Tag Archives: Comics

My review of the excellent ‘Logan’…

I have been a fan of the X-Men movies since I saw Brian Singer’s X-Men and then the sequel twice each in the cinema, something I rarely do. I have watched each of the subsequent movies, with the exception of Apocalypse which I skipped due to the poor reviews, and for the most part I have enjoyed them all. Well, Wolverine: Origins is terrible, as is The Last Stand, and my favourites are X2, which I still think is a tremendously entertaining movie, and First Class which is directed by Matthew Vaughn who is one of my favourite directors (more here: https://tinyurl.com/gturgyw). As with my previous movie reviews, I will be talking full spoilers so if you don’t want to know what happens please go and see the movie before reading any further. Seriously, I will tell you what happens, so go see it if you don’t want it spoiled!

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The first thing that should be said about Logan is that it is not your typical movie about superheroes or mutants. I’m not sure I would even put it in either of those categories. It’s part western, part action thriller, but it is mostly a film where our protagonists are on the run. It’s a movie about a lot of things and it actually has something to say about these things yet I think you could make this movie with ordinary humans and it would still work. It’s a film about how difficult it is living with someone who has a degenerative illness and about how the relationships of those who care for them change. It’s a movie about the hardship of life and of living with the consequences of your actions. And it also talks about  the brutality of both corporate culture and our obsession with war and finding more and more brutal ways to kill each other. Finally, it is about how hard it is getting old and sick and eventually dying.

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Several aspects of the film really stood out to me as excellent choices by the director, cast and writers. Allowing the characters to swear made more of a difference than I would’ve thought. It makes them feel like real people who deal with the shit life throws at you in the same way we do; with profanity. Keeping in the blood that was cut out of The Wolverine, but then returned for the Directors Cut, was also a smart move. Logan is someone who, as with Laura, stabs and maims a great many people so of course there should be blood. And the makers of this movie have clearly learned from the success of Deadpool in making both an adult and a very entertaining movie and choosing not to shy away from mature content. Without these elements I think Logan would fall very flat indeed as just another superhero movie and I am so glad that it is not that.

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The performances are also all excellent, with special mention for the newcomer Daphne Keen, who plays Logan’s daughter with an impressive ferocity, and on maintaining her silence until the last third. But Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant were also superb and each brought something to the production. If I have a criticism it is that the villains, in the form of Boyd Holbrook and Richard E Grant, aren’t really given enough to do but stand there and look menacing. And they do their best, but it seems a failing of almost all of the recent superhero and comic book movies that the villains aren’t developed enough for us to care about them. And of course both Charles Xavier and Logan have to die during the course of the movie because it is both necessary and this is exactly the movie in which that occurs. I found myself welling up at both of these moments and I did not expect a film about a mutant who mostly stabs people to do that, so all credit to it.

 

Logan is an excellent movie, truly it is, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it. My wife commented after the viewing that she hadn’t even felt the time passing and that she wouldn’t have minded if it ran another hour. I wouldn’t go quite that far but it did certainly zip along. Usually we prefer films to be as short and concise as they can be, but when it is done as well as this one then we really don’t mind. If you have any interest in Logan I thoroughly recommend that you see it in the cinema, and drag along your friends and family, to both support its creation but also to just enjoy something that is different and just so damned good! Go, go see it now!

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, now has TWELVE reader reviews with an average of 4.4 stars and is available from all electronic retailers. The sequel, ‘Jesus Returns: here he comes again’, will be out soon! Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My review of the superb comic book series ‘Scalped’ by Jason Aaron & RM Guera…

So, in case it wasn’t clear from my previous blog posts (here: https://tinyurl.com/jycgyy5, here:  https://tinyurl.com/zehax5n and here: https://tinyurl.com/guehn9a), I am a massive fan of comics. I have been reading, buying and collecting them in one form or other for more than a decade and so I have gotten through a large number of series during that time. These days I mostly favour the creator owned series put out by the companies that support their writers and artists and the series that they produce and Image, IDW, and Dark Horse comics are particularly good at this. I’m also increasing going digital with my new purchases but my one remaining weakness is for series that I love that are released in beautiful hardcover volumes. Things like Saga, The Unwritten and, now, Scalped. Back when I had access to an excellent library that had a considerable graphic novels collection this was a series that I read a trade or two of and enjoyed but the release of the deluxe editions was enough to convince me to give it another go. Now it has become one of my favourites and one that I would heartily recommend that you try.

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Scalped is written by Jason Aaron (whose current run on Thor is one of my favourite Marvel comics) with art principally from RM Guéra and tells the tale of Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse, a native American who is pulled back to the Reservation, or ‘Rez’, that he came from by the will of a federal agent who wants his help to bring down the tribal leader, Lincoln Red Crow. From here we follow as Dash is brought into Red Crow’s organisation and becomes a serious badass, as well as increasingly messed up. This series runs for 60 issues (why are so many great comics runs about this length? Ex Machina, Y:The Last Man, The Unwritten, Chew and many others) as we follow Dash’s attempts to bring down his boss, solve the murder of his mother in current day, and discover who killed two federal agents some years ago.

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Reading the entire run through, one issue in particular stuck out for me and that was number 35. This done-in-one issue tells the tale of an elderly couple living on the Rez who are struggling to survive through the winter. The story doesn’t directly relate to the ongoing series and can be read as a stand-alone but it really hits home hard and is quite wonderful. To me, it seemed to encapsulate the point of Scalped in showing you how hard the lives of these people are and how close to desperation they remain. Of course, the entire run is excellent, but this issue was truly wonderful.

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Scalped is superb, brutal, adult comics that has, by the end of the run, built up a considerable body count. A comparison could be made between this series and Breaking Bad, which is high praise indeed, but it is also a comparison that I think is fair and I would thoroughly recommend Scalped to anyone who enjoys comics, noir fiction or just damned good storytelling. Oh, and the art is superb too with a brutal realism that suits the series perfectly. Scalped must rank up there among the best comics of the past decade, yes it really is that good, and with it now collected in beautiful, deluxe hardcover editions there really is no excuse not to give it a go. So go out and find it! Cheers.

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, now has TWELVE reader reviews with an average of 4.4 stars and is available from all electronic retailers. The sequel, ‘Jesus Returns: here he comes again’, will be out soon! Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My ‘rambling’ review of Terry Moore’s ‘Rachel Rising’…

So, in case it’s not clear by now, I absolutely love comics. I read as many as I can get my hands on, I have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited (which is well worth the money (http://tiny.cc/m2s3cy)), I borrow what I can get from my local library (which, unfortunately, isn’t much compared to the last city I lived in) and I buy what I can afford to. My preferred means of collecting is in big, beautiful hardcovers, though I am now buying more trades in an effort to support creator-owned series like Bitch Planet, Rumble, Monstress and quite a few others. And every now and then a series comes along and stuns you with its brilliance, like this one. Anyway, onwards…

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Rachel Rising (I’m gonna call if RR for the rest of this post) is a wonderful, independent comic series written and drawn by Terry Moore and I just love it! And one of the best things about it is that my wife also adores it, even more than I do I think. There aren’t that many series that we agree about or where she refuses to let me read the latest volume until she has done so even when I was the one who ordered and paid for the bloody thing! Anyway, RR recently concluded and, when I received the last volume, I started the entire run from the beginning again. It reads incredibly well this way but I had to wonder where Moore had found the time to do everything that he does on this book and release it in a reasonable schedule! It’s staggering how much of his work has gone into this one man show from the writing to the drawing and the covers (as well as, presumably, the editing). His work rate puts the rest of us to shame!

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RR follows our titular character as she wakes up in a grave having been strangled to death. Well, wakes might not be the right word and the question of whether she’s actually alive or dead is never really answered during the series. Not that that is a problem, Moore simply keeps that issue in the background as he explores the rest of his diverse cast from Rachel’s best friend, Jet, to her aunt Johnny to Zoe, a homicidal little girl. RR isn’t afraid to show the darker side of the world and features the highest body count in a small town that I think of besides a movie like The Crazies. And I love the inventiveness that Moore displays in dispatching his characters in all manner of ways. And, oh, the ending of the series. This is how you stick the landing, people! RR reminds me of other brilliant horror comics like Locke and Key where the writer understands exactly how much time they need to tell the tale and they don’t feel the need to go any further. And then you miss it so much when it is done…

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If you like horror comics, or series that are a little different, ones that aren’t afraid to do unusual and epic stories, then you’ll like RR. If you’re a fan of creator-owned tales where the writer is free to cover whatever material they like and do with their characters as they wish, then read RR. As a writer of atheist fiction that explores ancient archetypes, I especially liked how Moore played with religious characters like Lucifer and Lilith and how the entire story tied into tales eons old.

You may have to go a little out of your way to find RR as it’s not available at the usual online sources but you can find it on the Forbidden Planet website. Or you could, you know, go out and find your local comic store and support them instead. RR is well worth the effort! Now, I just need to meet Mr. Moore at a convention, get my trades signed (consider parting with more hard earned cash to get the hardcover) and get a convention sketch of Rachel or one of her co-stars and all will be right with the world. I look forward to it!

 

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, is available now from all electronic retailers. Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My review of ‘Captain America: Civil War’!

So, I’ve been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man first arrived on the big screen. With the exception of the Hulk movies, which aren’t really a part of this Universe, I’ve seen every release and I think that Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America 2 are superb movies. Except for Iron Man 2, which is terrible, every other Marvel movie has been at least good and often much better than that. So I am very sad to say that I found Captain America: Civil War to be a huge disappointment. Now, before I go any further, I am going to talk about the events in this movie so SPOILER WARNING! If you do not wish to know what happens then please do not read any further. If you’ve either seen it or don’t care about spoilers then please continue…

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Before we get to why I disliked this movie I should run through the events that occur. After a brief prelude involving the Winter Soldier eliminating a target and retrieving a highly suspicious package, Captain America: Civil War opens with a rather spectacular sequence where the Avengers try to prevent a miscreant from stealing a biological agent. This fight ends with an unfortunate number of civilian casualties, opening the way for the registration arguments to be made. From there, the bombing of UN headquarters and the death of the King of Wakanda leads to the introduction of the Black Panther and the Winter Soldier being flushed out into the open. Following Bucky’s capture, the principle villain of the piece, Baron Zemo, frees him, leading to Cap and Bucky attempting to pursue Zemo, while the Avengers try to stop them. People take sides, there’s an impressive battle where no one actually gets hurt, and then Cap and Bucky leave to continue their pursuit. There’s a lovely reveal that really should’ve lead to the actual battle between the opposing sides and then the movie ends. I don’t know if there were post credit sequences as I didn’t stay to find out.

So, my biggest issue with this film is that it seems to be composed of several separate stories that should’ve been movies in their own right but instead have been forced together so that Marvel can move onto the next phase of its plans more quickly than they otherwise could. I think this was a mistake and that the two stories should’ve remained separate. You have the Captain America and Bucky thread where they pursue Zemo and try to prevent the activation of more Winter Soldiers, which is a solid Brubakeresque story that deserved to be the central plot of the film and given time to breathe. And then you have the Civil War silliness which also should also have been its own film, probably Avengers 3, but then I guess Marvel didn’t want to wait that long and so decided to combine the two together.

On the Civil War side, videos are played for the benefit of both audience and Avengers that highlight the battles of recent years and the civilian casualties that clearly must have been incurred, something that I wish the previous movies had been more overt about showing. Marvel clearly want a younger audience and so have avoided actually showing any carnage. I also have significant issues with the handling of the Civil War argument as, when we hear the case for registration, no one enunciates that, without our heroes to save New York in Avengers and Sokovia in Age of Ulton, the world would have been conquered or destroyed many times over. This point of contention is glossed over as if were incidental and not central to the arguments being discussed. This is also a problem.

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The biggest issue that I have with this movie is that it is not a Captain America movie; it’s an Avengers movie. There are far too many characters, all of whom need screen time, and others who need an introduction so that we care about them because they have upcoming movies that Marvel want us to go see. Two separate movies would’ve allowed space to explore Cap and Bucky’s rekindled friendship but instead the film sidelines these two for the sake of spending time with everyone else. Cap 2 didn’t get to the heart of Bucky and Cap’s relationship nearly enough and in Cap 3 the problem is even worse. Were this an Avengers movie, I would have no issue. But as it is, the film avoids everything that I wanted it to focus on. Oh, and the introduction of Spider-Man, entertaining as it was, should never have happened here. The scene between Stark and Parker eats time that would’ve been better spent pursuing Cap and Bucky’s relationship. Put it in Avengers 3: Civil War and it would’ve been fine but in this film it is simply wasting time.

Finally, Rhodey should have also died, not only because his fall would’ve clearly killed him but because this movie really needed a character death at the end. Mark Millar understood this when he penned the comic and Marvel should’ve known that all of this silly fighting over nothing should’ve had consequences. Otherwise what was the point. Sure, Rhode’s won’t be War Machine again but it’s not enough for a movie like this. There will likely be more fallout in subsequent movies but, given that Avengers 3 and 4 won’t be out for many years to come, I have no idea when we’ll get the chance to see what Cap and Bucky’s actions in breaking out their comrades, none of whom can return to their lives anytime soon, will incur. Hawkeye should’ve stayed retired, eh?

To me, Cap 3 feels like a massive misstep, I am thoroughly disappointed and this is possibly the first serious mistake that Marvel have made since launching their cinematic Universe. Well, besides the god awful Iron Man 2. Perhaps they are feeling the pressure from DC and feel that they must compete but given that they are at least a decade ahead this is something that really shouldn’t be worrying about. I have seen every Marvel release since Iron Man and bought most of these movies on either DVD or Blu-Ray but I won’t be buying Captain America: Civil War and I’m not even sure that I will go and see any other Marvel movies in the cinema unless the reviews are particularly good. Dr Strange looks interesting and, as a stand-alone story, maybe it will avoid the problems of Civil War. But I am far less interested in the upcoming Avengers movies and that’s a problem for someone who’s been a fan of these movies for so long. What a damn shame!

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, is available now from all electronic retailers. Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My ‘Ramblings’ on Rumble!

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about any comics on this blog and so it is to them that I now turn my attention. I’m a huge fan of comics and I’ve been reading as many as I can get my hands on for the past ten years or so. I have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited (which is well worth the money in my opinion, more here: http://tinyurl.com/hayjok2) and I use my local library to get my hands on the series that I am less interested in buying but would still like to read. I then purchase as many graphic novels as I can afford but, as my money only stretches so far, I am very careful with my choices. So, it is not often that I take a risk on a series that I haven’t seen reviews for. But that’s exactly what I did with the comic book series that is the subject of this week’s blog post: Rumble.

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Rumble comes from co-creators John Arcudi and James Harren who previously worked together on a volume of the Hellboy spin-off, BPRD, and this series is, in my opinion, an excellent comic book. Hellboy, and all the Mignola associated spinoffs, are also brilliant comics that are, if you’ve never given them a go, well worth your time and this was where I was first introduced to this creator pairing. Rumble is published by Image comics, whose reputation for supporting creator-owned comics is well-earned, and their tactic of releasing the first trade of a new series at a low-price point is very smart indeed. I picked up Rumble on the strength of the creators previous works and I am so glad that I did. Besides his work on BPRD, I am also familiar with Arcudi’s phenomenal, ‘A God Somewhere’, a brutal and vivid tale of superheroes that is far removed from the relative tameness of most of DC and Marvel’s output. If you’ve never heard of that story, hunt it out too and read it, it’s great! So, onto Rumble.

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Rumble is a fantasy tale where two guys, Bobby and Del, are caught up in a “ten-thousand year old grudge match” between ancient races, as the blurb puts it. The story combines fantasy and humour to good effect and this is one of those comics where both writer and artist are truly in synch. Harren’s kinetic and expressive art complements Arcudi’s story remarkably well infusing the fight scenes, of which there are many, with dynamism and brutality, and this serves the story well. Arcudi’s characters are well-drawn and fully-formed including our human protagonists and the warrior God Rathraq who now inhabits the body of a Scarecrow, which tells you the tone of the tale quite nicely! The creators bring together the fantastical with the ordinary in this series and I very much like the way the reader is dropped straight into the story and forced to keep up as matters are eventually explained.

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Rumble reminds me of several other stories. BPRD, obviously, it’s hard not to see a little of their previous collaboration in this tale, but I am also reminded of Jeff Smith’s wonderful ‘Bone’ series in the way that the tale is told. And that is huge compliment, Bone being one of the best series of recent decades (seriously, if you haven’t read that, go and do so right now!). But Rumble is also something unique and it stands out as an individual and gripping tale. So far two trades have been released, ‘What Colour of Darkness’ and ‘A Woe that is Madness’, and both are great. Arcudi and Harren now have a loyal reader in me not only for Rumble but for any other series that they produce in the near future. I highly recommend that you hunt this series out and give it a go (and at the cheap price of the first volume, you really should!) and help support fabulous creator-owned series like this one. For the future of comics is truly creator-owned!

 

Next time I hope to review the superb ‘PostCapitalism’ by Paul Mason. If I can find the time to finish it, that is. Till then, I hope you enjoy Rumble! I am!

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, is available now from all electronic retailers. Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My ‘rambling’ review of the brilliant comic series ‘Mind Mgmt’…

So, the choice this time around was between Owen Jones’ ‘The Establishment’, an excellent, non-fiction book that’s similar in tone to some of the other books I’ve recently reviewed on here, like George Monbiot’s ‘Captive State’ or Peter Oborne’s superb ‘Triumph of the Political Class’, or Matt Kindt’s superb comic book series ‘Mind Mgmt’. I decided that the serious book can wait and that I would instead give you my ‘rambling’ thoughts on the comics instead. Yay, comics!

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I’ve been a fan of Mind Mgmt since it was first published. I managed to persuade my local library when I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia to order the first volume and I’ve been hooked ever since. After I moved back to the UK I needed to find the funds to purchase the series, which is published in beautiful hardcover volumes (always a weakness of mine), and eventually I did and now I own them all. When the final volume arrived at my doorstep I knew I had to find the time to read all six volumes back to back, for a series this complex (and excellent) surely requires a complete reread, and once I had I was glad I did. For it is a complex and rewarding read indeed and one that I thoroughly recommend!

I actually find Mind Mgmt actually quite a difficult series to sum up neatly. It’s a spy-romp of a book with stunning art and a complex story that is incredibly rich and rewarding. The first volume focuses on Meru, a writer struggling to find inspiration for her second book, as she investigates a strange occurrence on a flight where the passengers all had their memories wiped. She travels to find the only missing passenger, Henry Lyme, in order to discover the mystery behind the flight but things only get weirder from there as we are introduced to a large and varied cast of characters and their special abilities. Some of them can do things like predict what will happen in the next fifteen minutes or control the world around them, others are immortal and almost impossible to kill and one can locate weak point in a structure or a person and use that to destroy them. One of them can even kill you with just his finger. No, seriously. The story focuses on Meru as she tries to stop the reformation of Mind Mgmt, the organisation that trained all of these operatives.

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The series runs for six lovely hardcover volumes and encompasses around 35 issues. The art is in Kindt’s recognisable style and finished with beautiful watercolours and one of the questions that I would like to ask this talented writer/artist is how the hell did he find time to write, draw, colour and finish, and letter this incredible series while keeping to the publishing schedule that he did? There is a truly staggering amount of work evident in it and I am astonished that these books were published so quickly (also, make sure you read all the text written in the margins for it really adds to the experience!). It’s an impressive display of talent and work and the guy must surely deserve a break having now finished the series.

Mind Mgmt is a wonderful series, filled with mystery and character (as well as some brutal deaths of said characters) and something that I also feel that this series judged perfectly is the stopping point. Too many comic runs are dragged on long past the point where they should’ve stopped (I’m looking at you, Fables!) and the ones that I love the most have known just how much space they needed in which to tell their story. Joe Hill’s incredible Locke and Key is the comic that I think did this best (and also had six volumes), giving the story just enough room to breathe and for every thread to be pulled together and resolved, without ever getting baggy. And Kindt judged perfectly how long to tell this tale, while not leaving you feeling like matters were unresolved (for they were not). Also, the final page is the perfect head-fuck to leave you on, especially for a series like this. I loved it!

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I’m also astonished by the list of people they got to write the intro’s to these books: Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, Terry Moore (who’s excellent ‘Rachel Rising’ I will also be reviewing once the final volume is out), Greg Rucka, Darwyn Cooke and Damon Lindelof. That is a damn good list of writers willing to write an intro to the book, which I think tells you something about how well Mind Mgmt has been received by the other pros in the industry. I also need an opportunity to get my lovely hardcovers signed so hopefully Kindt will attend one of the UK based conventions this year. We’ll see.

I previously published an article on this blog that detailed my five favourite, currently running comic book series and that list included Mind Mgmt. Now that this series has concluded and I shall have to revise that list in due course and move Mind Mgmt to the list of my all time favourites. It really is that good! I just have no idea which series it will be replacing so instead maybe it should now be a list of my six favourite comic series of all time. That’s a better plan, I think.

So, if you have any interest in excellent comics, go on and pick up the first volume and give it a go. Eventually, I shall reread Mind Mgmt (including all the little notes in the margins, most of which I skipped over in my reread, wanting as I did to quickly get to the end!) and I feel that it is a series that will really reward further rereads. I suspect I will get something a little different out of it each time I do. If you like complex stories involving fantastic characters that somewhat mess with your head, then I can’t recommend Mind Mgmt highly enough. I for one will be looking forward to whatever projects Mr. Kindt releases in the future (bring on Past Aways!) and looking for the next series like this one, though I fear there will never be another quite like it. At least I have my beautiful hardcovers to enjoy, whenever the mood takes me. Cheers!

 

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help Godsave the world’, is available now from all electronic retailers. Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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Ramblings: My Current Favourite Marvel Comic Series!

So, for the past few months I have had a subscription to Marvel Unlimited and this has proven a very wise investment indeed. As a result I have enjoyed a significant number of series that I would not have otherwise read, as well as all of those that I would likely have hunted out anyway. What can I say, I’m a big fan of comics! And seeing as I’ve written a few Ramblings about which series are my favourites I thought I would continue in that vein. This post is about the best comics currently being published by Marvel. I doubt I will be able to write a similar post for either DC, Dark Horse or IDW as I do not read enough of their output to compile such a list. I love Hellboy and the associated series at Dark Horse but I can’t think of any others that I read from them and DC has published almost unrelenting bleakness since the New 52 began. I enjoy Scott Synder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, and I want to read both Stewart Cameron’s Batgirl and Tim Seeley’s Greyson, but I can’t think of any others that I currently love from that company. I also read Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye and Zombies Vs. Robots from IDW but that’s about it. And I’ll likely compile a list of my favourite Image comics series as they publish a lot of excellent material but for now onto my favourite series from Marvel.

Right, so here is the list: Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Thor: God of Thunder, and Secret Avengers. Now, I am aware that two of these series have the word Marvel in their name and that several have either completed their runs as single issues or will shortly do so. But I don’t buy or read them as singles and there is delay on issues arriving on Unlimited. And most still have trades to be released or have just released their final book and so I will ignore that discrepancy.

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OK, so first up is Captain Marvel, written by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Christopher Sebela with art by several artists including Dexter Soy, Scott Hepburn, David Lopez and quite a few others. I have loved this series since the very first issue, through the continual relaunches, and finally to its conclusion at the start of Secret Wars. The thing that defines this series above all else is its grounding in character and the way in which the story is told with warmth and heart. I love it! I believe Captain Marvel will be relaunching sometime in the near future with a new writer and I am looking forward to reading the new take on the series. But I do not expect it to be the same and I have to say that as I read the last page of the final issue, before the series was folded into Secret Wars, I was very moved by its conclusion. I would also recommend that you check out DeConnick’s other series like Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly. They are both highly enjoyable!

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Moving on, Ms. Marvel, from the pen of G. Willow Wilson with art principally by Adrian Alphona was a surprise hit. A series about a young, Muslim girl who becomes an inhuman and then takes on the mantle of Ms. Marvel does not sound like the easiest sell to comic book fans but this series quickly found its feet and audience soon after launch and that is a good thing indeed. For it is wonderfully told with a remarkably authentic voice that combines the kick-ass approach of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with humour and wit and cultural authenticity. Kamala Khan is a fantastic superhero and the series will soon be relaunching with a new number 1. So you have no excuse for not giving it a go!

Loki

Next up we have Loki: Agent of Asgard. Now, I have been a fan of Loki from his depiction in Journey Into Mystery, written by Keiron Gillen, through Young Avengers, also written by Mr. Gillen, and now in this series written by Al Ewing with art principally by Lee Garbett. In my opinion, Ewing has done a phenomenal job of sculpting a brilliant, literary comic that builds on all that has come before whilst keeping Loki as the mischievous scamp we know that he is (well, sort of!). This series has recently come to a conclusion with the start of Secret Wars and I have actually finished the run, but I don’t mind cheating and including it on this list. It’s well worth a read, as are Journey Into Mystery and Young Avengers, so go find them and I hope that we will see Loki return in his own series again soon!

Thor

Fourth on my list is Thor: God of Thunder. In my opinion the main Thor series has had its ups and downs since J Michael Straczynski’s seminal run and, though I enjoyed Keiron Gillen’s run (he’s on this list quite a few times, eh!), I was less impressed by Matt Fractions’ handling of the series, which was surprising given the quality of his Invincible Iron Man run. But Jason Aaron’s series since the relaunch has been nothing less than stellar. With stellar art from Esad Ribic, Ron Garney, Agustin Alessio and more recently Russell Dauterman , Aaron has built an impressive, epic story that culminated in the son of Odin losing his hammer.  And now that the son of Odin is no longer Thor, with an at-first unnamed lady wielding the hammer, the series has continued to impress.. I can’t wait to see what Aaron does next!

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Finally we have Secret Avengers in its most recent incarnation. Following on from the series’ helmed by Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, Nick Spencer and most recently, Rick Remender, Secret Avengers by Ales Kot is unlike any of these. Kot’s SA is brilliant and bonkers and quite hilarious, with a distinctive art style, as we follow the misadventures of Maria Hill, Hawkeye, and Phil Coulson among others. With art by Michael Walsh, Secret Avengers is laugh-out-loud funny (no, seriously!) with heart and pathos and the tragically short run, is quite fantastic. I hope Marvel collects it in a shiny hardcover, I’ll buy it!

Now, I know that I have cheated a little by having a few series that have actually finished their runs as singles, and even on Unlimited, and I think I will write another of these in a while once I’ve had a chance to read some of the series that are coming out following Secret Wars. I will also eventually compile a list of my all-time favourite series published by Marvel though it might be quite tricky to pick only five series. For now though I recommend that you read the series listed above as they are excellent and easily found by either purchasing a Marvel Unlimited subscription, which is an incredible bargain in my opinion, or by picking up the trades from either your local comics store or by borrowing them from the library. You won’t be disappointed (I hope!).

Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ which is out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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