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X-Men – Battle of the Atom (Review)

This May, to celebrate the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, we’re taking a look at some classic and modern X-Men (and X-Men-related) comics. Check back daily for the latest review.

Battle of the Atom is a gigantic mess – but it’s a very fun gigantic mess.

Battle of the Atom seems to exist to fill two separate niches. On the one hand, its publication syncs up rather nicely with the fiftieth anniversary of Marvel’s merry mutants – something that the comic acknowledges by focusing on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original creations and by setting the climax at a recognisable setting from that first issue all those years ago. There’s a palpable sense of nostalgia about the whole thing – focusing on the past, present and future of the superhero team.

Stop or my Sentinel will shoot...

Stop or my Sentinel will shoot…

At the same time, it’s the big X-Men crossover event published half-a-year before the release of a multi-million dollar Bryan Singer motion picture. As such, Battle of the Atom feels heavily influenced by X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not only does it play with a variety of the tropes and conventions cemented by that classic Chris Claremont and John Byrne story, it includes numerous shout-outs and even the same basic structure.

Writers Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Wood and Jason Aaron are all having a great deal of fun writing Battle of the Atom, even if the comic does occasionally feel a little bit too light or too familiar. Then again, what’s the point in a fiftieth birthday party if you can’t be a little indulgent?

Dazed by X-Men past...

Dazed by X-Men past…

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Absolute Planetary, Vol. 2 (Review)

With Wildstorm being officially folded into the relaunched DCU (the “DCnU”), I thought I might take a look at some of the more successful and popular Wildstorm titles that the company produced. In particular, Planetary, the which will apparently inspire Paul Cornell’s Stormwatch – easily one of my more anticipated titles of the relaunch.

“We keep the world strange because that’s the way it’s suppose to be.”

– Elijah Snow outlines Planetary‘s mission

I really do love Warren Ellis’ Planetary, a love letter to pulp fiction in all its forms, about a team of crack pop culture archeologists, tracking down and preserving many of the weird and wonderful fictional specimens that we see all too rarely these days, from cowboy vigilantes to kung-fu epics. There’s a genuine love poured into the series by Ellis and his artistic collaborator, John Cassaday, as the pair celebrate some of the truly wonderful fiction of the twentieth century, as we brace ourselves for the twenty-first.

Little drummer boy...

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Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (Review)

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way.

Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo worked together on Joker, the rather wonderful reinvention of the Clown Prince of Crime which happened to almost perfectly synch up with the release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. However, the pair had worked together before on a very similar story – an attempt to offer a more in-depth look at another iconic comic book villain. Lex Luthor: Man of Steel was originally released as a six-issue miniseries, but it has now been released as a graphic novel branded only Luthor, in an attempt to cash in on the success of the pair’s stand-alone Batman novel. In the form of a lovely hardcover with the covers relegated to the extras at the end, it actually makes quite a compelling read.

He needs to Luth-less to win this...

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