August 31, 2018

The Pull List: 25 July 2018, Part 2

After 32 issues, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen's epic science fiction epic reaches its final issue; well, it sort of reaches it. Events pick up where issue #31 left off - a super-advanced civilization of artificially intelligent robots has returned to the galaxy to judge humanity's crimes against robot-kind and deliver a final genocidal punishment.

Expect a neatly tied-up conclusion for your 32 issues' of patience and you may be sorely disappointed. Things even in a cataclysmic but also wide-open fashion. There's no sense of resolution, but rather destruction on a mass scale and a hook to follow-up series Ascender in early 2019. It feels a bit like a switcheroo, since this isn't an end of a story all but rather the end of a chapter. Next year things pick up a decade later and with a new fantasy bent to things instead of the science fiction setting that has been used so far. It feels oddly unsatisfactory, and a little like the readers have been cheated.

I will probably check out Ascender when it arrives, but as a reader I'm not entirely happy with how this first series has panned out. (3/5)

Descender #32. Image. Written by Jeff Lemire. Art and colours by Dustin Nguyen.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Detective Comics and Green Arrow.

August 30, 2018

Dreamcast20 #16: Sonic Adventure

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.

Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega' most famous and popular mascot character, so it's no surprise that one of the Dreamcast's first major releases would be a new Sonic videogame. Sonic Adventure was a bold attempt to advance the Sonic franchise in much the same way that Nintendo had transformed and updated Super Mario Bros with the 3D action-adventure title Super Mario 64. To be honest, Sega's attempt was only a partial success - but those bits that did succeed were a lot of fun to play.

August 27, 2018

The Pull List: 25 July 2018, Part 1

It is the final issue of another of Saga's six-episode story arc, and as always it ends with surprises and gut-wrenching emotion. The Will has killed Prince Robot, and all that stands between him and the other refugees is Marko. A fight ensues.

That makes it a somewhat unusual issue of Saga. We don't usually see actual honest-to-god comic fights in this book. Moments of violence, yes. Character beats, yes. Enormous genitals honestly more often than I think non-readers would guess. A pitched one-on-one fight really stands out. It has a proper and genuine impact. Of course the writing is always good, and it is here too. The art and colours are always impressive and beautiful to read - except maybe for the enormous genitals. This issue, however, is one of those particularly impactful ones - and in part that's really frustrating because this is the last issue before creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples take a minimum 12 month sabbatical.

You can't really discuss this issue without ruining it. If you're reading Saga this issue is one of the particularly good ones. If you're not reading Saga I can only urge you to buy Volume 1 and read it from the beginning. You'll probably thank me. (5/5)

Saga #54. Image. Written by Brian K. Vaughan. Art and colours by Fiona Staples.

Under the cut: reviews of Doomsday Clock, Justice League Dark, and Mera: Queen of Atlantis.

August 26, 2018

The Pull List: 18 July 2018, Part 2

Aisha is not expected to survive in her hospital bed for much longer, but before she can get to her Medina has to survive escaping the apartment building. This is a rocket of a horror comic, sprinting at breakneck speed with everything brought up to a terrifying climax. It caps off a sensational five-issue miniseries.

Aaron Campbell nails the artwork in this finale, shifting style and tone from page to page to match the requirements of the script. As for that script, Pornsak Pichetshote absolutely perfects the ending. This has been a tremendous story about racism, religious intolerance and nightmarish surreal horror. Horror is a hard genre to do in comic book form: it relies so much on the unknown, yet unlike film - which can flash moment of fear at a viewer - or prose - which forces the reader to imagine the nightmare - the comic book delivers still images which can be stared at and examined for as long as the reader chooses. It's a challenge that the writing and art absolutely meet. If you like horror, you need to put the impending trade paperback onto your to-read list.

This has been a fabulous debut for Pichetshote. I cannot wait to read what comes next. (5/5)

Infidel #5. Image. Written by Pornsak Pichetshote. Art by Aaron Campbell. Colours by Jose Villarrubia.

Under the cut: reviews of The Avengers, Justice League, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Vs, and The Wild Storm.

August 23, 2018

Dreamcast20 #17: Sega Bass Fishing 2

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.

I am not usually a fan of sports games, but in the case of Sega Bass Fishing and its sequel I found myself making a surprised exception. The first game was entertaining enough, but as is often the case the 2001 sequel added an impressive list of additional features that made it a richer and more appealing game. There was an expected tournament mode, but also a more relaxing free fishing mode that simply let the player go fishing in the location and style of their choice.

August 21, 2018

The Pull List: 18 July 2018, Part 1

Kate Kane is back in Gotham City, caring for her sister at last and teaming up with ex-girlfriend Detective Renee Montaya to fight another unexpected super-criminal. That makes this issue an incredible breath of fresh air, replacing the overwrought anguish and self-analysis that has flooded this title for multiple volumes with likeable characters and a well-developed story. I had almost given up on the character, but as always a back-to-basics approach saves the day.

Renee is a fabulous character and it's great to see her return to the DCU. One assumes that with the last reboot her history as the Question has been erased, which is a shame - but there's always the possibility of pushing her back in that direction in future. Her arrival also continues pushing this title for strong female characters, putting her alongside not just Kate and Alice but Julia Pennyworth as well. Fernando Blanco's artwork continues to be solid, serving the story ahead of anything else. With luck this new approach will continue for a while. With the CW Network preparing a Batwoman television series, it would be a shame to have the comic book end now of all times. (4/5)

Batwoman #17. DC Comics. Written by Marguerite Bennett. Art by Fernando Blanco. Colours by John Rauch.

Below the cut: reviews of Batman, The Immortal Hulk, Quantum & Woody and Shadowman.

August 19, 2018

The Pull List: 11 July 2018, Part 2

It feels a weird choice on DC's part to have Brian Michael Bendis write both Superman and Action Comics. Perhaps it was Bendis' demand when negotiating to come over from Marvel to write for the company. Perhaps DC's editors simply wanted to have a unified pair working in synch. Either way it feels like a weird redundancy.

It's an enjoyable first issue, picking up threads from the Man of Steel miniseries, but at the same time there is an unsatisfactory dourness about things. Superman performs best as an upbeat character, and to see him in both books as a morose and unhappy character feels tonally wrong. Hopefully it will pick up in the coming months, but for now Superman feels like what it is: a DC title getting written by a Marvel writer. You just want Clark to be having a better time. The art is very strong, thanks to the immeasurably talented Prado and Reis.

There's a mixture of the good and the predictable going on here. A conversation between Superman and the Martian Manhunter, in which Superman keeps zooming away to fix momentary crises, feels overly familiar, and the Manhunter's suggestion that Superman should become the world's de facto leaders feels tonally very wrong indeed. Other moments feel stronger - particularly the pretty awesome cliffhanger ending - but overall this remains a very good issue that never quite manages to be the great one that DC promised. (4/5)

Superman #1. DC Comics. Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by Joe Prado and Ivan Reis. Colours by Alex Sinclair.

Under the cut: reviews of The Crow: Memento Mori, Detective Comics, Isola, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Mech Cadet Yu, Port of Earth, Rat Queens, and Transformers: Unicron.

August 10, 2018

Dreamcast20 #18: Ikaruga

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.

I am a huge fan of scrolling shoot-em-up games, in which the player controls a little spaceship shooting at a relentless swarm of enemy spaceships. I say this despite being absolutely terrible at playing them; once they get more frenzied than Galaga or Dragon Spirit (which swapped spaceships out for dragons), I am floundering. That aside, one of my absolute favourites is Ikaruga: an innovative shoot-em-up for arcades and the Dreamcast produced by the Japanese developer Treasure.

August 1, 2018

The Pull List: 11 July 2018, Part 1

Carter Hall's investigation into his past lives takes him to the British Museum - and an unexpected slip back thousands of years to ancient Egypt.

Full credit to writer Robert Venditti, who has certainly committed one hundred per cent to his strategy of untangling Hawkman's tortured and contradictory back story by making all previous takes on the character true at the same time. It will take time to see if this plan results in a satisfying story - which is always the bottom line - but this second issue feels more focused than the first, and does show off the concept in a clearer fashion.

Of course the larger selling point for this new volume of Hawkman is Bryan Hitch's artwork. It is tremendous, as Hitch's work generally is, with a strong combination of splash pages and smaller panel-based art. It's well inked by Andrew Currie and Daniel Henriques, with solid colours by Jeremiah Shipper. Even if this time-crossing storyline stumbles, it will at least look great while it does. (4/5)

Hawkman #2. DC Comics. Written by Robert Venditti. Art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Daniel Henriques. Colours by Jeremiah Shipper.

Under the cut: reviews of Daredevil, Ms Marvel, Oblivion Song, and Star Wars: Darth Vader.

The Angriest: July 2018 in review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" is an odd sex comedy episode, but my review of it was far and away the most popular post on The Angriest this past month. The Season 5 reviews were pretty much the most popular posts in July, including "Nor the Battle to the Strong" and "The Ship". Over at FictionMachine, and the review of the excellent Taiwanese documentary Black Bear Forest was the most popular new post, yet the 2016 essay on the making of Bedknobs and Broomsticks remained the most-read post overall.

Overall in July 2018, I reviewed 10 new theatrical or festival films, four older films, five TV episodes, two videogames, and 47 comic books. A complete list of reviews, published at The Angriest, FictionMachine, VCinema, and FilmInk, is included below.