Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Daredevil - The Fall?

This is the cover and internal panels from issue 15 of Daredevil by Marvel Comics (as if we didn't know that by now).

Written by Mark Waid and currently drawn by Chris Samnee. 

This book is pretty much consistently great. Mark Waid is writing the fuck out if it and it is hitting some great fanboy high points in every issue. The trip to Latveria was a masterstroke. 

For those not reading it. Matt is kidnapped and transported into a tube in a lab that causes him to be unable to use his heightened senses. It turns out that he is in Latveria and is being held hostage and experimented on my Doctor Doom's henchmen.

He escapes, finds a transmission ariel and manages to get a message out to the Avengers. In a great action scene Iron Man appears transports him back home and saves him.

Much has been said about the change in vibe to this new series. It does has a fresh new approach and a certain amount of reinvention by Mr Waid. Let's face it those awards were deserved.

As the story has progressed we are fed a seeming return to normalcy for Matt Murdock. His law firm is active again. He is romancing the ladies without the usual self harming going on. We see him up against some interesting villains, Mole Man being a great example of that. We also get guest appearances by Punisher and Spider-Man and one of the years best crossover events.

But I wonder if we are being sucked in by Waid. Is it a switch and bait? It would appear that in grand Daredevil style that his life is slowly but surely going down the shitter.

None of the romances are (to be honest) going well. Although almost comedic in their interruptions they are failing. His identity remains an open discussion (although I admit it would have to be after the last ten years). He has faced the death of his father again and had to pull a coffin out of the ground. Raising old themes and questions in a literal and symbolic scene.  The rot is setting in?

These two issues of the Doom storyline see him kidnapped and tortured. Stripped of his powers and forced to escape using a combination of force of will, desperation and luck.  Is this a reflection of the real erosion in his daily life?  It would seem to fit.

Mark Waid continues as ever to be an intelligent and well planned out writer and I am impressed with his great use of dialogue in this series. ('You lost him! He was in a coma!') To be honest this recent acclaim has me shouting 'he has always been about you idiots.' it is because of this that I suspect a plan. I suspect that Mr Waid has this slippery slope there looming in our's and Matt's future. We watch and wait. We know it's going to happen.

Eventually we know Daredevil will fall.

I began to feel this theme  a few months ago perhaps subconsciously at first but looking at the art in the last few issues it seems to reinforce my theory.

Chris Samnee currently holds the art torch. I have always been a fan and am used to his work being often (although not always) lighter in tone. Take his Thor: The Mighty Avenger series for example. But some of the pages seem more akin to David Mack and Alex Maleev's style on Daredevil than Samnee's art on say Thor or Captain America. Yes the art initially in this series was light with a Ditkoist sense of fun with crazy panel layouts and carnival style clothes and costumes. But darkness and night seems to be slipping through the cracks. I have posted a couple of panels below to illustrate my thoughts.

To say all this I have to agree that the book is a thoroughly great read. Waid is a gent and a great writer. The interviews I have read and listened to indicate he has a terrific exuberance for the medium and a well honed and tightly planned approach. Long may he reign.

I look forward to see if I am right and more importantly where this all goes.

A great series.


Cover and Panel of the Day.

Dial 999: PC Thirteen Investigates.

UK Hardback Christmas Annual.

A colleague at work brought this 1953 annual in for us to look at. It seems to stem from a BBC radio series (possibly) of the same era.

It is all text stories with spot illustrations by F. G. Moorsom (who appears to specialise in uniformed police stories from that era.)

Really great book. Here is the cover along with a couple of funny illustrations.



Monday, 30 July 2012

Dark Avengers / Thunderbolts.

Dark Avengers issue 178.

This is a great issue (they seem to be coming out almost weekly at the moment) in a series of standout issues.

Split currently between two storylines that are both written by Jeff Parker. There is the new Dark Avengers team being drawn by Declan Shalvey with the Thunderbolts pages being drawn by Kevin Walker (both equally excellent).

Whilst Luke Cage struggles to maintain control over the Dark Avengers the lost in time Thunderbolts struggle to return to their own time.

There are some awesome action pieces and some pretty hilarious dialogue but where Parker shines for me is managing to juggle all the characters in this book. Everyone seems fully realised and more importantly constantly interesting.

The current Thunderbolts versus a character that is obviously not Judge Dredd in any way is superb.

If you can pick up the Arthurian issues. Some of the best art in a Marvel book I have seen in years.

This (like Rucka's Punisher) is one of Marvel's standout monthly books. It can be read without any lengthy event crossovers bothering the reader. It could (and I am hazarding a guess here) do with a little more love? Maybe?

Get aboard.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cover of the Day.

Resident Alien issue 3.

This was a great little series from Dark Horse Comics about an alien living in small town USA who gets roped in to play Doctor and Detective.

Written by Peter Hogan and drawn by the little seen Steve Parkhouse (of Warrior magazine's Bojeffries Saga) it's a real gem. Issue zero came from the collected stories in Dark Horse Presents and there are a couple if art changes between that and the main series. For the better actually and it seems to breath more in issues 1 to 3.

Apart from one character knowing he is never outed as a little green man (kinda) so it mainly stays as a murder mystery.

I see that Panel Borders podcast have an interview up so I will probably have a listen to that and I look forward to the second series.

You should pick it up. It's refreshingly well told and a pretty cool premise that could well run and run.


Batgirl is that you?

Hey look.

Batgirl has infiltrated the UNCLE Headquarters!

Yvonne Craig filmed this section of the movie especially for the film release of 'One Spy Too Many.'

She played the UNCLE operator who has a flirt with Napoleon Solo (he got all the great girl spys!)

These movies are well worth a watch and still stand up well now.


Panel(s) of the Day.

Again from the gritty and marvellous Hawken.

Written by Benjamin Truman and art by (his father) Timothy Truman.

That old bastard sure knows how to kill 'em!



This book continues to deliver and this cover really looks great.

It's a gritty, dirty, violent and cool western tale from the Truemans. Every panel is a joy.

You should be picking this up.

Cover of the Day.

This would have solved that pesky Bane problem.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review - Exile on the Planet of the Apes issue 4.

Exile on the Planet of the Apes issue 4.

Written by - Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman.
Art - Marc Laming.
Colourist – Darrin Moore.
Letterer – Ed Dukeshire.
Editor – Dafna Pleban.
Publisher – Boom Studios.

This is a review of the final issue of the Boom Studios mini-series Exile on the Planet of the Apes.  This series of Apes books seem to be adopting the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe model where each mini-series has a storyline that can be linked back to an overall arc and theme.

The storyline has reached a climactic stage where the ape army is attacking the humans ( and a handful of rebel apes who have joined them throughout the series) in an Alamo style setting.  The issue throws us straight into the action at the front of the battle lines.  Bullets are flying and both humans and apes are falling on both sides. (Pages 3’s counter attack looks astounding).

This mini-series and it’s predecessor Betrayal on the Planet of the Apes  were both leading up to this moment.  We knew that this big clash of species would happen.  This issue does not let you down.  As the issue progresses we see what happens to all the disparate characters.  The rebel group has retreated into the Forbidden Zone (remember that from Beneath The Planet of the Apes movie?) and the heat drips off the page (awesome colouring).  There is a real sense of desperation in the faces of the mute and scrawny humans who have survived.

Marc Laming has a realistic style that shows off his roots as an art teacher and a compatriot of Howard Chaykin.  His previous work in American Century, The Activity and The Rinse (to name a few) also show an ability to mix personal moments as well as broad action sequences. He deals amazingly well with the distinctive Ape faces. I was never at a disadvantage as to which Ape was which (a mighty feat). It surely can’t be long before he is snapped up by Marvel or DC.  I would love to see him on a street level book like Daredevil or Batman.

A book where one half of it’s cast cannot speak could well be seen as a challenge but whenever we see a human it seems to have an added poignancy because of the unspoken drama.  Marc Laming is adept at displaying the emotion of both the human and apes through their faces and Gabriel Harman and Corinna Bechko pace it astoundingly well.  One notable moment which I loved is when Aleron feels the strain on his heart mid battle and collapses.  You can see pain and disappointment in his vulnerability showing in his gorilla features.  The spread of wordless panels throughout the issue works brilliantly.

Aleron, the eye patch wearing grizzled General, is the standout character in this book for me. He straddles the tough exterior of a warrior with the vulnerability of an outcast.  He is a little bit Nick Fury and a little bit Commissioner Gordon.  He is rage and fury in the heat of battle with a melancholic side in the quieter moments. He despairs of the politics and the double dealing.  It’s a shame that we may (spoilers) well not see him again.

The writers do a great job in showing us the blurred sides in a war. They show us their characters both misguided and moral motivations. They show us the escalation of violence through demagogues and outdated prejudices. There is nothing melodramatic in this book.  Great Sci-Fi speaks to the world today and this is no exception. ‘Ape Shall Not Kill Ape’ is both a central theme and an anchor around the necks of some of the more exuberant apes.  The mood of the piece is splendidly executed.  We have a bleak and dystopian future here.  Desperation to survive is evident in almost every panel.  The humans face extinction and the Apes fear a return to times gone by.

The finale itself has a feeling of non-stop action and a seeming confinement in the close quarters of an old fashioned battle.  When the humans flee you feel the danger of the escape and fear for those that might be caught and killed. Interspersed throughout the battle are moments of really well handled ape/human interaction. (SPOILERS) The apparent death of Aleron is dealt with well.  The falling rubble around him as a he looks on has a beautiful sense of finality. (Perhaps a Tales of Aleron spin off series? Huh?)

I loved this book and mourn it’s passing.  Boom are really proving themselves with their POTA comics.  With Hardman and Bechko at it’s wheel it bodes well for future storylines (I see that the Annual is due next week and I can’t wait).

More please.


More Hard Case Crime.

Tearing through a few more of these Hard Case Crime books again and loving them.

They caused me to discover Lawrence Block. A superb crime writer who is right up there with Donald E Westlake for me.

Full of two timing gritty crime noir. If you are enjoying comics like The Rinse from Boom Studios or any of the Darwyn Cooke Parker books from IDW these should be your next stop.

Some of the books are reprints from the era they were written in (some from the 1950s and many from the decades leading up to today) and some of the books are originals. For the more recent books I can recommend anything by Jason Starr. (His 'Max' trilogy are a rollicking ride of violence, sex and crime).

All good shysters and grifters should grab one at least.




This is the inside back cover to the paperback I just posted.

Just saw it.

Cool huh!

Cover of the Day.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Worth Saying Again.

From the great Ty Templeton.

Panel(s) of the Day.

From the amazing Untold Tales of Punisher Max comic.

Written by Jason Latour and art by Connor Willumsen.

This book seems to break boundaries each month. Great stuff.


Cover of the Day.

Loving this series. Some really interesting artistic choices that have really paid off.

Writer Jason Latour and art by Connor Willumsen.



We saw Batman.

Myself and the Boy Wonder.

We loved it.

No spoilers.

I have one problem with it.

But in the whole it was excellent.

If you see us. Ask us.


And those that ask. It's ALL about Gordon!!!

He is the hero of the series.

Go see it.


The Boy Wonder Rises.

Myself and the Boy Wonder are off to see the new Batman.

Panel of the Day.

From the great Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar.

Just wish this was an ongoing!

Cover of the Day.


Saturday, 21 July 2012


The cover to a great annual of the short lived Starlord.

I remember reading it as a kid and thinking that this wasn't like Star Wars at all. Quite dystopian and freaky.

Loved it.