One Mad Dog


John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 4: The Family Man (Jamie Delano, Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker, Mark Buckinham, Sean Philips, Dick Forman, Steve Pugh, Dean Motter, Mark Penninton)

The family man collects issues 23 to 24 and 28 to 33 of the Hellblazer series.

  • Larger than Life. (Issue 23): Script : Jamie Delano. Art : Ron Tiner
  • The Family Man (Issues 24, 28-30): Script : Jamie Delano. Art : Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker, Mark Buckingham
  • Mourning of the Magician (Issue 31): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Sean Philips
  • New Tricks (Issue 32): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Dick Forman, Steve Pugh
  • Sundays are Different (Issue 33): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Dean Motter, Mark Pennington

Larger Than Life:

A Bizzarre story in which Constantine meets and old friend that is being harassed by Fictional characters.  Although this story sets up the main “Family Man” arc it just left me bewildered as to what was going on.

The family Man:

This is main story of the book and deals with Constantine’s pursuit of a serial killer who murders families.  It is quite a good story and has a great protagonist that is really evil.  Yet another Hellblazer story that left me thinking how unremarkable Constantine is and not really any sort of hero. The pacing of the story was pretty good but I found it quite hard work at times rather than pleasurable. Quite a wordy tale.

Mourning of the Magician

In the “Family man” the serial killer murders Constantines father and in this story he comes back to haunt his sisters daughter.  There is a back story on Constantines relationship with his father and we get to find a little bit more about his childhood. Quite a good story but artwork not quite as good.

New Tricks

This story sees a return to the demonic world where someone has possessed a dog and is preying on homeless people. Quite a good story

Sundays are Different

I really didn’t get this story. A meandering alternate reality exploit that really seemed to have no point. Just filler in this book really.

Conclusion: 

The artwork in this book is ok but really suffers from the cheap paper stock and gaudy comic book coloring. Visually it is nothing to write home about. There are no standout artists for me but the art does the job.  It has a few areas, like the other collected issues,  where the layout of the tiles is pretty confusing.

A solid collection of Hellblazer stories (with one exception) but Hellblazer still doesn’t really get me excited. I don’t find them an easy read and visually they are nothing special. 5/10. ISBN-13: 978-1401236908

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[Dicks] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea)
September 28, 2010, 7:55 pm
Filed under: 5 stars, Garth Ennis, John McCrea

People who have read the UK comic “VIZ” should feel right at home with “Dicks”. It features the same profanity, nudity, gore, questionable subject matter and simplistic comic style B/W artwork. It does have its funny moments and the main story isnt half bad but I think Garth tries too hard to be shocking and gross.

Dicks is set in Northern Ireland and is supposed to be the story of a couple of dead beat Private Investigators.  All the characters feature strong accents that might confuse some readers and bewilder others. Fortunately Avatar included a dictionary in the back to help people understand what they are saying.  The artwork is quite grotesque and we can be thankful that it isnt in full color. It portrays many body parts and functions that are better left up to the imagination and acts of extreme violence and depravity. It is definitely not a book to read in a public place.

There is something in this TPB to offend everybody and it most certainly isn’t for kids. There were certain sections where I laughed out loud and others where I thought “I cant believe they just put that in print”. It is Definitely not one of Garth’s best peices of work but it isnt actually a bad read. If you liked early VIZ comics and you have a sick and twisted sense of humor you might well like this.  [ISBN-1-59291-004-1]. 5/10



[Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising Volume 1] – (M. Zachary Sherman, Mark Long, Nick Sagan, Bagus Hutomo)
August 14, 2010, 11:26 pm
Filed under: 5 stars, Bagus Hutomo, M. Zachary Sherman, Mark Long, Nick Sagan

Shrapnel is set on the planet Venus in the year 2250.  The Solar Alliance of planets have decided they wish to take over Venus and figure out the planets militia will be no match for their space marines. They didn’t count on one of the Marines ex top commanders who is hiding out on the planet taking control of the army and fighting back.  This book was a huge disappointment for me.  The idea for the story sounded good and the cover art was very eye catching but the execution left me cold. The artwork inside is very dark and very muddy. It is almost impossible to figure out what is happening in the lengthy battle scenes and the speech bubbles don’t help much. The artwork in this book gave me a headache. The art looks pretty but surely the point of a graphic novel is to tell the story in both words and pictures and for me it really didn’t work at all.  The story itself was average. [ISBN-13: 978-1935417019]. 5/10



[The Playwright – Hardcover] – (Daren White, Eddie Campbell)
July 29, 2010, 8:50 am
Filed under: 5 stars, Daren White, Eddie Campbell

The playwright is a dark, romantic comedy about the sex life of a celibate, middle-aged man. The book is printed as if it is a collection of  newspaper comic strips with text above the panels and the words in a series of introspective monologues. The book is illustrated in an artistic water color fashion and the art style fits the story well. The Playwright  is semi erotic and has quite a lot of nudity but it isn’t pornographic. The nudity is done in an artistic way so it isn’t shocking but you still wouldn’t want to read it on a train.  A good book but for some reason it never really captured me. [ISBN-13: 978-1603090568] . 5/10



[Tales From The Clerks] – (Kevin Smith)
May 25, 2010, 2:57 am
Filed under: 5 stars, Kevin Smith

Collects the contents from the Clerks, Chasing Dogma and Bluntman & Chronic books together with one new story and a 15-page, never before reprinted story. I am a big fan of the Jay and Silent Bob movies and some of the same style of humor comes across here. A good book for Kevin Smith fans but nothing special.  [ISBN-13: 978-0936211787]. 5/10



[Pride of Baghdad] – (Brian K Vaughan, Niko Henrichon)
April 27, 2010, 3:49 am
Filed under: 5 stars, Brian K Vaughan, Niko Henrichon
If you read the reviews on the back cover you would expect this to be one of the greatest comic books ever written but I found it to be quite unsatisfying. The story feels very one dimensional without any subtle counterplots to keep your interest and it is also very short. I have nothing against animal stories, try the work of William Horwood for some excellent examples of the genre, but this just feels like Disney with shock value to me. It even has the formulaic Disney cute cub character. On the other hand the artwork is a pleasure to behold. Every page is filled with glorious images and a very atmospheric color palette. Ultimately this book is very pretty to look at but it nothing special to read. If you like Disney movies but would like to see some more gore then this may be the book for you. [ISBN-13: 978-1401203153]. 5/10.


[League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier – H/C]- (Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill)
April 21, 2010, 6:06 am
Filed under: 5 stars, Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neil, League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
This book reminds me of annuals I used to read as a child. It has a mixture of Graphic novel sections to narrate the story and some lengthy prose sections to represent the “Black Dossier” itself. Although the book is well written and nicely laid out with different textures of papers and such I did not really enjoy it that much. Some of the semi erotic art work is particularly well done but the prose sections just drag for me. Even the back story just doesn’t seem to have any drive or edge to it and the prose sections really disrupt the flow. Some sections are quite enjoyable such as the interplay with Jimmy Bond and the Bertie Wooster story but other sections are incredibly hard work. The “Crazy Wide Forever” story is virtually unreadable. The 3D section looks pretty impressive but does not provide a very satisfying end to the affair. Reading this book has been more of a chore than a pleasure especially when the characters are speaking in strange tongues. [ISBN-13: 978-1401217105]. 5/10