Those trying this new book out based purely on Rat Queens are likely in for a shock. This isn't a comedic title like that one, It doesn't boast a female cast like that one either. It's also a slightly maddening experience: I enjoyed this first issue a hell of a lot, and it's definitely got me hooked into reading the second, but I couldn't actually tell you what the book is about.
We start with a man in a car, cut up and bleeding. He arrives at the hospital, and is confronted by another man. Just when we might be getting a handle on what's going on the comic shifts. Now we're in Vietnam during the war. By the time we get to grips with this aspect of the storyline, it shifts somewhere else entirely.
It's intriguing stuff, and it's well illustrated by Johnny Christmas with a style slightly reminiscent of Eduardo Risso. As a first issue of a comic, however? I'm not quite certain it works. I liked what I read a hell of a lot. I can imagine a lot of other readers getting frustrated. (4/5)
Pisces #1. Image. Written by Kurtis J. Weibe. Art by Johnny Christmas. Colours by Tamra Bonvillain.
Under the cut: reviews of He-Man, Knights, Multiversity and Plunder.
DC Comics. Written by Dan Abnett. Art by Pop Mahn. Colours by Mark Roberts.Skeletor is back. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe ran a whole 19 issues without He-Man's iconic nemesis showing up, but he more than makes up for it here arriving with Beast Man, Evil Lyn, Trapjaw - basically my toy collection from when I was nine years old. Let's be honest: men in their late 30s are the primary audience for this sort of book because it gives us a little nostalgic thrill. The nostalgia was at an all-time high this month. Note: nothing in this issue bears any relation to its cover. (3/5)
Underbelly Comix. Story and art by Henri Tervapuro.This is actually a 2008 comic book from Finland, but thanks to independent publisher Underbelly Comix Henri Tervapuro's rambling, rather charming story of two knights wandering around fighting monsters are finally reaching an English-speaking audience. Readers of Lewis Trondheim's wonderful Dungeon books will be right at home here: they're rather simple stories, but they're laugh-out-loud funny and very distinctively illustrated. Plus they're soaked in whimsy: you can impress me with tight storytelling and astonishing artwork, and you can thrill me with drama or horror, or any number of things, but if you really want to grab my attention and make me your fan, go with whimsical every time. It's the tone that's purpose-built for comic books. I really hope there's a lot more of this to come in the future, because I'm already addicted. (5/5)
DC Comics. Written by Grant Morrison. Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Eder Ferreira and Jaime Mendoza. Colours by Dan Brown, Jason Wright and Blond.I had honestly thought Multiversity had reached its odd, shambolic conclusion with Ultra Comics last month, so this actual final issue came as something of a surprise. To be honest it's all over the place, throwing a cast of hundreds onto the page in some weird hope some of it is going to stick. Ultimately it's all rather incoherent. Part of the problem is that I've seen Morrison write this sort of stuff before, and to be honest in the past he's written it much, much better. There's some enjoyable stuff here, and some great layouts by Ivan Reis, but it's all a bit messy and overblown. And, for now, over. (2/5)
Boom Studios/Archaia. Written by Swifty Lang. Art by Scuds McKinley. Colours by Jason Wordie.I was pretty disparaging of Plunder's second issue, which seemed to be little more than a rewrite of John Carpenter's The Thing, relocated to a cargo ship off the African coast. Thankfully this third issue expands and elaborates and helps make it into its own story. The Carpenter influence is still there, but it's diminished - replaced by some interesting ideas and some great visuals by Scuds McKinley. The book's real strength remains the same: it's got an interesting setting and an original set of characters. With one issue to go, it looks set for a strong, urgent climax. (3/5)