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My comic book reading I admit stalled after my initial enthusiasm for the New 52 I’ve not been talking about comics much. I do pick up the odd issue but I’ve not yet been converted to a full time lover.  This might change though:

DIAL H – Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero.


This isn’t the first time that Miéville has been linked to a comic book series (Swampthing I think) but it the first one that I know of that has actually gone to print.

Roll on May!



Lynda Carter for me is Wonder Woman. I’ve not read her comic before though I’ve seen her guest spot in a few so I was curious how Azzarello and Chiang were going to portray her. And two words come to mind. Warrior. Dark.

Let’s start with ‘warrior’. Within an instant of us first meeting Wonder Woman she goes from calm and serene into battle. And it’s ‘dark’ because well it just is. And saying why would give it away. Though the horses is what you might find most disturbing.

And it’s the horse scene that best illustrate why the art is probably the best I’ve encountered so far. I speed read it the first time as I wanted to offer an instant opinion to someone. Big mistake as Chiang says a lot in his panels as his transitions are very clever. something you’d miss without lingering. Good job I went back and read it.

Also the narrative is clever as even though the opening and closing scenes are book ends their narrative weaves and interacts into the middle section. And it’s subtle and clever.

Saying all that, lots is introduced and there are lot more questions than answers. But the combination teasing story and outstanding art means I’m definitely back for issue #2!

Bought on the DC Comics iPad app.

Batgirl 1 cover

Batgirl could be the most controversial of the new 52 titles as Barbara Gordon has been paralysed and in a wheel chair since meeting the Joker in The Killing Joke. And since then she has evolved into the Oracle and appeared in Birds of Prey. But as The New 52 are shaking up the status quo Barbara Gordon can walk again.

Though the method of her healing isn’t yet revealed its impact is. Simone handles this change with openness and candour whilst Batgirl saves a family from the clutches of some scary killers. Though Simone turns table on her next intervention and it’s that consequence I fell that is going to be explored a little more. Someone has a list and Gordon’s name is one it and she seems to be doing pretty well working through it.

What is nice is that we see Barbara Gordon as well as Batgirl and each has a set of problems to overcome. Now her psychological as well as domestic troubles will influence her role as Batgirl an vice versa. It’s going to be interesting to see where Simone is going to take that split.

Art wise can’t fault it though it does seem quite nicely centred on giving visual signals that the text can’t with lots of shock and distress on the characters faces.

I wouldn’t call it a depressing read as it feels quite like but there is a definite darkness which is quite fitting for someone with the mantle of the Bat.

Saying all that I’m not sure if I’ll read the next one. Nothing against the character or the book. It’s more me and ‘the crime fighting’ darkness that I have a feeling is coming.

Bought on the DC Comics iPad app.


Part of the reason for me trying ‘The New 52’ is to try something different and last week saw the first major release of titles after the solitary arrival of Justice League (reviewed by me here). Now Justice League was familiar in terms of character personalities and in some ways how they’d react to each other. While enjoyable it wasn’t exactly new.

On the other hand I know little to zero about what makes up Stormwatch.  And I’m not really sure what to expect. Apart from the Martian Manhunter who ended up surprising and scaring me a little at one pivotal point as well as touching on the differences in his role here and in Justice League. Luckily it’s a fun mix of confusion and introduction.

They are looking for a new recruit who definitely doesn’t want to join. And they have interesting methods of persuasion. It makes a great form of introduction to some of the cast members of Stormwatch, some of whom have odd powers if you ask me but they seem to work for them and work in the story, which is quite refreshing.

Cornell lays other seeds such as something odd is going on on the moon, especially as you get a really close and disturbing insight into it, and flashback to Storwatches past to show that their history isn’t getting totally rewritten perhaps or at least to show their longevity. Oh, not to mention that something very odd is happening in the Himalayas

For the limited number of pages available (and I will stop brining this up I promise) it feels like it’s just got going without a feeling like being shortchanged. In fact Cornell manages to do more with his pages than the Justice League team did with theirs.

I don’t know if covers are that important in comics, they don’t work as newspaper front pages, though they often contain stunning art, they don’t usually add to the story but the trio on the cover on show here definitely isn’t the current status quo.

Though in contrast this feels darker and more adult and the art reflects that. Apart from the snow scenes. If I’m 100% honest the art is a little too murky for my tastes though it’s not the line art more the computerised shadowing that gives it a that not quite classic comic book feel that I enjoy.

More than enough interest in both characters and story potential to come back to Stormwatch for more next month.

I bought and read this on the DC Comics iPad app

Justice league 1 full

Reboot? Jumping on point? Issue 1? Or just another confusing byway in the DC timeline?

What the New 52 promises is rebalancing of the status quo to allow the core of the characters to evolve start from scratch.

So do we get that?

Yes we do.

Does it work?

You know what it does to a certain extent. What limits it more than anything else is comic book format. I’m not sure why DC hasn’t chosen to do have double issues to get new readers properly hooked.

Don’t get me wrong I’m happy going to buy the next one most to see how the dynamics of egos works out.

The ego on show is Green Lantern’s (and I’m wondering if that’ll be reflected in his own title, I guess so) and I think he’s a bit surprised to come up with such strong personalities as Batman and Superman’s.

The main thrust of the story is interesting, especially the puzzle-box element. It’s also good to see the lack of public trust.

Art wise. The panels are outstanding and stand up to the zooming on the panel-by-panel view. I’m surprised by the level of control in the Green Lantern when you see what he’s doing with the ring. They feel dynamic and capture the action with a few great flowing touches.

Didn’t really get going but money well spent so far. Looking forward to meeting other members of the League next issue.

I bought and read this on the DC Comics iPad app

X men schism issue 3

Right, I’ve concluded that this isn’t a ‘jumping on’ point for the X-Men. Not that it’s being sold like that but I’ve just figured out who all those youngsters are that wondering around and that’s only due to the link it has with Generation Hope ergo the youngsters are the ‘team’ of that title.

Speaking of children we get a clearer insight into the new Hellfire Club. And there exploitation of the X-Men’s individual weaknesses. Though it does make me think why no one has thought of this tactic before (maybe they have and I’ve not been around to see it).

A couple of questions come to mind including an object that there is one of suddenly multiplying. Why Wolverine so protective of Idie? is another. Plus when did Wolverine become think first and Scott become so mission over people focused?

Another think that is slowly starting to bug my that’s £2.99 for 25 pages with 22 pages of actual story. Is it just me that finds that pricey?

Overall this is turning into a slightly more confusing tale than expected. It’s a story talking to itself if that makes sense. And after this mornings post I’m wondering if it’s worth continuing?

For me the images above say a lot about how comic fans get their comics delivered. They don’t get one or two X-Men comics they get six. Apparently X-Men: Schism that I’m reading leads to X-MEN: REGENESIS (which Newsarama does a good job of covering). To be honest I’ve had my blinkers on and not really considered that Schism would lead to a relaunch of all the X-Men books but it’s naive of me really. I should have known better. Especially as I fell into the trap of buying X-Men Schism #3 and seeing Schism written on Generation Hope #10, which made it’s digital debut with that issue. So it must be important to the main events right?


And that’s how Marvel/DC get you to buy more than the issues you are interested in. You need to see what is going on off stage and what  is feeding in to the main events themselves.

We’ll see how it goes but this particular experiment may end if I feel that I’m going to buying more than what I want just to feel I’m not missing out.

Speaking disappointments.  It wasn’t a new Dr Strange solo title coming in December it’s a Defenders title. Might be worth picking up but it’s not what I was hoping for.

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The trouble with Marvel seemingly releasing digital editions at random is I’m not quite sure when to look for the next book. I assume they are releasing these at once a month. I’m sure it’ll settle down. But it’s not helping a sense of rhythm.

Anyway, leading straight into the aftermath of last issue in X-Men Schism #2 we have Sentinels coming online all over the globe and a mix of mutants and other super heroes.

Some slightly random observations I have no idea who the kids in the school currently are or what powers they possess. There is some connection to Idie and and Wolverine.  Cyclops has aged. If you’ve seen X-Men First Class the Hellfire club has been altered beyond all recognition though I’d place money on the new person in charge being a mutant. I’ve never seen a girl go to quite the extremes one character does over a ‘kitty’. I enjoyed the idea of the current events  trending on twitter.  I’ve never quite seen Namor as an x-man.

Frank Cho’s artwork is really excellent. Especially the panels show over events around the world with Jason Arron’s dialogue make a good combination. Some of the personal choices look a little strange like Colossus’s teeth. But there is no arguing that we’re seeing a team on their game.

The pressure in the story is mounting quickly and it feels like there is a still a lot yet to be revealed. One interesting change in the dynamic I mentioned is the collaboration between the other heroes and the mutants but the low numbers of mutants seems to be creating a survive first and then fight each other second vibe. I could be calling that wrong but it makes sense.

I bought this on release so I assume I’ll have to wait a full month for the next one. Beats a year between books I guess.

Sooner rather than later it seems seems to be the idea dear. I’ve already mentioned I’d like to get back into reading comics on a regular but small scale basis mostly from the excitement of a new Dr Strange series (I have dusty comics from his last major series here.  And I’ve already committed to reading X-Men Schism when I reviewed issue one earlier today. It just seems to be a good time to be getting back into comics. Especially with DC giving a good jumping on point for new and old readers alike with 52 #1′s.

So I got to thinking what might I add to my digital pull list? I’m limiting myself to five and on first glance I’d go for?

The flash 1

The Flash #1

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!

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Wonder Woman #1

Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman could dare to protect humanity from the wrath of the strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

Green lantern new guardians 1


Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Written by TONY BEDARD
Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT

Kyle Rayner has assembled the most powerful team in all the universe, selected from the full spectrum of corps. But can he even keep this volatile group together?

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Justice League Dark #1


The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against the mystical madness?

Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?


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Teen Titans #1

Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers.

As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world!

They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

I’ve mostly avoided Batman and Superman you notice. Not on purpose but they just seem too big to be as interesting but in reality what I’ll probably end up doing is waiting the 4 weeks for the price to drop and pick up a selection and then choose 5.

What do you think. Good time to get back into comics?

X-Men Schism

One of the things I love about my iPad and the embracing of it by various developers is that it becomes something different each time I open an app (though I do have several apps that do the same thing slightly differently). One app that I’ve been toying with is Comixology and it’s Marvel and DC Comics variants which instantly turns my iPad in any comic they offer. And they offer quite a few.

It seems like a good time to be getting back into comics as DC are going digital and print simaltantiously from Septembers relaunch/push/refire event – New 52. And finally Marvel instead of just filling up their iPad app with old (but none the less worthy comics) are actually releasing books closer to their print release. So I feel confident in commiting to X-Men Schism for at least five issues and we’ll see if that reignites my love of the X-Men (it helps to know I have two or three thousand comics in four long boxes with a good percentage of those X-Men from 1995 to 2002-ish).

So what do I find? There are only 200 mutants left and they live on the Island Uptopia. Scott Summers and a grumbling Wolverine head off to a U.N. International Arms Control Conference only to have Scott’s speach derailed and a humanity/mutant stand off occur.

The X-Men has always been an interesting idea for a comic book series because as mutants they are something to be feared. They have unimaginable (and sometimes unbelievable powers) that in the Marvel Universe are seen as the next stage of human evoluation. What’s different with the status quo played out in Schism #1 is that humanity definitely think they have the upperhand in some ways but are also petrofied of the power that 200 mutants can contain.

I’ve missed the events that changed their world from having millions of mutants to this comparitive handful and have only seen few mutants I know so far but I’m looking forward to seeing how this split happens. There a hints later on about how it’s going to arise. I already know that Scott and Logan go their seperate ways and it shows something about the power of the events to come because there is a scene which shows you the heart of their relationship blow the banter that they have on the surface.

The art and colouring is excellent and really captured the right clean comic art feel that I prefer and that makes me thing of the model comic look. Some nice touches like Iceman on the beach sitting in a puddle of ice/water.

The cover of Issue 2 has two of my favourite X-Men Rogue and Colossus. Things are definitely getting interesting.

Issue 2 Preview

X men schism 2 frank cho