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Joe the Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium.

Ultimus Alpha tells it how it is, Kid. This fairtale’s on a one-way trip to Hell.

Joe the Barbarian isn’t Grant Morrison at his creative peak. It isn’t going to redefine the medium, or become an enduring classic for the ages. If it features on college reading lists, I suspect it will be sorted with the “optional” texts somewhere below the “key” Morrisonian works. That doesn’t mean that Joe the Barbarian is bad or anything nearly as drastic. It’s a nice little fairytale fantasy story, one that feels like Morrison paying homage to a bizarre mix of Cabaret and The Lord of the Rings. There’s a lot here to enjoy, but there’s nothing that’ll really knock anybody’s socks off.

Swordplay...

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we3: The Deluxe Edition (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium.

It’s Homeward Bound, but with cyborgs!

Run rabbit, run rabbit, run run run!

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Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion (Review/Retrospective)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium. We’ve got a special treat for you this week, which is “Seven Soldiers Week”, so check back each day for a review of one of the Seven Soldier miniseries that Morrison put together.

I think that Seven Soldiers perhaps serves to illustrate the connection between Grant Morrison and Jack “King” Kirby. I know that Morrison’s detractors will balk at such a comparison, but I think there’s a lot to this. Kirby defined Marvel, working on flagship titles like The Avengers or The Fantastic Four or The Incredible Hulk, and he was as influential as Stan Lee in establishing what readers could expect from Marvel. However, he also did a considerable body of work at DC. While not as successful or iconic as his Marvel portfolio, I do think that it was some of his more wonderful and outrageous “high concept” work – things like the New Gods, for example, or Kamandi or Etrigan the Demon. I think one of the more intriguing aspects of Seven Soldiers has been seeing Morrison work with these types of crazy and ingenious ideas.

Morrison's on fire of late...

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Justice League of America – The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 3-4 (Review/Retrospective)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. With the review of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths later on today, I thought I’d take a look at Grant Morrison’s graphic novel which inspired it in someway. However, I figure – given that large debt that the entire Justice League cartoon owes Morrison’s iconic tenure on Justice League of America – it’s time to take a look at the latter half of Morrison’s run on the title.

We have no powers, there are millions of them and there’s a child in there who needs us to save the world. Let’s go.

– another day at the office for Superman

I remarked in my review of the first two deluxe hardcovers collecting his work on the series that I was perhaps a lot less impressed than most with Morrison’s work on the title. It was grand and bombastic, but it ended up feeling more than a little hallow, especially measured against some of his bolder efforts within the superhero genre. Although time and a few re-reads have softened my perspective quite a bit, I will concede that I don’t measure this as the writer’s best work. It’s epic and smart and fun, but never really becomes anything too much more.

But, then again, they are the Justice League. If I want deep characterisation of philosophical meanderings, I can check out a different book.

It actually looks quite peaceful when you're not saving it...

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Justice League of America: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1-2 (Review/Retrospective)

“Never underestimate the sentimentality of a Scotsman, Clark.”

– Batman knows how much Morrison likes comics

‘Tis the season for ever-so-slightly oversized hardback editions, what with DC reissuing the entire run of Starman and this re-release of the relaunch of the original superteam. The fact that they can put creator extraordinaire Grant Morrison’s name on the cover surely isn’t a problem either. Nor is the fact that the book (under his stewardship) was one of the best selling comic books of the nineties. So, what aren’t I getting here? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly adequate book (that isn’t necessarily as smart as it thinks it is), but it’s not gold. It moves at the speed of the Flash and seems intent to throw ideas at the reader at headache-inducing speed. It’s solid, reliable and it manages to recreate the zany madness that defined the group, but it never seems to completely transcend it. And it just keeps trying.

Rocking your world...

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Batman: Gothic (Review)

Legends of the Dark Knight was an interesting concept – tell self-contained stories using different creative teams set at various points during Batman’s crime-fighting career. As such, those stories would make the title easy to pick up, without tying it excessively to continuity. It’s a simple and an interesting premise, and it did produce all manner of intriguing Batman stories. Grant Morrison’s Gothicis perhaps one of the most intriguing of those stories, taking the character well outside what readers might have expected.

It’s all upside down…

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman – Batman & Son, The Black Glove & Batman RIP (Review/Retrospective)

I want to love Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. I really do. And I quite possibly would if I didn’t feel like I wasn’t particularly welcome at this massive gala birthday bash. I’ve decided to review all of Morrison’s run on Batman – collected in the hardback editions of Batman & Son, The Black Glove, two chapters of The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul and Batman R.I.P. – as one, because it is all one story. In fact, I’m sure it’ll turn out to be the opening salvo of a gigantic story that Morrison is weaving where it all ties together, but it might be so massive it’s impossible to review all at once. So, how do I feel after the first act?

Who says parenting isn't tough?

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