The Amazing Spider-Man #52 Review

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The Amazing Spider-Man #52

Review by Paul Bowler.

The darkest, most macabre confrontation imaginable awaits Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man #52 as the wall crawler comes face-to-face with the new villain – Kindred! As Kindred reveals his true power to Spider-Man, horrors past and present are unleashed, and Spidey begins realise the terrible danger he’s in!

Having failed to secure the help of Doctor Strange last issue Spider-Man decided to take the fight directly to Kindred himself, but it’s a decision Peter might come to regret as their showdown unfolds. With a gathering of high profile skeletal remains for Kindred’s ghoulish tea party from hell, including George Stacy, Jean Dewolf, Marla Jamerson, Flash Thompson, Gwen Stacy, and Ben Parker, writer Nick Spencer ramps up the horror quota of Kindred’s vendetta to the max in Spider-Man #52 to such a degree that its positively skin-crawling. The way Kindred taunts and goads Spidey before brutally pummelling him to a pulp is done with almost surgical precision, and its not long before our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man finds the tables have been horrifically turned on him.

Kindred has been plotting and scheming from the shadows for much of Spencer’s run, having first killed Mendel Stromm and then Mysterio, Kindred went on to resurrect Sin Eater to cleanse criminals of their sins — including Norman Osborne (the Green Goblin). Last Remains kicked off with Kindred sending these collective sins after Spider-Man’s Spider-Friends,  Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, Miles Morales, and Madame Web, transforming them into twisted demonic version of themselves in order to unleash carnage on Peter and terrorise New York City. It is this demonic version of The Order of the Web that Kindred now uses against Spider-Man in this issue with almost frightening relish, and effetely forces him into a fateful no-win scenario.

Patrick Gleason’s artwork is a perfect fit for The Amazing Spider-Man. Employing a dynamic blend of overlapping page layouts and spectacular two-page spreads to convey the horror and intensity of Spidey’s face-off with Kindred, Gleason renders every moment of raw emotion, grisly horror and bone crunching action to perfection. Every scene is packed with detail   and colourist Edgar Delgado enhances the action with a glorious use of vivid color, rich tones, and  sinister shadows.

Everything builds towards a shock cliff-hanger which is brilliantly ambiguous and shockingly chilling. Grim thrills and intense action makes Amazing Spider-Man #52 riveting reading, Nick Spencer is firing on all cylinders here, and Patrick Gleason’s art continues to impress on every level. The creative team on this book are doing a fantastic job and Last Remains is easily one of the most darkly compelling Spider-Man storylines that I’ve enjoyed in a  long while. 

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Nick Spencer / Artist: Patrick Gleason

Colorist: Edgar Delgado / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover: Patrick Gleason and Edgar Delgado

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

X-Men #14 Review

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X-Men #14

Review by Paul Bowler.

The cross-dimensional saga X of Swords continues apace in X-Men #14 as writer Jonathan Hickman delivers the long awaited reckoning between Apocalypse and his wife, Genesis!

As events go this year’s epic crossover X of Swords has been vast in scale, it has encompassed the entire X-Men comics range, and brought a series of startling revelations to the fore. The X-Men champions of the Mutant nation of Krakoa have been chosen to retrieve ancient swords before their participation in a tournament against the champions of Arakko, led by Genesis, and their children, the first horsemen and now sword-bearers of Arakko! As the champions gathered at the Starlight Citadel Apocalypse learned that the fearsome Annihilation, ruler of Arakko, is actually his long lost wife genesis!

Last issue virtually retconned everything we once knew about Apocalypse. In X-Men #14 we get another perspective on those events as Genesis meets him on the eve of the coming battles to recount the history of Arakko. Its a spellbinding blend of legends, world-building, conflict and heartbreak as Genesis’ story unfolds. We see how Krakoa and Arakko were torn apart across the dimensions, the subsequent wars that followed raged on, and witness Genesis’ salvation ultimately became her own cosmic hubris. One of the most compelling aspects of the mutant amnesty on the island of Krakoa – established during House of X and Power of X – is how it allowed for a far more sympathetic and insightful portrayal of Apocalypse. X of Swords has continued the renaissance of Apocalypse which has now become a cornerstone of Hickman’s X-Men run. The reunion with his wife Genesis in this issue is fraught with emotion and tension, indeed, this is probably the most intricate character development the ancient mutant has ever undergone.

Featuring art by Mahmud Asrar and Leinil Francis Yu, and colors by Sunny Gho, X-Men #14 is a visual cornucopia of beautifully rendered scenes, lush gardens bloom with opulence, while magnificent battles unfold across vast landscapes as magic and legends entwine as one. The attention to detail Asrar and Yu have lavished on this issue is quite staggering, every page is packed with detail, and Sunny Gho’s vibrant colors encapsulate the epic scope of the story perfectly.

This issue of X-Men effectively bring us to the midway point in the X of Swords saga. As a whole the event has been sound enough, in concept at least, but the sprawling nature of the narrative has also seen it veer alarmingly between grandiose storytelling and pretentious twaddle at times. So far X of Swords has hardly been essential reading. A lot of far more compelling plot threads have been effectively sidelined to accommodate this crossover event as well. However, now that we are getting to the nitty gritty of the story perhaps X of Swords will take a turn for the better once the tournament begins and the combatants clash – with the fate of Krakoa and Arakko resting on the outcome. 

We now see how the shared history of Apocalypse and Genesis has forged the evens leading into X of Swords (which in some instances even reach back as far as X-Men #2), its tragic how Genesis fell to the corruption of Annihilation, and inevitably a titanic showdown between them is now on the cards at some point. X-Men #14 brings some much needed elucidation to X of Swords somewhat contrived storyline, its gorgeously illustrated throughout, and stands as a compelling character piece in its own right.

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Jonathan Hickman /Art: Mahmud Asrar & Leinil Francis Yu

Color Artist: Sunny Gho /Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Design: Tom Muller /Cover: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Batman Beyond #48 Review

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Batman Beyond #48

Review by Paul Bowler.

The future and the past collide in Batman Beyond #48 when Terry McGinnis’ mentor Bruce Wayne suddenly turns against him! Luckily histories greatest unknown hero – Booster Gold – is on hand to whisk Batman Beyond back to the Gotham of yesteryear, to the time when Bruce Wayne is Batman. It looks as if Batman and Batman Beyond are finally going to meet at last… or will they?

Its time for Batman Beyond to go all back to the future — well sort of — but with a fun twist as writer Dan Jurgens turns familiar tropes on their head and sends him back to the present day instead. Events unfold extremely rapidly from the outset, throwing us right into the heart of this intriguing time travel quandary Terry McGninnis faces, and the stakes are deeply personal for him as well.

The addition of Booster Gold is the real masterstroke here. Not only is it a good old-fashioned team-up, the banter between Batman Beyond and Booster Gold is also very funny, and I really like the quirky dynamic between them. Given that Dan Jurgens is at the helm we can rest assured Batman Beyond’s time travelling shenanigans with Booster Gold are in safe hands, other writers have used Booster Gold very poorly of late in my opinion, so it’s great to see Jurgens redressing the balance.

Visually this is quite a striking issue of Batman Beyond from penciler Paul Pelleteir, along with inks by Norman Rapmund and bold colors by colorist Chris Sotomayor that seamlessly melds the two different eras this issue bridges to great effect. The action flows at a fast, almost unbroken pace for virtually the entirety of the issue as Batman Beyond and Booster Gold go through the ubiquitous team-up squabbles and fisticuffs before they join forces to achieve their goal — to prevent the time delayed subliminal message that caused Bruce Wayne to turn against Batman Beyond in the future from ever being implanted by the telepath Blanque. Characters, locations and emotional beats are all rendered in rich detail and vibrant color by the artistic team — along with a terrific final page that nicely encapsulates the tone of this issues eye catching cover by Dan Mora.

A hugely enjoyable issue in its own right, Batman Beyond #48 feels like a breath of fresh air in the DCU at the moment. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Batman Beyond who became a part of the DCU after the success of the Batman Beyond animated series (1999-2001), this has been the characters longest running comic book series to date, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m also a fan of Booster Gold, so I’m really happy to see him being written in the way he should be again, and teaming up with Batman Beyond is the icing on the cake! Batman Beyond in 2020 is such a great concept as well, its just a shame its taken until nearly the end of Dan Jurgens iconic run for it to finally happen.

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Dan Jurgens / Penciller: Paul Pelleteir 

Inks: Norman Rapmund / Colorist: Chris Sotomayor

Letterer: Travis Lanham / Cover: Dan Mora

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Batman #101 Review

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Batman #101

Review by Paul Bowler

A new dawn rises over Gotham City in Batman #101 as the dust settles in the aftermath of Joker War. The full impact of the Joker’s reign of terror and the effect its had on the citizens of the city is now realised in the cold light of day. Batman chooses a bold new path for his war on crime as Bruce Wayne’s life is changed forever, and why exactly is Cole Cash – a.k.a.-Grifter, now working for Lucius Fox?

It’s time to ring in the changes as writer James Tynion IV sets out a new direction for the Dark Knight in this somber, emotional and reflective issue of Batman. Joker War might be over but the fallout from what the Clown Prince of Crime did to the city using the Wayne fortune will have long lasting ramifications for Bruce Wayne. Tynion delivers some terrific character moments for Batman and Lucius Fox as they reevaluate their lives in the wake of the traumatic  events they each suffered, both mentally and physically, during Joker War. Fox now has control of the Wayne fortune, the board of Wayne Enterprises want Bruce quietly sidelined from the company, and Batman is going to have to tighten his utility belt with a more cash strapped, low-tech, approach to crime fighting.

Guillem March’s strikingly detailed artwork for Batman #101 brings vivid clarity to the events in this issue. Numerous pages are awash with swapping vistas of Gotham as Batman looks back on simpler times, where Commissioner Gordon always stood by the Bat-Signal, Robin fought by the Dark Knight’s side, and Alfred was ever present in the Bat-Cave to offer advice.  Now all these constants in Batman’s life are gone, March’s artwork beautifully encapsulates these reflective, emotionally charged moments, whilst Tomeu Morey’s subtle colors heightens them perfectly in the Dark Knight’s powerful scenes with Lucius Fox and his tender soul-searching moments with Catwoman. Batman’s no-holds-bared fight with Lucius Fox’s new bodyguard, Grifter, is another highlight as well.

Along with having Bruce relocating his operations as Batman to a more modest location in Gotham, Tynion also acknowledges what Joker War will mean for Bat and the Cat relationship now. Tough decisions need to be made to accommodate the new status quo Bruce has adopted to allow himself to work off the grid as leaner, more self-sufficient Batman, and Catwoman being the number one target of Gotham’s underworld after stealing the Wayne fortune back from the Underwriter isn’t exactly going to make things any easier for them or their relationship going forwards.

Brief mentions of Punchline’s media message and Clownhunter’s vigilante antics also get thrown into the mix to keep those plot lines bubbling away in the background for future issue to explore. Although this issue comes across initially as being rather downbeat after Joker War, there’s a distinct move by Tynion here to really start to place his stamp of the character with a more back-to-basics approach. With its excellent character driven narrative by James Tynion IV and terrific artwork by Guillem March, Batman #101 heralds a new beginning for the Dark Knight – in more way than one!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Guillem March

Colors: Tomeu Morey / Letters: Clayton Cowles

Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

The Amazing Spider-Man #50 Review

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The Amazing Spider-Man #50

Review by Paul Bowler.

The Amazing Spider-Man #50 marks another landmark issue for Marvel’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. LAST REMAINS begins here, the first chapter of a new epic from writer Nick Spencer and artist Patrick Gleason. The mysterious villain Kindred finally enters the fray to strike at Spider-Man. But, having just saved Norman Osborne – director of the Ravencroft Institute for the criminally insane — from the Sin Eater, Spider-Man and his friends, the self styled Order of the Web (Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, Miles Morales, and Madame Web), are all completely unprepared for the terrifying horror that Kindred is about to unleash! 

Following on directly from the colossal Amazing Spider-Man #49 (or #850 if we go by the legacy numbering), the double-sized Amazing Spider-Man #50  kicks off the LAST REMAINS story-arc with a bang. The scope and scale of events depicted in this issue are mind-blowing and far-reaching as writer Nick Spencer balances the twisting narrative threads into a nerve jangling  web of intrigue, one where every strand is relevant, precisely crafted, and rich with powerful emotional beats for Spider-Man, his friends and even his foes. Furthermore, this issue also spins an uncanny recapping of the battle at Ravencroft, its chilling aftermath, and the brooding set-up for LAST REMAINS into the mix. As such, there’s plenty here for long-term fans to enjoy whilst still providing enough for newcomers to go on to quickly get up to speed with the plot.

After seeing Spider-Man and the Green Goblin fight side-by-side last issue against the Sin Eater, it was inevitable the Goblin would betray him. However, Spidey’s subsequent fit of rage and his decision to leave Norman behind in the ruins of Ravencroft as he escaped with The Order of the Web now pays off big time with the frightening aftermath of what that battle holds for Sin Eater, Norman Osborne and Kindred alike. Throw in a frightening encounter for The Order of the Web, a crushing defeat for Spider-Man, a visit to Doctor Strange, and some rather ominous interludes with Kindred and the stage is set for what might well become one of Spider-Man’s darkest and scariest stories ever. 

Patrick Gleason takes over artistic duties with this issue of Amazing Spider-Man to craft the distinctive tone and style of the saga that is LAST REMAINS. Using a striking mix of overlapping page layouts and bold splash-pages to convey the action, Gleason packs every scene with rich detail and grim atmosphere, which, together with colorist Edgar Delgado’s subtle use of intricate shades and hues, ensures this issue of Amazing Spider-Man is a visual treat. Spider-Man’s frenetic flight from the danger and horror he encounters is also hauntingly portrayed, as is his conversation later with Doctor Strange about the fate of The Order of the Web, Norman Osborne’s sinister encounter in the bowels of Ravencroft is steeped in horrific menace, and Kindred looks absolutely terrifying. Overall I was  really impressed with the style of Patrick Gleason’s work on this issue of Amazing Spider-Man and look forward to seeing more.

Nick Spencer’s run on Spider-Man has had its ups and downs for sure, the early optimism and back to basics approach of the relaunch did go on to get bogged down in a deluge of seemingly unrelated events and crossovers, but for the most part I’ve enjoyed the majority of Spencer’s run and Amazing Spider-Man #50 really sets the series back on a more even keel — more so perhaps than even last issues super-sized 850th extravaganza.

Aside from brining two years’ worth of plotlines to fruition, what really makes Amazing Spider-Man #50 stand out is how Kindred’s gruesome agenda  begins to take shape as this skin-crawlingly disturbing villain steps from the shadows for the first time. Nick Spencer has teased us for a while now as Kindred Spider-Man’s life, watching, waiting and plotting. Amazing Spider-Man #50 is an excellent milestone issue, elements of Spencer’s run begin to slot into place to reveal a much wider picture as Kindred’s identity is uncovered, and its a bombshell of a revelation that is sure to rock Spider-Man’s world to the core! 

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Nick Spencer / Artist: Patrick Gleason

Colorist: Edgar Delgado / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover: Patrick Gleason and Morry Hollowell

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Batman #100 Review

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Batman #100

Review by Paul Bowler

Life changing events await the Dark Knight in Batman #100 as Joker War reaches its thrilling finale courtesy of the dynamic creative team of writer James Tynion IV, artist Jorge Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey. The fate of Gotham City hangs in the balance as Batman reaches his epic showdown with the Joker at ACE Chemicals, the outcome will change Gotham forever, and the aftermath will herald a bold new era for Batman and his allies!

James Tynion IV deftly juggles an ensemble cast of Bat-characters and numerous ongoing plot strands in Batman #100, with Batgirl revisiting her role as Oracle in the iconic Clocktower to coordinate the Bat-Families efforts by initiating latent protocols in the Bat-Computer and broadcasting a message of hope to Gothamites while Nightwing leads the fight against Joker’s marauding goons on the streets alongside Red Robin, Batwoman, Red Hood, Spoiler, Orphan, and Signal. I’m really pleased that Dick Grayson is finally back as Nightwing at last, especially now the whole Ric Grayson fiasco is out the way, and his banter with Barbara is a joy to behold here. Commissioner Bullock also steps up to the plate too; putting career on the line to keep GCPD in the fight to save Gotham.

Of course the main event of this landmark issue is Batman’s confrontation with the Joker at ACE Chemicals. The Clown Prince of Crime has donned his own Jokerized next-gen Bat-Suit for the occasion, and he’s even brought a present to the party to taunt the Dark Knight – Alfred’s weaponised corpse! Batman’s eternal conflict with the Joker has been elevated into a frightening theatre of war over the course of James Tynion’s Joker War story-arc – quite literally in some instances — and Tynion skilfully delivers a refreshingly new slant on the familiar tropes that inevitably resurface when Batman and Joker clash so spectacularly as this. The Joker really manages to push Batman’s buttons this time around though, finally getting the chance to really twist the knife just for good measure, before a wild card enters the fray and forces the Dark Knight to make a game changing choice that I feel won’t be as easy to walk away from once the dust has settled.

Joker War has seen some amazing work grace the pages of Batman from artist Jorge Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey, and with Batman #100 they’ve certainly gone that extra mile to make this issue extra special. Jimenez’s richly detailed artwork and dynamic page layouts convey the action at a break-neck-pace. Batman’s showdown with the Joker is all boiling vats of chemicals, brutal combat, and frightening horror — both psychological and physical. Alfred’s weaponised corpse is also chillingly macabre and looks like something that’s just shambled out of a Re-Animator movie. Other highlights include Oracle back in the Clocktower, the Bat-Family fighting Joker’s forces on the streets of Gotham, and Nightwing’s face-off with Punchline are all especially standout moments as are the vivid colors and hues by Tomeu Morey which bring a startling clarity to a fire ravaged Gotham gripped by chaos, the oppressive shadows of ACE Chemicals look more sinister than ever, whilst gleaming tones from Bruce’s futuristic dreams for the Bat legacy become a maniacal twinkle in the Joker’s eye, and the fiery finale is awash  with the bittersweet hopes and shades of the new dawn waiting on the horizon.

In the aftermath of Joker War writer James Tynion manages to wrap things up with considerable style. There’s no attempt to pull the wool over out eyes. As is the way with most comic book ‘events’ nowadays everything and nothing changes in almost equal measure,  corruption in Gotham may been exposed on every level, but the ambiguities of Joker’s fate are unashamedly  glossed over to leave things open-ended, there’s a funeral for a dear friend, and we even get a tantalising glimpse of Gotham’s newest vigilante and rival to Batman – the Ghost Maker! 

If all that wasn’t enough Batman #100 also features two back-up stories, both written by Tynion. Intervention, with art by Carlo Pagulayn, inks by Danny Miki and colors by Tomeu Morey features the first meeting between Batman and Clownhunter. The reveal of Clownhunter’s true identity wasn’t quite what I was expecting, if anything it had an almost Robin-in-waiting tone to it, and it will be interesting to see where Tynion takes this interesting — if somewhat messed-up — character next. Dead Ringers features art by Guillem March and colors by Tomeu Morey, and shifts the focus towards Punchline in the aftermath of Joker War. I‘m not a huge fan of  Punchline, her character has slowly grown on me over the course of Joker War, but unfortunately this tale proved rather underwhelming and was easily the weakest out of the two back-up stories in this issue.

The only criticism I can really level at Batman #100 is that the requisition of the Wayne fortune feels little more than a sidebar to the main action and isn’t really explained in any detail at all. As for Joker War itself, well, as comic book events go, I think it turned out rather well. Some might argue that it was just a series of big set-pieces with scant narrative content and that James Tynion was writing solely for the omnibus / trade collection. To a degree, Joker War certainly reads better as a whole, but the story is far more than the sum of its parts. Joker War has examined the dark schism between Batman and Joker from an entirely fresh perspective, its shaken up the status quo, reunited the Bat-Family, and tackled the emotional fallout from Alfred’s death in a way that finally brings some meaning to his senseless demise during Tom King’s run.

Joker War reaches a powerful, emotional and action-packed conclusion with this outstanding issue — and overall I think Joker War can be considered a rousing success on practically every front. James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey have excelled themselves with Batman #100, they’ve revitalised DC Comics flagship Batman book in every conceivable way, and I can’t wait to see where this teams run on Batman will take the Dark Knight and his allies next.

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artists: Jorge Jimenez / Gillem March / Carlo Pagulayan

Inks: Jorge Jimenez / Gillem March / Danny Miki

Colors: Tomeu Morey / Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Tomeu Morey

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Juggernaut #1 Review

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Juggernaut #1

Review by Paul Bowler.

Cain Marko returns in Juggernaut #1, Marvel’s brand new five part mini-series from well renowned X-Men scribe Fabian Nicieza (X-Force, Deadpool) and acclaimed artist Ron Garney (Captain America, Daredevil).

Done with letting other people pick up the pieces Cain Marko is getting his life back on track by working for Damage Control and putting his destructive talents as the Juggernaut to  good use. With the assured hand of writer Fabian Nicieza at the helm Juggernaut #1 quickly sets the stage for the tone of this series right rom the outset. Nicieza presents a far more sympathetic take on the character of Cain Marko, which is immediately refreshing as Juggernaut has often been portrayed somewhat one dimensionally in the past (having suffered years of abuse by his father, been rendered powerless, or hurt, familiar tropes usually see him written as just a raging, unstoppable powerhouse), and the end result is as solid character piece that elevates Juggernaut   to a whole new level.

The story itself is straightforward enough. While on a demolition job in a run down neighbourhood Juggernaut encounters a group of homeless teens, but when one of them exhibits super-powers and gets injured he decided to help out and become something of a mentor to her while she recovers in hospital. Fabian Nicieza cleverly weaves the core narrative of this series through the conversations between Juggernaut and D-Cell in the hospital, with pacy, wry dialogue highlighting just how lost both of them are in the difficult junctures of their lives, and it is here that Juggernaut finds the sense of purpose he’s been looking for to become a more positive force in the world.

Juggernaut #1 features some great artwork by Ron Garney that perfectly captures the soul-searching mood of the issue. Garney balances the raw, overwhelming power of Juggernaut with the moving sincerity of Marko’s wish to help D-Cell, and the bold, heavier, shades and tones employed by color artist Matt Milla works in perfect conjunction with Garney’s expressive, yet understated artwork. Highlights include Juggernaut cutting loose on the demolition site, the flashback to his torturous journey across Limbo and his ultimate sacrifice at The Crossroads, but it is the heartwarming scenes with Marko at D-Cell’s hospital bedside that really make this issue a compelling read.

Nothing can stop the Juggernaut, except himself of course, and the first issue of this new mini-series brings that fact home with all the crystal clarity of a mystic gem. For that is exactly what Juggernaut #1 — with its thought-provoking story by Fabian Nicieza and terrific art by Ron Garney – is, an unexpected little gem in the veritable sea of comic book events dominating the landscape at the moment, and with a startling cliffhanger that isn’t kidding around in the slightest I’ve high expectations for the rest of this mini-series!

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Fabian Nicieza /Artist Ron Garney / Color Artist: Matt Milla

Letterer VC’s Joe Sabino / Cover: Geoff Shaw

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

 

Iron Man #1 Review

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Iron Man #1

Review by Paul Bowler.

Tony Stark decides to get back to basics in Iron Man #1 as Marvel Comics launches a brand new ongoing series from the all-new-creative team of writer Christopher Cantwell, artist Cafu and color artist Frank D’Armata.

Right from the outset its clear writer Christopher Cantwell is aiming for a more refined and contemporary take on the character. While the opening slugfest with Terrax provides us with the necessary prerequisite of Iron Man action, the real nuts and bolts of the issue follows Tony Stark’s attempt to get his life back on track. Reinvesting his billion dollar exit package from Stark Unlimited, along with all the high-tech toys and equally high-profile image is the easy part, recalibrating his life with a 1978 Dodge Aspen, a new pad, and street racing while every CEO, financier and entrepreneur worth their salt has something to pitch to him proves to be a more challenging balancing act for him. Fortunately Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, arrives to keep Tony grounded. 

Cantwell ensures the pace of the issue flows smoothly while significant refinements to Tony’s life unfold along the way, one could almost say it reads a bit like superhero mid-life-crisis, and the parallel narrative of social media posts peppered throughout brings the scrutiny on Stark’s world into sharper context than ever before. Patsy Walker is another unexpected surprise, one that that totally blindsides Tony during his most soul-searching moments, and she proves t a perfect foil for Stark’s ego as well. Throw in a D-list villain and a threat with biblical connotations and Christopher Cantwell sets up this new Iron Man series in fine style indeed.

The art by Cafu is a real treat as well, rich with detail, expression, and dynamic viewpoints   it makes this issue a veritable feast on the senses. Full framed, overlapping panel layouts allow scenes to shift seamlessly from one to the next, with media interviews, street racing, encounters with old friends and old enemies are all rendered in Cafu’s distinctly lavish visuals and beautifully complemented by color artist Frank D’Armata’s exquisite use of muted pallets, rich tones, and deep shadows. The new Iron Man armor design by Alex Ross is a glorious reinvention of the characters classic look, it even gets showcased with a good old-fashioned suit-up scene, and the overall aesthetic is pleasingly nostalgic yet sufficiently updated enough to make this relaunch feel all the more special as a result.

Much like Tony Stark, this new series suits-up with an upgraded sense of reflection and confidence, quickly finds it feet, and embarks on a bold new era filled with potential. With its excellent and witty storyline by Christopher Cantwell, great art by Cafu, and superb cover by Alex Ross, Iron Man #1 feels like a much needed breath of fresh air for the character, and I’m really excited to see what this new creative team have in store for old Shell-Head in the months to come.

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Christopher Cantwell / Artist: Cafu

Color Artist: Frank D’Armata / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna 

Cover: Alex Ross

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

 

Batman #99 Review

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Batman #99

Review by Paul Bowler.

The endgame of Joker War looms in Batman #99 as the Dark Knight and the Joker prepare for the ultimate showdown. Batman knows he cannot win this war alone. He’s going to need the whole of the Bat-Family to help him reclaim Gotham. It’s time for a reunion with the first Robin, Dick Grayson, but is he ready and willing to return as Nightwing so soon after reclaiming his lost memories?

Everyone is in place as the penultimate chapter of Joker War unfolds, writer James Tynion IV delivers his most thrilling issue of Batman to date, and the rich level of characterisation he employs is mind-blowing in the extreme. We are treated to a frightening insight to the Joker’s twisted psyche and his anarchic vision of Gotham. Equally chilling is his warped use of the Wayne fortune, enjoying his luxurious new Jokermobile as he surveys the carnage he’s unleashed, and his ruthless demeanour towards his minions — including his new partner in crime Punchline – as he makes his final preparations at ACE chemicals highlights just how determined the Joker has become over the course of Joker War.

With theaters now filling with Gothamites for a movie where the Joker will ultimately kill them all and Clown goons running riot across the city, Batman calls in the Bat-Family for a rooftop meeting to help him form a strategy to retake Gotham. It’s great to see Red Hood, Signal, Orphan, Red Robin, and Batgirl all reunited alongside the Dark Knight. Harley Quinn is also along for the ride, Batwoman and the GCPD are busy having recaptured Wayne Enterprises and saved Lucius Fox (as seen in Detective comics #1025), but of course the biggest highlight is the return of Dick Grayson to the fold. DC Comics have come to their senses and the whole Ric Grayson debacle is finally over at last! Dick has his memories back and is ready to work alongside Batman again to save Gotham, Tynion crafts a fantastic and moving reunion for Dick Grayson and Batman, and while its not quite the big set-piece hinted at on the cover this scene is still easily the standout moment of the whole issue.

Harley Quinn also gets a good share of the action and some wonderfully snappy dialogue. She challenges Batman’s plans, her furious aside to Red Robin is hilarious, and her heartfelt resolve to finish the Joker if the Dark Knight should fail is as touching as it is brutally frank in its examination of the terrifying schism and collateral damage that Batman’s never-ending conflict with the Clown Prince of Crime has wrought over the years. The only complaint I can really level at the issue of Batman is that Punchline is seemingly sidelined by the Joker himself, Clownhunter gets thrown into the mix as just an afterthought, and even Catwoman’s scheme to strike back at the Underwriter feels a little underwhelming by caparison with the bigger events going on in the  rest of the issue. 

Joker War has seen the work of artist Joege Jimenez and colorist Tomeu Morey elevate DC’s flagship Batman title to new heights of visual opulence, and Batman #99 is no exception to that rule. With its burning panoramic vistas of Gotham, the Joker’s bloodthirsty treatment of his Clown thugs, and the Bat-Family reunion are all highlights from this issue, but the star of the show has to be Batman’s arrival at ACE chemicals — beautifully rendered by Jimenez and sumptuously coloured by Morey these scenes in particular are almost cinematic and breathtaking in scale and intensity.

Batman #99 wraps with another nerve jangling cliffhanger and it seems Dick Grayson isn’t the only one who gets a costume change this issue either! The excellent creative team of Tynion, Jimenez, and Morey are on fire with this title, and everything is now set for the momentous 100th issue of Batman and the conclusion of Joker War!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist Joege Jimenez

Colors: Tomeu Morey / Letters: Clayton Cowles

Cover: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

 

First trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s new Dune movie!

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First trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s new Dune movie!

Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel will split the book into two movies. Check out the first trailer for the new Dune movie, which features a number of iconic scenes from Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, including Paul’s prophetic dream,  as well as the Reverend Mother testing Paul before he departs for Arrakis, and the trailer ends with a glimpse of one of Dune‘s iconic Sandworms! I think Villeneuve is a great director, Frank Herbert’s Dune has always been one of my favourite Sci-Fi novels as well, so really excited about this new movie version!

Directed by Denis Villeneuve from a script he also co-wrote with Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts, Legendary Pictures’ Dune stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Zendaya as Chani, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, Chang Chen as Dr. Wellington Yueh, Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Dr. Liet Kynes, Charlotte Rampling as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, Dave Bautista Glossu Rabban, David Dastmalchian as Piter De Vries, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Stephen Henderson as Thufir Hawat, and Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck.The film is slated to be released in theaters on December 18, 2020.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook