What I thought of Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard Travelin’ Heroz #2

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Garth Ennis isn’t one for being subtle or taking the piss where needed and the cover of this spin-off from his DC title, Section 8, shows John Constantine (a character who Ennis wrote and helped make his name on) in a wee bit of a state.

The splash page opening the book hammers the point home…

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Constantine over the last few years has been treated terribly as a character by DC. Pulled from Vertigo Comics (DC’s supposed more mature imprint) into the regular DC universe to regularly interact with superheroes and not just that, become a superhero himself. It’s a far cry from the character Ennis wrote decades ago hence why he’s now ripping the piss out of that, and his employers at DC.

It also features Dog Welder fisting his dead dog.

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This is Ennis showing his utter contempt for superhero comics while having a major dig at his employer for managing to fuck up one of their best characters via a series of dreadful editorial decisions and a series of poor creators who just don’t get what to do with Constantine.

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This isn’t Ennis at his best, but this is Ennis at his best taking the piss and it’s good to see some blows land on DC Comics from within as they bloody deserve a good hard kicking for the mess they’ve made of a character like John Constantine.

The horror of call centres

Call centres are the workhouses of the 21st century. They can be grim places of misery where people whose souls have been traded for targets and a few notches up the slippery cock-shaped pole that is progression in these places. So, with that in mind, here’s a wee video which should hopefully make you laugh at the horrible truth of it all…

I finally caught up with the new Ghostbusters…

One of the problems with being struck with a selection box of illnesses and conditions is that going the cinema is either a chore, or so difficult to do that it isn’t worth the effort so I’ve only just caught up with the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters and it’s out of the Big Summer Blockbusters I’ve seen this year, it’s miles ahead of what I’ve seen.

Strip the film of the misogynist backlash, the annoyed faux outrage of some fans, or the racism aimed at star  Leslie Jones whipped up by tedious right wing prick Milo Yiannopoulos and what’s there is a perfectly good blockbuster that’s fun, exciting when it needs to be, a wee bit scary when it tries, and extraordinarily good-natured, something I wasn’t expecting at all. See, in 2016 we’ve become used to the sort of grim cynicism in summer blockbusters that even infects the Marvel films, but this does something different, it’s positive.

All the main four characters are positive depictions of people, who in this case happen to have breasts and vaginas as opposed to a penis.Kristin Wiig’s characters is a positive for those smart, intellectual kids who end up getting bullied for being smart. Melissa McCarthy’s is a positive for smart overweight kids. Kate McKinnon’s is for those kids who are a wee bit socially detached, even autistic, and Leslie Jones provides a positive for working class black kids. Note I said ‘kids’ because Ghostbusters isn’t a film that pretends to be for kids or family audiences, and then gives them two and a half hours of grim, unrelentless misery, but it has a beginning, middle and end, which at the end of you leave the film with a smile if you’ve got any sort of heart at all.

It isn’t perfect. No films bar Mulholland Drive and Blade Runner are, but as a perfectly good, action/adventure/comedy this does the job, and it’s easier better than the dire Ghostbusters 2, and is around a par with the original. It’s a nice reboot for a new generation which is why I said in the previous paragraphs about the characters being aspirational for kids, not adults. See, if you’re an adult crying about how this isn’t YOUR Ghostbusters, and it shites all over your memories, then you need to become a functional human being because this is a film that’s so obviously tried to remain as faithful to the concept and give what fan service it can that it nearly fails in trying to make itself something in it’s own right. This though isn’t really aimed just at fans, but kids and especially girls often disenfranchised by the lack of women in summer blockbusters.

So, if you haven’t seen it and fancy a couple of hours of good, mild, harmless fun with some good effects, and some nice cameo appearances, this is worth checking out, The first 20 minutes do drag a bit, and some of the gags fall flat, especially if you’re not American but if that’s the worst I can say about it then great, go see it.

Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of a Labour Party that hate each other

To the shock of nobody barring possibly  a now weeping John McTernan, Jeremy Corbyn has, again, been elected Labour Party leader creating a new unified party. A shufty through social media shows that already there’s people angry about Corbyn’s victory & I’d lay money on by Monday morning someone carrying on the nonsense within Labour we’ve seen for months.

Now, I’ll not vote Labour again. I’ve made my thoughts clear on that, nor do I think Corbyn’s the monster some paint him to be, nor do I think he’s a saviour. I find some of his 20th century Labour ideas outdated, especially when it comes to the current state of the UK, and he’s utterly clueless about Scotland where he’s simply picked up where Ed Milliband left off.Some of his ideas however are very good, and wouldn’t have seemed out of place in Tony Blair’s early social democracy phase before he became a murdering psychopath.

However the question is now is whether the Labour Party can unite to fight the Tories, including on Brexit, something Corbyn clearly wasn’t exactly strong in fighting against. The Welsh branch of the Labour Party last week voted with the Tories to support leaving the single market, a decision which is promising disaster, and Kezia Dugdale, the leader of their Scottish branch can’t even press a button. Then of course there’s the inevitable descent into farce coming as Blairite Labour MP’s sit in a strop on backbenches behind their leader, and yes, John McTernan will be wheeled out to probably call Corbyn a cunt and the Guardian will nary bat an eyelid being the proud defender of the British middle class liberal establishment they are.

Yet, the journalist Ian MacWhirter has made an interesting point.

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I think there’s not a chance in hell of Labour winning an election in 2020. The damage to Corbyn among voters in the marginal seats in England has been done, plus in parts of the north of England, Labour have been caught in a state they were in Scotland of being complacent, entitled and callous in taking people for granted. Scotland is lost to Labour with another Scottish branch leadership election probably due between now and May.Wales looks split as the Welsh branch face losing election to Plaid Cymru and even UKIP.

But can Corbyn take advantage in England? MacWhirter’s point that the honeymoon period Theresa May’s having over Brexit not lasting is a good one and indeed, there’s signs of that cracking already. If Corbyn keeps the English branch of Labour united, if he can present his ideas better, if he can stop the disgraceful media attacks, if he’s willing to actually speak to parties of the left like the SNP, Plaid, Greens and the Northern Irish parties and if he can fight against the more insane ideas the Tories are having over Brexit then he may well not just run May tight, but even create a hung parliament. For me though, the EU referendum was a weak point for him and something he’s justifiably taking flak for. If he’s just going to let his party side with the Tories as they are in Wales, or support losing free movement, then he’s lost in 2020.

Then again with Brexit all bets are off. Making any predictions is a risky business, but one thing is for sure, John McTernan will carry on writing angry articles and there will almost certainly be another challenge to Corbyn if Labour do badly in next year’s local elections regardless of the size of Corbyn’s mandate because Labour are now two parties fighting for the name.

If we think this resolves anything with the right wing of Labour, think again.

Hear Alan Moore read a chapter from his book ‘Jerusalem’

Alan Moore has written a very, very, very long book called Jerusalem, not to mention heavy if you’re a postie having to deliver it. It’s over 1,000 pages long and sits right next to me now. It is however not the unreadable gubbins some feared, and in the 100 or so pages I’ve gone through so far is fair flying along, though I will say the size of the print makes it hard for a blind bastard like me to read it for any length of time.

Set over the course of millennia in his native Northampton (this is a huge novel in all terms of the word) Jerusalem promises much and once I’ve gotten through it, I’ll review it here and/or at That’s Not Current.

If however you’re only familiar with Moore via his superhero work, or even things like V for Vendetta, then this might be a wee bit off-putting so here’s a video of Moore reading a chapter. See if you like it and whether you want to see where it goes…

What I thought of the Wicked and the Divine: 1831

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After last issues Big Events, this is a palate cleanser or an annual to let the reader regain their breath before diving back into the main storyline which has taken a very interesting turn. 1831 is as you may expect, set in the year 1831 during a previous time when the pantheon walked the Earth. Rather than regular artist Jamie McKelvie, this issue is ably drawn by Stephanie Hans set by the shores of Lake Geneva which should perk up any fans of the book Frankenstein.

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Here Annake is still scheming, still plotting while the individual Gods seem as vain and self-obsessed as the ones in the ongoing title, but it’s fun to see these 19th century versions of characters we’ve gotten to know over the last few years.

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Here the Gods meet, drink, eat and tell each other tales to try to make each other’s blood turn cold.

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What we find out is these are the last days of this particular Pantheon, and these are the last four gods remaining alive, yet this time’s Lucifer has a very familiar looking idea in the hope of returning their fallen comrades back to life in a magical way.

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1831 is more than just a nice wee look into the past mythology of the Wicked and the Divine, it’s a crucial part of the plot that reveals background which is clearly going to be relevant in the future. I’d not pick this up if you’re thinking of diving into the story; this is for regular readers only and they definitely need to get this as it won’t be reprinted in any collected trade edition.

What I thought of Britannia #1

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A new Pete Milligan comic is always worth a look because outwith his Marvel or most of his DC work, we’re going to get something interesting, and the blurb for Britannia is intriguing.

On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…

Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

You don’t see many stories of the Roman occupation of Britain, or of Roman detectives! However from the off this doesn’t look like a regular comic as artist Juan Jose Ryp employs full pages to fill in the backstory of the Roman Empires, and how the Vestal Virgins were the only women in the Empire who wielded any sort of real, meaningful power.

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The Centurion Antonius is given a task to find a missing virgin who has vanished, as if the Romans couldn’t control their virgins, silly Romans. Anyhow, the virgin is rescued though not before something mysterious, possibly magical happens.

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Antonius is dragged into a magical world of words and ideas alien to him as the Vestal Virgins introduce him to the Codex, which collects the history, myths and ideas of the Virgins. Once we find out what happened with Antonius we then see how years later he becomes a detective searching out adulterous senators and the like.

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Milligan builds up a lot of background of the machinations of Rome under the then Emperor Nero, before throwing us right in with whatever is happening in Britannia, the Roman name for what is the island of Great Britain today.

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Eventually with some coaxing and threats, Antonius is sent to Britannia to get to the bottom of what’s going on and what the Vestal Virgins seem to have been preparing him for over the years.

britannia5This is a cracking read. Milligan’s put together an interesting tale of myth, magic and Roman politics to create an adventure story which is wonderfully drawn by Ryp whose European style artwork suits the script perfectly. It looks beautiful in places, even when there’s grotesque stuff happening on the page. This is something quite different, not to mention unexpected as it didn’t once take a path I was expecting so unlike so many first issues these days I’ll gladly return for the second issue.