Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Story:

“The dark adventures of DC’s foremost occult detective continue in an all-new series as he investigates the cruelest case he’s ever come across—his own dark history!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Review:

This is the first Constantine story I’ve ever read. The only things I know about the character are from that awful movie they made a few years ago and his appearance in The Sandman. I never got around to watching the TV show but I might have if they hadn’t decided to be bi-phobic and make the character straight.

So I know next to nothing about the character or the DC universe in general. I’ve only just started to read super hero comics other than Marvel because of their continued commitment to lie about diversifying their range and then remaining the same. At the moment DC is doing a lot better than Marvel but they can still do better.

I think this is quite a good jumping on point for new readers. I’ve read a few fist issues that had no business being called first issues but this isn’t that. I might not know entirely what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m reading half a story. This feels like a beginning of something. And it’s a good beginning.

He appears covered in blood in a shop and has to use his magic to get a woman to not call the police and instead clothe him. Then he starts talking to a ghost and in the next few pages more appear and he tells them all to “sod off”. And I’m hooked. I want to know more about this character and this series is about exploring his dark past. I don’t know if I’ll read other runs between issues or just let the series tell the story with no research on my part. Probably the latter.

I really like the art and it suits the story very well. It’s the same as the cover which is Constantine stood alone in a dark alley somewhere. There are a few details that I didn’t notice at first and I enjoy art that does that.

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this comic and he even has the ghost calling him on it. He’s not a nice person but he is likable.

He’s also bisexual which is the one thing I did know about the character and the reason I decided to try the book. I want to read more genre stories with queer heroes.

His bisexuality gets explored here. Thankfully it’s not just implied. I hate it when they do that, as if that’s good enough. In one scene he flirts with a man and then goes to have sex with a woman. She’s some sort of demon called Blythe that needs his help. I love the page showing the nine levels of Inferno and the conversation they have as they descend to the bottom level.

There’s so much I love about this comic. He also has a ghostly entourage that only shows up when something’s about to go terribly wrong and it turns out it’s not Blythe that’s the trouble. His narration is entertaining and the last line is a good cliffhanger. I will definitely be reading the next issue.

And I now have a another favourite comic book character. I don’t think he’s really a super hero despite being part of the DC universe. He mentions super heroes but says he works in the shadows. Great first issue and I recommend it to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review: Captain Marvel #1

Story:

“It’s a bold new frontier for Carol Danvers as she soars to new heights in her greatest mission yet—leader of the all-new Alpha Flight space program. Yup, Alpha Flight. As earth’s first line of defense, Carol and her team aim to protect the planet from extraterrestrial threats. But can Carol be a soldier and a diplomat? Especially when an unknown enemy emerges that Carol can’t quite punch.”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Captain Marvel #1

Review:

This is the first issue without Kelly Sue DeConnick and I was really hesitant to read it because I’m terrible with change. But not only is it the writers’ first issue (on Captain Marvel and writing comics in general) it’s Carol Danvers first day on the job being the commander of alpha flight.

I don’t know much about alpha flight other than Northstar was a member at one point (and I hope he shows up at some point because Marvel is really lagging behind on their queer representation). We only get introduced to three of them and the only one I can remember is Puck who Carol connected with in the issue. So if you don’t know anything about alpha flight that’s okay because it looks like they’re easing readers into the new team in.

Pretty much everything else is new too so this is a good jumping on point for new readers. Although there have been a lot of Captain Marvel #1s in the last few years that weren’t really necessary.

The only recurring characters we’ve seen before in a Captain Marvel book is Rhodey who’s there to see her off into outer space and Rocket who shows up for a cameo. I love carol and Rocket together.

Carol is determined that this won’t be a desk job and sure enough as she’s sat in a meeting with some aliens getting bored the alarm sounds and she’s delighted to leave and go tackle the asteroids heading for the station. This is after she’s insulted them and leaves Brand (her new second in command who doesn’t like her) to deal with them.

She’s much happier punching the asteroids than dealing with diplomacy so hopefully that will create lots of conflict for the book going forward. Although it does make you wonder who thought she would be good for a desk job. When she’s going to spend the whole time hoping for an attack on earth so she can abandon paperwork.

These are the same writers as the Agent Carter TV show and they do a good job for their first time writing comics.

The art is good too. It’s the same as the cover, which I always like, so you know what you’re getting. But towards the end the panels get a bit cramped and busy like it wasn’t planned out that well.

I like the slight redesign of Carol’s costume. It’s enough to put their own stamp on it without getting rid of what people liked about it. She’s also had a hair cut and when we see her in her gym clothes she’s got muscles. You don’t see that a lot with female super heroes.

The cliffhanger at the end didn’t grab me though. It turns out the asteroids weren’t nature but an attack and Carol goes off to find the source. But what she finds didn’t have any impact on me. I was a bit confused wondering if we were meant to be impressed or shocked by that. I’m sure issue two will be good but I don’t get what Carol finds so shocking.

This is nothing drastically different than what came before so fans should be pleased and new readers shouldn’t get lost. You don’t need to know her entire back story to understand what’s going on and I don’t think it’s going to go in depth into her back story anyway.

They’re also not assuming any knowledge of alpha flight because they only introduce three characters. The issue is busy anyway and it would have been a mistake to introduce any more.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Next: captain marvel #2

Review: Starve #1

Story:

“UTENSILS DOWN, HANDS UP! WELCOME TO STARVE! Once the world’s most famous chef, Gavin Cruikshank’s been in a self-imposed exile for years. His little foodie television program has since evolved into STARVE, an arena sport that pits chef against chef for the pleasure of their super-rich patrons. It’s a stain on a once-noble profession, and Chef Gavin is ready to go to war to stop it. Two things stand in his way: his arch rival Roman Algiers, and his adult daughter Angie, who probably just wants her dad back and acting normal.”
Continue reading “Review: Starve #1”

Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor (year 2) #1

Story:

“Looking for rest and relaxation, the Tenth Doctor and companion Gabriella Gonzalez take a trip to Earth Station Presley, a mining platform around an enormous gas giant – and home to one of the most spectacular sensory experiences in the universe!

The gas giant is a perfect example of human colonists living in harmony with indigenous life – in this case, the Shan’tee: conceptual beings perceived by humans as hauntingly beautiful music!

But the Doctor and Gabby are walking straight into a war.”

Read more about it at Goodreads

Review:

It’s year two of the tenth doctor adventures and we’re back to issue number one again so they can get more new readers. To be fair though it is a good starting place for new readers so there is some justification for renumbering the series back to number one. That being said they probably could have continued as they were. At least this isn’t as bad as when Marvel do it in the middle of a story.

This is the kind of story that benefits from being in comic form and is exactly what I want them to do. These are Doctor Who stories that they’d have a hard time telling on TV because it’s out of the scope of TV.

The world building feels well thought out and like they’ve put a lot of effort into it. The Doctor and Gabby arrive on a planet where humans live side by side with two other species. It’s all harmonious so you know it’s going to go wrong. It’s also kind of refreshing that humans can live with other species and the Doctor notes this too. Usually the humans end up being the problem and the Doctor has to save them from whatever they’ve made angry.

You’ve got the Bovodines who produce air for the planet and other gases that the humans trade with other worlds. Then there are the Shan’tee which are beings we can only perceive as living music. It’s just the right amount of weird mixed with science that Doctor Who does so well. I think the formula might be take some fantastical idea and add a physics word like quantum to make it science fiction.

It’s a very compelling story for mostly being stuck in one place with the crisis only happening at the end. Being a first issue it’s mostly set up. There’s almost a bit too much exposition between setting up how the three species live together, how the Shan’tee exist and the problem they’ve been having with the plague. But between Gabby’s enthusiasm for the beautiful planet and the constant music she can always hear and the interesting concept it doesn’t get boring.

The only thing is the cover is a bit boring and doesn’t really represent the tone of the comic. In the story everyone’s fairly happy until the end but the cover looks grim and generic. It’s just the Doctor and Gabby in front of the TARDIS looking serious. And the art is completely different to what’s inside which is not something I’m a fan of.

Year two starts off with a great issue and hopefully this run will continue to be better than the current episodes of the TV show. At least we’ve only got one more season and we get a new showrunner. The news of Moffat leaving actually made me feel like writing about Doctor Who again. So yay for that, I’m ready for a new creative team. And I can’t wait to read the next issue.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor (year 2) #2