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The main site is on indefinite hiatus due to various constraints and energies being directed elsewhere.
However, it will be kept online for as long as possible in the hope it can be properly revived in the future.

21st April 2017, 09:26 PM: Comic Review: Transformers - Chaos

 
PUBLISHER: IDW (2011)
WRITERS: MIKE COSTA, JAMES ROBERTS
ARTISTS: LIVIO RAMONDELLI, CASEY COLLER

I am not a professional comic writer, or even an amateur one. However, I have a salient tip for any writer out there - if you're hurriedly compacting two-plus years of storylines from multiple linked series in four issues compacted and compressed from a planned mini-series to clear the decks ahead of a relaunch event do not, I repeat do not call it Chaos. Thankfully for anyone looking for a cheap shot at Costa (and there was never any shortage both in terms of opportunity and opportunists) it's pretty chaotic. While James Roberts is involved his role seems largely to be doctoring a bit of the dialogue and making sure the characters he's eyeing for successor series More Than Meets the Eye get guided through (note the sudden assignment of whacky funster status to Swerve, just a teaser for the mint banter we'll be subjected soon) and the rest is pure Costa - by which I mean a succession of promising developments executed poorly and quickly before he shuffles on to his next brainwave.

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20th April 2017, 01:48 AM: Comic Review: Northstar

 
PUBLISHER: MARVEL (1994)
WRITER: SIMON FURMAN
ARTIST: DARIO CARRASCO

If you put Simon Furman in charge of the sun it would stop coming up in 12 months' time. The man has been cancelled more times than a software update and in 1994, a year when mutants were so hot there was a Bishop solo series, he managed to get a mutant title canned. Alright, it was Alpha Flight and no-one had cared since Johnny Byrne stopped working on it but still, he got a Marvel mutant ongoing cancelled in the mid-nineties. Emerging from this feat was a four-part Northstar mini-series, presumably the company opting to test the character out as a viable solo spin-off and standing out a little due to the smart matching cover design philosophy. Jean-Paul had always been one of the less generic members of Alpha Flight, though as an arrogant speedy mutant he might have stood out a bit better if the company didn't already have Quicksilver doing most of that stuff. Of course, at this point Northstar had gone beyond Flying Canadian Quicksilver thanks to being outed as homosexual a couple of years before, becoming Flying Canadian Gay Quicksilver.

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20th April 2017, 12:45 AM: Comic Review: Transformers - Police Action

 
PUBLISHER: IDW (2011)
WRITER: MIKE COSTA
ARTISTS: BRENDAN CAHILL, E J SU

With the "Chaos" event folded into the main ongoing at late notice and with planned co-writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning joining Don Figueroa in fucking off Mike Costa was left juggling much of the closing days of the IDW ongoing, now stepped up fully to bi-monthly. He used alternate issues to tidy up the remnants of the Earth-based story threads which probably pissed a lot of readers off at the time, which is always a plus. Costa was probably used to fans' utter impatience with anything he did at this point and for once didn't buckle; it's strange how James Roberts is deified for taking a year to answer perceived flaws in his stories and yet Costa's versions of Spike and Prowl had morons apoplectic every month, desperate to have every little frame explained to them immediately. Arguably the difference was Costa tried to supplicate these idiots and cater to them. Or that Roberts is a dyed in the wool Transformers fan who spends most of his time talking about Transformers to people who like Transformers whereas Costa was a jobbing writer who'd rather have been writing X-Men or something and saw the title as a means to an end. But Transformers fans would never be so fickle and shallow; it wasn't like they spent years trying to have Bob Budiansky shot for not writing dark epics about Unicron or anything mental like that.

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18th April 2017, 04:47 PM: Comic Review: Tokyo Storm Warning

 
PUBLISHER: CLIFFHANGER (2003)
WRITER: WARREN ELLIS
ARTIST: JAMES RAIZ

Between contracts in 2003 Warren Ellis went through a brief phase of trying to write a 3-issue mini-series for every Wildstorm sub-imprint going; Red was probably the best known. For Cliffhanger - which mainly handled J Scott Campbell's Danger Girl - he crafted Tokyo Storm Warning, concerning a spate of giant monsters attacking Tokyo, faced by giant mystical robots. It's a clear homage to both the kaiju movies that most famously bequeathed Godzilla and super robot anime series. Ellis, robots, monsters and the pencils of James Raiz, who proved his pedigree for this sort of thing on Dreamwave's Transformers Armada - what could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, actually.

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18th April 2017, 12:33 PM: Comic Digital Archive - The Spider

 
Devised to cash in on the encroaching Silver Age dazzle bleeding across the Atlantic, The Spider is still the crown jewel in IPC Fleetway's pantheon of very British heroes. His antics, printed in the weekly Lion, took place in America (primarily the fictional Croy) but there the similarity with the likes of Spider-Man ended. Of uncertain origin (he just appears, even his species is never really confirmed or denied) the character even started off as a villain, a common theme for strips of the period - The Steel Claw started the same way. Immediately he picked up the services of crooked scientist Professor Pelham and dumb safecracker Roy Ordini, who would be the faces of the army of crime he recruited to help carry out his schemes from a castle overlooking the city.


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