Well it is the end of another year and I haven’t managed to spend any time maintaining this blog.
I have been reading the first two volumes of Saga over the last few days and will continue till I have finished the currently available issues (24).
While not in the same league as the later Alan Moore era, there is enough in these stories to keep a Swamp Thing fan entertained giving an introduction to a lot of the elements that Moore later reused for his own take on the character. The remaining 11 issues in volume 1 have not been reissued in book form and having continued on from this book to read the single issues it is clear to see why. So if you are interested in exploring the earliest roots of the Swamp Thing then this volume contains all you need.
So I will post here when I can but it is probably going to be sporadic for the first half of the year at least. I have also been catching up on some TV series I have missed in the last few years such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Caprica and Arrow. However, I have recently bought the final volume of Vertigo‘s Hellblazer series so I will try to read that before the end of the month but after that will probably go quiet until after the summer. Tagged American Vampire, Arrow, Caprica, Comixology, Commonwealth Saga, Dark Horse, Grendel, Judas Unchained, Peter F. The Joker decides to go to a museum and blow up an exhibition featuring frowning clown masks. A quick and cheerful read that won’t change your life but is worth a look if you can find it. This is a 380 page graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics and was written and drawn by the Fillbach Brothers, Matthew and Shawn.
When Anna Gilmour investigates the crash site of an object that falls to Earth, the last thing that she expects to see is a giant, mute, humanoid walking from crater.
When the daughter of his dead friend goes missing,  Shiga feels obligated to travel to Tokyo to help look for her. Bob Saetta is a gangster who has turned himself over to the police and federal agents to testify against his crime lord brother, Paul, and bring down his criminal empire. The story is set in a future where people guard every aspect of their private life including their true face from each other.
The story has an intriguing premise in the current climate of the increasing blurring of private and public personas via social media and cloud services. I liked the comic very much and I hope that the creators get enough support for them to finish off the story. Kick-Ass is back with a vengeance in this prelude story, to both the movie and the comic Kick-Ass 2, featuring Hit-Girl. After the death of her father in the first Kick-Ass series, pint-sized vigilante Mindy McCready finds herself back living with her nervous mother and police detective step-father. Share book reviews and ratings with Graphic Novel Reading Group, and even join a book club on Goodreads. So, in what is rapidly becoming an annual tradition, I am posting an image from Goodreads of all the comic books that I have read this year.

This book is really good and if you are a fan of Y: The Last Man then you should also love this book from BKV. The stories were all written by Len Wein with the first 10 illustrated by Bernie Wrightson and the rest by Nester Redondo.
They are not of the same quality as the Wein stories and the writers don’t seem to have any clear idea what to do with the character.
I have been crazy busy at work this year and have had no time to record my thoughts on books as I read them. Well probably not immediately as I will be involved in two projects at work that will take up most of my time up until at least August.
However his day does not go well as the head henchman has sent the other henchmen to the wrong location and Harley Quinn has removed the detonators from all the explosives. It is very cartoony in style but fit in well with cartoon qualities of the Mask and the manifestation of his powers. He feels guilty for not being with his friend when he died on a mountain climbing expedition with his last written words being a plea to look out for his wife and daughter. The story was by Jimmy Palmiotti and Garth Ennis and was written by Garth Ennis with art by Mihailo Vukelic.
However, Paul is holding Bob’s wife and child and so Bob arranges with the lead investigators that he be released long enough so that he can free his family. Whether it is under the influence of Palmiotti or not, the violence portrayed in the book is grim and brutal but without the underlying black humour that we expect from Ennis’ own work. Vaughan and Marcos Martin that is creator owned and only available online at a price that you choose.
In this society, the Paparazzi are private investigators who are hired to find out the personal details on subjects and the Press seem to act as the regulating force attempting to apprehend these illegal investigators. It will be interesting to see if this sort of venture can stand up against commercial enterprises such as Comixology Submit. The book collects the the five issue series and was created by the usual creative team of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
This proves to be to be a fly in the ointment for Mindy who , as Hit-Girl, wants to destroy the Genovese family and their associates as revenge for her father.
It full of humour taking a long hard look at the actions of comic book superheroes when fighting crime, who Mindy places a lot of emphasis on when training Kick-Ass, but also in a great series of sequences featuring Red Mist as he takes the Batman route and learns Eastern techniques from Himalayan monks and mystics. A highlight of this year will be the publication of the last issue of BKV’s self published comic The Private Eye so that I can finally read the story in one go. But the henchman discovers a mask that gives the wearer a manic energy and superhuman powers. Then it mutated into an apocalyptic end of the world story as the power of the Strangewell was misappropriated by one delusional member of the alien race to which all accountants belong. This is the first work that I have read by him but he has a career stretching back to beginning of the 80s. Shiga’s investigations lead to the uncovering of a secret life of the missing girl and the climb of his life to rescue her.

Also the outcome of the story was never really in doubt so, for me, there was not a lot of dramatic tension.
Hopefully Ennis requires no introduction from me as he is one of my favourite writers and I have written about him and some of his books on this blog.
They agree and so begins a bitter battle waged on the streets of Brooklyn between the brothers. The reason for Bob’s turning against his brother seems like a typical Ennis shocker but there are moments of the blackest humour when Bob visits his mother to talk about what Paul has been up to. Vaughan is a writer known for series such as Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and current hit series Saga.
The art by Martin is very nice and the crowd scenes, with everyone in disguises of one kind or another, remind me of Geof Darrow. She also takes Kick-Ass under her wing supervising his superhero training but her most difficult task is fitting in as a 12 year old girl at school. The ultraviolence is present too as Hit-Girl destroys the Genovese crime empire piece by piece and closer to home as her actions bring the mob to her door threatening her new found family.
Wearing the mask, the Joker is able to beat Batman severely enough that he is out of action feared dead and the Joker is left free to pursue his insane agenda across Gotham while monopolising the television airwaves.
The black and white art, however, is very nice with some beautifully detailed backgrounds of the mountains and the city of the kind that you only seem to get in Manga books.
Jimmy Palmiotti is a writer and inker who often collaborates with Justin Gray and had a five year run on Jonah Hex.
Martin is a Spanish artist who has worked with Vaughan before on Doctor Strange: The Oath and Gotham City Secret Files. I have not seen the work of any of these creators before but Gilroy is a co-writer on the Star Wars: Clone Wars TV series among other animation series credits. Harley fears for the Joker and enlists Poison Ivy’s help to remove the mask from the Joker before he blows up Gotham for real.
The size of the graphic novel gave the creators time to do this but it did feel like three books at times. The colouring leaves the book looking like a sepia toned document of the past and the colour palette is muted throughout.
Bachs is a Spanish artist who has worked on a number of Star Wars comics as well as some titles for Marvel and DC.  Shum is a writer on a number of titles as well as an artist.
All in all a good read but I do miss the all out craziness of one of Ennis’ own scripts.

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