Friday, 30 May 2014

Sneak Peek - The Mansion


The Mansion

Written By Patrick Scattergood

Illustrated By Lee Taylor

I know that the zombie genre is crowded to the point of it spilling over and that there are some absolutely brilliant titles out there in this vein but I've been interested in zombie stories since I was young.  My obsession with the genre all started with when I caught the spooky movie White Zombie starring the legendary Bela Lugosi and I was hooked from there on in.

After reviewing a comic book series called Collateral: Dear John that was written by Matt Nichols and illustrated by Lee Taylor, I completely fell in love with Taylor's art and knew that I would love to work with him on a project one day.



Well, that's when I contacted him about illustrating my attempt at sneaking in to the zombie genre with a story called The Mansion.  I knew that his unique art style would make the story visually striking and I wasn't wrong so it's with that in mind that I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of the upcoming art work.

One of the things that surprised me the most about when I started getting the artwork from Lee Taylor was the simple fact that it really made my brain start firing off in all sorts of directions story wise.  While this tale was designed to be a simple, short story, it's starting to grow to be more than that.  This one will be appearing alongside another story that I am working on, one that will be revealed soon, but there's been a great few ideas thrown back and forth between Taylor and myself about maybe doing more stories set in the mansion in the story.  Nothing is set in stone yet so watch this space.



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Theatre of Blood Blu-Ray Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Anthony Greville-Bell

Directed By
William Hickox

A Cineman Films, Harbour Productions Limited Film

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Cast

Vincent Price as Edward Kendal Sheridan Lioheart
Diana Rigg as Edwina Lionheart
Ian Hendry as Peregrine Devlin
Arthur Lowe as Horace Sprout
Harry Andrews as Trevor Dickman
Coral Browne as Miss Chloe Moon
Robert Coote as Oliver Larding
Jack Hawkins as Solomon Psaltery

Certificate 
15

Synopsis

It's never been tougher to be a critic than in Theatre of Blood, one of the greatest horror comedies of all time. Vincent Price gives a career best performance as Edward Lionhart, a veteran Shakespearean actor who, when passed over for the coveted Critic's Circle award for Best Actor takes deadly revenge on the critics who snubbed him.

With one of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled for a horror film including Diana Rigg, Harry Andrews, Jack Hawkins and Arthur Lowe, Theatre of Blood is a dementedly funny and deliciously macabre cult classic.

Special Features
  •  Audio commentary with The League of Gentlemen, Jeremy Dyson, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith
  • A Priceless Pot-boiler – Victoria Price discusses Theatre of Blood
  • A Fearful Thespian – author and film historian David Del Valle discusses Vincent Price in Theatre of Blood
  • Staged Reaction – Star Madeline Smith remembers Theatre of Blood
  • A Harmony for Horror – Composer Michael J. Lewis remembers Theatre of Blood
  • Original Trailer
  • Reversible Sleeve featuring new writing on the film by critic Cleaver Patterson and a reproduction of the original press book material, illustrated with original archive stills

Review

As a gigantic fan of both Vincent Price and his movies, I've always loved to just kick back and watch the master at work.  He always gives incredibly powerful and moving performances so knowing that Theatre of Blood was always regarded as one of Price's personal favorites, I couldn't wait to watch it again.

I must be honest, I hadn't seen the movie in years but could always remember massive chunks of it due to having watching quite a few times growing up.  The one thing that worried me before I put it on to watch was the simple fact that would it have still stood up to repeated viewings over 40 years later?

 Of course it did, it's a Vincent Price movie!

The jet black comedy of the movie is as brilliantly incisive and cutting as it was 40 years ago.  There are some great uses of melodramatics, satirical writing and some great moments of class by Price.  It's a shame that this one isn't as well known as it should be.  The best way to think of this one would be in the same vein as the superb Dr Phibes movies but gorier.

For a 1970's horror, there are some utterly brilliant deaths, which let's be honest here, that's what us horror fans are here for.  Punctuated by some truly inspired Shakespearean quotes and set pieces, the movie straddles the fine line between horror and comedy in a fantastically memorable way.

I can honestly say that it's easy to see why Price liked this performance so much.  The minute that he appears on screen, you just can't take your eyes off him.  Getting to see him ham it up and even go in to scenes from the Bard's plays while murdering people is great fun.

The transfer here is brilliantly clear considering the age of the movie.  There are a couple of minor bits here and there where the movie shows its age a little but nothing too distracting.  However, it's the sound that really does the movie justice.  The music is loud and clear, alongside the sound effects, and really immerses you in the movie itself.

Special Features wise, Arrow Films have once again really treated us fans to some real gems.  I mean, what other movie would you find a commentary by the cast of League of Gentlemen?  The behind the scenes moments here really get you in to how they made the movie and just how much fun it looked to have made it.  My personal favorite was the look at the music of the movie itself.  I've always been a fan of seeing the story of the music used in a movie and this one was wonderfully interesting.

If you are a Vincent Price fan, this definitely belongs in your collection.  In fact, it should take pride of place.

Movie 9/10
Picture 8/10
Sound 8.5/10
Special Features 8.5/10
Overall 34/40


The Summit DVD Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Mark Monroe

Directed By
Nick Ryan

An Image Now Films, Fantastic Films, Passion Pictures, Diamond Docs Film

Genre
Documentary, Adventure

Cast

Christine Barnes as Cecile Skog
Hoselito Bite as Climber
Marco Confortola as Climber
Pat Falvey as Climber
Nial Foley as Fredrik Strang / Cas van de Gevel
Stefan Grossniklaus as Lars Nessa

Certificate
Exempt

Synopsis

Documentary about the ill-fated mountaineering expedition to the summit of K2 where eleven climbers lost their lives in 2008. Although K2 is behind Mount Everest in terms of height, the peak is still considered the more challenging climb due to the unpredictable and arduous nature of its terrain and its regular extreme storms. 

Film-maker Nick Ryan interviews the survivors of the 2008 expedition and together with footage recorded on the mountain we are offered an insight into the great difficulties experienced and suggestions as to the reasons behind the eleven lost lives. 

Review

I've seen a great many documentaries since I started blogging my random and hopefully interesting reviews.  Some have been truly touching and fantastic.  Others, well others not so much.

The subject of this one is an ill-fated exhibition to the summit of the mountain known as K2.  Sadly that day, eleven climbers lost their lives so a documentary about such a subject would have to be very gently handled without trying to make everyone seem perfect and tragic.

That's a hard ask for a documentary where real people have died and at the same time, it makes the whole thing quite hard to watch because you know that some of the people in the mountainside footage would sadly be no longer alive.  For me, that gave the documentary quite an uneasy feeling, both in a good and bad way.

One of the things that struck me about the documentary is that it's told in both footage shot by the climbers themselves but also in interviews and dramatized sections too.  That to me made proceedings feel a little bit disjointed, almost as if the filmmakers didn't know exactly which style they wanted to go for so they went for all three instead.

That said, the whole documentary itself really raises some rather interesting questions about bravery, the unwritten rules of climbing and even of the human spirit itself.  One of the things that struck me the most about the story was that it didn't try to sugar coat any of the survivors reasons or decisions.  You know that they have had to live with their decisions and that is shown here.  Some think that the right decisions were made that day and some don't.  The ingenious part of it all is that it doesn't try to force blame on any person, instead telling the story from all possible sides.

One of the most haunting parts for me was near the end where the widow of one of the climbers makes a really haunting and blunt comment that really makes a good point of how people outside of the climbing world see judgement for what happened that day.

While not the best look at mountaineering that I have ever seen, it's still up there with some of the ones that are well worth checking out.

Movie 7/10

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Nottingham Comic Convention Annoucement


Hello boys, girls, aliens, demons and everything else out there.  I'm here with a great announcement for those of you that are interested in my work.

I will be appearing, with my own table, at the Nottingham Comic Convention that is held at the Nottingham Conference Centre on October 4th.

I'll be bringing with me copies of the forthcoming charity anthology called 'Dignity in Hope' that I am running with the very talented David McCluskey that has a great roster of writers and artists.  I'll hopefully also be bringing some of my other work too so if you would like to come buy some, get them signed or even just come to my table for a chat then by all means do.

Last year I went as a fan and it was a fantastic experience so going as an exhibitor is a new one on me so fingers crossed it will be just as fun.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Revenge is Geek Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Dan Barnes

Art and Cover By
Paul Johnson

Published By
Dead Bride Comics

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Synopsis

Prudence Page isn't any ordinary girl, she's a geek! One thing you should never do is cross a geek. The popular kids of Pepperville High conspire to humiliate Prudence, but something goes horribly wrong. Leaving Prudence with only one thing on her mind Revenge!

Review

I've always been a bit of a sucker for stories set in high school.  It doesn't matter whether it's horror, dark comedies such as 'Heathers' or even the coming of age dramas such as 'The Breakfast Club'.  When I saw this title, I was intrigued.

When I started to read it, I was immediately hooked in.  The beginning of the story starts with the main character, Prudence Page, embarking on a killing spree with a knife before you get thrust back in time to see just how the bloodbath begun.  There are some superb set pieces throughout the issue with a darkly comedic and bleak slant to it.  I did really enjoy the cliffhanger style ending, which was effective at making me want to read the second issue.


Paul Johnson has a wonderfully distinctive style that works really well with the story here, his cartoon style makes the violence and humor really pop off the page.  The fact that brings out the slapstick element in the humor really works well.

As a first issue, Revenge is Geek does a fantastic job of introducing the characters, bringing the funny moments thick and fast and the art really brings the story to the forefront.  It also sets the groundwork for the second issue in such a way that you can't wait to see more of the story.  I, for one, will definitely be in line to grab mine.

Story 7.5/10
Art 7.5/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 30/40

MPH Issue 1 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Mark Millar

Art By
Duncan Fegredo
Peter Doherty

Lettering By
Peter Doherty

Cover By
Duncan Doherty

Published By
Image Comics

Genre
Action

Synopsis

Roscoe is a good kid, doing his best to earn his piece of the American Dream.  He keeps his eyes on the prize: His girl Rosa and a chance for a better life than the one he lives in Detroit.

He may not always make the best choices, but his heart's always in the right place.  Until it lands him in jail.

When a street drug called MPH filters down through the prison system, Roscoe gains the power of super speed.  Finally, he's got his shot.  Will he use it to do the right thing?  Or will the lure of an easy life be too strong to resist?

A high-octane adventure, MPH brings you super speed like you've never seen before, by the writer of Kick-Ass and the artist of Hellboy.

Review

Mark Millar is one of those writers that comic book readers either think is amazing or they think that he is completely over the top.  Me, I'm firmly in the camp of the readers that like his work but I do have to admit, like I said in a previous review of one of his releases, I do agree that he can sometimes go a little over the top.
That said, I had heard a great many things about this upcoming series as it sounded like there was a lot of scope for it to tell a multi-layered story with a very sociological message running through the story but would that be what the fans would get?

Well yes and no but not in a bad way so let me explain.

One of the things that I liked about this one is that while you got a little bit of character development, it then jumped in to the action but with the promise of getting to see more of their lives in the next issue.  Sometimes when a writer tries that approach, it can seem like something is missing or maybe rushed but that's not the case here.  We get enough of the story to care about the main character so that when the twist hits, although it's one that's foreshadowed a little but enough to ruin it, you actually care about what is going to happen to Roscoe.

Mark Millar's writing here really hooked me in and made me want to get the second issue as soon as possible but it was the art here that really shone the most for me.  Duncan Fegredo, famous for his work on the Hellboy comics, really gives the story that hyper kinetic hit that it demands.  The story revolving around the power of speed, amongst other things, really needed an artist that was capable of kicking the story in to high gear and Fegredo does that in abundance here.  I was a little worried that the feeling of speed and urgency might be lost in the art but there are some absolutely brilliant panels here that really make the story leap off the page.

As a fan of Millar and Fegredo, I really think that their partnership kicked it up another notch here so bring on issue 2!

Story 8/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 33/40

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Interesting Tymes X2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
David McCluskey

Art By
Andrew Morrice

Cover By
Andrew Morrice

Published By
Dammaged Comics

Genre
Anthology, Comedy, Horror

Synopsis

Interesting Tymes X2 follows the further adventures of Edward D'Ammarge. Join him on a fun and fright filled adventure on a most uncomfortable train journey.

Delight in the tales Edward will spin between stations.

Find out just how much one man loves his girlfriend, see what can happen when you pick up a hitchhiker, marvel at the rock and roll antics of top heavy metal band The Glampires, be astounded at the trouble one bored little girl can rouse in an afternoon, gasp at the antics on a top ghoulish TV show, and then relax with the boys as they go on a stress buster two day holiday in an old cottage!!!

Review

After the massively enjoyable first edition of 'Interesting Tymes' by the duo of David McCluskey and Andrew Morrice, I honestly couldn't wait to see where the obviously Roald Dahl inspired tales were going to be taken next.

Normally with anthology collections such as this one, there will nearly always be a tale or two that you kind of want to skip because they don't grip you in like the others but that didn't happen in the first 'Interesting Tymes'.  Instead that was a level read with some great stories, artwork and some absolutely hilarious moments too.

I was wondering how they would keep that quality up but at the same time not rehash the same sorts of ideas, an ending that befalls so many sequels or follow ups.

Well, when I read this one I noticed one big difference.  While they have kept the Roald Dahl influence, thankfully, they've gone a bit more of a darker and more cynical edge for some of the stories.  The best way to describe the change would be that it's a bit like Roald Dahl presenting 'Tales from the Crypt' but with a sarcastic tone.

There are some truly outstanding stories here and really show the growth and confidence of the duo working on this second collection.  One of the things that I liked was the fact that under the horror and comedy parts, there were some absolutely gorgeous moments, especially in the first love tinged story in the collection.

Art wise, once again Andrew Morrice handles the stories with a sly wink to the old stories in the Beano and Dandy comics that we loved growing up all while adding a little bit of a Quentin Blake feeling to proceedings while keeping it's own unique voice. 

After reading this one and finding it even better than the first collection, I've come away really hoping that there will be a third installment.  However, that begs one question.  How will they top this one?

Story 8.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 33/40

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Caprica: Part 1 DVD Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
Remi Aubuchon
Ronald D. Moore

Cast

Eric Stoltz as Daniel Graystone
Esai Morales as Joseph Adama
Paula Malcolmson as Amanda Graystone
Alessandra Torresani as Zoe Graystone
Magda Apanowicz as Lacy Rand
Polly Walker as Clarice Willow
Hiro Kanagawa as Cyrus Xander
James Marsters as Barnabas Greeley

Genre
Science Fiction, Drama

Certificate
15

Synopsis

The Battlestar Galactica phenomenon continues with this undeniably compelling look at where the real conflict between humans and Cylons began, in a vibrant world remarkably like our own: Caprica. Fifty-eight years before Battlestar takes off, two powerful families - the Graystones and the Adamas - find their destinies irrevocably intertwined after a devastating explosion. As the two houses both struggle with the line where humanity ends and artificial intelligence - the Cylon race - begins, they'll face off in a battlefield of corporate conspiracy, murder, sexual politics and family backbiting. From executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick comes this highly anticipated prequel starring Golden Globe nominee Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales.

Episodes Comprise:
1. Pilot
2. Syfy Pilot
3. Rebirth
4. Reins Of AWaterfall
5. Gravedancing
6. There Is Another Sky
7. Know Thy Enemy
8. The Imperfections Of Memory
9. Ghosts In The Machine
10. End Of Line 

Special Features
  • Commentaries on 'Pilot', 'Reins of a Waterfall', 'Gravedancing' and 'The Imperfections of Memory'
  • Deleted Scenes from 'Pilot'
  • Podcast Commentaries on 'Rebirth', 'Reins Of A Waterfall', 'Gravedancing', 'There Is Another Sky', 'Know Thy Enemy', 'Ghosts In The Machine', 'End Of Line'
  • What The Frak Is Caprica?
  • The Caprica Dynasty
  • Video Blogs
  • Creating A World
  • The Look Of Caprica
  • Part 2 Sneak Peek

Review

As a fan of the original 'Battlestar Galactica' as well as the remade version by Ronald D. Moore, I was quite eager to get to see this prequel series to see just how the whole Cylon story came about.

It's true that spin off series don't have all that much of a good track record and that's true of 'Battlestar Galactica' in itself as well in the shape of 'Galactica 1980' but I fully feel that this first installment more than makes up for the memory of that series.

Some of the complaints I have read about the series have been utterly redundant in that some reviews have moaned about the lack of Cylons, this was set before they came about obviously, and that there wasn't enough action.  Those sorts of reviews do nark me a little in that not every science fiction series has to have explosions and wild gun fights every second in order for it to be an interesting show.

The best way to describe this would be that it felt a little bit like a 'Battlestar Galactica' series but with a bit of a gangster / terrorist feel to it.  That to me, made it a lot more interesting and different than if it had just been a series of the early battles.

One of the things that I really liked about the series was that some of the scenes weren't shot in a stereotypical way at all.  That's especially true after the creation of the first Cylon itself and some of the emotional ramifications that come along with it.  That itself lead to some very beautiful yet heartbreaking moments.

Cast wise they do a superb job with the sometimes slightly heavy dialogue.  Eric Stoltz in particular was fantastic as Daniel Graystone, a man driven to the edge of madness and Alessandra Torresani as his daughter Zoe.  Their performances really gave the series a steady, beating heart at the center of all the conspiracies and twists that they manage to pack in to these episodes.

Special Features wise, what we have here do a superb job of not only showing us some behind the scenes information about the show itself but also some really interesting pieces on genesis of the series as well.  At the same time, I kind of wish that there had been a few more bits and pieces included but that's maybe just me being guilty.

All in all, this was an interesting take as a prequel series to a very popular television show.  I feel that the episodes in this first part of the collection more than held up their own next to the brilliantly remade series.  Don't get me wrong, it didn't reach the heights of that show but if it had have been given more of a chance to grow then I fully think that it would have done.

Roll on part two!

Show 8/10
Picture 9/10
Sound 9/10
Special Features 8/10
Overall 34/40

The Crow: Pestilence Issue 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Frank Bill

Art By
Drew Moss
Oliver Lee Arce

Lettering By
Shawn Lee

Cover By
James O'Barr

Published By
IDW

Genre
Supernatural, Action

Synopsis

Salvador is supposed to be dead, brutally killed for not throwing a boxing match in exchange for money...but The Crow brought him back to avenge the retaliatory murders of his wife and child.

He seeks the SDC, a savage gang running drugs and women into America from Mexico.  As he exacts his revenge, can he find peace knowing he's done right by his family...even in the face of his own role in their deaths?

Review

After being impressed with the first issue but coming away feeling something was missing, I was still excited about getting hold of the second installment.

I went in to this one wondering where they were going to take the tragic story of Salvador and I have to admit that this issue did flow a lot better than the first.  We got to see some great character work for Salvador himself, which surprised me quite a bit.  I was thinking that maybe he was going to be a bit of a thin character in this installment of the long running series of 'The Crow' comics but this issue really went a long way in to changing my mind about that.  I loved the fact that he wasn't as innocent as some of the others have been, he didn't come across as perfect in the slightest.  I really liked that because that to me added another layer on to him instead of just having him be whiter than white so to speak.

There were quite a few advances story line wise in this one too that moved the story along nicely and at a slightly faster pace than the first issue.  One of the strongest parts was the fact that they added in a slightly more religious / supernatural over tone to the bad guys motives while not going for overkill.

One of the things that took me out of the story a bit was the fact that some of the panel work here didn't seem to be as on the ball as in the first issue.  In fact, there were a couple of moments where some of the smaller panels seemed a little blurry and rushed, especially in the facial expressions.  That is a real shame because it really took me out of the story a bit.  That said, there were only a couple of moments where that happened and plus, it wasn't awfully drawn at all, just felt a little rushed compared to the rest of the issue.

All in all, the writing really improved on this issue and gave me, as a reader and fan of the series of 'The Crow' comics, a lot to be excited about with issue three.  It's a shame that some of the art didn't seem to be up to the better standard set by the writing itself.

Story 8/10
Art 7/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31.5/40

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Story of Jason Rappe': A Guest Blog by Eric Rappe'


Hello, my name is Eric Rappe'. Patrick has been kind enough to allow me to change the pace of his blog for a moment in order to help spread the word on a topic that is very dear to my heart. That topic is Cruise Line safety, or rather the lack of it.

In November of 2012, my brother Jason and his wife went on a seven-day cruise. They were having the time of their life. Days of sunshine, diving in the ocean, drinking in the ships clubs. It was everything they had hoped. In fact they were already talking about the next cruise they would take together. One day Jason texted me a picture of himself and his wife on the ship enjoying a drink and some sunshine. He captioned the pic "I hate Tuesdays. They make my monday sunburn hurt!" This was pretty classic Jason. He knew that I was stuck in the dreary November weather that is always found in Oregon U.S.A. He loved to make jokes and rub it in that he was having such a great time. About 8 hours after I got that pic my phone rang and my world began to change.
 
On the phone was my sister-in-law. Jason's wife was calling to ask me if I had heard from him at all. She could not find him. It seems they were in one of the clubs and Jason had left for a moment to have a smoke on deck. When time passed and he did not return she checked the deck, and then her cabin. She had people check the men's room. He was nowhere to be found. She reported him missing to the crew and called me. They searched the ship for him for 4 hours. All they found was his hat.
 
The problem here is that minutes before his wife reported him missing there were other reports. allegedly someone saw what they believed to be a person fly past their cabins deck while they were out there changing a baby.
 


Most people would think that after that report you might want to start searching, but they didn't. Then he was reported missing. Still they didn't put the things together and search the water. They waited 4 hours, pretty much guaranteeing that he would not be found before even notifying the coast guard. U.S. taxpayers spent nearly 1 million looking for my brother who was never found. There has never been any evidence to show what happened, but the cruise line (HAL) brushed it off as a suicide. This is the industries "go to" excuse for all overboard situations.
 
As a result I have joined forces with a group called International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) and have since been named a Vice President. We are trying to pass legislation in the U.S. that would improve the safety on ships, revamp some of the procedures for man overboard cases, put a stop to the "self policing" cover ups and save lives. A big part of doing that is by spreading the word and telling our stories.

Nobody believes it could happen to them. For many Jason was just a random person on the news. Well let me tell you, that is not who Jason was. He was my big brother, and my best friend. He was a husband and an uncle. He was an NFL fan, a cancer survivor, and a talented carpenter. He was a man who would do anything for the people he loved. He was you and I, and it happened to him.
 
Please take a moment to visit the blog I write for ICV. My brother story and that of many others from all around the world can be found there, along with things we can all do to keep ourselves safe and enjoy our vacations. Please share this blog and help us inform the world about a problem that many don't even know exists. Dozens of people vanish without explanation each year. Many more are robbed, assaulted, raped, or otherwise injured, and the cruise industry does nothing but sweep it under the rug. Below are links to the ICV blog, and the ICV website. Please take a look and become a member. Help us spread the word. Help us save lives.
 
Any questions you might have can be sent to my email at nicknanda1@yahoo.com, or directed to the website and blog. Thank you all for reading this story about a painful time in my life and that of all of Jason's loved ones. And once again, Thank you to Patrick for allowing me to alter the course of his blog for a moment to help spread the word.



My Own Blog: Erock's Things and Stuff 



In Memory of Jason Rappe'

Thornlost Review


Review By
Sian Evans

Written By
Melanie Rawn

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Fantasy, Adventure

Synopsis

Melanie Rawn returns to her rich high fantasy world in this sequel to Touchstone and Elsewhens.

Cayden is part Elf, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high-society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good, very good. He’s a tregetour—a wizard who is both playwright and magicwielder. It is Cade’s power that creates the magic, but a tregetour is useless without a glisker—an elf who can spin out the magic onto the stage, to enchant the audience. And Cade’s glisker, Mieka, is something special too. So is their fettler, Rafe, who controls the magic and keeps them and the audience safe. And their masker, Jeska, who speaks all the lines, is every young girl’s dream.

They are reaching for the highest reaches of society and power, but not the way Cade’s mother thinks they should. They’ll change their world, or die trying.

Review



This is the third book about the magical travelling players Touchstone, set in a world where all the inhabitants have magic bloodlines, centering on their Tregetour Cayden Silversun, whose Fae heritage gives him the ability to see in the future, or possible futures (elsewhens)

Sitting down to read this book was like visiting old friends and having a good old catch up, the characters are just as strong and endearing as they were in the first book, but the author has made ever so subtle changes to their personalities as they have grown and changed in themselves.

The writing style is still very much the same which makes it very easy to pick up from where the last book left off, and the authors skill with descriptions of people places and histories mean that you are immediately dragged into the characters world, which I for one, did not wish to leave.
The use of language is also as enchanting as ever with words that I am still desperately trying to incorporate into everyday conversations!

All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so, that I have forgiven the author for leaving another cliff hanger! I am crossing everything that there will be much more to come!

So again I say, beholden Melanie Rawn, perfection as always.


Story 10/10
Characters 10/10
Cover 10/10
Recommended 10/10
Overall 40/40

Sunday, 11 May 2014

G.I. Joe: Special Missions Issue 7 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Chuck Dixon

Art By
Will Rosado
Aburtov & Grafikslava

Lettering By
Neil Uvetake

Cover By
James Biggie

Published By
IDW

Genre
Action, Military

Synopsis

Beachhead, Tripwire and Hard Drive were taken hostage in the Australian Outback by the vicious Dreadnoks.  Led by Zartan, they had just acquired possession of a MARS Industries satellite...the same satellite that contained Zartan's genetic info used to revive him in his current form.

Roadblock and Spirit rushed to aid the captured G.I. JOE members as Zartan prepared to make an escape with his genetic information and return it to the lab where he was created in order to spawn an army of Zartans!

Review

After reading issue 6, yes I know I was late to the party 'Special Missions' wise, I was quite eager to see where this mission was going to go.  Knowing that a couple of the members of the team were captured and Roadblock and Spirit were on their way to cause mayhem and rescue them was well written to the point where I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.

That's when I opened this one up and waited for the stuff to truly hit the fan so to speak.

The fast pacing and action packed panel work really made the story in the previous story really pop off of the page and that was repeated here.  While for some reason the story didn't seem as urgent in this issue, it was still wildly paced and well written.

One of the things that I really liked was the relationship between Spirit and Roadblock.  I liked the fact that they got on each others nerves while not resorting to cheap comedy like I've seen other stories sometimes fall in to.  Instead it really felt like while they worked together well, it didn't seem like an excuse to go the 'odd couple' route.  Their distinctive personalities really made for an interesting read in what could have just turned in to a cliched action movie style rescue mission.

With the fast pace of the issue such a bonus for this one, there isn't all much time for character development but at the same time, you don't really need it all that much here.  Instead, the best way to think of this issue is to think of a big budget action movie maybe even starring a younger Bruce Willis or Arnold Swarzenegger.  Just stick your feet up and watch the action unfold.  I love the sledgehammer hit of the ending too, which left me wondering just where they were taking the character of Zartan.

The art is just as on the ball as in issue 6 and really pops in the action sequences.  That was most definitely one of the strengths of the previous issue and it is the same here.  I would have preferred a slightly grittier tone to the art for this one but maybe that's just a personal taste of mine.

All in all, I will definitely be keeping up with this title.  Personally I can't wait to see where Zartan is going to go, where the team members go after this mission and more.  Worth picking up if you like a fast paced action story.

Story 7.5/10
Art 7.5/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 30/40

Friday, 9 May 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Cinema Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Christopher Markus
Stephen Feely
Ed Brubaker (Concept and Story)

Directed By
Anthony Russo
Joe Russo

A Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios Film

Genre
Superhero, Action, Thriller

Cast

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Emily VanCamp as Kate / Agent 13
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola

Certificate
12A

Synopsis

Steve Rogers, better known to the world as Captain America, struggles to get back to normal in the modern world and to accept his role in the growing organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. but when a threat from the past known as the Winter Soldier surfaces, just what will Rogers be able to believe in?

Review

While a good origin story, I still felt that 'Captain America: The First Avenger' was missing a little something.  Don't get me wrong, it was a great way to get Captain America back in to the cinematic Marvel universe and they really juggled the back story and the modern scenes brilliantly well.  They then followed that up with the superb 'The Avengers' movie.

That left me wondering just where they were going to take the character next.  That's when they announced that they would be adapting the superb 'Winter Soldier' storyline by Ed Brubaker, which is one of my favorite story arcs featuring Captain America.  I have to admit that I was a bit worried that some of the multiple layers created by Brubaker may be lost in the action on the screen.

Here, we have been given the best adaptation of a Marvel story that I have seen in a long time yet it manages to do something strange.  We have the action packed, explosive scenes that us comic book fans have grown to love yet this is also a deeply personal movie.  We get to see in to the psyche of Rogers, see more of his personality in the exchanges with Romanoff and even see him some fragility in his scenes with the Winter Soldier himself.

That's the sort of movie making that really makes the superhero genre raise it's heads and shoulders above what some may see as just balls to the wall action movies.  I loved the fact that the characters weren't perfect, they made mistakes but then you got to see the aftermath of everything that happens to them.  They don't just shake it off as if it never happened.

Cast wise, I would honestly say that while it is crammed full of characters, the cast do an absolutely brilliant job of making each one memorable.  One of my favorites was Robert Redford as Pierce.  He really gave his scenes, especially those alongside Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, a sense of gravitas.  However this is definitely the Steve Rogers show.  Chris Evans not only improves on his stellar performances in the first Captain America movie and that in 'The Avengers' but expands on it.  That's especially true in the scenes involving Romanoff, played by Johansson and with the Winter Soldier, played by Stan.

After hearing that Falcon was going to be involved in the movie, I have to admit that I wasn't sure just how they would get him in to the movie without him seeming like he was there just to make up the numbers.  That said, Mackie gives a brilliant performance here and more than holds his own alongside Evans.  On the strength of the ending, I get the feeling that we've not seen the end of the character by far.

All in all, this is definitely one of the best movies in the Marvel canon.  I was completely hooked all the way through and really think that they did a stellar job of adapting one of the best Captain America stories of the modern age.  The sense of urgency and gravitas that run through the entire movie really make this one well worth checking out, especially for all the nods of characters that could be making appearances in the next set of Marvel movies.  Roll on 'Age of Ultron', you've got a lot to live up to after this one.

Movie 8.5/10

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Longship Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Lawrence Rider

Art and Cover By
Rebecca Teal

Published By
Time Bomb Comics

Genre
Drama

Synopsis

“Longship” is written by Lawrence Rider with artwork by Rebecca Teall, and is the emotional and heart-warming story of a man’s funeral.

Utilising an unusual picture-book format that enhances the emotions of the story, Rider and Teall have weaved a stunning tale of life and death, of what you leave behind and what we will do to honour those we love, and is a stunning debut from two talented comics creators.

Review

When I first started to look at this one, the first thing that struck me was the format of the book itself.  Instead of being the normal, bog standard graphic novel that we all know and love, it's done in a square and almost record sleeve shaped book.

I loved the fact that it looked so different as it definitely caught the eye and really had a sense of wanting to see just what it was all about to it.

Also, another one of the things that struck me was the absolutely stunning cover.  From looking at the cover I was expecting a historical story, maybe full of viking battles and adventures.  That's where the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover" comes in to play.

Instead of the historical battle filled epic that I was expecting, we have a wonderfully reflective, gently paced drama about a man's funeral.  You might think that this would be a depressing and slow dirge of a story but that's not the case at all.  Instead, we have a story that while it is about a funeral, you still come away from it with a sense of beauty, hope and honour.  It's a wonderful look at just how we can remember the ones we love and the ones we lose in our lives.

We begin the story at the funeral itself with the other residents having come out to see him and to say their goodbyes then it goes in to flashback story mode and really tells the story of the characters in a beautiful way.  Part of me was kind of expecting some sort of twist in the end but it never came, instead the story comes across as a wonderfully eccentric and beautiful story that feels completely realistic.

Art wise, the book looks like nothing else that Time Bomb Comics have put out before.  It's a wonderfully indie and quirky feel to the art.  In fact, I would even say that the art is some of the most beautiful that I have seen come out of the Time Bomb Comics camp.  Rebecca Teall isn't an artist that I was at all familiar with but on the strength of the art here, I would jump at the chance to see more.

This may not be the sort of graphic novel or story that you have read before.  The different format, setting and pacing of the story really make this a title that is definitely well worth a look.  It'll definitely be one that I will read again and again.

Story 8.5/10
Art 9/10
Cover 10/10
Recommended 9.5/10
Overall 37/40

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Silver Mirrors (Apparatus Infernum Book 2) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
A.A. Aguire

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Steam Punk, Thriller, Fantasy

Synopsis

CID inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive.  Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, the result of magic released during their desperate interuption of an ancient ritual.

The fabric of the world has been disrupted, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.

They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined.  Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts - and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide...

Review

When I read the first book of the 'Apparatus Infernum' series called 'Bronze Gods', I stated that it came remarkably close to taking George Mann's crown as the master of the steam punk mystery.  That was a very lofty claim and I still stand by it, even after having read the book again.

When Titan Books offered me a chance to read the second book in the series, I was very excited but also a little worried.  How on Earth would Aguirre match the utter brilliance of 'Bronze Gods'?

Well, in this, the second book of the series, Aguirre doesn't overtake the quality of the first book but it does match up brilliantly well.  The action that was so well written in the first novel is present here and in some places, even surpasses that in the original novel but that's not even the best part of this one.

The world that was so well built up is not only here in all it's glory but is also expanded upon.  Aguirre does an utterly brilliant job of showing us so many different facets of that world  that it's almost cinematic in it's scope.  I would love to see the world that is written about here on the cinema screen, it really is that good.  Add in to that the characters that come across as exciting but also as realistic and you have a very good continuation of the series.

One of the things that I really loved about the book was that you could really see some of the influences at play here.  During the story itself there were flashes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and then even of Kathy Reichs yet retaining Aguirre's rather unique voice.  This really helped the story become one that you really can't put down.

If you were to compare it to the first one, I would honestly say that it more than matches up to the task of keeping the momentum going.  In fact, I was excited to see more of this series after 'Bronze Gods' but now after reading 'Silver Mirrors', I'm waiting with bated breath to see where the story and the mystery is going to be taken next.

Story 9/10
Characters 8.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 34/40