Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Clone Apocalypse Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Steven L. Kent

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Military, Action

Synopsis

Earth, 2519 A.D.  The clone soldiers of the Enlisted Man's Empire, formerly members of the Unified Authority's powerful military, believe they have finally secured their freedom.  They may not live to learn how wrong they are...

After launching an unsuccessful invasion of Washington, D.C., the Unified Authority is on the verge of defeat.  Then the clones discover the U.A.'s last-ditch plan for survival: a super weapon, a virus designed to attack the clone's internal architecture.  Only one clone is immune to the virus - Wayson Harris, an outlaw model with independant thoughts an an addiction to violence.

As his empire collapses, Harris begins a one-man war against the government that created, betrayed and ultimately destroyed his brothers.  But fighting the war becomes more difficult as the rush from the constant combat drives Harris increasingly insane...

Review

Continuing the military action stories of the previous 'Clone' novels, Steven L. Kent returns with the tenth book in the series.  I've always felt that one of the strengths of the series was the simple fact that the books both work as a stand alone story but also as part of a larger story.

The Clone Apocalypse follows the same mould in that it works on it's own but this is definitely an installment that works better as one of the cogs in the long running machine that is known as this series.

Is this novel, Harris begins a descent in to madness and at times, insanity.  The constants battles and near death experiences have begun to wear down his mind and it shows here.  The writing by Kent really moves that part of the story along brilliantly, at times dropping subtle little nods in and others putting the exclamation point on to it all yet it gels so well that it's almost as if you are watching it happen in front of your very eyes.

Alongside that, you have the larger picture of the ongoing war with the U.A. and it's as action packed as the other books.  I loved how Kent put forward the fact that they are getting increasingly brutal and desperate because none of their plans have worked to bring them back in to power.  That's when they resort to a plan that could be seen as almost terrorist like in nature and the feeling of dread that runs through the novel with that revelation is palpable.  I couldn't wait to get to the next page to see just where the story was going to go next and how it was going to affect not only Harris but the characters around him.

If you are a fan of Kent's 'Clone' series then you are going to love all the nods to the previous tales in this one.  If you are just entering the world that Kent has created then you will be hooked in straight away thanks to the sheer strength of his writing.  Definitely one to add to any science fiction fans book shelf.

Story 8/10
Characters 8/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31/40

Shipstar Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Gregory Benford
Larry Niven

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction

Synopsis

When the crew of the SunSeeker investigates a gigantic, bowl-shaped object with a sun at its center, their landing party is split into two groups.

One is captured, while the other is pursued across a deadly landscape.  Both seen to unravel the mysteries of the gargantuan artefact known as the Shipstar.

To survive they must escape the alien inhabitants known as the Folk.  What they discover along the way will transform the way mankind understands its place in the universe.

Review

With two writers such as Niven and Benford involved in creating a novel, or in this case the second in a series, then the reader is bound to go in to it with incredibly high hopes.

Their first book together was both well written and a bit of a disappointment at the same time.  The best way to describe it would be that the pieces were all there for a truly fantastic novel yet for some reason they just didn't gel as much as they sort have done.  That said, would their second collaboration be better?

Well, yes and no.

The story itself is sound in that you can get sucked in to the tale itself.  The world that it was created in the first novel feels immense and never ending.  I loved that about it.  You just couldn't wait to see what was going to turn up around the next corner but that was also one of the main flaws in the story as well.  There were long moments where they seemed to be setting up for something huge then loads of things would happen in a really sort period and it just felt like it was crammed in.

Another thing that bothered me was that while Niven and Benford are known for their well written and detailed stories, they took it a little bit too far here with long sections describing the engineering of the ship itself or the biology of the aliens. It's said that sometimes less is more and that's the case here.  Less would have worked better because it's sometimes more successful if you leave more parts up to the imagination of the reader.

The history of the bowl makers came across as a little bit out of place and sometimes even too preachy for it's own good.  That's a real shame because there were some wonderful ideas behind it that should have really made the story unmissable but it just didn't work here.

All in all, with the two writers involved, I expected a story that not only flowed better but would also engage me as a reader more.  Don't get me wrong, what we have here is well written to some extent but it just doesn't come together as much as it should do and that's a shame, especially for Niven and Benford fans.

Story 5/10
Characters 5/10
Cover 4/10
Recommended 5/10
Overall 19/40

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Tortured Life Issue 1 and 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Neil Gibson (Issue 1)
Dan Watters (Issue 2)

Art and Cover By
Caspar Wijngaard

Published By
T Pub

Genre
Supernatural, Horror, Drama

Synopsis

Richard Carter has the supernatural power to see how people are going to die.  At first Richard tries to help people - thinking his gift was something that would allow him to save lives.

Unfortunately for Richard, this was not the case.  He's destined to watch those around him die, completely powerless to stop the gears of fate from moving towards their death.

Richard takes to living a life of solitude in order to prevent anyone getting close to him, desperate to stop the visions that plague his every waking moment.

The visions aren't the only thing to have appeared in his life, so has a supernatural creature known only as The Bloody Man, a half alive and half dead creature intent on only one mission.  Killing Richard Carter!

Review

After reviewing the graphic novel titled Tabatha that T Pub put out, the guys involved very kindly gave me the chance to review the first two issues of their new series that will feature themes that are very familiar to any fan with even a passing interest in supernatural horror stories.

The one thing that puzzled me was the simple fact that with such a well worn premise as someone being able to see how people are going to die, would the series suffer from feeling a bit like you had already read it albeit in a different guise?

Well after reading the first two issues, I can definitely say that's not the case here.  With Gibson's writing being so on point in Tabatha, I had very high hopes for these two issues and he didn't disappoint in the slightest, if anything I was even more impressed.

One of the main strengths of the two issues is the simple fact that the team doesn't feel the need to have to explain everything straight from the off.  The pacing leads slowly but surely in to Richard's world that it feels almost unsettling in places.  The best way to describe it would be when you get that feeling that something bad is about to happen but you're not sure what that thing will be or when it happen.  That runs through the first issue brilliantly and then leaps in to the second almost seamlessly.

The story flowing in such a way comes to a head in the final third of the first issue that leaves you feeling so hooked in that you feel utterly desperate to see just where Gibson is going to take the story next.  I felt that to such a degree that I dove straight in to issue two and I am massively glad that I did.  The story carries on it's pacing but ramps up the feeling of dread and horror without missing a single step.  I am massively intrigued with the character of The Bloody Man and, in the same way as Richard, I can't wait to see find out more about him and how he is going to interact with the other characters.  The story really feels like it is going to hit the reader with something huge and I can't wait to see just what that is going to be.

With Caspar Wijngaard handling the art duties you know what you are going to get and that is art that will help the story flow through your head almost as if it's a movie unfolding before your very eyes.  The almost washed out look of some of the pages made me think of those old school 1980's horror movies that I not only grew up watching but still love now albeit with a modern edge.  The use of facial expressions and shadows here is masterful and really gives the story an even creepier feel.

The highlight of the two issues for me definitely has to be the art and the way that it fits the writing almost like a glove.  It captures the bright, playful nature of life but veers in to the darker side of things with a nearly morbid glee yet it's subtle enough to work without feeling disjointed and messy.

All in all, this is one of those series that you just have to pick up.  It is definitely going to be one that you will want to stay with and see through to the end.  Hell, I can see it being a series that I can see the fans returning to time and again just to try to capture all the little details and clues that Gibson and Wijngaard have slipped in to the story.

Issue One
Story 9/10
Art 9/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 35/40

Issue Two
Story 9/10
Art 9/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 35.5/40 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Sons of Anarchy: Bratva Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Christopher Golden

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Thriller, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

Set after the fourth season of the groundbreaking television drama Sons of Anarchy, from the mind of executive producer Kurt Sutter.

With half of the club recently released from Stockton State Penitentiary, and the Galindo drug cartel bringing down head at every turn, the MC already has its hands full.  Yet Jax Teller, the VP of SAMCRO, has another problem to deal with.

He's just learned that his Irish half-sister, Trinity, has been in the United States for months, entangled with Russian Bratva gangsters.  Now that she's abruptly gone missing, he's sure the brewing mafia war is connected to her disappearance.

Jax heads to Nevada with Chibs and Opie to search for her and seek revenge.  Trinity may be half-Irish, but she's also half-Teller, and where Tellers go, trouble follows.

Review

As a fan of the Sons of Anarchy television show, I was a bit worreid that a tie-in novel may go the same way as quite a few other tie-in novels.  

Some end up a bit hit and miss with the writers not really getting the hand of the characters or the themes of the show that the stories would be based on.  Others seem to fit hand in hand with the show and even add to the mythology as well.

Sons of Anarchy: Bratva is the sort of tie-in novel that assumes that you are already a fan of the show itself and really puts it's foot to the floor in order to get proceedings underway and for the most part it works.  I was a bit puzzled that a writer such as Christopher Golden, best known for his science fiction and fantasy novels, was chosen to pen a story set in the world brought to life by people such as Kurt Sutter yet he does a really good job of really tapping in to the themes that made the cult show so popular.

There are moments where if you haven't seen up to season four or even seen the series at all then you will be a bit lost but that said, this is the sort of novel that is penned for the already existing fans and in that way, it does it's job very well.

The characters that we know and love to hate are here as well as new additions to the Sons of Anarchy world and that's where Golden really lets fly with his writing.  The new characters really sit hand in hand with the already exisiting ones in such a way that they wouldn't have been out of place in the show.

Story wise, it's paced very well and there are some brilliant twists and turns.  There are some moments that really feel like they have come from the screen and you can envision the characters easily, which is one thing that raises it above some of the other tie-in novels I have read recently.

The one thing that I was disappointed about is the simple fact that there were a couple of minor loose ends left and there were a couple of moments where the things that were happening just didn't seem to go anywhere but they were minor and didn't take away from my enjoyment of the novel itself.

All in all, while it doesn't stand up as a stand alone novel, if you are a fan of Sons of Anarchy then Bratva is a book that really will impress you and be enjoyed but if you're not a fan of the show then maybe give it a miss.

Story 7/10
Characters 8/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 30/40

Friday, 21 November 2014

The CatMan Cometh: Brad Linder Talks to COASM



Today here at Curiosity of a Social Misfit, we’re joined by Brad Linder for a chat with Patrick Scattergood about the launch of his Kickstarter campaign to bring the adventures of the superhero CatMan to the masses.

PS: Firstly, thank you very much for popping in to our part of the Internet to chat with us here today.
BL: Thanks for having me!

PS: With so many indie comic books coming out seemingly every day, what made you want to step foot in to the crowded world of the indie creator?


BL: I'm a life-long fan of comics and have always wanted to take part in the industry. I decided to take the ' Stan Lee ' approach, which is to create comics that I and fellow creators that are also fans would like to read and produce. We are specifically after that group that grew up with comics but comics didn't continue to grow up with them.

PS: What or whom would you say has been the biggest influence on you writing wise?

BL: I have a lot of influences but a specific couple are Stan Lee, which his direct plot approach. Then, Peter David with his layered approach, always having a strong story on the surface but also having an undertoned bigger plot pushing through. Then, writers like M. Night Shayamalan and Stephen King, which both have their original take and twists to story-telling that are never exactly what they appear.

PS: You’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to make your comic book CatMan: Evolution but what made you decide to go the crowd funding route?

BL: I wanted to go this way because I want to see FireStorm Comics fill a void in comics that blurs the line between mainstream quality and independent creativity and freedom. Crowdfunding is under utlized in the comics areana due to being approached by campaign creators looking to build fans and sales of the books in short run, instead of supporters and backers of the project that can make a larger impact and then support itself in the industry and growing from there.
I'm trying to show people that this is an amazing book and an outstanding team of creators and to continue to make comics and help the industry, we need to redefine what we do in these campaigns.

We are asking for a larger run to open the independent comics market into mainstream outlets and show people that we can do both in building independent creations and have our books in the mainstream shelves for fans to see and support.

We just have to get thete and with the support and backing of fans that want to see books like CatMan Evolution, as well as others we support, it can happen!

PS: To any of the readers out there that aren’t familiar with the character of Catman, how would you go about describing him to them?

BL: CatMan Evolution is a story about Darren Merrywether, the modern day CatMan incarnation, which in the FireStorm Universe, is the grandson of the 1950's Cat-Man hero. Darren hits the ground running from page #1, dealing with the hero and man he is becoming, as well as dealing with the pending hostile takeover of his family company that his grandfather built.

PS: Catman: Evolution has a charming, almost old adventure feel to the story. What influenced you to bring the character to life?

BL: As previously mentioned, I'm a fan of comics and wanted something with that direct plot feel of ' good vs. evil ' , as well as layering the story on multiple levels. I wanted an iconic hero that would bring everything into focus very quickly and clearly for the fan-base and what better than an anti-hero struggling to define himself as the guide into that world. CatMan is one of those characters that people can easily relate to and is a great jumping off point into the FireStorm Comics Universe.

PS: With so many superhero comic books in the indie market at the moment, what do you think makes your title stand out and be noticed?
BL: With the CatMan Evolution title, we are opening the door to the original approach of the FireStorm Comics continuity, which is contained in itself. The story is defined by how the characters all came to be. The FireStorm Comics Universe is set in a unique timeline all its own. What people know of the original Cat-Man, Darren's grandfather no longer exists the same way in Darren's world. CatMan has truly evolved into something completely different and new!

PS: What other projects do you have in the pipeline?

BL: We have LoneRider: Frontier Galaxy, a sci-fi/steampunk western, where a man is left for dead due to a crimeboss wanting his land for ore deposits. The hero comes back as a masked vigilante on the planet of New Kansas and becomes the face of law in the new frontier.

We also have a number of other titles in production currently, which we will bring out at a later time. We want to stabilize our production and keep the schedule as planned, to maintain quality and focus required to give CatMan Evolution the support it requires right now.

PS: As an indie writer yourself, who would say are the creators to look out for?


BL: It is an open game right now, as with the mainstream redefining itself in such a massive scale and indie creators putting out amazing projects left and right, there would be too many to list here. However, I suggest using comickickstarter.com and the facebook group and page of the same name to spread the word about upcoming campaigns you would like to support.

PS: Where can fans of your work see you popping up next?


BL: I've got the ongoing issues of CatMan Evolution that will be coming up and a couple of non-FireStorm projects coming out in the next couple of months. We are so busy with the current titles being developed and produced that I am am limited to what I am able to bring out right now. what I can reveal is that we are going to be doing a podcast for comickickstarter.com and promoting interviews with kickstarter creators, as well as my own comic & marketing show in Jan. 2015.

PS: Do you have any last words for the aspiring writers or the fans out there?


BL: Always remain a student of your craft, while always striving to master it, yet never actually doing so. Keep your mind open to new methodology and approach. Bring your best effort and produce every day. When you choose to take part in the industry, keep in mind that community over competition builds growth in the industry and room for more of us to succeed and make a living doing what we love to do.

Create more titles, banners, projects, companies, comics and awareness that you support the industry to make it grow so that more creators can come together and strengthen the industry as a whole...not just for ' you ' to work in the top 100 titles, but to create 100 new titles for new creators to work in with you.

Check out their Kickstarter campaign here! 

Also check out the Facebook page for Firestorm Comics

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Chris McDonnell

Introduction By
Guillermo del Toro

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Television Tie-In, Art

Synopsis

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is the first book to take fans behind the scenes of Finn the Human's and Jake the Dog's adventures in the post-apocalyptic, magical land of Ooo.

Packed to the seams with concept art and storyboards, this lavishly illustrated tome offers an all-access pass in to the Emmy-Award-winning show team's creative process.

The Art of Ooo traces series creator Pendleton Ward's early influences and work, then reveals how the writers, storyboarders, animators, and voice actors work in tandem to bring this wildly inventive series to life.

Fans will pore over early character sketches, as well as background paintings and rare glimpses into the series' show bible.  This visual treasure chest is gilded throughout with commentary from all the show's key creative talent.

The Art of Ooo is the perfect companion to and celebration of this groundbreaking, award-winning series.

Review

As a big fan of nerdy and generally quite off kilter shows, I always love it when you get to see books about the creativity behind the shows and how they come in to being.  Sometimes you get books that end up being an absolute treasure trove of information for the fans and even ends up becoming a book that you can come back to again and again.  Other times you get a book that feels rushed and has just been put out to gain a few extra pennies from the fanbase.

With a show as popular as Adventure Time, I was wondering just what would be put in to the book that would make it as popular as the show itself.  Well, the answer is quite simple.  The answer is that exactly what we have in this book is what we, as fans, would want and more.

We start off with an introduction from the legendary director Guillermo del Toro, which I thought was a nice touch.  Sometimes when you get a star writing an introduction to a book it ends up just being an ego stroking exercise but here you can really tell that del Toro is a fan of the show and is passionate about it.

Then throughout the book we are treated to the entire story of the show itself.  From the seeds of creation right up to the finished product, no stone is left unturned.  You really can tell that this book was a labour of love for the team involved because each and every creative member is spoken to, we are treated to some brilliant concept art, character sketches as well as some rare looks in to the actual show bible as well.

I absolutely loved seeing the genesis of the show from the seeds right up to the finished show that we all know and love watching so much.

That said, my favourite part of the book was by far the interactions from the creator Pendleton Ward.  He comes across as extremely intelligent, fun and witty as well as being massively proud of the show that he has created.

The layout of the book is brilliant.  You really can just pick it up, flick to a page and read through about a certain era of the show and it will flow just as well as if you are reading it from page one.  The flow really hooks you in and you can really just lose yourself in the world that they have created for the show.

If you are a fan of the show then this is an absolutely essential purchase.  Even if you aren't a fan of the show then this is still a really worthy book to add to your collection because it really shows the level of creativity and just how you can take an idea and turn it in to something that is loved by a hell of a lot of people around the world.

Presentation 9/10
Informative 10/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 28/30

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Doctor: His Lives and Times Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
James Goss
Steve Tribe

Published By
BBC Books

Genre
Television Tie-In

Synopsis

He's made a mark on almost every era of history, and he's touched millions of lives across space and time.  In these pages you'll find just some of the stories behind those brief encounters, each of them addressing the question that must never, ever be answered: 'Doctor Who?'

This is the story of an impossible life - of a man who borrowed a spaceship, travelled through time and continually saved the universe - as told by the Doctor's friends, by his enemies, and by the man himself.

Letters, journals, trial records, secret government files and the occasional bit of tabloid journalism reveal the never-before-told story of Gallifrey's last Time Lord.

Review

As a long term 'Whovian' myself, I will pretty much read anything about the show, the characters and the people that work so hard to bring them to life.  Granted, you have probably noticed that on the visits to this site.

When I was bought Doctor Who: His Lives and Times by my wife, I couldn't wait to read it.  The life of the one of the most iconic characters on British television told through his own eyes and those of the characters he encounters along the way is such an interesting way to get to the core of the character.  I was a little bit worried that it may come across as a bit of a gimmick book and one that you could only read the once but this book had the complete opposite effect on me.  Each time you read this one, you notice something new each time.  Not only do you get the absolute treasure trove of information and character work here but there are little nods and winks in the background of the pages as well.  No doubt there'll be some eagle eyed readers that will sit down and note every little link in there but that's not my style.  Where would be the fun in that?

We get sections of the book from all the versions of the Doctor and while that should make the book disjointed, the way it's all set out the things that we see here just flow as if one huge story.  I suppose in a way the character and his history is exactly that.

The various versions of the iconic character are handled brilliantly here.  Each has their own distinct personality that matches the performances that we fell in love with on the television show itself and the writing really captures that in such a way that you feel like it really has been written by that character and that really shows the love and respect the writers have for the show.

If you are a fan of Doctor Who then this is definitely one of those books that should take pride of place on your shelf.

Story 8.5/10
Characters 9/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 35/40

At Hell's Gates: Volume One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Devan Sagliani
Stephen Kozeniewski
Lesa Kinney Anders and Matthew Kinney
Shana Festa
Stevie Kopas
James Crawford
J. Ruldoph
S.G. Lee
Paul Mannering
J.M. Martin
Tim Marquitz
Rachel Aukes
Frank Tayell
Sean T. Smith
Jacqueline Druga
Sharon Stevenson

Edited By
Monica Happy
James Crawford

Published By
Smashwords

Genre
Horror, Anthology

Synopsis

When evil overflows from the deepest, fiery pits, the battle will be At Hell’s Gates…Whether you are a zombie aficionado, or you feed on horror, there is something for everyone. We've summoned some of the top Zompoc authors, masters in horror, and even some new talent to strike fear into even the most jaded soul. Dare you look, let alone approach, the dreaded gates?

Each skillfully crafted vignette showcases previously created worlds in the individual author’s works. If you've ever yearned for more back story or ached to learn what happened to a peripheral character; your wait is over. But, as they say, “Be careful what you wish for”. Once it has been seen, you cannot go back. And once infected; there is no cure.

This collaboration is in honor of the brave men and women in our Armed Services who willingly lay down their lives for our freedom. Words could not possibly express our undying gratitude, so we have banded together, doing what we do best, to show our appreciation. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to serve wounded soldiers and their families. This is for you, those who have truly been…At Hell’s Gates.

Review

As a horror and zombie fan, as well as a writer myself, I jumped at the chance to review this anthology.

Full of well known horror authors, some of whom have done a lot of work for the Permuted Press publisher, as well as some new names, this anthology felt like there really was going to be a story for every type of horror fan that you could get.

Quite a few of the stories here do link to the authors other works yet they all work well to varying degrees as stand alone stories as well.  The main thing however that made this collection work was the simple fact that the editing was superb.  I honestly couldn't pick up anything that would bug me or annoy me as a reader.

One of the things that is always at the back of my mind when reading anthologies is the simple fact that a lot them are quite hit and miss.  Here the quality is level all the way through.

Obviously there are a couple of stories that stand out above all the others, especially when you see titles like Exploding Shit Zombies, a tale that Stephen Kozeniewski has crafted that is well paced and full of dark humour that the horror fans will love.  It's a little short on character development but it has such a fun charm that you are far too busy being entertained that it doesn't take away from the tale itself.

Hour of the Beast by J.M. Martin is a cracker of a story.  One of the first non zombie stories in the collection has a well written Medieval tone to it and works really well when recounting why the husband of a young pregnant lady has suddenly become so cold and angry.  Well worth a read.

If you are a visitor to the site then you know I'm a bit of a fan of the books by Sharon Stevenson and her story here really doesn't disappoint.  Her normal superb character work and pacing is on view here and rightfully makes it one of the best stories in the anthology.  I don't want to give too much away about the story because there are some brilliant twists and turns but if you are a fan of her previous work then you are going to love this one.

All in all, considering the meagre price and the good cause that this charity that the collection is raising money for, this is definitely well worth picking up.  The whole team here have done a superb job of giving the readers some great stories that will not only stand up well on their own but will also make you want to check out their other work.

Story 8/10
Characters 7.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 31/40

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Indie Spotlight: Dead Bride Comics


Article By
Patrick Scattergood

It's been a bit of a while since the last indie spotlight article and for that I apologise guys and girls.  Real life got in the way as the saying goes.  For this one, I thought I'd go for something a little bit different and go for a company instead.

Name: Dead Bride Comics
Occupation: British Indie Publisher


With the British indie comic book scene have a bit of a resurgence recently thanks to the extremely talented folks such as Dan Charnley, David McCluskey, Victor Wright, Rachael Smith and more, there have been some brilliant new publishers and companies popping up.

One of these publishers is Dead Bride Comics helmed by Dan Barnes.  Barnes himself is the writer for the company but if you were to think this was a vanity project then you would be missing out on some superb work that they have been putting out recently.


At the moment, their list of issues run from the superhero genre in form of Starlex, horror comedy in the shape of Revenge is Geek and you even have some action horror goodness in the shape of Monster Home and there is a much more to come.

Their art styles vary from title to title and I like that variety.  Revenge is Geek has an almost cartoon feel to it, Monster Home has a Mike Mignola feel to it but then you have Starlex that has more than a nod to the golden age of comics.


As well as those titles Dan Barnes is also penning a few more.  The ones that have grabbed my eye the most are Vatican, which looks to be a dark, almost vengeful tale and Maple Falls, which is looking like it could turn in to a blood soaked tale of horror.

With those titles as well as a wide range of artists such as Martin Parkes, Lee Ciasullo, Stefano Cardoselli and others under their umbrella, I would definitely be keeping an eye on Dead Bride Comics because they are going to be going places!

Super Happy Link Time!



Sunday, 9 November 2014

Doctor Who: Dark Water / Death in Heaven Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Steven Moffat

Directed By
Rachel Talalay

Genre
Science Fiction, Adventure

Cast

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald
Michelle Gomez as Missy
Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink
Chris Addison as Seb
Andrew Leung as Dr Chang
Ingrid Oliver as Osgood
Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart

Synopsis

In the mysterious world of the Nethersphere, plans have been drawn. Old friends and old enemies manoeuvre around The Doctor, and an impossible choice is looming over him.

Review

This series of Doctor Who has divided a lot of fans.  With Capaldi's angry, almost cynical take on the legendary character harks back to the old school versions such as Tom Baker, William Hartnell and more.  I have loved that.  The younger fans that got in to the show through Eccleston, Tennant and Smith have felt a little alienated by this new version and that's a real shame because they have been missing out.

I must admit that some of the writing hasn't felt like it was up to Capaldi's powerhouse performances and because of that, it felt like the character was overshadowing the show itself and the stories that they were involved with.  Then the series really ramped itself up with the run in to the last two episodes.

With Dark Water, the first part of the two part season finale, we are started off on a road that will lead to insanity, tragedy and heartbreak for the characters and it felt absolutely hooking.  A couple of moments in the episode did feel like they were tacked on but I really enjoyed it.  Then we came to the shocking ending of the episode where it's finally revealed just who Missy really is.  That's alienated quite a few fans but I felt that it wasn't all that shocking yet for me, it worked because of Gomez's absolutely bonkers performance alongside Capaldi's elder statesman performance.  They really did bounce off of each other in such a way that you couldn't take your eyes off of them whenever they were on screen.

We are also treated to a bit more of the character of Danny Pink.  Pink, I feel, was a bit a wasted character in that we weren't really given all  that many reasons to get behind him as a character.  That said, it was a good way to keep the character of Clara grounded throughout the series but I just wish they had done a little more with him.  Here that changes a little in that we see more of his backstory and just why he acts the way he does about his past.

That's when we are thrown head first in to the second part and I was absolutely blown away by it.

Gomez ramped up the crazy so much that it little flew off the screen and her interactions with Capaldi as The Doctor were beguiling and I couldn't take my eyes off of the pair of them.

The story moves along at a cracking pace kept me on the edge of my seat all of the way through it.  I have to admit that this is one of the best finales for the series that I have seen in a long time and Moffat really did a good job of not only including the dark side of the story and the heartbreak but also gave us some insane moments of humour (such as Missy singing to the tune of "Oh Missy you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind...) but also some really beautiful moments of looking back at the past versions of the show.  My favorites being the links to the Smith era, where some loose ends are brilliantly tied up, as well as some links to the classic era.

All in all, this is honestly one of the best finales I've seen since the series was reborn under the eyes of Davies and Moffat.  There is so much for the long term fans that you will be hooked in trying to notice them all.  It's definitely one of the darkest finales I've seen, this isn't a fairytale with a happy ending.  Far from it.  There is no happy ending here.  Instead there is heartbreak and tears yet you can't help but think you've not seen the end of the characters that have gone knowing Moffat.

Definitely well worth watching.  I especially loved the previews for the Christmas episodes.  It felt a little weird having who Nick Frost is playing revealed after such a heartbreaking ending but I'm curious as to how it will link up to what happened here.

Show 8.5/10

Valley 01: Issue 3 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
David Heath

Art and Cover By
Anita Zamarella

Published By
Bilateral Comics

Genre
Science Fiction, Action

Synopsis

EROS-68 and Bartlett struggle to communicate, while troops from Charris close in on finding them…can our crew of intrepid rogues make it out of this situation? 

Charris…Valley-01…two planets that exist within plain sight of each other. Past conflicts have defined these worlds, leaving one a barren, anarchic wasteland and the other a breathtaking, technologically advanced utopia. 

Ten years have passed since the last direct battle, but tensions will once again flare as a mysterious, renegade machine lands on Valley-01 searching for its own freedom.

Review

After the brilliance of Code 991, I was wondering just what else we were going to get from the Bilateral Comics crew next.

With Valley 01: Issue 3 we have gotten the next part of Bartlett's adventures and it can't have come soon enough.

When I read the first part of the story, I was taken with the fact that it was exciting but it had a bit of a darker comedic element under the surface of the story itself.  Here we have the action quota ramped up in such a way that there isn't all that much dialogue in this one.  Instead, the action takes centre stage and really puts forward just how much danger the characters are in.

Here, Heath really ramps up the tensions between the characters and just how much trouble they have really gotten themselves in to.  We are told a little bit about why they are after the renegade machine but not too much as to waste any of the twists.  I would say it's best described as we are told enough to grab our interest and want to grab the next installment.

We're also soon a little more of Bartlett as well in that, he's shown in full science fiction action hero glory.  He really comes across as a bit of a bad ass so I can't wait to see where Heath is going to take him next.

Art wise, the story is full of bright colours and sometimes off kilter angles.  I liked that approach as it gave it a quirky, almost Japanese feel to it all.  That's most evident in the battle sequences because while they are busy and full to the brim with things going on, it doesn't feel overcrowded or confusing.

All in all, I'm definitely a fan of this story and I can't wait for the next installment.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31.5/40

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Inspector Nardone DVD Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Created By
Silvia Napolitano
Marcello Olivieri
Gianni Cardillo
Andrea Purgatori
Vincenzo Scuccimarra

Genre
Crime, Thriller

Cast

Sergio Assisi as Mario Nardone
Samantha Michela Capitoni as Vanessa
Franco Castellano as Ossola
Sara D'Amario as Rina Fort
Luigi Di Fiore as Corrado Murano
Stefano Dionisi as Sergio Suderghi
Manlio Dovi as Salvatore Cangemi

Certificate
15

Synopsis

Post-war Milan is the ideal breeding ground for a new wave of criminal activity. A crime-scene that is very different from what we are used to today: an old-fashioned system of organized crime, made up of thieves and outlaws who share a specific moral code, which absolutely condemns homicide. A new chief officer is assigned to the Milan Police Department, as if to settle a score for having exposed his corrupt colleagues. This is just one of the various difficulties that Mario Nardone, an authentic Neapolitan, must face in the sophisticated and urbane Milan. A city which, nevertheless, Nardone loves unconditionally, and where he plans to bring up his beloved, albeit somewhat neglected, children.

Based on a real figure, Mario Nardone was a true legend in Milan during the 50’s and 60’s. Straightforward, persistently stubborn but also endowed with a strong moral code and a great sense of humanity, Nardone has deep loves; including his long-suffering family, good cuisine and cracking jokes at every opportunity.

Review

Just recently there has been an absolute explosion in the crime genre of Nordic Noir thrillers and television series.  Inspector Nardone is the Italian attempt at recreating that but is it successful?

Well for the most part it is.

The series itself doesn't really take the noir approach other than the setting but they do use it well in the show.

One of the things that I liked about the show is the simple fact that while the stereotypes are all there in the shape of some of the characters, they don't really hang the show on them.  We're treated to a show that not only focuses on the murders themselves but also on the characters that are both behind them and investigating them.

The star of the show is definitely Sergio Assisi, who as Inspector Nardone himself, really takes the investigations and the gusto with enough gusto that you truly believe in parts that he is investigating a real life crime.  That's not to say that the rest of the cast don't hold up their end of the bargain.  They're equal parts fun, memorable and exciting, which really lends itself to the characters feeling realistic and interesting.

One of the things that did strike me was the simple fact that there were certain moments where the humour that was dotted throughout the series felt a bit out of place.  In fact, it felt almost at odds with some of the stories included here.

This rather jovial at times series really does both thrill and entertain the viewers.  As an Italian series, Inspector Nardone doesn't quite come close to matching some of the classic series that came from the Nordic Noir boom but at the same time isn't a waste either.

If you like your crime series' with a dash of humour and flair then you should definitely check out this series.

Show 7.5/10

The Power of Tank Girl Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Alan Martin

Art By
Rufus Dayglo
Ashley Wood

Cover By
Ashley Wood

Published By
Titan Comics

Genre
Action, Adventure, Comedy

Synopsis

A steaming 288-page lump of Tank Girl nastiness!

Collecting three graphic novels - The Gifting, Visions of Booga, and The Royal Escape - The Power of Tank Girl presents an all-out blitzkrieg on the senses.

Never before has so much dense naughtiness been crammed into such a perfectly portable pocket-size book.

Hold onto this - this is your bible for the apocalypse!

Review

I have to admit.  Tank Girl was one of the first comics I ever read.  That alongside Batman and The Punisher sent me on my merry way in to becoming a major comic book fan.  That said, I haven't read any of the Tank Girl stories for a long time but when Titan Comics announced that there were going to release a collection of three graphic novels, I was excited.

With this collection, The Power of Tank Girl, we are plunged head first in to the complete and utter insanity that is Tank Girl.

Starting off on a rather strange note in the shape of The Royal Escape, you are thrown head first in to the adventures that the rag tag gang go on.  I have to admit that I was a little baffled by using this one as the opening story.  If you are a complete newcomer to Tank Girl then you could find yourself completely lost for large chunks.  That said, as a fan, I absolutely loved the inclusion of this one.  Balls to the wall action, foul mouthed tirades, hilariously politically incorrect jokes and more all really worked brilliantly well to show just how much fun Tank Girl really can be.

Visions of Booga is up next and feels a little out of place if you were expecting the same as the previous story yet it works.  It's a softer story but works so well that it will really bring you in to their world and make you want to know a lot more about the characters themselves.  A great and unexpected addition to the collection.

Lastly we are treated to The Gifting that is the sort of story that someone that has heard of Tank Girl but never read any would think the charcter is about.  For me, it's weaker than the other stories in that while it's really good story wise, it just didn't grab me as much as the other two.  Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting story but I feel that The Royal Escape is by far the best of the bunch included here.

As well as the graphic novels, we're also given some of the classic strips featuring the legendary and some may say infamous character.  We're also given posters and information pages as well.

If you are a Tank Girl fan then this is an absolutely essential purchase for you.  The stories definitely give you a brilliant over view of the sheer insanity of the adventures they go on as well as the crazy nature of the characters.  You may be a little bit lost if you have never read one of these styles of stories before but give it a go, you never know you might find yourself a new obsession.

Story 9/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 35/40

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Edited By
Steve Berry

Foreword By
Terry Pratchett

Published By
Gollancz

Genre
Non Fiction, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

Behind The Sofa is a collection of over 100 celebrity memories of Doctor Who, compiled in aid of Alzheimer's Research UK. Steve Berry decided to undertake this project in memory of his mother Janet, who suffered from Alzheimer's in her final years and passed away in 2009. 

The book has taken more than four years to put together and its publication has been "crowd-funded" by the pre-orders of an enthusiastic Whovian community. 100% of the book royalties, proceeds and net profit will be donated to Alzheimer's Research UK. 

Contributors include comedians Al Murray, Stephen Merchant, and Bill Oddie; actors Lynda Bellingham, Nicholas Parsons, and Rhys Thomas; writers Neil Gaiman, Jenny Colgan, Jonathan Ross and Charlie Brooker and politicians Louise Mensch and Tom Harris. In addition, there is input from a number of the writers, actors and production staff who were involved in creating Doctor Who stories new and old.

"I always had a sneaking suspicion that everyone in the world loves Doctor Who. Now I have proof! If I could get all the famous names who contributed to this book into one room, it would be the maddest Doctor Who party ever. Until then, their favourite memories of the programme are preserved for all to see. Plus, everyone who buys a copy will be helping to give hope to the 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia today," says author Steve Berry. 

The book has been beautifully illustrated by popular Doctor Who Magazine artist Ben Morris and is a must-have for Whovians worldwide.

Review

I must admit that I've never been all that fond of those 'talking head' type shows where people sit down and talk about how they like something.  It's normally whatever is in vogue and popular at the time which then leads to people talking about it that have no idea what they are talking about.  That generally lends it quite a fake feel.

However, being a massive Whovian myself, I was massively excited to be given this book for my birthday.  Not only is it about one of my favorite shows of all but the proceeds of the book go to a charity that is very close to my own heart so what more could you want?

Part of me was a little worried that the book would be full of people that I had connection with talking about the show, which has been majorly popular since it's return with Christopher Eccleston at the helm.

That said, the people here are so varied that there really is a story here for every type of Doctor Who fan out there.  You have people that have been in the show itself, you have writers, you have television show presenters and even a foreword by the legendary Terry Pratchett.

The memories here range from the heart felt to the incredibly funny and much more.  I loved seeing each persons memory of the show being different.  Doctor Who has always been a show that has meant different things to different people and that is hugely evident here.  You will find yourself saying "me too" out loud more than once.  I know I did.

One of the things that really made me smile were the illustrations by the artist Ben Morris, who works for the Doctor Who magazine and that really lends itself a really authentic air to the whole book.

If you are a Whovian through and through or a newcomer to the show itself, this book is an endearing addition to your collection and well worth picking up.

Presentation 8.5/10
Informative 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 26/30

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Almighties: Issue 0 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Sam Johnson
Mike Gagnon

Art By
Pablo Zambrano
Eleonora Kortsarz
Ron Gravelle
Fran Jung
Graham Pierce
Jennifer Scott
Lisa Lamb
Giuseppe Pica
Miguel Marques
Nimesh Morarji

Lettering By
Kris Johnson
Jacob Bascle

Cover By
Juan Ramirez

Published By
Actuality Press

Genre
Superhero, Action, Comedy

Synopsis

Joe Cyborg, a disembodied head attached to a robot body - who holds an undisclosed position at The White House, is looking to amass an off-the-books team of super-heroes - and former team-mates, The Almighties, have caught his eye...

The Almighties – who disbanded after learning their benefactor was actually an insane Neo-Nazi - comprised armored field leader Maxi-Tron, former downtrodden Canadian housewife turned swingin' super-heroine Ms. F, British punk rocker/werewolf Nite Fang, black ops soldier-for-hire Mason... and Greek takeout owner Stefanos.

Joe is not without his reservations over the motley crew; but if anyone should need replacing, he already has a new member in mind - in the form of (the Deadpool-parodying) Wayne Winston, who lives in a whale skeleton, in the mysterious underground lair known as Subterranea, with his step-parents Nigel and Rodent.

“This might be a good time for Wayne to be offered such an opportunity,” says Sam Johnson, The Almighties' co-creator/writer. “The bizarre habitat he and his family call home was chosen for a reason – its serene environment keeps Wayne's more...'troubling'...character traits in check... But, at the behest of would-be world-conqueror Muhky – who wants to utilize Subterranea for his own ends - a demon imp is on his way to serve Wayne and co. a very brutal eviction.”

However, whether Wayne will get his lifeline rests in the hands of Stefanos. “Stef is a guy who acts as a part-time presidential aide, when he's not needed at his takeout, Doner Fella's,” Johnson continues; “So with his connection to the team and his (inexplicably) trusted position at The White House, who better for Joe Cyborg to have review The Almighties' potential line-up?”

Stefanos is a man in great demand, though - and his skills are sought after in The Almighties #0 not just by Joe, but by President Obama himself – when Stef is called upon to go back in time and save Obama's top Man in Black – Agent Coleslaw – after Coleslaw gets his face blasted off in battle.

Written by Sam Johnson (Geek-Girl, Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman) & Mike Gagnon (Classic Illustrated, Monkeys & Midgets), illustrated by Eleonora Kortsarz, Graham Pearce, Pablo Zambrano & Ron Gravelle, published by Actuality Press and rated 'Teen,' The Almighties #0 is released on November 5th - along with a chance for newcomers to catch up on the team's debut adventure, when The Almighties #1 gets a new Limited Variant Edition – both available at www.actualitypress.com

Review

Anyone that has visited this site will know that I love my parody comics and superhero stories that have a sense of humor running through them and when you pick up the comics by Sam Johnson then you know that is exactly what you are going to get.

After reading issue one of The Almighties, I was solidly in the camp of wanting to see more of the rag tag band of superheroes and that is what we have right here.

With issue 0, the team of Johnson and Gagnon have crafted a brilliant jump on point for the newcomers to the team.  We're introduced to the team members as well as the Deadpool parodying Wayne Winston.  The humour comes thick and fast in this one with the characters introduced in shorter stories but then we get to see, who I would definitely class as the cult character of the group, Stefanos travel back in time on a mission directly from the President himself.

The one thing I was worried about with this style of story telling is that with so many artists and colourists involved, would it appear disjointed?  

Simply put, no.  The vastly different styles all seem to mesh very well and that's most evident in the story The Gimp With a Gob, the Deadpool parody story.  I have to admit that a couple of stories had art styles that I wasn't expecting them to have but it worked really well.  The whole team have given the issue so many nods to the different eras of superhero comics that you really can say that art wise, there really is something for everyone.

Storywise, the best of the lot is by far Gimp With a Gob, which you would think would fall flat.  A parody of a character that is himself a parody yet it works and works very well.  There were so many moments that had me laughing that I just couldn't wait to see what Winston was going to do next.  I also loved the funny twist at the end of the issue too.

If you want something funny that you can pick up and enjoy then this is definitely one that is well worth grabbing.  Johnson and Gagnon really work well as a team, especially alongside the artists here, and I personally can't wait to see more of the team at work.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 32.5/40

Sunday, 2 November 2014

SEAL Team 666: Reign of Evil Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Weston Ochse

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Military, Action, Supernatural

Synopsis

Legend holds that when Britain is in its darkest hour, King Arthur will return to save the country, if not the world. The legend is dead wrong. 

When a group of Druids sacrifice the lives of a group of innocent people, including the fiancĂ©e of a member of SEAL Team 666, the ancient king is brought back from the dead and sets his sights on subjugating humanity and cleansing his land of all who are not true Britons. 

Because of political sensitivities, Triple 6 is ordered to stand down, but that order is ignored by one of them seeking his own vengeance. Now, the members of America’s elite supernatural-hunting team must decide what is more important: their orders or their loyalty to a member of their team. 

Review

As I've been reading the SEAL Team 666 series, I've enjoyed it for the most part.  The first two novels were solid and exciting novels with a real feeling of dread that ran under the surface of the stories themselves.  I'll admit that there were a couple of moments in there that felt a little forced but I still really enjoyed them.

With this, the third novel in the series, I was wondering just where Ochse would be able to take his characters after seeing the things that happened to them in the first two stories.  Here we are treated to some really well thought out character development.  The best part of this was seeing the way that Ochse put across the feelings of confusion and duty in the teams battle to work out whether to follow their specific orders or to follow the member of the team that is going off to gain revenge.  The personal battle that each member of the team feels internally is really well written and shows a lot of confidence in the writing of the characters.

The strength of the novel is by fair the mix of genres here is so well handled that it doesn't once feel disjointed.  We have the supernatural element that has made the first two novels so popular, the mythological feel of the King Arthur fable, the sheer balls to the wall feel of the military side of things and much more.  The mix of genres works so well that it really comes across as a real 'page turner' of a novel.  I couldn't wait to see just what was going to happen next story wise.

I would go so far as to say that this third installment of the series is by far my favorite.  Where there just seemed to be something missing from the first two novels, Reign of Blood really feels to be the most accomplished of the three by far.  The pacing is better, the characters are really coming to life and then there are some twists and turns that are really going to be felt in the next novel for sure.

If you have read the first two novels then you know you are going to be in for a wild and supernatural ride.  If you like your action of the 'balls to the wall' variety then you are going to be impressed with this one.

Story 8.5/10
Characters 8/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 32/40