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August 5, 2020

Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #1 (Review)

Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #1Writer: Dan JurgensDC Comics, 15 July 2020 Shazam!: Lightning Strikes is a new comic book miniseries that revolves around the eponymous magical superhero, Shazam. The franchise has a long, messy history involving trademark disputes, but the character itself is kid-friendly and uncomplicated: an orphaned boy named Billy Batson transforms into a magical

Superheroes

Batman: Last Knight on Earth (collected edition) (review)

Writer: Scott Snyder Penciller: Greg Capullo DC Comics Black Label imprint, 2020 Too many parents with babies know that crows like exploring old diapers. The birds have a bad habit of getting into garbage bins, left on the roadside for emptying by sanitation workers, with the lid ajar. A crow will strew the contents down

Superheroes

Planetary revisited (plus, a note on the accusations made against Warren Ellis)

Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: John Cassidy DC Comics / WildStorm, 1999-2009 We had for some time been seeking to revisit Planetary. This is a comic book series which ran intermittently from 1999 to 2009, published by WildStorm, an imprint of American comic book publisher DC Comics. The irony of exploring a comic book which explored

Franco-Belgian/Ligne Claire

Altitude (review)

Jean-Marc Rochette  and Olivier Bocquet  Self Made Hero, June 2020 The copy for this autobiographical comic from the Amazon website reads as follows: At sixteen, bivouacked on a mountainside beneath a sky filled with stars, Jean-Marc Rochette has already begun measuring himself against some of Europe’s highest peaks. The Aiguille Dibona, the Coup de Saber,

Miscellania

In Waves (review)

Writer and artist: AJ Mungo NoBrow Press, 2019 When we write reviews of comics for this website, we use the second person narrative, “we”, so as to present the impression of objectivity and be brutally honest. It is also a tool to avoid self-indulgence. “We” filters fan blind spots and personal foibles. For this comic,

Humor

Bug Slugger: Cricket Army #1 (review)

Writers: Loch Ness and Wes Locher Artist: Loch Ness Independent, 2018 Comic books, like so many other forms of art and entertainment ranging from poetry to architecture, tend to reflect prevailing trends in contemporary politics and and society values. Some of this is abundantly obvious: the Milan train station built by Mussolini boasts Fascist grandeur,

Horror

British Ice (review)

Writer and artist: Owen D. Pomery Top Shelf Productions, 2020 In this age of republics, the absolutism of “Empire” seems like an archaic concept. Empires involve conquest of territory and subjugation of peoples. The political order following World War Two has generally meant sovereign boundaries are respected. Overt colonial disregard for indigenous people fell away

Asian

Goblin Slayer (Review)

Goblin SlayerWriter: Kosuke KurosePublisher: Square Enix, May 25, 2016-Present Most manga readers will be familiar with the Goblin Slayer brand via the controversial anime, which attracted a lot of attention when it first debuted due to graphic scenes involving the brutal mauling, sexual assault, and massacre of several characters at the hands of goblins. The manga version

Superheroes

The Rocketeer v All-Star Squadron: a comparative review

In this comparative review, we compare two quite different American titles, with action set in the late 1930s and early 1940s, published within a year of each other in the early 1980s. Our conclusion is that they share a surprisingly similar core premise. We cover only two periods of each title: the original series of

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Independent/Self-Published

Samurai v Dinosaurs (review)

Writer: Michael Murphy Artist: Sergio Calvet Chibi Comics, 2020 This is, if you like, a remastered version of the collaboration between writer Michael Murphy and artist Sergio Calver from 2010. The story is summarised in the Indiegogo pitch, and is reasonably straightforward: “Samurai and Dinosaurs focuses on an elite group of Samurai dispatched into the

Japan

Japan cracks down on manga piracy

Japan has passed an amendment to its copyright laws that will make it illegal to specifically download manga, magazines and academic texts without authorisation. The law comes into effect on 1 January 2021. The penalties for downloading these materials without authorisation will be up to two years jail and two million yen (about AUD27,000). Also

Fantasy

The Wicked + The Divine: Okay (volume 9) (review)

Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Jamie McKelvie Image Comics, October 2019 It has, with respect, been a bumpy ride for committed readers of The Wicked + The Divine. This highly innovative series written by Kieron Gillen and with art by Jamie McKelvie  began with the premise of a 90 year cycle of archetypes plucked from The

Franco-Belgian/Ligne Claire

SNOWPIERCER. THE PREQUEL. PART ONE: EXTINCTION.

Writer: Matz Line work: Jean-Marc Rochette Colours: José Villarrubia Letters: Lauren Bowes Translation: Mark McKenzie-Ray Snowpiercer is based on an original idea by Jacques Lob. Titan Comics, September 2019. First off, full confession. I’m a HUGE fan of the Snowpiercer franchise. I loved all three volumes of the French graphic novel and the 2013 film

Horror

House of Sweets (review)

Writer: Fraser Campbell Art: Iain Laurie Cabal Comics, September 2019 This is a nasty, disturbing horror story published under the independent imprint, Cabal Comics. Written by Fraser Campbell and with art by Iain Laurie, House of Sweets deals with a brother and sister named Hans and Retha. Hans is a writer who has holed up

Superheroes

Fortresses of Solitude: American comic books and their readers during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Fortress of Solitude was a concept introduced into the continuity of Superman, the globally recognised superhero character owned by DC Comics, in 1958. The Fortress of Solitude is usually depicted as located in the “polar wastes” of the Arctic. The entrance to the Fortress is traditionally depicted as a giant riveted gold door featuring

Science fiction

Invisible Kingdom (volume 1) review

Dark Horse Comics / Berger Books, October 2019 Writer: G. Willow Wilson Artist: Christian Ward Invisible Kingdom is a science fiction epic set nowhere near Earth, involving humanoid aliens. Looking back through our various reviews over the past four years of our site’s existence, we cannot find an example of a review where we applaud

Superheroes

Suicide Squad #1-2 (review)

Writer: Tom Taylor Artist: Bruno Redondo DC Comics, February – March 2020 We recently re-read American writer John Ostrander’s brilliant 1980s title, Suicide Squad. The concept of captured super-powered villains coerced into secret government missions still leaves us with the opinion that Mr Ostrander was engaging in the preparation and delivery of comic book haute

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Independent/Self-Published

Nate Powell’s About Face (review): Law enforcement and The Punisher’s symbol

This critique is to do with Nate Powell’s About Face. But we start with this scene, written by Matthew Rosenberg, appeared inThe Punisher #13 published by American comic book giant Marvel Comics. It caused a sensation back in July 2019.  Some police officers in the United States have adopted The Punisher’s logo as a form of

Espionage

JSA: The Liberty Files – Revisited 20 Years Later

DC Comics: 2000, 2003, and 2012 Writer: Dan Jolley and Tony Harris: D. Clay Moore Artists: Tony Harris and Ray Snyder After a slight detour to review two independent titles and the final instalment of Doomsday Clock, we return to our exploration of espionage comics with JSA: The Justice Files, an out-of-continuity wartime adventure set

Independent/Self-Published

Disconnect (review)

Writer: Dan Hill Artist: Gav Heryng Mallet Productions Ltd, 2019 Post-traumatic stress disorder for military veterans is not confined to those with boots on the ground. The New York Times published on 13 June 2018 a harrowing story of a 29 year old drone operator’s struggle with PTSD: At night, he dreamed that he could

Independent/Self-Published

Savage Bastards #1 (review)

Writer: David Galiano  Artist: Carlos Angeli  Mad Cave Comics, January 2020 The appeal of the Western genre is sometimes lost upon people who live outside of the United States. Traditional Westerns tend to romanticise the colonial creep of lawless Europeans across the North American continent. In 1878, when this story, Savage Bastards, is set, in

Independent/Self-Published

Supermom: Expecting Trouble #1 (review)

Writer: Gordon McLean Artist: Caio Oliveira  December 2019, Action Lab The superhero genre is a cavern almost completely excavated of anything of value. It is very difficult to discern any glimmers of gold left in the dark. So much of the material, with its parameters of good against evil, superpowers, ritualised combat, and fetished costumes, has

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