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Weekly Comic Reviews – 7 Oct 2015

Weekly Comic Reviews – 7 Oct 2015

Ratings out of 5 stars. Comics courtesy of Absolute Comics (Plaza Singapura) except for Island #3, Perfect World Today, Roleplayers #1-3 and Paper Girls #1


Island #3

Story and art: Various

Image Comics

Another one too good to miss. Even though this came out on 16 September, 3 weeks ago, this is the comic to read now. Just like 8House is the brainchild of Brandon Graham, Island, the new oversized comic magazine (no ads!) published by Image, is conceived by Emma Rios and Graham. Comic magazines are rare these days – the other recent one is Meanwhile published by Soaring Penguin Press. I am really excited by Island’s esoteric stories. It is anything goes. From Kelly Sue DeConnick’s heartfelt essay (with illustrations by Ríos) about her friendship with the late writer and poet Maggie Estep in the first issue to Rios writing and drawing her own story in the two-parter, ID, the stories and insights are refreshing and unique. #3 introduced Matt Sheean and Malachi Wards’ sci-fi series, Ancestor, so it’s a good starting point.

Don’t say we don’t give you the best tips.

(4.5 stars)

Secret Wars #6

Story: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic

Marvel Comics

With two more issues to go, things are finally coming to a head in Secret Wars. All is not well in Doom’s kingdom, Battleworld. His ‘daughter’ Valerie Richards is getting wise to him. The Spider-mans have found the Molecule Man and they offered him a really old hamburger, which he enjoyed tremendously. The Black Panther and Namor found Dr Strange’s Infinity Gauntlet, and Thanos convinced The Thing that Doom is not his friend. No action in this issue, just a lot of talking. In other words, business as usual in a Hickman comic.

(3 stars)

Batman & Robin Eternal #1

Story: James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder

Art: Tony Daniel

DC Comics

Scott Snyder can almost do no wrong in Batman these days. But one wonders how many more secrets can DC reveal about Gotham City and the Dark Knight Detective without the fans getting jaded and feeling they have been taken for another ride? So something happened in Cairo, Egypt (which the Batman was responsible for) several years ago and that has led to new villains surfacing in Gotham, Mother and the Orphan. Longtime fans would want to continue with this new Batman title to see how things pan out. The art by Tony Daniel is still top notch, with good chemistry between Dick Grayson, Red Robin and Red Hood in the opening pages. But like what Grayson said towards the end of this issue, “Okay, seriously… What the hell is going on here…?” Featuring the return of Cassandra Cain and more international intrigue will follow in the subsequent issues of this new weekly series.

(3.5 stars)


Contest of Champions #1

Story: Al Ewing

Art: Paco Medina

Marvel Comics

Before Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in 1984, there was Contest of Champions in 1982. Now that it is a popular free-to-play mobile fighting game (over 40 million downloads so far), Marvel has revived the comic series with new characters who will be introduced in the game. So fancy a British Punisher fighting Venom and aided by Gamora? It’s all here, together with classic slugfest between Iron Man and Hulk (in his Joe Fixit persona). It makes money sense to do this title. But is Marvel running out of ideas?

(2.5 stars)

Perfect World Today

Story: James Leong and Franken Doll

Art: James Leong

Slingshot Troopers Comics

Released at last weekend’s 24Hour Comic Book Day at La Salle (which Absolute Comics has generously donated freebies), this is James Leong’s inaugural self-published comic. Started in November last year and originally serialized in https://jamesleongarts.wordpress.com/webcomic-perfect-world/ , this is a dystopia I have said is so frighteningly rendered that I would not want to live in it. Fans of the Joss Whedon TV series, Dollhouse, will enjoy this. Perfect World Today is a series of 8 preludes that will continue in the book, Perfect World Saga, a project you can support here: http://www.pozible.com/project/200677

(3 stars)


Roleplayers #1 – 3

Story and art: Derek Chua

Irrational Comics

Released at last month’s STGCC, this is a rather unique comic that is devoted to roleplaying games and roleplayers. A simple story that takes place in a school about a roleplaying club and their adventures. This is non pretentious stuff, which harkens back to the days of Leisurecraft and other hobby shops in the 1980s – friends and wizards gathering to play D&D after school and on weekends. The comic is also inclusive as it shows the club accepting girl members and standing up to bullies at cosplay events. A cliffhanger is included at the end of #3. Overall, this comic has a rather shojo manga feel and Derek Chua has a nice clean line style. Would be interesting to see how this series develop. You can read / buy Roleplayers from https://irrationalcomics.wordpress.com/

(3 stars)

Doctor Strange #1

Story: Jason Aaron

Art: Chris Bachalo

Marvel Comics

It’s so good to have the Sorcerer Supreme back. Sure, he is in the Avengers, but it is when Stephen Strange is flying solo that you get his best adventures. Dr Strange has always been blessed with good artists – Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, Marie Severin, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, Barry Smith, P. Craig Russell, Paul Smith, Jackson Guice, and also Tan Eng Huat in a short story from last year. (the first page of this comic is a collation of past renditions of the good doctor by some of the above artists) With Benedict Cumberbatch coming on board as Dr Strange in 2016, it is high time for a new Dr Strange series. The writing by Jason Aaron is sharp – Dr Strange is presented as an exorcist-playboy, fun type character who needs a drink now and then with his magician buddies, a support group if you want to call it that. So this first issue sees him shooting the breeze with the Scarlet Witch, Dr Voodoo and Shaman. But a big storm is brewing and artists Chris Bachalo and Kevin Nowlan have the right kind of panache to carry this through. Strange times are here upon us again.

(4 stars)

Paper Girls #1

Story: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Cliff Chiang

Image Comics

Brian K. Vaughan has been on a roll for the last decade. From Ex Machina to Y The Last Man to Saga, he has kept us intrigued with his unusual storylines and engaging characters. Now he sets himself the challenge of writing a sci-fi series featuring paper girls. This is akin to Gary Erskine and Jessica Abel drawing comics about rollerderby girls. Take a topic that is not associated much with comics and see how the results will be like. This series is set in 1988 and reminds one of the ET movie with its paper route scenes. But things quickly turn for the weird when the paper girls had close encounters of some kind. Cliff Chiang, fresh from his run in Wonder Woman, does a wonderful job in building up the suspense. No super heroics. Just good old fashion storytelling.

(4 stars)

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Weekly Comic Reviews - 14 October 2015
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Lim Cheng Tju is the co-editor of Liquid City Vol. 2, an anthology of Southeast Asian comics publish ...

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