Category Archives: Reviews

Pre-order of the Week – Dark Crisis: The Deadly Green #1

There are some great titles due for release this October, including the return of Silver Age Miracleman, a brand new Spider-Man run from Dan Slott and Mark Bagley, and Gotham City: Year One from Tom King, to name but just a few!

However our pick this week is the 48-page one-shot, Dark Crisis: The Deadly Green #1, written by Joshua Williamson, Dan Waters, Ram V, and Alex Paknadel with art by Daniel Bayliss. What a lineup! Check out the covers below!

Nice! But what’s it all about?


“Superman and Swamp Thing uncover the secrets of the Great Darkness! During the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, Swamp Thing encountered and formed a truce with the Great Darkness, but this ancient force has been awakened by Pariah and now its influence is felt across the Multiverse. Now the Avatar of the Green must work together with new allies to investigate how far the Great Darkness has spread and why it would work with Pariah. If they want to stop the Great Darkness from swallowing the Green, they need some extra help…ENTER: SUPER SWAMP THING.

Why ‘Pick of the Week?’


The original 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths is an absolute classic, not just to us obviously, but for countless comic fans around the globe, setting the bar for big comic cross-over events ever since! And the way it’s being revisited in Dark Crisis is lining up to be another crazy action-packed and fun saga by the time it finishes in December. In The Deadly Green we will see Swamp Thing teaming up with Superman (sold) to finally try and solve the mystery of the Great Darkness.

Now, we don’t often say things like this… but, one of the slightly more disappointing aspects of the original Crisis was, of course, the lack of Swamp Thing. He did have a cameo tie-in alongside John Constantine in Swamp Thing #46 by Dick Giordano. (Actually thinking back, that’s a really great issue where Swamp Thing first learns of the Mulitiverse) but we all would have loved to see more of him in the main event!

So, in a nutshell, it’s great to have more Swamp Thing in the mix for all the Crisis fans out there, and a special mention to Ram V who is on this issue. His recent ‘The Swamp Thing‘ run was something to behold and fast became a bit of a customer favorite in our stores, and those are the reasons why we’ve stamped this for our pre-order pick of the week!

Pre-order it HERE



Detective Comics #1049 – Review



Detective Comics #1049

“When Huntress elected to go undercover in Arkham Tower, it was to investigate a place of healing that seemed too good to be true. But what happens when Helena Bertinelli really does need some healing? With Nightwing and Batwoman also on the inside, what began as an undercover mission has turned into a rescue operation as the mysteries of Dr. Wear’s Arkham Tower begin to unravel! Then, in “House of Gotham” part three, the young boy rescued by Batman has begun his course of treatment at Arkham, so why are the only people showing him kindness those whom the law asserts are criminals? It’s a cycle of violence the Dark Knight has no answer for as Gotham’s most vulnerable struggle to keep their heads above water!”

If you like Bryan’s videos, check out more over on his channel!



Aliens: Newt’s Tale – Throwback Review


Aliens: Newt’s Tale 
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Published 1992

Writer: Mike Richardson
Penciler: Jim Somerville
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Gregory Wright

This was one of 39 different mini-series and one-shots based upon the Alien/Aliens movie franchise that was handled so well by the folks at Dark Horse Comics. For over 30 years, Dark Horse was pretty much the sole publisher of Aliens comics, starting with the comic Aliens: Outbreak (originally titled simply Aliens) in July 1988. ‘Newt’s Tale’ is an example of an absolute gem from the early days and sports a great John Bolton cover painting. 

This two-issue story was based on writer/director James Cameron’s original screenplay and has all of the atmosphere, horror, and tons of action we found in the Aliens film. That’s no mean feat, transferring films well to comics. It is everything you want in a two-book mini-series, it’s so deeply true to the original Aliens film that any fan of the film would be hard-pressed to not be engrossed and invested in it. 

Just a little side note if you haven’t already read “Alien the illustrated story” by Goodwin and Simonson published by Titan Books that would be the perfect aperitif. The Dark Horse original three series sit well in chronological order with this offering, (Book 1, Book 2, and Earth War). They form a much better sequel to Aliens than Alien 3 since they involve a great Newt and Hicks dynamic and if you haven’t read them you might want to check them out too. Thank me later!

While this novel is recognizably true to the film this encounter is told from Newt’s perspective and includes more back story and the much-needed new material to really get this fan’s juices flowing. The plot development centers around the Xenomorph infestation at Hadley’s Hope. The overrun prospectors can only find hope in the wait for Ripley and the Colonial Marines to arrive.

The transition into the marine’s arrival transported me to the tender moment when Ripley finds Newt in the film and the action moves along well from there to an exciting can’t wait for book 2 nail-biting conclusion. The Xenomorph art is original yet familiar. These creatures aren’t posed, traced, frozen, or toy-like. These are original and appear sparingly and menacingly in an impactful way that adds terror and horror in equal measure. I find the character drawings charming. There is color and shadow mixed well with the expressions that follow the tension and action. Not one part of the team let this comic down. The only criticism I’d have is I wish this iteration of Ripley was drawn a little closer to other, slightly sexier, iterations or her at the time.


Verdict

A must-read for any Aliens fan.



Batman #119 – Review



Batman #119

“Abyss” part two! For years Batman used the darkness as a weapon, but now a new enemy turns that darkness against him! Batman must team with Batman Inc.’s mysterious new benefactor to bring the deadly Abyss into the light! Wait…who is Batman Inc.’s new benefactor?


Check out more from Bryan HERE!



Detective Comics #1048 – Review



“The Tower” part two! The mysteries of Dr. Wear begin to unfold as a new doctor named Frow joins the staff of Arkham Tower. The Bat-Family tries to figure out the best way to infiltrate the facility, but someone may have gotten the drop on them…someone not unfamiliar with psychiatric facilities…one Dr. Harleen Quinzel, better known to you dear readers as Harley Quinn! Backup: “House of Gotham” part two! A boy’s parents were killed by The Joker, and he fell through the cracks of the system. Instead of being sent to a facility that could care for him and his trauma, he was sent to Arkham Asylum! Will the villains inside eat him alive or show him how to survive in a city ruthlessly overseen by Batman??”

Check out more from Bryan HERE!



Detective Comics #1047 – Review


THE TOWER, PART ONE / HOUSE OF GOTHAM, CHAPTER ONE 

“The Tower” begins! The 12-part weekly Detective Comics event starts here. Arkham Asylum has fallen, and in its place, Arkham Tower has risen in the heart of the city, a pitch made by the mysterious Dr. Wear. Unlike the Asylum, Dr. Wear promises his methods and drug treatments will heal Gotham’s criminally inclined for good—a claim that skeptics like Deb Donovan and the Bat-Family don’t believe. There’s something wrong with the tower, with Dr. Wear’s methods—and with Batman away from Gotham City, the rest of the Bat-Family is going to find out what…but not before everything explodes. Written by critically acclaimed author Mariko Tamaki, continuing her incredible Detective Comics run, and drawn by DC Comics legend Ivan Reis

PLUS! “House of Gotham” begins! For a long time two houses have overlooked Gotham City, beckoning its broken: Wayne Manor and Arkham Asylum. In this epic 12-part backup story, writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Fernando Blanco will explore the impact that Batman and Arkham Asylum have had on the city…through the eyes of a boy whose life was changed forever by The Joker one dreadful night early in the Dark Knight’s career!’



Batman #118 – Review


Bryan has been an integral part of the review team since we started Wow Comix World, and now we have partnered up with his fantastic Youtube channel to bring you our regular Batman and Detective comics reviews! On his channel, he already produces some fascinating video essays on a range of comic and movie franchises, with a taste for horror in particular! He is also, as some of you may already know from his reviews, Bat-mad, so do make sure you check out his other videos on the channel for some excellent Gotham goodness!

Batman #118 – As Gotham celebrates surviving Fear State, Batman retreats alone into the darkness. But when he learns of a mystery involving Batman Inc., it forces the Caped Crusader to leave Gotham for a brand-new adventure! Thrills, chills, and international intrigue await!’

Watch Bryan’s review of Batman #118 below!



2000AD prog. 2270 – Review


Featuring stories by John Wagner, Mike Carroll, Kek-W, Ian Edginton, David Barnett, Dan Abnett.

Art by Dan Cornwell, Jake Lynch, Lee Carter, Leigh Gallagher, Robin Smith, John Burns, I.N.J. Culbard.
Released: 23rd February 2022
Published by Rebellion

A bumper birthday issue that marks the 45th anniversary of Britain’s preeminent science fiction and fantasy comic. Simultaneously looking back on past glories and ahead to the future, this issue has a particularly strong resonance as it commemorates the death of Ian Kennedy, who sadly passed away on 7th February.

Kennedy’s artwork appeared in British comics for decades, including Bunty, Hotspur and Rover. For fans of British action-adventure comics, however, he will be best remembered as the artist behind the stunningly drawn aircraft, both real and imagined, that graced the pages of Commando, Starlord and, of course, 2000AD.

This issue features two new stories, the first being the John Wagner scripted ‘The Citadel,’ a Judge Dredd story that sees an inmate facing execution reveal a secret about Dredd that hints at corruption. What that secret is exactly, we’ll have to wait to find out. Great art by Dan Cornwell brings to mind the simply effective facial expressions that Steve Dillon draws so well. The second new story is ‘Brink: Mercury Retrograde’ by the supremely talented writer and artist team of Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard. Set four years after the final evacuation of Earth and opening with a triple homicide, the action slows to focus attention on investigating journalists Nolan Maslow and his wife Lauren Steers Maslow. The dialogue between the two captures perfectly their respect for one another, making them instantly likable and relatable so that when they get in too deep with their investigation into unions and sects (which, inevitably, they surely will), we’ll be right beside them.

Three of the continuing stories are all well on their way: Mike Carroll’s ‘Proteus Vex: Desire Paths’ and Kek-W’s The Order: Fantastic Voyage’ are both at part nine, and ‘Kingmaker: Falls the Shadow’ by Ian Edginton is at part seven. As a reviewer, I’m arriving late to the party on these stories, but what immediately struck me is how easy it is to differentiate each of the five-page parts from one another. This is down to the stunning artwork by Jake Lynch (Proteus Vex), Leigh Gallagher (Kingmaker), and John Burns (The Order), each as unique as the stories they’re illustrating. The full colour format of 2000AD — with the exception of Tharg the Mighty’s wonderful throwback story ‘Stars on 45’ (more on that later) – allows for the stories to have their own clearly defined segment within the pages, particularly in the Indigo Prime one-shot ‘Whatever Happened to Mickey Challis?’ (the longest story here); Lee Carter’s artwork is awash in Matrix-like greens and fleshy alien purple tones. It’s a cracking story too.

The Proteus Vex story seemed to stand out especially. Reading this chapter, I can see it’s something special; very weird sci-fi, with a depth of imagination that brings to mind Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy but leaning towards space opera. Stunning line work and colouring by Jake Lynch and Jim Boswell, respectively. The five pages here are coloured in deep oranges as High Commissioner Shrokulin finds himself in the unenviable position of meeting with Tsellest to deliver the news that there are hundreds more races hidden from his clutches. The meeting, as if it needs pointing out, does not go well! I’ll be reading back issues to bring myself up to speed.

This being a 45th anniversary issue, it would have been a crime of Mega City One proportions not to include Tharg’s input beyond his usual welcoming editorial. Written by David Barnett, ‘Stars on 45’ brings together some of 2000AD’s most famous characters to help Tharg cobble together a song to mark the magazine’s birthday. It’s great fun, referencing Red Dwarf, Back to the Future, and above all else, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, as Tharg’s droids Larr-E, Kirl-E and M-O travel across the Thrillverse to kidnap Rogue Trooper, Judge Dredd, Judge Anderson (“She didn’t see that coming!”), Zenith, Ace Trucking Co., and Bad Company.

As well as marveling at the breadth of SF and science fantasy that has been a staple of 2000AD over the years, one of the many pleasures to be had is enjoying the humour. Always paying the utmost respect to the SF genre, with stories veering effortlessly from one sub-genre to the next, there’s always been a delightful knowingness and very British outlook on the societal and political shifts that have taken place over the past 45 years. Remember Strontium Dog kidnapping Ronald Reagan? Alan Moore’s works dripping with anti-Thatcherism acid and anarchy via D.R. & Quinch? It’s what makes 2000AD such an important comic, and reading this issue, the energy, devotion, imagination and sly humour are all still present and correct.


Reviewed by Christopher Witty




The Amazing Spider-Man #90 – Review

The Amazing Spider-Man #90

Written by: Patrick Gleason
Artwork by: Mark Bagley
Published by Marvel
Released: 23/2/22

As a quick refresher, in the past couple of issues, Ben Reilly has been partially mind-wiped by those slimy rapscallions over at Beyond, the same dudes/dudettes that have unleashed the Queen Goblin on New York. On top of that, Old Peter Parker has managed to get back on his feet and is on his merry way to put an end to Queen Goblin’s reign of terror!

We begin with Beyond’s top dog, Maxine Danger tracing Ben Reilly as he swings across a bridge with Janine, who notices there’s definitely something off about Ben, which is where he confesses that he feels like he’s missing something in his mind (which, by the way, he totally is,  being brain wiped and all). He tells Janine that he just needs to focus and everything will be hunky-dory, but Janine knows that’s not good enough, it’s at that point that she spills the Intel she’s discovered about Beyond. Or rather, how they’ve set up the whole thing, sending out super-villains for Ben to stop so that they can get good publicity for themselves and their little Spider-man project. They decide that they’re going to take it to the top and go confront the big bosses at Beyond, but first, we’ve got some sweet, sweet action to attend to.

Pete is up in the skyscrapers, battling the new Queen goblin foe, which is where we get a ton of quality Spidey crack-ups, from getting confused with the X-men’s Goblin Queen to mentally crying for help as he barely manages to dodge the goblin’s blows. It’s moments like this where I feel Patrick Gleason really understands and gets the Spider-man character, I don’t feel like it’s one writer’s take on Spider-man, I just think of it as Spider-man, which is the best kind of writing. Of course, it’s great to actually know who’s writing a book by the tone it sets and dialogue and all the rest of the mumbo jumbo. But when it feels so much like the definitive, quintessential character, that’s when you know you’re doing a good job of writing a mainstream comic book. Obviously, it’s awesome to get some subversive material from creators not typically known for the superhero genre like, for example, Pete Bagge’s megalomaniacal Spider-man as well as a lot of other early 2000’s marvel books, which was a very interesting period for the company, but for Marvel’s flagship title, Pat Gleason does a fantastic job of realizing what readers want out of the main Spidey title. And speaking of what readers want, Mark Bagely is delivering some of his best work in the last 20 years in this issue as Spidey and the Goblin take their battle through offices, Spider-man billboards (with the Sam raising font, nice touch), and even subways. Every panel has energy inside it, there’s so much going on, but in a really good way, these pages are bursting at the seems with excitement and it really displays Bagely’s accumulation of skill on his 30-plus year tenure drawing the character. I, at least, got the sense that he must have really enjoyed penciling these issues and it shows great stuff.

Getting back to the story, the Queen goblin manages to use her unique “Goblins gaze” ability which she used successfully on the black cat’s last issue, which would have resulted in her death if not for the web-slinger arriving just in time. So Peter falls into the sea and goes through the whole “you’re not good enough” thing, but Spidey is able to defeat the hold it has on him, in his words “Doesn’t she realize self-doubt is kind of our thing?”. Pete manages to jump up out of the water and deliver the finishing blow to the latest addition to the Goblin Hall of shame.

Spider-man is able to get back onto the docks, where he meets up with MJ and the Black cat at that moment in all great superhero stories, where the previously split apart gang get back together again for the big finale, Peter is sent on his way to find Ben by his companions, but as we check up on Ben, he is kind of going a little bit insane, he’s not going evil insane, but Beyond have really scrambled his eggs to the point he doesn’t even remember Peter’s name when they meet up, but Ben pushes through it, and this installment ends with a page as awesome as when I found 20 pounds in a grid that one time, which means its totally awesome. Both Spider-men, suited up and ready to take Beyond down, Once and for all!


This issue was one of the best parts of Beyond to date, delivering all of those epic moments you know you love as we dive headfirst into what is bound to be an incredible final act of Spider-man: Beyond. Gleason’s writing chops are nothing to mess with and pair beautifully with legendary artist Mark Bagely in a satisfying issue that I couldn’t put down, as far as verdicts go, you’re not going to get a better one than this. Although if I had to make one small gripe, I would say that the Beyond company’s whole twist and game plan is a little predictable, but that is an issue that pails in comparison to all of the great aspects of this Spidey-saga. Join me soon for the next chapter!

9.5/10


Review by Leo Brocklehurst



Ghost Rider #1 – Review


Ghost Rider #1

Written by: Benjamin Percy
Art: Cory Smith
Released: April 2022
Published Marvel Comics

In this bumper sized first issue, Johnny Blaze is undergoing therapy after a motorcycle crash has left him without a clear memory of who he truly is. The idyllic life he leads in Hayden’s Falls as a husband and loving father of two children is shattered when he experiences horrific visions of demons. Are his family who they claim to be? Is the next-door neighbour’s dog a vaguely irritating yapper, or a demon in disguise? Is the white-picket-fence-apple-pie town he calls home a hotbed of supernatural forces? The big question that covers all of these, “Are there such things as monsters?” is repeated as a mantra as he drinks to forget that he might well be a monster himself. When Zeb, a scout for a group of night magicians, turns up in Hayden’s Falls, Johnny is shown what lies within himself and beneath the façade.

A well-executed story, it’s perfect material for a relaunch issue. Rather than dwelling for too long on the memory loss aspect, writer Benjamin Percy wastes no time in getting to the action. The first half of the comic focuses on Johnny’s therapy sessions, home life and visions, before the Spirit of Vengeance comes to the fore in a superb full-page splash.

Pencilled and inked by Cory Smith (with additional pencilling by Joe Bennett), the colour work by Bryan Valenza keeps Hayden’s Falls just the right side of dark, so even though a baseball pitch and supermarket look bright enough on the surface, there’s still a hint of the underbelly lurking beneath (think David Lynch’s picture-perfect town in Blue Velvet and you’ve got the right idea). Zeb’s walk down the main street while he ruminates on the falseness of it all is revisited when all hell breaks loose, with the people he passes by — including a mother pushing a buggy, a postman, a man mowing his lawn – reappearing later in a much different guise. Meanwhile, the anti-hero status that makes Johnny such an interesting character is realised through his bouts of drinking and hallucination-induced outbursts towards his wife and kids.


A very promising first issue that also introduces Talia Warroad, a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. turned FBI, whose claim that “I hunt monsters” is already proving to be as intriguing as Zeb’s interest in Johnny. If this is the last we’ll see of Hayden’s Falls, I’ll be sorry (the concept is rich in narrative possibilities), but that won’t stop readers glad to see Johnny break out of his false reality and get to some serious demon slaying. Nice to see Percy and Smith returning the Ghost Rider mythology back to its roots by focusing on the original Spirit of Vengeance. I eagerly await the next issue.


Review by Christopher Witty