From the irradiated gamma-rayed genius of Rob Williams (Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, The Royals: Masters of War) and D’Israeli (Scarlet Traces) comes the collection of one of the most critically acclaimed and interesting takes on the superhero genre in a long time! Packed with extras, it features a host of exclusive pin-ups by Mark Buckingham, Laurence Campbell, Alison Sampson, Henry Flint and many more!
Full ordering info HERE
Tomorrow sees the release of the collected edition of Rob Williams and D’Israeli’s Ordinary. Included in this edition…
“The collection is packed with extras including a host of exclusive pin-ups by Mark Buckingham, Laurence Campbell, Alison Sampson, Henry Flint, Edmund Bagwell, Ben Oliver, Brian Ching & Michael Atiyeh and many more!“
The guys at Titan were good enough to send us the pin ups from Brian Ching & Michael Atiyeh, Henry Flint and Mark Buckingham & D’Israeli to share, so enjoy. There’ll be another post tomorrow with full release details.
Review by Blackmocco
13 Coins #1 – Simon Bisley, Martin Brennan and Michael B Jackson
Freshly forged from the molten talent of Simon Bisley and two guys who wrote a Hitman videogame and released as part of Titan’s line of original material, 13 Coins kicks off just right: A spectacular montage of images chronicling a war between the armies of Heaven and a legion of fallen angels, along the way spelling out the mythology of the aforementioned coins themselves and the fallen ones’ Earthbound modern-day search for a mortal who’s been foretold to bring them a long-awaited victory against Heaven.
From that, we’re off to New York and introduced to John – an ex-con trying to get his shit together and suffering from terrifying visions, Manuel – a forlorn ex-soldier missing a leg after a tour of duty, and Gwen – a psychic (a cop? I wasn’t clear) who’s a part of some shadowy group trailing the Fallen ones and their activities. Quite literally the God-squad, one suspects.
I thought the previews of the art looked intriguing but sad to say, beyond Bisley’s artwork, this didn’t do much for me. Basing a story around a war in Heaven is well-trodden ground at this point, particularly in comics, and this first issue doesn’t work hard enough at mining anything new from the concept. I also felt some of the dialog felt leaden in places and there’s heavy-handed exposition at every turn making the strip feel a little clumsy.
But y’know, you may just be buying this for Simon Bisley and at least the art patches up a lot of the shortcomings. There’s nothing I can add about The Biz that hasn’t already been said over the years. A thermonuclear artist who can shape abhorrent violence into a thing of wondrous and enchanting beauty, there’s a ton of stuff in here tailor-made for him to tackle. Unfortunately, that’s also what contributed to my feeling of seeing it all before, right down to the stock inappropriately dressed, gun-totin’, sexy biker Bisleybabe psychic.
The artwork’s absolutely beautiful here, don’t get me wrong. If I’ve ever had criticism of an artist I’m not fit to lick the boots of, it’s that his storytelling in the past has sometimes been haphazard and confusing. I noticed he’d addressed that on his absolutely stellar run on Hellblazer and it continues here. The compositions are clear, the action is staged masterfully, the drawing and rendering is razor sharp. The man’s a fucking god.
Anyway, a mixed bag in the end. I hate being this harsh on it and I’m keeping in mind it’s a first issue trying hard to lay down a LOT of ideas and characters into just 24 pages. I just hope as it goes on, we’ll see it twist some of those into something we haven’t seen before.
For more info, check out Titan Comics website HERE
Judge Dredd The Mega Collection: America
Hachette Partworks Limited
Wagner / Ennis / MacNeil / Craddock / Blythe
So, that lasted a while didn’t it?
Hachette Books had the ambitious plan to reprint the most significant stories in the Judge Dredd canon, but didn’t get past issue 1. Arguably, these strips have already been reprinted and repackaged to death (evoking The Smiths “Paint a Vulgar Picture”), but if the creators get a royalty and it raises the profile of the character you can’t really complain.
As you can probably tell, this is a collection of perhaps the most collected, and certainly most acclaimed, Judge Dredd tale ever – “America”. Plenty has been written about America, how it changed the direction and tone of the strip, how it help generate the credibility for the Judge Dredd strip and how by some it has been acclaimed as the best Dredd strip ever . It’s good no doubt, but I’m not sure if it is over familiarity, but I can’t say it fits into my top 5. It’s still a powerful tale, and yeah, for a story with such a small scope it has had a huge range and ramifications that continue to echo today.
Possibly of more interest are the two sequels that follow it in the volume. In the first “America : The Fading of The Light” Bennett Beeny’s life starts to completely unravel after the events of the “America”, health deteriorating and the terrorist organisation “Total War” comes back into his life. If it could go wrong, it has gone wrong for our hero.
MacNeil didn’t submit fully rendered art this time, and left the colouring to Alan “Radioactive” Craddock. The line art was up to MacNeil’s usual standard, but spoilt by Craddock’s lurid hues. Story wise, if the last story was imbued with pathos and tragedy, this veers toward bathos. This is unnecessary as a sequel; “America” works better as a standalone story of two lost souls in MC1. Its one saving grace is that it introduces (now Judge) America Beeny (currently starring in Block Judge), which takes us nicely into the 3rd part of the America saga.
In “Cadet” Bennett Beeny is dead, but as part of his last will and testament he entrusted his daughter to the “care” of Justice Department. A now older Cadet America Beeny wants to investigate the death of her mother, and has requested Joe Dredd as her supervising Judge. The art makes a significant improvement with Chris Blythe colouring MacNeil’s line work. Wagner takes time to develop Beeny’s character and the interaction between Dredd and Beeny drives the story along, Dredd assessing Beeny, Beeny working with the man who, if only perhaps indirectly, led to the death of her parents.
Rounding off the volume is a selection of stories, all drawn by MacNeil. A Wagner tale which catches up on Beeny post “full eagle” and establishing her as a regular member of the supporting cast. In the next, Dredd arranges a meeting with his niece Vienna, which goes as well as you would expect, but it has some great fully painted art from Mac’. Finally, there are two strips from the sometimes unfairly derided Garth Ennis run, “Snowstorm”, where Dredd runs up against sugar dealers and “Firepower” where Dredd displays his siege negotiation skills.
Tharg’s PR droid Michael Molcher provides some commentary on the significance of the lead tale at the back of the book and bigs up Mr. W whilst he’s at it. A great package, attractively and robustly bound. Admittedly I have around 3 copies of this tale, and two of what would have been volume 2 – “Mechanismo”, but it would acted as a great primer for newcomers.