Gunslinger Spawn #16 (Jan 11th, 2023) | Comic Book Review

Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Brett Booth
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 11, 2023
Cover Price: $2.99

Publisher’s Synopsis: ‘Parts of Gunslinger’s storied past are finally becoming clear. But there are secrets being kept from him that, if revealed, might set him on a new path of vengeance!’


My Thoughts

I’ve been reading Gunslinger Spawn since it was launched back in October 2021. From what I’ve been hearing, this comic is the current bestseller among the four SPAWN comic titles. This probably has a lot to do with how good the art is by Brett Booth, month after month. Also, it’s written by Todd McFarlane and is probably the best thing he has written in a while.

I’ve found it to be a very entertaining story. It has fun with the “fish out of water” theme, or should I say “man out of time.” It’s funny to see Gunslinger trying to get his head around our modern world. He gets some help with this from Taylor Bartlett, a young man who Gunslinger saved from the dark forces his father was working for. The western tropes are appreciated, too, especially when we get glimpses into Gunslinger’s past. I’d like to see more of this in future issues.

Overall, Gunslinger Spawn is a comic I can kick back and relax with. Sometimes it’s a bit over-the-top with the violence but most of all this comic book is fun. Did I mention the killer art by Brett Booth?.. Recommended!

(Below is the story summary I wrote for my video review if you are interested.)


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ONE PIECE FILM RED (2022)

I went to see the new ONE PIECE movie on Monday, One Piece Film Red to give it its full title. I was excited to watch it on the big screen. I was also making the most of something pretty rare over here: an early release for a movie in Japan! Well, it is a Japanese movie so I guess there are no surprises there. We usually have to wait weeks if not months for the majority of movies from other shores.

So how was it? Well, it was bright, colourful and very very musical. In fact I thought it was a musical as it features seven songs by the young Japanese singer Ado. It felt like a series of music videos set in the One Piece universe. The songs are performed by new character “Uta” which means “song” in Japanese. Here’s the brief synopsis of the film:

“Uta is a beloved singer, renowned for concealing her own identity when performing. Her voice is described as “otherworldly.” Now, for the first time ever, Uta will reveal herself to the world at a live concert.”

So the movie is basically the One Piece characters watching Uta’s LIVE Concert, which leads to some backstory about the new character and some rather confusing battles. The animation uses a mixture of traditional 2D and CGI, especially during the musical numbers. The effect verges on psychedelic at times. Ironically mushrooms play an important part in the story, but no spoilers here.

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The SANDMAN (1989) issue #1 by Gaiman, Keith & Dringenberg

Sandman #1 introduces us to self-styled “magus” Roderick Burgess and his attempt to summon and imprison DEATH in a magical ritual held in England in 1916.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will probably know I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN comic. It ran for 75 issues plus one Special from 1989 to 1996. I still have the original comics. I brought them over to Japan with me. I have read the comics many times and will no doubt read them again in the future. I’m particularly fond of the first half of the series and count The Doll’s House and A Season in Hell among my favourite story arcs.

With the release of the Netflix Sandman Series, I wanted to go back to the source and reread the first issue. I recorded a kind of audio-comic of Sandman issue #1 “Sleep of the Just.” The first half of the video below is my summary of the first issue showing some of the gorgeous art from the comic. The second half of the video is me reading parts of Neil Gaiman’s essay on how he got the idea for the comic. It was originally published in the back of Sandman issue #4. I wanted to share it with you and anyone else who might stumble upon this page in the future. This was a labour of love.

My REVIEW & Summary of ISSUE #1 of The SANDMAN (1989)

As always, thanks for reading!

-Wakizashi, *listening to an approaching thunderstorm. Man it’s been humid today. I feel like the air is about to explode.*

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

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.

Wakizashi’s Thoughts

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.

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Moon Knight TV Series Episodes 1 & 2: See the Bad Moon Rising?

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.


Episode 1

*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.”

My Video Review of Moon Knight Episode 1 (5 min)

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.


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I Am Batman #7 (2022) by John Ridley & Christian Duce

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?

Art by Ken Lashley
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YouTube After 7 Months | Wakizashi’s Thoughts

I try to keep this blog focused on book reviews but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on YouTubing. This is coming from a “newbie’s” perspective and is not meant to be read as advice. Because after all, what do I know? I’m making this up as I go!

I’ve recently started doing more livestreams” on my channel. This has been a real challenge for me because I’ve always considered myself a listener more than a talker. I take after my mum in that regard. When you do a livestream or a podcast, you have to be able to waffle well. Some of the people I watch on the platform can talk and talk like there’s no tomorrow. I’m hoping this is something I can learn or at least get better at doing with practice. Is talking a skill? I guess so. Just ask any actor or public speaker.

Anyway, I think I’m improving, but the main thing is I’m really enjoying it. In the last few livestreams I managed to get a (very) small audience. I’m talking around five or six viewers, but they’ve been coming back for more. This is much more satisfying than talking away to nobody! But I will happily do that if I have a topic to waffle about. The best thing about the audience is they usually drop comments in the “Live chat” which gives me more to talk about. It also provides me with some great info or recommendations regarding the topic(s) I’m blabbing on about. And there’s a rewarding social side to it, too. It can feel a bit like being out in a bar or cafe chatting with friends or strangers who may become friends. Remember those halcyon days?! But I’m waffling.

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The Book of Power Rangers: Episode 3 | Short Reaction

They say Laughter is the Best Medicine. I agree. I felt absolutely brilliant and Genki after watching the hover-bike “chase” scene in episode 3 of The Book of Beta Fett. Please allow me to share my 3-minute video reaction. It might be just what you need? Or maybe not.😉


By the way, I have been enjoying parts of the series. There’s some good things in it but this is NOT Boba Fett. And that “racing” scene was more Spy Kids than Star Wars. Give me a good pod race instead!

-Wakizashi, *just turned 49 today, Friday 14th, and I’m feeling young!*

Batman Issue 118 Review | A New Creative Team Takes Over!

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.

Cover Art by Jorge Molina

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.

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Wakizashi’s Teahouse Origin Story: part 1

To celebrate getting 100 subscribers on YouTube, I made a video where I talk about how I got into reading comics. I cover five comic book titles that had a big effect on me and helped develop my love of the medium. It’s at the bottom of this post and is twelve minutes long. If you watch it, please let me know what you think about my choices. Also, I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these titles! 😀


The FIVE comics are:

Groo the Wanderer

Groo the Wanderer #17 was the first American comic book I bought with my own money. I’d read some of my brother’s Batman comics before that. Also, the Marvel UK reprints of the popular Marvel Star Wars comic that became a big seller after the first Star Wars movie. I think it was the cover of Groo #17 that caught my eye and led me into the madcap world of this bumbling yet deadly barbarian. Sergio Aragones’s detailed cartoony style blew my young mind and I quickly fell in love with the bonkers, silly humour.


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