While Batman fights it out with Peace Keeper-01, so that Miracle Molly might stop Scarecrow from unleashing his fear bomb on Gotham, Harley attempts to reunite Queen Ivy with her better half.
Batman #117 Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Jorge Jimenez (“Fear State Part 6”) and Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)
Colours: Tomeu Morey (“Fear State Part 6”) and Sarah Stern (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)
Letters: Clayton Cowles (“Fear State Part 6”) and Becca Carey (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)
Released: 16/11/21 Published by DC Comics
While Batman fights it out with Peace Keeper-01, so that Miracle Molly might stop Scarecrow from unleashing his fear bomb on Gotham, Harley attempts to reunite Queen Ivy with her better half.
After many months of buildup we finally get to the conclusion of James Tynion IV’s ‘Fear State’ cross-over epic. What he brings us is a story about free will and the resulting necessity of evil. In order for men to do good, they must have the freedom to do bad. One cannot exist without the other. This is something that Batman understands. We see it in his final conversation with Miracle Molly. Yes, he deals with the worst of people on a daily basis, but the knowledge that people are free to choose between right and wrong is ultimately what gives him hope. His primary battle then is the fight to bring those who live in darkness into the light even though he himself fights this battle dressed as a figure of darkness.
This theme of free will is explored further in a more metaphysical way with Queen Ivy and her other self, a copy created by Gardner, but consisting only of Ivy’s goodness. One is hardwired for self-preservation, whatever the cost, even if that means destroying all of Gotham. The other… not so much! But when the two merge, it is only then that Ivy becomes a whole person, capable of making a moral choice. I like what Tynion is going for here but, I have to admit, I am somewhat underwhelmed by the execution. Queen Ivy should not have been so quick to merge herself with the other Ivy. She is simply told that, “Hey, it would be really cool if the two of you got back together”, to which her response is essentially, “Oh, okay then!” At this point in the story she is a ball of rage, just about ready to annihilate the city, which better illustrates the point that Tynion is trying to make. So, to have her give in so willingly is far too anticlimactic. Harley and Gardner should have had much more of a fight on their hands in convincing (or even forcing) Ivy to merge with her good self.
Speaking of anticlimactic, one of the big villains of this entire ‘Fear State’ run, Simon Saint, isn’t even taken out of play “on screen”, as it were. No doubt most of that action all takes place in some other comic book that I’m expected to rush out and buy in order to get the full story. But I don’t blame Tynion for this. I have actually read some articles attacking Tynion for what many consider to be a lackluster ending to his run but I consider such attacks to be unfair in the extreme. For one thing, I don’t consider the ending we get here to be that lackluster at all. As I’ve already pointed out, at the very least, it has something to say and specific themes to explore whilst also wrapping things up. But I also consider it unfair to blame one man for a story that he’s had to write in such a way that the multiple other titles in DC’s Batman stable can slot their way into it. Such faults are the failing of DC comics in not allowing one writer, with a singular voice, tell their story without having to worry about what is going on elsewhere.
The final battle between Batman and Peace Keeper-01 is a satisfying one. I love seeing Batman turning his utility belt into a makeshift knuckle duster to even the odds. It’s a great visual that reveals batman’s confidence and ingenuity as well as his tired desperation. Jorge Jimenez’s artwork is also pretty awesome, with Batman’s broken eye piece in his cowl allowing that one eye to peer out from behind it, reminding me of the ‘Gotham By Gaslight’ version of the dark knight. The final conversation between Batman and Miracle Molly is also a nice moment, allowing us to see a lot more light in a character known for being the dark, cave dwelling vigilante.
At the end of this issue’s backup story, ‘Batgirls Part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait’, we finally get to see the person known as The Seer. It’s a disappointingly underwhelming sight to behold, as is most of the story itself, to be perfectly honest. Steph and Cass are hidden away for a few days in a dive of a hotel and that’s it! Aside from one creepy doctored image of Babs by The Seer, the artwork still irritates me and the story itself doesn’t really go anywhere. It just side-lines two characters for the sake of some “humorous” buddy antics, that I’m sure will appeal to teenagers, but which does nothing for me personally.
Verdict – The final chapter of ‘Fear State’ serves as an examination on free will and the necessity of evil in a world filled with good people, while the Batgirls fail to impress, in a story that sees them side-lined.
‘Fear State: Part 6’ – 4/5 ‘Batgirls Part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait’ – 2/5
Without pain, without fear, how does one grow and evolve? This is the question that writer James Tynion IV asks in Part 5 of “Fear State.”
Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Jorge Jimenez (“Fear State Part 5”) and Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)
Colours: Tomeu Morey (“Fear State Part 5”) and Sarah Stern (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)
Letters: Clayton Cowles (“Fear State Part 5”) and Becca Carey (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)
Published by DC Comics
Ghost-Maker comes to the aid of the Unsanity Collective, as the Magistrate lead an assault on them, which makes Ivy decide to attack the very foundations of Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman and Miracle Molly find the whereabouts of Scarecrow and attempt to prevent him from attacking the city with his mind control device.
Without pain, without fear, how does one grow and evolve? This is the question that writer James Tynion IV asks in Part 5 of “Fear State.” This has essentially been the mission statement of The Scarecrow throughout the entire ‘Fear State’ storyline. His belief is that in order for Gotham City to truly evolve it needs to experience trauma and fear, so that it might overcome them. In some ways his points are valid. But, obviously, it is his methodology that is seriously flawed. However, it does also raise questions as to the validity of the methodology behind the Unsanity Collective.
The Unsanity Collective created a machine that wipes away any bad memories so that one might be free of trauma. But that means they are never truly learning to deal with and process that trauma. Right in the middle of all that, you have Batman, a man whose entire career of fighting criminals is built on the very idea of confronting and overcoming one’s fear and trauma. As messed up as Batman is he probably represents us, the readers, far more than any of us might care to admit.
We all suffer trauma to varying degrees and we are all shaped by it in some way. But, we can choose how it will shape us, for better or worse. All these questions and answers are looked at within the pages of this issue of Batman, which is what makes it a really great issue, at least as far as the main story is concerned.
The backup story, “Batgirls Part 2 of 3: Set It Off”, is hampered right from page one. It does not feel like a direct continuation from part one. We are told that we need to check out both Nightwing #85 and Batman: Urban Legends #8 in order to fully understand what is going on, when we find Stephanie and Cass at the clocktower, which has been trashed. This annoys me no end!
I understand the cross-pollination of comics these days, with overarching stories running through multiple titles, but when individual stories don’t even make sense, unless you buy every current title, then it feels too much like upselling. Not everyone can afford to buy twenty titles every month.
The artwork in this one doesn’t quite work at times either. There are panels where I simply cannot make out what is going on at all! A prime example of this is the middle panel on page 2 of the story. So, somewhat underwhelming given the intrigue that was built up in part one, last issue.
Verdict – Tynion delivers a great chapter of ‘Fear State’, raising many relatable points about fear and trauma, while the B-story, as is all too often the case, lets the side down.
Whilst it doesn’t boast the non stop, cataclysmic action of earlier beyond chapters, it’s still no pushover and serves as a great continuation of the latest Spidey super arc.
Amazing Spider-man #79
Published by Marvel comics on 25/11/21
Written by: Cody Ziglar
Artwork by: Michael Dowling
The latest chapter in the beyond arc sees Ben Reilly settle into his role as Spider-man as he struggles with the beyond corporation’s tight grip aswell as coming face to face with the new (and improved?) Kraven the hunter.
The creative team has yet again had another 2 issue change. Which I like the idea of, so far we’ve had Zeb Wells and Patrick Gleason, Kelly Thompson and Sara Pichelli and now we’ve got Cody Ziglar and Michael Dowling bring us the beginning of this short story featuring Kraven! Our story begins with a beyond corp party at a bar, when one drunk worker is leaving the party down an alleyway, a mysterious shadow overcasts him as we cut away to Ben having his suit fixed up due to his encounter with morbius (see my review on issue 78). Marcus (Ben’s supervisor) chats the usual dirt about how “beyond has sacrificed a lot for you blah blah blah”. After their conversation, Ben goes out to see Peter in the time he has spare before he has to go on an assignment.
MJ sits at Peter’s bedside as Ben enters through the window, I really enjoyed the little bits of chemistry shown between the characters in this book. I wasn’t aware of Cody Ziglar before reading this (I think he may have written some Spider-man books before) but his writing feels really natural, it allows the reader to feel more involved in the comic and view these characters as real people. Ben says his goodbyes and swings off to stop an armoured car robbery, after doing so, he gets a call from Marcus, who needs to Ben to stop by the home of a beyond board member in distress. Upon arriving, he finds the man dead on the floor but before he can investigate any further, his Spider-sense is set off, but its to late has Ben is hit by a huge explosion!
Kraven reveals himself to the bruised up Ben and gives him a good beating until he manages to find his way out of the building. However, when Ben is in free fall, he’s it with a mirage of poison tipped darts, which send him spiralling down to the edge of a building. Broken, Ben manages to muster up the strength to stand, but when he dies, he is faced with a 500 foot huge kraven monster God who is the result of Ben’s hallucinations, right?
This issue was a decent read, Ziglar’s writing felt totally smooth and human and was accompanied by some really nice artwork by Dowling. Whilst it doesn’t boast the non stop, cataclysmic action of earlier beyond chapters, it’s still no pushover and serves as a great continuation of the latest Spidey super arc.
The latest incarnation of Killing Moon is a nostalgia trip for any fantasy enthusiast, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a reimagining of a world, it’s an invitation to use and enjoy our own imaginations, it’s a series of great stories presented in a fun and unpretentious way.
Written by: Chris Denton (current run) and Chris Langton (original run)
Art: Neil ‘Bhuna’ Roche (current run) and Mark Roche (original run)
Colours: Darren Stephens
Letters: Bolt-01 (current run) and Vincent James (original run)
Pigdog Press – 2020
Imagine a world of dark legend, home to mad wizards and hooded assassins, where the undead and creatures fair and foul roam free. Against a backdrop of imposing castles, fiery plains and dark dungeons we are invited to travel to this world and meet the intriguing cast of Killing Moon.
Volume one collects the first four issues of the modern run of this excellent title, paired with the original stories from the mid ’80s, presented here for the first time since original publication. To further add to the book, Pigdog Press and the creators have included an interesting and inspirational foreword from Chris Langton along with a history of Moses Valentine and Killing Moon essay. As if that weren’t enough, we then have a stunning back-matter gallery of artwork from numerous small press artists, each offering their own take on the world and characters of Killing Moon.
It’s a really impressive package and makes for a book that stands out. It’s clear from the outset that the guys were keen to meet their promises to their Kickstarter pledges with gusto. I’m certain that, if anything, they exceeded expectations (for those unaware, Kickstarter is a ‘crowd-funding’ platform; a website through which projects can be proposed/presented at various stages of development and the the fans/audience pledge a certain amount to help fund the project’s completion. This is done in a tiered system, offering various rewards on delivery of the end product). I’m certainly very glad to report that the Killing Moon crew exceeded their funding target.
The physical and overall quality of this book is very high; the wrap-around cover is produced on very high quality card stock and the interior pages are a delight to flick through. They have a very pleasant tactile quality and present the contents in a way that should have some of the major publishers blushing and taking notes.
The cover itself has a striking logo and bold, atmospheric art depicting some of the main characters. That it segues from the modern take on the world of Killing Moon on the front through to the original vision on the back is a really nice touch and hints at some of the changes that were made, both in art and narrative. It’s a cover which will instantly appeal to Killing Moon’s target audience while also intriguing others who might have been browsing for something else.
So, first to our main characters, who are perhaps more fitting the mantle of ‘anti-hero’ than hero. They are, after all, assassins for hire operating under the name ‘The Killing Moon’. Ingrid Stensgarrd, Mr. McKie and Jack the cat are led by the grim faced, mysterious Moses Valentine. Ingrid seems to be the newest member of the group and seems well suited for her profession, approaching her work with stoicism and gravitas. Meanwhile, the darkly moustachioed McKie is given to moments of dry humour and seems entirely matter-of-fact in the presence of death. Jack no doubt keeps his own secrets while Valentine is shrouded in shadows and mystery, often serious, always thoughtful and living to his own moral code.
While growing to become quite fond of a band of assassins seems like an unlikely side effect of reading about their exploits, here I am… liking them. While that perhaps says something about me, the development of these characters through the book is a pleasure to follow and we are treated to a colourful and engaging cast of supporting characters too. There is the aforementioned dark sorcerer, a hapless thief of crowns, various skeleton and zombie warriors, a city of entirely civilised orcs under the mountain… the list goes on. It is through their interactions with each other and the other denizens of this world that we come to know Valentine and his band. Each chapter, from prologue to issue four, has its own feel while still very much being part of the greater whole.
‘The Prequel’ opens on sinister happenings in the gloomy halls of a castle. We are introduced to a couple of key figures who are about to set events in motion. Several darkly comic, Monty-Pythonesque exchanges later and we move to the story of ‘The Tyrant Wizard’ in issue one. ‘It began in Merstburg’… wherein the The Killing Moon are approached by the Mayor to rid the town of a necromancer who not only stole Castle Merstburg from their former lord but now uses the town’s dead as his playthings. What follows is a hugely entertaining adventure which feels as if it could be a transcript of someone’s really, really good Dungeons and Dragons session.
The second story, ‘Warning to the Glorious’, follows Ingrid as she stalks a crown thief through the Flaming Fens. It’s a story in which both main characters are relatable and, as such, we’re left on our own when it comes to which side to cheer for (so to speak). The tale is bookended by depictions of Ingrid’s life prior to her joining The Killing Moon, bringing us closer to the character and offering up more intrigue.
‘The Man in the Mountain’ has us following our motley crew as they enter Miwk, an orc city built on cooled lava inside a volcano. The enter at the behest of King Drenkost, whose people are being terrorised by someone known as The Man in the Mountain. As they investigate, it is soon clear that the orcs are under threat from fanatical cultists who seek to eradicate orc-kind. This is a great tale, which I’ll reveal no more of other than to say that again, this feels like it stepped from the pages of an old tabletop role playing game. I mean this as great compliment; it’s full of the things that make fantasy/sword and sorcery stories such good fun.
‘Targets’ is the closing story for the current run, where we find The Killing Moon take on an ancient vampire nobleman. As they set their ambush in a moonlit forest of twisted trees, we start to wonder if maybe they have bitten off more than they can chew…
The creative team have done a fantastic job here and it’s clear that they really care about their comic. It’s a labour of love that is a real pleasure to share in. Chris Denton’s writing is clever and darkly humorous, lending a strong sense of character and setting through dialogue. Each story is accessible and enjoyable either as a standalone or as part of the larger arc, making for a book that can be devoured in one sitting or consumed in small doses. Either way, it’s a fun and engaging read. The narration and dialogue are conveyed by excellent lettering, always clear and sympathetic to the scene and, above all, easy on the eye. The sound effects are also superb; well judged and full of energy.
The art is really great throughout and evokes the atmosphere of each setting by way of bold line work and vivid colours. Action is dynamic and, at times, bloody but is always easy to follow and track. Panel layouts are designed to help and guide the reader through the book, using splash pages for grand vistas alongside smaller, sometimes quick-fire panels for action. Each character is given keen visual identity, with the art enhancing the charisma lent by the writing through dialogue and characterisation. The art team of Neil Roche and Darren Stephens really draw us into their world, each page having been crafted through great care and attention. I found myself transported not only to their world but further, back to Fighting Fantasy game books, to the role playing and video games of the 1980s, to sharing imaginary adventures with friends.
The latest incarnation of Killing Moon is a nostalgia trip for any fantasy enthusiast of a certain age, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a reimagining of a world, it’s an invitation to use and enjoy our own imaginations, it’s a series of great stories presented in a fun and unpretentious way.
And all of that before we get to visit the original version! Here we move to black and white art and to a different vision of the world of Killing Moon. It’s a post-apocalyptic place, having regressed to a near lawless, low-tech nightmare of a frontier. It’s survival of the fittest, nastiest, most cunning and it’s in this environment that we meet Valentine as he teams with four other assassins to take on a near impossible job. They are tasked with eliminating an overlord type figure and set off, squabbling and plotting as they go.
It’s interesting to see the genesis of the current comic and also to read a story (presented here over two issues) with a different feel. Instead of facing undead monsters and foul magics, Valentine wields his blade against hooded henchmen (one of whom brings a pistol to the knife fight!). This world is, if anything, even more dog-eat-dog and Valentine faces conflict from amongst his companions before he even faces his enemy.
The story moves along at a fast pace, and gives plenty of opportunity for the assassins to use their skills, both with blade and tongue. The artwork is stylish, evocative and full of nostalgic design touches that work well for this type of comic. There’s great use of shadow (there’s a three panel character reveal which is lovely) and each page has nice details to spot.
It’s a shame that the comic never continued beyond its initial run of two; it would have been interesting to see these ideas go beyond this formative stage. Instead, fast forward to present day and the current iteration created by Neil Roche and friends and it’s easy to see why Neil wanted to resurrect his brother’s creation.
Shifting the setting to one more in-step with traditional sword and sorcery/dark fantasy has given the series perhaps more narrative freedom and while Valentine and company seem suited to either world, it is in his current form that he really shines. Gone is the broadsword of old, replaced by a staff, a cat and no small magical prowess to match his martial skill. The pipe smoking happily remains, giving us some cowl-shadowed-Strider-in-the-inn vibes (I’m thinking animated Lord of the Rings film here).
His companions are two equally interesting characters, and Ingrid offers a genuinely strong female lead, thus broadening appeal. Each fan of this comic will have their own favourite character, their own favourite moments, and that’s a really good thing. It means that it’s a comic people can engage with and relate to. It’s a title that will appeal to fans of Conan, Elric, Geralt of Rivia and indeed fantasy stories in general, but it has enough to offer that its reach can extend beyond.
Killing Moon is a really high quality book, created with love and hard work. It’s an expression of its creators’ wish to entertain, and has moments of high adventure, intrigue, dry, dark humour and even the occasional Star Wars quote in the dialogue. It’s packed with gorgeous, sometimes gritty art on every page, supplemented further by some stunning gallery work. It’s just a really cool book to have on your shelf. There’s more on the way too, with Killing Moon Rising, which I’m sure will be something to look forward to. If you can, keep an eye out for the project on Kickstarter and lend them your support.
I feel very lucky that I was made aware of this book, so please allow me to recommend that the next time you visit a comic shop, maybe looking for something a bit different, ask for Killing Moon. Nine out of ten assassins (and cats) prefer it.
The Scarecrow prepares Sean Mahoney, AKA Peacekeeper-01, for the next phase of his plan.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Jorge Jimenez (“Fear State Part 4”) and Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (“Batgirls part 1: Clueless”)
Colours: Tomeu Morey (“Fear State Part 4”) and Sarah Stern (“Batgirls part 1: Clueless”)
Letters: Clayton Cowles (“Fear State Part 4”) and Becca Carey (“Batgirls part 1: Clueless”)
Released: 20/10/21 Published by DC Comics
The Scarecrow prepares Sean Mahoney, AKA Peacekeeper-01, for the next phase of his plan. Batman and Miracle Molly hunt for the Mind Machine and the secrets it holds inside to prevent them being used by Scarecrow as a weapon. And Simon Saint diverts his attention from Batman to someone who might prove to be altogether more destructive.
I’m a big sucker for the artwork and colors by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey on this series of late. That’s why I have a hard time with more than half the pages in this issue, which have been taken on by artist, Bengal. Respectively, his work is perfectly fine here, but it would stand much better on its own. Unfortunately, matched against the complexity of the work that sits beside it, by Jimenez, it pales in comparison. I understand that artists need to share the workload from time to time just to give themselves a break, or even to give newer artists a piece of the spotlight, but each time a page pops up from Jimenez you are reminded of just how much better things can be. Even Morey’s colors don’t quite pop the same with Bengal’s work, perhaps because Bengal doesn’t quite give him as much 3D space to work with.
The cover to this issue, while nicely drawn by Jimenez (obviously!), is somewhat misleading as it depicts a scene of action from the story that never actually happens. I’m not a fan of those kinds of covers. There’s metaphorical and then there’s just flat out lying!
Fear State part 4 is one of those chapters of a story that kind of leaves every character in a state of limbo, where you are left with no certainties about what will happen next. And so, you finish reading it with only one question in mind, “Where do they go from here?” I guess we’ll find out next issue. Though I must confess I felt that, even with the psychological issues he’s been going through most recently, Sean Mahoney was all too quick to hop into Scarecrow’s chair without asking too many questions. I’m sure that’s all part of Scarecrow’s mind conditioning but, if so, it didn’t translate so well off the page from a writing standpoint.
The biggest point of interest for me right now is Poison Ivy. I’m really intrigued to see just how big a part she will ultimately get to play in this story. We keep getting told that she now has the power to destroy the whole city, even being given a callback to No Man’s Land and the level of destruction that was caused in that storyline. Will Tynion follow through on that promise or does he have something else entirely planned?
The back up story, “Batgirls Part 1 of 3: Clueless”, is a much more interesting affair than what we got at the end of the previous few issues. It has the Anti-Oracle, now calling herself ‘Seer’, toying with Barbara Gordon and her crew. In a few short pages, writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad make me want to stay with the story, making good use of the intrigue that comes from not knowing the identity of one’s tormentor.
Tynion keeps his story moving at a fast pace but Jorge Jimenez is sorely missed throughout most of it.
Being a rookie Pokemon Snap player with a retrospective view has also given me the notion that it was really quite ahead of its time in several ways, particularly when involving the art of photography in a setting within the Pokemon world. I’m sure nobody involved in the project at the time could have predicted that 17 years later 2016’s Pokemon Go would have millions of people collecting and taking photographs of Pokemon in different locations all over the world!
While the Nintendo 64 classic Pokemon Snap holds a special place in the hearts of many Pokemon fans, I never actually played the game until very recently, when I was very kindly surprised with a copy (complete with box/inlays/manual, to say I was rather chuffed would be an understatement).
The April 2021 release of New Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo Switch has introduced the premise of the game to a whole new generation of fans, but as a Pokemon collector with a particular interest in vintage merchandise I have been itching to play the original 1999 game for quite some time. I bought my first ever N64 console last year and since then I’ve had a lot of fun playing Pokemon Stadium and several other non-Pokemon-related classics, but now that I’ve finally turned my attention to Pokemon Snap I thought it might be fun to document playing the game for the first time and see how it holds up over 20 years after its release!
On first impressions I was very enamoured with the overall aesthetic of the game, as although the 3D graphics have obviously dated due to the game being released over two decades ago, the bright colours and wide variety of character designs that helped make the original roster of Pokemon so instantly recognisable are out in full force. The locations within the game aren’t overly detailed but do an excellent job in setting the scene and seeming like places that various species of Pokemon would live in accordance with their individual elemental types (i.e, fire types such as Charmander living near a volcano, whilst water-dwelling Pokemon such as Psyduck and Slowpoke’s habitats are located in a river setting).
I found that seeing how naturally the creatures we’ve known from the other games and anime fit into the environments in Pokemon Snap exemplified just how good the original Pokemon designs were in the sense of making them feel like real animals that could be found in forests, along streams and in other real-life locations. The variety of different animations that each creature can display when photographing them also helps set each character apart as individuals with their own little quirks and personalities, whether they’re happy, angry, sleepy, hungry or (as I found to be the case with a few of my own personal favourites, Vulpix, Growlithe and Bulbasaur) just plain adorable!
I know that since the first generation of Pokemon were introduced to us all those years ago some fans have stated that they find some of the original 151’s designs to be quite dull and boring compared to those of newer Pokemon, but personally I do prefer the simpler character designs of the Kanto Pokemon and as I was trawling through the various settings in Pokemon Snap for the first time I did feel like a wildlife photographer trying to get the best shot of the creatures in action. As Satoshi Tajiri’s inspiration for the original Pokemon games was his childhood love of catching bugs, I think it is a particularly nice touch that Pokemon Snap’s overall premise explores what is essentially another aspect of zoology (that being the photography of animals in their natural habitat).
Being a rookie Pokemon Snap player with a retrospective view has also given me the notion that it was really quite ahead of its time in several ways, particularly when involving the art of photography in a setting within the Pokemon world. I’m sure nobody involved with the project at the time could have predicted that 17 years later 2016’s Pokemon Go would have millions of people collecting and taking photographs of Pokemon in different locations all over the world!
In terms of mechanics, the game’s controls are very straightforward and although some players may have appreciated more options in regards to taking photos of the Pokemon, I think these easy controls are to the benefit of Pokemon Snap’s overall appeal as I enjoyed how relaxed it feels. As I progressed through the game, more options were unlocked in terms of different courses and items to provoke/entice different reactions from wild Pokemon and though the items in question were rather basic, given the limitations of the time I think they served their purpose well enough. Although it would have been a pleasure to see more Pokemon in the game than the 63 that are included, I think the chosen Pokemon do provide enough variety to keep the game interesting initially, but I can’t deny that it would have been fantastic to see a majestic Ninetales in the Volcano level or perhaps an angry Blastoise facing off with Gyarados in the Valley.
Of course, in some games having a wide variety of customisable options and overall higher stakes suits the story thematically and is key in keeping the player engrossed, but with this first playthrough of Pokemon Snap it was honestly just nice to go through each level and get excited whenever I spotted one of my favourite Pokemon for the first time, as it really did an excellent job of bringing back the excitement and intrigue I remember myself and my school friends feeling when the first wave of Pokemania hit UK shores in the late 1990’s.
So, despite being over two decades late to the party, I can safely say I thoroughly enjoyed playing Pokemon Snap. In a way I think was probably a blessing in disguise that I didn’t own the game as a child, as I’m pretty sure I would have gotten rather obsessed with it and would have either ended up permanently glued to the N64 trying to get the perfect snap of each Pokemon, or perhaps taken to the chasing local cats/dogs/pigeons around whilst trying to photograph them in a similar fashion (without the apple/pester ball throwing that is, though maybe they’d enjoy the flute playing, who knows). If there are any Pokemon fans like myself who are yet to give the original Pokemon Snap a whirl, I would certainly recommend it. Or, if you played the game when you were younger and haven’t picked it up in a while, why not dust off your cartridge and get snapping? Cute Pokemon, lots of fun and a good dose of nostalgia await!
Make ANY purchase between now and new years eve on http://www.wowcomix.com and YOU could WIN a whole years supply of The Amazing Spider-Man comic delivered out to your door each month!
We don’t know if you have heard, but this Spider-man chap is making some waves again this winter with the release of Spiderman: No Way Home, and upon hearing that initial reviews were more than kind (phew) we thought that of all the things we could offer perhaps there might be one or two folk keen on taking the plunge into AMS comics in 2022!
Here is your chance! Make ANY purchase between now and new years eve on www.wowcomix.com and YOU could WIN a whole years subscription of The Amazing Spider-Man comic, with every issue delivered out to your door each month!
We mean, there are worse things you could win, right? And whats more, each copy comes freshly bagged and boarded so that you can keep your copies in nice mint condition for future reading!
We will announce the winner on New Years Day 2022, so that means you have two weeks to get an order in and be in with a chance of being a winner!
So once again, entry is automatic upon purchase of any item and the winner will be chosen at random. Please bare in mind that this competition is only open to those residing in the UK.
See below for a little taster of whats coming in through January/Febuary alone!
Overall, this issue is a little more chilled out than the past couple of books in the title, which no doubts makes sense considering we’ve had a constant stream if non-stop actions and thrills so it’s nice to finally get a little downtime.
Amazing Spider-man #78 Published on 10/11/21 by Marvel Comics
Written by: Kelly Thompson Artwork by: Sara Pichelli
Beyond is back and in full swing with the arrival of issue 78!
The plot begins with Spidey (Who is Ben Reilly at the moment so when I say “Spider-man” or any related term I am referring to Ben) trying to escape Morbius after being bitten by him at the end of last issue, Spidey believes that he’s a little rusty and in no shape to be able to defeat Morbius and so he decides to lead him to Ben’s apartment at the Beyond tower. That floor of the building is built with a gate that only let’s specific people in, so when Morbius tries to attach, he actually winds up getting his arm incinerated and is scared off but once Ben gets to Janine and Marcus he falls to the fall from the blood drain and is put in a intensive care room in the tower. Ben’s other career supervisor, Ms. Danger is a bit of a shady character, even going so far to ask the doctor what would happen if they left the bite untreated to try and exploit some new vampire abilities, luckily the antitoxin is administered anyways. We then cut to Peter Parker, or rather, his unconscious body as the Black Cat sneaks into the hospital room to visit when Mary Jane enters the room! Luckily at this point in the comic, Black cat is on good terms with Amazing Spider-man circle, Felecia turns to leave but MJ asks her to stay. That scene is all we see if Peter this issue.
Following that, Morbius is still on the run and Misty Knight and Coleen Wing are called in to take him down. They manage to take him down as Monica Rambeu enters the fray. Side track for one moment; the plot line with Misty, Colleen and now Monica feels very incomplete to me, it’s like the series, the book is treating them as side characters we should care about (which long time comic readers do) but I don’t really get why they’re here? It’s possible they are part of another title? I’m not totally sure. Anyhow, this issue closes on Ben and Janine finishing up their date and having a nice romancing moment, unsuspecting of KRAVEN watching them from the distance!!! This next story will be the first time we’ve seen this new kraven in action since 2019’s “Hunted” storyline so that will of course be an absolute blast for sure.
Artwork: the artwork in this issue is done by Miles Morales Co creator and Spidey veteran Sara Pichelli and I really enjoyed it. I remember when I was younger, I really wasn’t a fan of her work on 2012’s Spider men mini series but as I’ve aged into a wizened old man, I can now appreciate and take delight in her art (including Spider men) It’s smooth and calm and it somehow just feels real and grounded. It’s almost as if if these characters were real, they would look like how Pichelli illustrates them. Great stuff!
Overall, this issue is a little more chilled out than the past couple of books in the title, which no doubts makes sense considering we’ve had a constant stream if non-stop actions and thrills so it’s nice to finally get a little downtime. This issue was still absolutely great and just makes me want to get my grubby hands on #79. Even the thrice monthly schedule doesn’t quench my thirst for Spider-man. I NEED IT! GIMME!
This book features some good, old school, 90’s fun. When everything was going great for the most part, when Spidey was married, Venom and carnage were the coolest guys around and clones weren’t on anybodies mind.
Web of Spider-man (1993) #97 (Retrospective)
Published in 1993 by Marvel Comics
Written by: Terry Kavanagh
Artwork by: Alex Saviux, Derek Yaniger
Welcome to this corner of the Spider-verse, to a time long, long ago. 1993. Horses were still being ridden and the world enjoyed blissful ignorance to the horror show that would be…Coldplay. Also, this issue of Web of Spider-man was released!
Web of Spider-man was the sister in-law to the Amazing Spider-man (the sister series being the spectacular Spider-man). It began in 1985 and for a while there, it was the more artsy Spider-title, featuring incredible ,then upcoming artists like Arthur Adams, Marc Silvestri and Mike Mignola. This was all well and good until issue 35 when artist Alex Saviuk jumped on board. Don’t get me wrong, his art is good and in later issues (around issue 100 and after) even great but his seven year stint on the book made it feel like the lesser Spider-man book on stands. His house style would have been no doubt perfectly adequate in other time period but then the 90’s rolled around. Artists like Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen and Mark Bagely were making waves with their electrifying pencils And even Spectacular Spider-man had legendary marvel artist Sal Buscema on the title leaving Web of Spider-man the weakest series. That’s not to say “Web of” was bad though, the issues before the one being reviewed here were part of the awesome Spirits of Venom storyline which crossed over with the spirits of vengeance book. And a few issues later, the 14 part epic maximum carnage was told in part in the pages of Web of. So with all that context out of the way, let’s get into this issue.
First of all, this issue marks a first appearance, being that of Nightwatch who appears in a weird scene where he introduces himself to some dudes on a beach. The story is mainly centered around blood rose, the new moniker of…the rose. The issue starts with him taking down some gangsters in a particularly gruesome fashion for a Spider-man book. We then cut to Peter at the doorstep with Betty Brant who has dinner with the Parkers (which, at the time, included Peter’s ‘parents’). Just as a quick side note, this a time where Peter and Mary Jane were married which was the best part of Spider-man comics for about twenty fricking years and they ripped it away from us. WHY MARVEL, WHYYY!!! Sorry about that, just have some issues with Joe Quesada’s at a certain comic book publishers.
Once dinner is finished, Peter is being yelled at by Robbie Robertson when a huge explosion is hears from Fisk towers, Pete suits up and gets caught up in a bloody rampage that blood rose is making. Gunning down men left and right and throwing them out of windows until Spidey intervenes. Rose makes a getaway, or so we think until he shows up behind Spider-man with a hostage! Spidey it’s the hostage in the face with impact webbing (which was pretty funny), making him land on the webbed net outside the tower. Rose shoots at our hero until Spidey can get a couple of punches in when the tower quickly begins exploding and collapsing upon the pair. Outside, bystanders are evacuated as Spider-man breaks through the rubble. Stumbling upon Robbie and also, on a cliffhanger note, the Blood Rose!
This book features some good, old school, 90’s fun. When everything was going great for the most part, when Spidey was married, Venom and Carnage were the coolest guys around and clones weren’t on anybodies mind. The book was by no means bad, but just a little predictable, which is fine. If you have me a trade with 20 issues of Web of I’m sure I’d enjoy it, but then again it wouldn’t rock my world.
It’s been a busy few weeks for us here at Wow Comix’s online store, as we have upped sticks from our previous home at Wow Comix Bury and moved into the much more spacious Wow Comix Stretford!
It’s been a busy few weeks for us here at Wow Comix’s online store, as we have upped sticks from our previous home at Wow Comix Bury and moved into the much more spacious Wow Comix Stretford!
This means that in-store pickups will be still available from any store, but for new comics specifically, they shall be available in Stretford on a Wednesday and from Thursdays in Bury and Stockport. Either way, you shall still be notified by email as soon as your order is ready, and with us moving the online department out of Bury, it also means we are able to have the Bury shop back open again on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! See the full opening hours on our website.
Although our online store is barely over a year old, it has been growing rapidly and to keep up with the amount of space needed for the abundance of new stock that we’re currently in the process of uploading we decided that changing our location to the Stretford store would be the best decision. Although moving thousands of items has been a rather arduous process (as moving generally tends to be, we certainly dont need to be going to the gym this month after carrying all those longboxes) we’re certain it will all be worthwhile! But what is all this new stock that we’ve got coming?
Of course we wouldn’t want to give everything away, but as the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed, our Modern Comics section is currently sporting a flurry of newly-added 80’s/90’s Marvel issues, many of which are titles featuring everyone’s favourite webslinger and star of this winter’s biggest new movie, Spider-Man! Alongside Spidey are other Marvel favourites such as Thor, The Avengers, Fantastic Four and the X-Men, but as well as these currently available issues we also have some VERY sought after key issues on the way.
It’s not just these blasts from the past on the comic front however, as we also have the very latest brand new issues of all your favourite upcoming DC, Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Image and Dynamite titles available to pre-order. So, if you’re looking for some choice reads in 2022, why not check out DC’s ode to unorthodox Valentines in Weird Love #1, or discover the origin of the evil Uranos in Eternals: The Undying #1?
Still in the realm of comics, but a little closer to home, we are overhauling our British comic section over the coming weeks as we currently hold a massive amount of recent and vintage stock that is not yet uploaded. Everything from Vintage Beano’s, Battles and Eagles, to those great 90’s newsagent classics such as TMNT, Ghostbusters, 2000AD and many more are on the way, so watch this space!
Elsewhere online, Pokemon fans will be pleased to see even more rare cards being added to our individual cards section, along with more vintage trading cards from a huge variety of other franchises. If a trip down memory lane is more your style, then be sure to keep an eye on our vintage annuals and books sections, as we have a heap of old school favourites just waiting to find a good home!
There is loads more on the way too, but that can be saved for another time! So please keep checking in with us as we continue to grow onwards and upwards, and remember, you can still keep up to date with all of our goings on via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too!