Archive for December, 2009

Dork knight blurb from 2008

While a mild mannered childhood had allowed Robin Deb a regular teenage fascination with Zombies and giant Robots,  Robin soon turned his back on the world of the future and started  to assimilate into more acceptable society, complete with girls. A freak accident followed after graduation involving a lightning bolt and the stock of a small comic book shop conveniently located on Charing Cross Road. From the rubble comprised of Capes, Caps and authentic Fraggle replicas. Birthed from a Battlestar, Rob Deb emerged. Heralding a new era of Dorkness in comedy, Rob took the mantle of ‘The Dork Knight’ and has worked one radio 4, GMTV and Dave to promote Batman and many others. He writes as a reviewer for ‘The Bookseller’ and when not performing comedy tries to avoid his 3 main weaknesses; Smallville, coleslaw and chatty redheads.

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graphic novel reviews waterstones.com

 


Green Lantern by Geoff Johns, et al.

Bringing back a character so well loved as Hal Jordan was always going to be difficult, especially to appease the old guard and bringing in new readers at the same time, but Geoff Johns managers to convey character and bring all comers up to speed.

A sharp retooling for one of DC’s flagship characters and a great primer for Superhero comics and how they can be done in generall.

The Sandman – Sandman S. by Neil Gaiman, et al.

Bringing the saga of the endless to a close, Gaiman’s finale is poignant and bittersweet. Covering some surprisingly humane perspectives from the characters we’ve come to understand as forces beyond comprehension.


Ultimate Spider-Man – Ultimate Spider-Man (Paperback) 1 by Bill Jemas, et al.

Ultimate Spider-man is a swift and sharp re-imagining of the Spiderman mythos, largely aimed at teen readers in it’s inception, and drawing back old, hem, mature comic book fans who’s interest has sparked again with the new movie franchise.

By starting over Bendis has been able to modernize Peter and the world around him in a stylish ‘dialogue of references’ you get in many American drama’s. Mark Bagely’s artwork is vibrant and clear, with a touch of mange to it.

For spidey fans who want to start over before the wedding, the last hunt, the clones, and the carnage, I can’t think of a better beginning.


Hitman by Garth Ennis, et al.

Bringing many elements that typify Ennis style (shock, cynicism and a deep irreverence for any established authority) into a light hearted romp though the underside of the DC Universe, Hitman is an enjoyable read with a deeply charismatic protagonist.

John McCrea’s artwork is suitably dark and eccentric and his take on batman alone should be worth the price of admission alone for many readers.


Incredible Hulk: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones, et al.

On the run, a man alone with his rage, Bruce Banner seems to finally come to an understanding with the monster within, until it all unravels around him.

Bruce Jones brings an earthy sensibility to the hulk, who is rarely on panel and more of a force because of it. Jones also brings in a great deal of enemies against whom banner can vent his rage, a cloudy version of x-files with a meaner bent, this collection is a dark reflection on the character of the Hulk.

In a word Smashing!


Kingdom Come by Mark Waid, et al.

With Lavish artwork and sharp characterizations, this story arc is often in the top ten of comic books to come out in recent years.

Taking the unsteady and uncertain framework for a future as depicted in the likes of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ Waid expands upon it to critique the affect of super powers on a truly global, neigh, Galactic scale.

This book also marked a real coming of Age for Alex Ross who’s painting here conveys real presence and strength within his cast and allows for a realistic anatomy, to marry with the absurd in such a way it’s hard to remove your eyes from the page.

up, uP AND AWAY!

Transmetropolitan – Transmetropolitan S. by Darick Robertson, et al.

Searing, satirical, and sarcastic, the story of Spider’s Gonzo infused odyssey against the American political and corporate structure is gripping from page to page.

Robertson’s art enthuses Warren Ellis’s humor with a level of detail to rival George Perez and you eyes will feel like its feasting on each panel, unlike many of the low background ‘image’s you get in new comics

a must read

 

 

Daredevil by Kevin Smith, et al.

A great stylish form of art work from Quesada accompanied with a great line of dialogue that typifies the Kevin Smithsonian institute of writing, this book is a fantastic (re)introduction to one of Marvel’s most hardboiled heroes.

Also emotional sense of closure from the threads left with frank Miller’s work ‘Born again’ and an emphasize on the theatrical aspects of the character rarely covered in later works.

must read, nuff said


 

Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer

A hard boiled crime story in a world that has encountered numerous cosmic threats, but never faced such simple human villainy. Meltzer writes character that conveys more (in compliment with the sharp iconic style of Morales and Bair) humanity within our heroes in a single panel than some could do with an entire chapter. A must read for any fan who wants to reacquaint themselves with their childhood idols, as we have grown up, so have they!

Superman reviews for waterstones.com

 


Superman: The Death of Clark Kent – Superman S. by Dan Jurgens, et al.

An often neglected part of the Mythos, and a less high profile piece then ‘His Death’ or reinvention as ‘Superman Red/Superman Blue’, this collection deals with one of the biggest questions about Superman, who is Clark Kent, and for many ‘Kill Bill’ fans; why is Clark Kent?

A great character driven part of Kal-El’s history, showing the importance of Superman’s humanity while he rises above it. It’s still maintains a sense of drama and is pacey as more and more you realize how important the supporting cast is too our hero, and how vulnerable they can be.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies by Ed McGuinness, et al.

It takes a special writer to be able to give two such strong leads equal footing, Jeph Loeb has proved himself again with this storyline. To be able to mix high action with mean tension these icons define each other with a single line or thought.

McGuiness’ artwork continues to shine; being bold, brash and utterly believable as Bruce and Clark take on the machinations of President Lex Luthor and a staple of villains that could only be beaten by the World’s Finest.

The Death of Superman – Caped Crusader Classics S. v. 6 by Mike Carlin

A story that was unexpected and unexpectedly good, this launched a lot of spin off stories that reverberate within comics to this day. A worthwhile entertaining read for older teenagers (I wore the armband at the time, and felt like doing so again rereading this) and a reasonably priced nostalgia fest for older boys like me!


Kingdom Come by Mark Waid, et al.

With Lavish artwork and sharp characterizations, this story arc is often in the top ten of comic books to come out in recent years.

Taking the unsteady and uncertain framework for a future as depicted in the likes of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ Waid expands upon it to critique the affect of super powers on a truly global, neigh, Galactic scale.

This book also marked a real coming of Age for Alex Ross who’s painting here conveys real presence and strength within his cast and allows for a realistic anatomy, to marry with the absurd in such a way it’s hard to remove your eyes from the page.

up, uP AND AWAY!


Superman: For tomorrow by Brian Azzarello, et al.

A worthy companion peice to Batman: Hush, taking some of the core aspects of the Superman mythos and bringing the dichotomy of Clark Kent/Kal-el to light in a manner rarely seen.

But whereas Batman digs deep into the heart of human frailty this collection shows how the Superman character can use humanities strengths to soar.


Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? – Superman S. by Curt Swan, et al.

Alan Moore is one of the most prestigious contemporary writers within comics, Curt Swann the most classical, some would say definitive Superman artist, and together they have created the story no one could have possibly imagined!

Tentatively set around the last issues of the 80’s incarnation of the last son of krypton, Alan takes the character and his colour rogues gallery and gives true dignity to what can only be described as an end to an era within comics.

Bright, vibrant and even at its darkest moments, so full of heart for the man of steel, a classic in it’s genre!


Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid, et al.

An imaginative attempt to bring the Superman we know in tandem with the Kent’s that we see within ‘Smallville’. Birthright is a highly entertaining read that delves into fleshing out the personalities that surround Clark on his hero’s journey, and gives more shades to Luthor’s villainy then described before.

Superman: Emperor Joker by Jeph Loeb, et al.

A fabulous foray into fantastic absurdity reminiscent of some to the strangest and greatest stories of the Silver age. Jeph manages to create a world so involving you really do care if a character lives or dies, moreso given it’s existence out of the mainstream DC realm. one of the best ‘cosmic comic’ storylines in recent years and ties nicely into worlds finest


Superman for All Seasons by Jeph Loeb, et al.

Jeph Loeb has slowly built up his reputation as the authority on Superman, coupled with Tim Sale this was the first of many ‘origin stories’ they worked on and has become a blue print for many later stories.

While not the smash, pow dynamic of other comics, this brings a gentle and human sensibility to one of comics most humble powerhouses and deserves a place in any ones home…right next to the cape.

batman reviews for waterstones.com

 


Batman: Bruce Wayne – Murderer? – Batman by Ed Brubaker, et al.

A brash and somewhat dynamic change for the batman mythos, sowing the seeds of many characters to come, and their relationship with the dark knight into the oncoming set of crisis series. A classic detective story with many elements drawing the reader in with a reveal that is both surprising and totally satisfactory!


 

The Batman / Judge Dredd Files by John Wagner, et al.

A surprisingly well realized cross over compilation that is worthwhile as The Dark Knight’s pursuit of Justice runs against ole Stony Faces Allegiance to the Law. Escapist and graphic with some jaw drop-kicking artwork from Simon Biesley this is a collection worth checking out.


 


Superman/Batman by Ed McGuinness, et al.

It takes a special writer to be able to give two such strong leads equal footing, Jeph Loeb has proved himself again with this storyline. To be able to mix high action with mean tension these icons define each other with a single line or thought.

McGuiness’ artwork continues to shine; being bold, brash and utterly believable as Bruce and Clark take on the machinations of President Lex Luthor and a staple of villains that could only be beaten by the World’s Finest.


Batman: Year One by David Mazzucchelli, et al.

A fantastic read. Somber, bleak and definably not for kids, this is a Batman that defines both the Bat and Bruce Wayne. Crucial to the plot finally you can see why a man would dress up as a Bat, and the importance of his rapport with Gordon, himself a cop looking for 2nd chances while his personal life crumbles around him. More in the vein of Taxi Driver than the Incredible a great intro to the Dark Knight, and the world he inhabits

Batman: The Killing Joke – Batman (DC Comics Paperback) by Alan Moore

The greatest joker story ever told.Brian Bolland’s line work is fantastically detailed and with the crown prince of comics writing this was destined to become a timeless read.It’s a lean noir story with great repercussions on the Bat mythos that continue to haunt many of the stories written today.

Moore blends both comedy and tragedy in this piece and Bolland work will make you shiver and smile , often within the same page, with a deft sense of dynamism rarely seen in comics.

A great introduction to one of 20th century’s greatest fictional villians! 


Batman: Dark Knight Returns – Batman by Frank Miller, et al.

This is not so much a Graphic Novel as a four part ‘Dark Opera’ that transcends the very roots of cape and Ka-Paw many adults would envision.

The art is passionate and detailed, and the narrative itself has become even more relevant with age as an allegory of politics and the strength of obsession.

This book is so strong it will drive even the most avid non-comic reader Batty!

some reviews I did for waterstones.com

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The Collected One Eye Grey: Queen Rat and Other Tales by Chris Roberts, et al.

Originally published as separate magazines this series of interlinked short stories about a group of Londoners explores the legends and folklore of that city. A place where there are cannibals in Camden, Lorelei at the lido, shape shifters in Shepherds Bush alongside haunted cinemas, bizarre cults and fantastic beasts. This is a funny, scary and modern take and the ideal read for the commute to work, and for fans of Neil Gaiman’s urban mythology.

Batman: Bruce Wayne – Murderer? – Batman by Ed Brubaker, et al.

A brash and somewhat dynamic change for the batman mythos, sowing the seeds of many characters to come, and their relationship with the Dark knight into the Final Crisis collection. A classic detective story with many elements drawing the reader in with a reveal that is both surprising and totally satisfactory!

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns, et al.

Bringing back a character so well loved as Hal Jordan was always going to be difficult, especially to appease the old guard and bringing in new readers at the same time, but Geoff Johns managers to convey character and bring all comers up to speed.

A sharp retooling for one of DC’s flagship characters and a great primer for Superhero comics and how they can be done well.

The Batman / Judge Dredd Files by John Wagner, et al.

A surprisingly well realized cross over compilation that is worthwhile as The Dark Knight’s pursuit of Justice runs against ole Stony Faces allegiance to the Law. Escapist and graphic with some jaw drop-kicking artwork from Simon Biesley this is a collection worth checking out.

The Sandman – Sandman S. by Neil Gaiman, et al.

Bringing the saga of the endless to a close, Gaiman’s finale is poignant and bittersweet. Covering some surprisingly humane perspectives from the characters we’ve come to understand as forces beyond comprehension.

Ultimate Spider-Man – Ultimate Spider-Man (Paperback) 1 by Bill Jemas, et al.

Ultimate Spider-man is a swift and sharp re-imagining of the Spiderman mythos, largely aimed at teen readers in it’s inception, and drawing back old, hem, mature comic book fans who’s interest has sparked again with the new movie franchise.

By starting over Bends has been able to modernize Peter and the world around him in a stylish ‘dialogue of references’ you get in many American drama’s. Mark Bagely’s artwork is vibrant and clear, with a touch of manga to it.

For spidey fans who want to start over before the wedding, the last hunt, the clones, and the carnage, I can’t think of a better beginning.


Hitman by Garth Ennis, et al.

Bringing many elements that typify Ennis style (shock, cynicism and a deep irreverance for any established authority) into a light hearted romp though the underside of the DC Universe, Hitman is an enjoyable read with a deeply charismatic protagonist.

John McCrea’s artowrk is suitably dark and eccentric and his take on batman alone should be worth the price of admission alone for many readers.


Superman: The Death of Clark Kent – Superman S. by Dan Jurgens, et al.

An often neglected part of the Mythos, and a less high profile piece then ‘His Death’ or reinvention as ‘Superman Red/Supermn Blue’, this collection deals with one of the biggest questions about Superman, who is Clark Kent, and too many ‘Kill Bill’ fans; why is Clark Kent?

A great character driven part of Kal-El’s history, showing the importance of Superman’s humanity while he rises above it. It’s still maintains a sense of drama and is pacy as more and more you realise how important the supporting cast is too our hero, and how vulnerable they can be.

No rating


The Marvel Vault: A Museum-in-a-book with Rare Collectibles from the World of Marvel by Roy Thomas, et al.

Less a book and more a Gift Box of Marvel history. This collection of sketches props and novelities is accompanied with some stories aout the creation process for Marvel mythology and a sense of tennsion and colourful personalities more fantastical than anything Lee, Kirby, Ditko and Co. ever imagined. This is a perfect treat for any comic book afficiando or anyone who has grown up within this era of merry Marvel mayhem!


Superman/Batman by Ed McGuinness, et al.

It takes a special writer to be able to give two such strong leads equal footing, Jeph Loeb has proved himself again with this storyline. To be able to mix high action with mean tension these icons define each other with a single line or thought.

McGuiness’ artwork continues to shine; being bold, brash and utterly believable as Burce and Clark take on the mechanations of President Lex Luthor and a staple of villains that could only be beaten by the World’s Finest.

The Death of Superman – Caped Crusader Classics S. v. 6 by Mike Carlin

A story that was unexpected and unexpectedly good, this launched a lot of spin off stories that reverberate within comics to this day. A worthwhile entertaining read for older teenagers ( I wore the armband at the time, and felt like doing so again rereading this) and a reasonably priced nostalgia fest for older boys like myself!


Incredible Hulk: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones, et al.

On the run, a man alone with his rage, Bruce Banner seems to finally come to an understanding with the monster within, until it all unravels around him.

Bruce Jones brings an earthy sensibility to the hulk, who is rarely on panel and more of a force because of it. Jones also brings in a great deal of enemies against whom banner can vent his rage, a cloudy version of x-files with a meaner bent, this collection is a dark reflection on the character of the Hulk.

in a word Smashing!


Kingdom Come by Mark Waid, et al.

With Lavish artwork and sharp characterisations, this story arc is often in the top ten of comic books to come out in recent years.

Taking the unsteady and uncertain framework for a future as depicted in the likes of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ Waid expands upon it to critique the affect of super powers on a truly globel, neigh, Galactic scale.

This book also marked a real coming of Age for Alex Ross who’s painting here conveys real presence and strength within his cast and allows for a realistic anatomy , to marry with the absurd in such a way it’s hard to remove your eyes from the page.

up, uP AND AWAY!

Transmetropolitan – Transmetropolitan S. by Darick Robertson, et al.

Searing, satirical, and sarcastic, the story of Spider’s Gonzo infused odyssey against the american political and corporate structure is gripping from page to page.

Robertson’s art enthuses Wareen Ellis’s humour with a level of detail to rival George Perez and you eyes will feel like its feasting on each panel, unlike many of the low background ‘image’s you get in new comics

a must read


Batman: Year One by David Mazzucchelli, et al.

A fantastic read. Sombre, bleak and definatly not for kids, this is a Batman that defines both the Bat and Bruce Wayne. Crucial to the plot finally you can see why a man would dress up as a Bat, and the importance of his rapport with Gordon, himself a cop looking for 2nd chances while his personal life crumbles around him. More in the vein of Taxi Driver than the Incredibles a great intro to the Dark Knight, and the world he inhabits

Superman by Brian Azzarello, et al.

A worthy companion peice to Batman: Hush, taking some of the core aspects of the Superman mythos and bringing the dichotomy of Clark Kent/Kal-el to light in a manner rarely seen.

But whereas Batman digs deep into the heart of human frailty this collection shows how the Superman character can use them to soar.


 

Daredevil by Kevin Smith, et al.

A great stylish form of art work from Quesada accompanied with a great line of dialogue that typifies the Kevin Smithsonian institute of writing, this book is a fantastic (re)introduction to one of Marvel’s most hardboiled heroes.

Also emotional sense of closure from the threads left with frank Miller’s work ‘Born again’ and an emphasise on the theatrical aspects of the character rarely covered in later works.

must read, nuff said


Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? – Superman S. by Curt Swan, et al.

Alan Moore is one of the most prestigious contemporary writers within comics, Curt Swann the most classical, some would say definitive Superman artist, and together they have created the story no one could have possibly imagined!

Tentatively set around the last issues of the 80’s incarnation of the last son of krypton, Alan takes the character and his colour rogues gallery and gives true dignity to what can only be described as an end to an era within comics.

Bright, vibrant and even at its darkest moments, so full of heart for the man of steel, a classic in it’s genre!


 

Batman: The Killing Joke – Batman (DC Comics Paperback) by Alan Moore

The greatest joker story ever told.

Brian Bolland’s line work is fantastically detailed and with the crown prince of comics writing this was destined to become a timeless read.

It’s a lean noir story with great repurcussions on the Bat mythos, that continue to haunt many of the stories written today.

Moore blends both comedy and tragedy in this peice and bolland work will make you shiver and smile , often within the same page, with a deft sense of dynamism rarely seen in comics.

a great introduction to one of 20th centuries greatest fictional villians!


Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt Premiere – Spider-Man (Marvel Hardcover) by J.M. DeMatteis, et al.

One of the darkest moments in the wall-crawler’s career. From the opening introduction to Kraven, to the denoument and tragic endthis collection digs deep and deals with death in a manner rarely seen in the pages of spidey!

Gripping story and one for older hero’s, in many ways Peter’s own version of Bruce Wayne’s year one. leaving him hardened and more defined by the journey’s end

Batman: Dark Knight Returns – Batman by Frank Miller, et al.

This is not so much a Graphic Novel as a four part ‘Dark Opera’ that transcends the very roots of cape and Ka-Pow many adults would envision.

The art is passionate and detailed, and the narrative itself has become even more relevant with age as an allegory of politics and the strength of obsession.

This book is so strong it will drive even the most avid non-comic reader Batty!

Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer

A hard boiled crime story in a world that has encountered numerous cosmic threats, but never faced such simple human villiany. Meltzer writes character that conveys more ( in compliment with the sharp iconic style of Morales and Bair) humanity within our heroes in a single panel than some could do with an entire chapter. A must read for any fan who wants to reaquaint themselves with their childhood idols, as we have grown up , so have they!


Identity Crisis by Michael Bair, et al.

A hard boiled crime story in a world that has encountered numerous cosmic threats, but never faced such simple human villiany. Meltzer writes character that conveys more ( in compliment with the sharp iconic style of Morales and Bair) humanity within our heroes in a single panel than some could do with an entire chapter. A must read for any fan who wants to reaquaint themselves with their childhood idols, as we have grown up , so have they!

Format: Paperback 288 pages
Date of publish: 24/11/2006
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Usually despatched within 7 weeks

Cross River Traffic: A History of London’s Bridges by Chris Roberts

The pick of the London bridge and river books out over the past few years and one that attempts to retell the history and development of London through the bridges. The tone is very light and conversational but it is packed with great stories and is an enjoyable, extremely readable introduction for natives and tourists to the city, its bridges and river.

Format: Hardback 240 pages
Date of publish: 05/09/2005
Publisher: Granta Books
Usually despatched within 1 week


The Great Escape by Natalie Haynes

Sharp, fast and funny ‘The great escape’ manages to slyly avoid the saccharine pitfalls of many debut novels for children and provides an entertaining read on many levels. It’s characters strong and colourful and and more in line with a Cherub novel, taking the element of fantasy (talking cats are, sadly, are product of the imagination) ajnd blending them with teh day to day.


The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy – Rough Guides Reference Titles by Julian Hall

A pocket encyclopedia of modern comedy that shows a breadth and depth far beyond the cult comedy it’s title implies. The book gives insight within the industry and the art giving a lot to both aspiring writers and fans of the form. Its maintains the ‘Rough Guide’ style in accessibility, while Hall writes a blend of reportage and history that adds enjoyment to what could have been a very dry text.

Superman by Mark Waid, et al.

An imaginative attempt to bring the Superman we know in tandem with the Kent’s that we see within ‘Smallville’. Birthright is a highly entertaining read that delves into fleshing out the personalities that surround Clark on his hero’s journey, and gives more shades to Luthor’s villainy then described before.

Superman by Jeph Loeb, et al.

A fabulous foray into fantastic absurdity reminiscent of some to the strangest and greatest stories of the Silver age. Jeph manages to create a world so involving you really do care if a character lives or dies, moreso given it’s existence out of the mainstream DC realm. one of the best ‘cosmic comic’ storylines in recent years and ties nicely into worlds finest


Superman for All Seasons by Jeph Loeb, et al.

Jeph Loeb has slowly built up his reputation as the authority on Superman, coupled with Tim Sale this was the first of many ‘origin stories’ they worked on and has become a blue print for many later stories.

While not the smash, pow dynamic of other comics, this brings a gentle and human sensibility to one of comics most humble powerhouses and deserves a place in any ones home…right next to the cape.

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