Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PANEL BEATER: Random Thoughts From My Recent Comics Haul

It's been a wee while since I dove into my pull list and cheered what's working great, separating it from what needs a kick and what needs a shove. Pulling three books at random, and writing a bullet review on each, here's what caught my eye in the last few weeks.

RANDOM REVIEW: ARMOR HUNTERS #2: For a solo gun-toting, nearly indestructible bad ass, Bloodshot sure soars in team up situations.

While having H.A.R.D. Corps in his own title diluted the waters a bit, in Harbinger Wars he stole the show, and in Armor Hunters, he's doing the same. Not only does the issue's last page scream 'make me into a poster', pairing the woman who speaks to machines with a man made of nanites is one of the best ideas Valiant has had so far - and that's saying something.

Last month I cancelled the All-New Invaders (despite the team being one of my all-time favs), and now I have cancelled arguably my true all-time favourite team title, The Fantastic Four. Leonard Kirk's art has been stunning and combined with the inks of Karl Kesel - one of comics most underrated talents and workhorses - their pages are almost worth the price of admission. Sadly, the writing is not.

Like writer James Robinson's All-New Invaders, Fantastic Four's events drag or jump in bizarre ways. The Original Sin tie-ins star a 'revelation' that seems both blown out of proportion and more than a little been there done that for this book, while the Avengers taking on a solo Invisible Woman gets criminally glossed over despite the cover, so a court case against Reed Richards can rabbit on for ages. 

After all the hype I had for both books under James's run, I'm left hoping Namor and Thing get solo series soon as part of the Marvel onslaught, so I can still have a taste of each team, without reading the drag of the actual monthlies.

Neil Gaiman is like the liquid terminator at the end of T2, as it is dropped into liquid metal, and shifts through all the identities it assumed during the film in a short space of time. Throughout this book Neil is lyrical, metaphorical, cosmic, romantic, depressing and insightful. While trapped in the moment of either stage it can seem disjointed from the last, it still unites by the end page to form an amazing comic experience.

From Jack Kirby-ish galactic swarms of beetles to giants holding up bridges over time and space, from cat reflections of Daniel's inner-self to the truth behind the first love his heart ever burned for (Alianora for you Sandman: A Game Of You fans), what makes the reader writhe like the T-1000 is J.H. Williams III's art. He shifts style with every scene and yet makes it seem cohesive at the same time. His layouts are as crazy cool as always and the eye of his imagination knows no bounds.

Together, The Sandman: Overture is truly a dream state delivered by a dream team. Sure the wait between issues is a little large, but for quality like this, I seriously don't mind. In fact the longer the wait between issues, the longer we get to savour the unravelling being told.

What were your hits of the month?

Monday, August 25, 2014

WEIRDNESS FROM THE REAL WORLD: Own This Chocolate Bathroom Suite For $133,000

When you drop a piece of chocolate in the tub, does the five second rule still apply? Sure the question alters drastically when it's 'drop a block of chocolate off in the bath', but keep it clean (we're not that kind of site).

Still, for those still puzzling over the first predicament, let me complicate things further by introducing a complete bathroom set, crafted from Belgian chocolate. Not just a bathtub, but a toilet, sink and bidet. See what I mean about complete? Who the hell has a bidet anymore? Kinky bastards.

While 'Come checkout my 9.4 million calorie bathroom' is sure to be slightly more interesting dinner conversation than it is a local bar pick-up line, making a chocolate toilet sure gives us males even more excuse to miss.

If you're tired of praying to the porcelain Gods every hangover, you can start giving the bog a 'Hershey's Kiss' for just $133,000 (bidet - $11,700, sink - $15,000, toilet - $23,400, tub - $83,600), every six months. Yes, this selection is natural chocolate, and its limited shelf-life means it needs replacing just as often - unless you get massive munchies, then maybe it'll last 48 hours if you're lucky.

On sale by UK chocolatiers Choccywoccydoodah and Bathrooms.com, the ultimate 'bathroom suite' that melts in your mouth, not your hand (or under your butt) is made fresh to order here, and can be delivered in 2-3 months. Despite the fact it is a bathroom set however, warnings are not to place near a heating appliance or radiator - not even close to hot water. Sorry folks only cold showers and shaves from here on out. Tasty ones though.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

SWEET AS: The Top 6 From Image Comics' November 2014 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at Image Comics' November 2014 solicits, these six make the 'Sweet As' grade:


Can I find any other way to smuggle Lazarus plugs into this site? I don't know, probably.. the sidebar could do with a refresh... Seriously though, this is the best book on the planet right now and this cover, one of the best of the series. Step aside Cyclops and Havok, sibling rivalry has a new face.

Image says: Conclave Part Three Surrounded by decadent luxury, the Conclave of the 16 Families continues. As new alliances are formed and old ones destroyed, Forever is dispatched by her father with a uncharacteristically straightforward mission: kill her brother, Jonah. (W) Greg Rucka (A) Michael Lark


TOOTH & CLAW #1  Busiek returns to Image Comics with a new ongoing series! Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi in an original high-fantasy epic for mature readers, as a secret conclave of wizards brings a legendary champion back through time to save the world, with disastrous consequences. The action begins in a spectacular double-sized first issue, with forty-four pages of story with no ads for the regular price of $2.99! (W) Kurt Busiek (A) Ben Dewey.


PROPHET: EARTH WAR #1  The epic conclusion to Prophet begins here! A clone general goes against his Brain-Mother overlords to gain control of an alien egg. (W) Brandon Graham and Simon Roy (A) Ron Ackins


WITCHBLADE #180 Darkness falls in Witchblade's 19th anniversary! In another life Jackie Estacado was Sara Pezzini's lover and the father of her child. Now he has used the power of the Darkness to endanger the whole of human existence and only the Witchblade can stop him. Here at last is the untold story...the Death of Jackie Estacado! (W) David Hine (A) Laura Braga

THE WALKING DEAD #134 From whispers to screams. (W) Robert Kirkman (A) Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano and Cliff Rathburn 

SAVAGE DRAGON #200 Savage Dragon is out of prison and the Vicious Circle is gunning for him. Malcolm Dragon and his step sister Angel join forces to keep their father alive against an all-out assault in this movie-length epic. Back up stories include an Angel and Mr. Glum story drawn by Batman alum Chris Burnham, Malcolm and Savage Dragon in WWII by legendary Incredible Hulk artist Herb Trimpe, Special Agents Strikeforce by Nikos Koutsis, Vanguard by Gary Carlson and Frank Fosco and Malcolm Dragon by Travis Sengaus. (W) Erik Larsen and Gary Carlson (A) Erik Larsen, Herb Trimpe, Chris Burnham, Nikos Koutsis, Frank Fosco, and Travis Sengaus, covers by Erik Larsen, Jack Kirby. 

What do you think? For the full list of Image's November 2014 solicitations, click the jump.

Friday, August 22, 2014

SWEET AS: The Top 6 From Valiant Entertainment's November 2014 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at Valiant Entertainment's November 2014 solicits, these six make the 'Sweet As' grade:


Okay, so sometimes it's 'Pick of the Month', others it's 'Cover Dan Most Wants To Blow The Hell Out Of' - sue me (actually don't unless you want to be disappointed - comic blogging isn't exactly a way to riches). 

So yeah, this remastered cover would still hit you between the eyes, even if you took away it's breath-taking recoloured jobbie. The drawing alone on this remastered cover still shows what a pencilling powerhouse Joe Quesada was right from the early days - and talent never dates my friends. Unless you're Vanilla Ice.

Valiant says: Aric of Dacia, a fifth century Visigoth warrior abducted and enslaved by the brutal Spider Aliens, fights his way free of his captors and steals their ultimate weapon, the X-O Manowar armor. But 1,600 years have passed while the Spider Aliens held Aric captive and the time he returns to is not his own. 

Trapped in the modern day, Aric is now the last of his people, a savage warrior out of time in a world of corporate treachery and casual deceit. But, armed with the power of the X-O Manowar armor, Aric will rule... and he will make the Spider Aliens pay. Get the complete epic of Valiant's flagship hero starting here with this massive oversized volume collecting X-O Manowar (1992) #0-30, Armorines #0, X-O Database #1, as well as material from Secrets of the Valiant Universe #1. 800 pages.

(W) Bob Layton, Jorge Gonzalez, Jim Shooter, Steve Englehart, John Hartz and Rob Johnson, (A) Joe Quesada, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, Sal Velluto, Mike Manley, Steve Ditko, Mark Moretti, Michael Leeke, Howard Simpson, Bart Sears, Jose Delbo, Jim Calafiore, Paris Karounos and Rik Levins.

 JUMP ON HERE:  BLOODSHOT #25 A murderer's row of all-star talents is going all-in for a 48-page milestone anniversary blowout chronicling the classified history of Valiant's most dangerous, most brutal, most relentless hero - Bloodshot!

Meet the man behind Bloodshot - or is he? When one soldier's untapped killer instinct takes over in a feature-sized lead tale! Plus...an all-new story by comics master Howard Chaykin! The original Bloodshot launch team join forces again for an all-new adventure! And go on Bloodshot's journey from the end of the line with H.A.R.D. Corps to the Colombian jungle where Unity found him! Along with many more bonus stories and artwork, a complete cover gallery, and more! 48 pages, $4.99 

(W) Peter Milligan, Howard Chaykin, Duane Swierczynski, Duffy Boudreau, Justin Jordan, Daniel Kibblesmith and more, (A) Lewis Larosa, Howard Chaykin, Barry Kitson, Manuel Garcia, Al Barrionuevo, Rafer Roberts and more.

 SOUNDS LIKE AWESOME  Q2: THE RETURN OF QUANTUM AND WOODY #2 Quantum and Woody are all over the news - but Eric Henderson and Woody Van Chelton are retired...and officially getting too old for this ish. There's a NEW Quantum and Woody in town...they're still not a couple...and the mystery behind their existence threatens to destroy what little is left of Eric and Woody's one-time partnership. As a sinister secret organization besieges our heroes, will Woody unlock the secret of the new Quantum and Woody in time to save them--and will Eric let him? $3.99 (W) Christopher Priest (A) M.D. Bright


UNITY #12 A new day has dawned for the elite assemblage of heroes called UNITY, and, in the wake of the Armor Hunters' invasion, the time has come to grow their ranks. Who will be the next fearless hero to join the roster of the world's most elite superteam? And just what is the international strike force called THE UNITED - and why have they marked UNITY's own X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Livewire, and Eternal Warrior for elimination? (W) Matt Kindt (A) Cafu. $3.99

X-O MANOWAR #30 Armor Hunters was only the beginning! Now, still reeling from his harrowing encounter with the Armor Hunters, Aric of Dacia might face a new threat; the calculating paramilitary force known as the Armorines! Armed with an array of astounding abilities far beyond the capabilities of the X-O Manowar armor, has this bleeding-edge commando unit come to save Aric's kingdom...or grind it into dust? (W) Robert Venditti (A) Diego Bernard $3.99

ETERNAL WARRIOR DAYS OF STEEL #1 The Eternal Warrior...Gilad Anni-Padda, the Earth's Fist and Steel...is forever charged with guarding the Geomancer and securing the Earth's safety. After completing another brutal mission, the Earth's undying guardian is approached with a cryptic task: find and save a baby -- in whose hands might rest the fate of an entire people. But the Eternal Warrior is no nursemaid...and, to complicate matters, a thousand Magyar invaders want the baby dead. At the edge of civilization, can history's most expert killer keep one precious life alive? $3.99 (W) Peter Milligan (A) Cary Nord

What do you think? For the full list of Valiant's November 2014 solicitations, click the jump.