October 18, 2017

The Pull List: 11 October 2017, Part 1

Scott Snyder epic and ridiculous story of dark universes and evil Batmen continues for a third instalment. This one feels as if the story has jumped forward a little too much, suggesting that all of those Batman one-shots in recent weeks were more of a necessary read that DC had previously suggested. What we get here is a lot of fast catching-up on how America is falling to the dark universe Batmen, followed by an assembly of remaining heroes working out a plan of fighting back.

The issue moves in fits and starts. It really does lack any iconic action, although the central hero meeting in the Oblivion Bar is a hugely enjoyable one. Fans of Detective Chimp will get an immediate thrill, as will anybody who enjoys these kinds of widescreen-style superhero event titles. The combination of characters is clever and effective, and while this issue feels like a bit of a drop in quality it does set up the future well.

Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion's artwork is excellent, and really sells the dynamic, over-the-top nature of the story. The colours by FCO Plascencia give everything a rich and dramatic look. It's imperfect, but this issue does keep Snyder's epic going. (3/5)

Dark Nights: Metal #3. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. Colours by FCO Plascencia.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension, Hulk, Kull Eternal and Star Trek: Boldly Go.

October 17, 2017

Colditz: "Liberation"

It is 1 April 1974, and time for the final episode of Colditz.

The American and Russian armies are both storming through Germany, as the prisoners-of-war in Colditz Castle wait to discover what happens first: rescue or execution at the hands of the SS. The Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) recognises that, regardless of which army reaches the castle first, his time in command is over, and begins arrangements to transfer control to Colonel Preston (Jack Hedley) and Colonel Dodd (Dan O'Herlihy).

After 28 episodes and two seasons, Colditz comes to a conclusion with this straight-forward and hugely dignified final act. Truth be told, there is not a huge amount of suspense to be found here. We know from history that Colditz was liberated, and that its prisoners were successfully rescued by the United States Army. The focus here is not the 'how' of the story, but rather on the effect the events have on the characters we have been watching for the past two seasons.

October 16, 2017

The Pull List: 4 October 2017

In the aftermath of the battle between the Paznina and Roto clans, Thea and Rollo find themselves lost in the so-called "Ancient Dark", where they find a community of humans in the last place they expected to find them.

Daniel Warren Johnson's post-apocalyptic Extremity returns for its second and final story arc, bringing with it strong and well-developed characters and absolutely stunning art and design. This is one of the best new comics of 2017 - if not the best - and it has lost none of its impact or style during its brief hiatus. Johnson picks up the story threads across the entire cast and points them all towards what I fear will be a devastating climax in the issues to come.

The detail of the artwork is incredible, particularly in one particularly impactful double-splash page where Thea gets her first glimpse of the mysterious "Essene". This is a wonderful comic book, and knowing that it has been planned as a limited 12-issue series from the outset just makes each issue feel a little more precious. (5/5)

Extremity #7. Image. Story and art by Daniel Warren Johnson. Colours by Mike Spicer.

Under the cut: reviews of All-Star Batman, Batman, Darth Vader, Giant Days, Green Arrow, Shadowman, Spider-Man, Superman and Usagi Yojimbo.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Homeward"

It is 17 January 1994, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Enterprise comes to the planet Boraal II to rescue Nikolai Rozhenko (Paul Sorvino), a noted Federation anthropologist and Worf's adoptive brother. Boraal II is suffering a total atmospheric collapse, killing the primitive population entirely - but Worf is shocked to discover his brother has broken the Prime Directive and saved an entire village from destruction.

Another episode of Season 7 that deals with family: this time introducing the son of Worf's adoptive human parents the Rozhenkos. It illuminates Worf's back story a little more, as well as provides a strong personal link to the ethical and moral quandaries raised by the episode. This is not an out-and-out classic episode, but it's one that definitely provides an interesting story with some proper issues to discuss.

October 14, 2017

The Pull List: 27 September 2017, Part 3

At an unexpected intersection between global finance and supernatural horror sits Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker's The Black Monday Murders. The series tells a story of rival, magically powerful houses controlling the world through its financial markets and a homicide detective trying to find out what they are doing. Hickman does this not just through the comic narrative but also through various documents - e-mails, press releases, newspaper clippings - interspersed between scenes of the main storyline. It's beautifully illustrated by Tomm Coker and hugely atmospheric, but it's also a stunning work of graphic design and layout.

It also gets dark - sometimes very dark - and this seventh issue is not only the darkest to date it's also certainly the very best. The story takes what feels like a significant step forwards here, as Detective Theodore Dumas and academic Tyler Gaddis buy their way into a meeting with the god Mammon - and the price is terrifyingly steep. It's a meeting that finally shifts the book from dark and creepy urban fantasy into full-blown horror, and the book is all the better for it.

Hickman is an uncompromising writer, and his creator-owned work rarely wastes time handing the story to his audience on a plate, but if you like intelligent and complex genre works in a comic book format he's genuinely tough to beat. The Black Monday Murders is incredible. (5/5)

The Black Monday Murders #7. Image. Written by Jonathan Hickman. Art by Tomm Coker. Colours by Michael Garland.

Under the cut: reviews of Generations: The Spiders, The Infinite Loop, and Rat Queens.

October 11, 2017

The Pull List: 27 September 2017, Part 2

In the past year or so UK publisher Titan Comics has expanded into publishing 'bandes desinees', French comics that sit somewhere between American-style floppy issues and trade collections. The page counts are generally higher per installment than their US-counterparts. In France they are usually handsomely packaged in hardcover editions. Here they're just repackaged as thick comic books, but it still affords readers a chance to experience stories that were previously unavailable in English.

The Beautiful Death, by writer/artist Mathieu Bablet, follows a group of young scavengers working their way through a massive dead city. After more than three years on the run every other human is long dead, and they are rapidly running out of supplies. They are being pursued by giant insectoid creatures intent on killing them, and the stress is beginning to tear them apart.

As a scenario it isn't strikingly fresh, but it is excellently developed and beautifully illustrated. The extra page length is a godsend here - you could honestly see the same plot get squeezed by an American creator into 20 pages. Instead the real loneliness and hopelessness of the situation has time to fully sink in. Bablet's art has a nice distinctive style to it, reminding me a little of Noelle Stevenson's Nimona in its aesthetic. Bablet's colouring work is masterful. (4/5)

The Beautiful Death #1. Statix Press/Titan Comics. Story and art by Mathieu Bablet.

Under the cut: reviews of Batgirl, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, Saga and War Mother.

October 10, 2017

Colditz: :"Death Sentence"

It is 25 March 1974, and time for the penultimate episode of Colditz.

Major Mohn may have departed from Colditz Castle, but Major Carrington still remains under a death sentence for threatening to kill him. As he execution approaches, Colonel Preston (Jack Hedley) impresses on the Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) that such a killing would amount to a war crime. As the American tanks approach, tensions within Colditz reach an all-time high.

The oddest aspect of "Death Sentence" is that while the plot is primarily focused on Phil Carrington, the character - played by Robert Wagner - does not actually appear. It creates a weird sort of Waiting for Godot vibe throughout the episode; you keep expecting Carrington to turn up, and he never actually does. There is probably a behind-the-scenes explanation for his absence, but it sure does make this episode weirder than it was likely intended to be.

October 8, 2017

The Pull List: 27 September 2017, Part 1

So Mr Oz, the mysterious hooded figure who has been trapping heroes and villains of various persuasions and monitoring Superman's ever move has revealed himself to be Jor-El of Krypton - Superman's presumed-dead father now living in hiding with a face full of kryptonite fragment.

Never judge a story before it's done. That said, DC and writer Dan Jurgens are doing their level best to make me judge this particular story as soon as possible. I really hate the idea. I cringe at the re-imagining of Jor-El as some kind of selfish villain intent to removing his son from the Earth and letting the planet destroy itself. It's not noble. It's not dignified. It flies in the face of everything we know of Jor-El from decades of comic book lore. I am still half-convinced that it's all a ruse, and a shock twist in a fortnight or two will unmask the real Mr Oz. Or perhaps I'm just hoping that's going to be the case.

Ryan Sook's artwork is strong and boldly coloured. Jurgen's script is solid enough, although its reliance on narrated flashbacks makes it all feel unnecessary static and uninvolved. After such a long build-up, I'm not so much feeling disappointed as angry. Please be a ruse... please be a ruse... (2/5)

Action Comics #988. DC Comics. Written by Dan Jurgens. Art by Ryan Sook.

Under the cut: reviews of Detective Comics, Hi-Fi Fight Club, The Power of the Dark CrystalRebels and X-O Manowar.

October 7, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Pegasus"

It is 10 January 1994, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Enterprise is co-opted for a secret mission by Admiral Erik Pressman (Terry O'Quinn), the former captain of the USS Pegasus - where Riker (Jonathan Frankes) was first posted. When it is revealed that the wreckage of the presumed-destroyed Pegasus may have been found, and that its destruction coincided with an unprecedented mutiny against Pressman, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) finds himself pitted against his own first officer to uncover the truth.

"The Pegasus" is a great little episode that takes the pristine, whiter-than-white image of Starfleet in The Next Generation, and then kicks a pretty firm dent in it. That's an enormous step for the series, and will be followed by several more in sister series Deep Space Nine. Watched now - particularly in the wake of CBS' new series Star Trek: Discovery - and it may seem a little tame. In 1994 it was pretty shocking stuff for the Star Trek universe.

October 5, 2017

The Pull List: 20 September 2017, Part 3

Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt are back with the second six-issue arc of The Wild Storm. It's wonderful to have it back.

This series takes the various characters of Jim Lee's Wildstorm Universe, long since subsumed by DC Comics, and re-works and re-imagines them into a contemporary science fiction story. I'm not sure if 'post-superhero' is a term, but it should be so that I can use it to describe this book. It has all the hallmarks of a superhero title, but instead it's a story of billionaire tech industry CEOs, black ops crews, and rival secret services ruling both Earth and the space around it.

Davis-Hunt's artwork is clean and expressive, and gently coloured by Steve Buccellato. Ellis' script is smart, well-plotted and does a remarkably great job of bringing new readers (and readers like me with bad memories) an excellent summary of the first six issues to brings everything back up to speed. This is a long game story that Ellis is telling; DC announced from the outset that it's a 24 issue story. So far it's pretty much brilliant, and a must-read for fans of Ellis and that blurry space between costumed heroes and near-future SF. (4/5)

The Wild Storm #7. DC Comics. Written by Warren Ellis. Art by Jon Davis-Hunt. Colours by Steve Buccellato.

Under the cut: reviews of Doctor Strange, Green Arrow, Kill the Minotaur, Nightwing, Secret Weapons and Star Trek: Boldly Go.

October 4, 2017

Riverdale: "A Touch of Evil"

Riverdale still reels from the death of rich teenager Jason Blossom, and the mystery over who murdered him. Archie (K.J. Apa) struggles over whether or not to tell the authorities what he knows of Jason's death. Meanwhile Betty (Lili Reinhart) stops talking to Veronica (Camila Mendes) over her kissing Archie at a party.

is an odd beast. It has a lot of positive elements: notably some great actors and a very well-defined mise-en-scene. At the same time it seems to want to be two different TV shows at the same time. My problem is that I am not really sure that either of the series Riverdale wants to be is one that I particularly care about watching.

October 1, 2017

The Angriest: September 2017 in review

Lieutenant Worf's crazy journey through an array of parallel universes in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Parallels" was a pretty fun episode to review, and it became the most-read post on The Angriest in September. You can read the review here. Also popular with readers were reviews of the Doctor Who episode "The Pandorica Opens" (link) and the Colditz episode "Chameleon" (link).

Altogether, in September 2017, I wrote one full-length film essay, two new films in cinemas, five older films, 10 TV episodes, one anime review, and short reviews of 51 comic books. A full list of posts with links is included below the cut. Thanks for reading The Angriest this past month.

The Pull List: 20 September 2017, Part 2

When God told Noah to build an ark and save all the animals of the natural world, it turns that Lucifer told a man named Shrae to build a second ark and save all the animals of the unnatural world. It's a neat little premise, and suggests a rather inventive story, but sadly Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe's Dark Ark stumbles badly out of the gate.

This new book from Aftershock simply feels dull. The concept works but the execution is sloppy. Bunn does not - in this issue at any rate - find an interesting enough story to build up his hook. There's some moping, and argumentative monsters, but no real indication on precisely where the story is supposed to go or why the readers should care. Juan Doe's artwork focuses a little too much on close-ups and head shots, without giving anything a particularly interesting background or sense of action. Then again, what sort of backgrounds can there be? The entire issue takes place on a ship in a storm.

A more interesting take might have focused on Shrae's journey to become the master of this 'dark ark'. Instead the most interesting parts of his story appear to have already happened.

Dark Ark #1. Aftershock. Written by Cullen Bunn. Art and colours by Juan Doe.

Under the cut: reviews of Cloudia & Rex, Generations: The Marvels, Invader Zim, and Superman.

September 26, 2017

The Pull List: 20 September 2017, Part 1

An unexpected ally helps Batman bring the "War of Jokes and Riddles" to a climax, in this presumably penultimate instalment of Tom King and Mikel Janin's current Batman epic.

It certainly feels climactic, with a few nicely played twists and turns, a very strong sense of 'ramping up', and some absolutely stunning artwork by Janin. The large cast of supporting players also helps to amp up the epic sense of scale.

That said, a continuing issue in this arc has been writer Tom King's tendency to tell the reader how devastating and violent the war has been, rather than actually showcasing it properly on the page. It has weakened everything slightly, and more than anything else is responsible from drawing the work back from 'future classic' to merely 'very good'. This all feels like it had the scope to be a major long-running arc along the lines of the big crossover events of the 1990s: "Knightfall", "Cataclysm", "No Man's Land", what-have-you. Despite being hugely enjoyable it's feeling like a missed opportunity at the same time. (4/5)

Batman #31. DC Comics. Written by Tom King. Art by Mikel Janin. Colours by June Chung.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Batwoman, Poe Dameron and Spider-Men II.

September 25, 2017

Doctor Who: "The Pandorica Opens"

 It is 19 June 2010, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

A message bounces from person to person through time and space until it finally reaches the Doctor (Matt Smith), and directs him to AD 102 England where he discovers River Song (Alex Kingston), Stonehenge, and the Pandorica - a fabled prison for the most dangerous criminal in the universe.

As showrunner of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat clearly had a different attitude to story arcs than his predecessor Russell T Davies. For Davies it was largely sufficient to develop a buzzword or catchphrase ("bad wolf", "Torchwood", "Mr Saxon") and then lead the audience along until the meaning of the phrase was used in the season finale. With Season 5 Moffat took a much more active approach. The crack in Amy Pond's (Karen Gillen) bedroom wall, the growing silence falling across the universe, the revelation that the TARDIS will explode in the future, and the teasing of the mysterious Pandorica by River Song back in "Flesh and Stone" all come together in one two-part finale - not to mention cameo appearances in the cold open by Vincent Van Gogh, Elizabeth X and Winston Churchill. I'm honestly not sure any season climax has previously felt so deliberately climactic.

September 22, 2017

The Pull List: 13 September 2017, Part 3

Nolan is a mercenary working in a post-apocalyptic United States. After one contract ends in bloodshed, Nolan picks up another: escorting four scientists across the country and ensuring they don't get murdered or eaten along the way.

The Realm is a standard kind of post-apocalyptic adventure with one key twist: while the circumstances remain unexplained, the marauding hordes threatening humanity are not zombies for once but rather fantasy animals. It is as if a Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual has been unleashed upon the Earth, spilling out orcs, drakes, dragons and who knows what else. It is a neat change that helps lift an otherwise very predictable storyline. I suspect how future issues explore and expand this fantasy setting will dictate the long-term quality of the book.

Also lifting the book's game is Jeremy Haun's extremely detailed and boldly inked artwork. It gives the book a level of style and prestige that does paper over the story weaknesses quite a bit. (3/5)

The Realm #1. Image. Written by Seth M. Peck. Art by Jeremy Haun. Colours by Nick Filardi.

Under the cut: reviews of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Ms Marvel, Ninjak and Sacred Creatures.

Colditz: "Chameleon"

It is 18 March 1974 and time for another episode of Colditz.

While the Kommandant (Bernard Hepton) is away, Major Mohn (Anthony Valentine) is left in charge of Colditz. When he learns via a lover that the German effort is close to defeat, and that his close connections to the Nazi government may see him executed for war crimes, he goes into a panic and tries ingratiating himself with the camp's prisoners.

"Chameleon" is an episode that has been a long time coming, ever since the deeply odious and unlikeable Horst Mohn joined the cast at the beginning of the season. He has constantly over-stepped his authority, broken the Geneva Convention, and pushed hard for the treatment of the prisoners to be harsher and more punitive than his superior has allowed. The swing in this episode is sudden and remarkable: he begins the episode at his most powerful to date, and ends it at his very lowest and most desperate.

September 21, 2017

The Pull List: 13 September 2017, Part 2

Runaways is a Marvel title about which I have heard a world of praise, and yet circumstance has resulted in me never actually reading the book myself. I figured I would correct that in a small part by sampling Marvel's new relaunch, which returns to a group of friends who bonded together when they discovered that their respective parents were all super-villains.

It's clear from the outset that this relaunch assumes prior knowledge of the characters, because while it explains the basics of the spell-caster Nico Minoru and the time-travelling Chase it never really pauses to properly re-introduce them. That put me at something of a disadvantage when reading issue #1: it tells a tense, very well written scene, but because I am not invested in its participants it does not have the intended effect. I suspect pre-existing fans will get a lot more value for money.

Kris Anka's artwork is reasonable, but it is lifted to a new level by Matthew Wilson's colours. This issue is a really good example of just how important and useful good colouring can be. (4/5)

Runaways #1. Marvel. Written by Rainbow Rowell. Art by Kris Anka. Colours by Matthew Wilson.

Under the cut: reviews of Hulk, Mech Cadet Yu, Mister Miracle and Spy Seal.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Inheritance"

It is 22 November 1993, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Enterprise hosts two scientists who are attempting to repair a planet whose magma is inexplicably cooling. One of the scientists, Dr Juliana Tainer (Fionnula Flanagan), reveals herself to be the former wife Dr Noonien Soong - the cyberneticist who created Data (Brent Spiner).

So after meeting a brother in Season 1, and a father in Season 4, Data finally completes his family set by meeting his de facto "mother". "Inheritance" is a weirdly flat and lifeless episode. The science fiction plot is so weirdly arbitrary and unimportant that it is barely worth noting. The development of Data and Dr Tainer's relationship is a meritable idea, but the execution is inexplicably dull. This is an easily skipped, readily forgotten episode.

September 20, 2017

The Pull List: 13 September 2017, Part 1

Dark Nights: Metal is a ridiculous miniseries: completely over-the-top, garishly silly, packed with DC Universe characters to the point of overload, and just wonderfully enjoyable to read.

It is a work that ties up plot strands that run back nine years to the climax of Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, and picks up elements from Scott Snyder's multi-year run on Batman along the way. It is essentially tailor-made for DC's hardcore fan base; I honestly don't know whether the casual reader will get confused by the various references and cameos or simply gloss over them. As one of the hardcore, I was delighted.

Snyder is really employing an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach, providing superhero action and team-ups, surprise cameos and continuity reference, inter-dimensional horror, and numerous twists and turns. The sudden appearance of The Sandman's Dream at the end of issue #1 is almost hand-waved away here. It's a smart approach that softens the jarring effect that it had then, but still opening the character up to return later in the series.

It's all wrapped up in Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion's fabulous artwork, that is just exaggerated enough and just detailed enough to hit that perfect superhero comic sweet spot. Metal isn't going to be for everyone, but for those for whom it is for, it's pretty much perfection. (5/5)

Dark Nights: Metal #2. DC Comics. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. Colours by FCO Plascencia.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Teen Titans.

September 19, 2017

Doctor Who: "The Lodger"

It is 12 June 2010, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

Amy (Karen Gillen) is trapped in the TARDIS after it ejects the Doctor (Matt Smith) and gets caught by an unexplained force. Stuck in modern-day Colchester, the Doctor is forced to rent a room and become the housemate of the unsuspecting Craig Owens (James Corden) until he can work out what it is that is preventing the TARDIS from landing.

 "The Lodger" is a strange little episode of Doctor Who that largely sees the Doctor trapped in present-day England and forced to pretend to be a normal human being for several weeks. The episode does have a science fiction plot at its core, but it is almost an arbitrary one. The bulk of the episode consists of Matt Smith trying - and failing - to look and act ordinary and not arouse any suspicions. It is messy, but also likeable.

September 17, 2017

The Pull List: 6 September 2017, Part 3

As a virulent virus spreads around the world, two first year college students begin their first day in a new dormitory. Lazaretto is a new five-issue miniseries from Clay McLeod Chapman and Jay Levang, that basically plays out a viral outbreak with its characters trapped inside a quarantine area.

This first issue is pretty much set-up of story and establishing characters, so it is a little difficult to fully judge the series at this stage. As a set-up it works perfectly well: we know the protagonists well enough, and we see them thrown into an extreme and potentially lethal situation. Is there enough to convince a reader to jump onboard for another four issues? That likely depends on how much that reader is willing to put their trust in the creative team I guess. I'm still on the fence.

I am also a little ambivalent about Jay Levang's artwork. The pencils and inks are rather scrappy and messy, I suspect intentionally so, and I am not sure it was the best visual style for the story that Chapman is attempting to tell. It looks a lot more like a fully independent kind of art style that you would usually see from a mid-level commercial publisher like Boom. I find myself very ambivalent about this book. It's good, but it's also not quite good enough. (3/5)

Lazaretto #1. Boom Studios. Written by Clay McLeod Chapman. Art and colours by Jay Levang.

Under the cut: reviews of Batman, Captain Phasma, Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor, Seven to Eternity, Spider-Man and Star Wars Adventures.

September 14, 2017

The Pull List: 6 September 2017, Part 2

Is there a comic book equivalent to cinema's "mumblecore" movement? The sort of shoe-gazing, low key conversational works that do not feel a need to have an urgent plot, and spend more time on introspection that traditional storytelling? Whatever that term is - and we may as well borrow mumblecore for convenience's sake - it applies very firmly to Sophie Yanow's What is a Glacier?

This autobiographical one-shot depicts a vacation to Iceland with a friend, and a bad romantic break-up. Yanow's artwork is almost gestural. Everything conforms to a simple six-panel grid in black and white. Detailed art is not the focus here, however. Instead it is a simple tool to express a rather effective exploration of anxiety.

The narrative is not clearly structured. As I alluded to above, it really is an introspective meander across a story rather than a tightly plotted drama. It is curiously effective: a simple way Yanow has drawn a line here, a description of being heartbroken there.

This is not the greatest comic of its type, but it is a good and effective one. Fans of this kind of comic - and you can probably work out if that's you from the cover art alone - will get a bunch out of this. Superhero book lovers may find it a challenge. (4/5)

What is a Glacier? Retrofit/Big Planet Comics. Story and art by Sophie Yanow.

Under the cut: reviews of Doom Patrol, 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, Superman, Usagi Yojimbo and The Wicked + the Divine.

Colditz: "Very Important Person"

It is 11 March 1974, and time for another episode of Colditz.

With the tide of war firmly turned against Germany, orders are dispatched that the Waffen-SS will be placed in charge of all prisoners of war. All famous or well-connect prisoners, known as the Prominente, are to be transferred to Berlin to be used as hostages in the event that the war turns ever more against the Germans. When one of the American officers in Colditz is revealed to be the son of an ambassador, he is scheduled for transportation - leading to a tense stand-off between the prisoners and the guards.

There is a sudden and stark shift in Colditz with this episode. The end of the war is suddenly in sight, leading to desperate measures by the Germans and the sudden realisation by the British and American prisoners that they may all wind up murdered by the SS before the war concludes. It plays out in the series' well-established understated style, and that makes the climactic stand-off all the more confrontational and tense.

September 13, 2017

The Pull List: 6 September 2017, Part 1

Penniless treasure hunter Luvander sets out from the city in search of hidden treasure and adventure, in this charmingly written and illustrated high fantasy comic. While Scales & Scoundrels will have its worked cut out for it to stand out among the growing number of fantasy comics on the market, writer Sebastian Girner and artist Galaad are off to a pretty sensational start.

The book benefits enormously from its whimsical tone, one that gives the story and characterisation a nice lift and also soaks through the wonderfully simple but evocative art and design. There's a sense of Boom's successful all-ages book Lumberjanes in the air that suits the material well and gives it a fresh and hugely entertaining new angle.

This is a book that is playing with genre stereotypes, but it does so energetically and knowingly. It's the latter that makes the difference. It also benefits from a great protagonist in Luvander, whose spiky, cynical wit is already establishing her as a great character. The plot of this first issue perhaps falls just a little bit short of fully satisfying - it is a little too open and unresolved - but as a complete package this looks like another great Image title to watch. (4/5)

Scales & Scoundrels #1. Image. Written by Sebastian Girner. Art and colours by Galaad.

Under the cut: reviews of Daredevil, Darth Vader, Giant Days, Green Arrow and Swordquest.

September 12, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Parallels"

It is 29 November 1993, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Reality begins to shift around Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn). At first it is only small changes: a painting jumps from wall to wall, and the flavour of a birthday cake changes. Then bigger jumps occur: Worf finds himself in a world where Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) has died, and then one where he and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) are married. Is he losing his mind, or has something gone terrible wrong with reality?

"Parallels" is a deeply silly trip through a bunch of parallel universes, one packed with nonsensical technobabble, unexpected cameos (welcome back Wesley Crusher after almost two years), and 'what if?' fan-pleasing scenarios. Thankfully it is all anchored by Michael Dorn's spectacularly funny performance as Worf, whose deadpan delivery makes it all seem hugely entertaining.

September 10, 2017

The Pull List: 30 August 2017, Part 2

With Seth Abbott's story winding to a close, and with three more issues left to go, Brian Wood's historical comic Rebels now shifts over to a trio of self-contained short stories. These short works often present Wood at his very best - as seen not only the previous volume of Rebels but also the likes of The Massive and Northlanders.

This issue does not disappoint. It focuses on a young George Washington leading a group of soldiers on a reconnaissance mission. When he stumbles upon an English fort that has been taken by the French, he disobeys orders and decides to retake it by force.

The George Washington presented here is not the noble founder of the United States that we usually see. Here we see an arrogant young military leader with a poor respect for command, a lack of interest in his men's safety, and a casual disregard to any arrangement or promise made to indigenous peoples in the Virginia area. Andrea Mutti's artwork is beautifully composed and illustrated, but it is Lauren Affe's colours that richly bring the story to life.

As a one-short story you can easily just pick up this issue and ignore the rest of the series. It's well worth the purchase, and hopefully may drive some more readers to Rebels and offer Dark Horse a chance to keep its richly textured historical stories going. (5/5)

Rebels #6. Dark Horse. Written by Brian Wood. Art by Andrea Mutti. Colours by Lauren Affe.

Under the cut: reviews of All-Star Batman, Ghostbusters 101 and Rapture.

Doctor Who: "Inferno"

It is 6 February 1965, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) races to escape Nero's court. Ian (William Russell) fights to escape the Roman Colosseum. The Doctor (William Hartnell) and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) fight to avoid being murdered and to get back to the villa in the country. Nero fiddles. Rome burns.

"The Romans" comes to its blazing conclusion in "Inferno", as the historical events of Rome's burning finally occur, and the four TARDIS occupants manage to make their way back to their villa before anybody notices anybody else was away. It's a successful return to the unusual blend of action, drama and comedy that made the first two episodes of the serial so good, with less of the English farce elements that dragged down the third.

September 8, 2017

Izetta: The Last Witch: "The Battle of Sognefjord"

It is 12 November 2016, and time for another episode of Izetta: The Last Witch.

To demonstrate Izetta's power to the allied nations, Finé pledges to destroy the Drachenfels - a newly built and immensely powerful Germanian aircraft carrier. On the ship itself, however, an ace Germanian captain prepares to defend the Drachenfels from the air, and Berkmann waits in the shadows to learn more of Izetta's powers.

We're up to episode 7 of Izetta: The Last Witch, and that is definitely long enough to get a firm understanding of the series' plot, tone and style. It is pretty clear at this stage that it's a series of two halves, one of which works exceptionally well and the other of which grates terribly on the nerves. What's a viewer to do?

September 7, 2017

The Pull List: 30 August 2017, Part 1

It is time for Titan's annual Doctor Who crossover. This year, instead of taking place as a separate miniseries, the crossover is going the regular title route. Following this opening chapter, the remainder is playing out across the monthly books for the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

There is no rush to hunt those books down, however, because truth be told The Lost Dimension is off to a horrifying start. The script by George Mann and Cavan Scott seems less interested in telling a dramatic story and more interested in packing in as many continuity references and cameos as possible, from the obvious (UNIT shows up, as does Jack Harkness) to the remarkably obscure (a bowship from "State of Decay"). In between these jarring cameos are momentary flashes of humour and charm, but they're utterly buried.

Then there is the return of the Doctor's cloned 'daughter' Jenny, last seen on television flying off to have adventures of her own in 2009's "The Doctor's Daughter". She was a gratingly irritating character on screen, and she is no more entertaining in print. The book even shoe-horns a way for her to briefly meet Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor with a cry of 'Dad!'; actress Georgia Moffett, who played Jenny on TV, is Davison's actual daughter.

This is the very worst kind of tie-in fiction. It is the sort of comic that gives all comics based on TV shows and films a bad reputation. I strongly recommend giving The Lost Dimension a miss. (1/5)

Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension #1. Titan Comics. Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott. Art by Rachael Stott with Cris Bolson, Pasquale Qualano, Elton Thomasi, Klebbs Jr and JB Bastos. Colours by Rod Fernandes.

Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Planetoid: Praxis and Saga.

September 5, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Force of Nature"

It is 15 November 1993, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

While the Enterprise is tracking a missing Starfleet vessel, the ship is brought to a standstill by the sabotage of a brother-and-sister team whose research suggests that warp travel may be fundamentally damaging space.

You can see the intent behind "Force of Nature", and it is a fairly noble one. Star Trek has always run a fairly strong line in social commentary, thinly veiled behind a science fiction cover. Here the series tries to take a look at environmental issues, but manages to fall flat on its face. Not only is the story relatively trite and dull, it is oddly short. That leaves an awful lot of time to be filled with a fairly silly and inconsequential B-plot.

September 4, 2017

The Pull List: 23 August 2017, Part 2

We're eight months through the year, and it's looking increasingly likely that my favourite book of 2017 is going to be Heathen. This independent book by writer/artist Natasha Alterici is just a wonderful read. The writing is striking and well characterised. The artwork is absolutely beautiful. As a combined package, with each issue coming in a beautiful matte finish cardstock cover, it's been a hard act to top.

Issue #5 sees Aldis setting out on her own again to secure passage north to the mysterious land of Heimdall. To do that she needs to convince the ship captain Makeda that it isn't a suicide mission, and that means one thing: mermaids.

The use of Norse mythology and fantasy creatures is beautifully done here, as is the very strong range of female characters throughout. Aldis herself was exiled from her own village for being a lesbian, and the book treats themes of female sexuality with heart and respect. Above all else this is simply a phenomenally readable book. It comes too slowly: at the end of every issue I desperately wish to read the next. (5/5)

Heathen #5. Vault Comics. Story and art by Natasha Alterici.

Under the cut: reviews of Batgirl, Doctor Aphra, War Mother and X-O Manowar.

September 3, 2017

The Angriest: August 2017 in review

All roads led to Rome in August; at least, the most popular post on The Angriest did. The review of Part 2 of the 1965 Doctor Who serial "The Romans" topped all other pieces for the month. You can read it here if you missed it. Other popular posts this month included comic reviews for 26 July (link), and a review from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (link).

Altogether in August 2017, I conducted one interview, 12 films in theatres (thanks mainly to the Melbourne International Film Festival), 7 older films, 9 TV episodes, one anime episode, and 62 comic books. A full list of my reviews and posts from The Angriest, FictionMachine and FilmInk for the month is included below. Thanks for reading.

Doctor Who: "Conspiracy"

It is 30 January 1965, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

The Doctor (William Hartnell) is requested to play the lyre for Emperor Nero (Derek Francis). Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) earns the ire of Empress Poppaea (Kay Patrick), who tries to have her poisoned. Ian (William Russell) is recaptured and sent to become a gladiator.

The most remarkable part of that plot summary is that it all plays out as the broadest of comedies. To an extent there is a method to writer Dennis Spooner's madness: there is a surprising amount of rather callous bloodshed and murder in Nero's court, and playing such events straight would clearly make the episode unsuitable for children. By playing the same events for laughs it superficially softens the blows while actually making it even more unsettling after the fact.

September 1, 2017

The Pull List: 23 August 2017, Part 1

Boom Studios have a real knack for publishing fun and inventive miniseries, usually taking something very familiar and then giving it a distinctive twist or creative take. They're at it again with Hi-Fi Fight Club, which essentially blends mediocre 1990s cult film Empire Records with another element revealed in the first issue's final page (it's not a fight club).

The characters are all very familiar, but are presented in a generally upbeat and enjoyable way. The artwork is very appealing, enhancing the very warm and optimistic tone of the book. The big challenge facing Hi-Fi Fight Club going forward is how to keep that very likeable tone but find fresh and original material to sustain it in the longer term.

If you are after a funny, very light-hearted book with a strong cast of female characters, this is definitely worth a look. It's another solid entry for Boom's growing range of similar titles. (3/5)

Hi-Fi Fight Club #1. Boom Studios. Written by Carly Usdin. Art by Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores. Colours by Rebecca Nalty.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, Daredevil, Detective Comics and The Power of the Dark Crystal.

August 31, 2017

Colditz: "Senior American Officer"

It is 4 March 1974, and time for another episode of Colditz.

Three high-ranking American prisoners are delivered to Colditz, including now-Major Phil Carrington (Robert Wagner) - who had escaped with Pat Grant at the end of Season 1. Rather than be placed with the British prisoners, the Americans are kept in isolation. They receive special privileges. Suspicions grow that at least one of them may be working for the Germans.

"Senior American Officer" is a neat little exercise in paranoia. It does not take long to discover the purpose behind the American's special treatment - the Gestapo has been attempting to get the names of the Hungarian resistance contacts with whom Carrington and his fellow officers met prior to their capture. This leads the British officers on a mole hunt: someone is clearly feeding information to the Germans - but who?

August 29, 2017

The Pull List: 16 August 2017, Part 3

Abram is a cosmonaut who experienced something indescribable in deep space, and who has now returned to Earth as a seemingly all-powerful and inscrutable superhuman. The character starred in three exceptional miniseries over recent years, the most recent of which saw the entire world transformed into an alternate reality where the Soviet Union ruled the planet.

That crisis has been averted, and this special prologue issue sees Abram re-acquainting himself with the various Valiant heroes and finding his niche among them.

The writing is a little dry and narration-heavy, but then it is just a prologue issue and not the start of Divinity proper.

The real star here is Renato Guedes, whose beautiful painted panels and characters have such a wonderful richness and depth. It really is stunning artwork. This issue feels a little unnecessary - it teases rather than kicks off - but it's certainly great to look at. (4/5)

Divinity #0. Valiant. Written by Matt Kindt. Art and colours by Renato Guedes.

Under the cut: reviews of Batwoman, Descender, Kill the Minotaur, Poe Dameron, and Secret Weapons.

Doctor Who: "All Roads Lead to Rome"

It is 23 January 1965, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

The Doctor (William Hartnell) and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) come face to face with the Roman Emperor Nero (Derek Francis). Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) is sold as a slave into Nero's household. Ian (William Russell) is bound to a slave galley on the open ocean. Will the four travellers ever reunite with one another?

"All Roads Lead to Rome" is a superb balancing act, managing to not only juggle three separate storylines with equal attention and entertainment value but to also juggle three distinctive tones. Barbara's experience getting sold through a slave market is straight-up drama, Ian's galley adventures are the stuff of a classic adventure story, while the Doctor and Vicki's Roman encounters play out like comedy. That it all weaves together as smoothly as it does it really quite admirable.

August 28, 2017

The Pull List: 16 August 2017, Part 2

I am just going to guess that writer/artist Rich Tommaso likes European comics, particularly ones involving anthropomorphic animals like those of Lewis Trondheim. Spy Seal is pretty much exactly what it purports to be: a comic book about the exploits of a spy - who also happens to be a seal.

It is all there: the high panel count, the thin-line art style, the pastel colouring. It almost nails the entire aesthetic, yet feels just a little bit separate at the same time. The art is not quite as well developed, and some of the dialogue feels a trifle too long and stiff. As an opening attempt, however, it is amusing enough and certainly has plenty of character and personality.

In the end it's the charm that wins you over. It is a relatively predictable story, but it's also a comic book about a polo-neck wearing seal being invited to join MI:6 in fighting Russians - all told with anthropomorphic animals. That's rather cool. (3/5)

Spy Seal #1. Image. Story and art by Rich Tommaso.

Under the cut: reviews of Cloudia & Rex, Green Arrow, Rat Queens, Silver Surfer and Superman.

August 25, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Attached"

It is 8 November 1993, and time for another episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Enterprise arrives at the planet Kesprytt to negotiate an unprecedented situation. One civilization on the planet, the Kes, want to join the Federation. The other, the Prytt, are a xenophobic isolationist regime who want nothing to do with their the Kes or the Federation. When Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Crusher (Gates McFadden) attempt to beam down to begin negotiations, they are hijacked by the Prytt and imprisoned. When they attempt to escape, they discover they have been implanted with devices that enable them to read each other's thoughts.

'Jean-Luc, there's something I've been meaning to tell you.' Ever since "Encounter at Farpoint" the relationship between Picard and Crusher has dangled over the series like a Sword of Damocles, always threatening to crash down and change their friendship forever but always simply hanging there. With the series in its final year, The Next Generation finally tackles the Picard-Crusher romance head-on - with mixed results.

August 23, 2017

The Pull List: 16 August 2017, Part 1

Talk about a mixed bag. Dark Nights: Metal has been teased and prologued by DC Comics for months - years, if you believe writer Scott Snyder - and now that it is here I am almost incapable of describing how I feel about it. It certainly represents Snyder at his most gleefully unbridled. No idea, it seems, is too 'out there' or off-the-wall for this miniseries.

The series introduces an alien invasion from the 'dark multiverse', one thousands of years in the planning and always intended to use Batman as its way through into the DC Universe (calculate that one yourself). It incorporates the Justice League turning into, well essentially Voltron, as well as returning characters like Red Tornado, a wingless Hawkgirl, and the Sandman.

No, no that Sandman. The 1940s superhero might actually have made sense. No, this first issue caps off its insanity with Batman confronted by Daniel of the Endless, protagonist of Neil Gaiman's widely acclaimed fantasy series The Sandman. DC has already dragged Watchmen into its big over-arching line-wide story arc; now it seems no Vertigo characters are safe. I for one can't wait for the arrival of Jesse Custer, King Mob and V by the time this whole crazy escapade is complete.

There are bit in this issue I adored. There are bits that made me want to scream. How do you review a comic book like that? (3/5)

Dark Nights: Metal #1. Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. Colours by FCO Plascencia.

Under the cut: reviews of Batman, Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor, Spider-Men and Uncle Scrooge.

August 21, 2017

Atom: The Beginning: "Birth of the Mighty Atom"

It is 15 April 2017, and time for the first episode of Atom: The Beginning.

College students Hiroshi Ochanomizo and Ummataro Temma work together in the attempt to create a fully self-aware robot. Their latest attempt gets an unexpected road test when a fire breaks out at a street parade.

To me, and I suspect to more than a few others, Osamu Tezuka's Astroboy is one of the cornerstones of Japanese animation. It was hugely influential, internationally popular and has been periodically revisited over the decades with various remakes. Its historical significance puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on any new iteration of the story, since there is a weight of history and reputation with which original anime productions do not have to cope. Sadly, from this first episode at least, Atom: The Beginning buckles under the pressure.

August 20, 2017

The Pull List: 9 August 2017, Part 2

For those who came in late: every 90 years a group of young humans suddenly manifest supernatural powers and are reincarnated as Gods. This "Pantheon" then shines brilliantly for two years before they all die. The only constant element appears to be Ananke, an immortal and hugely powerful figure who turned out to have been murdering the Pantheon every cycle to avoid "the great darkness". This time around the Pantheon got there first, Ananke is dead, and now what the great darkness is is rapidly approaching. No one can agree on what to do, one of the Pantheon - Sakhmet - has murdered a bunch of people, and is hiding out from her fellow gods with Persephone, who was a fan of the Pantheon before being reincarnated as one of them.

Sure it sounds a little confusing, but that's what you get if you come in at issue #30. If you have never read The Wicked + the Divine before, go hunt down the first few trades: it's a regular four-to-five star comic book and is a worthy read.

This issue is dominated by Dionysus and Morrigan having a conversation in the dark. It sounds a little dull but it's an important conversation. This really all feels like a calm before a storm, and with the characters all getting developed up to a critical point it suggests that the next few issues are going to be pretty apocalyptic. I do think we're reaching a point where, after 30 serialised issues, it's becoming difficult to keep the characters and the storyline all set in my head with month-long gaps between instalments. A re-read of earlier arcs may be in order before long. (4/5)

The Wicked + the Divine #20. Image. Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Jamie McKelvie. Colours by Matthew Wilson.

Under the cut: reviews of Action Comics, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Harbinger Renegade, Hulk and Ms Marvel.

August 17, 2017

The Pull List: 9 August 2017, Part 1

Mister Miracle of the New Gods returns to the DC Universe in a new 12-issue maxiseries. That is always cause for celebration, since Scott Free and his wife Big Barda have always been two great and underrated characters for DC. Every few years they pop up, delight me with their adventures, and then drop back into second-string obscurity again.

What makes this particular relaunch so exciting is the creative team: writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads, whose DC Vertigo book The Sheriff of Babylon was my favourite comic series of 2016. Seeing them reunited is a promise of great things to come.

Based on this first issue they seem pretty likely to satisfy their readers. This is an inventive and slightly off-kilter premiere, using a deliberately limited colour palette, deliberately mis-aligned artwork and many visual artefacts to create a genuine sense that the world has gone wrong. The same thing appears to be going on in King's script, in which Scott appears to be slowly going unhinged - or the universe around him is. Actually, I suspect the latter. It's a brilliant hook, beautifully packaged, and pretty much the number one must-read superhero book this month. (5/5)

Mister Miracle #1. DC Comics. Written by Tom King. Art by Mitch Gerads.

Under the cut: reviews of Detective Comics, Doctor Aphra, Freeway Fighter, Rogue One: Cassian and K-2SO Special, and Sacred Creatures.

August 15, 2017

Doctor Who: "The Slave Traders"

It is 16 January 1965, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

A month after the TARDIS makes a crash landing in Ancient Rome, the Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions relax in a nearby villa. When the Doctor and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) head off to visit Rome, the Doctor finds himself mistaken for a murdered musician. Back at the villa Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) are ambushed and captured by slave traders.

There is something genuinely delightful about "The Slave Traders", the first episode of Dennis Spooner's historical serial "The Romans". A lot of the appeal comes from seeing the regular characters actually getting to stop for a while and relax. They have rampaged from one adventure to the next for a series and a half at this stage, and have more than earnest a rest. That rest comes with a huge boost in warm humour: it seems clear at this stage that Ian and Barbara are actively enjoying their travels with the Doctor. New companion Vicki has slipped comfortably into her new routine. The one-month jump in time actually benefits her introduction enormously because she is now happily familiar with her new friends. It is a great narrative shortcut.

August 14, 2017

The Pull List: 2 August 2017, Part 3

It started with a resentful drug-addicted police detective flying out to a distant spaceship to conduct a murder investigation. It ends, eight issues later, with two people huddled together with no oxygen or warmth left with which to survive. A hell of a lot happened in between.

Hadrian's Wall has been a tremendous miniseries. A smart murder-mystery in space that segued into a sort of siege thriller, with well-crafted characters and intelligence science fiction detail. Rod Reis was the icing on the cake, creating stunning painterly artwork that echoed some of the best production design of 1980s science fiction cinema. It is a blueprint for a cult film that never got made; who knows, with the series complete perhaps an enterprising studio will be tempted to take a chance on it.

A collection edition is coming soon. I really hope that it finds a strong readership on top of those who have already discovered it. This is the sort of SF work that deserves a big audience. (5/5)

Hadrian's Wall #8. Image. Written by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel. Art and colours by Rod Reis with Eduardo Ferigato.

Under the cut: reviews of Extremity, Giant Days and Seven to Eternity.

Doctor Who: "Desperate Measures"

It is 9 January 1965 and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

The Doctor (William Hartnell) and Ian (William Russell) make their way past the ancient traps of the Didonians. Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) get to know one another onboard the crashed starship. When the Doctor finally joins them, he gets to the bottom of the mysterious identity of the alien Koquillion.

"Desperate Measures" is a deceptively brilliant episode of Doctor Who. It throws in some great character-building scenes, properly integrates Vicki in the TARDIS crew, and climaxes with a tremendously atmospheric and dramatic reveal in an underground temple. This may be, at two episodes, one of the briefest of William Hartnell's Doctor Who serials, but it makes great and efficient use of its time.

August 11, 2017

The Pull List: 2 August 2017, Part 2

What if all of the famous people who vanished over history did not simply get murdered or die in obscurity somewhere, but actually found themselves transported to another universe? That is the basic premise of Elsewhere, a new fantasy series by writer Jay Faerber (Copperhead), artist Sumeyye Kesgin and publisher Image Comics.

To begin with, the series introduces us to Amelia Earhart, famous American long-distance pilot whose plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937. After being rescued from a tree by a pair of goblin-like rebels on the run from their totalitarian government, she goes looking for her co-pilot Fred.

Kesgin's artwork has a quite traditional sort of look: clean, bold and immediately readable. Faerber's script is where the book staggers a little: it's relatively early, so the story could go either way, but there really is not a huge amount of plot here and nothing really leaps out to feel inventive or especially attention-grabbing. The basic premise is a cool one, but the execution really does let it down just a little. (3/5)

Elsewhere #1. Image. Written by Jay Faerber. Art by Sumeyye Kesgin. Colours by Ron Riley.

Under the cut: reviews of Robotech, Spider-Man and Swordquest.

Doctor Who: "The Powerful Enemy"

It is 2 January 1965, and time for another episode of Doctor Who.

While the Doctor (William Hartnell) mourns the loss of Susan, the TARDIS arrives on the planet Dido and Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) go exploring a mountain-side network of caves. In the valley below, the two survivors of a crashed human starship - Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) and Bennett (Ray Barrett) - live under the tyrannical control of the alien reptile Koquillion.

It is good that Susan's departure at the end of "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" was not ignored or quickly shuffled away. The early scenes of "The Powerful Enemy" see the Doctor visibly worn by the loss. He sleeps through a TARDIS landing for the first time. He seems very keen to send Ian and Barbara off to give him time alone. At one key moment he asks Susan to open the TARDIS door, then pauses, with a mixture of sadness and embarrassment. Barbara gently asks the Doctor to show her how to do it. It's a perfect small moment between the two characters: a little bit of healing for the Doctor, and the acknowledgement for Barbara that she and the old man really have become good friends.

August 10, 2017

The Pull List: 2 August 2017, Part 1

Stanford Yu works as a young janitor at an elite academy for giant robot pilots. On the appointed day, when three alien giant robots are supposed to descend and accept their pilots, one fails to show up. When Stanford finds it damaged a few miles down the road it does the unimaginable and accepts him as its pilot instead.

Mech Cadet Yu is a four-issue miniseries from writer Greg Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa. It pays tribute to Japanese pop culture, particularly all of the giant robot anime productions that have been produced since the late 1970s.

The pedigree of its creatives is pretty high for anybody who's been reading Marvel comics: Pak did a sensational extended run on The Incredible Hulk, while Miyazawa has done superb work illustrating Ms Marvel in recent years. If anything it unfairly raises expectations. This is a pleasantly enjoyable first issue, but so far there is nothing that leaps off the page or makes the most significant impression. It's simply an enjoyable giant robot story; and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. (3/5)

Mech Cadet Yu #1. Boom Studios. Written by Greg Pak. Art by Takeshi Miyazawa. Colours by Triona Farrell.

Under the cut: reviews of Batman, Darth Vader, Green Arrow and Superman.