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Monthly Comic Reviews - August 2016

Monthly Comic Reviews - August 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars.   The Magician’s Wife Story: Jerome Charyn Art: Francois Boucq Dover (2015) Some things you need time to appreciate. Like good wine and whiskey that aged well. Like Bob Dylan. The Magician’s Wife, one of the first magic realism graphic novels, is one of those works. I first read this in the 1980s and you don’t quite get it. But it left a deep impression. So when Dover re-released this book again last year, it was on my grab list. It is one of the most wonderful things I have read for a long time. A tale of love and betrayal, obsession and redemption. A magician wrongs his wife and both need to seek forgiveness for all that had gone before. Jerome Charyn’s story has stood the test of time while Francois Boucq’s art is simply stunning to behold. There is a certain purity to his...
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Monthly Comic Reviews - July 2016

Monthly Comic Reviews - July 2016
Return after a hiatus. Monthly now. Ratings out of 5 stars.   The Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than A Man Writer: Tom King Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta Marvel Tom King is one hell of a writer these days. He likes to pull the rug underneath your feet, sort of overturning conventions and expectations. Just read the first issue of Omega Men he wrote in 2015 – it opens with the execution of the White Lantern Kyle Rayner. The Omega Men is portrayed as jihadists, fighting against the Man and the System. A pushback and critique of neoliberalism? Perhaps. The Vision is no different. This is American Gothic dressed up as a Marvel superhero comic. Nothing is worse than a good man becoming the devil when he tries to do good. That is the tragedy of The Vision. He truly believes what he is doing is the right thing – to...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 11 May 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 11 May 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics available at Absolute Comics.    Mary Wept Over The Feet of Jesus Story/Art: Chester Brown Drawn & Quarterly The only comic you need to read this year. Chester Brown returns after Paying For It (about being a john and the pros of you know, paying for it) and you got to admire his one-track mind on prostitution. He makes a strong argument for it and now he brings out the big guns. It’s alright because the good book and the big man say so. Chester is a religious man in an unconventional way. These are old stories retold but he gets into the psychology of the situation, like why Cain is so unhappy. And Job is really pissed off. Art-wise, Chester is playing with the form without playing with it. Simply brilliant. Have fun reading the detailed notes which make up the last third...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 27 April 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 27 April 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars.   Providence Story: Alan Moore Art: Jacen Burrows Avatar Those who said Alan Moore is a spent force have no idea what they are talking about. The warlock has just started his sixth decade on this earth and the recent stuff is phenomenal. Many found Neonomicon disturbing and disgusting, but it’s some of the most fascinating stuff I’ve ever read. And scary to the balls. Providence is the sequel and prequel to that and there is more HP Lovecraft sh*t going down here – fishmen, incest, rape and murder. This hardcover collects issue 1 to 4 and is limited to 6,666 copies. (6.66 stars) Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby Edited and with an Introduction by Charles Hatfield and Ben Saunders IDW/California State University, Northridge Art Galleries I have waiting to get my hands on this book since I read about the exhibition...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 20 April 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 20 April 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura). Star Wars: C-3PO #1 Story: James Robinson Art: Tony Harris   Star Wars: Poe Dameron Story: Charles Soule Art: Phil Noto Marvel Star Wars mania continues. The Poe Dameron series is a lead-in to The Force Awakens – how Poe is given a mission by Leia to look for Lor San Tekka, which he did in the beginning of The Force Awakens. Phil Noto is a much sought after Marvel cover artist who is drawing more regularly now for Star Wars comics – he did the Chewbacca series before this. Again, fans will like this since it also features L’ulo, who is friends with Poe’s mother, Shara Bey. The better comic to read is C-3PO. I’m really surprized how heartfelt this comic is. The last time C-3PO had his own series was in Droids, which was based on...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 13 April 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 13 April 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume One Story: Grant Morrison Art: Yanick Paquette DC This is Grant Morrison-lite as compared to The Nameless and The Multiversity, which is still sitting on a pile of books to be read. This has been in the works for years, way back in 2012. It was announced that Grant Morrison was going to put the sex back in WW, and back to the bondage and submission-is-good roots of the Marsten stories. This is also the book that made Greg Rucka quit DC back then because he was supposed to write the WW Earth One story and JH Williams III drawing it, but DC gave it to Morrison instead. Reading this book now, one wonders how Rucka would have handled the story because his run of the Amazon Princess from 2003 – 2006...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 6 April 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 6 April 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Old Man Logan #4 Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Andrea Sorrentino Marvel Old Man Logan was one of the best Wolverine stories for the last 10 years and Marvel finally got round to exploit it further during the Secret Wars. Mark Millar may be too busy to write for Marvel now, but that is not going to stop them from using his original ideas for Old Man Logan – basically an aged alternative version of Wolverine who is out of place in a corrupt future and how he tries to make right his current reality. Now Marvel has taken a step further by plucking Old Man Logan out of his universe and placing him in the present Marvel universe. He is confused and started slashing first before asking the questions. In this issue, he is finally stopped by...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 30 March 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 30 March 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Patience Story/Art: Daniel Clowes Jonathan Cape The first all-new Dan Clowes story in over half a decade. Expectations are high here and I grab it from the shelves once it hit our shores. The story – love, regrets, and… time-traveling? 20pages into the story (total 178 pages), we jump to 2029 and things get really weird. It’s not quite what we expected. But what do we expect? More Ghost World, David Boring, The Death Ray, Ice Haven, Wilson and Mister Wonderful? You realized most of these stories were originally serialized in Eightball. So it’s time for Clowes to move on and tell whatever stories he want. Patience is it. And it is worth the wait. It’s weird, wacky and really life-affirming if you want it to be. Go buy!!! (4 stars) Back to the Future #6 Story:...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 23 March 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 23 March 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura). Shipment only came in on Thursday this week. Through the Habitrails: Life Before and After My Career in the Cubicles Story/Art: Jeff Nicholson Dover One of the big comic news of last year was that Dover has entered the graphic novels market. What they did was to pick up titles that have gone out of print and reissued them. This has given many lost classics a fresh breathe of life. Through the Habitrails by Jeff Nicholson is one such seminal title. Jeff Nicholson is one of the pioneers of small press comics that no one has heard about. He started self-publishing in the early 1980s, drawing a parody of the Ulraman TV series called Ultra Klutz. He had enough bad experience in the small press that he did Jeff Nicholson’s Small Press Tirade (1989). The anger is seething,...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 16 March 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 16 March 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. The mainstream stuff are available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   The Zodiac Legacy Vol 2: The Dragon’s Return Story: Stan Lee and Stuart Moore Art: Andie Tong Disney Press At the age of 93, Stan Lee is still going strong. He created the world of The Zodiac Legacy with Stuart Moore and Andie Tong a few years ago and the YA series is going strong. The Dragon’s Return is second book and sees the return of Steven Lee and his friends, recipients of the Zodiac power – each of them chosen to possess the strength and wisdom of one of the Zodiac animals in their fight against the evil Vanguard led by Maxwell. Steven is the Tiger and in this latest volume, he struggles to keep the team together as allies start to mistrust each other. By having Asian characters and background, The Zodiac Legacy...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 9 March 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 9 March 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Shipment was delayed to Saturday, 12 March. Comics couresy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Dr Strange #6 Story: Jason Aaron Art: Chris Bachalo Marvel Dr Strange #1 was an impressive debut. The same creative team of Aaron and Bachalo continues and this issue marks the start of The Last Days of Magic crossover. The mysterious force known as the Empirikul have arrived on Earth to destroy all magic and mystical landmarks. Number one on their hit list is the Sorcerer Supreme. Others going down: Dr Voodoo, Scarlet Witch and Shaman, etc. Bachalo’s art has evolved over the years. For this series, he has adapted a style that reminiscent of Frank Miller and Mike Mignola. There is a backup story in this issue drawn by Mike Deodato and the story will continue in the Dr Strange: Last Days of Magic one-shot and the regular Dr Strange...
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Weekly Comics Reviews - 2 March 2016

Weekly Comics Reviews - 2 March 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Shipment only came on Thursday. Swamp Thing and A-Force courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Swamp Thing #3 Story: Len Wein Art: Kelly Jones DC Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson created the Swamp Thing 45 years ago and Wein returns to the character he is best known for (other than the Bronze Age X-Men). DC has paired him up with an artist who is firmly in the Wrightson school, Kelly Jones. This should be a dream team, except Wein is writing this title as if it is still in the 1970s. Not his fault entirely as Alan Moore’s retcon of the Swamp Thing’s origins (‘The Anatomy Lesson” of 1984) has itself been retconned in 2011 as part of The New 52. Alec Holland is back as the Swamp Thing and he is trying to be human again – what’s the point? In this issue, Matt...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 24.2.16

Weekly Comic Reviews - 24.2.16
Ratings out of 5 stars. Mainstream comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Rampokan Story/Art: Peter van Dongen Gramedia I just heard about Peter van Dongen’s Rampokan from my friend, Tita Larasati many years ago. A story set in Indonesia in 1946 and spanned the islands of Java and Celebes, the background of the Dutch police action is only the setting. Other than the political intrigue, double-crossing and betrayal (and a huge cast of characters), it is a story of a sentimental young man trying to look for the Indonesia of his past and making fatal mistakes in the process of doing that. In a way, Johan Knevel represents the old Dutch who still thinks the Indies would welcome them back with open arms. He is trapped in the past and there will be hell to pay for those who cannot live in the present and see the future for...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 24 Feb 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 24 Feb 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Shipment was delayed till Saturday because of bad weather in the US. The mainstream stuff are available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Broken Frontier Editors: Frederick Hautain and Tyler Chin-Tanner A Wave Blue World Lots of comics coming out on Kickstarter now, even though they eventually get published with Image. We first heard about the Broken Frontier anthology last year and it’s finally out. The good thing if you have funded this, is that you get the digital version first. This was sent to us two weeks ago – the traffic to download it was so heavy that it was suspended temporarily. But it is worth the wait. Broken Frontier started out as a web comic magazine in 2002 by editor-in-chief, Frederick Hautain. Later, it became a physical magazine edited  by Andy Oliver but that folded in 2014. Now, Hautain is back to co-edit this...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 10 Feb 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 10 Feb 2016
Shipment was delayed and only came on Thursday. Ratings out of 5 stars. The mainstream stuff are available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Second Sight #1 Story: David Hine Art: Alberto Ponticelli AfterShock Comics I’ve been looking forward to this new baby by David Hine. The British writer tells one hell of a ghastly story. Check out his cult book, Strange Embrace and his adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs. Second Sight is about Ray Palmer, a psychic who can see bad things happening. He calls it ‘remote viewing’. 20 years ago after his first sighting, he is divorced, his ex-wife had taken out a restraining on him, his daughter is running a blog exposing society’s elites and getting into trouble. For the life of me, I don’t know why he has the same name as the Atom, but Ray looks like the burnt out hippie who runs...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 3 Feb 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 3 Feb 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. The mainstream books are available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura). It’s the CNY weekend, go read more and something different.   Rosalie Lightning Story/Art: Tom Hart St Martin’s Press The death of a child – the most devastating book you will read this year. People have been talking about Rosalie Lightning and it will be in 2016 year’s end lists. But the accolades are secondary. It is the well of emotions that is evoked in you when you painfully turn the pages that you will remember. I didn’t know Tom Hart is married to Leela Corman. I didn’t know they named their child after a Brian Eno song. I didn’t know she died before she turned two. In December 2000, I spent a cold winter month in NYC and interviewed cartoonists, and how hard it was to make it there as an artist. The opening chapters...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 27 Jan 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 27 Jan 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. The mainstream stuff is available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   ODY-C #9 Story: Matt Fraction Art: Christian Ward Image Comics So Matt Fraction wants to write his version of The Odyssey for his young daughter to read. I doubt that will happen anytime soon as this is some badass take on that old Homer yarn. Things are turned around as the gender of the heroes and villains are reversed and the whole odyssey thing takes place in space. I found the first few issues hard to follow if you do not have detailed knowledge of the original text, but Christian Ward's splashes more than make up for it. Fraction continues his panel layout innovations from Hawkeye. Some said it's nothing new if you have read Chris Ware and all. But if you steal from the best and bring it to a new mainstream/superhero/SF audience, that's...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 20 Jan 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 20 Jan 2016
Ratings out of 5 stars. Comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura) except for The World Is So Big - go buy it from Basheer Books at Bras Basah Complex. Run, don't walk.   Secret Wars #9 Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Esad Ribic Marvel Comics The comic event of 2015. This last issue was much delayed and it came out last week. But I didn’t want to review it until I read the whole series in one sitting to see how well it holds up.  Well, Jonathan Hickman has held up his side of bargain in telling one hell of a Marvel Universe ‘end of the world’ story that started with his Avengers/New Avengers run in 2012. The secret Avengers (The Illuminati) learned that the world is ending. The multiverse is clashing with each other. To save their universe from being destroyed during an Incursion, Black Panther, Namor, Dr Strange, Mr...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 13 Jan 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 13 Jan 2016
It’s been a crazy week. Ratings out of 5 stars. Comics available at Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Insexts #2 Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Ariela Kristantina AfterShock Comics Reading is contextual. Reading Insexts #2 a few hours after the terrorist attack in Jakarta is especially poignant because you know the ideas and freedom that allowed such a daring comic like Insexts is under threat by fundamentalism. The right to buy and read a comic like Insexts should not be taken for granted. It should be protected. Putting the politics aside, this second issue continues the winning streak of AfterShock Comics. One awaits the next issue with abated breath…Btw, the artist of Insexts, Ariela Kristantina, who is based in Jakarta, is safe and sound. (4 stars)     The Walking Dead #150 Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Image Comics The Walking Dead reaches the landmark 150th issue. Who would have taught in...
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Weekly Comic Reviews - 6 Jan 2016

Weekly Comic Reviews - 6 Jan 2016
Shipment was delayed by a day. Ratings out of 5 stars. Marvel and Vertigo Comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura).   Match Point Story: Adrian Teo Art: Ken Foo Self-published The political culture of Singapore is as such that we find it hard to laugh at ourselves, much less making fun of our political leaders which is a no-no since independence. Political cartoonists would satirize other countries' leaders but not our own. That is why the 'I don't give a flying xxxx' attitude of Adrian Teo and Ken Foo is refreshing in this stifling environment. They will make fun of any social situations, from the dating scene (Date King) to the competitive school sports environment in Match Point. This new book by the politically incorrect duo is a mix of high school romance, sports comic and shojo manga. Think Slam Dunk but it's female tennis players in super short skirts....
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