October 7, 2018

The Pull List: 15 August 2018

One day soon, when The Wicked + the Divine has concluded, I am going to go back and re-read the entire series from issue #1. It is such an exceptionally developed and presented work that it just begs for additional scrutiny, and time to really appreciate what an excellent work of narrative art it is. The story is complex and has gradually unfolded in the most effective of ways. The artwork is among the best being published today.

In the 38th issue, a lot of questions are raised. Someone dead may be alive. Someone may be giving up godhood. Someone else has gone missing from, well, pretty much everywhere. Things are clearly nearing the ultimate climax, and it's all getting rather intense.

Every time I praise this series I find myself compelled to start with Jamie McKelvie's artwork. Simply put, there's no one in the industry who captures emotions on face than he does. He accentuates the emotion of Gillen's scripts immeasurably. He makes the characters seem real. I don't know how many more issues we've got to go, but he's making every one of them an absolute treasure. (4/5)

The Wicked + the Divine #38. Image. Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Jamie McKelvie. Colours by Matthew Wilson.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Batman, Batwoman, Beneath the Dark Crystal, Doctor Strange, Justice League, Ninja-K, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Usagi Yojimbo, and The Wild Storm.

October 3, 2018

Dreamcast 20 #15: Samba de Amigo

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast, Sega's final - and in my opinion the finest - home videogame console. Despite a range of excellent games, it simply failed to compete against Sony's PlayStation 2. To celebrate, The Angriest counts down its 20 best games.

As I noted in an earlier review of Sega Bass Fishing 2, the Dreamcast was a console big on peripherals, with multiple titles making use of their own dedicated controllers. Samba de Amigo is another one. A charming rhythm action game, it's core appeal came in its own special extras: a pair of maracas.

Seriously, who doesn't want to play a smiling monkey shaking a pair of maracas in time with the music?

October 2, 2018

The Pull List: 8 August 2018, Part 2

Rice and Mac break all manner of laws pursuing their alien suspect, and enter the spaceport for the first time. Some period later, their encounter is discussed on the news, and some difficult questions are asked.

There is a superb slow build to Port of Earth, as each issue pushes the core narrative forward to the next surprise and then comments on and illuminates the action via the framing device of a television interview. This drip-fed world building makes this an addictive read, as well as a smart and political slice of science fiction.

I am particularly liking Andrea Mutti's artwork, which has a semi-realistic, rather scratchy style that enhances the drama nicely. This is a very dramatic, straight-faced work, without much room for comedy in Zack Kaplan's scripts. It's been progressively getting better too; it's worth getting the first two trade paperbacks to catch up. (4/5)

Port of Earth #8. Image. Written by Zack Kaplan. Art by Andrea Mutti. Colours by Vladimir Popov.

Under the cut: reviews of Catwoman, Daredevil, Detective Comics, Doctor Who, Hawkman, Invader Zim, Mech Cadet Yu, Oblivion Song, and Spider-Man.

The Angriest: September 2018 in review

Reviews of comic books, including Giant Days and The Immortal Hulk, proved the most popular new post at The Angriest last month. Over at FictionMachine it was a retrospective review of Spider-Man 2 that proved the greatest new attraction.

It was a slow month in September due to work and health commitments. That said, it was very much a month for quality over quantity: online publications included an interview with Star Trek's Gates McFadden and a full-length essay on Japanese classic Humanity and Paper Balloons, plus reviews of four new theatrical and festival releases, three older films, the first episode of The Crown, and short reviews of 19 comic books. All the links are below the cut:

September 26, 2018

The Pull List: 8 August 2018, Part 1

Imagine the thinnest of stories draped over a sales catalogue; that is essentially what you get from Sandman Universe, a fairly expensive launch for DC Vertigo's new line of fantasy and horror comic books based on Neil Gaiman's famous series The Sandman. In the Dreaming, the mystical world where everybody from humans to gods go to dream, something is going terribly wrong. The search to find Daniel, the Dreaming's immortal ruler, takes Matthew the raven across worlds and to the set-ups of a raft of new stories and adventures.

I completely understand DC's desire to revisit and expand the world of The Sandman. They are launching with a couple of new and old series: The Books of Magic, The Dreaming, Lucifer, and House of Whispers. To be honest, all four look fairly promising in a 'could swing either way' fashion. Also being honest: each little prologue feels exactly like the sort of five-page preview that DC releases online every week. So is there entertainment value here? Absolutely there is. Does it also feel like a bit of a cheap rip-off. Absolutely it does. A hell of a lot like one. How desperate are you to read these new books? (2/5)

Sandman Universe #1. DC Vertigo. Written by Neil Gaiman, Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, and Dan Watters. Art by Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike "Domo" Stanton, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara. Colours by Max Lopes.

Under the cut: reviews of Star Wars: Darth Vader, Suicide Squad, Superman, and Sword Daughter.

September 20, 2018

The Pull List: 1 August 2018, Part 2

Journalist Jacqueline McGee is on the hunt for a story: the apparent resurrection of Dr Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk. Joining her on her assignment this issue is Walter Langkowski, better known by his own alter-ego Sasquatch and also Banner's former college roommate.

We're now four issues into The Immortal Hulk. The first three issues have had an almost anthology-esque structure to them, with each story using a darker, more threatening version of the character to tell horror stories. This issue feels like a much more conventional superhero comic, firming up an ongoing narrative and reconnecting Banner and the Hulk back into the Marvel Universe. It is a perfectly solid approach, but I do hope writer Al Ewing can strike a balance between the horror stories and the superhero ones. The first three issues were just too good to lose. Joe Bennett provides excellent illustrations with inker Ruy Jose. (3/5)

The Immortal Hulk #4. Marvel. Written by Al Ewing. Art by Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose. Colours by Paul Mounts.

Under the cut: reviews of Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor, Giant Days, and Green Arrow.


September 17, 2018

The Crown 1.01: "Wolferton Splash"

I have never had a particular interest in the British royal family. I don't actively dislike any of them, but I do prefer republics to constitutional monarchies, and I have never supported the creepy tabloid culture that surrounds them like an unwanted parasite. As a result I did not rush to see Netflix's big-budget historical drama The Crown, that begins in the final years of King George VI's life before focusing soon into the series on his daughter Queen Elizabeth II.

That has been my loss. It turns out, from the debut episode at least, that The Crown is one of those rare television series whose quality is so pronounced that its subject matter seems almost entirely irrelevant. It is a series about people: their wants and needs, and their struggle to transcend the obstacles that lie in the way. The characters are richly drawn and uniformly performed to the most remarkable degree of quality. If you have not seen any of it yet, I strongly encourage you do give it a try. The hype is there with reason.

September 16, 2018

The Pull List: 1 August 2018

Seven to Eternity returns after a break with its 10th issue. I am happy for the book to take its time, because the intricately detailed artwork of Jerome Opeña must take an absolute age to compose - and I'd rather it look great that come out on a monthly schedule.

We pick up where we left off, with Adam Osidis having betrayed his companions to rescue the Mud King. Now they travel towards the mysterious Springs of Zaal, where Adam may finally receive a cure to the disease that is slowly killing him. That journey is interrupted by pirates who descend upon them from balloons.

It isn't just the artwork that makes this book so strong; it's the rich and distinctive fantasy world that Rick Remender has developed with which to tell his story. It's familiar in many respects, but peppered with superb original concepts and cultures. Want a great fantasy comic book? Look no further. (5/5)

Seven to Eternity #10. Image. Written by Rick Remender. Art by Jerome Opeña

Under the cut; reviews of Batman, Delta 13, Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor, Giant Days, Green Arrow, The Immortal Hulk, Justice League, Mister Miracle, and Scales & Scoundrels.