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Topics - JamesC

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Film & TV / Who is the best Batman?
« on: 15 December, 2014, 01:04:59 PM »

After reading this article on IGN in which Michael Keaton states that he still considers himself the Batman I wondered what other people thought.

I recently re-watched the Keaton Batflicks and while I have my reservations I think the first one is probably the most successful serious attempt to translate the character to film so far ('Returns' is awful though - a Burton 'dark fairytale' in which Batman stands around wondering what the fuck is going on).

Off Topic / The Christmas List thread
« on: 02 December, 2014, 01:57:45 PM »
I don't think we've had one of these this year yet.

What are people asking Santa for this Christmas?

Comics wise I'm hoping for any of Brubaker/Phillips Criminal tpbs. I've only recently discovered these after loaning one from the library - really good stuff. I'm also after the new Grandville book and some expansions for the X-Wing miniatures game.

That's about it - I'll probably end up with socks and pants.

Mind you, I always buy myself a present, so I'll have one of these baby's under the tree too:

Prog / Prog 1904 - Class War
« on: 18 October, 2014, 09:44:59 AM »
The postman must have been up extra early this morning as the prog was delivered before 9am - that's the earliest for a while.

We have a fantastic Dredd cover this week from Alex Ronald. I'm not always a fan of this very realistic style of artwork but this works brilliantly. The only criticism I have is that I think it may have worked better with a more colourful background.

Dredd continues to entertain. I'm really enjoying the block judge story and it feels like Joe's starting to get somewhere with his investigations. You can't beat a bit of good old fashioned detective work!

I'm still skipping Stickleback.

Greysuit just gets darker and darker. Someone on the last Prog review said that this strip reminded them of Accident Man - I think that's doubly true in this episode. Really good stuff.

I got halfway through this episode of Ichabod and gave up. I just can't invest in this strip - it feels more style over substance to me.

Having said that, I suppose Kingdom could be described as style over substance but it's a style that suits me down to the ground. This is my favourite strip and this episode features some wonderful tough talk "Get whet. Gonna get blood-scrap nasty. Up close." Love it!

Even though I skipped one and a half strips the bits I enjoyed were bloody fantastic so it still earns the status of 'cracking Prog'!

Prog / Prog 1903 - Sign of the Times
« on: 11 October, 2014, 11:21:56 AM »
Surprised no one has started this thread yet! My first Saturday prog for a while, the postman's been slack lately and it's been coming Mondays.

Cover. A rather striking Stickleback image by Disraeli. I think it looks good but it wouldn't make me pick up the prog if I wasn't already a reader.

Dredd. Block Judge continues to thrill. This week we have a rather satisfying crime blitz. I love it when Dredd stamps on perps who think they're above the law!

Stickleback. I'm skipping this story - not my cup of tea.

Greysuit. Another enjoyable episode. Not a lot happens really but I like the seedy, corrupt atmosphere that this strip exudes. Pat Mills is very good at making you hate the authorities.

Ichabod Azrael. I'm sorry but I don't have the foggiest. The art's nice and again I like the atmosphere but the story leaves me baffled.

Kingdom. Quite a bit of exposition this week and a little more introduction for the new characters. Lovely art once again and it left me wishing for the next prog so I can see it all kick off.

Solid prog.

Prog / Prog 1899 - Lords Have Mercy?
« on: 13 September, 2014, 11:42:21 AM »
A nice cover by Paul Marshall with colours by Chris Blythe. Dredd's usually imposing form is dwarfed by the law lords as Dredd threatens their leader.

Dredd - I've really enjoyed this Law Lords story. It turned out very differently to how I'd imagined after reading the first episode. In fact, part of me is disappointed that we never got the Buck Rogers style culture shock story of Indira Knight.

Aquila - Ends well with a very creepy last panel. I think this run could possibly have been a bit shorter for the amount of story we've had. Having said that, it's a quality strip and the art in particular has been absolutely stonking.

Brass Sun - I'm afraid I'm skipping this. It's just too slow for me and, while the strip has some good ideas, I don't think the characters are developed enough to hold interest.

Future Shocks - A fun tale we'll told. I'm pretty sure some of you will guess the twist before the reveal but I purposely try not to do that as it think it spoils the fun.

Black Shuck - I have similar frustrations with this strip as I have with Brass Sun. It's made of quality ingredients but it's missing the vital characterisation that is needed to hold interest. It's like mashed potatoes without any salt in.

Not the greatest prog but it's still worth the cover price. I'm really looking forward to the new line up next prog - especially Kingdom!

Games / Stink-U-Like
« on: 11 August, 2014, 10:24:26 PM »
Does anyone have any favourite games, which they really enjoy, which are almost universal considered to be utter stinkers?
I'm not talking about games which got pretty good reviews but didn't sell well like Spec Ops or Vanquish or even games that got 'average' reviews but games that were totally panned.

I have two, both strangely based on Tom Cruise films.

The first is Mission: Impossible which I played on the N64. This game was utterly slated, mainly because it wasn't Goldeneye, I think. The controls were a little clunky and the graphics weren't great but I thought it was a really awesome game. It followed the plot of the film closely and you had to do under cover missions (the first bit at the party was ace), got to use loads of gadgets and there was a good balance between action and working out the strategy for each level. I loved it and played through the whole thing more than once (I loved the London Train Station set sniper sequence most).

The second is Minority Report which I played on the GameCube. I think this got 3s and 4s from most of the gaming press. I can sort of see why. It wasn't massively original and wasn't very polished but it had insanely fun combat. The enemies had crazy rag-doll physics and you could throw them around all over the place. There were weapons, like the sonic shotgun things, but they pretty much just shot baddies around the room too. It played like some kind of crazy 3d version of Double Dragon. My friend and I used to play through it doing 'level or life' (which is where you play cooperatively with the same character and swap turns on the controls every time you finish a level or lose a life - useful for conserving cash in the arcades). We had an absolute blast with this game. Fond memories.

Prog / Prog 1894 - Blue Remembered Kills
« on: 09 August, 2014, 12:29:04 PM »
Cover - a pretty scary looking image from Neil Roberts. I actually really like it - it stands out and would definitely make a 12 year old me pick up the prog. I don't get the pun in the tag line though. Is it from a song or something?

Dredd - A really intriguing opener from Michael Carroll with vibes of Buck Rogers. We're introduced to a new character who could prove to be very interesting and I'm guessing she's going to have plenty of criticism about the Judge system and old Joe in particular.

Aquila - Another fun episode with a particularly horrific baddie reveal at the end. Once again the whole thing looks fantastic. One reservation (that may not be the right word) I have a bout this strip is that it almost seems too clever for its own good. Rennie has obviously done a ton of research about the period and is referencing some things that, to me, seem quite obscure. I can't help but feel I'd be enjoying things more if I'd spent more time in Sunday school.
I feel a bit ignorant saying that. Perhaps the onus should be on me to educate myself more. I think the collected edition would benefit from an appendix giving extra background information.

Brass Sun - Well it looks lovely but I've lost track of who's who and what they're all doing. It's a shame because the strip has some great ideas. I just don't think that Edington's scripts live up to the potential of the fantastic ideas he has. I'd like to see him partner up with someone like Michalel Carroll who has a great strength for character building and plotting.

Black Shuck - It feels like we're getting somewhere slowly but surely. Again, I'd like to get to know the characters more.

Jaegir - A talky episode but still very strong. Looking forward to some action next week.

Just a general point about the prog of late, and that is that the colouring looks absolutely fantastic. I don't know if they've changed printers or something but it been really noticeable lately that the colours seem to jump off the page.

A strong prog.

Books & Comics / Comics to Films (and other multimedia avenues)
« on: 04 August, 2014, 12:16:52 PM »

I've just read this article over on IGN which seems to extol the virtues of printing comics purely as a way to support creative properties for transfer to other media. It's an interesting alternate view point - most people I speak to tend to think that the comics industry is doing something wrong by not capitalising (in comic sales) on the increased public awareness of comics/characters that films bring.
Maybe the big two should just see the comics themselves as a loss leader for bigger things down the line? Would this mean that sales would become less important and comics would continue to be printed as long as they were generating fresh ideas or creating lots of new IP? I guess the flip side is that if something doesn't have a cinematic potential (such as the 'unfilmable' Watchmen) then it wouldn't get a green light.
I'm not sure I've thought enough about it (or have enough knowledge of how the industry works) to have a definite opinion. It seems counter-intuitive to me to run a creative industry without an appreciation of the product's own creative worth.   

Prog / Prog 1893 - The Deep End
« on: 02 August, 2014, 10:27:35 AM »
Cover - I really like this image from Ian Culbard. It has a nice ominous feel and then, when you read the story, you'll see it illustrates a nice character moment. Having said that, I'm not sure if it has a massive amount of shelf-appeal.

Dredd - A fun, if rather sudden, ending to A Night in Sylvia Plath (I reckon it could have lasted another episode or two). As I said last week, I'm not fan of Mrs Gunderson but I have a real soft spot for Walter so it balances out. Lovely MacNeil art again but am I the only one that thinks the apartment seems incredibly spacious?

Aquila - A turning point this week as Aquila realises that a crazed wannabe god-emperor may not be the best person to trust (duh!). The episode ends with an interesting omen. I'm really enjoying this strip and the artwork and colouring are really something else.

Brass Sun - This is a return to the status quo after last week's odd interlude. There's probably more going on than I realise this week but, as I've forgotten where they're going, why they're going there and who all the characters are the whole thing is washing over me while I sit in a state of semi-confusion enjoying the pretty pictures.
I think it would help if I read the whole thing in one sitting but in weekly instalments the glacial progression is a problem for me as is the lack of character development (Edington's major weak point in my view).

Black Shuck - This story has more flashbacks than a synchronised drowning team. I'm not sure they're really necessary, or that they work terribly well. This strip suffers from the authors reluctance to just tell (and show) the reader exactly what is going on. I think I'm up to speed with what's happening but It doesn't seem like a great deal at the moment and I'm not sure why I should care either as I have no feel for any of the characters. This story needs to get a move on.
Reading it back, that sounds incredibly negative. There's a lot to like in this story, and there are some good ideas being hinted at - let's just get on with it!

Jaegir - Another class act from Rennie with some stunning art from Colby (he's had a busy few months with this and Royals but his art hasn't suffered at all). This is an interesting set up with a bit of ass-kicking thrown in for good measure.

A good prog all in all but a couple of thrills feel like they're harder work than they need to be.

Extras - An add for a new Anderson series from Matt Smith with some ace looking art from Carl Critchlow. This is part of the IDW line.

A couple of little tid-bits in the letters page. The Winter Special is going to be horror themed and there's a new Dredd on Lawmaster model coming from Dark Creations.

Prog / Prog 1890 - The Butcher Of Rome
« on: 12 July, 2014, 10:37:26 AM »
Cover - very cool Aquila cover by Karl Richardson. On the whole I prefer action covers to posed covers but I think this one works really well.

Dredd - part one of a new story by Wagner and Boo Cook. Really enjoyed this episode and the artwork is fantastic. Love the dog-buggy!

Sin Dex - another fun, action packed episode. I know others are fed up with this strip but I always find it enjoyable. I like the action and the pun tastic scripts. There's a slightly awkward panel this week where I think the artist has put the characters the wrong way around - leading to a bit of a headache for the lettering droid. It's more than made up for by the dynamic action panels though.

Brass Sun - this strip moves a little slowly for my liking and I always think Eddington's strips are a little lacking in characterisation. Having said that, the strip has a nice moody feel and some lovely artwork. Very nice middle page spread this week.

Aquila- this is a real high quality piece of work. Leigh Gallager's art is brilliantly complemented by colours from Dylan Teague. This episode is very exposition heavy but I appreciated that as I needed a bit of a recap.

3riller - an absolutely horrific ending to this creepy story from Guy Adams. As with most of the 3rillers I'd actually quite like to see more of this story. Perhaps a 3quel? Lovely art once again - this is the best I've seen from PJ Holden.

Great prog overall. We also have a Thrills of the Future teaser for a new Wagner/Ezquerra Dredd in a few weeks time and next week sees the start of Black Shuck From Moore, Reppion and Yeowell. Looking forward to it!

Prog / Prog 1886 - Race With the Devils
« on: 14 June, 2014, 11:43:59 AM »
Cover - This Simon Davis Slaine cover is a little murky for my liking but there's no doubt it's well painted.

Dredd - Fantastic artwork again this week. We're starting to get some answers about what's happening as the story heads towards it's conclusion. Really enjoying this.

Terror Tale - It may not be the most difficult twist to guess but I really enjoyed this story. The art was really clear and crisp and the script was tight. Good fun.

Slaine - Book 1 ends here with some nice action and a bit of social comment. This story has moved a little slowly for me and the artwork isn't really my cup of tea either. Having said that it's still a welcome addition to the prog.

Grey Area - This is one of my favourite thrills and I'm really enjoying this story. The God ship has a very 'Galactus' vibe. The artwork on this strip is really excellent and I imagine it's even better on the digital version of the prog.

Indigo Prime - Things are getting controversial now! Can't wait to see what happens next week!

Really enjoyable prog. I guess we'll get two new thrills next week to take the places of the Terror Tale and Slaine.

Games / Marvel Dice Masters - X Men vs Avengers
« on: 22 May, 2014, 08:48:46 PM »
Has anyone played this? Apparently it's the 'next big thing' after X-Wing.
I haven't played it yet but I've just spent loads of money on it so hope it's good! Hopefully I'll be able to update after the weekend (looks very pretty though).

Prog / Prog 1882 - Chop Chop!
« on: 17 May, 2014, 12:31:28 PM »
Cover - A nice wrap around Slaine image from Simon Davis.

Nerve Centre- Just a quick word of warning, the nerve centre spoils the 3riller slightly. Nothing major but you may want to avoid it.

Dredd - Shooters Night ends well, if perhaps a bit downbeat. I've really enjoyed this story and John McCrea's art has been excellent.

Indigo Prime - Enjoyably bonkers and a bit creepy. Some lovely monster art by Lee Carter.

Slaine - This is an action packed episode with some nefarious goings on happening in the background. I've lost the plot but it's still enjoyable. I wish I was appreciating the art the way others seem to be. I can tell it's good quality and well done but it just doesn't suit the strip in my opinion.

3riller - A good ending to a thoroughly enjoyable story. I've said it before and I'll say it again - can we have a collection please Tharg?

Outlier - For some reason I was expecting this to be the final episode but it's not. Things take a slightly unexpected turn and we learn a little more about the Hurde. This continues to be a fun thrill.

A good prog overall and I'm looking forward to seeing what replaces the 3riller next week (Future Shock? Double length Slaine?)

Prog / Prog 1881 - Skeleton Crew!
« on: 10 May, 2014, 10:41:01 AM »
Nice cover this week by Glenn Fabry. It looks a bit 90s but it's very well done and the colours on a Dredd are nice and vibrant.

Dredd - Another enjoyable episode of Shooters Night. Looks like it's going to wrap up next week. I've really enjoyed this story and it's been great having McCrea's kinetic artwork in the prog.

Outlier - Caul's badass stock continues to rise and we get a bit of background on his motivation. This strip could run and run and I think I'd always enjoy it.

Indigo Prime - Wow. I could stare at the opening page all day. Love the alternate Bagpuss - and is that Robocop on a surf board? As the story progresses I get the feeling that things aren't going to work out well! It's all a bit creepy.

3riller- Excellent once again. A very, very atmospheric five pages. Tharg, when are you going to collect these stories?

Slaine (meets the Gruffalo) - Another decompressed episode. I've been quite critical of Simon Davis on this strip but the art this week is undeniably impressive. Still missing Clint Langley though!

Very good prog overall - I enjoyed it from cover to cover.

Prog / Prog 1880 - Devil's Causeway
« on: 03 May, 2014, 10:13:45 AM »
Cover - I'm not a big fan of Simon Davis covers in general and I'm afraid I don't think this works. There's too much blank space and it isn't a dramatic image that would make someone want to pick up the prog. I don't even think it reflects the strip it's based around - it certainly doesn't say 'Slaine' to me - in fact, at first glance I thought it was something Native American related. I don't like to be so negative but that's how I feel about it - sorry.

Dredd - A great episode and manages to cram loads into it's six pages. John McCrea is doing a brilliant job on the art. My favourite Dredd strip since the Emma Beeby one.

I've put this in spoilers so I don't ruin the surprise that we have a brand new Indigo Prime strip. It's a bit confusing, as you may expect, but it's a great opener. Lee Carter's artwork is absolutely beautiful. What a way to follow Dredd!

Slaine - A bit of a filler episode. Simon Davis does a really good job over the first four pages - all of which are vibrant and full, in stark contrast to the cover. The last two pages certainly work in terms of story telling and are quite inventive - but they were a disappointment on turning the page.

3riller - I'm not sure I understood this 100% but it has a great atmosphere and I certainly enjoyed it. Lovely artwork and a really good colouring job too.

Outlier - Caul turns into a Merman in this episode. That pretty much sums up why I like this strip. Good fun.

A really good prog. A couple of mis-steps in Slaine artwork in my opinion but I'm sure others will disagree.

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