One Mad Dog


One Mad Dog (And His Master) : Introduction
January 1, 2010, 10:05 am
Filed under: Introduction

Welcome to my Graphic novels and collected editions mini review blog. Please use the Category links in the left column to navigate to your favorite author, artist or series or just browse through my mini reviews.  You can also click on the star rating to see which books I have particularly enjoyed.

Background:

in 2005 I started collecting graphic novels when some of my favorite “Starlord” and “2000AD” stories from my childhood became available in a collected form.  Since then it has become something of a passion and my collection seems to grow at an exponential rate.  Whenever I read a new book in my collection this blog is updated with a mini review and a not so scientific score.  The score is based upon how much I enjoyed the book and takes into account the story, artwork and presentation. If I think a book is worth less than a 5 I dont bother writing about it.

2017 Update : Sorry but the site has been on hold for a few years due to a medical issue I had which left me unable to read. I am now reading again although at a reduced rate.

Total Number of reviews : 218

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John Constantine Hellblazer Volume 03: The Fear Machine (Jamie Delano, Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckinham, Mike Hoffman. Alfredo Alcala)

Collects Hellblazer #14–22

  • Script  :  Jamie Delano
  • Art : Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckinham, Mike Hoffman. Alfredo Alcala

The 9 part collection has a nice shiny cover but it is Printed on dull comic paper stock which is a bit disappointing for a $20 book.

Running from a report in the Sun newspaper, Constantine finds himself with a new-age pagan group that have apparent psychic abilities. Unfortunately the group become prey to a defense contractor and a young girl Constantine has befriended gets kidnapped and he tries to get her back.  This is a very wordy story that is similar to those old detective movies where the hero gives a lengthy internal monologue at every opportunity. The book doesn’t really have much action going on at the start and Constantine doesn’t  seem to be remarkable at all.  I can only imagine what the purchasers of book 14 must have thought at the time. The story is steeped with hippy and masonic style cultures and references and requires some concentration to keep up with the plot.

The art is acceptable but nothing special and suffers a bit from the cheap comic book coloring and paper. There are no standout artists in this collection but no stinkers either.  Some of the frame layouts can be very confusing.  Most sections you read on each page, left to right and top to bottom  whereas others you have to read left to right across two pages. It was not always obvious that this was how you were supposed to read it.

The story isn’t bad but I found the finish a bit unrewarding and convoluted. The badies never really get their comeuppance in a satisfying manner. The standout thing for me for this collection is just how unremarkable Constantine is. Three collections in so far and Hellblazer doesn’t seem to be a great series so far. 6/10 (ISBN- 978-1401235192)

 



Starwars Omnibus Droids (Dan Thorsland, Bill Hughes, Ryder Windham, Ian Gibson, Jan Strnad, Anthony Daniels, and Brian Daley)

Based on the adventures of C3PO and R2D2 before they met up with Luke Skywalker.  They get tangled up with pirates, bounty hunters, rock monsters, and the notorious space criminal Olag Greck.  The stories are a fun read and the story lines quite inventive.

This travel sized omnibus includes every “Droids” story published by Dark Horse and contains:

  1. “Droids Special”: Script : Dan Thorsland : Art : Bill Hughes
  2. “The Kalarba Adventures”:  Script : Dan Thorsland and Ryder Wyndham: Art : Bill Hughes and Ian Gibson.
  3. “Rebellion”: Script : Ryder Wyndham: Art : Ian Gibson.
  4. “Seasons of Revolt”: Script : Jan Strnad: Art:  Bill Hughes
  5. “The Protocol Offensive”: Script; Anthony Daniels and Ryder Wyndham: Art : Brian Daley.

The story line flows through the many different collections within the book.  This is a good read and the imaginative story grabs the readers attention for the whole book. No real story stands out but if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be “Rebellion” as the “Smiler” plot is a good one.

The artwork is generally solid but quite simplistic at times. The “Protocol Offensive”  had a different style of art to the rest of the book and I didn’t really like the change.  The Ian Gibson drawn episodes have quite a 2000AD look to them and the art is both simple and pleasing to the eye. Ian’s work adds a light hearted cartoony feel at times but it fits in remarkably well with Bill Hughes work. Bill Hughes art style is Quite similar in many ways but just a bit more serious. Brian Daleys work although of good quality didn’t really fit in with the rest of the book in my opinion.

[ISBN 978-1-59037-955-0] 7/10

 

 



Indiana Jones Omnibus Volume 1 (Hal Barwood, Noah Falstein, Dan Barry, Dan Spiegle, Lee Mars, Leo Durafiona)

Small sized volume with pretty good paper that is perfect as a travelling companion.

This collection includes:

  1. “Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis”: Script – Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein. Art – Dan Barry.
  2. “Thunder in the Orient” : Script – Dan Barry. Art – Dan Barry and Dan Spiegle.
  3. “Indiana Jones and the arms of gold”. Script – Lee Marrs. Art- Leo Duranona.

The stories capture the spirit of the movies but perhaps without the same level of humor.  Although there is plenty of action, the plots explore some quite complex mythological themes and you really have to pay attention to not get lost.   I am a big fan of the movies so I enjoyed this read.

“Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis”.  A pretty good story arc with just the right amount of mystery and intrigue. Set in the myth of Atlantis with some Nazis thrown in for good measure. The art work is serviceable but nothing special.

“Thunder in the Orient”.  Based on Budah this is another pretty good story but the art is nothing special.  The plot kept me hooked from start to finish and the concepts were interesting. Definitely has the feel of one of the movies.

“Indiana Jones and the arms of gold”. Another good story that keeps the readers attention but I think this one finished a little quick.  I enjoyed the story but felt they could have done a better job with the ending.  Like the other two stories in this book the artwork was OK but nothing to write home about.

A good read that I believe will appeal to fans of the movies. 6/10 (ISBN- 978-1-59307-884-4)

 



Jonah Hex: No Way Back  (Justin Gray,‎ Jimmy Palmiotti ,‎ Tony DeZuniga)
December 5, 2017, 2:56 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jonah Hex, Justin Gray, Tony DeZuniga, Uncategorized

This standalone graphic novel delves deeply into Hex’s past and revolves around him meeting up with his mother and step brother.  The story is well written and engaging and the baddies are well crafted to be really nasty.  Hex plays out his gruff no compromise self well. The artwork is good and appropriate to the content which is violent in a true Hex fashion.  I think this book should appeal to Hex and spaghetti western fans alike. ISBN-10: 1401225500. ISBN-13: 978-1401225506. 7/10.



Jonah Hex – Counting Corpses (Jimmy Palmiotti,‎ Justin Gray,‎ Paul Gulacy,‎ Darwyn Cooke,‎ Billy Tucci,‎ Jordi Bernet,‎ Dick Giordano)

Counting Corpses’ compiles Jonah Hex issues 43 (July 2009), and 50 – 54 (February 2010 -June 2010). (the intervening issues 44 – 49 constituted the `Six Gun War’ miniseries). It contains The Hide House Massacre, The Great Silence, Divining Rod, Too Mean to Die, Shooting Stars and You’ll Never Dance Again.

Some solid stories with great artwork that kept your attention.  I didn’t really enjoy the “Hide House Massacre” in the beginning but it turned out ok.  The pages of pictures without text didn’t really work for me. Recommended for fans of the series and a good read for everyone else.  7/10.



Indiana Jones Omnibus Volume 2 (Pat McGreal, Dave Rawson, Ken Hooper, Joe Pinney, Hal Barwood, Bill Stoneham, Aric Wilmunder, Leo Duranfiona, Elaine Lee, Will Simpson, Dan Spiegel, Karl Kesel & Paul Guinan.)

This book collects four stories:

  1. Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece. Script : Pat McGreal & Dave Rawson. Art: Ken Hooper
  2. Shrine of the Sea Devil: Script/Art : Gary Gianni
  3. Indiana Jones and the iron Phoenix: Script: Joe Pinney, Hal Barwood, Bill Stoneham & Aric Wilmunder. Art: Leo Duranona
  4. Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny. Script: Elaine Lee. Art : Will Simpson & Dan Spiegel
  5. Indian Jones and the Sargasso Pirates. Script: Karl Kesel. Art: Karl Kessel & Paul Guinan.

As an Indian Jones fan I think this book should have some appeal as the feel of the books leans quite heavily on the movies but it can be slightly hard work. I found several of the stories pretty hard to follow. The artwork is OK but at times I found it difficult to pick Indy out in some of the stories and sometimes it was hard to figure out what was supposed to be happening .  I found the iron Phoenix to be particularly confusing and a hard read. I was also  not impressed by the implausible ending to the “Shrine of the Sea Devil” (it was just a little too far fetched for me).  The saving grace for me was the final story (Sargasso Pirates) which I really enjoyed.  It had a good pace and the story kept you wanting to read more and the artwork was pleasing to the eye too. The spear of destiny was also a good read and well drawn.  ISBN-13: 978-1593079536. 6/10



Valerian: The Complete Collection , Volume 1 – Valerian & Laureline. (Pierre Christin, Jean Claude Meziers) Hardcover
June 17, 2017, 12:57 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Jean Claude Meziers, Pierre Christin, Uncategorized, Valerian

Valerian is coming out this summer as a blockbuster movie by Luc Besson. I bought this book as I am really looking forward to the movie adaptation after seeing the very impressive trailer.  Luc Besson is the creator of one of my favorite movies of all time “The Fifth Element” and in the Fifth Element he collaborated with this books author Pierre Christin.

This first volume of the trilogy contains books 1 and 2 of the series,  The City of Shifting Waters (extended by 9 pages) and The Empire of a Thousand Planets. It also contains several interviews with the author and Luc Besson and plenty of background information on the series and the movie. The book also Includes book 0, Bad Dreams (translated into English for the first time) which is the debut adventures of the two heroes

The stories are quite engaging and the book is a good read. The artwork by Jean-Claude Mézières is good and is both colorful and detailed. It is quite cartoony and not too serious but fits the stories well. I particularly enjoyed the “Empire of a Thousand Planets” story. ISBN-13: 978-1849183574.  7/10