Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Edgar Rice Burroughs At The Earth's Core, by Bobby Nash and Jamie Chase

At the Earth's Core was one of my favourite films growing up so going into this book I thought I knew the story, surprisingly I was way off the mark as the book packs so much more into it's pages than the film ever did. For instance I want aware that Edgar Rice Burrough's appeared in the story, or that it started in the Sahara desert with the books hero David Innes telling his story to Edgar Rice Burrough's.

For anyone who isn't familiar with this story mining business man David Innes joins forces with a crazy inventor called Abner Perry, Perry has invented a manned drilling machine called the mole that he believes will make both him and Innes a fortune. Unfortunately things don't go to plan and our duo end up at the earth core, but instead of molten rock they find themselves in the wonderful but dangerous world of Pellucidar. A world that is filled with strange people and creatures most of whom are not friendly, a place where if you don't have your wits about you a grizzly death isn't far away. Throw into the mix a love interest for David as he falls for the charms of Dian the Beautiful, and a dominant species of mind controlling carnivore pterodactyls and you have a real boys own action and adventure story.

The book is written by Bobby Nash a writer I am well aware of and I have to admit I am a fan of his work, I was also lucky enough to interview him a few years ago. As a fan of Bobby's work I always thought I was going to enjoy this book, what I wasn't prepared for was how blown away I was with this book it is simply stunning. And that is not an exaggeration as the story telling and pacing throughout the book is absolutely perfect, from the opening page to the very last one. But were Bobby really shines is in his ability to make David Innes a believable and likeable character, Innes is an ordinary man dealing with extraordinary circumstances while still maintaining his personal sense of honour. As with all adventure story's you always know the hero is going to win out in the end, but even knowing this Bobby has still managed to build a real sense of danger with every turn of the page, and if the chips were down David Innes is someone you would want standing next to you.

The painted artwork by Jamie Chase is also spectacular and helps set the mood and tone of the book perfectly, from spectacular landscapes to terrifying creatures Jamie's art bring the whole world of Pellucidar to life. As someone who cannot draw beyond stick men ( I kid you not) I can only imagine and marvel at the hours and patience it must take to create artwork of this standard.

As I said at the start of this blog as a child I had watched the film adaptation of At the Earth's Core, and as all films of this type it was one of my instant favourites. So I went into this book thinking I already knew the story, how wrong I was the differences between the film and this book is like night and day. Each has their own merit but if I were to chose between watching the film again or reading the book, the book would win every-time and if you haven't read the book because you've seen the film. Do yourself a favour and pick up the book, I guarantee you will be highly delighted you did so.

On a final note I recently found out that there are several books written about Pellucidar, so I am hoping that Bobby and Jamie get the recognition they deserve for this book. So they can go on to produce the rest of them, and if they do so they can have my money now.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Justice League of America #3

The Justice league is fractured Wonder Woman is trapped alone in a destroyed Olympus with only a Oraculum for company and answers, unfortunately for Wonder Woman none of its answers are good or of any help to her. Flash and Green Lantern have been transported to Krypton a few thousand years before it was destroyed, then just as you thought it couldn't get any worse Flash disappears again leaving Hal alone and lost in time.

Back on earth the so called Krypton God Rao is still putting the world to rights, the sick are been healed, criminals are turning over a new leaf and the starving in Africa are been feed. Not content with that Rao is turning Africa's barren lands fertile, and dealing with the warlords to ensure peace and stability throughout the region. While all this looks and sound good the UN council are not too sure, and believe the changes been made are coming too fast and possibly at too high a price. Something that is hinted at when Rao after appearing at a UN council meeting, tells the council he will not stop and when challenged he tells them he will be more forceful in his persuasion..

Meanwhile Batman been the sceptic that he is (shocker right) also believes Rao has alternative motives, and that behind his apparent benevolence lies a bigger sinister plan. He goes as far as to accuse Superman of handing the planet on a plate to Rao, whle having nothing but faith that he is really the long fabled Kryptonian god.

There is some great dialogue between all the characters in the book, Flash and Lantern most notably between Superman and Batman as they debate Rao. Bruce asks Clarke to show him he is wrong and show him he can believe, when asked ''In Rao'' Batman replies ''In you''. Its dialogue that sums up the relationship and respect the big two have for each other, and something so many writers get in other books they are featured in.

Writer Brian Hitch is doing a stunning job crafting a story where you know the so called saviour of earth is bad, but he is doing everything right to get the people of the planet on his side by performing miracles throughout the world. There is a real sense of a world changing event happening with the overhanging feel of foreboding menace just around the corner, the real strength of any JLA book is the members of the team and even though in this story they are split across time and space. You never loose the sense that these are the top players of the DC Universe that can overcome any threat they encounter.

It should also be noted that Hitch is not only writing but also doing the artwork for this book a feat I can only applaud, as his standard of artwork which in my opinion is always excellent doesn't seem compromised by doing both. His attention to detail not only on characters but also in background work is one of his strengths, again this is only my opinion but I know what I like and I like Brian's work.

JLA has fast become one of my must read monthly books and for me is one of the best books been put out by DC at the moment, which is a surprise as it doesn't sit within present DC continuity or the events going on within any of the teams other books. Bruce is still Batman, Superman still has his powers and Hal isn't the lone wolf he is in his book at the moment. I cannot comment on Flash and Wonder Woman as I don't read their books, but I would be surprised if this book tied in to any of those two titles.

Were only at issue 3 so back issues shouldn't be hard to find, so do yourself a favour get down to your local comic shop and pick them up.