This particular issue that I picked up from 30th Century Comics is typical fare for the time having just passable artwork and story, but nevertheless not having seen the show for some time was a trip down memory lane.
Oddly the main feature was interrupted by an in-house four page story called Explorers in the Unknown: Prisoners of the "Jelly" Planet. What the editor was thinking when he placed it there is beyond me. Backup stories are err... usually at the back of the book.
Back to the Seaview....
Still you are reading the main story did have a"fish" villain, though I would like to have pointed out to the editor a dolphin is not a fish, it's a mammal.
Given this was the swinging sixties I wonder what he was smoking?
I mean, mankind vs the Fish Empire..... go figure!
Other popular Irwin Allen TV shows were adapted by Gold key including Land of the Giants (5 issues 1968/69) and Time Tunnel (2 issues 1966/7).
I have not been able to locate copies of these but will review when one turns up. Land of the Giants was a favourite and unlike the other two could be remade. With modern special effects, a winner I would have thought!
No I haven't forgotten Lost in Space. Look out for a future post!!
Monday, 8 December 2014
Secret Six (DC Comics)
Gaile Simone (w) Ken Lashley (a)
The latest offering in DC's "New 52" Universe is the return of a title thats in it's third incarnation, that of the Secret Six. I was a big fan of the pre-Flashpoint team and mourned it's loss so to be honest was quite looking forward to a return.
But like a lot of DC's current output this is quite different and frankly having read the first issue the jury is still out as they say. I found the story reasonable but was very put off by the messy artwork and had difficulty in identifying the new "six".
They are for reference, Black Alice and Catman, Big Shot, Ferdie, Shuana Belzer and Porclain.
They are all kidnapped because someone wants to know..the secret.
Did I say they were prisoners under the sea? At least under water, we'll find out in due course.
Lets hope the art improves.
The original Secret Six only lasted 7 issues when launched way back in 1968. I remember the ads but never read any.
As far as I'm aware the story never finished, unlike the better known Secret Six from the noughties which is worth reading regardless of any lack of continuity with the modern "DC-verse".
Track 'em down. They're worth it!
Sunday, 7 December 2014
Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo (Dynamite Entertainment)
Dan Abnett (w) Deitrich Smith (a)
With all the hype about the new Star Wars movie and the re-launch of a Star Wars comic by Marvel (now owned by Disney), this particular comic remains under the radar of all but the most hardened fans of the cult television show from the seventies.
This four issue mini-series is set between the fondly remembered original Battlestar Galactica TV show and the less popular Galactica show of 1980. Ten years into their flight from the Cylons, it's been two "yahrens" since they have been in a fight and the search for the thirteenth colony Earth continues. Where science has failed, maybe psychic powers will help.
Contact is made with one of the ships once thought lost to the fleet and the set up for this latest adventure begins.
According to the writers this is an important piece of continuity, for the original series anyway. Apollo did die before Galactica was broadcast and now the story can be told.
These adaptations of the original Battlestar Galactica appeal to me as a casual fan of the series as unlike the remake (excellent as it was) this story was never concluded and many prefer to try and forget the "sequel" Galactica as there was so much of it that was just wrong and ultimately forgettable.
Dynamite have produced a number of mini series covering the original programme and cast which are worth grabbing if you can find them or order the Trade Paperbacks from your local comic shop.
The search for earth continues......
Saturday, 29 November 2014
The new edition of Previews, the comic shop catalogue is now out and ordering begins for comics starting in February 2015. I thought I'd share my thoughts on what I'll be ordering this month!
Black Hood (Dark Circle)
At long last the re-launch of the old Archie Comics characters begins with a crime-noir series featuring the Black Hood. It features a policeman whose scarred face following a gunfight makes him put on a hood and become a killer himself.
Given that Archie's new horror line Afterlife with Archie and Sabrina are critical successes, their new Dark Circle line should be worth a look!
The Multiversity: Mastermen (DC)
The Multiversity #1: Directors Cut (DC)
A new chapter in Grant Morrison's excellent Multiversity series appears this time set on an Earth where the Nazi's have won the war and their version of Superman is called Overman! The old Freedom Fighters team exists on this world. So a welcome return to Uncle Sam, the Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Dollman and the Human Bomb as they battle the Nazi "heroes" Leatherman, Blitzen and of course Overman amongst others.
DC are also releasing a special edition of the first issue of the series highlighting the pencil work of Ivan Reis plus other features. This edition also includes a large fold out map of the multiverse. Strictly for the fan boys and girls I'd say!
Cluster (Boom Studios)
Small publisher Boom Studios is worth looking at and has produced some good titles such as The Woods and Wild Things both of which proved good reads. Their latest offerings include Cluster a science fiction series set in an era where mankind meets other races and war breaks out, In order to recruit troops criminals are given the option of serving in the army rather than prison. A ruse which reaches even minor offenders.
One group gets stranded and sets out to find the truth of what's behind Earth's wars.....
Sticking to the science fiction theme comes this four issue mini series in Prestige format about a Russian astronaut returning from a forgotten space mission launched at the height of the cold war. He's changed and now is able to bend time, space and matter.
Oh did I mention he's a communist...
These are the titles I'll be adding to my "pull list" at the comic shop.
If you are interested and out of touch with the comics scene find a comic shop near you or go my local store: 30th Century Comics. They do mail order.
Monday, 24 November 2014
Wonder Woman #36 (DC)
Meredith Finch (w) David Finch (a)
After a story line lasting some three years since the reboot of the DC universe begun, Wonder Woman is to take a new direction under new creators. To summarise there has been a war in Olympus amongst the "gods" and it's ended with a number of changes. Ares, the "God of War" is dead and the his replacement? You got it, Wonder Woman.
The "First Born" is finally defeated and the "Last Born" has taken the throne, though being a bay his mom is with him for the moment. Until Zeus grows up again that is.
The males are back on Paradise Island and the Amazons are not happy even though they could not have won the war without them. However given their Queen and Wonder Woman's mother has been turned to stone the decision to keep them their lies with Diana as for the time being she's err.. the Queen.
Add to that her membership of the Justice League and Wonder Woman has got her hands full as off she goes to discover why so many people have died from unnatural weather causes.
The daughter of Zeus (as we have now discovered) is far from happy with all these responsibilities and lashes out at the Swamp Thing when she finds him at the scene of the crime.
A promising story, with guest stars a plenty in this first superbly drawn adventure.
Superman/Wonder Woman #13
Peter J Tomasi (w) Doug Manke (a)
Now you did know that Superman and Wonder Woman were an item in the "New 52" and to cement their relationship DC have given them their own teamup book. Having just fought their way through the "Doomsday" crisis, Clark and Diana are off on a date that's what couples do isn't it?
Except these are the two most powerful superheroes on Earth. Their evening can't go without incident can it.....
Of course it doesn't.
Enter the Atomic Skull and Major Disaster, Clark and Diana's evening out comes to an end.
Combined with flashbacks to the attempted invasion of Earth as the two first meet this is a good issue to kick off with if you haven't given the title a try yet.
Did I mention Wonderstar?
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Multiversity: Pax Americana (DC)
Grant Morrison (w) Frank Quitely (a)
The latest chapter of Multiversity is probably the best yet. With action over the first three pages taking place backwards as President Bush is assassinated by a surprising character, this comic is worth reading more than once. It's very densely written and re-introduces the Charlton Comics action heroes from the 1960s (see post below).
See the Peacemaker under lock and key being questioned by the authorities, Blue Beetle chasing the Question. In fact see the side of the Question that became Rorschach in The Watchmen with lines like "I don't save bad guys".
And just what did happen to Captain Atom and why you shouldn't go anywhere near him if you find him.
If I have one complaint about this issue, it's simply there just wasn't enough of it and the whole parallel Earth deserves a series of it's own to continue and resolve the numerous plot lines that develop in this already oversize edition.
As for how it ended?
Next on the agenda is Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures, Morrison's take on Captain Marvel/Shazam.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
With the release of the latest chapter of Grant Morrison's Multiversity series I thought it time to have a look a t the characters he uses on this version of Earth in the New 52 "multiverse". These are from the short lived but fondly remembered Charlton Comics "Action Heroes line from the mid sixties.
The best known and longest running of their superhero line was Captain Atom created by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko and first appeared in Space Adventures March 1960. He went on to have 12 issues of his own solo title oddly numbered 78 to 89 due to the policy of Charlton to continue numbering from previous and quite often unrelated series in an attempt to avoid postal charges.
The other hero that caught my attention in particular back in those days was the reinvention of the Blue Beetle. Revamped by the great Steve Ditko these issues are particularly worth tracking down as the search for the original Blue Beetle leads Ted Kord to take up the mantle of Blue Beetle following the death of the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett.
In the first issue we see the introduction of The Question, a wee bit of an anomaly for the Comic Code controlled era of comics. In his one and only solo book published by Charlton, he leaves the villain of the story to die.
Many see the influence of Anne Rand's philosophy in this particular work. Nevertheless the shock ending does leave an impression on the reader.
The other heroes of the line did not particularly appeal to this young reader at the time, though they are worth a second look if you can find a copy.
The Charlton line of heroes were eventually purchased by DC Comics after Charlton's demise in the 1980's and Alan Moore had intended to use them as the basis for his opus The Watchmen, but after Dc realised how they would be used they made him create his own characters.
If you carefully examine this comic you will see how the various main players are based on the Charlton heroes.
Now that little trip through a small part of comic history is over it's time to read the latest issue of Multiversity.
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Lois Lane # 93 (National/DC Comics)
Robert Kanigher (w) Irv Novick (a) Curt Swan (c)
The Superman family of titles was at the heart of National/DC comics publishing programme for many years. Lois Lane is as far as I can recall the only "girlfriend" of any hero to get their own title just because of her relationship with a super-hero.
This particular issue published in 1969 is interesting as it seems to be a prophesy of what is yet to come in the twenty-first century. More on that later. Featuring a Superman/Wonder Woman team, Lois Lane seems out of her depth strength wise as far as this misleading cover shows.
In fact throughout the fifties and sixties DC had a habit of publishing covers that only sort of related what happened in the story. Some are more misleading than others. But great fun and sometimes worth purchasing for themselves!
For those of you not familiar with a little change that Wonder Woman went through here's the cover of the "new direction" the title went through as of issue 178.
Turns out that that the "Wonder Woman" that Lois finds herself fighting with is not what she seems. She's really a villain from the Phantom Zone and the real deal is being held captive by this evil doppelganger.
Lois and Superman of course are one of the most famous fictional couples of the modern age. But not everything lasts forever it would seem. Despite years of faithful pursuit and marriage DC comics New 52 reboot put an end to that. For now anyway.
Yup. Superman and Wonder Woman are actually an item. More than that they even have their own monthly team up book.
And the world knows! The secret is out.
Is there hope for Lois? Hints in some of the stories seem to suggest the age old romance will begin once again, but for now whilst Lois Lane remains a strong supporting character, it's Clark and Diana whose romance that enthrals the world.