Reviews January 2012 week one

There’s a refreshing lack of melodrama in McKelvie’s art, replaced by a real, touching humanity.

 – Stephen on Generation Hope: Schism s/c

The Cartoon Introduction To Economics vol 2: Macroeconomics (£13-50, Hill And Wang) by Yoram Bauman & Grady Klein.

“What if the only thing worse than being exploited… is not being exploited?”

Discuss. The context here is the question of sweatshops and child labour which most of us, I would wager, view as fundamentally atrocious. We have, after all, outlawed both in the UK yet we’re still importing and buying those goods produced under precisely those conditions such is the nature of international Free Trade. But consider this:

“If working in a sweatshop is the option someone chooses… then the other options must have been even worse.”

Therefore if we ban these imports are we not condemning those working under such grim and relatively unrewarding conditions to a life of even more grinding poverty? That is, after all, why some anti-poverty activists defend sweatshops (“It’s difficult to make people better off by limiting their options.”) while much of the opposition to such affordable goods comes from wealthier countries and their national businesses who are more concerned about protecting their own jobs, goods and profits… which is entirely understandable.

The truth is it’s tricky, and one of the many triumphs of this edifying entertainment (oh yes, it’s funny) is that it’s made me sit up and think about my own instinctive / knee-jerk reactions to many aspects of national and international economic policy the second they’re paraded in front of me, from tax and spending to agricultural subsidies and overseas contracts. Yoram succeeds as he did in THE CARTOON INTRODUCTION TO ECONOMICS VOL 1 by exploring the complexity of the issues with a remarkable clarity, rendering them comprehensible by making them applicable to our everyday lives, and making them utterly compelling by humanising each aspect: showing why they matter.

Bauman also demonstrates how various policies have succeeded and failed throughout history in a rollercoaster ride of booms and busts which I for one couldn’t help start applying to the current government’s approach to our own economic condition – most worryingly America’s Great Depression! To everyone up in arms about the recent banking scandals, chapter 12 will be of particularly keen interest, while there’s plenty to mull over on the subject of stable and unstable exchange rates and the European single currency. The whole trade and technology section was an eye-opener, and at the risk of sounding ignorant I hadn’t realised the precise difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy. But when one considers that they’re supposed to be moderating mechanisms to boost or ease off the economy in the short term, it’s easy to see how any political party’s dogmatic drive on tax and spending regardless of the economic climate leads to a multiple pile-up further down the road.

The section I’d like to beat raving nationalists over the head with is the miracle of the labour market: over the centuries we’ve experienced extreme population growth, the doubling of the labour force when women entered it, industrialisation and the continued technological change and then, of course, globalisation… and yet still the track record of employment levels (give or take some awful fluctuations which appalling consequences for very real people) is pretty damn remarkable. Looking forward instead the whole issue of our aging population, pensions and health care is far more worrying and Yoram is at pains to point out that – unlike microeconomics which deals with individuals – macroeconomics dealing with national and international policy is very much a work in progress: we don’t have all the answers yet. The quest for a management system promoting long-term growth while maintaining short-term stability is still on.

The clarity, by the way, comes in the form of single sentences or connected half-sentences broken up by cartoons wittily, often colloquially interpreting them, extrapolating from them or showing their concrete applications: a ‘tell and show’ rather than a ‘show and tell’. Remarkably the whole thing flows like a dream. I couldn’t imagine digesting a whole book of prose on the subject nor being entertained while I did so, but presented like this I found I could focus far better while being given pause not just to absorb but to think about each aspect’s implications.

Read this: it’s empowering.


Buy The Cartoon Introduction To Economics vol 2: Macroeconomics and read the Page 45 review here

Stuck In The  Middle: Seventeen Comics From An Unpleasant Age restocks (£13-99, Viking) by Gabrielle Bell, Ariel Bordeaux, Robyn Chapman, Daniel Clowes, Vanessa Davis, Nick Eliopulos, Eric Enright, Jim Hoover, Cole Johnson, Joe Matt, Jace Smith, Aaron Renier, Ariel Schrag, Tania Schrag, Dash Shaw, Lauren Weinstein.

“Unpleasant” being school.

Just like every women’s shelter needs a copy of DRAGONSLIPPERS, every school library should have one of these. Similarly, if you’re a parent whose young teenager is going through hassle there, this might be a helpful investment – for you and for them. As for everyone else, you’ll almost certainly be able to relate and thank your lucky stars that they no longer shine over the classrooms, canteens and crucifying corridors of Ratrace High.

Editor Ariel Schrag (LIKEWISE) nails the treacherous, competitive and volatile nature of school friendships, as two girls bitch, back-stab and even plan the most humiliating visit to another supposed friend to cause her maximum discomfort, but even during this supposedly bounding activity, one of them’s constantly waiting to catch the other out:

“Oh my god!  Did you know that on Friday, Katie tried to come eat lunch with me and people!  Lamont was like, “Shouldn’t you be eating lunch behind the dumpsters with Amy?”!”
“Yeah, Gemma was coming over to my house one day and Katie was on the bus and she was like totally talking to this homeless guy!”
“Gemma doesn’t come over to your house.”

Ariel’s younger sister Tania Schrag does an equally successful job of communicating how painful name-calling can be, how school friends can so readily join in at a moment’s temptation, and how a single incident can rapidly escalate into mass rejection with all the public humiliation that comes with it. Also, just how big that school yard can seem if no one pipes up in your defence, and you have to find somewhere else to go. “I remember walking through the hallway,” writes Jace Smith later, “was like walking through a minefield of insults that could go off at any minute!!”  Jace is good enough, however, to provide potentially useful tips, as is Gabrielle Bell (LUCKY etc.) whose family situation caused some of the problems back then.

In “Craterface” Dash Shaw (BODYWORLD, THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35th CENTURY AD, THE BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON etc.) brings empathy to anyone similarly afflicted during what are already one’s most self-conscious years with his helpful addition to the acne nobbling library, while Ariel Bordeaux recalls the lengths of conformity she went to in order to achieve that High School Holy Grail of fitting in, and Jim Hoover encapsulates how absurd the entire emotional environment is during those years with the most ridiculous Dear John letter on record: “My friends think I should go out with Chad. So I guess I can’t go out with you anymore. Maybe we can still be friends. Your friend, Sheryl.” Joe Matt’s piece and Dan Clowes’ contributions are reprints, but most of the others here are new, I think, from Vanessa Davis (SPANIEL RAGE, MAKE ME A WOMAN), Eric Enright, Cole Johnson (very good!), Nick Eliopulos, Lauren Weinstein, Robyn Chapman and indeed THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN’s Aaron Renier.

I note this was banned in some American libraries, which is why we’re now restocking it on principal.


Buy Stuck In The  Middle: Seventeen Comics From An Unpleasant Age and read the Page 45 review here

Terry Moore Sketchbook vol 1: Hot Girls & Cold Feet (£8-50, Abstract Studio) by Terry Moore.

Wistful, loving, naughty and nice. Impish, anarchic, even angry. Above all, however, funny! Terry Moore’s love of women wells up from the heart and there is nothing remotely voyeuristic about the pleasure of basking in his pencil and ink sketches, most of which have never before been seen. Doesn’t stop them being sexy, though! Mischief ahoy from the creator of STRANGERS IN PARADISE, ECHO and most recently RACHEL RISING!


Terry Moore Sketchbook vol 1: Hot Girls and Cold Feet

Hellblazer vol 2: The Devil You Know (£14-99, Vertigo/DC) by Jamie Delano & David Lloyd, Bryan Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Richard Piers Rayner, Mike Hoffman, Dean Motter.

“RememberNewcastle, he said, and slapped me with a sudden chill of anger which now grows tentacles through me, like cancer, or death.
“RememberNewcastle. I wouldn’t have given him credit for such subtlety — but these words touch me as precisely as a dentist’s steel probing the exposed pulp of a molar nerve.”

Memory is very much at the forefront here for the second HELLBLAZER book from the late 1980s, as readers first discovered what was so utterly grim that happened in Newcastle during Constantine’s greener days to send him to Ravenscar’s Secure Facility For The Dangerously Deranged… then looked back at the early 80s’ days of the Falklands War… remembered British holidays at the seaside… and were taken all the way back to ancient Britain as a mad, diseased and vainglorious abbot is told a tale by Merlin, his head-on-a-spike, and we discover said abbot’s relative connection to thrice-born, Christian-killing King Kon-Sten-Tyn of Ravenscar, who was a total bastard too.

Not having read this material for some time, I was taken aback at how imaginative and vividDelanowas, particularly when daydreaming about the meltdown of a coastal nuclear reactor or flying the astral plane. He really does give the English language a damn good theatrical outing, with demons as loquacious as they repulsive. Rayner and Bucky’s line are crisp and clear, and Vertigo’s colourists hadn’t yet blown out all the candles and left us choking in the post-snuff waxy vapour of more recent years.


Buy Hellblazer vol 2: The Devil You Know and read the Page 45 review here

Roots Of The Swamp Thing s/c (£22-50, Vertigo/DC) by Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson, Nestor Redondo, Michael Wm. Kaluta…

Len Wein’s classic 13 issues of his reimagining of Swamp Thing that later inspired Alan Moore’s ground-breaking run on the title. And given the truly exceptional nature of what was to follow fromMoorethese tales from Wein, clearly someone with a deep affection for his creation, stand very fair comparison, being compelling examples of science fiction and horror fusion in their own right. The irony is that after producing the first 8-page Swamp Thing story for HOUSE OF SECRETS #92 (included here) and it being a roaring success, Wein and Wrightson (very much a co-creator of Swamp Thing with Wein) steadfastly refused DC’s overtures for a full year to do an ongoing series because they felt it would reduce the impact of their initial story. Fortunately they realised the error of their ways and went on to pitch Swamp Thing into several suitably outlandish and horrific situations, introducing the mad Dr. Anton Arcane, aided in his obsession to gain immortality by his nightmarish army of Un-Men and the tragic Patchwork Man (Arcane’s brother Gregori Arcane and father of a certain Abigail Arcane). There are also confrontations with Cthulu-esque monsters, aliens, time travellers and a tragically misunderstood first encounter with a certain cowled denizen ofGotham.

For its time the writing is really out there and clearly Moore appreciated Wein and Wrightson’s work, choosing to pick up from where they left off with the supporting cast of characters they had built and sweeping away anything that David Michelinie, Gerry Conway and Martin Pasko did on their brief subsequent runs on the title. If you’ve read and enjoyed Moore’s SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING I strongly suggest you take a look at this to see where it all began. As Wein himself states in the informative foreword to the book, “All in all, not a bad record so far for a character who began life as an eight-page mystery anthology story”.


Buy Roots Of The Swamp Thing s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Evolution: The  Story Of Life On Earth s/c (£10-99, Hill And Wang) by Jay Hosler & Kevin Cannon, Zander Cannon.

Light, bright, concise and precise history of life’s rich tapestry here on planet Earth, and the science behind it all right down to the specific single-celled organisms that grew more ambitious, and the bacteria that stayed still or became breakfast instead.

As a Professor of Biology the creator of the much missed CLAN APIS is eminently qualified to talk about DNA, RNA, proteins and amino acids, whilst his natural skill as a communicator turn it into a remarkable fusion of education and entertainment in the form of one long conversation between a monocular, professorial starfish and its alien prince and king. Even Charles Darwin pops up at a gig to explain his own theories…

“Natural Selection is the name of the evolutionary mechanism I proposed. It’s the process by which favourable traits are preserved in a group of organisms and harmful traits die out. Some also refer to this as “survival of the fittest”.”

…before expounding on the four basic conditions that must be met for the process to occur, how it occurs, and how he observed it occurring in a succession of phenotypes before the genotypes behind them – the unique set of genes in an individual’s DNA chromosomes that dictate their individual traits – were unveiled later on.

Each biological and evolutionary mechanism is backed up with such evidence and the history of its discovery which is vital in refuting the head-in-the-sand stupidity of Creationists who maintain that man was created from scratch last Thursday, and woman from his elbow or something.

Moreover what could have been an unwieldy tangle has been streamlined to perfection with room for recaps, and – this is the killer – the fact that this a comic rather than prose means that each step is easy to digest and you can refer back to previous panels for a quick recap because you’ll have an associated image for that key information already stored in your head. I used this myself when I needed to remind myself about the cellular differences between those three types of single-celled organisms – bacteria, eukaryote and archaea – , and I knew exactly which image I was looking for. Can you imagine how much easier this would have been to revise for at school? It’s like a series of illustrated flashcards linked with a narrative thread!

And it’s funny! Just like the CARTOON INTRODUCTION TO ECONOMICS, the cartooning hits just the right note of parenthetical asides (fungal-infected ant: “I think there’s a fungus among us”) whilst never distracting you from the information they pertain to (the difference between plants, fungi and animals when generating energy).

Over the subsequent chapters life on this planet is explored through fossils (a potential source of legendary creatures like the griffin and cyclops too?) as the notochords of chordates evolve into the backbones of vertebrates; and arthropods, with their supporting structure on the outside, develop eight jointed legs just to terrify Charlie Brooker in the bath. Plants start growing, insects start buzzing and hungry fish like the look of them so flop on the shore while those that see their brothers promptly expire decide it’d be better to wait until they actually breathed air first. Oh yes, and grow legs for non-flopping-about-ness. Amphibians, eh? Some decide to leave home altogether because their parents won’t let them smoke weed and then change their name by deed poll to reptiles just to have the last laugh. Just the sort of hubris that invites a mass extinction, which is what happens next.

Hosler entertains, but without the sort of buffoonery above that would make a mockery of his sound knowledge and expertise. There’s no disinformation to distract you for one second from the detail of what actual happens, how, why and when. He’s meticulous like that, right down to the evolution of insects which, unlike dragonflies, could fold their wings back after flight and so climb into crevices… and how the Permian Extinction, wiping out one-third of all insects, gave them a better fighting chance against the previously dominant species to the extent that 98% on all insect species can now fold their wings back.

I’ll leave you to learn of reptiles’ return to the seas (“Evolution is not a progressive march. Life has no destination, no ultimate goal. It evolves to take advantage of new ways of getting resources”), the emergence of mammals then birds and how their endothermy later proved a literal life-saver. But there’s nothing I have seen here that wouldn’t make this a perfect set text for schools – nothing that would be judged inaccurate or inadequate in an exam. As adult entertainment I know we’re now spoiled by David Attenborough and his successors on television, but I also like to retain knowledge and can rarely do so without the printed word which makes this the perfect medium, especially with its glossary at the back.


Buy Evolution: The  Story Of Life On Earth s/c and read the Page 45 review here

Generation Hope: Schism s/c (£12-99, Marvel) by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie,Salvador Espin, Tim Seeley, Steven Sanders.

“When I was a kid I got a book. ‘Portraits Of Freaks: 500 Mutants You Must See Before You Die.” Just page after page of what could happen to you if you get that bad roll of the dice. One day you’re you. Next day you’re – oh, I dunno – sentient saliva. And whatever you get, that’s it, that’s your life, forever. Living like a lump of mucus. Being hunted and hated and laughed at for the rest of your days. And at the best – the very best – you end up as a fetish object to people like you. That’s being a mutant.”

The second half of Kieron’s run on the next generation of mutants whose coming of age has proved far more painful than the last, their mutations often far more severe. Hope’s role has been to stabilise them both at the point of manifestation and then as a team on Utopia. The first, unfortunately, depends on them getting there in time, before the traumatised children go mad, kill themselves or simply melt away.

The chapter that stood out for me here was the one drawn by McKelvie, Gillen’s partner in crime on the two PHONOGRAM books. His clear, gentle, sympathetic line is a natural for young characters being treated with empathy and that’s been Kieron’s approach. There’s a refreshing lack of melodrama in McKelvie’s art, replaced by a real, touching humanity.

The episode’s seen not from the X-Men’s perspective primarily but focussed instead on a group of students in bedsit land at SheffieldUniversityas they break out cans of White Stripe lager and exchange sexual fantasies. Luke wants to make love to a mutant… as a mutant. It’s he whom Zeeshan’s addressing above. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Luke was about to mutate in the most horrific way possible, his face then body melting like mud, his nose coming off in his hands? Yes, it would, but Gillen is never that obvious. Instead it is tragic, for it’s poor, sympathetic Zeeshan, brave enough to stand up and be counted – to stick up for others and castigate his mate – whose life literally dissolves before them and all Luke can do is grin and snap photos and load them online to get hits. As Hope and her friends speed frantically across the Atlantic from half a world away the sequence largely goes silent in stark, affecting contrast to the bellows of rage when they finally arrive… just in time to be far, far too late.

Once again, though, if you think I’ve given everything away about that single, exemplary masterclass in comics from this much bigger book… Gillen is never that obvious. There’s an epilogue set four weeks later, as well as an earlier, telling panel by McKelvie.

Now you really should read PHONOGRAM volumes one and indeed two. And this, obviously.


Buy Generation Hope: Schism s/c and read the Page 45 review here

X-Men: Schism h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Jason Aaron with Kieron Gillen & Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuna, Alan Davis, Adam Kubert, Billy Tan.

Is an arms race fought on foot? You’d really have to gun it.

Cyclops has come to speak at the international arms control conference inSwitzerland. The arms he would very much like to control are the mutant-murdering Sentinels: giant, genocidal robots conceived in hatred a long time ago by a scientist called Bolivar Trask. Since then the technology has spread across the globe though every nation denies it, one even refuting the very existence of Sentinels even inAmerica. But then there’s a blast from the Grant Morrison past and delegates experience an uncontrollable telepathic compulsion to speak up. It’s a scene you’re unlikely to see in the House of Commons, but wouldn’t it be cathartic if even a couple of MPs were occasionally this honest?

“I beat my children. I do it quite often, in fact, I… I do it because… well, because I enjoy it.”
“If I may interrupt, I’d just like to say that I am currently cheating on my wife of 35 years while she slowly dies from leukemia. And in the interest of verification, I will be emailing various sexually explicit videos to all major news organisations.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to list the various ethnic minorities I despise…”
“I, for one, am currently under the influence of the following illegal substances…”
“I am personally responsible for the deaths of the following individuals…”
“My fortune was pillaged from the poor!”
“My election was fixed!”
“I married a Doombot!”
“I once shot a man just to watch him die!”
“I’ve never believed in God!”
“I actually love America!”

“Yes, this is Ms. Frost. I’m afraid I’m going to have to cancel my3:00pedicure. On account of what? How about the supreme stupidity of everyone else in the world but me?”

It’s an assault by Quentin Quire last seen in NEW X-MEN DIGEST VOL 5 designed to achieve the exact opposite of what Cyclops intended, and sure enough by that end of the day each and every nation activates its own variation of the Sentinel initiative: massive, humanoid killing machines flagrantly flying over the pyramids of Egypt, standing guard over Tianamen Square, looming over the Eiffel Tower and making military manoeuvres over North Korea and the Yellow Sea. But some work better than others. Who is behind it, and why? It isn’t Quentin Quire who, once the puppeteer, is now rendered a puppet.

“Carlton Kilgore, as one of the world’s pre-eminent arms manufacturers, what is your reaction to today’s events?”
“I am outraged and appalled by such a cowardly terrorist attack. Hopefully we as a planet can come together and heal the wounds that were made here today. Until then, all Kilgore brand small arms are officially half-priced.”

He builds Sentinels. In the car:

“Our website is processing a thousand orders a minute, and Kilgore stock has already gone up three points. Now that’s what I call an arms control conference. Here’s to the power of irrational fear! May the X-Men live forever!”
“I’ll drink to that.”

It’s not who you think, but a scheming serpent’s tooth who has his sights set on big business, all that binds the X-Men together, and a certain members-only club known only too well to our frazzled and soon-to-be-fractured mutants. For Cyclops is about to be driven to make an executive decision that Wolverine simply won’t tolerate. And seeing eye-to-eye with Cyclops can mean one of two things: you’re cool and copacetic or you’re wasted in one almighty optic blast.

SCALPED’s Jason Aaron played the first half magnificently, and none of the artists would ever disappoint. This is one humungous event in the lives of your favourite mutants with major repercussions: the word ‘schism’ isn’t used lightly. But I did wonder, I really did wonder why Wolverine would now after ever so long suddenly baulk at using children on the frontline when that is what the X-Men have done for thirty-odd years. When GENERATION HOPE’s cast are the ones he draws the line at, yet they stay on Utopia anyway rather than follow old man Logan. And then our Tom whispered something in my ear. He whispered something in my ear about puppets and puppeteers and I really do hope that he’s right.

If he’s wrong, the pretext here is a little contrived. But if Tom’s right, Marvel should really give the man a job. To be continued…


X-Men: Schism hardcover

Batman: Under The Red Hood (£22-50, DC) by Judd Winick & Doug Mahnke, Paul Lee, Shane Davis, Eric Battle.

Both previous, out-of-print UNDER THE HOOD books conjoined. Of book one, I wrote:

Winnick writes a more than competent Batman. Indeed there’s a refreshing directness in his style. He also structures it for maximum page-turning, with the identity of the new Red Hood revealed to an unmasked Batman several issues before it is to us, when the main action catches up with itself during the finale. The artists too are clear and tight, even though some expressions could have done with more subtlety to accurately convey the emotions involved. You’ll get the point though: the main man’s not happy.

New factions have arisen inGotham. At the top of the criminal ladder sits the Black Mask (a bit like the Red Skull, only with a more refined dress sense, fewer guttural exhortations geared towards conquering the world, and a complexion similar to that ready-meal you left in the oven four hours longer than you should’ve when you fell asleep in front of the TV last night). He doesn’t do much except twiddle his thumbs and make caustic remarks. On the crime-fighting front, however, we have that new Red Hood, whose more aggressive methods, he persuasively argues, produce more effective – and final – results than Bruce’s. And that’s what this is about:

“Which is what?”
“You. I’ll be you. The you you’re supposed to be. If you had killed Joker… years ago.. beyond what happened to me… you know what hell you would have saved the world. But no. His murder is a long list of sane acts you refuse to commit. You never cross that line. But I will. Death will come to those who deserve death. And death may come to those who stand in my way of doing what’s right.”

Guest appearances by Superman and Green Arrow, who have something specific in common with the Hood, and you may want to read IDENTITY CRISIS before this, or you won’t get what’s niggling Batman when he takes Zatanna to one of the old Lazarus Pits:

“I still don’t know why you needed me here.”
“I needed someone I could trust. But I had to settle for you.”

Of book two [SPOILERS – but hey, if you don’t know by now..!]:

Most of the better Batman material tends to be found in the self-contained mini-series, and although this isn’t of the same calibre as, say, BATMAN: DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, KILLING JOKE or even LONG HALLOWEEN, there’s no arguing that Winnick has greased the seats so successfully over the last year that if readers are left clinging to the edge, Batman’s in danger of losing his grip entirely.

Why? Years ago he took on a second young lad called Jason Todd as Robin. He didn’t last long: The Joker blew him to bits. But recently a new vigilante, The Red Hood (an alias previously employed by The Joker himself), has been working Gotham’s underground, using lethal force to stamp out crime and leading him into inevitable confrontation with Batman. But that was the plan all along, because The Red Hood is Jason Todd, and he’s well-pissed not simply because Batman could have averted his death – and those of hundreds of other innocent people – by permanently ending The Joker’s sadistic murder sprees early on, but because he failed to avenge Jason’s death by doing just that: by putting mad dog down. In a final trap, Jason strips away Batman’s options, forcing him to choose between killing The Joker, or – to stop Jason murdering The Joker – killing Jason himself.

Even though INFINITE CRISIS rudely intrudes on the final pages leaving it anyone’s guess as to the eventual repercussions, I did come away from the finale thinking words like “ironic” and “harsh”. Then I cooled down a bit.

This collection also includes the annual “explaining” how Jason’s feeling so chipper after all these years. Further relevant reading might included BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY (which is when readers themselves phoned in to decide Jason’s fate – it was out of Batman’s hands!), and BATMAN: HUSH wouldn’t hurt either. For some down and dirty commentary on the fatal phone-in itself (as long as you’re over 16), please see Rick Veitch’s soiled and seedy BRATPACK, along with its introduction by Neil Gaiman.


Buy Batman: Under The Red Hood and read the Page 45 review here


Arrived, Online & Ready To Buy

Reviews to follow or already up if they’re softcover of hardcovers. Regardless, you can now go straight to these books in the shopping area simply by clicking on their titles! Hurrah!

Sandman: Annotated Sandman vol 1 h/c (£37-99, Vertigo/DC) by Neil Gaiman’ Leslie S. Klinger

Batman: The Dark Knight – Golden Dawn h/c (£18-99, DC) by David Finch with Grant Morrison & David Finch with Jason Fabok

Avengers Academy vol 2: Will We Use This In The Real World? s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Christos Gage & Tom Raney, Mike McKone, Sean Chen

Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne s/c (£14-99, DC) by Grant Morrison & Chris Sprouse, Frazer Irving, Yanick Paquette, Georges Jeanty, Ryan Sook, Lee Garbett, Andy Kubert

Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix hardcover (£6-99, Marvel UK/Panini) by Chris Claremont & John Byrne

Spider-Man: Masques hardcover (£18-99, Marvel) by Todd McFarlane with Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza & Todd McFarlane with Rob Liefeld

Arata vol 7 (£7-50, Viz) by Yu Watase

Arata vol 8 (£7-50, Viz) by Yu Watase

Reviews written in a House Without Heating on New Year’s Day and it’s growing increasingly cold this January. That monster McKelvie (see GENERATION HOPE, above) suggested I rub Deep Heat in all over. All over! Thankfully I’m not sporty enough to have any to hand.

So anyway, they are what they are. Jonathan’s back next week (I hope!), and we’ll be all back to normal – i.e. new comics delivered on Wednesday, new reviews published that night, and with that relevant week’s new books listed immediately underneath.

Happy New Year!

 – Stephen

One Response to “Reviews January 2012 week one”

  1. […] for now it feels just like period CRIMINAL, which couldn’t make me happier. We have restocks of FATALE #1 reviewed at great length here. Best series so far of the […]

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