April 18, 2015
Robin of Loxley (Kevin Costner) returns to England from the Crusades accompanied by Azeem (Morgan Freeman), a Moor whose life he saved while in captivity. Upon his arrival Robin learns that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) has had his father killed and his family lands confiscated. Soon Robin leads a growing band of thieves in an attempt to unseat the Sheriff and prevent his plot to overthrow King Richard I and rule the whole of England.
April 17, 2015
Issue #7, published this week, does not reveal the identity of the new Thor. It does, however, provide some excellent plot developments in other areas. The highlight is definitely a knock-down brawl between the new Thor and the Destroyer - which has been sent by Odin to retrieve Mjolnir at any cost.
There's an over-arching narrative about challenging the patriarchy going on here. It's not just that there's a woman claiming to be Thor - and doing a damn fine job of it too - there's also the ongoing issue that a revived Odin has returned to Asgard after a long absence, overthrown his much more effective wife as ruler, and is slowly going about destroying everything she worked to build up. One senses that such insanity will not stand.
Jason Aaron's a great writer, and Russell Dautermann is doing some outstanding artwork. I do wish they'd pull the pin and reveal Thor's secret identity, but for this issue at least the rest of the book was strong enough that I didn't mind too much. (4/5)
Marvel. Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Russell Dautermann. Colours by Matthew Wilson.
Under the cut: reviews of Doctor Who, Giant Days, Lumberjanes, Ms Marvel and Revival.
April 16, 2015
In Punch-out!! the player controlled aspiring boxer Little Mac as he fought a series of matches leading up to a challenge against the world heavyweight champion. In the American edition, this champion was real-life boxer Mike Tyson, and the game was released for the first few years internationally as Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. The game itself pre-dates Mike Tyson's name, of course. It was originally an arcade exclusive title created by Nintendo manager Genyo Takeda, and the NES version released in 1987 was actually the fifth iteration of the franchise.
April 15, 2015
This month sees the next stage for the popular character Bloodshot commence, with Jeff Lemire and Mico Suavan's Bloodshot Reborn.
Bloodshot Reborn features Ray Garrison. He used be Bloodshot, a super-powered government assassin. Now he's an ordinary man, working as a motel handyman during the day and lying awake at night - tormented by the memory of all the people he has killed. When a random killing spree is undertaken by a stranger wearing Bloodshot make-up, Ray finds himself irresistibly drawn back towards the life he had willingly left behind.
The beauty of this first issue is that it clearly functions as an effective sequel to the monthly Bloodshot comic, yet it also works exceptionally well as a starting point for new readers. That's something Valiant really get that Marvel and DC often don't: every comic book is a first issue for somebody. Obviously as issue #1 this is a strong entry point, but to be honest I've found every Valiant comic I've read this month to be just as easy to get into.
Jeff Lemire's script is great: it re-introduces the character and rapidly fills the reader in all of the required back story. Mico Suavan's artwork is fantastic: it's richly detailed, and atmospheric. If you haven't sampled Valiant's stuff before, this seems as good a place as any to start. If you enjoy well-told, original superhero comics, they're consistently doing some of the best in the business. (5/5)
Valiant. Written by Jeff Lemire. Art by Mico Suavan. Colours by David Baron.
Under the cut: reviews of The Fly: Outbreak, Star Trek and Unity.
After a brief present-day prologue, the action of this graphic novel shifts to the West Indies in the year AD 1701, where sailor Catfoot Crogan suffers a series of misadventures that lead him into a life of piracy - and a fight to the death with the traitorous pirate mate D'Or.
This is a 200-page all-ages story of piracy in the West Indies. It's backed by some solid historical research and beautifully paced. I found in an immensely enjoyable and breezy read; the sort of graphic novel where you're reading quite fast and non-stop to get to the end.
April 14, 2015
The film focuses on war between Icepeak, ruled by Queen Juliana and her sorceror son Nekron, and Firekeep, ruled by the stern warrior king Jarol. Jarol's daughter Teegra is kidnapped by Nekron's soldiers, and it is up to a barbarian named Larn and a mysterious warrior named Darkwolf to rescue her - and to defeat Nekron once and for all.
Oh boy. The clichés. The clichés - they burn.
Copperhead is another space western, although in this case it wears its western influences a bit more boldly on its sleeve. It's set in a small frontier town. There are violent conflicts with the neighbouring indigenous population. It's a fairly rough, lawless community, with one bold, hard-minded sheriff named Clara Bronson trying against all odds to keep social order.
The first story arc was recently collected into a cheaply priced trade paperback, and this past week saw the book continue with its sixth monthly issue. It's the start of a new storyline, and as such a great opportunity for new readers to pick it up and run with it. I strongly recommend that they do: after a slightly shaky beginning this book has gone from strength to strength.
There's plenty to enjoy here: a sheriff balancing law-keeping with motherhood, a son who's befriended the most dangerous person in town, a slightly untrustworthy deputy who's being constantly tempted to betray his boss, a corrupt sheriff, and plenty more. The characters are really strong, and Scott Godlweski's artwork is fantastic. (4/5)
Image. Written by Jay Faerber. Art by Scott Godlewski. Colours by Ron Riley.
Under the cut: reviews of Nameless and ODY-C, plus late reviews of Plunder and Lumberjanes.
April 13, 2015
While Commander Tucker (Connor Trinneer) and Ambassador Soval (Gary Graham) head into Andorian space to prevent an interstellar war, Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) and the Vulcan agitator T'Pau (Kara Zediker) make their way across the Vulcan wilderness in a race to reach the capital.
This episode concludes the second Enterprise Season 4 trilogy, and it suffers many of the same problems. Put simply: there's not enough plot included to stretch out to 120 minutes, and there's too great a reliance on shoe-horning in every continuity reference and callback imaginable. The result is an episode where one spends a lot of time drumming one's fingers - save for the moments where one is throwing things at the screen.