Sunday, 28 June 2009

Revenge of the Fallen hurts my ears

Just saw Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Here's my first impression of the new movie: My ears hurt. They hurt a lot. That movie is the loudest thing I have heard in my life. But by Primus, is it the best! Oh jeez, where do I start? The action, the transforming, the horrible sexual themes, the characters... Great movie. I can't really see a whole lot wrong with it. Everything from the characterisation to the plot to the visual quality is top-notch. I'm left amazed at the end of this movie. If only Mike Bay hadn't inserted unnecessary sexual jokes - Wheelie humping Megan Fox's leg, the spike thingy coming out of Alice's butt (haha). Almost ruined the movie - but they didn't.

You gotta love it. This two-and-a-half-hours long movie is a 8.5/10 for me. There were a few things I thought could have been left out, but pretty much everything was great (especially Devastator's combination sequence - soo awesome).

Posted by Fantom at 3:59 pm, SUNDAY 28 June

Saturday, 27 June 2009

And so it ends - Transformers: All Hail Megatron #12 review

This series has received the widest spectrum of reviews from Tformers fans. The writer - Aussie Shane McCarthy - said himself, "I knew from day one this was going to piss some people off." This is the last one in the series until AHM Coda, the fill-in to patch up te glaringly broken continuity, comes in. It's certainly been a bumpy ride. This issue is probably the most shocking yet. Secrets are revealed, alleigances are tested and stereotypes broken. The Autobots and the Decepticons battle it out head to head in the ruins of New York.
the art for this is probably the best yet. Guido Guidi's rough yet clear lines combine with Josh Burcham's and James Brown's great colours to form a beautiful 22 pages that's great to look at.
As for plot; well, I'm in two minds about the penmanship of Shane McCarthy. On one hand, I'm gripped by the storyline and eager to see what happens next. The characterisation is something that Shane has really worked on - the dark reasons for Megatron's evil, the unususal show of loyalty to Megs from Starscream - whoah, it is all so cool. Good work on that front, Shane. But, on the other hand, Shane has dug himself several deep holes with this series. There's loads of little subplots frm previous arcs that are left unexplained, and the reasoning behind some of the decisions made by the Autobots and Decepticons is ambiguous to say the least. We can only hope that these holes are patched up soon.

Overall, All Hail Megatron #12 comes in at 9/10. There'sa few nitpicky little things I'm pissed off about, but all in all the guys at IDW have done an awesome job.

Posted by Fantom at 3:31 pm, SUNDAY 28 June

The Library's great schism

You may have noticed that the Library of Infinity has a new look. Well, we're splitting! The name of this blog is now Big Small Comix. The new URL, which will be changed on Wednesday 1 July, will be Library of Infinity - now a seprate blog - will be for book reviews and news only, and this blog will cover comics and graphic novels. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Posted by Fantom at 5:04 pm, SATURDAY 27 June

Transformers: Spotlight Cliffjumper comic review

[ABOVE: it's Cliffjumper ... jumping off a cliff. Ha ha.]

I love Transformers. Best comics ever in my opinion. Yes, they aren't strictly small press, but they sure ain't no mainstream title in most senses. This latest Spotlight from IDW does not disappoint. I'm not totally happy with it, but it is definitely a shiner, even for Spotlight.
Spotlights give some page time to characters not always in the limelight, and usually show interior monlogue of the spotlighted character. This issue, on Cliffjumper, follows him to a distant planet, where he meets two peaceful children, living alone. But the Decepticons are never far away and follow Cliffjumper to the planet, and he is forced to defend his new friends from the menace. This Spotlight is poignant, sad, and makes you think about the countless deaths and "acceptable losses" that occur within the Transformer war.
The art for this - art by Robby Musso and colours by Joana Lafuente - is beautiful. Spotlight art for the Bots in Disguise is usually a cut above that of the main titles, and this one is no exception. Clean lines, amazing backgrounds and staggering colours - I'm left dumbfounded upon finishing reading. Everything about it is top quality.
But, with new writer Shane McCarthy, parts of the plot disappoint. Shane's style of writing has very little of the interior monologue seen in most Spotlights. That's the whole point - show the character's deepest internal thought, see the events through their eyes. McCarthy only has interior monologue for Cliffjumper on the last page. Disappointing.

Overall, I'm putting Spotlight: Cliffjumper down for a 9/10. This is the best Spotlight I've seen since Primus knows when. Good on you, Shane and Robby. You are bloody brilliant.

Posted by Fantom at 4:50 pm, SATURDAY 27 June

Friday, 26 June 2009

Blastosaurus: Slugs (Part 1) review

As I mentioned in earlier posts, this comic is done by the blind comic artist from New Zealand, Richard Fairgray. This first issue of a 3-part story arc (out this month) represents a new direction and style for Fairgray. He said that the first several issues were not his best work, and slightly rushed. After Richard got about 4 months ahead of schedule, it was then that he really started to deepen his writing. This is demonstrated all throughout this issue.
Here's how describes the arc: "A washed up TV detective who has trouble separating from his cancelled show, a celebrity sex tape in the wrong hands and four kids lost in a comic convention. Blastosaurus is trying to avoid going (to the comic convention) but all these things seem to be forcing him into it."
The art for Slugs is less shadowy than that of the previous two arcs, and is a lot easier to look at. It is well set out and looks great. Fantasies are clearly shown with grey marker colored panels. It's really cool. As for plot, I'm a little disappointed with it. Though the story was great and I liked it, it seemed quite light-hearted compared to previous material. It seems to focus more on the kids than on Blastosaurus, which is a change. But it's better to just watch the story unfold, so I won't say anymore yet. And I have to admit, it's hilarious watching the horrendously geeky antics of both the four kids and the other attendees of the comic convention (Hero-con) that this issue is set in. Having never been to a comic convention myself (Curses! Curses!) I'm hoping that it's actually like this. The sheer small-timeness of the comic sellers, the dodgy movie stars and the morally ambiguous security guards all culminate into an overall pretty good issue.

Overall, Blastosaurus: Slugs #1 is rated by me at 8/1o. Bit of a disappointment in some ways, but mostly I think it's a great one. If you want to buy it, go to and click on the CONTACT US link.

Posted by Fantom at 6:52 pm, FRIDAY 26 June

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

BLASTOSAURUS: Retardation review

Here is where Richard Fairgray, the legally blind comic artist from New Zealand, really starts to up the ante with his comics. While the first two story arcs were good, Retardations is when Richard really starts to deepen his writing. Retardation (the term) refers to a narrative device commonly used in film, whereby certain characters or the audience are given information which for one reason or another is withheld from another character. This issue is a one-shot, and follows a hillbilly janitor working the night shift at the shadowy company Factory Corp. His pet frog escapes into the off-limits underground rooms of the building, and he wanders around many rooms, oblivious to the horrendous experiments going on around him. This issue is quite intriguing because it sets up little subplots for further exploration in later issues  while the janitor just cleans everything. And you kind of have to laugh at the janitor (Keith) who has absolutely no idea what is going on around him. He cleans a dirty window and cannot see a man being tortured on the other side. When the man inside is killed, and a pool of blood seeps out, Keith simply thinks it is red paint and mops it up. 
The art, if Richard's previous artwork in the comic is anything to go by, is great. Detailed backgrounds intrigue and tantalize, and all is clear and well-set out. And a cool thing to watch out for is when Keith is in an enormous room, filled with preserved failed experiments in big 
canisters. Among the freaks inside these are a little ghost from the Pacman game, Elmo, some characters from the Aaargh! Real Monsters cartoon, a Furby, a dwarf, and what seems to be Dr Neo Cortex from the Crash Bandicoot video game.

Overall, I'm rating Retardation 8.5/10. I'm left interested and satisfied at the end, but until the teasers of what's to come are elaborated on more, I can't help but see some pointlessness in it.
Richard Fairgray is a bloody genius with comics, and he's really onto something here. Go to for more cool stuff. And now Blasto comics are gonna be available here in the US of A - Richard has signed on with Jeff Katz from Top Cow comics, and these + other Blastosaurus comics will be released under the imprint of American Original Press soon. Woohoo!

Posted by Fantom at 2:23 pm, WEDNESDAY 24 June

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Shaun Tan's literary masterpiece: The Arrival - an in depth book review

I mentioned this in my last book review, and now I've got hold of a library copy it's only fair I review it for you peeps out there. This book is perhaps Shaun Tan's masterpiece - he spent four years meticulously researching and developing this book. And boy, does it show. With only graphite pencil on paper, he has created illustrations that defy description. They are almost photographically realistic, and make you believe completely in the story. The Arrival is a silent, textless, visual tale of a male immigrant who leaves everything behind to find a new life in a faraway country. The country he arrives in is enormous, and everything is new and alien to him. The book sees him, armed with nothing apart from a suitcase and foreign currency, struggle to find shelter, food and some kind of job, with eventual success. In this journey, he meets amazing people who were once immigrants like him, and they retell their equally heart-rending tales of emigration.
Shaun Tan has created a universe in this book. Everything from the landscape to the letters on billboards and maps, and even new, alien-like animals that help the immigrant along the way. New technology is seen (flying tugboats and balloon-lifted cupboards to name a few). The concept is nothing we haven't seen before, but Shaun Tan has taken it and turned it on its head, then pulled it inside out and dissected it. He has created a poignant, heart-warming and some-what eerie tale of sorrow, separation and confusion. This may be a picture book, but it is not for little kiddies. The Arrival, as with all Shaun's books, leaves you thinking deeply about all you have seen within the book. This book challenges you to wonder about it.

Overall, I'm rating The Arrival at 10/10. There is absolutely nothing in this book that has not left me dumbfounded and humbled. This is definitely the most staggeringly amazing book in the universe. if you want to learn more, then go to for more info.

Posted by Fantom at 11:45 am, SATURDAY 20 June

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tales from Outer Suburbia - review

This sophisticated picture book-cum-short short story collection - Tales from Outer Suburbia - is written and illustrated by award-winning Australian picture book artist Shaun Tan. And it is absolutely amazing. The illustrations and story combine and blend perfectly, and have a deep meaning that lingers in the mind long after the book is closed.  Shaun's short stories stick in your mind. They have a simple setting that is brought to life through his elegant prose and beautiful painting illustrations. All the stories in this book make you think deeply about the meaning of them. Even the most unimaginative will be intrigued and inspired by this book. Just the right amount of plot in each story is left unsolved to get you thinking, wondering what might have been. My favourite story in it is probably Alert but not Alarmed. Here's the first sentence as a taster:

"It's funny how these days, when every household has its own intercontinental ballistic missile, you hardly even think about them..."

Overall, I'm rating Tales from Outer Suburbia at 11/10. Yes, that's technically not correct. No, I don't care. The pictures alone make it a 10/10. This book is one of the most well-crafted I have ever seen. Shaun has done several other sophisticated picture books, the most noteworthy being The Arrival - a silent visual tale of a man's immigration to a enormous, strange and alien country and the amazing people he meets there. If you want to check these out, or get more information on Tales from Outer Suburbia, go to Shaun's book website at

Posted by Fantom at 4:54 pm, WEDNESDAY 17 June

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Ads ads ads and more ads

I know that they're needed for promotion, but still, I hate them. What am I talking about? Ads, of course. I hate the things: in DC and Marvel they're sprinkled throughout the issues which really pisses me off because it breaks the story up and confuses the reader. In IDW (Transformers, Star Trek, GI Joe) they still have the ads, but the dreaded things are mercifully placed together at the back of each comic, which is easier to read. And sometimes, with some publishers, not looking at anyone in particular (coughDCcoughcoughMarvelcough) the ads are completely unrelated to the publisher, as opposed to ads for other titles published by the company. Those of you who want to be reminded of the presence of big brands such as Coca-Cola as you peruse your fave comic title, please raise your hand and comment on this article.
Ads are a scourge. Down with the advertisements in comics!

Posted by Fantom at 4:55 pm,  TUESDAY 16 June

Monday, 15 June 2009

Fire Away! Brisingr book review

This bestseller book is written by Chris Paolini, who left school at 15 to work on this series. Brisingr is the  third in the Inheritance Cycle, and things are getting even more awesome than the previous two books.
Brisingr continues where the last book, Eldest, left off. Eragon and his dragon Saphira find themselves caught up with promises to different allies; promises that may not be able to be kept.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. Though the story can be at times drawn out, this is to be expected from a long fantasy epic. It is in Brisingr that plots and subplots from the first two books begin to resurface, which is awesome to watch the development of these. The story is gripping and makes you want more. You'll be be tempted to read ahead if you read it, but don't ruin it for yourself. 
The characters: Eragon and Saphira have shared a close mental bond, but in this book they be-come one with each other in a way. The bond is so close that they actually speak as one, alternating between each other when speaking. Both make mistakes and offend the other, but all is forgiven before long. Saphira's characterization is deepened, showing the way she think and feels (she uses hyphenated word strings a lot: "blue-black-wolf-fur-Blodgharm") really well. Eragon grows into his roles as diplomat and magician.

Overall, I rate Brisingr at 9/10. This book is one of the most awesome and well-written fantasy novels I have ever read. But it takes commitment to read - at 763 pages, it'll take a good week for even the fastest reader. But hey, it's worth it.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Ghost Who Walks Rides Again

[Above:  the cover for Moonstone Publishing's Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #1.]

For those of us who don't know of the Ghost Who Walks (and still pretend to be superhero fans, the hypocrites), he is the Phantom - one of the first heroes to wear that skin-tight, full-body suit that epitomises superheroes today. He started out in the mid 1930's and has been appearing in comics ever since, right up to this very day. This makes him one of the common ancestor of pretty much every superhero, past and present.
Though the Phantom is no more than a man, he is still superior to Superman, Batman, and the rest of the comic hero posse. He doesn't rely on superpowers like Supes, and is better than Bats because, unlike Bats, he has no real "secret identity" - the Phantom is who he was born to be.
Although King Features still publishes new Phantom material, Moonstone Publishing has picked up the mantle as well. Two series are currently in progress; "Ghost who Walks" which tells the story of the newest Phantom in the modern age; and "Generations" which chronicles the previous Phantoms - all 20 of them, to be precise. Generations is mainly text with full-page illustrations, and Ghost Who Walks is normal comic format. The story is good, but seems ever so slightly predictable. There's no real suspense to them - although I still await the new release every month. And it is quite cool how the Phantom is set up with state-of-the-art tech and one of the best hackers in the world as his partner (of sorts). Wanna check Phantom out? Go to for further details.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Adaptation - a quick review

Anyone who claims to be a TFormers fan will be jumping around and doing a little wee in their pants about the upcoming movie that's being released this month. IDW, in their infinite generosity and wisdom, have provided those of the TFormers fandom who love ruining the movie experience for themselves with a 4 part comic adaptation, adapted by long-time Transformers uber-writer SIMON FURMAN (Whoop whoop!!) with John Davis-Hont on art duties.
Without giving anything plot-wise away, the comics are relatively well-written, with clean, uncomplicated panels that don't give you epilepsy just by trying to read them. While the colouring is nothing special, it serves its purpose. The covers, done by Josh Nizzi, are amazing in the quality. But, although Simon Furman wrote well on this series, I can't help but feel as if some potentially awesome scenes are cut short to sqeeze into the somewhat-limiting 22 pages per comic. Which is kinda sad cos' of the growing amounts of ads in comics today. But at least IDW's ads are are their own and all at the back, which is more than what Marvel and DC does (having random ads breaking a comic up in the middle is really, really annoying...) ... but don't get me started on ads.
Overall, I rate the ROTF Adaptation at 7.5/10. And although it's a bit condensed, Simon and John have mostly made this series work. You go guys!
And if, by chance, you are like me in the respect that you like to ruin stories for yourself, then you can view synopses of the comics at ; just type in "ROTF Comic Adaptation" into the search bar. Be warned; there are definite and extreme spoilers in store if you go down this path, so choose wisely.

More reviews on these and other comic titles to come... Disquise! The Bots from Cybertron

I've been a huge fan of the Transformers for Primus knows how long, and I'm lovin' them even more since IDW Publishing got their well-manicured fingers on the rights after the previous company went bust (Shown top is the Botcon Special Edition for their first issue, ; and above is the cover for #1 of their latest series: All Hail Megatron, now into issue 11). Anyone who doesn't read these comics but wants to, here's some helpful links to get started:
  • : the regularly updated, Botcon-award-winning news and images Transformers site;
  • : the Transformers wikipedia, with almost 9000 articles on everything Transformers that anyone can contribute to. Has synopses of comics, movies, cartoon episodes, character profiles, biographies and locations. Best info on everything from Alpha Trion to Zarak.
  • : the official site of IDW, where comics and TPBs can be bought online.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The (Almost) Blind Comic Artist from New Zealand

A friend over in New Zealand got me onto a cool comic series called Blastosaurus. It's written and drawn by a man called Richard Fairgray, who is legally blind. But the comics are a laugh. It's one of the most simplest and basic concepts, but this guy has made it his own. The concept is ... wait for it ... a mutant dinosaur (Triceratops) with a laser gun from the future, who has four twelve-year-olds for friends. Awesome.
The first story arc sets the scene of Blastosaurus's origins and his nemeses, and by the third arc, currently being released, Blasto is a cop working to destroy his foes that plague his new home. For anyone who wishes to look further into this, here is the link to Fairgray's awesome website:

It's a fun little comic, worth reading for those want a break from the antics of DC and Marvel metahumans.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Fantom Librarian Welcomes you...

Greetings, literay travelers. Welcome to the Library of Infinity - the largest and possibly most comprehensive library in the known universe. It is here that you will find reviews, comments, synopses and musings on everything from comics and novels to newspaper strips and movies.
Again, welcome. Come over, to the dark side...