World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

27th May 2022

Empress #1-2: Mark Millar Delivers (again)

Empress 1, 2
Icon Comics, June and July 2016
Writer: Mark Millar
Review by D.G. Stewart, May 17, 2016

A critique of this title involves two curious vectors.

First, at some point in many people’s lives, sadly, they can become involved in very unhappy, abusive or even violent relationships. This can occur, particularly but by no means exclusively, when a person is young and lacks judgement and experience in respect of the substance of a happy relationship.

Setting aside the nature of mis-spent relationships for a moment, and on what might seem at first blush off tangent, American comic books seem to have a steady supply of science fiction villains (featured in superhero comic books, ordinarily) with beetle-browed, monolithic features, a grim demeanour, and who are exclusively male. These include, in no particular order:

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Heartthrob #1 (Review)

Oni Press, Inc. April 2016
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Review by Neil Raymundo, April 24, 2016

Christopher Sebela’s “Heartthrob” explores second chances, short lives, and shared consciousness. The protagonist is a woman named Callie Boudreau, who was born with a congenital heart disease that gave her a very defined expiration date. We meet the character after a successful heart transplant procedure, where she is shown haranguing the doctor for the identity of the donor.

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Out of Line

Power Lines #1
Image Comics, March, 2015
Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Review by Neil Raymundo, April 7, 2016

In 1921, amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins coined the term “Ley Lines,” which he used to refer to supposed alignments of geographical places of historical importance both man-made and natural, theorizing that these alignments were intentionally created guides to assist in travelling via line-of-sight navigation.

Writer John Michell adopted the concept of ley lines, and bestowed upon it spiritual and mystical significance within the pages of his 1969 book “The View Over Atlantis”. This fictional take on the ley lines has since been used by numerous authors across various media. Some have built conspiracy theories around the concept, most famously novelist Dan Brown in his best-selling book, “The Da Vinci Code” (2003, Doubleday Books).

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REVIEW: Welcome to Pleasant Hill

Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 (review)
Marvel Comics, April 2016
Writer: Nick Spencer
Review by Neil Raymundo, April 13, 2016

American comic book publisher Marvel Comics, at least within the past few years, has been determined to publish stories that are inaccessible to the average reader due to over-reliance on continuity. Like British science fiction, North American professional wrestling, and television soap operas around the world, a majority of the regular monthly audience is helplessly ensnared by continuity. These colossal, hyper-meticulous plots, sometimes lasting decades, can be a substitute for quality writing: suffering from a form of literary Stockholm Syndrome, that sector of the audience which is devoted to the continuity will not just forgive but will actively defend the injudicious publisher.

This new title, “Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1” is the latest hostage taker, to extend the continuity metaphor. But in this instance the problem – and it is a systemic problem to the North American industry – is exacerbated by the fact that the comic is meant to be a prelude to an upcoming crossover event. Ludicrously, the setup requires its own setup.

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