Ghostbusters Hardcover 2: Mass Hysteria – Erik Burnham

GB MH

This is certainly the way to read the series and much better value than the stingy four issue trades.

The oversized hardcover is identical in format to the first one (Total Containment) and if you purchased that then this is a natural follow on.

The extras at the back are just covers and two pages of frugal sketches. Gone is the amazing Easter Egg list/ director’s commentary.

The art is great and the paper choice shows this off to the maximum. The binding and cover is superb allowing the book to sit fully open without any kind of stress or damage. This is the way to read comics.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 9: Mass Hysteria Part Two – Erik Burnham

GB9The story ends and it looks like this is the last volume in the franchise. At four issues there is no reason why this and the previous volume could not have been released as one.

The story has rather run out of steam and the novelty of the original casting has worn off. There is more technobabble than Star Trek and in some ways you are glad when it is over. There is however a strong emotional punch at the end and chances are it is not the one you were expecting.

As always that star of the piece is the wonderful visuals.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 8: Mass Hysteria Part One – Erik Burnham

GB8This is the first instalment of a two part epic that marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters.

All the gang from the original films return and although some of the new cast from the comics are present they are in the background and you can jump right in here with no confusion.

The story could be seen as a third film as it takes many of the threads and antagonists and does its best to run with them. The nostalgia factor is off the scale but the plot, whilst epic in scope, is nothing special.

The art is great and the digital medium is perfect for the glowing, supernatural places and spirits. Things have a very punchy, chaotic feel that tries to convey the fast paced battles going on.

It’s a good start and definitely one for the fans. Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 6 – Erik Burnham

GB6There are a couple of tales that loosely tie in with the story so far and two single page strips that aren’t worth printing.

The art is strong and vibrant and does a good job of complimenting the humorous touches in the story. There are also some great covers.

This fulfils the same role as the cartoon series allowing you to reminisce about a great film but it doesn’t live up to the standards originally set.

There are the usual cover galleries and a bit of concept art.

Barely a Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 5 “The New Ghostbusters” – Erik Burnham

GB5 Like most of the previous series this takes an idea starts running with it and then abandons it. The Ghostbuster’s disappear leaving secondary characters to take their place. This is an interesting notion but doesn’t last long enough to tell a real story.

The art is strong and really makes the most of digital techniques with complex colouring that really pops off the page. The characterisation is great and everyone is very expressive.

By now you should know what to expect from IDW and if you like what they do this is a Thumbs Up!

Crossed +100 – Alan Moore

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Comics Messiah Alan Moore takes on the Crossed franchise.

This is a spectacular piece of writing but if you are in Crossed just for the gore then this will be your Prometheus. The biggest talking point is the language. Set 100 years in the future Moore has everyone speaking a dialect descended from internet speak. This will either take you a while to pick up, especially with what look like some editing inconsistencies, or make you put the book down.

The advantage this brings is that it makes you read much slower than a roller coaster page-flipper that some comics can be. It gives you time to digest and speculate on the origins and course of his future. It is great fun working out where all the names came from and where in the world the characters are.

There is virtually no gore or horror in the piece. This ensures you invest so much into the characters and a wonderfully slow build up makes for a shocking ending. There is a tipping point where you put the clues together and your heart sinks. The final issue over-stretches this like the host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But like a proper old ghost story the terror is firmly psychological and no final page turn will compete for what is in your head.

One notable theme is a Muslim dominated settlement and Moore’s discussion and hypothesis of Islam might not be for everyone. Just as his version of the Crossed is the most different anything previous.

The art is great with Crossed veteran Gabriel Andrade returning from volume 9. So much detail and effort is packed into every panel to effortlessly bring this future world to life. The colouring is great with a lot of earth tones working hard to realise this overgrown, agrarian environment.

Double Thumbs Up!

Isaac Asimov’s Derec: Volume 1- Doug Murray

Isaac Asimovs DerecDon’t buy this.

Because there is no volume two and this ends in mid scene. You will have to go back to the original 1950’s novels.

This story and its author, godfather of space fiction Isaac Asimov, are from a time when sci-fi wasn’t about special effects and explosions and laser guns. It was about philosophy and humanity (ignoring any flying saucers obviously). Even boiled down to a hundred odd pages at two panels per page you still get a sense of the great writing and existential power of this kind of fiction.

This is a compelling mystery as literally nothing is explained to you and your lead character has amnesia so he is no help! There is an inhuman narrator who adds tone and theme (plus more mystery) but this should have been sacrificed to put in more content. If there were 300 or 500 pages more I would definitely read them. But as the story ends abruptly without even a clue to who did it you can’t really judge it fairly.
The art is proper 1950’s Pop Art where everyone seems weirdly frozen mid-emotion. The colour is grey on slightly darker grey and the panels are shrunk and placed on a texture background that takes up a ridiculous amount of the page. And this was produced in 2004.

You can feel there was a really great work there and enough of it survives to truly hook you leaving you frustrated there is no more. There are several pages of text at the end that flesh out an entire world but would only really be relevant to future parts of the story that you never get to.

No Thumbs unfortunately.

Walking Dead: Volume 24 Life and Death – Robert Kirkman

WD24This is a superb volume with plenty of character and drama. You aren’t expecting much from this volume as you think we are at a quiet point in the story with the first market happening. Oh dear.

The Whisperers present quite an existential challenge. Kirkman shows that antagonists don’t have to be cruel despots or megalomaniacs or even conquerors. They are definitely one of the freshest zombie ideas and they have a few surprises.

Everyone seems to get some screentime in this book. Carl continues to grow and become his own man, Negan gets one of his awesome speeches and Maggie faces up to the hard side of leadership. This is an amazing foundation and would make a great book but the rug-pulls make it fantastic. Kirkman shows that he needn’t kill characters to shock you. And then he kills characters and you are shocked again.

The art is amazing and it is always worth stopping to appreciate just how good it is and how much is done with black and grey. This has never been a normal gig for Adlard. He never phones things in. Each panel is well thought out and even after two dozen books he is still experimenting and there are some really sharp panel structures here.

Walking Dead is everything a graphic novel should be including rising to new heights.

Double Thumbs Up!

Rising Stars Compendium Volume 1 – J. Michael Straczynski Fiona Avery

Rising Stars CompendiumAs this contains all of the original series and the spinoffs it’s hard to imagine why it is marked as Volume One. Everything you need for the whole of Rising Stars is contained in this massive doorstop including a comprehensive cover gallery.

This is the softback version so your spine will end up cracking no matter how careful you are. Even the cover is no thicker than a normal TPB. If you are a collector go for the hardback. If you want a cheap and easy way to experience this series then this is all you need.

Thumbs Up!