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Absolute Planetary, Vol. 1 (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.

Planetary, as imagined by Warren Ellis and John Cassidy charts “the secret history” of the fictional Wildstorm Universe, as we follow a team of pulp archeologists attempting to uncover “what’s really been going on this century.”As such, it provides Ellis and Cassidy a chance to dig around and play in the pop culture of the twentieth century, celebrating concepts and ideas as diverse as Japanese monster movies, Hong Kong revenge actioners and American pulp heroes, all with more than a hint of nostalgia and affection.

Strange ways...

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The Absolute Authority, Vol. 1 (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, The Authority, the superhero saga that spun out of Stormwatch – a series that is getting its own post-relaunch book written by Paul Cornell, easily one of my more anticipated titles.

It’s really hard to grasp how much of a revolution Warren Ellis’ run on The Authority was, in hindsight. Sure, the writer had been playing with the idea of a more “real world” superhero team (at least in political and philosophical terms) since his original run on Stormwatch, but it was with The Authority that Ellis and Hitch managed to effectively lay out the design of superhero comics in the twenty-first century. It’s no coincidence that both halves of the creative team behind The Ultimates cut their teeth on the title (albeit at different times).

Was I the only one thinking of Gene Hunt everytime I read the word "superbastards"? "You are surrounded by armed superbastards!"

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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume V (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

If you follow any story to its real conclusion, you always get the same thing. Regret. Pain. Loss. That’s why I like superhero books. Month after month, they just keep going. So no matter what terrible things happen, you know there’ll always be another chance for wrongs to get righted. It’s like, without a last act, those stories never get to become tragedies.

I guess that’s why they call ’em comics.

– Mitchell Hundred, Vice

This is it. The end. The final run of issues where Brian K. Vaughan wraps up his second hugely successful and hugely acclaimed original comic book series, as we follow Mayor Mitchell Hundred through the final traumatic year in Gracie Mansion…

… and beyond.

Ex mayor?

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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume IV (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

What’s weird about the fourth ane penultimate volume of Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ superb superhero political science fiction mish-mash comic book is simple how much fun it is. I’m not suggesting for a moment that the first three volumes were anything less than superb, but there’s a sense of playfulness in this volume which just makes it seem like the creators are have the time of their lives. I was worried after the last volume that the underlying “conspiracy” story would overwhelm the saga as it reached completion, but it’s still just as fascinating and unpredictable as it was back when it began.

Justice for all?

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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume III (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

We’re at the half-way point in this saga of the superhero mayor of New York City, so that means that Vaughan and Harris are turning things up a few notches. The three central threads of the series – Mayor Hundred’s time in office, his history as a superhero and the conspiracy surrounding his origin – are beginning to intertwine and collide in a variety of interesting ways. Being entirely honest, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about how the series hopes to balance all these different elements, particularly with a relatively short run of fifty issues. As things begin to move to a head, it becomes clear which of these particular threads that Vaughan is going to focus on.

Talk about catching the bus...

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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition – Volume I (Review)

In an effort to prove that comic books aren’t just about men in spandex hitting each other really hard, this month I’m reviewing all of Brian K. Vaughan’s superb Ex Machina. And in June, I’ll be reviewing his Y: The Last Man.

I don’t think that any creator has had quite the success of Brian K. Vaughan when it comes to original comic book series over the past decade (okay, maybe Robert Kirkman). Both of his famous original books recently came to a close after runs of over fifty issues each, and are both being collected in superb deluxe editions. Ex Machina doesn’t quite have the same dramatic hook or clarity of focus as Y: The Last Man does, but that’s not to say that it isn’t a stunning example of pulp fiction – wonderfully well-written social fantasy which is cleverly observed and even more smartly constructed.

All cogs in The Great Machine...

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