Welcome to the month eleven roundup.

Oh my GOSH!
One month to go.
I have way more books to go than I have time for.
Really great series such as Bomb Queen, Red Sonja, Wasteland, The Authority, Unwritten, The Invisibles, The Losers, Preacher, and tons more.
I guess I will have to come back next year.

Hopefully this month I crossed everything off the Suggest Me list. But if you want to make a plea for something else or even suggest what my very last title should be then speak up!

This month there were no Thumbs Down titles.

There was one No Thumbs title.
The Hobbit – Charles Dixon & Sean Denning

We had twenty two Thumbs Up titles.
FreakAngels Volume Two – Warren Ellis
FreakAngels Volume Three – Warren Ellis
FreakAngels Volume Six – Warren Ellis
Sherlock Holmes: The Trial of Sherlock Holmes – Leah Moore & John Reppion
BONE – Book One: Out from Boneville – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Two: The Great Cow Race – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Three: Eyes of the Storm – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Four: The Dragonslayer – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Five: Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Six: Old Man’s Cave – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Seven: Ghost Circles – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Eight: Treasure Hunters – Jeff Smith
BONE – Book Nine: Crown of Horns – Jeff Smith
100 Bullets: Split Second Chance – Brian Azzerello
100 Bullets: A Foregone Tomorrow – Brian Azzerello
100 Bullets: The Counterfifth Detective – Brian Azzerello
100 Bullets: Six Feet Under the Gun – Brian Azzarello
100 Bullets: Samurai – Brian Azzarello
100 Bullets: The Hard Way – Brian Azzarello
100 Bullets: Strychnine Lives – Brian Azzarello
100 Bullets: Decayed – Brian Azzarello
100 Bullets: Once Upon a Crime – Brian Azzarello

This month we had eight Double Thumbs Up titles.
FreakAngels Volume One – Warren Ellis
FreakAngels Volume Four – Warren Ellis
FreakAngels Volume Five – Warren Ellis
The Boys: Volume 12 – The Bloody Doors Off – Garth Ennis
Rust 2 – Royden Lepp
Cowboy Ninja Viking – A J Lieberman
100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call – Brian Azzerello
100 Bullets: Hang Up on the Hang Low – Brian Azzerello

This month saw three highly acclaimed series (I will finish 100 Bullets) I found they all started off strongly but only FreakAngels didn’t run out of steam toward the middle/end.

My star was probably The Boys final volume which was the best book in the series. And the colouring in 100 Bullets too.

See you next month – for the last time ever! Yee haw!

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100 Bullets: Once Upon a Crime – Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets 11This is a complex volume. All the fancy intercutting and the huge cast makes it a nightmare to follow. Despite the wonderful art using colour to superbly differentiate between the scenes this can be a bit of a head scratcher. You can’t be sure if you aren’t supposed to know why things are happening or if you missed some small detail you shouldn’t have. From last volume’s demystifying we go straight back to mystifying.

The art is a wonder to behold. After eleven volumes things are never lazy or predictable. There is still as much passion in the drawing and colouring as ever.

Thumbs Up but you are ready for the check about now.

337/28

Tomorrow: Fables (1): Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham

100 Bullets: Decayed – Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets 10With this volume we take another step closer to the end. The pieces are moving on the board, or getting knocked off, and you know it won’t be too much longer. But you had just got used to knowing nothing and kind of liked it. There more things are explained the less excitement there is and the less you have to put your faith in the writer.

This is a good collection of two long stories and what seems like a filler for the issue 75 one shot. The art is great and while the narrative seems to leap about like an epileptic in a time machine you manage to follow along. Familiarity is now working against Azzarello but that doesn’t stop another Thumbs Up!

336/29

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: Once Upon a Crime – Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets: Strychnine Lives – Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets 09The books are getting thicker but the mystery is becoming less dense as Azzarello is letting you tug away at the threads to unravel his magnum opus. There are two main stories, each packed with sub-plots obviously, and a single issue to finish things off. You are getting the feeling an endgame is approaching. By the way the body count is rising it isn’t far off.

The art and colouring are superb, so much so that you take them for granted. No one is getting lazy however and the originality and innovation is still sunk deep into each page with fantastic framing and composition.

An excellent read showing masters of their craft at work. Thumbs Up!

335/30

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: Decayed – Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets: The Hard Way – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 08This is another long volume. There is a single issue expose of the ancient history of the Trust and the Minutemen and also what could be the longest unbroken story so far.

Azzarello does great with the shorter format but this longer work seems to be a success too. It has all his trademarks of the multiple narratives, diverse characters, detailed supporting cast, jumping timeline, and has a lot of heart besides. That and a very dramatic ending.

The art is great with lots of shady bars, seedy hotel rooms and dusky twilight to show off with. There are lots of flashbacks and recaps as well with ancient history looking different from recent memory.

A brilliant story and an even greater part of the ongoing saga.

334/31

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: Strychnine Lives – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets: Samurai – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 07This contains two short stories. The first is a taught prison drama that could easily be enjoyed by anyone who hasn’t read any of the 100 bullets. It is reminiscent of the first book as we are introduced to new characters, and a strong setting with its own culture and patois. The second tale sees the return of two people from volume four and is more of a character study than our usual conspiracy thriller. Both are enjoyable and very different. Azzerello takes his time and isn’t bothered about furthering his mega-plot but shows off his abundant writing talents.

The art is great stuff. Highly creative angles and panels that blow the competition away along with smart intercutting make this a visual feast. This is one book you want to see the script for just to see how Azzerello and Risso collaborate on the visualisation. Lovely colours, superb shadows and beautiful lighting as always.

Thumbs Up!

333/32

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: The Hard Way – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets: Six Feet Under the Gun – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 06This book contains six one-shot stories, each dedicated to a single person. Some are characterful, some confusing and some deal with the bigger picture. And yes, there is one about Graves.

It is a different format and Azzarello works well with shorter stories. He is also on top of his game with the art direction and there is some great cutting between panels and narratives. His work is so much more sophisticated and filmic than most mainstream creators today. Read it slowly and savour the details.

The art is great stuff and Mulvihill gets a chance to shine with plenty of nocturnal scenes and a fabulous sunset. Even her daytime colouring is so much snappier than most, yet it still retains that Noirish, shadowy feel essential for the genre.

Another in a long line of Thumbs Up!

332/33

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: Samurai – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets: The Counterfifth Detective – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 05This volume is a proper pulp noir. It has the hardboiled detective narrating his tale and drinking his way through a mystery that twists and turns like a snake on a carousel. There is a connection, a briefcase and an appearance by our favourite Agent but it feels like a standalone story.

The obligatory first person narration is highly polished and packed with wit and clever linguistics. It is chock full of “dames,” pervading both the art and the story. Whilst they are part of the territory Azzerello works hard to ensure they aren’t just plot signposts, although can feel a bit too disposable.

The art is great as always and works to capture that noir feel. The colouring is top notch too but both aren’t the best you have seen in the series.

It is solid but seems too disconnected to form part of the mythos despite using established characters.

Thumbs Up!

331/34

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: Six Feet Under the Gun – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets: A Foregone Tomorrow – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 04This is a massive volume, the largest in the series, and it contains six separate stories. Pretty much everyone you have met so far pops up in one way of another and you learn a big secret about the Trust too.

There is no reason why this could not have been two volumes but as the stories are quite short and bitty you are probably glad it wasn’t. This volume sees real history mixed with the fictional conspiracy and that makes you feel a bit uneasy in places. You do get more answers than new questions though and that certainly helps.

The art is great and there is one tale, that acts as a recap of the story so far, which has ten guest artists doing portraits of the characters. These include names such as Frank Miller, Jim Lee, and Dave Gibbons. The beauty is in the details and we see multiple stories running separately on the same page and even in the same panel making for a highly sophisticated read.

Patricia Mulvihill returns as colourist but although she does an outstanding job she doesn’t get the opportunity to produce the jaw dropping vistas she did on the last volume which is a great shame.

A good read and certainly a Thumbs Up!

330/35

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: The Counterfifth Detective – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets: Hang Up on the Hang Low – Brian Azzerello

100 Bullets 03The best just got better. Assuming that is possible. This contains a single story that focuses more on the people than the bigger picture.

The narrative is superb, the characters are diverse and well realised, the dialogue is spot on and the ending is definitely eyebrow raising. Agent Graves just gets more complex by the issue.

The true star here is the colourist, Patricia Mulvihill. From the very first page the colours look richer and snappier. Not necessarily what you would think appropriate for a noir thriller but expertly done. The lighting effects, the shadows, the colour casts, the whole nine yards is jaw-dropping. This is some of the best I have ever seen. Although digital it has such an organic and tangible feel that you think it is real.

It is a wonderful work on every level that will be almost impossible to top. Double Thumbs Up!

329/36

Tomorrow: 100 Bullets: A Foregone Tomorrow – Brian Azzerello