What I thought of Love is Love #1

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The benefit comic is often a patchy affair which can sometimes end up with an embarrassing mess like Marvel and DC’s famine relief comics of the 1980’s, but normally end up being a pick and mix affair with creators often dealing with complex, or touchy subjects outwith their ability or knowledge. Love is Love is a thankfully less patchy affair than expected. Here’s the blurb for it;

The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in Orlando this year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics – – mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world.

Much of the book is made up of pin-ups, and sometimes trite, sometimes touching, sometimes featuring characters who are LGBTQ from DC such as Batwoman.

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It occasionally deals head on with homophobia in ways which sometimes don’t say anything new, but at least brings the subject up.

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The problem is that it paints a world of black and white.

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There’s some strips like Jeff Jensen’s which touch upon moral complexities, not to mention the way Tweeting something is seen as fighting for equal rights rather than just getting your hands dirty by fighting for equal rights.

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Some of these strips dance round the issue of guns in America, something from where I sit, is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Also the idea of ‘common sense’ gun laws leaves much to whoever actually defines what ‘common sense’ is, so for me, the ability of people to by weapons that can slaughter numbers of people easily isn’t something a civilised society should tolerate.

Skirting round the difficult politics by some is disappointing but there’s other strips telling true stories that are painful to read as they should do with anyone with an ounce of humanity in them.

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Then there’s the vaguely crass insertion of Batman into real life, which I get the intention, but fails to be anything but a wee bit jarring.

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Amazingly enough one of the best pieces here is written by Mark Millar who takes on the politics head on and comes out with a very stark, clear strip with a message. It’s one of the best things Millar’s done in years.

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Love is Love is a patchy affair mixing heartfelt messages of love and support with crass superhero stories (the one with Deathstroke is something that has to be seen to be believed) but on the whole most of the strips have their hearts in the right places even if it’s a tad Guardian liberal in places.and it is for a good cause but perhaps one day they’ll be a benefit comic that isn’t a patchy, sometimes awful, mess.

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What I thought of Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens #1

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A rather nice Glenn Fabry cover greets you as you enter Dark Horse’s and IDW’s mega-crossover of Predator, Aliens and Judge Dredd, together in one comic for the first time. Now I’ll be upfront, I’m not a fan at all of what IDW are doing with Judge Dredd as I don’t think they get the humour nor the satirical elements of Dredd. At best it seems forced and I don’t think America quite gets Dredd. Predator and Aliens are different things altogether but I thought I’d give this a try.

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Written by John Layman with art by Chris Mooneyham the story is set in The Cursed Earth and starts with a Predator being hunted by animals who have been mutated into humans or had their DNA used to created humanoid animals.

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The Dredd here is the hardnut tough guy Dredd of the Karl Urban film, and doesn’t feel like the Judge Dredd I grew up with. He’s too cliche.

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There’s also a cliched mad scientist who doesn’t understand what he’s doing and that’s where our Aliens come in.

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There’s nothing wrong with Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens, it’s a perfectly functional action-adventure comic that has Aliens in it, along with lots of Predators and a character who’s sort of like Judge Dredd but there’s a spark missing here. Things are too cliche and the problem with something like this is you have to contrive a situation to make all three fight, and this is most certainly contrived.

This isn’t a bad comic though. Fans of Predator or Aliens will be happy but as an old school Judge Dredd fan I was disappointed with it because it’s just not quite right. Still, that Glenn Fabry cover is nice.

What I thought of The Shrinking Man #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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At the end of last issue our hero Scott found himself on the verge of being crushed by his small daughter who was trying to put him in her dolls house. This is both bizarre and utterly tragic at the same time because as I’ve said in previous reviews, this is really a story of a man coming to terms with a terminal illness, and in this case it’s his realisation that he’ll never hold his daughter again, not to mention she’ll never see him in the same light.

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A large part of this issue is spent with Scott’s battle with the spider that’s been brewing since the start, and for an arachnophobe like myself it’s a fucking scary load of pages. Needless to say I’m moving from that because spiders are all bastards, even ones in comics….

After that it’s the last moments for Scott as he tries to escape the cellar as his wife moves out from their former family home, as they think he’s lost or dead…

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And the story ends on a positive. After all the pain Scott realises life never just vanishes. Nothing just blinks out of existence. It’s a fantastic bit of an almost religious epiphany Scott experiences that tops off what’s been a satisfying adaption of Richard Matheson’s classic story. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this comic and it’s highly recommended……

What I thought of The Shrinking Man #3

Thoughts about #1 and #2.

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Three issues into this adaptation of Richard Matheson’s story sees our titular character facing taking a beating from local thugs in flashback, while in the present day narrative he mulls over why he didn’t kill a spider when he had a chance.

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Whereas in the film version the cause of the shrinking is left vague and mysterious, there’s a sensible sounding scientific reason given, though it’s obviously as nonsense as a mysterious cloud there’s some attempt to engage with science here.

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Of course it doesn’t explain Scott’s shrinking organs, but hey, this is science fiction but this explanation gives an exit point for Scott as at some point he’ll not be able to give off any more nitrogen as he won’t have anything left to give. He’ll just vanish into nothing. With that the story becomes one of a man living with a fatal condition and having to deal with his forthcoming death which means facing it as best as one can when faced with mortality.

Scott also deals with the loss of his manhood. He can no longer have sex with his wife, so when visiting the circus he meets a woman in the freakshow as small as he is currently. She gives him an offer that he finds hard to refuse, but he needs to tell his wife of the opportunity that’s here for him.

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After this one night of shrunken shagging Scott accepts his fate, decides to write about it therefore providing for his wife and child but even this is fraught with danger as you’ll see if you buy the book.

Next issue is the last of this entertaining, not to mention, thoughtful adaptation that I’ve enjoyed. I hope the end is suitably satisfying.

What I thought of Godzilla in Hell #2

Thoughts about #1.

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This issue is written and drawn by Bob Eggleton who uses a lovely palate of colours to help portray Godzilla’s journey through hell, and of course his big fights with other Toho monsters who are also in hell for some reason. In this case the issue opens with a barney between Godzilla and Rodan with predictable results.

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Next up is a battle with Anguirus in a frozen part of hell..

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And there’s a couple of more monsters that turn up to face Godzilla to have more big fights which is essentially the entire point of anything to do with Godzilla. I don’t after all remember watching Godzilla films because of the characters or the plot, but because I want to see big monsters twatting the shite out of each other.Godzilla in Hell does everything it should and stylishly so too. If you want one comic featuring giant monsters twatting each other this month then this should be it.

What I thought of The Shrinking Man #2

Thoughts about #1.

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This surprisingly good comics adaptation actually manages to pick up some steam after an excellent first issue with the sense of foreboding and threat increasing as our Shrinking Man realises the scale of his problem.

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He’s got an incurable illness and it’s made perfectly clear our protagonist has considered suicide yet he still fights for life not just against his shrinking but against spiders, and yes, the depiction of that battle is wonderfully done by Adams and Torres. There’s also a disturbing scene where a paedophile tries grooming him as he thinks he’s a child as opposed to an adult, albeit a shrinking one.

Then there’s the cat….

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Sometimes the art is a tad iffy, but on the whole this is a nice little version of Richard Matheson’s original story. It’s a bit more intent on telling the story of Scott, our shrinking man, as a man suffering because of other people’s reactions to his condition as much as his condition itself which gives this a little bit more of a kick. Overall this is recommended for a good read.

What I thought of The Shrinking Man #1

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The Incredible Shrinking Man is one of my favourite bits of science fiction cinema when I was a kid. I simply loved the adaptation of writer Richard Matheson’s tale of a man who starts shrinking after a mysterious encounter with a strange cloud at sea. This adaptation published by IDW, written by Ted Adams and drawn by Mark Torres has this glorious bit of copy to advertise it…

Richard Matheson’s exploration of shrinking manhood is brought to vivid life in this comic-book adaptation! Scott Carey, reducing 1/7″ per day, faces tension big and small as his body continues to shrink away…

I’m sure there’s many a bloke that’s suffered from shrinking manhood at some point in their lives…

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As for the adaptation Adams choose to flick between first contact with the mysterious cloud and our hero, Scott, fight with the spider later on when he’d less than an inch high. It’s also still a period piece set in America in the 1950’s rather than having it updated which would have been easy to do but bloody obvious. This framework though means the story picks up pace from the off so it’s not as slow as the film would be to a modern audience, as instead the reader is captured and gets whats going on even if they’re unaware of the film or story this comic comes from.

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As for the art, Mark Torres does a fantastic job with all the stuff where Scott is struggling to survive at his inch high level, and also the more realistic scenes where he and his wife try to work out what’s going on and what they can both do with on scene with Scott and his wife trying to make love being handled smartly and intelligently.

All in all I was quite prepared to hate The Shrinking Man, but it’s a pleasant surprise to be proven wrong and this so far, is a smart little adaptation of a classic story of one man’s shrinking manhood….