The book, subtitled "A Magnus the Black Mystery", introduces Magnus - a strong warrior hiring himself out to kill or defend people on the road. He lives at a time when Christians are swarming up the Norwegian coast, replacing the old religion with a new one and doing a fairly violent job on anybody bold enough to resist. In this new world Magnus agrees to escort a Cardinal up the dangerous 'black road'.
It is a well-written and evocative issue, which takes a surprisingly even hand on Christianity in a story that could easily flat-out demonise it. It also creates a strong hook into the next five issues. It's great to see Wood and Brown together - they're still working on The Massive: Ninth Wave of course (see below) - and it's great to see Wood back in a historical setting with which he works so well. (4/5)
Black Road #1. Written by Brian Wood. Art by Garry Brown. Colours by Dave McCaig.
Under the cut: reviews of Black Canary, Gotham Academy and The Massive: Ninth Wave.
DC Comics. Written by Brenden Fletcher. Art by Moritat and Sandy Jarrell. Colours by Lee Loughridge.Black Canary is back in Gotham with Batgirl after a ninja death cult has fixated upon her to teach them a specific and obscure martial arts manoeuvre. It's a cue for what Black Canary has been doing best: fun storylines, engaging and amusing dialogue, and a great sort of indie rock sensibility that has really set it out from its contemporaries at DC. It's a real joy to read Canary and Batgirl team up again, Birds of Prey style. All this and my favourite cover for the week too. (4/5)
DC Comics. Written by Brenden Fletcher, Michael Dialynas and David Petersen. Art by Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Annie Wu,Michael Dialynas and David Petersen. Colours by Adam Archer, Serge Lapointe.Comments I have made about the last few issues of Gotham Academy continue to stand here: this anthology approach for the "Yearbook" story arc is giving a lot of cool writers and artists the chance to play with the Academy characters, but they're doing it at the expense of any serious momentum on the book - which has been killed stone dead. As an annual this yearbook concept would have been perfect. As a multi-issue story arc it has long outlived its welcome, and that's distracting from what are some pretty great short-format stories. (3/5)
Dark Horse. Written by Brian Wood. Art by Garry Brown. Colours by Jordie Bellaire.Two Wood/Brown comic books in a week! Trouble hits Ninth Wave when they elect - against their standard eco-activist remit - to escort a group of civilians from a warzone to safety. It brings a lot more trouble than Ninth Wave leader Callum Israel was expecting. This is another short, sharp, perfectly composed one-shot from a mini-series of such one-shots. It's nice to read issues like this that are intelligent, concise and entertaining. (4/5)