Stormwatch PHD: Worlds End – Ian Edginton

Stormwatch PHD 3
The Wildstorm Universe had one of those infinitely annoying world shattering events. As a result all their books got hijacked.

If you are a Stormwatch fan you could easily be forgiven for missing out this volume. There isn’t really any character development and it doesn’t seek to build on what has come before. It’s just Hollywood action sequences. Poor Warren Ellis must be turning in his metaphorical grave.

The art is fine. What really hits the spot is the Wildstorm colouring. Such vibrant, powerful colours, brilliant lighting effects and expertly chosen pallets make for plenty of style. But it can’t make up for lack of substance.

No Thumbs.

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Richard Matheson’s Hell House: Volume Four – Ian Edginton

Hell House 3This is last volume and you’ve been expecting a twist haven’t you. Some clever revelation about the house. Well sadly there isn’t one. The mystery is solved and some revelations come out but without significant foreshadowing they are of little value.

The good point about these four volumes is the journey. The mystery, the development of the characters and the suspense is what has drawn you here. In the 1970’s this may have been a fresh and original work, although it did receive criticism for being similar to other novels of the time. Today the ending appears rather flat. Maybe it’s the way you tell them as all the elements are there for an interesting finale.

A capable end but not all it could have been.

No Thumbs Today.

Richard Matheson’s Hell House: Volume Three – Ian Edginton

Hell House 4From the end of the last volume and the cover of this one you know what is going to happen. Edginton skilfully makes you wait until the very last page of what is otherwise a very bland volume. That page turn however is a cracker.

The mysteries of the house are still unsolved but they are skilfully building to a climax. One volume to go and you are ready for the final curtain.

Another Thumbs Up!

Richard Matheson’s Hell House: Volume Two – Ian Edginton

Hell House 2This volume flashes by even quicker than the last. There is a lot of dialogue but that doesn’t seem to bog things down. We learn more about the characters, but in clever and subtle ways, ensuring that these are complex people not just shallow victims.

The art is just the same high quality rendering. There is a lot of nudity, which is tied into the plot. There is also some cleverly obscured debauchery as well which will no doubt have you squinting at the page.

Another good volume. It’s just a shame this isn’t in a single book.

Thumbs Up!

Richard Matheson’s Hell House: Volume One – Ian Edginton

Hell House 1With good source material, a talented adapter, and a great artist this is a great haunted house story.

Richard Matheson, author of I am Legend, A Stir of Echoes, The Shrinking Man and lots of other books that were turned into films, wrote a horror story in 1971. It was filmed in 1973 and adapted by IDW in 2004. This is the first part.

It has a really creepy vibe to it typical of the horror fiction of the 1970’s – the era of The Shining and The Omen. The story is intelligently delivered with a good framing device which instigates the characters entry into the proceedings.

The art is black and white ink that, through good lighting techniques, really captures the shadowy fears of exploring an old house. The characters have strong and expressive faces and there is a robust sense of movement on the page. Good use is made of the lettering which is very expressive, but not without the odd typo.

The story is collected into four parts, each of which is 48 pages long, which seems an odd choice. We do get a lot crammed into this first volume with intelligent pacing and page turning excitement. Unfortunately the history of the house is delivered in a couple of pages of talking heads which is a let-down.

A strong start and a well-deserved Thumbs Up!

Hellgate London – Ian Edginton

Oh no it’s a graphic novel based on a computer game. We can all predict how this will turn out. But prepare to be surprised… I was. Demons have invaded through a portal in London and all but taken over the world. Three groups of resistance fighters, the Templars, the Cabbalists and the Demon Hunters, must put aside their differences before it’s too late.

This is a story set in near future London and what a refreshing difference it makes having a British writer at the helm. The places, the dialogue, the history are all authentic. It is jammed with hundreds of subtle references to modern life in the UK. The geography is all correct and the historical facts – from the ravens at the Tower of London to the names of its lost rivers – are too. There is witty dialogue, good structure and pacing, relevant action scenes, rounded characters and some nice twists and turns.

The art is good stuff even if the demon fighting armour for ladies is very skimpy. There is a beautiful underground scene lit with blue light that really stands out. The panels are fluid and dynamic but easy to follow. The lettering is compact but highly legible. Plus London after the end of the world looks great. St Pauls, Centre Point, the Thames, the Underground are all here faithfully rendered and destroyed.

A nice surprise and a welcome Thumbs Up!

146/219.

Tomorrow: Midnight Nation – J. Michael Straczynski