Morning BS: Constantine vs Doctor Strange

There is no more fantastical fight than when two mystics go to war but who would win in a battle between the Sorcerer Supreme and the Hellblazer?


In the Blue Corner: Doctor Strange


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First things first, for the sake of balance I’m going to focus on Stephan Strange as he appeared at the start of Marvel’s All-New All-Different line-up. Strange is still the sorcerer supreme but without the God-like powers he had in his early day. The thing about Strange fighting another wizard is that he is the mystical equivalent of the Hulk with the training of a great martial artist, this means he’s strong, smart and tough to defeat. In open warfare, or his Sanctum, I’m confident Strange would take home the win with his combination of powerful combination of spells and artefacts.


In the Red Corner: John Constantine


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There is a reason John Constantine is called the Hellblazer and it’s because he’s not afraid to play dirty. The roguish Brit has brought down much greater Mystics with a combination of deception and trickery. While I believe Doctor Strange would easily over power Constantine face-to-face, if Constantine could prepare and put together some form of deception, that may involve dealing with other forces in the Marvel or DC Universe, I think he could probably incapacitate if not kill the sorcerer.


Battleground: Days of Future Past


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Fighting in the ruins of America after the defeat of most heroes at the hands of the sentinels, I feel like Strange has a distinct advantage. This is still his home plain and while his Sanctum might be destroyed he still has the lay of the land. Constantine would be on the run here but that is where he operates at his best. There is an outside chance that he could find a way to turn the situation to his advantage, possibly by convincing the sentinels that strange is a mutant.


Winner: Doctor Strange


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While I believe Constantine could get a win with some form of deception nine times out of ten Strange is going to blast him across multiple dimensions within the first few seconds of combat. On the Sorcerer Supremes home plain of existence he is always going to have an advantage and I’m afraid John is going to be pushed to breaking point.

Do you agree? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

 

The BearSleuth Week Geek Out – LaMarr And Snyder And Bears…Oh My!

This week I am determined to get this feature up at a reasonable time! Last week was just a trial run but this is absolute prime time professionalism in article form. Unfortunately, to my knowledge their is very little to talk about in the world of television so I’m going to jump across and examine what’s going on over at YouTube. Apart from that all I have to say is that it’s been a damn good week and I hope all you back-to-schoolers are settling in well.

The Week In Comics


 

This week is looking pretty strong in the world of comics, the shelves are pretty densely packed and their is certainly a lot of talent to be found. An underground hit of the week has to be Scarlet Witch #10 which is pretty much a perfect self contained story for the character looking at her role in the magical community. Over with the Team Aqua that is DC we have some awesome titles including All-Star Batman #2 and Suicide Squad #2 showcasing talent from two of the greatest creators in the comic book industry, Snyder and Lee.

Marvel’s Team Magma are looking sound all round with some brilliant tie-in titles but my pick of the week has to go to Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II #4, which has to be one of the most complex titles I have ever written. The finale of the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in is probably going to place the series as the strongest of the Civil War II tie-ins to date as it fully succeeds in an examination of the main themes of the event. If you are only going to pick up one tie-in make it this one…then maybe squeeze your budget for the X-Men tie-in as well!

The Week In Film


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Well this week I actually went to see a film which I can talk about, Don’t Breathe. This film was pretty much schlock of the highest order with a particular scene added in just for shock value and so the film can be ‘the film that went there’. I actually think this is a horror targeted at a more female audience as the shock scene is harder to relate to from a male perspective, which probably goes a long way to spoiling it. The male characters are embarrassingly weak but the female lead, played by Jane Levy, seems to have a good amount of depth to her. The villain is essentially, old and evil Daredevil and I find that the film makes a lot more sense in that light.

Like I said up top, there’s not really much in the way of TV news from me at the moment, just finished Stranger Things which gave me a new appreciation for child actors and small-town sci-fi. Heading over to YouTube, Fatman On Batman just interviewed Phil LaMarr and you have to see it if you are in anyway a geek. My YouTube tastes are fairly vanilla but I recommend Yahtzee19,  KaptainKristian and Vuepoint’s Jack’s World if you are looking for something new.

The Week In Gaming


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Pre are in the ten week countdown for Pokemon!!! Like any good fan I’m attempting a run through of HeartGold, Pearl, Black, White 2, X and finally Omega Ruby before grabbing a copy of Sun. I’m going to be grabbing a bunch of grass starters in the way, the unloved Ringos of Pokemon starters, and basically getting myself back in that ten-year-old mind-set. Apart from that I’m continuing a play through of Dark Souls with Ollie from LoneWolfGaming and playing Until Dawn with Will, the BearSleuth camera man.

In Other News…


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The world is teetering on the brink of disaster from a take over of regional pronunciation starting with a plague of government sponsored academies and there will be more news coming on the new BearSleuth writer later this week. That’s about it for this week folks but be sure to come back next week for more sleuthing!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for a brand new article!!!

BearSleuth Week Geek Out

Like I said in my last post, it’s becoming a lot hard to find time for my normal Sleuthing, which is why this new feature is coming to you a little late. I wanted to make sure I gave it my full attention and due to a quick trip to A&E that became borderline impossible, I managed to tear some muscles in a fight with a bird table (don’t ask). Anyway, I have a lot to talk about so I think it’s time to stop faffing about and get stuck in!

The Week In Comics


It’s been a really good week in the world of comics. While the shelves were a little sparse, DC knocked out a few brilliant books with the new Tom King Batman Issue Six probably taking the top spot from the blue corner. Over in the red of Marvel is my top pick for the week, Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight. This book is complex, intelligent and really shows what the modern industry techniques developed in the independent market can add to the mainstream. I also read Asterios Polyp this week and I can whole heartedly say that it is the only graphic novel to have changed my life. If you are able to get your hands on a copy you 100% should.

The Week In Film (And TV)


The run up to Doctor Strange is gripping a lot of comic book fans now with the inevitable ‘I want to get into Doctor Strange…’ posts slowly creeping onto reddit. For anyone looking for a Doctor Strange recommendation, it’s pretty hard as most of his stuff comes from the silver and bronze age of comics which can feel very dated. Check out ‘The Oath’ and maybe Jason Aaron’s new Doctor Strange series as they present the more modern take on the character.

In other news, Rogue One is struggling, to no one’s surprise (this is what happens when you put a Godzilla director on a Star Wars flick). Also a Dark Tower trailer will be airing next month so keep your peepers peeled. Turning to TV quickly, apparently the Luke Cage series looks good and the new Ghost Rider looks okay enough to get people to notice Agents Of Shield still exists.  Personally, I’ve been getting into Stranger Things and I’m going to surprise no one by saying it’s a great show, likely to become the next massive hit.

The Week In Gaming


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This week saw the world of console gaming reveal its massive throbbing erections for the PC master race as consoles take that one bold step into becoming computers. I don’t really care for 4k optimisation so I can’t say this affects me but if you are one of those graphics snobs then this…probably doesn’t matter to you because you already have a gangster rig (or whatever the cool kids are calling it). Deus Ex is gracing the shelves again, which is cool as we don’t have enough ultra-gritty cyberpunk dystopia running around. This week I’m replaying Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne because I’m a masochist when it comes to gaming.

And Finally…


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In other news, the world is teetering on the edge of destruction from the imminent threat of a mass custard pie orgy at the top of Trump tower and I am proud to announce that we are adding another writer to the BearSleuth roster. While I’m not ready to say much yet SHE is a perfect fit for the team and I’m sure HER articles are going to be a great hit!

Subtlety was always one of my strong points.

…That’s this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for something new!!!

BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle Week Fifty

For the first time in recent memory the shelves in my local comic book store looked a little bare. With the exception of a handful of tie-ins, there is now Civil War II has ground to a halt, leaves us to wait another week for a main book. On top of that this week there are no DC Rebirth titles, well to be honest there’s a Suicide Squad mini-series but nothing of any substance. So this week we are looking at the fringes and a few highlights I’ve been wanting to cover for awhile which, for one reason or another, haven’t really shown up on my list. Trust your humble Sleuth, I’ll see you right!

All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics apps [Accessed:02/09/2016]

Civil War II: Choosing Sides Issue Five By A Whole Phalanx Of Artists


 

I love Justin Trudeau! I might not know that much about Canadian politics, and the little I do know has come from a close friend and John Oliver, but it is great to see the Canadian Prime Minister turning up in the pages of a Marvel comic. I can’t say there is much more in this book to write home about but Trudeau’s presence is pretty cool. His section is written by Chip Zdarsky who delivers his usual mixture of tongue-in cheek humour and heart. The book is fairly mediocre from there on out making it hard to recommend but as a piece of political-comic book history it’s a highlight of the year.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Issue Eleven By Brian Michael Bendis And Valerio Schiti


 

The Guardians have just come off a monster arc, a planetary-wide cataclysmic arc that is 100% worth your time and attention. This issue is more of the calm before the storm. A brief reprieve setting up the major players in the next epic arc. There’s a lot of interesting character interactions as well as plenty of nods and winks towards the fans. It’s an issue that build heart and character. There really isn’t much to say past that, Schiti’s art is fairly tight and the set up for the big Civil War II tie-in is nice but if you want a big action set piece this is not the one for you. If you like the Guardians grab this book.

Han Solo Issue Three By Marjorie Liu And Mark Brooks


 

When you think of Han Solo you think of the rogue with the heart of gold and this story is entirely based around this concept. Marjorie Liu has created the perfect boys own adventure storyline in space and it is no small wonder that I am completely wrapped up in it. Han gets the cool lines and the brilliant stunts while the pulse racing action hammers on in a plot that will satisfy any Star Wars fan. The art by Mark Brooks is nice and has a lot of subtle detail for an eagle eyes reader. This is a big winner all round for me and is fully worthy of your time.

Ms. Marvel Issue Ten By G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa And Alphona


 

Most of the time the high school drama of super heroics wears thin with me. I don’t like the whinny emo stuff as I’ve been there and I know how much it makes you want to gouge out your own eyes years later. However, in Ms. Marvel G. Willow Wilson has worked hard to make the high school drama mean something, for it to deeply effect the heroine and her heroics. This book is a big Civil War II tie-in and I feel that it will be known as one of the hidden gems of the event for years to come. I like this book and if you are willing to try something different this is a great choice.

Rocket Raccoon And Groot Issue Eight By Nick Kocher And Michael Walsh


 

Well Skottie Young has left the building…whether he will come back or simply leave us hanging while he pens ‘I hate Fairyland’ is unknown as of writing this but I dare say he will emerge with another great idea soon. What isn’t unknown is that Nick Kocher was the only man who could have stepped into Young’s clownish shoes. His take on the title partnership is fantastic, funny and fierce. The story is a loose Civil War II tie-in with more of the group hijinks bubbling up to the surface. If you like the Guardians and you fancy a laugh this is the place to be.

Spider-Man Issue Seven By Brian Michael Bendis And Nico Leon


 

Can something finally happen in these issues? I love Bendis’ slow approach to character development with a lot of brilliantly handled teenage drama but I’m really getting sick of Spider-Man struggling to be Spider-Man. I feel like this story is just ticking over until Bendis can move off his other nineteen projects and give it full focus. I know that next issue or the one after my thoughts will be completely different again but for now I’m a little bored of Spider-Man. If you are a fan of Bendis or Miles or Spider-Man then stay tuned but this might be one you can miss.

BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Tokyo Ghost Issue Ten By Rick Remender And Sean Murphy


 

Tokyo Ghost is over. Perhaps one of the greatest comics of the last year and it is finished, with chances if a sequel looking middling at best. So how did it all pan out? Perfectly. I know I’m speaking with a bit of fan boy biased here but, I cannot find a flaw in this finale. It’s a brilliant end to a brilliant book and I want every one of you reading this to go pick up the first trade paperback. This is the quiet riot we need in this digitally swamped age and it’s truly beautiful. If that doesn’t sell you on it I’m not sure what will.

Uncanny Avengers Issue Thirteen By Gerry Duggan And Ryan Stegman


 

Another issue of set up as we ease into a Civil War II tie-in. I don’t have much to say about this issue as it simply runs through a few team members and show us their roles in the coming war. It’s fun and if you wanted a little more depth after the main Civil War II books then I can highly recommend it but past that this is in one ear and out the other. This is the worst sort of book to review as its so on the fence, there is nothing offensively bad or angelically good to talk about so I will leave the recommendation to you. Sleuth. Out.

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free a Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back later today for a new OpinionatedDavid article!!!

Comic History 101: Gotham Central

There are a lot of sad stories in every medium and genre. Opportunities where true greatness could have come through but was unrecognised. Critics or general audiences take a book or film or piece of art and shoot it down because it is too experimental or doesn’t fit with the mainstream of the time. Gotham Central is one of these stories as it is a series that both saw wide acclaim in its critical reception and a devastating lack of sales. This is a series which had real potential but unfortunately didn’t quite make the break and for that it is simply fascinating to talk about.

Working day and night


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In March 2001 Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker worked together on a Batman crossover entitled ‘Officer Down’ in which Commissioner Gordon was shot by an unknown assailant. The crossover was fairly successful and the two writers found that they enjoyed working alongside one and other. This led them to bounce around a few ideas and eventually pitch a series looking at the cops of Gotham. Gotham Central. The interesting aspect of the piece came from Rucka and Brubaker’s decision to split the writing and the characters so that Rucka would be writing the day shift and Brubaker would be writing for the night shift. This gave the two GCPD crews very different feels and created a series that could run two stories simultaneously.

Eisners and failure


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The series began to gain some critical acclaim as it worked with very human problems and gave a different view point on the world of Gotham. This led to an Eisner nominations for the series in 2003 for best new series, best writer (for both Rucka and Brubaker) and best penciller/inker. With these nominations also came the new that the series was beginning to fail. It was consistently struggling to place in the top 100 each month and seemed to be losing it following. While Brubaker is quoted as saying this never presented a danger of cancellation for the series, it was plain to see that the higher ups at DC did not consider the series to be beneficial to their bottom line and so they began to divert resources away from the project. Lark and Brubaker began to drift on to other projects and eventually Rucka decided to cancel the series after Infinite Crisis.

Lesson’s to be learned


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When looking into why the series struggled I’m honestly a little perplexed, most reviews seem to be pretty positive and even the slightly more negative ones have specific problems with certain characters instead of the overarching narrative. This book was one of the strongest DC were putting to the shelves at the time and my only thought is that there was either a deficiency in the marketing campaign. There can be an issue with more experimental titles finding their place in the industry but with the rise of companies such as Image I think this series would have be seen as a worthy competitor to the growing independent scene if it had hit shelves today. This is just a case of the right book at the wrong time and I am glad that I am able to share with you this hidden gem of a book. Next week I will be looking at Secret Invasion and how Marvel looked at post-9/11 fears.

…That was this week’s Comic History 101!!! Check back on Saturday for a new BearSleuth spoiler free comic book bundle!!!

BearSleuth Opinion Piece: SDCC, Star Trek And Beyond

To say that the last couple of days have been big in the world of pop culture would be an understatement. When I sat down to plan this article I had so many things I wanted to talk about between the release of Star Trek, the many trailers, leaks and previews from Comic con and the upcoming comic book convention right on my door step over in Manchester. I considered spacing them all out as the next couple of weeks are looking a little bleak on the news front, save DC’s desperate attempt to be down with the kids in Suicide Squad, but after a few long conversations in front of the mirror with the fourteen different personalities that make up your humble BearSleuth I have come up with an elegant solution. Buckshot. I am going to do a quick fire round of topics and opinions so that all you millennials who don’t know how to make your mind up about things can borrow my opinion to use at ‘keggers’ or whatever you crazy guys and girls call them now. So without any further ado…

*Ahem*

Star Trek Beyond


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I literally just saw this movie and I’m a little confused about what all the critics were banging on about. Star Trek Beyond is a film of inconsistency, most likely due to its sordid history in the writing department. The opening of the film is impressive with a set piece that has been ruined by the trailers and the second act is a four way between various buddy cop teams. However, all that being said the final act is pure action film perfection with one of the most visually interesting finales ever put to screen. I’m not sure how true this is to Jean Roddenberry’s vision as the film choses style over substance with little soul searching or development on the part of the characters. This is a popcorn film, it goes down fine but it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Go watch it, because you will probably get a kick out of it but don’t go expecting Wrath Of Khan or even The Voyage Home.

Wonder Woman Trailer


The Wonder Woman trailer is awesome! Everything I want from a film about Diana. The fighting scenes look awesome and the imagery of her standing above the trenches ducked behind her shield against gunfire is something I didn’t know I needed to see until I saw it. I’m not sure on Chris Pine on the whole but I have no problem with him as Steve Trevor as he is little more than Diana’s whipping boy in the comics. I get the feeling that in most of Pine’s scenes I’m just going to want Wonder Woman to run off and fight some more dudes or be looking deeper into mythology. Not sure who the villain will be, my money is on Ares but I think Cerse or Cheetah would fit with what we have seen. Finally, I really like the design work on Themyscira as it looks almost other worldly.

Justice League Trailer


The Justice League trailer looked pretty tight but it didn’t knock my socks off. Aquaman is strong, mysterious and otherworldly. However, I don’t really think the bottle of jack was really needed as it makes him look less like a king and more like a washed up member of Nickelback, that is to say it makes him look like a member of Nickelback. I feel a little unsure about the depiction of Barry Allen as he could fall a little too close to the typical ‘Erckle’ nerd role but he looks cool and I think he will be fun later in the film with some development. Cyborg is a little too heavy on the cgi but I love him, he looks just like I imagine Victor and he certainly has the bulk needed for the character. At the end of the day, it’s a geek’s wet dream just to see the team together on the big screen, no matter how hard Zack Snyder tries to cover them in grit and grime.

Marvel SDCC presentation


Doctor Strange trailer looks good, I am worried that the complexity of the trailer could put off some mainstream viewers but I might not be giving all you Mission Impossible and Fast And Furious lovers enough credit. Everything I have heard about Guardians and Spiderman sounds fairly positive but it has mostly come from various industry sites which can sway biased. Apparently Marvel made a big deal about their diversity as they brought on Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, hoping that we will forget that it will have taken more than a decade for a female hero to get their own film. Not much more to say here, like most years Marvel keep making more vague promises for the future and it all sounds pretty awesome because we know that no matter what they do it’s going to affect us in the same way an electric shock affects the pleasure centres of a mice’s brain.

Ghost In The Shell Movie


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We finally saw the robot. It looks good.

American Gods Series


Strong trailer. One of Gaiman’s best adult novels with a lot of scope for expansion upon the source material. Not quite sure why this didn’t go to a bigger company but I guess ‘Starz’ is another group looking to take a slice of that Netflix/Amazon Prime/Now TV pie. Hopefully this will become the big hit it really deserves to be.

Bojack Horseman Season Three


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Covert Coot did a nice long article all about this but I’ve just finished the series so I’m gonna talk about it as well. I loved it. Bojack continues its weaving nihilistic narrative with an elegance rarely found in any medium. I know this is a tough series to get into but you need to give it a watch as it confronts a lot of the issues we all have to deal with day to day and really forces you to reflect upon your own live while also throwing in lots of laughs to keep you from throwing yourself off a cliff.

Trolls


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No. I wrote this in my list of things to talk about and now I just can’t. Basically if you have never seen Shrek, Madagascar, Despicable Me or Ice Age this might be your next favourite thing. For everyone else just go watch the last instalment from your favourite terrible DreamWorks franchise.

Ghost Rider In Agents Of Shield


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I read this head line and had to do a double take. The agents of shield are going up against the spirit of vengeance? Isn’t that like an army of sugar cubes battling a kettle of boiling water. I know it’s only little Robbie Reyes, because if it was Johnny Blaze everyone would be dead in the first five minutes or Nicholas Cage would demand the role again, but even so it feels kind of unfair. Still, if they pull it off I’m not going to complain.

Legion


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I have no idea how this is going to work and I have even less of an idea why Marvel or Fox or whoever came up with this idea thought that Legion had brand recognition but here we are. This trailer looks insane and brilliant, I think this could be the next big step for everyone’s favourite mutants.

Manchester Comic Con


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Finally, I just want to give a quick shout out that Manchester is having its regular Comic Con next Saturday and Sunday! Tickets are almost sold out but if you have the time book yourself in and come on down to show your support, there’s going to be a bunch of awesome stuff there for all pop culture fans!

I think I have covered just about everything so I will go back to me lair and hibernate until next time.

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Opinion Piece!!! Check back on Wednesday for a new Comic History 101!!!

BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle Week Forty Four

It’s weeks like these that I live for as a comic book fan. I walked into my local comic book store today to be faced with a barrage of amazing titles backed up by the tightest of creative teams. DC are leading with their best foot forward this week with a triple hit of Batman, Justice League and Superman that will leave any reader breathless. To top that we’ve got a new Deadpool series and the beginning of a new Star Wars arc that will knock you off your feet. And while you’re on the ground there’s a left hook from Snotgirl and I Hate Fairyland to knock your socks off once and for all. Needless to say, I have survived this assault, wrestled my socks back on, and I’m ready to give you the official BearSleuth play by play.

 

All images are screenshots taken from the Marvel and DC Comics App [Accessed: 22/07/2016]

 

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Rebirth One-Shot By Julie Benson, Shawna Benson And Claire Rose


 

We’re starting with the weakest of the bunch this week but please don’t take that as a put down for Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey. This year has seen a Ghostbuster’s reboot that handled female characters with a greater care that the rest of the film industry and I feel there is a parallel to be drawn between that film and this book. The mainstream of the comic book industry has had a love-hate relationship with female characters and this book goes a long way to break away from the classic problems. Ever since Gail Simone’s work on Batgirl, and arguably before, the character has stood as a feminist icon in the industry and this book continues that tradition while also working not to sound preachy in its approach. The Benson’s merit the highest praise for making another great female-lead piece and, with Claire Rose’s artwork, this book deserves your attention and support.

 

Batman Issue Three By Tom King And David Finch


 

Sometimes I claim that a certain book would be the pick of the week if only it had fallen in another week because there is another book that has just blown it out the water, but even that doesn’t justify my situation this week. This week might contain two of my favourite comic books of the year and it is only because the other one might start a whole new trend in the industry that Batman Issue Three is not my pick of the week. This book does everything perfectly, the writing is so perfect that I cannot find a sing word that seems out of place or unnecessary, there is an elegance to King’s writing which I can only describe as otherworldly. The structure of the piece stands alone as a piece of art examining the soul of Batman whilst also falling neatly into the ongoing narrative of the book. I have a feeling this is a piece we will be studying for years as a paragon of writing and design in the medium. The artwork is solid here as well as it is simple, allowing the writing to hold the reader’s attention. This is a book and a series you need to follow. A modern classic.

 

Deadpool & The Mercs For Money Issue One By Cullen Bunn And Iban Coello


 

A Deadpool book that doesn’t just rely on one liners and instead turns change with heart and integrity while still perpetuating a sense of levity. Madness. Deadpool & The Mercs For Money continues Cullen Bunn’s trend for playing the character of Wade Wilson as a tragic anti-hero, a trend that has evolved over the years with the character. We see in this issue how Deadpool deals with his reputation in the wider hero community whilst also witnessing the further establishment of the Mercs For Money as individuals. There is also a reintroduction of a fan favourite character that I’m sure will be a pleasant treat for both comic readers and movie goers. This is a solid book and if you are a Deadpool fan then you need to pick it up.

 

I Hate Fairyland Issue Seven By Skottie Young


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I’ll be honest, I always had a good feeling about this series but I never quite expected it to be so strong and to grow such a wide fanbase. I Hate Fairyland is one of the first Image comics (after Walking Dead and Sex Criminals) that I have found non-comic book readers talking about. This is something I love to see and I really think it’s a great sign for the industry as it shows that not only the super hero books are finding their place in the mainstream. This book deserves major attention as well as it is unlike anything else on the shelves and a thoroughly original concept, with only gentle nods of the head to works such as Discworld. Skottie Young knows how to rock out in the art department and he makes sure to splash as much colour and life into every panel as possible. This is another series you should check out, even if you hate comic books this could be the one to turn your head.

 

Justice League Issue One By Bryan Hitch And Tony S. Daniel


 

The big buzzword everyone liked to use when talking about Geoff John’s Justice League series was ‘epic’ but I have a feeling that we are going to have to start toping that with a phase such as ‘divine opera’ when talking about Hitch’s run. The second panel in this book is a double page spread that just tells you everything you need to know about Hitch’s vision for the Justice League and how they should appear going forward. Hitch gets the idea of micro-macro writing that has always been at the heart of the series as we open on one of the most terrifying world catastrophes imaginable while we also see various personal dramas begin to show between the team mates. It’s this level of writing talent, coupled with pencil work by industry mainstay Tony S. Daniel that leaves us with a worthy successor to the work of Johns, Lee and Fabok. This is the start of something big, get in on the ground floor.

 

BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Snotgirl Issue One By Bryan Lee O’Malley And Leslie Hung


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If you had asked me twenty four hours ago what my favourite book of the year is I would not have been able to give you an answer and I would probably have defaulted to Tom King’s Batman or Vision series. Now I can definitively say I know the answer. Snotgirl is the newest creation from Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim, and I think it might be his magnum opus. The concept is an original dramatic satire on modern life with the sort of out of the box approach that both O’Malley and Image have become famous for. There is a perfect sense of character from start to finish and the personality of even bit players seems to shine through. It’s interesting to see O’Malley moving to the writer’s seat while letting Leslie Hung take over on the artwork front but I think it’s fair to say that O’Malley, while having a style that complements his own writing, has never been the strongest in the art department. Hung works perfectly with O’Malley’s script creating a piece that doesn’t deserve to be in your collection but instead simply needs to be there.

 

Star Wars Issue Twenty One By Jason Aaron And Jorge Molina


 

The Darth Vader comic series is about to finish and I think it’s fair to say it has had a great run, that means it’s time for Marvel to attempt to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time with another Star Wars villain. If you missed the subtle hint on the cover of this issue, this issue appears to be a disguised-pilot for a Stormtrooper mini-series. As you would expect, this immediately triggered my critical defences like a fresh piece of meat being thrown into the lions pit but I have to say I like what we’ve been presented with here. The Stormtrooper squad look interesting and are each compelling enough character’s that they can pull off the anti-hero approach easily. Aaron has put in the work here and I have to say that it pays off in story that will delight Star Wars fans.

 

Superman Issue Three By Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason And Jorge Jimenez


 

I left this one to last. Honestly, I tried everything to escape reviewing this book, after loving the first two issues I really wanted to love this one two but I had been put off by the ending of the second issue and I didn’t want this issue to shatter my hope for a strong Superman series. I am happy to say that nothing of the sort happened when I read Superman Issue Three. This is a great piece and with the fantastic writing talent of Tomasi and Gleason behind it the book continues to deliver a plot that manages to drill to the core of what superman should represent. The art by Jimenez is sublime and there really is little else I can say about it. If you want a good Superman story you finally have one!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back today at 6pm for a new Adaptive Panels!!!

BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Comic Con Is Upon Us!

Every hobby community has it’s sacred holiday day. If you try to ask my football mad Dad to do anything while the world up is on then you are going to be lucky to get anything more than a vague grunt from him. I tried to get into contact with our very own gaming gremlin, VuePoint, while E3 was on and I didn’t get a single reply until the presentations were over. Now it’s my turn. I’m your friendly neighbourhood comic book guy and tomorrow marks the start of San Diego Comic Con. For the best part of a week the San Diego Convention Centre will become a temple for geekdom and at the heart of it will be every major comic book publisher from the titans of Marvel and DC all the way through to the rising success stories of the indie landscape. Whether it’s talking about new storylines, fielding questions from the wider community, looking at artist portfolios or teasing future events, the comic publishers will be acting as the high priests at the comic con temple and I can wait to see what gifts they conjure from the ether. On top of the comic book stuff there will hundreds of movie, video game, war game and reading events, promotions and announcements. Every year the convention gets a little bigger and this year is already set to top it’s predecessors.

How Can You Get A Piece Of The Action?


Image result for comic con

If you are going to comic con I’m pretty sure you know by now and, unless a love one is about to surprise you with tickets, you might have to consider another to get involved with the event. If you have ever tried to follow E3 or EuroGamer then you should have a pretty good idea how this works. You can watch everything going down at comic con (except for close-doors reveals) on a stream, I personally recommend IGN as they tend to have strong coverage across the entire event but both Marvel Comics and the Hollywood Reporter have their own streams which are worth checking out. Obviously, as many of our readers are British, remember to check the stream’s schedule and then factor in any relevant time differences as not to miss anything. If you come across a point in the schedule that your stream isn’t covering then hop onto one of the others. This will get you closer to San Diego Comic Con however you can go one step further.

The Real Action.


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Jump back forty six years to the very first San Diego comic con, there were barely any attendees and it was essentially a few round table discussions with some of the industry big wigs and the fans. In fact, there was so little interest and funding that the industry had to put on a convention three months before ‘the big one’ just to fund the handful of guests they had. I tried to scour the internet for an image from these first conventions but they just didn’t even have the profile for a photographer, the earliest image I could find is the one above from the 1972 convention. Then things began to change slowly and with each year the panels and the guests profile began to get bigger and bigger. This year’s convention is only a worldwide phenomenon because of the tireless support of fans just like you and me. When enough people put their will behind something it can become bigger than any of them imagined, that’s the idea behind all these super heroes we love and that’s the idea behind comic con. Batman is just Bruce Wayne in a fancy suit right? Fuck no. He is a piece of our modern mythology, he is the modern Zeus or Thor. Our will lends him power. So if the fans before us could turn a few fans sitting around a table with a writer into one of the biggest events in the world why can’t we do it again?

Local Action


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About a decade ago (depending on who you ask), London played host to its first film and comic book convention, now it’s the third biggest comic book convention in the world. A few years ago, Manchester played host to its first comic book convention, which has almost doubled in size and success with every year to the point that it is now pretty much taking over the city in two weeks. Two years ago my home town of Wigan played host to its first comic convention and in only two years it’s seen a huge increase in prestige. These conventions are happening all the time and they are spreading like wildfire, so go out and get involved with the closest on to you, volunteer, exhibit or just simply attend. If there isn’t a comic book convention near you go and start one! Who knows forty six years from now you might be introducing the next Iron Man to your main stage or watching as the world is rocked by holographic technology that lets you become Batman. Anything is possible with enough will. If you think nerds don’t get that then just look at Green Lantern, we created a freaking hero dedicated to the concept…

BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle Week Thirty Nine

This week we are right in the thick of it dear readers! Civil War II and Rebirth are now in full swing, with a thick stack of tie-ins appearing for both events. It’s around this time of year that the hype trains can start to slow down, as each company reveals their hands and normally at least one of them is found to be bluffing. I would say the biggest bluff has come from DC, who claimed to be rebooting with their rebirth but instead are attempting what can only be described as the most convoluted plan to make everyone happy. It’s at times like these you need your friendly neighbourhood comic book guy to guide the way, cut through the bluffs and recommend you only the finest comics of the week!

All images are screen shots taken from the Marvel and DC comics’ app [Accessed: 10/06/2016]

Action Comics Issue Nine Hundred And Fifty Seven By Dan Jurgens And Patrick Zircher


Going back to the idea of bluffs from DC it seems that they just can’t let any character die. In this book we see the aftermath of a certain characters death (no prizes for guessing which one) and then within a few panels we see two character who are essentially the dead character alive again and a third character pledging to take up the old character’s mantle. Dan Jurgens is on good form here, with some truly interesting ideas and fun dialogue for a lot of characters, but the main plot at work here doesn’t really do it for me yet. As this was the big relaunch of Action Comics I was hoping to be wowed and I’m afraid to say this issue is just not doing it for me. Zircher’s art is fairly mediocre with a few notable panels that will leave most fans of Supes smiling. I would probably recommend this for the core Superman fan base but few past that.

Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War II Issue One By Christos N Gage And Travel Foreman


It’s rare that I am put off a book solely by the cover but I have to say I came close with this issue. I’m glad I wasn’t. Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II Issue One is a pretty awesome meditation on the main issue of the Civil War II debate while also neatly placing Peter Parker in the centre of the discussion. Christos Gage rustles up a fun plot, cherry picking some of the best characters from the Civil War II event to work with. I also want to say that while I struggle with the cover of this book the interior artwork really stands out for me by Travel Foreman. I think if you’re looking for a good Civil War II tie-in then this book is up to the task.

Detective Comics Issue Nine Hundred And Thirty Four By James Tynion IV And Eddy Barrows


I really like the idea behind this book, without spoiling anything more than the front cover, it’s about the heroes of Gotham coming together as a team. For the longest time I’ve pined for a book looking at the entire Bat-Family as super team and I’m glad to see something resembling that vision. James Tynion IV has already proven himself as an industry titan but I would happily site this as some of his best work as he quickly makes the characters motives unique and memorable. Eddy Barrows pulls out some serious writing chops on this issue as well, we visit Gotham in the winter so every panel is filled with masked vigilantes swinging from gothic rooftops through the snow. If you want a book chocked full of Bat-family fun, look no further.

Flash: Rebirth Issue One By Joshua Williamson And Carmine De Giandomenico


Every time DC start mucking about with time streams and general continuity things get confusing. More specifically, things tend to get really confusing for the Flash. Rebirth sees Barry Allen putting together pieces from his pre-52 and new 52 past into some sort of brand new origin. I think this is simply way too much to lay at any writer’s feet and while Joshua Williamson gives it a good shot that final execution just feels lacking for me. I get the feeling that the book was trying to set up a string of questions for the post-Rebirth Flash series but it just left me a little jaded with the whole series. If you want to drop a book week I would say this is one you can stand to lose.

Gods Of War: Civil War II Issue One By Dan Abnett And Emilio Laiso


I loved the All-New All-Different Hercules series and this continuation from Dan Abnett is nothing short of brilliant. Most tie-ins to big event books tend to look at a main event through the eyes of a particular character but this book instead opts to take the major themes of the event and play with them in a completely different story. I can understand why many might consider this to be a bit of a ‘cop-out’ but personally I prefer it as it feels a lot less forced. The plot here is great and I’m pretty sure any reader will be psyched for is series by the final page. The writing by Abnett is fun and thought provoking, making for a wining piece when teamed up with Emilio Laiso’s art, this is one that deserves to be in your collection.

BearSleuth Pick Of The Week: Wacky Raceland Issue One By Ken Pontac And Leonardo Manco


If you ever wanted proof that those wild cards over at DC were a little bit touched in the head you needn’t look any further than this book right here. Combining Wacky Races with the thematic setting of Mad Max for the ultimate post-apocalyptic death race might sound ridiculous on paper but I think the even more insane aspect of this piece it that the team pulled it off. This book works, Ken Pontac has injected enough emotional weight into the proceedings that I challenge any reader not to get hooked from the first few pages. Throughout the piece there is a constant sense of action and big characters pushing up against each other. This is a great book and it really deserves your full attention, especially with the heavily inked art style of Leonardo Manco, this might not be your normal choice but trust me you’ll enjoy this one.

Wonder Woman: Rebirth Issue One By Greg Rucka And Matthew Clark


As with the majority of DC Rebirth titles coming out at the moment, Wonder Woman is another convoluted mess. However, Greg Rucka manages to pull this convoluted mess together and work it into a plot that is truly engaging as we see Wonder Woman search for the truth of her origin. I think many readers will still find this issue difficult to follow but Rucka keeps the piece as simple as possible while using a theme of uncertainty to suggest we might not have to understand everything yet. Matthew Clark and the rest of the art team work hard to make Wonder Woman look the coolest she has ever looked on the page. If you want to jump on board the Wonder Woman series this is a perfect point.

Vision Issue Eight By Tom King And Gabriel Walta


You should all know what I am going to say about this series already. This series is some of the best writing to come out of the mainstream industry in years, I don’t even consider it for my pick of the week anymore because I’m certain it would take it every time. Tom King has exploded onto the scene and I will be surprised if he doesn’t manage to get an Eisner award off the back of this series. It’s smart, well thought out and charming. Every character feels real and there is a warmth to Gabriel Walta’s art style you simply cannot find in any other book. I think King’s secret is that he writes on a very human level, even though these characters are as far from everyday life as it is possible to be they are all very human and that is compelling. If you have any interest in any aspect of the comic book industry, you need this series in your collection.

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Spoiler Free Comic Book Bundle!!! Check back at 6pm this evening for a new Adaptive Panels!!!

BearSleuth British Comic Book Industry Spotlight: Lee Sullivan Part Two

BY THE BEAR SLEUTH

Recently I was invited to attend Manchester Film and Comic Con where I was given the opportunity to interview some of the best and brightest of the British comic book industry. This is the first interview from that convention with Titan Comics superstar artist Lee Sullivan. Over the last thirty years Lee has worked on several major film and television properties including the Transformers and Robocop. Lee is perhaps most well-known for his work on Doctor Who, he contributed artwork in one form or another since the late eighties till to the present day. Lee took a brief departure from comic books but now he is back working with Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel on the Rivers of London comic book series. The series’ first volume, Body Work, has already seen many positive reviews as it is becoming essential reading for any fans of Aaronovitch’s work. Going into the interview I wanted to explore how an artist such as Lee is able to work on pre-existing properties and the effect that has upon his art as well as discussing Lee’s recent work on the Rivers of London.

For the first part of this interview check out part one which I put up last week here.

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BS: Recently you have been working on the ‘Rivers of London’ comic book series for Titan Comics, could you tell our readers a little bit about that series?

LS: Well, ‘Rivers of London’ is my current project so of course I am wildly enthusiastic to talk about it. Rightly so because I’ve had a period away from comics and the opportunity came to me to do ‘Rivers of London’ and I was sort of a bit reluctant to go back to comics. It’s very hard work, long hours and if you are going to make a good job of it then you’ve got to pretty much throw the kitchen sink at it. However, ‘Rivers of London’ is irresistible to me because it’s built on a series of novels, it isn’t an adaptation but instead it sits alongside a series of currently five but soon to be six novels by Ben Aaronovitch. Ben has a Doctor Who connection because he wrote ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ and ‘Battlefield’ for Sylvester McCoy’s time. The book is then co-writen with Andrew Cartmel who was Ben’s script editor on the old series.

Interestingly, Andrew and I were supposed to work together way back for a project that Marvel UK wanted to run with, a mini-series called ‘The Two Doctors’. Andrew was going to write it and I was going to draw it, I did one picture but nothing more. The two Doctors in question are Doctor Seven, Sylvester McCoy, and Doctor Strange. That would have been a fantastic series and would now be a huge collector’s item. Sadly, Tom DeFalco who was in charge of the American end of Marvel, nixed it, saying ‘I can’t see what’s in it for Dr. Strange’. I guess Doctor Who wasn’t very big in the States then so it is forgivable but it’s a shame. It was two Doctors, two hero Doctors, one magical and one science and that would have been a really interesting pairing. My argument was just that it would make a good story, forget what it does for Doctor Strange, it wasn’t going to touch Doctor Strange. It wouldn’t have been noticed by most of his fans. I was a bit shook around by that.

So I finally got to work with Andrew Cartmel and we all get along like a house on fire. The series is set between books four and five. I’m not quite up to that in the novels yet so I’m catching up reading them. But I knew that the novels were successful and I knew that they were very well received so I thought ‘I can’t pass this up really’. Also, since I was coming back to comics and many of the comics I’ve done have been junior comics I wanted to do something a little more adult. I was looking for ego boosting really. Aren’t we all? So I took it on. It’s been really nice, particularly because of the subject matter.

The plot is set around a department within the metropolitan police of London which deals with super natural crime. It’s one guy, called Thomas Nightingale, and he takes on an apprentice, this young copper on the beat who suddenly realises he’s being spoken to by dead people, showing that he has some form of magical facility. Of course, all sorts of hilarity ensues. They are both grim and funny books which are impossible to put down. The nice thing really, is that Ben is writing them so that they are not just a spin off. They are not like Doctor Who comics, which can refer to the TV show but the TV show never refers to it. With this, Ben and Andrew are generating all the stories, even the one-page gags that we’ve done, so they are all ideas the team’s had that don’t necessarily fit into the confines of the novel. The first story refers to stuff from the novels but the second story, Night Witch, that will be referred to in Book Six as it is a prequel to Book Six in some respects. The story actually has proper cannon association with the series which is brilliant!

Ben’s actually having a great deal of fun. He said to me the other day ‘oh Lee I’m having the best I’ve ever had working in writing because I don’t have to write all that prose, I just say it’s set in a café and you have to draw the cafe’ and he right. So he’s having a good time and we’re all very happy with it.

 

Picture Source: http://zenoagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/RiversOfLondon-BodyWork-0203-Blog.jpg [Accessed: 27/05/2016]

BS: The final thing I would like to ask you about, in connection with ‘The Rivers of London’ series, is that many of the properties you have worked on have had an established visual style because they have been TV shows or films. Since ‘Rivers of London’ is coming to you only existing previously as a novel, do you feel like you are playing a role in establishing the series visual style?

LS: Oh yeah! That’s completely true! It’s inescapable as no one else has drawn the characters. There was a lot of fan art, which I deliberately stayed away from because I didn’t want to be accused of stealing someone’s idea and the majority are based on actors anyway. You can’t use an actor’s likeness without their permission and it’s a bit of a cop out anyway. So I developed my own impressions. I think sometimes the reaction is ‘well that’s not how they look’ and that’s fair enough in someone’s mind but I think they kind of forget that Ben and Andrew, particularly Ben as it’s his books, have actually approved every stage of this and if they didn’t like something it was changed. It is their property after all. Neither are shy to come forward if they don’t like something and either way I would get told off and sent back to the drawing board, literally.

It’s been great to create the style but you are actually fighting people’s, sometimes quite vague, notions of what the characters look like. There was a lovely moment where a guy went through some of the characters saying ‘well this one is alright’ and ‘that one is okay’ before saying ‘the way the artist draws Molly that’s just terrible’. I thought that was really funny because the character of Molly is one character who is properly described in the books, she wears a mob cap, an eighteenth or nineteenth century maids outfit and she’s vaguely vampiric looking with very long straight hair which hangs down to her waist. Blimey, there’s really only one way to draw her. I defy anybody to draw her looking different, but that was the one the guy picked on which I thought was very funny. I don’t care, its fine that people have their opinions. Happily, now that the readers are getting into it they are starting to be generally alright with the look and feel. I’ve done my work and I suppose if they really don’t like it they would stop buying it.

BS: Fantastic. Thank you so much for you time and thoughtful responses.

LS: My pleasure.

 

Picture Source: http://majorspoilers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Rivers_-Of_London_1_Cover.jpg [Accessed: 27/05/2016]

Check back next week for another great interview and if you want to check out more of Lee’s fantastic work go to www.leesullivanart.co.uk or try Rivers of London: Body Work.

Unsourced photography by William Shacklady

…That was this week’s BearSleuth British Comic Book Industry Spotlight!!! Check Back tomorrow for a new BearSleuth Opinion Piece!!!