Reviews April 2011 week two

Legend Of The Scarlet Blades h/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Saverio Tenuta.

“I think you still harbour feeling for Raido and myself, yet even so, you ordered his death and have deprived me of the sun. In reality, you are not fully aware of your actions. Do not be so sure that it is you who are the puppeteer.
“That, I never believed. I only cut my own strings and imprisoned the one who controlled them in this temple.”

Terrific surprise, this. I was expecting another SAMURAI: LEGEND, which was certainly very pretty but really little more than another Onimusha.

LEGEND OF THE SCARLET BLADES, on the other hand, is breathtakingly beautiful with vast panoramas of snow-swept mountains and walls snaking up to them; Japanese temples and rooftops, Acer leaves in autumn, cherry blossom petals and birds taking flight; gigantic white wolves called Izuna with ears like the lynx… but it is also an intricately woven story of cause and effect, of nature and nurture, that spans two generations in feudal Japan whose revelations eventually connect almost every event to another and everyone to each other, even if few or even any of the players involved know it until quite near the end. Maybe the wolves know. Yes, maybe the wolves know…

Lone warrior Raido has lost his memory. He’s lost his arm, an eye, and something else – if only he could remember what. Instead he is plagued by voices so loud he can barely sleep. They’re calling to him. He has a tattoo whose symbols don’t bode well and he has a past more complicated than he can imagine which he inadvertently catches up with when he encounters young Meiki and suddenly there’s silence. He sweeps her away from the clutches of Captain Kawakimi, ordered to arrest the girl by Lady Ryin, Shogunai of all that surrounds her. He knows not who they are, but they definitely remember him, as does General Nobu Fudo, the man with three eyes, the man with three arms and the man with two Scarlet Blades. Raido is supposed to be dead.

The past is revealed slowly, subtly and in all the right places, for it’s not as straight forward as you’ll think. For example, does Nobu Fudo have Raido’s eye? He does not. He has an eye that was sacrificed to Raido after Raido as a boy sacrificed his own to feed his starving wolf cub. There’ll be repercussions there. Unfortunately Raido will repay that repayment of kindness with… Ouch. It’s actually pretty affecting in places.

There is a reason, by the way, why the seasons have stopped and the domain of Lady Fujiwara Ryan and Lord Totecu Fujiwara before her is besieged by ice and its raging white Izuna. There’s an explanation for why the Izuna are raging, and why Lady Ryin is such a bitter and cruel mistress. It’s not an excuse but a reason. The same goes for the three-armed Nobu Fudo’s enmity towards Raido.

I can promise you a substantial read and as much eye-candy as you could want whether your thing is majestic landscapes, fantastical wolves or dramatic blade action. It’s not easy painting driven snow, but the blue and purple lights dance off it here perfectly.

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SLH

Aaron And Ahmed h/c (£18-99, Vertigo) by Jay Cantor & James Romberger.

Nothing DC wrote in their solicitation prepared me for this terrifying ordeal of manipulation, indoctrination and outright programming. It’s a book about power: the power of the word over the mind and even the body, especially when it’s backed up with the promise of an afterlife of carnal pleasure or, I don’t know, just not being tortured, really.

It’s also a book about trust, and right to the very end I had no idea whether Ahmed – a former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay freed by his psychiatrist to help him infiltrate a jihadist organisation in Pakistan – was playing a long-game with Aaron in the cause of terrorism or genuinely trying to free him from his conditioning. I wasn’t even sure whether Aaron had been successfully programmed to kill or whether he’d been driven insane by the whole idea of a verbal viral meme. Nor does Aaron. But the tension as they’re wandering round New York City with their handlers, Aaron desperately trying to avoid the image trigger planted in his brain, is almost unbearable.

Oh yes, it’s also a love story as it says on the cover. It really is. Once I realised that I remembered where else I’d seen James Romberger’s art: back in the stunning SEVEN MILES A SECOND, also from Vertigo, some fifteen years ago. More recently he resembles a loose Guy Davis. His hidden Imam, The Old Man In The Mountains, is brilliantly unsettling – a ghostly, mummified corpse of a man – but we’ll get to him later.

Dr. Aaron Goodman, psychiatrist, was working in a veterans’ hospital on September 11th. The television was on when the first plane hit the Tower; by the time the second one hit he was desperately on the phone to his fiancée, Carol; because Carol was onboard.

Aaron’s desire to do something directly himself to stop the bombs leads him to Guantanamo Bay and the torture rooms and dog kennel cages. They don’t work. There’s no information extracted, but some of the soldiers get a kick out of the simple act of humiliation. So Dr. Goodman tries a different approach with his first subject, Aaron.

“I’m going to drug Ahmed’s food – a hormone cocktail, heavy on the oestrogen. …But I’m not doing it to humiliate him. It’s like in therapy – I want him to feel he loves me. Then I can really fuck him over.”

So it is that Aaron starts messing with Ahmed’s mind, and Ahmed starts talking:

“They’ve heard from someone that I was Bin Laden’s driver. I never admitted it, though, despite their… persuasions. But I tell you now: I was. And I’ll tell you this, too. I wasn’t important. But I do know something: I know that Bin Laden’s the same as all the other murderous leaders that have betrayed us over the decades. Bin Laden’s building an army, like Hussein’s – but even more ruthless. Why? Because whoever controls the guns controls the oil. It doesn’t matter what horrors a monster perpetrates to keep the masses in line. He can still cut a deal with the West for the oil. Or with the Chinese. Then he uses the oil money to buy factories and estates.
“But the Sheiks buy that property in Europe or North America. Not in the pristine land of Mohammed. The Sheiks and generals don’t want industry in Arabia. They don’t want a middle class with its own power base. They want everyone forever dependent on them and want they dole out from the oil tit.”

It’s then that Goodman’s colleague Dr. Negreponte introduces the concept of the meme as a possible way of conditioning suicide bombers:

“The brain is a computer. The meme is a program made of words that runs it. The body is a meat puppet… The memes that really hook into the meat computer, they’re embodied in just the right sounds and rhythms. Like jingles, songs, chants. Then, no other meme can dislodge them.”
“So poetry is the most dangerous substance known to humanity – just the way I thought in high school.”
“No, the most dangerous thing is a good poetic religious meme, one with the right sounds and meter. My studies show that repeated rhythmic chanting of that really hooks it into the neurons – and soon the pretty puppets talk all out of their heads… or bomb an abortion clinic.”

I like what Cantor did there.

So it’s back to Ahmed with the idea and he’s positive that Negreponte is right, that the chanters back home talked of getting the rhythm just right and that Bin Laden himself once said they were really programmers. He even offers to take Aaron to the source, so he can discover for him what words and images switch bombers on so that they can take the knowledge back to Guantanamo and switch bombers off.

But is Ahmed doing this because it has been successfully manipulated, is he saying these things because he believes them to be true, or is he just telling Dr. Goodman what the man wants to hear to buy his own freedom and return to Bin Laden? Even in the safety of Guantanamo Aaron is highly suspicious of Ahmed’s readiness to cooperate, but when they travel to Pakistan – and they do – and Aaron finds himself out of his comfort zone and out of his death, deep in the camp of the enemy, he starts going out of his mind with paranoia.

Those are the most powerful scenes, when the jihadists take Aaron in, when it’s too late to go back and he’s mostly separated from Ahmed. He’s unsure whether he has successfully conned them of his sincerity to join their cause and become a suicide bomber himself, or whether they’re going to execute him at any given moment. But The Old Man In The Mountains, ancient and seemingly ethereal, doesn’t actually care if Goodman is sincere: once he’s heard what he needs to hear and seen what he needed to see, he won’t be taking any secrets home, but he will be a carrier, sent back to New York in the very same cause he set out to thwart.

The book’s full of those sorts of ironies. In New York for example, you’re constantly wondering whether Ahmed has played Aaron in exactly the same way Aaron was intending to play Ahmed – by making him love him. Do you ever find out? Oh yes, you most certainly do.

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SLH

From Hell h/c new edition (£32-00, Knockabout) by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell.

On the surface (Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s surface are most creators’ core) it’s the story of one sick bastard’s execution of a royal cover up, fuelled by his own personal Masonic obsession with carving a male sigil across the heart of London by slaughtering the women of the street who happen to have strayed too close to a blue-blooded Victorian’s philandering.

Madness and ceremony and the architecture of time play large parts in this gruelling masterpiece, as the women struggle hard enough to survive in their own unforgiving environment, let alone when they’re lured by grapes into the alien world of an upper class cab, and Dr. Gull has visions of the world as we know it, where his deeds are anything but forgotten.

Eddie Campbell’s intense visuals are inseparable from the experience, whether it’s the look in Dr. Gull’s eyes that see more than is there, or the bleak, unsanitised and dark and stark London which he scratches indelibly on your mind. How did anyone have the arrogance to believe that they could ever “film” that? And speaking of Hollywood, how typical of them to turn this into a Whodunnit. That we know the “who” from just after the prologue makes the investigation all the more frustrating, infuriating and painful to follow, so it was never about the “who” – it’s about the “why”. Why did Dr. Gull do it? Why was the case never solved? And why are we still studying these events then studying the studies of those who have studied the events?

This is a vast work of enormous power that will take you twice as long to read as almost any three other graphic novels combined.

This particular edition comes with archive-quality paper.

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SLH

Hair Shirt h/c (£14-99, Self Made Hero) by Patrick McEown…

“This city doesn’t exist. I mean, you couldn’t really call it a city. There’s no core, no centre, only periphery. It’s barely even a location so much as a circuit of routes without fixed destinations. More like an array of fleeting events linked by a longing for contact. People don’t live here, they just circulate, like lonely satellites orbiting a planet that never was.
“It’s a place made up almost entirely of intervals between things. Absences. Or possibilities…”

Hmm, it’s a difficult book to describe, this. The plot has the feel of an art-house film with typically semi-deconstructed characters, who certainly succeed in providing an entertaining story but without ever engaging one’s emotional sympathies towards them. Basically, it’s a pointed reminder of how fucked up people can be rather annoying to be around. And so it is with main character John and his new girlfriend Naomi, who has recently returned to the city to study after a long absence.

John and Naomi have a certain history. John and Naomi’s brother Chris used to be best friends in high school, until Chris turned into a complete dick. But by then John had realised he had far more in common with Naomi anyway, and their teenage friendship had the potential to blossom into something romantic. At least until the untimely death of Chris, the splitting up of Naomi’s parents, and her subsequently moving away to another city.

On the face of it, you’d think upon her return that the stage was set for a happy ending, but unfortunately her abundant neuroses, coupled with John having turned into a complete drip, ensure that their course of true love most definitely doesn’t run smoothly. Naomi seems intent on wrecking things for them at every turn with a level of passive-aggressiveness that I found absolutely infuriating to read, and John just seems emotionally paralysed, unable to steer their relationship into less choppy waters. It doesn’t help he’s having some rather disturbing dreams featuring a dog with Chris’s head either…

So, it’s an engrossing, if not uplifting story, because we can I’m sure all relate to the characters. Hopefully because we have come across people like that, rather than being them!

The art strangely enough reminded me of the altogether more joyful AYA OF YOP CITY, and equally oddly, of WALKER BEAN. You couldn’t get two books less like HAIR SHIRT in terms of emotional content, but I guess what I’m trying to say is art is excellent. This is definitely one for people who like things on the darker side of life.

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JR

K-On! Vols 1 and 2 (£8-50, Yen Press) by Kakifly ~

In an effort to save the Pop Music Club from being disbanded, tenacious Ritsu (drums) and the timid Mio (bass) scramble to recruit two more members. This desperate act brings to the fold a boon in the form of the rich, talented, and humble Tsumugi (keyboard), and a curse in the way of talentless slacker Yui (guitar, as soon as she buys one). But that’s okay as Rock’n’Roll is attitude first, talent a distant second, and if their teacher Miss Sawako (former PMC member, insane) has anything to do with it, the band will be all about frilly maid uniforms and big hair.

Like the immensely popular and surreal AZUMANGA DAIOH, K-ON! (or Keion, an abbreviation of keiongaku or “light music” which basically translates as pop in its shortened form) is a vertical four-panel strip. And like AZUMANGA, it revolves around a group of school girls going about their day, only while AZUMANGA explored the differences of its young ladies in humorous directionless ways, K-ON! has a distinct focus and an energy that’s familiar to anyone who’s picked up an instrument with absolutely no idea how to play, and reminiscent of Shojo Beat’s pop-rock masterpiece LINDA LINDA LINDA.

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TR

The Boys vol 8: Highland Laddie (£14-99, Dynamite) by Garth Ennis & John McCrea, Keith Burns.

Change of pace and change of scenery for wee Hughie, who retreats home to the relatively tranquil Scottish seaside town of Auchterladle, in order to sort his head out.

His adoptive parents are both sound and doting and delighted to see him. His old friends too whisk him straight down the pub. Unfortunately Hughie soon realises that he’d idealised them in their absence* for they can’t resist resurrecting old humiliations and it rubs him up the wrong way. Fortunately as Hughie wanders down the beach on his first night, he discovers a man painting the simmer dim – the evening’s permanent summer twilight there – who turns out to be a very good listener, and as the days wander on Hughie finds he’s drawn to the sympathetic stranger who lets him offload. But what was done in New York doesn’t stay in New York and very soon there’s a visitor…

There are some truly touching scenes here, particularly those involving Hughie’s adoptive Dad, but also some early traumas as Hughie reflects not just on the circumstances of his leaving New York, but his childhood too. That’s quite the tapeworm! But if you think Ennis has left the burlesque behind, think again: a mad Scottish vicar, an enormous woman which gardening sheers who’s quite prepared to use them, a smuggling sub-plot and his two friends are… unusual individuals.

I’ve never seen art like this from McCrea: full of light and space and – thanks to Tony Avina – colour. He works well with Keith Burns. I wonder when Hughie’s deception is going to catch up with him?

* Distance makes the heart grow fonder: when my Father moved to the Isle Of Man, he could almost stand me; had he moved all the way to Barbados I might have been able to stand him.

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SLH

The Technopriests vol 3 (£13-99, Humanoids) by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Zoran Janjetov.

Wherein the art grows increasingly splendid with far more space to breathe. You’d buy any computer game designed by Janjetov. Huge sense of scale with water beings, translucent space birds, a gigantic bi-pedal, red-eyed rhino-bug, and a forest of monumental stalagmites, stretching as far as the eye can see, on either side of a pure blue river. The colouring is so lambent you’d think you were witnessing it all yourself outside on an early summer’s afternoon.

See TECHNOPRIESTS vol 1 for more.

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SLH

Outlaw Prince s/c (£9-99, Dark Horse) by Rob Hughes & Thomas Yeates, Michael William Kaluta.

Medieval adventure set in nearby Derbyshire illustrated in exactly the sort of lavish, full-colour British fashion you’d have expected to see in Look and Learn etc.. Black knights, white steeds, sword fights; tunics, peacocks and anachronistic white, wooden benches. Oh, surely, they’re anachronistic!

SLH

Zombies vs Robots: Aventure s/c (£13-50, IDW) by Chris Ryall & Menton, Paul McCaffrey, Gabriel Hernandez.

“This… this doesn’t look good.”

Well, there’s no Ashley Wood apart from the covers reproduced in the back, but it looks perfectly decent to me. Not for the robots – they’re in for a kicking – but for fans of the series so far. You’ve three very different artists: Hernandez is the closest to Wood, especially in palette, whilst Menton’s very similar to John Bolton without the lurid colours; McCaffrey, on the other hand opens the whole thing up with clean lines, round forms and lots of sunlit colour. Refreshing.

What’s it about…? Umm, zombies versus robots.

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SLH

Marvel Zombies vol 5 s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Fred Van Lente & Kano, Michael W. Kaluta, Felix Ruiz, Fernando Blanco, Frank Brunner.

Howard The Duck and Machine Man travel to five different Marvel universes in search of zombie ‘samples’. I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means.

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SLH

Avengers: Prime h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Alan Davis.

Steve Rogers and Tony Stark:

“Hop on.”
“There’s got to be another horse running around here somewhere.”
“Hop on! Let’s go.”
“Any excuse to get me to hold you.”
“You see right through me.”
“Where’s Thor?”
“Don’t know exactly. I’m following the lightning.”

Not a single tower of the once mighty Asgard is standing. Amongst the stone ruins there are fires ablaze as the timbers and fine linen of the more opulent halls crackle and spit out flaming-hot cinders, and the night sky is clouded with smoke. Steve Rogers in combats and a black, polar-necked sweatshirt comes straight to the point:

“Thor, tell us what you need and you will have it.”
“Just seeing it like this… my Father’s kingdom in complete ruin.”
“Hey, anything can be rebuilt. Anything. Every time I’ve had to rebuild this armour, I’ve always made it better every time. Wait till you see my new stuff.”

Good old Tony look-at-me Stark: Mr. Sensitive 2010. No wonder Steve is pissed off.

“We’ll see.”
“We’ll see what?”
“I’m not convinced letting you keep that armour is in the best interests of the country, Iron Man. I haven’t made up my mind.”

Just in case you’ve been holidaying on the moon these last five years, the three core Avengers – Thor, Iron Man and Captain America – have issues with each other. Or at least Thor and Steve Rogers have issues with Iron Man, and have had ever since CIVIL WAR. Then Tony Stark took the government’s position on the Superhuman Registration Act and endorsed the construction of a cyborg clone from Thor’s cell tissues. It killed one of their friends. Then he had Steve Rogers locked up for good measure.

Anyway, the destruction of Asgard in SIEGE comes with additional hazards like the Rainbow Bridge, a portal to other dimensions, being broken. But before they can contain the gateway, the gateway contains them, sucking them through to three different, otherworldly locations, none of them particularly hospitable. Stark is deprived of his armour and runs around naked, desperately trying to hide his genitals with rejoinders (he has a sympathetic letterer) and trying to wise-crack his way back into his old friends’ hearts.

“Boy, am I glad to see you, Steve. I take back almost everything I have ever said.”
“Why are you naked?”
“It’s the new armour. It’s see-through.”
“Jokes? Really?”
“It’s very high-tech.”

He even finds time to mix up his Shakespeare, holding his helmet in his hand and paraphrasing Richard III.

A very old Avengers villain reappears in a radically different role, there are dragons, elves and ogres which for once don’t rankle with me at all, a romance snatched away at the last minute for Steve, and the most enormous art from the softest of artists, Alan Davis. What’s not to love?

SLH

Chaos War s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente & Khoi Pham, Reilly Brown.

Giddy Gotterdammerung which Gillen is threatening to explore a little further as part of JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY. Hercules is back and Gods do verily people smite each other.

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SLH

Spider-Man: One Moment In Time s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Joe Quesada & Joe Quesada, Paolo Rivera.

“Oh God — Why didn’t you just let me forget too? I just wanted to forget.”

Far more imaginative and complex than anyone had anticipated, the past is finally revealed post-One More Day.

In that final Straczynski story arc now reprinted in SPIDER-MAN: ULTIMATE COLLECTION VOL 5 Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker agreed to sacrifice their marriage to Mephisto in order to save Aunt May, and in the blink of an eye history rewrote itself: they had never been married. Instead they were estranged, and no one wanted to talk about what happened. Over the course of the year it became clear that no one other than Mary Jane remembered that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. Yet, as is revealed here, CIVIL WAR still happened, Peter had unmasked on television and Aunt May was, as a direct consequence, shot and hospitalised, fighting a losing battle for her life. In fact, at one point, she lost.

Mephisto, it transpired, changed none of that. So what actually happened? What happened to prevent their marriage? (I swear it is not the first, obvious hindrance so bear with it…) Who brought Aunt May back to life? (I swear, it is not some hocus pocus voodoo shit…) How is it that no one in the world remembers that Spider-Man is Peter Parker? (Err, that may be some hocus pocus voodoo stuff…) But more importantly why is Mary Jane the sole exception? That one… that one, and their subsequent conversation take the biscuit for heart-wrenching irony.

I wish Quesada could have found time to draw the entire book but that simply wouldn’t be practical as editor-in-chief of a now-bloated Marvel Comics. It was barely practical when Quesada had the company lean, healthy and under control. But at least he found time to write it, and at least he made the wise decision to be on hand to draw the present and the key conversation in the past just after Peter makes the wrong decision for all the right reasons (truth and love, not living a lie) because he nails the staccato timing in the dialogue and the awful silences as the implications dawn on the couple.

There are a few better writers at Marvel but only a few and only because Quesada invited them personally. But this is a triumph and a most unlikely one at that.

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SLH

Red: Better R.E.D. Than Dead s/c (£10-99, DC) by various.

Not a Warren Ellis in sight. Instead RED’s original artist, Cully Hamner, writes and draws one short story, and there are four more by others.

N.B. This isn’t a sequel to Warren Ellis’ RED, but five prequels to the film adaptation.

SLH

And remember, you can order by email or phone individual comics like:

Fear Itself #1 of 7 (£2-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Stuart Immonen.

“People are mad right now, and broke and they’ve been lied to and ripped off – And when people who’re already mad get scared then all hell kinda breaks loose.”

After enduring a United States under Norman Osborn (or George W. Bush – read it how you will), and with the economy in freefall catalysing mass unemployment and the repossession of homes, the American people are fractious. They’re raw and hurting. When Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter are caught in the middle of a riot they cannot control, they’re alarmed to discover there’s no foul play involved: no unusual energy signatures, no enchantments, nothing toxic in the air or water. It’s just how the temperature is.

So what will happen, do you think, when the Serpent arises? When the Red Skull’s daughter lifts the hidden Asgardian hammer her father could not, is transformed into something else, and frees the ancient Skadi, the real All-Father, from the mystic bonds of Odin? What will happen when The Worthy summoned by Skadi touch down in Pacific Ocean, Brazil, China, Manhattan and the small town of Broxton where Asgard lies in rubble?

That’s where the Avengers – both overt teams – are gathered today, to launch a new Stark initiative to further the bond between Gods and man and put 5,000 Americans back to work by designing and then building a new Asgard here on Earth. But Odin isn’t happy. Disdainful of the creatures he is more used to being worshipped by, he is adamant that Asgard should be rebuilt by enchantment far from this blue and green marble. And when he senses that Skadi is loose upon the world, he orders it so, even if it means dragging Thor behind them in chains.

With robust and shiny art – like John Buscema inked by Jimmy Cheung – this is something rather different from recent superhero events. SIEGE, SECRET INVASION, Blackest Night and even CIVIL WAR to a certain extent, had all been brewing for a while. But this is about to hit our heroes out of nowhere and they don’t even know it yet. All they know is that the Gods have left them… to fend for themselves.

SLH

Uncanny X-Men #354.1 (£2-25, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Carlos Pacheco.

“No, I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ‘smile for the camera’.”

Gillen’s solo run kicks off with a single issue which deals with how you go about spin-doctoring a world-renowned supervillain and species separatist called Magneto whom the world once saw levelling New York under Morrison’s run, now that he’s living with the X-Men on an island off San Francisco. Okay, it wasn’t actually Magneto in New York, it was an impostor, but you try telling New Yorkers that. The terrorist’s certainly responsible for plenty more, and his sense of humour doesn’t do him any favours. If he’s actually joking.

Here’s Kate Kildare, a woman of quick wit who doesn’t do ‘intimidated’ in spite of Magneto’s distaste for the P.R. he calls propaganda. Or maybe he’s just irked that someone’s better at it than he’s tried to be. I like her already:

“’P.R.’ was coined by Edward Bernays in the ‘20s. ‘Propaganda’ had somehow picked up a bad reputation in the war. So he started calling it P.R. instead. Plain brilliant rebranding: something everyone with an ounce of sanity despises transformed into something just about palatable. Even necessary. That’s what we’ve got to do to you. We have to make this work. And if we don’t, you need to leave this island immediately. Because if you stay, everyone’s dead. Sooner or later, you’re going to attract something even you can’t stop.”

In all honesty rebranding Magneto would take a miracle: an Act of God, as insurers like to wriggle out of. An Act of God that only Magneto could prevent. Now remind me, what exactly is the tectonic history of San Francisco…?

If this opening salvo is anything to go by, we can immediately align Gillen with Morrison, Whedon and Ellis. It’s a pretty straight forward succession:

Morrison’s NEW X-MEN (three volumes)
Whedon’s ASTONISHING X-MEN (four books)
Ellis’ ASTONISHING X-MEN (three volumes)
And now this.

Here’s King Namor The Submariner getting pretty peeved at the thieves dressed as A.I.M. agents (hence the beekeeper put-down – they wear that sort of garb) extorting money from local corporations under threat of another earthquake:

“Your arrogance sickens me, beekeeper. Only Namor has the ability to make the earth move.
“And reserves that privilege for one woman at a time.
“Unless they have experimental friends.”

What an imperious rex.

From the fiercely intelligent writer of PHONOGRAM, DARK AVENGERS: ARES and THOR etc, here’s a substantial interview along with this issue’s cover at the top about Kieron Gillen’s extended plans for the title:

LINK

SLH

Also arrived:

A few here from last week because we published the list late:

Mister Wonderful h/c (£14-99, Jonathan Cape) by Daniel Clowes
Incredible Change-Bots Two: The Vengeful Return Of The Broken! (£10-99, Top Shelf) by Jeffrey Brown
Francis Sharp: In The Grip Of the Uncanny vol 1 (£7-50, Black Bottle) by Brittney Sabo, Anna Bratton & Brittney Sabo
Amory Wars: In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 vol 2 (£10-99, Boom!) by Claudio Sanchez, Peter David & Chris Burnham, Kyle Strahm, Aaron Kuder
Cable vol 4: Homecoming (£11-99, Marvel) by Duane Swierczynski & Humberto Ramos, Paco Medina, Lan Medina, Paul Gulacy, Gabriel Guzman, Giancarlo Caracuzzo, Alejandro Garza, Denys Cowan, Robert Campanella, Mariano Taibo, Carlos Cuevas, Sandu Florea, Juan Vlasco
Darkie’s Mob h/c (£16.99, Titan) by John Wagner & Mike Western
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (£18-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Shigeru Mizuki
Uncanny X-Force: The Apocalypse Solution h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Rick Remender & Leonardo Manco, Jerome Opena
Secret Warriors vol 4: Last Ride Of The Howling Commandos s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Alessandro Vitti
Gotham City Sirens: Union s/c (£13-50, DC) by Paul Dini, Scott Lobdell & Guillem March, David Lopez
Dark Age vol 1: Dominion (£14-99, who knows?) by Mada Shaye, Vin Shaye & Mada Shaye
Stephen King’s N (£14-99, Marvel) by Marc Guggenheim & Alex Maleev
Chaos War: Avengers (£14-99, Marvel) by Fred Van Lente, Michael Avon Oeming, J.M. DeMatteis & Tom Grummett, Stephen Segovia, Ivan Rodriguez, Brian Ching
Marvel Masterworks: Avengers vol 3 (£18-99, Marvel) by Stan Lee & Don Heck
Ultimate Comics Avengers vol 3: Blade Vs. The Avengers h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Mark Millar & Steve Dillon
Halo: Fall Of Reach – Bootcamp h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Brian Reed & Felix Ruiz
Area 10 s/c (£9-99, Vertigo Crime/DC) by Christos N. Gage & Chris Samnee
Booster Gold: Past Imperfect (£13-50, DC) by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Chris Batista, Keith Giffen, Pat Olliffe
Grimm Fairy Tales: Different Seasons (£13-50, Zenescope) by various
Girls & Goddesses vol 1 (£18-99, Image) by Joseph Michael Linsner
20th Century Boys vol 14 (£8-99, Viz) by Naoki Urusawa
Bakuman vol 4 (£6-99, Viz) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Kimi No Todoke vol 8 (£6-99, Viz) by Karuho Shiina
Sakura Hime: The Legend Of Princess Sakura vol 1(£6-99, Viz) by Arina Tanemura

Reunion s/c (£14-99, Drawn & Quarterly) by Pascal Girard
Fables vol 15: Rose Red (£13-50, Vertigo) by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Inaki Miranda, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Chrissie Zullo, Dave Johnson, Kate McElroy, J.H. Williams III, Joao Ruas, Adam Hughes
Farscape Uncharted Tales: D’Argo’s Quest s/c (£9-99, Boom!) by Keith R. A. Decandido & Caleb Cleveland
Star Wars Omnibus: At War With Empire vol 1 (£19-99, Dark Horse) by various
Deadpool Corps vol 1: Pool-Pocalypse Now s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Victor Gischler & Rob Liefeld, Marat Mychaels
Bunny Drop vol 3 (£9-99, Yen) by Yumi Unita
Robert Jordan’s New Spring s/c (£18-99, Tor) by Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon & Mike Miller, Harvey Tolibao, Joseph Cooper
Fantastic Four vol 3 s/c  (£10-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Hickman & Neil Edwards
K-ON! vol 2  (£8-99, Yen Press) by Kakifly
Samurai Harem vol 7  (£9-99, Tokyopop) by Yu Minamoto
Incredible Hulk vol 3: World War Hulks s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by Greg Pak, Scott Reed, Bill Mantlo  & Paul Pelletier, Miguel Munera, Mike Mignola, Gerry Talaoc
Green Lantern: Secret Origin (New Edition) s/c (£10-99, DC) by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis

Apologies for the inordinately long review of AARON & AHMED. With only Sunday off to write this week, I think my internal editor broke! I may chop it down later. Don’t worry, Jonathan’s back on Monday.

 – Stephen

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