Thursday, 20 October 2011

Zombies, Leeds comic con,the Avengers & DC sales in news and rumors

The Leeds art festival Thought Bubble will run from the 14th to the 20th November this year, it culminates in a comic con that has been extended to run two days 19th / 20th. The comic con will be held at Saviles as in previous years, tickets are £10 for a day pass Sat or Sun £18 for a two day past. Guests include Tim Sale, Adam Hughes Jeff Lemire and Ben Templeton-Smith, plus many, many more.
I have attended the last two conventions and had a fantastic time if you get the chance check it out.
Click link for more information

The new series of The walking dead airs in the UK on Friday 21st 10:00 on the FX channel, if you cannot wait that long for a zombie fix check out the web episodes on the FX website.

More photos have surfaced from the set of the new Superman movie, and appear to show Russell Crowe in his Jor-El outfit; Russell is playing the farther of Kal-El (Superman) a role played in previous films by Marlon Brando.

The first trailer for the Avengers film hit the web last week, and from what is show it looks like it will be one hell of a film, I just hope what we see arnt all the best bits.

DC Comics New 52 initiative has produced sales of 5 million comic books in just six weeks. DC released 52 brand new or relaunched comics all of which started at issue #1, this was part of a bold staturgie to revitalise comic sales by attracting new or lapsed comics fans back to the heroes of the DC Universe.
In a press release, DC claimed the figure represents the company's biggest sales in more than 20 years.
As well as the 5 million comic figure, DC confirmed sale numbers for some of their top titles:

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 - 250,000 copies.
ACTION COMICS #1, BATMAN #1 - 200,000 copies.
SUPERMAN #1 - 150,000 copies.
Normal sales of top titels is around 100,000 copies, so the New 52 line isat the momment see to be a success. Sales figures will be monitored over the ongoing month as it has been rmmored that all the books have arouind 12 issues to prove themselfes or they could be canccelled.

On top of this all the new 52 books are also available digitally, on the same day the print versions go on sale in comics shops. Digital sales have not yet been released by DC, but it is belived that digital sales have been better than were expected. Given that the digital comic can be read on all the main platforms, Ipad, Iphone, Android phones and PC and laptops, it is a fair asumption that digital sales will go up I myself am reading Superman & Demon Knights digitaly.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

More new DC 52's - Hex, Vampires, Detective Comics and the coolest Aquaman ever.

    I Vampire:
Vampires have been secretly living among the DC heroes, or strictly speaking secretly been dead among the DC heroes. Now their leader Mary (not the most charismatic name I know) has decided to declare war on the human race, and claim the world she sees as rightful theirs. In her way is Andrew (another charismatic name) a 400 year vampire who believes its better to live in the shadows and is also the sire and former lover of Mary.
The book has a Vertigo feel to it and if it wasn’t for the 52 logo you wouldn’t have known it was part of the new 52, the art work is simply stunning and the colouring match the mood of the story perfectly. I picked this up because I love vampire story’s apart from the Twilight, Vampire diary types, I like my vampires to have a bit of bite if you pardon the pun, I am more of a 40 days of night person. What I find intriguing is that these vampires seem to be educated but still have a dark edge to them, I’m looking forward to see what direction this book takes as I think the inclusion of superheroes may dilute the horror element in it, we shall see.

All Star Western:
Jonah Hex rolls into Gotham looking to bring in the Gotham Butcher, and its not the type of butcher you get you meat from at the week-end. Now its good to see that the Gotham of old has similarities and ties to the modern Gotham, as we see when Hex finds himself down a back street and he is confronted with a similar style of villain that populate today’s Gotham back streets. Only this time instead of a Batman or Robin confronting them, they are introduced to two of Hex's friends (pistols) and he shoots them down. Hex is reluctantly aligned with a local profiler Doctor Amadeus Arkham as he begins hunting down the killer in his own uncompromising way, which includes a bar fight and getting information from a local tavern girl (I was been kind to her there). I will not spoil any of the revels in this first issue but it becomes personal for Hex, as personal as it can get for a heartless bounty hunter, and I for one cannot wait for issue 2. This is Hex written at his best, which is no surprise as there is no one better at writing Hex than Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray. The artwork by Maritat and colour by Gabriel Bautista fits the story perfectly, and despite the book having the new 52 logo on it for me it is a continuation of the brilliant run that went before it.

Aquaman: If anyone had told me that an Aquaman book could be cool, I would have dismissed them out of hand as hopeful dreamers. This book changes all of that Geoff Johns has crafted an Aquaman for a new age, during Blackest Night and Brightest Day Aquaman had been pushed back into the forefront of the comic readers eyes. However he shared top billing with other heroes of the DC Universe in both books, and I for one doubted that he could carry his own book, I was wrong as Johns has taken him to a whole new level. Right from the beginning we are left in no doubt on the power he has; as he flips an armoured truck speeding to wards him then takes a bullet to the head that leaves a slight cut above his eye. There are in jokes like the police not been too happy about having help from Aquaman as it makes them look bad, or the man in the restaurant who asks ''what’s it like to be nobody’s favourite super hero'' things that play off thoughts comic fans have had for years.
You are cleverly given pieces of Aquamans s early life back story, so anyone new has some of the information needed to understand his motivations and sense of responsibility. I was also glad to see Mera’s inclusions as she was another character who came into their own during Blackest Night and Brightest Day, finally the underwater creatures at the start and end of the book looked creepy enough to keep anyone out of the water.
This is one of the new books that I thought I would enjoy, but wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by it in the way I was.
A brilliant start, and any easy choice to continue buying this book.

Detective Comics: The Batman is on the trail of the Joker who is on a killing spree, this Joker is as dark as an interpretation of him as I have seen in a long time, and the story is all the better for it. In this first book alone he hacks a kidnapper to death, even though he says he is the Jokers biggest fan, god knows what he would do to anyone who didn’t like him. A SWAT team is blown to bits and if it wasn’t for Batman a train full of passengers’ would have all been gassed, all in a days work for a maniac in Gotham. The fight between the Joker and Batman is a real slugfest, this Joker fights back and he don't fight fair.

The police don't seem too friendly towards Batman either as they take shots at him as they enter the Jokers lair, they then try to shoot him down with an helicopter gunship just for good measure. The story moves at a terrific pace and the end scene in Arkham is truly chilling and leaves you wondering what the hell is going on, which is a good thing from the writers point of view and keeps people coming back for more.
I am a Batman junkie and would buy Batman books no matter what, fortunately this is a fantastic book and hopefully will get more people to buy the Batman books.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

My thoughts on the new 52 books that I have read so far:

Action Comics: Shout it from the roof tops but Grant Morrison has made Superman interesting, by setting the story in his formative years we have a Superman or Superyouth running around in a pair of jeans with a S logo t-shirt and a red cape.
Now my immediate thoughts were this is how I must have looked when I was a child running round the back streets of our home town, although I wasn’t as bulked up didn’t have a Superman t-shirt and my cape was my mothers best tea towel, but it brought back memories. Taking my reminiscing aside this book was interesting because this Superman is venerable, he can be hurt plus he doesn’t seem to have the same moral compass he has in his later years. The Superman of the old DCU would never have dangled anyone off a roof top to get a confession, which was more Batman style than the big blue’s. Throw in that the police, army and an ambitious Lex Luther trying to bring him down then you have one hell of a good book.

Catwoman: Now there have been a lot of things said about this book since it came out some good some not so good, I enjoyed the story and thought the way Catwoman was written was as true to the character as you could get. The only slight issue I had was with the final page while Selina’s characterisation was spot on, I felt the Batman one wasn’t but then again it maybe for this new Batman. I am willing to give this book a few more issues yet to see how it goes, a solid but not fantastic start.

Legion: Never read Legion so I didn’t know who most of the characters were or what there powers were, however this did not stop my enjoyment of the book. I am definitely looking forward to see where this book is going, and plan to continue buying the book.

Legion Lost: Never read Legion so I didn’t know who most of the characters were or what there powers were, and for some reason this did stop my enjoyment of the book.
I found it hard to figure what was going on and why it was happening, the reference to the Flashpoint Breakwall also had me confused (not always the hardest thing to do)
I will give this book at least on more issue but it didn’t grab me from the get go, which is a disappointment as I was looking forward to the Legion books.

Frankenstein Agent of Shade: This is the one book that had me hooked after listening to the podcasts from C2E2 and it did not disappoint, Frankenstein is a member of SHADE a type of X-files government funded organisation. After a village is decimated by creatures unknown Franki is sent in to investigate what is going on and to also find his four armed missing wife who went to investigate before him. There he is joined by a Wolf Man, Mummy, the Creature from the Black lagoon hybrid and a vampire crossbreed. I know this sound completely bonkers but trust me it works and if you haven’t picked this up please do so. The artwork reminded me of early Sandman type artwork which is not everyone’s cup of tea, fortunately for me it is to my tastes and I am loving it immensely.

Blue Beetle: I first read Blue Beetle when he appeared in JLI Generation Lost, and enjoyed the character that much I bought his past issues to read up on him. So when it was announced he would get his own book, my interest was peaked, as I thought he was OK as a team player but not sure if he could hold his own book. Well this first book goes a long way to prove me wrong, and what's really good about this first book is we get an introduction into the history of the scarab that creates Blue Beetle and how Jamie Reyes comes into contact with it thus creating the Blue Beetle.
The book its self is excellent in both the pacing of the story and crisp clear artwork, that suit this book perfectly, the villains are creepy enough to make you think I wouldn't want to take them on.
Now I have read some complaints on the Internet about the absence of Ted Kord who people see as the original Blue Beetle but as I never read a great deal of story's featuring Ted's Kord it doesn’t bother me too much, however if you look at your Blue Beetle history Dan Garret was the original and first appeared way back in the 1930's, and I don't hear no one crying for him to come back. Forget what went before this is a good read, I for one am in for the long haul on this on.

Swamp Thing: After the poor search for Swamp Thing mini series I had big concerns about this book but I needn’t have worried, this book is written by Scott Snyder a man who can do no wrong at the moment, check his American Vampire book out to see what I mean. This is a good solid start with the horror aspects of the story pitched just right, plus if you are unsure who the main characters are or their back story’s you are quickly brought up to speed without it affecting the main plot line. The fact that Swamp Thing’s appearance in the book, is not until the last panel didn’t effect my enjoyment of the story at all. If I do have one gripe its that the drawing of Superman (he makes a cameo appearance) is very poor, he looks unlike any Superman I have ever seen even in the new DCU, but it didn’t spoil the story significantly for me so its only a small niggle.

Green Arrow: A younger Green Arrow is in Paris to catch the bad guys with the help of an Oracle type assistant who feeds him information via an earpiece, I would love to know what network he is on as on our resent trip to the USA I couldn’t get a signal but I digress. The story is good with a ending that made me want to see more which is always a plus, So I have high hopes for book two and beyond.
If you like your Green Arrow young and without the beard, ala Smallville style then this is the book for you.

Batgirl: I wasn’t going to get this book as I have never had a desire to read any of the Batgirl book, but as I was a fan of Gail Simone I thought I would give this one a try, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. For those of you not in the know Batgirl is once again Barbara Gordon the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, back in the old DCU Barbara the then Batgirl was shot by the Joker and lost the use of her legs. She reinvented herself as the cyber hero Oracle, and eventually headed a team of heroes in the book Birds of Prey (Gail Simone writer) that’s the abridged versions. In this new DCU she was also shot by the joker and wheel chair bound, something we find out through flashbacks with the first issue. However, something has happened and she is now cured, what has happened we don’t know yet but I look forward to finding out as there are always cheques and balances to pay in the DCU.
The new villain introduced in this first issue is called The Mirror and seems set on killing people who he/she believes cheated death, a bit of Final Destination plot here I think. The drowning of one man who was the only survivor of a ship disaster could have come straight out of the Final Destination films, and I may never water our garden without a shiver going down my spine again. Personally I can forgive any general similarities to the Final destination films as the book is top draw in both story and art work, this is a good first book and gets you hooked from the start it is a good addition to the overcrowded Batman family of books.

Justice League: The first story arc of this book takes place around 5 years before the present DCU story lines, and is the story on how the Justice League was formed.
In reality this first book is all about the first meeting of Batman & Green Lantern, now as these are two of my favourite characters I am not complaining. Batman is his usual confidant self who would prefer to work alone; Hal is a slightly inexperienced Lantern who is out to prove to Batman and the world he can contain any situation. The thing I enjoyed with this book is when they meet you don’t get the usual slug fest, then the decision to work together for the common good. We do get the distrust that Superheroes meeting for the first time would have of each other, and the scene where Batman takes Hal's ring off just to point out he’s not concentrating is a joy.
All in all it’s a good first issue and the appearance of a angry Superman in the last panel indicates things are going to start moving along, Jeff Johns as crafted a solid start and Jim Lee’s art work is well its Jim Lee’s artwork, for me its OK but not over exciting.
A book to keep your eye on I think.

So that’s all the new 52 books I have read so far, I have my Batman & Green Lantern books to read this week-end so I will report back my thoughts on those when I’ve read them.