Friday, 31 July 2009

Andi Watson's Love Fights (2003) - issue 1 review

Hi everybody! Since this blog is all about less mainstream, uber-cool comics, I just had to include this one. Andi Watson is a comic legend. He's won the Eisner award numerous times and, frankly, is an awesome artist. His brush style influences my own comic work, and his penmanship is second to none. Love Fights is just one of his many creations - this one is a romantic comedy slash superhero story. This article contains a synopsis so don't read this if you want to find out for yourself. 

Synopsis: In New York, the ground shakes, tremors running throughout the city. A flying figure is seen zooming between the skyscrapers.
Meanwhile, Jack (the main character) is underground, in the subway train. A girl nearby drops her phone, which he picks up and hands back to her. Suddenly the train stops, and an announcement apologizes for the delay, due to "superhero activity in the area". The girl tries to call someone but cannot get service. Jack gives her his cell to use. She calls her mom, lying and saying she's far away from the hero battle. Jack enquires about this, she says that her mom worries about her whenever there's superheroes on TV. A sudden explosion shakes the tunnel. The girl whips out a camera, hoping for a sighting of the heroes, but Jack tells her there's no chance. The train resumes transit. At the next stop, the girl farewells Jack and gets off. Jack tries a pickup line, but she's already gone. he curses.
Later, Jack walks down the street, stopping at a shop window with online TVs. From the news it is revealed that supervillain The Tunneler was to blame for the tremors, planning to sink NY to the Earth's core. The Flamer, the hero who defeated him, was unavailable for comment due to an undisclosed scandal. Jack meets his manager JJ at the Brit Stop. JJ gives Jack a paycheck and notes for the next Flamer comic book, saying to make Flamer look more heroic and remve all references to babies. 
Later still, Jack is with his friend Russ, putting up missing signs for Jack's cat Guthrie. When they're finished, they walk past a dark ally where a cat inside a cage is meowing. A shadowy figure picks the cage up and says, "Hello Guthrie." Guthrie hisses at the shadowy figure.
Back at Jack's flat, he converses with the others of the Flamer comic team. He gives writer Sue the Flamer notes, which she shows aversion to. Her husband and inker Russ overhears her mention Jack's girl (the one on the subway), and launches into a great tirade about Jack being hopeless at getting girls, referring to him as "The Dateless Wonder", "The Strikeout King", and calling him a Choker. Jack tries to make excuses against this, saying he can't compete against all the superheroes out there, but no-one listens.
At the offices of Expose magazine, the girl from the subway delivers a ton of California rolls to the editor. The girl, revealed to be called Nora, tries to sell the editor a story about her experience on the train with the superheroes, but is coldly beaten down by the editor.
Elsewhere, in a lab, a large ray gun of some sort is charging up, pointing at a small cage. Guthrie, inside the cage, mews as the gun reaches full power...
Nora is outside the subway, frustrated at their closing down. Jack arrives, and shows her the bus routes. They talk, and then Nora's bus arrives. As she gets on, a little devil looking uncannily like Russ whispers "Choker!" is Jack's ear. Jack tries to ask Nora to see a movie with him, but she is already gone.

The Good: I really enjoyed this issue. The art, the dialogue, story, everything - all was great for me. I have virtually no complaints for Andi Watson.

The Bad: The only bad I can see in this comic is that it ain't got a lot of action in it. Now I know that you shouldn't judge a comic by its first issue but I think that this one needs something more in it to hook readers in. We'll see if this changes as the series develops.

The Ugly: No uglies identified.

Overall, I'm rating Love Fights #1 at 8/10. This series is a great one for those of you who are tired of reading ultra-serious superhero comics from the likes of DC and Marvel. Enjoy!

Posted by Fantom at 4:53 pm, FRIDAY 31 July

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

BLASTOSAURUS: Slugs (part 2) review

Finally, I present to you the second part of Richard Fairgray's Blastosaurus: Slugs comic! This arc is the last that Fairgray published under his own comic company "Square Planet" before moving to American Original Press. Here goes...

The Good: As I said before, Richard really steps up his art and story at this point (by the way, reviews of the previous issues being re-released under AOP will be appearing on blog very soon). His basic, black-and-white art just seems to fit the story perfectly. The story is intriguing and makes you want to read on, without being to full on - lots of jokes and humor in this one folks. Richard and Terry's characters are cool - Washed up noir filmstar Mickey Finn takes the mickey out of those corny noir TV shows from the 70's, and it's really funny.

The Bad: In this issue Blastosaurus seems to be always grumpy and impatient - though he was hassled all the way by Commissioner Harris and by low-IQ comic geeks at the convention. But why can't he just be a bit happier about this stuff - he's a great user of puns, those could cheer him up. But it does get better next issue.

The Ugly: No uglies have been identified in this comic. Good on you Richard! (Though to be fair, Richard has never made any noticeable errors for the whole course of the series.)

Overall, I'm rating Blastosaurus: Slugs (Part 2) at 9/10. Great job on this one. Part 3 will be reviewed within the week, so watch this space for it. Oh, and great news; Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan) has been named as the cover artist for the AOP editions of Blastosaurus! Mega cool! And check out the new Fan Fiction section  (Emry Kereru) on

Posted by Fantom at 12:41 pm, WEDNESDAY 29 July

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

He's big, he's bad, he's METROPLEX!

Now this review comes a bit late, because the comic came out almost a month ago, but what the heck. Oh, before I launch into this review - my reviews have a new format with three sections; The Good (what I like about the comic), The Bad (what I don't like), and The Ugly (any mistakes or screw-ups made within the comic). Anyway, here goes...

The Good: The style of this comic is really, really awesome. Andy Schmidt wrote this so that all the artwork is double-page spreads, to emphasize the immense scale of its focal character. And it works really well. The artwork (Marcelo Matere, with colors by Priscilla Tramontano) is a lot more well set-out when i has extra space to spread out. And the two-page shot of Metroplex absolutely PWNING Sixshot is just frickin' awesome. Priscilla's colors, seen previously in Spotlight: Jazz are great, and complement Marcelo's artwork perfectly. The new designs for Metroplex's robot mode are uber-cool, and I feel honored to read such a prestigious, well-done comic.

The Bad: OK, so I haven't really got a lot of bad in this comic. But here's the only one; Marcelo's line work is somewhat rough  and hurried-looking, though that might just be his style. But is seems that he could have done the inking better.  Oh, and the part at the end with Sixshot is a bit annoying. That is all.

The Ugly: Just a few mistakes in this issue - precious little, the team have done so well. The cover B (by Guido Guidi, shown above) extremely exaggerates Metroplex's size - he's big, but not THAT big. Oh, and there's a small writing error on page 4 - Goldbug calls Chase Freeway. Not sure if this is a fault of Chris Mowry (letterer) or of Andy Schmidt (writer). Nothing else.

Overall, I'll rate Spotlight: Metroplex at 8/10. Great art, great writing, great everything (now if only we could get this level of prestige in the main titles as well...). I love it. Go figure. and by the way, if you who reads my blog is not interested, then please comment and tell me so. I'm all ears.

Posted by Fantom at 5:05 pm, TUESDAY 28 July

I'm baack! And with AHM #13 review

Welcome back readers! Sorry for not blogging for SO long - problems with internet connection. Anyway, to launch back into it - a new review! This articles covers The Transformers: All Hail Megatron (Coda) #13!

The Good: this issue is an absolute gem. Containing two 11-page stories - "Old Ways", written by uber-scribe Simon Furman, art by fan-favourite Don Figueroa; and "Uneasy Lies the Head", written by Mike Costa, art by Chee Yang Ong. 
The art is possibly the best I've seen in a Transformers comic for a long time. Some juicy little plot points that tantalise and intrigue, and all the art is great - Don Figueroa's realistic new style, Chee's shadowy inks - by Primus, it's all too much for me. And the stories are well-done as well - Mike Costa's dialogue really delivers (sorry Simon, but you've been doing it for years).

The Bad: on the whole, I'm pretty happy with this, but Chee's artwork, though very cool, isn't that realistic - this isn't a surprise, as he hasn't done any work on this title before. Just a small gripe. And also, Simon's story is kind of a bit cut short in the end - we know Optimus and Irohide survive, 
but what happened? Maybe it would have been better to just have 32 pages of no ads, and 16 pages each way. Yeah, that'd be great.

The Ugly: no real errors that I can see, but in "Old Ways" the story kinda contradicts Ironhide's opinion of Optimus that is seen in Shane McCarthy's All Hail Megatron - in this story Ironhide says he hated Optimus, while in AHM he said he would have died for him, "even back then." And Optimus seems to not recognise Ironhide, even though they were in the same unit together in Spotlight: Blurr.

Overall, I'm rating All Hail Megatron #13 at 9/10. This one is the best I've seen for ages, and I can't wait for the next issue. Woohoo!

Posted by Fantom at 4:04 pm, TUESDAY 28 July

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Richard Fairgray hits the big time!

For all of those out there who like the NZ comic Blastosaurus, I have some great news. I already told you about how Blastosaurus was being picked up by Jeff Katz (Top Cow). Well, now the comics are actually gonna be released under the American Original Press company name. They will distributed worldwide (USA included), so now all you Americans can enjoy Blastosaurus without having to order online. The next arc to be released will be called Hardcore. Richard and co-writer Terry Jones are still scripting, Richard is still drawing the title, but apparently others will be providing covers for the issues (Richard himself said that it was annoying and time-consuming doing a good-quality cover). So keep a lookout for Blastoaurus - coming to a comic shop near you in the near future. Personally, I can't wait. Go figure.

Posted by Fantom at 4:21 pm, WEDNESDAY 1 July