Monday, 17 November 2014

One Man Went To Mo Day 16




For the 30 days of Movember I've committed to changing the face of men's health, I'm asking you to support my efforts by making a donation at http://mobro.co/robertmcintyre142.

We need to take action, as the current state of men's health is unacceptable:

·      Around the world, men die on average 6 years earlier than women - there's no biological reason

·      Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer in the UK

·      Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 25-49 years

·      Tragically, 12 British men died from suicide today. Tomorrow, 12 more will die too. On average, 12 men die everyday from suicide in the UK

The Movember Foundation is working around the clock and around the world to improve the lives of men and their families affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. They can't do this without our support, so please support my efforts to make a difference.

If you're interested in learning more about the programmes Movember funds please click here

There's a lot riding on my efforts this Movember and I'd really appreciate your support
Together, we can have an everlasting impact on the face of men's health.
 
 
 

Monday, 3 November 2014

One Man Went to Mo day 3

Starting to take shape.

 You can donate on the link below, all donations will go towards helping with men's health issues. I have chosen to support prostate cancer which will effect 1 in 8 men during their lives

http://uk.movember.com/mospace
 

One man went to Mo #day 1

This year I will be supporting Movember, and each day I will be posting a daily photo of how I am progressing.

You can donate on the link below, all donations will go towards helping with men's health issues.
I have chosen to support prostate cancer which will effect 1 in 8 men during their lives.

http://uk.movember.com/mospace
 

Monday, 20 October 2014

G.I. Zombie: Futures End #1


Now this is a bit of a strange title to throw into the futures end mix given that it has only had 2 issues prior to this one, even for someone who has read the first two issues I found it odd as I’m still getting to know the books characters.
As with all the FE books we are 5 years into the future and GI Zombie is in the middle of a zombie outbreak, he is leading the fight while the scientists try to find a cure before the outbreak overruns Gotham. There’s also a slight nod towards the film World War Z,as the fight against the outbreak is being conducted at sea from an aircraft carrier. The years and the zombie outbreak haven’t been kind to GI Zombies partner Carmen, and we now find her aboard the aircraft carrier been used as the test subject for the zombie cure.
star-spangled-war-stories-featuring-gi-zombie-futures-end-1-zombie
The usual zombie siege clich├ęs are all in place a city in peril, undead hordes overrunning what is thought to be a safe haven, and a hero who fights and wins despite the odds that against him. All of which make for a great one off story which is part of the problem with the issue, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have crafted a great story but haven’t had the chance to build a following on this book. So I’m not sure how many people will actually buy and read this issue as other FE comics may take president, as people decide how best to balance their budgets with the array of FE comics out there. I do hope that isn’t the case as the book deserves to be read by a wide audience, as with all Palmiotti and Gray comics it’s a solid read.
This...this is gonna be a good'un.
 
Now there is one glaring continuity problem with the book that some readers or continuity fans may find hard to get over and that is the zombie outbreak, having read all the Batman and Batman related FE comics I haven’t come across any references to any zombie outbreak. Either in Gotham or in the wider future DC Universe so where this fits I’m not sure, now for me it’s not a big issue but for some it could be so if you’re one of the could be’s you have been warned.

Friday, 3 October 2014

I love Halloween



We are now into October and that means we are heading towards one of the best nights of the year Halloween, I am a big fan of all things Halloween and even though my children are now grown up I still put up decorations and buy sweets for the kids. Helen my wife makes chocolate apples to hand out to any youngsters that come knocking on our door, I have a selection of masks to wear to scare the kids and its also an excuse to get my Batman costume out of the wardrobe. Why do you have a Batman I hear you cry well its thanks to an old work colleague who was told by some unscrupulous workmates (not me), that the works Christmas party was fancy dress and having travelled as Batman on public transport to the party he found out it wasn't. Having a Bat costume he no longer wanted I bought it off him, is it wrong that this story still makes me laugh even after quite a few year probably yes but it was funny. 

However I have gotten off track, Halloween is fantastic and its great to see all the kids dressed up going from door to door, I know that a lot of people say that its not something we should be doing in the UK. Some people say that its an American import and that its not a British tradition well to them I say so what, I would rather see grown ups & youngsters dressed up as monsters or whatever they like out and about trick or treating. Than have someone sing one line of a Christmas Carol on my door step then knock on your door expecting money, now that's a British tradition that really annoys me and I can do without. I have found that by asking them to sing to me again while I stand watching them, because I didn't hear them sing properly the first time works a treat. Word soon gets around that the mad man at number 29 asks you to sing again in front of him, and its the most effective form of defence I have found against Carol singers over the years.

However back to Halloween and if like me you love Halloween there are a few links below to websites that are celebrating the scariest time of the year, oh and a reminder to anyone coming to our house to trick or treat we will have chocolate apples wont we Helen.


Needless Things 31 Days of Halloween: Phantom Troublemaker's Needless Things website will be posting about all things Halloween, click the link to see his latest posts on the most scariest time of the year. The website also has links to past posts which include reviews on a wide range of geek culture subjects, the Needless Things podcast can also be accessed through the site and is well worth checking out.

Mike Gordon: Halloween is one of Mikes favourite times of the year, he is celebrating it on his blog with his Creepy Tiki Countdown to Halloween. Mike is also a writer, editor, filmmaker, webmaster, comic fanboy, and co-founder of New Legend Productions, which is well worth taking a look at to see the wonderful work Mike produces.

The Earth Station One Podcast: The guys at ESO will be discussing various monsters over the month of October starting with Godzilla, before covering other monsters throughout the rest of the month. Click the link to the Earth Station One webpage where you can see links to the podcast plus lots more information, I recommend you check out all the great stuff on their site, including past posts, podcasts and the other associated podcasts on their network.

Syfy '31 Days Of Halloween' 2014:
The Syfy network will be showing over 600 hours of horror over the 31 days of October, click the schedule list link to see what's on.

Facebook: Your favourite or not so favourite social media site has a page that celebrates all things Halloween.


Countdown to Halloween:  If that isn't enough for you then take a look at the Countdown to Halloween website, there is bound to be something there for you, and if there isn't then you may just be dead?




Sunday, 28 September 2014

Batgirl Futures End #1


 
Gail Simone ends her run on Batgirl with this Futures End issue, and in typical Gail Simone style she puts our heroine through the wringer.
The issue starts 2 years in the future and Barbara Gordon is in the middle of her wedding celebrations, unfortunately her deranged brother decides to crash the party and puts a bit of a dampener on the day. We then skip forward a further 3 years bringing the issue in line with the other Futures End books, and Batgirl is now known as the Black Beast who works in the shadows leading a team of Batgirls. The Batgirl team is made up of Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Tiffany Fox who is only 12 years old and looks to be more of a hindrance to the team than a help. In the missing 3 years since her wedding Barbara has infiltrated and removed the crime lords of Gotham, and spent time learning at the hand (quite literally) of Bane before returning back to Gotham. There is plenty of action in the book as we see the Batgirl team take down a group of gun runners, and witness the inevitable showdown between Bane and Black Beast also known as Bete Noire (French must be in vogue 5 years from now).
Writer Gail Simone has put together some very interesting concepts in this book, the Darker more focused Barbara Gordon who has clearly been effected by the events of her wedding and the League of Batgirls is simply brilliant. I also like the idea she has taken out most of Gotham's crime lords, something Batman's failed to do on a permanent basis during his time in Gotham I wasn’t total sold on Barbara’s new costume a Batgirl Bane crossover combo, but it does give the artist a chance to show off her pumped up physique think Arnie with a little less testosterone.
I loved the league of Batgirls and it was great to see Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain back in costumes again, something the so called new 52 is sadly lacking at present. What I’m not so sure about is the inclusion of Tiffany Fox as a Batgirl, even for a comic book it’s stretching it to have a 12 year old on the team. Yes I know Damien Wayne was only 10 but he was a trained assassin from birth, he also ended up getting killed so not a good argument for anyone wanting to go down that route
The art by Javier Garron’s art is excellent with strong character designs and action panels that flowed seamlessly, the lenticular cover for this is OK but like most of the covers for the Futures End tie-ins they are just a sales gimmick, I know because they hooked me.
There were also a few little Easter eggs splashed around throughout the story, its hinted that Commissioner Gordon is no longer around and Dick Grayson is also mentioned in the now tense rather than the past one. Given that in present continuity he is officially dead it’s interesting that he is mentioned that way, we may never get to know the back story of any of these tip bits but it made me as a reader want to know more.
Like all of the Futures End books I have read so far if you treat it as an Elseword or Multiverse story you will enjoy it, if you think that this is how the DC universe will be in 5 years time then you are heading for disappointment.
On a Final Note
The book is a fitting end to Gail’s run and you can tell she had fun putting together this 5 years later tale, personally I would prefer her to remain with the book as for me she has made Batgirl one of the must read monthly comics.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Sheffield Si-Fi and Film Convention

It’s a slightly cold Saturday morning as my wife (Helen) and I set off to the S-Fi and Film convention in Sheffield, all previous conventions we have been to have been comic themed so this is a totally new experience for me and one I was looking forward too. One train and a short tram journey later and we were at the Motor Point Centre where the convention was been held, a short walk to the green section and we were in the queue and within ten minutes we were in. We noticed a few signing tables with people sat on them as we stood on the arena concourse but it was no one I recognised, as I had booked to have photos with both Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann we headed for the phots area of the convention. Along the way we stopped at a few stalls to get a handle on prices been charged for various bits of memorabilia, what we noticed was prices varied by quite a margin the 10th Doctors sonic screwdriver was £14 on one stall and £8 on a stall across the hall. The other thing we noticed was there was a large number of stalls selling autographed photos and pictures, some of which were guests at the event and were priced higher than the guests were charging something I couldn’t get my head around. 

     

 
After stopping for photos by the A-Team van and the Knight Rider car Kitt which was thankfully Hasselhoff free, we found our way to the photo area and were given the times Sylvester and Paul would be there which was 13:40 & 14:10. Happy with this information and having a few hours spare before photos commenced, we now wandered back through the main hall and up to the arena concourse, as we had been told Sylvester McCoy was signing up there.


 Well it just wasn’t Sylvester just about everyone who was advertised each had their own signing table and were scattered around the concourse, we made our way to Sylvester’s table and joined what seemed to have the biggest queue of any of the tables. It was then that I noticed Paul McGann signing at a table a few feet away, so been the ever so gallant husband I left Helen in the queue and joined the shorter one at Paul’s table. Before long it was my turn and I shook Pauls hand and asked him to sign the photo I had picked from the vast array he had, I briefly chatted with Paul about his work on the Doctor Who Big Finish audios saying how much I enjoyed them. He did say that he would be doing more of them and asked what my favourite audio to which I replied ‘’Dark Eyes both one and two’’, he then told me they were releasing a third box set of that story and that he was pleased I enjoyed them, I shock Paul’s hand and left his table with my signed photo and a big grin on my face. Meeting back up with Helen I took my place back in the queue for Sylvester McCoy and within a few minutes was having my photo signed him, as he signed the photo he spoke out load ‘’to Rob’’ rolling the R as he did when he played the Doctor the fan boy in me was way beyond happy. We spoke briefly about his time as the Doctor and about Big Finish and then I move on as the queue for him was getting big, I have to say both Paul and Sylvester were excellent and made me feel like I was the first person I had seen that day which cannot be easy.


It was then off to see Frazer Hines who signed a black & white photo of himself as Jamie stood alongside Patrick Troughton, he asked why I had picked that one and I told him it was because Patrick was my Doctor and I only remember seeing them together in black and white. We chatted about the recently found lost episodes with Frazer saying he had hopes that all the lost ones would be found eventually, next to Frazer was Sophie Aldred who played Ace to Sylvester McCoys Doctor and as there was no one with her at that time I took advantage and bagged another signed photo. I talked to Sophie about Big Finnish with Sophie saying that she loved doing them, and it is great that they can be set anywhere in any time at no real extra cost, with everything left to the listeners imagination. Having got all the autographs I wanted we sat down in the seats to have something to eat while we listened to the Doctor Who talk, then it was off to wander round the main hall to pick up a few pieces I had noticed on our previous walk round. After that it was time for my photo shoot with Sylvester McCoy, when we got to the photo area the queue was starting to grow and I said to Helen it will take ages to photo all these people. How wrong could I be the photo session was extremely well organised and before I knew it I was stood alongside Sylvester and smiling at the camera, the same again applied when we went to Paul McGann’s photo shoot and I take my hat off to the organisation of the shoots I was involved in as they both went seamlessly.

We then wandered round taking and having our photo taken with various cos players we came across, my favorite was the old gentleman dressed as the War Doctor with Helen’s been the Captain Picard look alike. Time was moving on so we went back to the concourse where I picked up a signed photo of Eve Myles who played Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, I asked Eve if Torchwood would be coming back and she answered ‘’you will have to ask the BBC’’, I mentioned that I had read that once the rights for Torchwood had reverted back to the BBC from Starz that it would be coming back. She just smiled and said ‘’ you will have to ask the BBC’’ but then added ‘’if they do make any more then I would be happy to be in it’’, Helen told Eve that she loved the chemistry in the show between herself and her onscreen boyfriend Rhys. Eve told her that Rhys played by Kai Owen was her best friend and she loved working with him, Helen said it showed then we both thanked Eve for her time and moved on. Again like all the people doing signings we meet and talked with, Eve made us feel like we were the first people she had talked to that day. Other guests we saw were Burn Gorman who played Owen Harper in Torchwood, Armin Shimerman who played Quark in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Dirk Benedict Face from the A-Team and more importantly Starbuck in Battle Star Galactica, Dave Prowse Darth Vader and the Red Dwarf Team of Chris Barrie (Arnold Judas Rimmer) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten). Helen also spoke with Anthony Head of Buffy fame telling him he was sexy when he used to appear in the coffee ads in the early 90’s, he shook his head then smiled and said thank you to her taking it as the complement it was meant to be.

My final thoughts on the convention are that it was extremely well organised both with the signing and photos, the talks could have been better as they were open to noise from the rest of the convention but that’s just a small niggle. All the guests we meet were fantastic and made our time with them feel special, as were all the cos players who were more than willing to pose for photos when asked.

My better half Helen said she enjoyed the convention more than the comic conventions she had been to, but this I think is down to the fact that she knew more of the guests at this one as she is not a comic fan. What I did notice was that there was a real family friendly feel to the whole day, with everyone just out to enjoy themselves and have a great day.




For me it was a great convention and I enjoyed myself a lot more than I thought I would, and I am already looking forward to next year’s convention.


 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Comics and Me Guest Post

I have a guest post on the wonderful Needless Things blog, you can check it out on the link below.

While your there check out the rest of the blog that is packed with other guest posts reviews of films, toys, and a link to the fantastic Needless Things Podcast all are worth  checking out just hit the links below.


http://www.needlessthingssite.com/2014/07/comics-and-me-by-robert-mcintyre.html#more


http://www.needlessthingssite.com/

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Injustice Gods Among Us Vol:2


 
Metropolis has been destroyed by a nuclear device planted inside a pregnant Lois Lane by the Joker, a grieving Superman has taken the law into his own hands and killed the Joker and declared that no one else will suffer while he is still around. With the help of likeminded heroes they have set about policing the world to restore order, but not everyone agrees with Superman and a band of heroes led by Batman are determined to stop him at any cost.

Injustice Gods Among Us Vol:2

The gulf between the two factions of heroes led by a Superman who is now willing to kill, and Batman who isn’t becomes even wider in this second volume of the game tie-in. Superman and his team are now policing the planet with the aim to bring war, tyranny and injustice to an end, all admirable goals but when you’re willing to let people die, be killed or even kill to achieve those goals then questions will be asked. The main man doing the asking is Batman who is not only actively challenging Superman and his team, he is covertly trying to destroy them from within which begs the question who's way is right and who’s is wrong?
 

There are some interesting subplots also running through the book Damien Batman’s son has aligned himself with Superman against his farther, setting up farther and son issues that you would not want to have in your life. The Flash and Billy Batson (Shazam) are starting to question Superman’s and an increasingly out of control Wonder Woman’s methods, even Superman’s parents are concerned that their son is spiraling out of control and behaving like a petulant child. Their concern is so strong that they are willing to ask for help from Lex Luther in stopping him, Lex is a friend of Superman’s in this universe but as always with Lex his character runs much deeper than that of a mere friend.

Batman’s team is also coming apart with Huntress not totally disagreeing with some of the actions Superman is taking, and other heroes like Green Arrow not totally trusting Batman due to the fact he still won’t share his true identity, his plans or any intel he picks up.

Thrown into the mix are a story with Darkside and his son and a fantastic Harley Quinn and Lobo story, as bounty hunter Lobo is hired by Superman to track down Harley who he holds responsible for the death of Lois amongst others. Unfortunately for Lobo Harleys not the easy target he thought she would be, and things quickly come apart for him quite literally at one point.


The short story which is set 6 months prior to present events and features a young boy who is helped by Superman when his bike is damaged, cleverly shows the change Superman has undergone which is further underlined when the young man says ''I miss the Superman we had before he became all dark and angry''.

One thing this book does not do is pull any punches as both sides make choices that will make you question who is right and who is wrong, the death of an established hero and the climatic confrontation between Batman and Superman which ends with a twist on a classic Batman scene. Are both unexpected and shocking, with the Batman scene as shocking today as it was when it first came out.

This collected edition covers issues 7-12 of the series as well as the annual, the writer is Tom Taylor who also has the reins on DC’s Earth Two book which is another alternative take on the DC heroes. Tom for me is quickly becoming one of the must read writers in comics and I will certainly be checking out any of his future work, the art is patchy and ranges from superb to ok but this can happen with this type of book which was originally released as a digital weekly then a printed monthly. However the art does not detract you from the story which is the best game tie-in story I have ever read, it’s just that the changes in art style are more noticeable when it’s collected together in one volume as it is here.

After reading the first volume I resisted the temptation to start picking up the issues that now make up this volume, however after reading this one and the way it ended I don’t think my resolve will be that strong this time around.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Batman Beyond Universe #8




System Overload:

Earths heroes make their final stand against Brainiac on a now deserted Paradise Island, with Brainiac now in a giant robot body made of Nth metal the battle seems to be going his way. His chances of victory are further bolstered when magicians Felich Faust and Klarion bow out of the fight, due to the fact that their magic been ineffective against the Nth metal but to be fair to them they do wish the other heroes luck.

While the big hitters try to do damage to the outer of Braniacs robot body, a shrunken down Micron and Flash are trying to infect Braniacs systems with a virus to shut him down. We see a hero fall and when all seems lost Paradise Island’s greatest warrior returns to protect her home, with Wonder Woman now joining the fight and the virus taking effect the tide of battle is turned and the Earth saved once again. However victory is not without a price as Aquaman is left deep in a coma one that Kai-Ro (Green Lantern) says he will never come out of, although given that it’s a universe the dead return from its hard to believe that this will be the last time we see Arthur. The final panel when Superman indicates that Wonder Woman’s reasons for joining the fight may not be as benevolent as first thought, and sets up the next issue nicely and has you wondering is this Wonder Woman from this universe or another?


If you like your comics all action then you will love this issue as the action is practically none stop, which helps give you a feel of real desperation from the heroes as they battle to save the world. Christos Gage writes a great adrenaline fuelled issue that also toys with your emotions from the fall of Aquaman and the despair of his wife and daughter, to the hurrah moment on the return of the ultimate cougar (sorry warrior) Wonder Woman. Iban Coello's art is sharp and the battle scenes flow very nicely from panel to panel giving the reader (me) a real sense of the flow of the battle taking place, his take on a older mature Wonder Woman is simply fantastic and I look forward to seeing more of her in coming issues especially given Superman's final comment. 

This was a very satisfying wrap-up to the Brainiac storyline with most characters getting their time in the spotlight, and I do like this take on the Justice League with a mix of the old and new versions of Dc heroes.

The Bat Men - Second Chances:

Batman and Bruce Wayne take on Man-Bat and his army as the Bat-Men storyline comes to its inevitable conclusion, as Kurt (Man-Bat) makes the ultimate sacrifice and the gap between Terry and Bruce continues to widen. I have always found Man-Bat a boring one dimensional character and was never a fan of stories he featured in, however this version of Man-Bat one who still has the mind of the scientist is the best interpretation of the character I have read. Having all his faculties instead of been a mindless creature has turned his into an interesting and more tragic character, as he now sees all his mistakes and the consequences of those mistakes on his life and on the life’s of the people he loved.

The artwork and colours are exquisite and give you a taste of the dark gritty side of Neo Gotham, which is a change from the neon side we more often see my compliments to Thony Silason art and Emilio Salis who's colours really brought this story to life. I also cannot forget writer Kyle Higgins who captures the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Man-bat perfectly, even to the point of Bruce always calling him Kirk trying to connect to his human side.

Reunion:

Dick and Barbra meet up and try to sort out issues that  they still clearly have between them, even though our two heroes  have grown old together they still seem to have that Burton and Taylor love hate relationship. Who resents who or who still loves who the most is never answered in this short story, but a friendship truce is the final outcome in this Kyle Higgins tale of two of my favourite Batman universe characters.

Batman Beyond Universe is a weekly digital book that is also printed monthly with all the months story's in it, personally I prefer the printed copy but I know people who enjoy the digital book either way for me it is becoming a must read every month.

Monday, 21 April 2014

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo: Roses of Berlin



When I first picked up the comic The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 1999 little did think that I would still be buying related issues 15 years later, now I don’t know if that’s a testament to Alan Moore’s writing or my collecting compulsion in truth its probably a little of both. Either way 15 years on I find myself reading the latest tale set in the Leagues universe, like the last book Nemo: Heart of Ice this tale centres around Janni Dakkar the daughter of Captain Nemo who now commands the Nautilus. Things however have moved on from the last book by around 20 years, Janni is now married to the Nautilus first hand Jack and they now have a daughter called Hira together.

 


But as much as life changes it remains the same and the Nautilus crew are still sailing the seas plundering ships where they can. Something which has brought them to the attention of the German high command so much so that they bring down the airship carrying Hira and her husband Armand Robur, who I am guessing is the son of Jean Robur (Master of the Air or Master of the World) all of which leaves Janni and Jack no choice but to go to the heart of the German empire on a rescue and revenge mission. It’s a mission that brings them into contact with Fritz Lang’s robot both skinned and un-skinned (you really need to read it), mindless sleeping foot solders which is surely a metaphor for solders blindly following orders and a brothel where almost anything goes. As you would expect the rescue doesn't go quite to plan and as I didn't expect we loose a main character along the way, however you don't have time to dwell upon the loss as the action flows from page to page. The story culminates with a final Kill Bill style showdown between Janni and her seemingly immortal enemy from an earlier book, with the final page showing exactly why Janni is Nemo's daughter.

As with all League books there is so much going on it takes several reads and close scrutiny of panels to capture everything that is put in for your enjoyment, what is a first for me were the pages of dialog entirely in German no translations in Mr. Moore’s books to make life easy for the reader. 




The art of Kevin O’Neill is the perfect fit for this type of story as in previous books, where Kevin does excel himself is in the great depth and detail he puts into Berlins Metropolis style city. He also doesn’t pull any punches in the more graphic depictions shown within the book, and right from the start you know it’s defiantly not a book for the younger comic reader.

At 50 odd pages long this hardback graphic novel seems to be the perfect fit to continue on with the world Alan Moor has created for the League and it associates, I for one would be happy for it to remain in this format as long as we continue to get stories as good as this.

 

 

 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Earth 2 #20

Earth 2 continues to be ravaged by the forces of Darkseid led by his new chief disciple Superman, while this destruction continues earths main hope Batman, Hawkgirl, Aquawoman and Agent Santo are making their getaway while been pursued by Parademons. Its a pursuit that doesn't last long as Aquawoman shows her real power giving the rest of the heroes time to get to the safety of the Batcave, but not before she bids them farewell and pledges her elegance against the forces of Darkseid before returning to the oceans.

Once at the Batcave which is becoming rather crowded thanks to the people Hawkgirl had previously rescued, a less than patient Batman is trying unsuccessfully to convince Val the young Kryptonian they rescued last issue to join their cause. It has to be said that the Earth 2 Batman seems to be just as patient as the main earth Batman, its good to see that some things are constant no mater what universe there in.


 In the end its down to the Red Tornado (Lois Lane) to calm things down and talk to Val who has a fear of open spaces, which is not helpful as he needs the sun to charge him up. In the end Red Lois (I like that better than Red Tornado) shares her fears which help Val to overcome his and he stands in the sun for the first time.


As far as action goes this isn't the most action packed book but there is some great conversational interaction between Red Lois and young Val, which held my attention as much as any action splash pages I have read and seen. The artwork which is shared between Barry Kitson and Robson Rocha is good solid superhero artwork, filled with the stances and poses we all love to see our heroes make (well I do). There are a lot of tight head and shoulder shots as conversations between the heroes are shared, which help to convey the claustrophobic feel of the Batcave to the reader. I normally find having two artists in one book can be a bit jarring, and it can affect my enjoyment of the book fortunately on this issue I didn't find that to be the case.

One of the joys of this book for me is seeing and reading the differences between the two worlds heroes, with Aquawoman been a great addition to the book not only looking good but able to wield great power as well. Having Lois Lane as Red Tornado is a stroke of genius and makes Lois more interesting than she's ever been, she also seems more human than her other world counterpart which makes her more of an interesting character in my honest opinion.
 
When it was announced that James Robinson was leaving this book I had real fears for it, after all he had crafted a universe in one book that was more interesting than the main DC universe which spans 52ish books. Well new writer Tom Taylor hasn't missed a beat since taking over, and I can only see him improving on the solid foundations built by Robinson in the issues to come. His only limitations I can see is that he will have too many heroes for one book, and it surly cant be long before we get a second Earth 2 book to tell the tales that need to be told.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

My 2013 Highlights

The past two years I've posted a top 10 geek out highlights of the past year, to be honest this year I'm not sure if I have 10 highlights for 2013 so I will just talk about the things that piqued my interest in 2013.

Thought Bubble Comic Con:

This is a double-edged sword for me as we decided to skip visiting the con on Saturday and went on the Sunday, while it was still good it was a lot more quite and as a consequence it lost some of the punch of the Saturday show. Now don't get me wrong its still a great con but I love the hustle and bustle that comes with the first day, the coz players are everywhere and there is a whole buzz about the place, Sunday felt more like a lazy hangover day which for many it was. On the plus side the convention gave me a chance to meet Martin Gray and Steven Robertson two Facebook friends who I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting before, Martin was the person I reached out to for advice when I first hit on the idea of doing a blog. Martin runs the fantastic blog Too Dangerous For A Girl which if you haven't read then hit the link and get reading, after you've finished this blog of course.

Scott Snyder:

Scott is writing some great books at the moment so its hard to single out any individual storylines, in 2013 he manage to make the Joker creepy and scary again, his Batman Year Zero is making the origin of Batman interesting something I didn't think could be done again. His Superman Unchained is a hark back to the Superman I loved as a kid, he made Swamp Thing a must read book every month and his horror mini series The Wake which is simply spectacular, so not a bad year for Mr Snyder.

Marvel Movies

Yes I know the films that marvel put out weren't as good as the Avengers film but in all honesty they never could be, Iron Man was still better than Iron Man 1 or 2. The Wolverine was better than the first Wolverine film and the link to the upcoming X-Men Days of Future Past made this x-men fan geek out. I still haven't got to see Thor the Dark World yet but I have it on DVD order so I will get to see it at some point this year, but all the reviews I read were positive so Marvel still seem to be going in the right direction with their films.

TV Shows:

There were a few surprises for me in the world of cult TV last year, Sleepy Hollow was far better than I thought it would be, after initially giving it a shot its now become must see TV. American Horror was back to its best with The Coven which saw Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates on particular fine acting form throughout the series, Walking Dead was as good as ever and just when you think a character is established they kill them off. Arrow came back stronger in its second series and seems to be heading down the Superhero road now rather than the vigilante one, the introduction of the Flash was a particular favourite episode of mine from the first half of the season.

Doctor Who:

Unless you have been living under a rock you cant have helped notice that a certain cult British show turned 50 last year, its hard to imagine that the show I watched as a child in the 60's is still running and is more popular now than it has ever been. The 50th celebration episode that was shown simultaneously around the world and in cinemas was simply perfect, it had all the nods for the fan boys like myself while still been entertaining enough for the new or casual viewers. Matt Smith who has become one of my favourite Doctors was on top form as was the returning David Tennant, a special mention has to go to John Hurt who played the Doctor no one knew and played the part like he had been playing him all his life. The only downside to the whole 50th celebration night was we had the misfortune to watch the after party on BBC 3, which is best described as car crash television at its worst. Whoever thought that linking up with One Direction in the States was a good idea, should be marched out and left in a field full of Weeping Angels, if you watch the show you will understand.

Comics:

Having spoke about comics earlier in the Scott Snyder section I will give his books a miss here, but other ones that I enjoyed in 2014 included. The Rocketeer books there were several mini series throughout the year with the Spirit cross-over been particularly good, Five Ghosts is a great read and should be checked out as is Injustice Gods Among Us which for a book based on a game is surprisingly good. Earth 2 is still one of the top DC books and its good to see that the X-Men books are also providing some great stories once again, with the pick of the x-books been New X-Men, although I have to say I'm not keen on the younger Jean Gray who seems a bit winey for my liking.

Books:

I read some great books last year both on the Kindle and hand held ones (I don't know what else to call them), either way the type of books I am now reading has widened considerably mainly due to been able to contact and talk with some of the authors. Some of the books I really enjoyed were Deadly Games and Evil Ways both by the award winning author Bobby Nash, they are so good I have them on Kindle and hand held. The Ruby Files an anthology about a New York private eye in the 30's with story's from Andrew Salmon, Bobby Nash, William Patrick Maynard and Sean Taylor. Project Alpha and Hugh Moon by Lee Houston Jr, and Domino Lady: Sex as a Weapon by Nancy Holder. They are all great books and these guys have so many more that I will be checking out this year so do yourself a favour check them out as well.

Disappointment's in 2013:

Well there have been a few Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who, the Dome TV show (a second series really), however all of those pale into insignificance against my biggest disappointment, Kick Starter. I backed my first project last year it was by a reputable artist, an artist whose work I enjoy, well despite the book been launched I'm still waiting to receive my copy and I'm not holding out too much hope. If I wanted too I can now buy the book I backed on Amazon or some other online store, so I could have just waited for it to be backed and released, oh well lesson learned no more Kick Starter projects for me.
 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Legenderry; A Steampunk Adventure #1


When I first heard about this book it piqued my interest in much the same way that the first League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did, I'm a big fan of story's that re-imagine characters placing them in different worlds and setting so Legenderry falls right in my wheel house. The concept of Legenderry is to take the characters Vampirella, Green Hornet & Kato, Steve Austin (Six Million Dollar Man), Flash Gordon and the Phantom and put them into a Steampunk world, add to that the name of Bill Willingham the writer of the fantastic Fables and you definitely have me interested.

Issue one is what I would call a slow burner not that there isn't any action but you can tell that there is a story to be told and the writer isn't rushing anything, most of the story takes place in Vampirelle's Scarlet club where Vampirelle is having dinner with an off duty Green Hornet. Unfortunately while discussing the merits and ingredients of a good Dry Martini their meal is interrupted by a young red haired girl seeking help from a group of leather clad killer, to be fair I'm surmising on the killer bit but given that they have guns and their swords are covered in blood, its a safe bet they are not collecting for Sports Relief. As the owner of the club Vampi gives protection to the young girl and offers the men a chance to leave an offer they decline (henchmen are so stupid sometimes), all hell then breaks loose as Vampirelle goes well vampire on them and as you can guess there is only one winner.


Once the dust has settled its noted that all the henchmen are identical  something the police seemed to miss during there checks of the bodies which is a worry, Vampi and a still off duty Hornet speak with the young red headed and we discover  during her flashback story why she is been targeted. The first issue ends with a reveal of at least two of the villain's and the name of the group they work for, the next issue promises Green Hornet and Kato, they had me at Green.
 


Now I'm not the biggest expert when it comes to Steampunk so I don't know if there are certain rules that have to be followed when setting story's in this type of world, or if any of those rules (if they exist) are been followed. What I do know is that this first issue has me hooked and any expectations I had about this book were matched if not eclipsed. Writer Bill Willingham is not just writing a story he is crafting a world that his story's can be told in, the artwork by Sergio Davila is simply stunning and flows beautifully especially in the battle sequences. The colour work  by Wes Hartman also deserve a mention as they have a toned down feel to them, which helps give the book a gritty Victorian feel to it.


 As first issues go this one is definitely a winner and I'm looking forward to issue 2, one last note Vampirella's costume change  in this story is one for the better and wouldn't look too out of place in her current books. As much as I enjoy the character her bathing style costume was never the most practical one for fighting in,  although I'm sure the 11 year old me who discovered Vampirella all those years ago would disagree.