I’m a big fan of director Sam Raimi, especially his earlier movies. I love Darkman, Evil Dead II, The Quick and the Dead, Spider-Man and the brilliant Spider-Man 2. I’d heard this film was flawed but I still wanted to see it. I mean, I’m a huge comic book fan, too. I’m also an eternal (foolish) optimist who is a sucker for some fancy visuals.
Yes, this film is flawed. The basic plot premise is ridiculous. It shows obvious signs of its reported 50~80% of reshoots. But you know what? I enjoyed it. There, I’ve said it. Unleash your rotten tomatoes. I have been honing my ninja skills for the last twenty years, so I’ll probably dodge most of them in slo-mo Matrix style.
I went in with fairly low expectations and came out smiling. People seem to be forgetting what this is: a comic book movie. I went looking for magical battles between sorcerers and a mad-as-hell Scarlet Witch and that’s exactly what I got. There are some spectacular on-screen depictions of magical moments that could be ripped right off a comic book page. And I was happy with that. Easily pleased? Perhaps.
Writing: W. Maxwell Prince; Art: Martin Morazzo; Colors: Chris O’Halloran
The best weird original creepy inventive comic book you’re not reading! Ice Cream Man is a kind of Twilight Zone meets The Outer Limits comic book series. Each story works as a one-and-done short story. There are almost no recurring characters outside of the titular Ice Cream Man. The series tackles such subjects as love, family, murder, madness, sex, drugs, music, ghosts, superheroes, sickness, cults, game shows, word puzzles, reality, identity, and on and on.
In an interview with Comic Book Herald, writer W. Maxwell Prince talks about how we tell our children not to accept food or other things from strangers, yet the ice cream man is trusted and accepted. Do children still flock to the ice cream van/truck in summer? Who is the ice cream man? He could be anyone, for example a serial killer, an alien, an escaped prisoner, a spy, an assassin, or even a kindly old man.
As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic, I’m always curious to read any new titles set in the same universe. I bought a copy of Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 which came out today, Tuesday April 12th 2022 priced $3.99. It’s written by James Tynion IV and has art by Lisandro Estherren & Yanick Paquette. Here’s my initial reaction/review of the comic. I will be making a video review for my YouTube channel after I finish work tonight.
*Some SPOILERS for the first issue.*
I’ve read the issue twice and would rate it 6 out of 10, mostly for the gorgeous art. I don’t know what to make of James Tynion anymore. I used to think he was a good writer capable of exciting and compelling comic book stories. Now I’m not so sure. The first three pages of this opening issue read like a creative writing exercise. Tynion uses an abundance of text bubbles to describe a couple of main character Flynn’s dreams in less-than-thrilling detail. From this we learn that Flynn was bullied in high school and she currently believes the world is turning to crap.
It gets much more interesting on page 4 where funnily enough there is no dialogue. Instead we get a purely visual piece of storytelling in which Flynn appears to glimpse something weird and horrific at the party she’s attending. On the dancefloor she sees an obese creature with tongues hanging out of its eyes. It’s a creepy image and acts as a taster of things to come. Incidentally, I’ve heard in interviews that the creative team are returning Sandman to its horror roots, a direction I am looking forward to. Let’s hope they really do it.
A few years ago, I read the Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood run on Moon Knight (2016). I was already aware of the character who is often referred to as “Marvel’s Batman.” The Lemire run is a really good story by the way and I recommend it. In the comics, the main character is a man called Marc Spector, but we don’t really see him in the first episode. Instead, the focus is on Steven Grant, an alter ego of Marc Spector in the comics. Not forgetting that Moon Knight is also an alter ego of Marc Spector. Or is it the other way round? Yep, alter egos of alter egos. Anyone else confused yet?
In the comics, the Steven Grant alter ego is a kind of Bruce Wayne figure–a millionaire playboy (remember that trope?) who finances Moon Knight’s missions. In the Marvel TV series he is a simpering, whimpering museum worker who gets bullied and disrespected by pretty much everyone he works with. Oscar Isaac plays him as a kind of screwball comedy bumbling buffoon because I think that’s how he was written. It grated on me after a few minutes, as you can probably tell.
*This was my raw reaction straight after watching Episode 1. Please note that I come to this series as a fan of the comic book character.*
“I have a question. Why have they made Oscar Isaac’s character “Steven Grant” such a bumbling, mumbling idiot? He’s like a silly little soy-boy from start to finish, and displays zero masculinity, surprise surprise. He has a weird accent, too, speaking as a Brit. It’s not terrible, but it’s a bit erratic and the tone of his voice is strange. This episode was too long, too slow, remarkably dull and didn’t really tell us anything about his character. Oh, apart from him being a useless buffoon who pretty much everybody disrespects. There’s some very dodgy CGI and we only get a brief glimpse of the Moon Knight costume right at the end of this 42-minute episode. Disney Marvel strikes again! NOT a recommend.”
To offer some positives, both Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke give solid performances, even if Isaac’s interpretation is whacky and weird–whacky like Wakizashi? Possibly. It’s well-shot with some lovely scenery and there’s a clever use of mirrors and reflections. As a Brit, it was refreshing to see London as a main setting. There’s also a nice use of music and songs in the episode, even if the Wham song during the car chase scene takes away any tension or sense of threat. Can you guess the name of the song? It is just a silly comedy after all. I’d hate to see Disney Marvel take anything seriously.
This is the series which has Lucius Fox’s son Tim “Jace” Fox as a black Batman who took the mantle during the Future State story-event in 2021. Batman was missing presumed dead when Jace decided to become “The Next Batman.” The character made his debut last year in a four issue mini-series also written by John Ridley. I read the first issue but it didn’t draw me in. I guess it must have sold well enough to merit this new series. (You might have heard of Luke Fox, Jace’s older brother. He became the character Batwing back in 2013.)
I reviewed issue #1 of I Am Batman on my YouTube channel back in September last year. While the art by Olivier Coipel was very good, the story didn’t really interest me and I didn’t continue with the series. I found main character Jace Fox unlikeable and wondered whether writer John Ridley was purposely trying to court controversy with his character’s attitude towards original Batman Bruce Wayne. Yet here I am six months later writing a review of issue #7. What happened? I think it was watching the new Batman (2022) movie that got me all excited and tempted me to give this series another try. It was also the cover art, to be honest. It really stood out among the new releases. What do you think of it?
After my recent rant about the terrible ComiXology Amazon update, here’s some good news from the world of American comics; well, for me anyway. Current Daredevil writer Chip Zdarsky will take over the writing duties of DC’s flagship Batman comic book from issue #125 due out in July. I like Zdarsky’s work, especially his run on Daredevil, so I’m pretty excited by this news. Joshua Williamson has been writing the comic after James Tynion’s 31-issue run ended with issue #117. Despite Williamson sharing his good wishes towards the new creative team on Twitter, you have to wonder if this was always the plan. He claims it was, despite only getting to write seven issues.
I don’t know if you’ve heard but Amazon has just launched its ComiXology Update 4.0 with emphasis on the ZERO! This has made a lot of readers and customers very unhappy, including me. I was so annoyed that I did a livestream on this topic last night. It’s a topic which is very close to my heart, as you will probably know if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while.
To cut a long story short, Amazon have made the digital comic book reading experience much much worse. They’ve also managed to make it very user-unfriendly. What the @*?<> is going on? Now you can only read comics on the Kindle Reader, which was not designed with comic books in mind. It’s for prose books, of course. Imagine taking all the pleasure out of reading a particular format. You’d think Amazon would be looking to attract more users and sales. I don’t see that happening now.
Two of my favourite parts of the ComiXology desktop app have been removed: the “Guided View” feature and the “Browse Pages” feature. The Guided View was one of the best things about the original app. It took you through the comic panel by panel, zooming in where appropriate and delivering a very satisfying comic book reading experience. The Browse Pages feature let you easily jump ahead (or back) to a specific page. Not anymore.
I go into more detail in the video and show examples of the old reader and the new one. I’d love to know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
-Wakizashi, *realizing I sound like a middle-aged man moaning about comics. What was the name of that character from The Simpsons? Comic book guy?*
Kafka hopes to one day keep his pact with his childhood friend Mina to join the Japan Defense Force and fight by her side. But while she’s out neutralizing kaiju as Third Division captain, Kafka is stuck cleaning up the aftermath of her battles. When a sudden rule change makes Kafka eligible for the Defense Force, he decides to try out for the squad once more. There’s just one problem—he’s made the Defense Force’s neutralization list under the code name Kaiju No. 8.
This was a recommendation from Ola over at Re-enchantment of the World. I’m really glad I ordered a copy because this manga was so much fun to read. Remember fun? Well, this book is filled with it. It also has some great kaiju art and some kinetic action scenes.
Last Wednesday (January 26th), Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples’ popular comic book series Saga released its first new issue for three-and-a-half years. Issue #55 came out after the creative team’s long hiatus. I thought I would give it a try, even though I haven’t read beyond the first two collected volumes (issues #1 to 12). I was curious to see if a relative “newbie” could enjoy the new issue without having read all that came before.
The short answer is “yes”, I really enjoyed it. I made a short video review for my YouTube channel if you are interested. The review is only 2 minutes long. After that, I summarise some of the story and share a few pages of the gorgeous art.
Batman #118 is written by Joshua Williamson with art by Jorge Molina. It was released on December 7th 2021 for the rising DC Comic’s price of $4.99. For that you get 30 pages of story.
I’m happy to say that this felt like a breath of fresh air after James Tynion’s road-to-nowhere-fast run on the title. Tynion took over after Tom King had penned 85 issues of a very mixed run on DC’s flagship title. Tynion started well with a return-to-basics style of a Batman book. Unfortunately, I felt like he was stretching three or four-part story arcs into double the length actually needed. How many parts made up “Joker War” or “Fear State”? Too many, that’s for sure. Not to mention his penchant for introducing too many new characters who struggled to catch this reader’s attention or memory. Seriously, I can’t remember half of them.