Batman #30 Review

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Batman #30

Review by Paul Bowler

Savage City begins in Batman #30 as the Dark Knight faces the greatest challenge of his early crime fighting career. The Riddler’s plan to hack into Gotham’s power grid has succeeded; the restraining walls protecting the city have fallen, leaving Gotham at the mercy of the super storm. Batman is defeated, missing and presumed dead. The Riddler now has free reign over Gotham, a city now flooded and overgrown with dense vegetation, and transformed by Nygma’s grand design into a deadly post-apocalyptic nightmare.

The third arc of Zero Year introduces us to a radically different version of Gotham City. Its one we first glimpsed way back in Batman #21, where the city has been moulded into a completely new environment by the Riddler’s scheme. Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s new take on the Dark Knight’s early career continues to explore new territory, as Batman evolves to survive amidst the urban wilderness that Gotham has now become.

While the Secret City and Dark City sections of Zero Year revisited many of the classic elements from Batman’s origin, with this third and final chapter, Savage City, the foundations are set for the ultimate showdown between Batman and the Riddler. Snyder and Capullo’s reimagning of the Bruce Wayne’s early years has been nothing short of a revelation, offering a modern perspective, whilst remaining entirely respectful to the characters time-honoured legacy.

The intriguing opening moments of Batman #30 leads masterfully into the beginning of Savage City. With all of Gotham laid out before us we rejoin Bruce Wayne as he wakes to find himself in a very different city to the one he knew. Having escaped from the crashed weather balloon Bruce was saved by a family and taken in. In the month that he was unconscious the Riddler has effectively cut Gotham off from the outside world, there is no way in or out, and the flooded city has become engulfed by vegetation.

Batman #30 (cover)

Batman is believed to be dead. Now the Riddler appears on a giant screen once a day to issue a challenge to the people of Gotham, saying that if anyone can present him with a riddle he cannot solve, he will return control of the city to them. While it sounds simple, there is a heavy price for failure, and the Riddler takes no prisoners. It is during one such address that Lieutenant Gordon instigates a plan to strike back at the Riddler.

Now that the Riddler has control over the grid, he can work everything remotely, machinery, street lamps, automated surveillance, and no one knows where he is. Having transformed Gotham the Riddler has created the ultimate riddle, changing the environment of the city to revert things almost to a primal level, and thereby challenging the population to evolve if they are to have any chance of finding and defeating him. Savage City shows how the Riddler has embodied the issues of climate change, evolution, harsh economic times, and global terrorism, in order to challenge the city to outwit him – presenting them with his conception of Gotham’s future – having orchestrated events to implement his vision by churning all these existential influences together and plunging Gotham into an entropic maelstrom of his own narcissistic design.

The Riddler takes centre stage this issue, as the narrative unfolds it becomes clear how his scheme is engrained within the structure of Zero Year itself, even the stories name is intrinsically linked to Nygma’s plans. I also really liked the opening scenes, where the young Duke Thomas fills us in on what’s been happening. Bruce also makes contact with Alfred, in a particularly moving scene, where, believing he has failed the city, he has to confront his innermost doubts and decide whether or not he can claw himself back from this defeat. Scott Snyder writes such beautiful, emotive dialogue for this scene, and you can almost feel Bruce’s voice cracking with raw emotion.

From its lush green cover, to the incredible reveal of Gotham’s new skyline, Greg Capullo’s art depicts the ravaged city magnificently, smashed by storm and flood, it is now a bleak, desolate place overrun with lush vegetation. The moment where Bruce wakes up and we pull away from the glass of water, is simply sublime, and I really liked how Capullo brings the harsh, grimy, reality of this new Gotham to life on the page. Batman #30 looks incredible, Danny Miki’s inks and FCO Plascencia’s colors are as stunning as ever, you’ll really want to read this issue a few times just to soak up the visual spectacle of it all, it’s breathtaking.

Batman #30 is a terrific issue, packed with action, and an exciting conclusion that is punctuated with another defining moment for the saga. Savage City looks set to be the most exciting segment of Zero Year of all, and I can’t wait to see what Snyder and Capullo have in store for us as Zero Year progresses towards its conclusion.

 

Batman Eternal #1 Review

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Batman Eternal #1

Review by Paul Bowler

Now that Batman’s 75th Anniversary year is well under way, the celebrations really kick into high gear this week with the release of Batman Eternal #1, the first issue of a new weekly series that will focus on the relationship between Batman, his many allies, his enemies, and even Gotham itself, as the Dark Knight’s world is explored over the course of this year-long event. With its all star creative team consisting of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Jason Fabok, John Layman, and Tim Seeley, we can rest assured that Batman Eternal and its year-long storyline will have us eagerly returning to Gotham City week after week.

This debut issue with story and script by writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV (consulting writers Ray Fawkes, John Layman, and Tim Seeley) with art by Jason Fabok, certainly gets Batman Eternal #1 off to an explosive start, as we first get a glimpse of what the future holds for the Dark Knight, before returning to the present where a series of events place Commissioner James Gordon on the wrong side of the law.

Batman Eternal #1 (Cover)

With its fantastic opening tease fanning the flames of the future Batman Eternal #1 quickly introduces us to a new arrival in Gotham City, Jason Bard, a Lieutenant newly transferred from Detroit to join the GCPD. Gordon has assigned Bard to be the new Lieutenant night shift, a role that Jim Gordon himself once held. However, when Jim calls in for backup the new recruits first collar quickly proves to be an eventful one.

Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV masterfully weave these scenes where Bullock shows Bard around GCPD while the action unfolds at a nearby museum, where Gordon is busy protecting a group of children and fighting off a vicious attack from Professor Pyg as he attempts to transform them into Dollotrons. The dialogue over the comlink between Gordon and Batman really builds the tension here, as the Dark Knight is delayed, and is still on en route to the scene. These opening scenes really highlight the close bond Gordon and Batman have. When the Dark Knight does arrive, Gordon accompanies him in chasing their quarry.

Batman goes after Pyg while Gordon races after the stray henchman who makes a break for the subway station. What follows is a brilliantly tense and exhilarating series of events that will keep you glued to every page, as Jim makes a split-second decision that could change his life and career forever. Snyder and Tynion keep us hanging on every word as this sequence, along with its terrifying consequences and equally devastating repercussions unfold.

The art by Jason Fabok is also excellent; there are so many stand-out moments in this first issue of Batman Eternal: the battle in the museum is brilliant, its really frenetic and exciting, with Batman making one hell of an entrance. Fabok makes Batman look really powerful and imposing, especially when he catches up with Pyg, he also includes some really fine detailing on the Bat-Suit as well. Each character is clearly defined, with excellent facial expressions, and the sense of urgency in he build up to the scene with the subway train is almost palpable.

The colors by Brad Anderson really complement Fabok’s art too; the Gotham skyline seamlessly reflects the way the narration depicts the city, casting a new light on this familiar skyline. From the explosive showdown in the museum to the climatic moments in the subway station, this issue looks incredible.

With Batman Eternal #1 also featuring an amazing cover by Jason Fabok , this first issue is a really stunner. Batman Eternal #1 certainly lives up to all the hype, and this action packed debut issue really gets things off to a great start. Needles to say I’m hooked, and I’m confident that Scott Snyder and his exceptionally talented creative team can meet the challenge of producing this new weekly Batman series, and if this first issue is anything to go by its bound to keep us looking forward to our weekly visits to Gotham City.

 

Captain America The Winter Soldier Film Review

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Review by Paul Bowler

Captain America TWS (1)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets the next installment of the Marvel saga off to a fine start, as the shield-slinging Avenger continues to adjust to life in the modern world as his past returns to haunt him. This blockbuster sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger sees Steve Rogers / Captain America settling into his new life following the events of The Avengers as he continues to work with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

A new threat emerges after Captain America is involved in a rescue mission at sea after a ship is captured by Georges Batroc (George St-Pierre); Cap uncovers a dark conspiracy, one that challenges everything he stands for. When someone close to him is attacked Captain America teams up with Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, in his ongoing battle against the highly trained forces that have been sent against him, whilst also enlisting the help of a new ally, the Falcon, as they face a powerful new enemy, one with a secret past of his own – the formidable Winter Soldier.

Captain America TWS (4)

This Marvel sequel is a real step up for the franchise. While his origin was handled well in Captain America: The First Avenger, the character was still finding his feet in The Avengers, now in The Winter Soldier we have a film that really capitalizes on the characters full potential. Chris Evans gives a great performance as Captain America / Steve Rogers, bringing an added depth to the character as Cap finds himself in a world where political corruption is now his greatest enemy. There is also the heartrending realization of everything he has left behind in his old life, it’s an underlying theme which The Winter Soldier uses to great effect, one that shows how much this franchise has evolved and grown.

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in many respects, as much a gritty conspiracy thriller as it is an all-out superhero action story, and as a result the tightly plotted screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFreely delivers its fair share of thrills and adrenalin pumping action sequences along with some well structured character development to balance the excellently choreographed fight scenes.

Captain America TWS (7)

When Cap learns about a secret project and the Helicarriers created for it, each fitted out with new surveillance technology and weapons to eliminate potential threats before they can happen, the duplicitous and uncompromising nature of the project brings him into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D and his boss Nick Fury. As the forces of the clandestine organization manipulating events from within begins to close in it falls to Captain America and the Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy that now threatens to engulf them all. Samuel L Jackson also gets plenty to do as Nick Fury, giving a captivating and commanding performance, and Scarlet Johansson is excellent as the badass super-spy, Robert Redford stars as a Government official for S.H.I.E.L.D, while Cobie Smulders plays Mira Hill and Emil VanCamp is introduced as Sharon Carter. Hayley Atwell also returns, made up as the elderly Peggy Carter – the Captain’s former sweetheart from the 1940’s.

There is great chemistry between Cap and the Black Widow, with their opposing morals and personalities, forcing them together in such extreme circumstances like this makes for some really exciting moments. Anthony Mackie makes an impressive new addition to the series as war veteran Sam Wilson, who also strikes up a close friendship with Cap. Wilson is later transformed into the Falcon with the help of some special flight equipment, which he uses to join the battle.

Captain AMerica TWS (6)

The action in Captain America: The Winter Soldier hardly lets up for moment: with a thrilling fight on a ship at sea, a nail-biting car chase through Washington and assassination attempt on Nick Fury is perfectly staged, and there are also some brilliant aerial battles when the Falcon joins the fray and takes to the skies.

The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is ruthlessly efficient killer; he possesses a metallic arm, and has a flair for violence that will let nothing stop him from achieving his goal. The Winter Soldier also has a dark, terrible secret, one that also reaches back into Cap’s own past. Sebastian Stan gives an excellent performance as The Winter Soldier, as intense as the Terminator, with just a glimmer of the humanity beneath, his true identity and that of those he works for may come as no surprise, but his steely presence is more than enough to maintain the suspense.

Captain America TWS (8)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spectacular film which draws on every ounce of its dark premise, inspired by Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier storyline from the Captain America comics, and this makes for a hugely entertaining film. There are plenty of references, name-checks, and in-jokes for fans to enjoy, while still being enjoyable and accessible for those who haven’t read the comic book series. Captain America: The Winter Soldier really honours the character of the star spangled Avenger, events in this film look set shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe quite dramatically, it is easily the best of Marvel’s Phase 2 films so far, the special effects are breathtaking, and it all builds towards a spectacular action-packed final act that will have you on the edge of your seat. A must see film, and make sure you sick around for those two post credit scenes as well.

 

Earth 2 #22

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Earth 2 #22

Review by Paul Bowler

Things look bad for Earth 2 as the forces of Darkseid continue their attack on Earth 2, all hope seems lost, but suddenly a light begins to shine in these dark times when Green Lantern is reborn from the ashes of defeat. Having taken refuge in the Batcave, the remaining wonders can only wait as, Val, the young Kryptonian they saved from Arkham, learns to use his powers, with the hope that he will help them fight the evil Superman. Now that Darkseid’s herald has learned of Val’s existence he sets out for Gotham with a squadron of Parademons, determined to crush the young Kryptonian and deal with Batman’s sudden return…

Tom Taylor beings us right back to the moment where Green Lantern was beaten to a bloody pulp by Superman in Dherain, as Earth 2 #22 transports us back into the inferno unleashed by Steppenwolf’s demise at Superman’s hand. The power of Green Lantern was given to Alan Scott by the very essence of the planet itself, now that same power suddenly returns to bring him back from his death in the raging heart of the terrifying maelstrom of Godfire that consumed him and gouged a massive scar across the surface of the world.

Green Lantern’s resurrection is stunningly crafted; Nicola Scott’s art elevates this scene to an epic scale, as Alan Scot returns from the ashes and bones of Dherain’s destruction. It’s a powerful and striking image, with skulls bathed in the glow from Green Lantern’s power ring carpeting the ground for as far as the eye can see. Perfectly accentuated by Trevor Scott’s inks and Pete Pantazis’ bold colors, this moment gets Earth 2 #22 of to a rousing start.

Earth 2 #22 (Cover )

We then check out what’s happening back at the Batcave, as Red Arrow and Jimmy Olsen try to make sense of Dr Fate’s ramblings, and Red Tornado continues to advise Val as his Kryptonian powers begin to develop. I really like how Tom Taylor has made Lois Lane such a pivotal character in this storyline. The Kryptonian Part 2 continues to see Lois adjusting to her new life in the android body of the Red Tornado, there is an especially moving scene when she is taking to Val, and she catches sight of herself in a mirror. Its scenes like this that really makes Earth 2 something very special indeed and the poignancy of this moment remains with you long after the issue is over.

Tom Taylor keeps things bubbling away at Bedlam’s science facility where Mr Terrific, Terry Sloan, and Mr Miracle have been captured and forced into helping build a boom tube capable of transporting Earth 2 through space. Superman quickly learns about the circumstances behind Val’s arrival on Earth – as well as his fellow Kryptonian’s full name – and how Terry Sloan’s kept the young Kryptonian hidden in Arkam’s basement in a secret cell. Furthermore the herald of Darkseid soon discovers what he perceives to be an even greater threat as Bedlam replays the images gathered from Arkham by the Parademons.

My favourite scene in Earth 2 #22 is where Lois / Red Tornado and Val leave the cave. Having spent his whole life in Arkham, the young Kryptonian is gradually overcoming his agoraphobia. Here we witness the pure joy as he discovers the wider world outside the Batcave, his senses evolving with each passing moment, before taking to the skies with the Red Tornado. Here we get to see that Earth 2 is much more than the all-out-action of previous issues, as Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott deliver a delightfully simple, yet wonderful moment, one that sparkles with awe and laughter as Val makes his first tentative attempt at flight.

The joy of Val’s first flight is short lived as the Parademon horde rapidly approaches Gotham; fortunately Hawkgirl is around to warn them. Earth 2 #22 wraps things up in style as the Parademons begin their attack. With the Red Tornado and Hawkgirl up against impossible odds, the bone crushing finale moments hurtles towards you before setting up the potentially game-changing confrontation we’ve been waiting for.

Overall this was a really good issue, with some fabulous character development, and plenty of action to keep us on the edge of our seat. While its been intriguing to guess what Dr Fate’s ramblings are about, he makes a very sad sight this issue, forlornly gazing at the cracked Helm of Nabu and mumbling in the corner of the Batcave. I just hope Tom Taylor brings Dr Fate back to normal soon. He’s a great character with so much potential and it’s been a shame to see him reduced to this state, especially for so many issues.

So, this is another great issue then by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott. Earth 2 #22 certainly seems to be setting things up for something really big, especially given Alan Scott’s resurrection and this issues cliff-hanger ending.

The Walking Dead #124 Review

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The Walking Dead #124

Review by Paul Bowler

(Contains Spoilers)

Even though Eugene believes Dwight is playing both sides, there are others who also want to rebel against Negan. They join forces with Eugene and his friends and help them escape from the Saviors base. Negan and the Saviors have attacked the Hilltop, only to discover Rick’s people are better prepared than expected. However, the Saviors have developed a nasty strategy, contaminating their weapons to spread the Zombie infection. In the midst of the deadly battle, Dwight aims his crossbow at Rick, and shoots him in the abdomen…

Robert Kirkman keeps building the tension in The Walking Dead #124 as Rick and survivors are left reeling from the Saviors horrific attack. The shocking cliff-hanger ending to The Walking Dead #123 saw Rick wounded by a crossbow bolt fired by Dwight. Even though it was Negan who gave the order, Dwight still obeyed, so it would seem that Eugene was probably right about Dwight after all. Negan knows his victory is now assured; anyone wounded by the Saviors will soon develop the fever and become Walkers, even Rick…

The Walking Dead #124 shifts the focus momentarily back to Eugene and the others as they escape in a small van. With fatigue setting in, they decided to find somewhere to rest for the night; unfortunately they also run into some Walkers. To make matters even worse they find that one of Negan’s snipers is also in the area.

The Walking Dead #124 (Cover)

Then we are flung right into the thick of the action back at the Hilltop where Rick and his forces are trying to regroup while the Saviors press home their advantage. Fortunately Ezekiel and Michonne have set up an ingenious way to catch Negan and the Saviors off guard, soon the tables are turned, and Negan’s forces have to retreat.

Part Ten of All Out War is one of the best yet, the action doesn’t let up for a moment. Jesus is quick to help protect Rick after he is wounded, while Ezekiel and Michonne also play a crucial role in repelling the Saviors, and later Michonne and Jesus work together to try and clear out some of the Walkers attracted by noise of the battle. As the wounded at the Hilltop begin to suffer from the deadly effects caused by the Saviors infected weapons, developing terrible fevers, the full horror of what is actually happening begins to sink in.

So, it certainly looks like Rick’s days are numbered. If the crossbow bolt was indeed covered in infected Zombie matter, it’s only a matter of time before Rick succumbs to the inevitable and becomes a Walker – although he has yet to develop any symptoms like the rest who have been injured. It’s almost unthinkable to contemplate, that such a pivotal character like Rick could be killed off, but as we all know anything can happen in The Walking Dead and no one is ever truly safe. I must admit I’ve had my doubts about Dwight right from the start, ever since he decided to help Rick’s alliance fight Negan. So, has Dwight really betrayed Rick, it seems he was he lying all along, or is there a chance he could he still play a part in bringing about Negan’s downfall? Either way, Robert Kirkman has certainly kept us guessing about this scarred faced character. As Dwight sat beside Negan at the campfire in this issue, while Negan gloated about how he plans to end this conflict, I couldn’t help wondering if there might be a few more surprises in store for us as far as Dwight is concerned.

The art by Charlie Adlard is as excellent as ever in The Walking Dead #124 I really liked the scenes where Eugene and the others were driving through the darkened streets and the Walkers surrounded their van. Adlard’s art depicted this nightmarish moment perfectly, with the Zombies caught in the headlights, as they began shambling towards the van. Stefano Gaudiano’s inks also really enhance this scene, making it even more menacing. The way the sniper is dealt with added another surprise twist, illustrating just how cut throat life has become in the Zombie Apocalypse, when the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.

All Out War has featured some nasty scenes, and the battle at the Hilltop is no exception. It’s brutal in its intensity, with no quarter given or taken on either side. This is page turning stuff and will keep you on the edge of your seat, even after the dust has settled and we take in the full extent of the damage this attack has wrought on the Hilltop – a hauntingly bleak vista of desolation created by Charlie Adlard that is so eerie you’d swear you could almost hear a gentle breeze caressing the wreckage as the undead stagger aimlessly through the ruined landscape.

The Walking Dead #124 is another really good issue. All Out War has been a really exciting storyline, its certainly taken the series in a new direction, and events look set to continue building towards a suitably epic and blood soaked finale.

XMen Days of Future Past Offical Trailer #2

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XMen Days of Future Past Offical Traier #2

X-Men Day's of Future Past (1)

Check out the brilliant new trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past!

And check out the new poster as well

New X-Men Days of Future Past Poster

charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Read more at http://collider.com/x-men-first-class-trailer-logo/#Gt4LUyjoci13uOEY.99

charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Read more at http://collider.com/x-men-first-class-trailer-logo/#Gt4LUyjoci13uOEY.99
charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Read more at http://collider.com/x-men-first-class-trailer-logo/#Gt4LUyjoci13uOEY.99
charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.
Read more at http://collider.com/x-men-first-class-trailer-logo/#Gt4LUyjoci13uOEY.99

Black / White Review

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Black / White

Review by Paul Bowler

Black / White is the brand new anthology collection from the Australian author Andrez Bergen, writer of the detective noir inspired superhero novel Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? This anthology features artwork by Canadian artists Dezz Rodriguez (Erl Cuervo) and Michael Grills (Runnin’ With a Gun), American Nathan St John (Baya), with British artist Andrew Chiy and Argentinean Marcos Vergar, alongside Australians Andrez Bergen and Matt Kyme (That Bullet Proof Kid & Tales to Admonish).

Published by IF COMMIX, Bergen and Kyme takes an innovative stance with Black / White, balancing contrasting tones of storytelling and art (both black and white) in this new Aussie iNDie anthology which, together with its impressive collection of international artists, explores the subtleties and subtexts which exist between them both.

With a focus on noir, together with a dark blend of comic humour, Black / White serves up a bold and unflinching collection of stories tackling numerous themes: including crime, suicide, and a chilling post-apocalyptic nightmare in a dystopian future.

BLACK-WHITE comic COVER

The first of the six tales in this anthology, Zig Zag, features a man, cleaning a gun, one that has survived for a 100 years. The narrative here is delivered by Bergen along the left hand side of the page, while the art by Rodriguez dominates the right of the page. The noir style monologue is hauntingly relayed; a symphony of darkness and despair, which together with the uncanny twist at the end gets Black / White off to a fine start.

Get Busy takes us to a bustling night in a bar, where barman Ziggy studies the comings and going of his patrons. While the tone of this story is somewhat lighter, Andrez Bergen provides with a host of interesting character, with some great art by Marcos Vergar, this story necks a triple shot of vodka and delivers a surprise find in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Lin Leum Actress by Michael Grills and Andrez Bergen introduces us to a seductive woman as she admires herself in the mirror. A man just sits and watches her, admiring her beauty. Breakfast, toast and a shot of tequila, later, the man’s vision begins to goes dark, and we slowly learn why this is the last thing he will ever see. I really enjoyed this story, tightly plotted and with intriguing characters, its one of the best in this collection.

The Writing on the Wall introduces another great female character by Bergen, a nomadic vigilante, who catches youths Marie and Jo-Jo daubing graffiti on a wall in a dark apocalyptic landscape. This stranger uses a clever play on words and bullets to meet out justice according to her design. The art by Nathan St John really encapsulates the dark and gritty tone of this story, with great visual flourishes, this story really stands out from the crowd.

Waiting for Sod All is the tale of married woman, she is ill, and it is breaking her heart to see her husband as he clings to the last vestiges of hope they once shared. The pain of her illness has become too great now, so the woman makes one final choice, in a heartrending move were her salvation is only phone call away. With story and art by Andrez Bergen, this is perhaps the darkest tale of all in this entire anthology. Bergen’s unflinching approach to the subject matter here is polarized within the vivid blend of shadows and white imagery, weaving a dark narrative through the deeply emotional impact of a love eroded in a sea of pain and tears.

Come Out Swinging by Andrez Bergen and Andrew Chiu is a short little story, where a man saves woman from her captor, which concluded with a snappy punch line. This single page rounds off the anthology and brings Black / White to a close.

Black / White is an excellent collection of stories, the distinct film noir and dark apocalyptic style filters through every page, creating a near perfect synergy with each story. The various artistic styles also complement each other very well, none of the stories outshines or clashes with those around it, and it is perhaps this element above all that makes Black / White such an enjoyable and eclectic collection of stories. Andrez Bergen has excelled himself with this issue, superb stories, a great team of artists, and a striking cover by Matt Kyme, ensures Black / White will have a lasting impression on your imagination and senses long after the final page has turned.

Black / White is published by If? Commix and is available for $5 print copy or as download here for $1.00

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