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Weekly Comic Reviews - 4 Nov 2015

Weekly Comic Reviews - 4 Nov 2015

Ratings out of 5 stars. Comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura) except for Snowpiercer and JJ's Science Adventure.


Snowpiercer Vol 1: The Escape

Snowpiercer Vol 2: The Explorers

Story: Jacques Lob (Vol 1) and Benjamin Legrand

Art: Jean-Marc Rochette

Titan Comics

The Bong Joon-ho (The Host) directed movie starred Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton has brought worldwide attention to the original French bande dessinee first published in 1982. After the death of writer, Jacques Lob in 1990, Benjamin Legrand continued the story of Snowpiercer with artist Jean-Marc Rochette in The Explorers (1999) and The Crossing (2000). Last year, Titan Comics put out the translation of all three stories in 2 volumes – The Escape (Vol 1) contain the original graphic novel while The Explorers (Vol 2) contain the remaining two stories. News has just reached us that a fourth Snowpiercer bande dessinee, The Terminus, written by Olivier Bocquet and drawn by Rochette, is released in France this month and Titan Comics will be releasing the English translation in February 2016. The current team, Bocquet and Rochette will be in town for this weekend’s Singapore Writers Festival, so do check out their panels.

As for the two Snowpiercers volumes currently available, nothing beats the original by Lob and Rochette. It remains a dystopian SF classic, although it is dated in its politics and even the style of the artwork. In 1982, the world was still gripped by the Cold War with the threat of nuclear war hanging over us. Lob and Rochette threw in the mix of an ecology disaster which was spot-on as global warming is a very real and present threat. Class, gender and race issues are explored as well. Volume 2 has an updated art style by Rochette – a painted feel to the whole book. I would say check out Vol 1 first, and if you like it, you would be intrigued enough to find out more about the fate of Snowpiercer in the subsequent volumes.

Update: Olivier Bocquet is unable to attend SWF.

(4 stars Vol 1 and 3 stars for Vol 2)

JJ’s Science Adventure: Heat & Light (Aurelia’s Comics for Education)

Story: Aurelia Tan, Dr Jonathan Koh, Andrew Ang

Art: Nicolas Liem

Harvest Edutainment Pte Ltd

Educational comics sell well all over the world. Parents are willing to fork out money for anything that can improve their children’s grades in schools. So why not comics? Following the footsteps of Otto Fong’s Adventures in Science series, former primary school teacher Aurelia Tan and friends have come out with a new science comic book in a different format. JJ’s Science Adventure is A4 size like regular American comic books and is in colour. The art style is like Osamu Tezuka and the brother and sister characters are adorable. The first issue came out at last year’s STGCC and this issue on heat and light came out in January this time. You can get this now for your younger relatives, just in time for the Nov-Dec school holidays.

(3 stars)

The Avengers vs Infinity #1

Story: Joe Caramagna

Art: Ron Lim and Wellington Alves

Marvel Comics

There is only one reason to get this comic. Because Marvel wants you to destroy it.


Frankly, this is pretty crap. The Avengers fighting Dracula, Dr Doom, etc. I’m nostalgia about Ron Lim’s art (a six year run of the Silver Surfer from 1988 to 1994), but even he has seen better days. Just burn the whole damn thing.

(5 match sticks and more if you need to create a bonfire…)

James Bond: Vargr #1

Story: Warren Ellis

Art: Jason Masters

Dynamite Comics

I was really looking forward to this. Warren Ellis always has a unique take on genre heroics – even the Marvel ones like Secret Avengers and Secret Warriors. And Moon Knight was really good. But this is a real disappointment. This is more Pierce Brosnan James Bond than Daniel Craig. The opening scenes are good, like the opening sequence of Casino Royale. But it’s all downhill from there. A lot of bantering and no action. The secret agent comics have been updated by Greg Rucka in the 2000s (Queen Country) and Mark Millar more recently (The Secret Service). This James Bond is totally anachronistic. Licence to kill…this series.

(2 stars)

Deadpool #1

Story: Gerry Duggan

Art: Mike Hawthorne

Marvel Comics

Another week, another Deadpool #1. With the movie coming up, it would be stupid for Marvel not to milk this cash cow of the merc with the mouth. And it’s actually not too bad. Gerry Duggan keeps things fun and snappy and Mike Hawthorne’s art has a good flow, especially the first few pages of Deadpool fighting the White Fox. But Deadpool series has a way of ending and restarting. Just like the man himself. Read this while it’s still fun.

(3 stars)

Monstress #1

Story: Marjorie Liu

Art: Sana Takeda

Image Comics

This comic is ambitious. 66 pages of gorgeous art for a first issue. Manga style in American mainstream comics has never seen better days. Sana Takeda is definitely a talent to watch. I just wish Marjorie Liu’s writing was stronger to complement the art. Characterization and story flow are compromised by Liu’s agenda of writing a comic that deals with the themes of race and feminism. But as Adrian Tomine pointed out some years back, why do Asian Americans feel compelled to write a story about race? What is wrong with just writing a good story regardless of whether the protagonist is a strong male or female character? If a man writes female characters well, he is complemented for it. But people don’t tell a female writer, oh you write male characters well, they are believable. Monstress has a lot of potential to be a strong fantasy title in the Image stable. Let’s hope Liu gets the heavy issues out of her system and just tell one heck of a good story.

(3 stars)

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