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Batman - Earth One
Batman - Earth One
by Geoff Johns
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good start to a very good story, 19 Aug 2012
This review is from: Batman - Earth One (Hardcover)
Being a fan of the Legends of the Dark Knight comics from a few years ago, and new remake of Batman's beginnins is always welcome, as I don't rally like the way his regular titles have gone of late (Batma Inc. being the major dislike for me), and this on didn't disappoint in any way.
It's much darker, more realistic, and looks to be a superb remake of my all-time favourite hero.
Alfred is by far the real star of this first collection, a recalcitrant, grizzled, wounded veteran, who has no desire to takeon the guardianship of a young Bruce Wayne, but who does so out of a sense of duty to his deceased friend Thomas Wayne, the man who gave him the ability to walk again, albeit with a prosthetic leg.
For me, the Alfred character has always been the most unsung hero of the Batman ethos, a man who is always there when his employer needs him, offering succour, advice ad even battlefield medical aid to a tortured soul.
This incarnation of Alfred is very much like my father (a highly decorated war hero in his own right), who simply wishes for the old days when he was in uniform, and who doesn't really relate to the needs of a young boy, dealing as he is with his own loss (his leg, and his military career).
The young Bruce is perfectly cast as the spoiled, arrogant brat of wealthy parentage, demanding that his parents indulge his every whim, with disastrous consequences.
Thomas and Martha Wayne are beautifully rendered as the parents, even though they are only briefly seen before their tragic ends, and their compassion for their friend Alfred shines brightly in their scenes together.
It's Jim Gordon who makes one of the most memorable impressions too, as both atired police officer in a city gone bad, and as a doting, protective father to his young daughter, and the scene with Bullock when he sees Barbara waving from the street is priceless, as you can almost taste the anger radiating from Gordon at Bulocks remarks.
Perfection itsef, all in that brief scene, and also true huanity in both characters.
Bullock is wonderful as the self-aggrandising, womanising, "star on the rise" blow in from Hollywood, who has everything changed for him after finding the victims of the Birthday Boy serial killer, and whose eventual downfall we see beginning in the off-license.
A beautufl book all round, in my opinion, and one series that I hope to keep seeing, as this is simply a joy for an old timer like me to read.
The new Batman ovr in the New 52, coupled with the one in this series just fills me with hope for the leions of new readers who will pick up these titles, as well as for other long term readres like myself, who've loved these characters for many years, and who can now recapture the old excitement of seeing a new beginning for their hero again.


Justice League - Origins (Vol. 1)
Justice League - Origins (Vol. 1)
by Jim Lee
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding re-imagining of a classic team, 19 Aug 2012
I hadn't seen this new line of comics from DC, so getting the first collection of the new JLA was an eye-opener, and I have to say I LOVE IT!!!
The dynamics of every character have breathed new life into the iconic personalities that I grew up with, and have given me (someone who's been following them from the late 6o's) not only a lot of new-found joy, but also hope for the new generation of readers who will pick up these titles.
Everything is new about these characters, from their costumes right up to their attitudes (well, Batman excluded, but he's come a long way fom his gun-toting early days in Detective Comics), and their brash new outing had me bouncing up and down in my seat with a mix of happiness and excitement.
The artwork, like the writing, for me is superb, andlong may it continue, say I.
Jim Lee draws the best Batman I've ever seen, and his appearance is very much similar to how he is in the Frank Miller Batman and Robin, only with a more "Techno" costume and no stubble.
Superman is amazing in this (And I am not a fan, so from me, this is high praise indeed), as gone is the boy scout image, and in its place is an angry, dangerous individual, more than capable of hitting first and asking questions later.
He's much more visceral, arrogant, and down right perfect in this latest incarnation.
His stand-off with Batman had me yelling out loud with sheer delight, seeing this latest depiction of their first meeting, and loving it completely.
The "new" Green Lantern had me laughing at the outcome of his antics, aswell as his interactions with Batman and Superman (Batman taking his ring was pure brilliance, as was his caustic reply to Lantern's saying he'd never be able to do it again).
Lantern's enthusiastic verve, coupled with the results, just makes him more human than ever, and shows his inexperience in using the ring, which, for me, is a delight to behold.
The Flash also made me happy to see again, as his fiery passion in the office is balanced out by his arrogance when confronting Superman (with quite hilarious results, I thought), and his reluctance to be seen alongside the others when the Police arrive.
Wonder Woman also resembles the Frank Miller depiction of this character, but without the female chauvanistic attitude.
She's just looking for a fight, and finds one, which really makes her character shine nce she's in battle.
Aquaman is another old favourite of mine, and here he brings back so many golden memories, bu with a lot of modern attitude and a penchant for good one-liners.
Batman is still Batman, no matter what version he's incarnated in, so there were few surprises here, apart from the sepectacular one with Green Lantern, before he went off to rescue Superman.
That took me by surprise, but helped the story somewhat, as this is, after all, a new re-imagining of these characters, and so little things like this have to be expected.
The adding of extra files nd character sketches at the end of the book also added to the enjoyment of this book for me, and I am very much looking forward to the next edition.
Especially if it fleshes out heir new incarnations some more, and keeps the conflict/friendship going for a while longer, at least until they evolve into a team proper, and sort out all their "who's leader" issues.
All in all, I am pretty blown away with just how good this book is, and am already becoming a fan-boy all over again :-D


Secret Avengers: The Descendants: 1
Secret Avengers: The Descendants: 1
by Rick Remender
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.10

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a lot better, 19 Aug 2012
This is a series which captured m attention early on mainly due to the characters and the writers/artists, and I had high hopes for the ongoing series as a whole, but now I'm beginning to regret and reverse my original opinions.
Most of the characters who started out in this series are now gone (Nova, Moon Knight, and now Captain America, and possibly Ant Man) and the whole team is being handled by a writer art team who have no idea of how to use these iconic team mates, or even the new ones they've thrown into the mix, either.
Hawkeye is now the team leader, so not much of a problem there,him being an ex-Avenger and Thunderbolt, but the way he's been portrayed as a bitchy replacement for Captain America is something tat should have been shelved before this edition hit the printers
Hawkeye has always been one of my favourite Avengers, but how he's being written now is as if he is a spoiled child/arrogant brat, afte amny years of evolving his charcter in other book titles.
The relationship between other members of the team are eaqually badly worked, namely with Captain Britain, one of my all time favourite characters from the Marvel Universe, who here is made out to be arrogant and totally at odds with working as ateam member, and as for bringing in Venom in an armoured suit, well, least said, soonest mended, as they say.
This team does not need Venom, no matter what incarnation he is currently in, let alone an armoured version.
The relationship between Hank Pym and Beast is, for me, the saving grace of this book, as their caustic witticisms mademe smile for the first time since opening he cover of this book.
The art goes from good, in the prologue, to abysmal beyond belief for the major storyline, with the colouring not far behind.
Marvel seem to be spitting in the eyes of their readers of late, allowing a good series to gai a following by drawing people in with with beautiful artwork, good writers and great characters, and then, aftr a few issues, bringing in a team of writers and artists far below par, and expecting everyone to simply sit back and accept what is given to them.
Well, being a collector of comics since the late 60's, and a fan of Marvel for many of those years, I'm no longer going to take it.
This series had so much promise, yet the oners have really let the side down with bad writing and art work,so I am going to look elsewhere for my pleasure.
There isn't even a slip cover to this collection, and the collected covers of the single issues are the only thing worthlooking at in the book, in my opinion, as most of the art used in the story simply makes me want to dip my eyes in bleach, it's that bad.
The storyline is about the only thing worthwhile in this book, but that apart, the treatment of the characters is the worst part of the entire book.
Hawkeye, Captain Britain and yes, even Venom need much better handling, understanding and usage, as the way the're portrayed here is simply vile.
hawkeye is a veteran Avenger, Captain Britain is an iconic hero of long standing, and Venom (despite my utter dislike of the character)really should be sent back to the pages of Spiderman/Thunderbolts, as he/it has no place in any Avengers team.
Normally I give pretty good reviews for this series, but it's simply getting worse, due to the writing/art teams brought in, so I can't honestly think of much in the way of positive things to say about this collection.
Definitely he poorest I've seen in a long, long time.
I'll give it just one star this time round, and that's being as generous as I possibly can.


Secret Avengers: Run The Mission, Don't Get Seen, Save The World. (Marvel Premiere Editions)
Secret Avengers: Run The Mission, Don't Get Seen, Save The World. (Marvel Premiere Editions)
by Warren Ellis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It just gets better and better, 13 May 2012
Thisb is a series that, for me, simply gets better with every new adventure.
This volume deals with the growing relationships between the team mates as they are taken on seperate missions, and how they react both to circumstances and each other, especially for some of the characters and their relationship with Steve Rogers, which become strained at times due to the demands he puts upon them.
Beast has to make a decision that affects him very deeply, leading him to challenge Rogers' authority on a later mission, and Shang Chi makes his displeasuer known about how he feels being used by his commander on the team.
Moon Knight reveals a little more about himself (and his new costume) along the way, and Valkyrie has a one-liner that had me falling about laughing, saving the rather dark atmosphere that had built up over the course of the missions.
Black Widow's affection/desire for the atomic cadillac is mirrored by myself, as I also now want one myself (but doubt very much if they'll ever make one in reality).
Steve Rogers is becoming rather distant from his fellow Avengers, with more determination to complete the missions at whatever cost, which causes some consternation for his team mates, and some friction is building as a result between them.
Warren Ellis brings us a wonderful story involving time travel for the Black Widow, which, I must admit, took a couple of readings for me to understand at first, but once it became clear, it was the best mission story of the collection for me, and her interaction with Beast and the recording device was a pleasure to behold.
The only glitch for me at times was the artwork, as Marvel seem to have done what they have on other series of late, Moon Knight a good example, of starting a series with good writers and fabulous artwork, only to let the art suffer after a few issues by bringing in other artists whose artwork, in my opinion, is less than satisfactory.
Often in multiple mission stories, the artwork of one artist lends itself well with the storyline, but with this series, the art detracts, again, in my own opinion, from the storylines, and so spoils the book slightly.
It would be nice if Marvel assembled the original team that started this series, and kept them on it, bringing both writing and art up to an equal level (although I'd love to see Warren Ellis stay on as writer for much longer).
There are subtle plot developments throughout the book, giving hints at what is yet to come, making me want the next collection to appear even sooner, as I really want to see how things turn out.
Warren Ellis is the master at both plot and character development, and this book is a must-have for those who enjoy such things above simple action driven storylines.
I am now eagerly awaiting the next collection.
All in all, one of Marvel's better teams, and much better storylines.
This series, as I stated at the beginning of this review, just gets better and better with each appearance.


The Complete BBC Sessions
The Complete BBC Sessions
Price: £11.47

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One very happy man, 30 Nov 2011
Being a die-hard, long-time fan of Texas, I have to admit to a little bias on my part, but anyone who enjoys unplugged, powerful female vocals should get a copy of this collection.
Sharleen Spiteri has the kind of voice that no matter how many times I hear it, I still shiver with pleasure when her dulcet tones waft from the speakers.
She has a wonderful range of tone, and is, in my personal opinion, one of the most outstanding artists of our time, along with Alison Moyet, if a little obscure for some people.
These sessions at the BBC were unknown to me until I saw this collection advertised on Amazon, and to say I was laying in ambush for the postman when it arrived is not an understatement.
Spiteri can sing better live than most women artists I know of, and her amazing voice sounds just as good, if not better when she's singing live, as it does when it's recorded.
She goes through a repertoire of both classic and new songs, in a beautiful medley, backed by the gorgeous guitar playing that is heard on all her albums.
This is easily more than worth the money I paid for it, being a 2CD set, and is rarely off my stereo since it arrived.
Anyone who hasn't heard her sing before would be more than well advised to buy this collection, as it shows the range that this woman can cover, all neatly packaged in a subtle cover.
This isn't just an artist unplugged, it's a lesson to other artists, as to what can be achieved with a little variance from the norm.
I love it, and think you would too.
Buy it, try it, then tell your friends.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Three [DVD] [2011]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season Three [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Various
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £10.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stealing ideas George?, 30 Nov 2011
I love this series of adventures, but after viewing this season's offerings, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed in a few areas.
First of all is the broken time-line that the episodes are viewed in.
There are characters who have been killed in the first and second seasons making a reappearance, which is something I don't really like to see, although some of them are familiar and among my favourites, yet still, I don't care for the skewed time-line in this season.
Second gripe is the way they have taken the plots of other films and segued them into the Star Wars Universe, which,for me personally, is a big disappointment, as so far this series has been quite refreshing in its scenarios and expansion of the Star Wars Universe.
However, the graphics are getting so much better since season 2, and it is a real pleasure to just sit back and forget that they are animated episodes, and allow yourself to be carried along with the excitement.
Also, Ahsoka is obviously growing up fast, and has become a much stronger character than the one we first saw in the Clone Wars movie.
She is still the sarcastic tongued teenager I've come to know and love (If she is a teenager, that is), but there's also a growing maturity coming through, and being sent on lone missions has shown exactly how strong in both her character and the Force she is becoming.
There's also a cameo from a Jedi of the same race as Ahsoka, which delighted me no end, and that's without seeing the exotic Twi'Lek dancers in this seasons episodes.
There were some sad moments during this season, with the sacrifice shown by one Jedi and his clone comrades, which really touched my heart, as well as "99," the reject maintainence clone, who shows his true worth at the cost of his own life.
I like some of the new droid army troops as well, and look forward to next season, if things carry on in the same vein.
The betrayal of Assaj Ventress is a storyline I had looked forward to since seeing previews a few months ago, as for me, she is one of the most enigmatic, powerful characters since this series began.
Her history is finally revealed, and was a shock for me, I have to admit, but also pleasurable, as it fleshes her character out even more, and I love it!!!
Seeing characters from earlier episodes popping up here and there is wonderful, as it expands their characters even if only slightly, but it's something that works very well.
The Hutts get a good showing this season, and their underhand dealings and internecine conflicts are shown to a greater degree than in previous seasons, and adds to my liking of these characters, even if I can't understand a word they're saying :-)
Bane and Singh, my two favourite bounty hunters after Boba Fett also make memorable appearances, to my sheer delight, as it appeared that Singh had been killed off in season 2, so when she reappeared, much jubilation was heard in my house (so it's a good job I don't have any neighbours, as I was rather loud in my celebrations).
All in all, this series is making many in-roads into further exploring the Star Wars Universe, and is evolving nicely, at a good pace.
The appearance of Opress Savage is also a gem to see, as his race haven't been seen since The Phantom Menace, and really adds to the history behind the Darth Maul character.
If the people behind this series hadn't borrowed so much from other sci-fi films, and instead carried on with creating better storylines, and kept the time-line from previous seasons running, it would've been much better, but hopefully next season will redress the balance, hence only 4 stars from me this time round.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Spectrum is Green, 23 July 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Being a life-long fan of Captain Scarlet, I was very happy to see this mouse mat availlable, and ordered it immediately I saw it.
However, there is a slight down-side to the product, in that the photos are a little too brightly coloured in a couple of instances, leaving the character looking like he's been using false tan, having an orange complexion, and the third one looking like he needs to get out into the sun for a while, being quite pale in comparison.
The larger picture (head and shoulders) is fine as positioning goes, but the lower two spoil the effect by being positioned looking outwards from the centre of the mat itself, which is rather a shame, really.
If they'd been looking inward (as they are in most professional printing publications), this would have been much better, but the effect here is quite off-set by the direction they are looking.
Personally, I'd have liked to have seen the Spectrum insignia used as a background filler, and a picture of the Spectrum Patrol Car (a matching red vehicle for his tunic) used instead of the one of him wearing his jet-pack headgear.
Overall the mat is quite sturdy, although it does have a tendency to curl upwards from the lower edge after a while, and has a slightly coarse texture, which some may find disagreeable, but I'm happy just to have a fun mouse pad with my all-time favourite Gerry Anderson character on.
Maybe they could make one with the modern version of Captain Scarlet, too?
That'd be a nice contrast to the classic character depicted on this mat.


Draper 36325 12-Piece 140 mm Needle File Set
Draper 36325 12-Piece 140 mm Needle File Set
Price: £9.79

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top marks for top tools, 23 July 2011
Being from an engineering background, as well as a model figure painter, these tools have stood me in great stead since I received them, being used daily in both my work and play times.
Sturdy, with a very agreeable handle (much better than the old all-steel products I used to use) that ensures a good grip whether you're covered in oil or clean handed, they have a file for all areas of use.
I am a personal fan of Draper products, so am possibly biased in my opinion of these files, but years of experience have proved their brand to be much superior to many others on the market, so I know what I'm talking about here (for once).
They are perfect for both precision engineering and model making purposes, and the price (when compared with certain products here in the Republic of Ireland) is well worth it.
Anyone who is either a professional engineer or a craft hobbyist would be well advised to snap up a set of these files, as you simply won't find any better.
They are perfect for model making, as they have every type of plane imaginable, from round to more complex planes, which get into all the little places most regular files will not reach, meaning that figure painters will be able to fully clean up their figures without having to use the more dangerous technique of scraping away with a craft knife (snapped blades are just one danger in this particular hobby), and will not obliterate the finer details, common with other brands, due to their finer depth between the teeth.
Engineers will also find much to praise in these files, as they may look quite fragile, but are built of sturdier stuff than other brands, and will soak up some vigourous usage without any mishaps, and come back for more.
All in all, they are simply better than any other brand I've used over the years, and should last me a good few years, too.
Give them a try, you won't be disappointed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2014 7:21 AM GMT


Secret Avengers Volume 2
Secret Avengers Volume 2
by Ed Brubaker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.05

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The New vs the Old, 23 July 2011
This is the second volume in what is fast becoming my favourite Avengers team in many years. The story concerns the darker histories of some of the characters, namely Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, and our very own team leader, Steve Rogers.
The ressurection of Shang Chi's father, Fu Manchu (whose real name is finally revealed later in the story)is the first plot line, with the Shadow Council in full flow, bringing back one of my all time favourite villains from fiction, and also breathing new life into one of my teenage years heroes.
There is action aplenty for those who like the all-fighting storylines, with Steve Rogers even having a sparring session with Shang Chi, which is rather short, and to my mind, rather one-dimensional, but that's Marvel for you - you can't have Steve Rogers getting beaten by a good guy, now, can you?
The second story arc concerns a figure from Steve Rogers' escapades during World War 2, which brings him into contact in the present day with the first Super Soldier, a man who fought in the Civil War, World War 1 & World War 2.
This character even manages to take down Steve Rogers in hand-to-hand combat, something which I admit I cheered about, being quite tired of how Mr Rogers is seemingly able to take down any and all comers, super-powered or not.
Quite refreshing, that particular bout of conflict.
Although he is somewhat saved by the erstwhile Valkyrie, who vanquishes the bad guy quite well, and although he's bullet proof, isn't a match for a sword crafted by Odin, it seems.
Valkyrie has one of the best one-liner remarks to counter the villains surprised reaction to her sword being put to full use for once (normally she only uses the flat of her blade, but here she uses it as it was meant to be used).
This series is rather more mature than the previous Avengers titles, dealing with many conflicts among the main characters as well as within themselves, and the writing is superb, the art spectacular, and the pace rolls along at a healthy rate, which actually does leave its readers wanting more after the last page has been turned.
I am along for the ride with this series (despite Nova no longer being on the team since the Thanos Imperative story in another title), and am enjoying it thoroughly for someone who has an inate dislike of Steve Rogers in the first place.
For my own personal taste, I'd like to see more use of the other team members (such as Beast/Moon Knight/Carol Anders/Ant Man), rather than the usual focus on Steve Rogers/Black Widow as the ones who carry the day.
Yes, Steve Rogers was Captain America, and has super-powered strength and exceptional training/experience, but it'd be nice if he took a background role to the others for once, and let them show their mettle in both combat and intelligence roles, and not have to play second-fiddle to their team leader all the time.
Apart from that little gripe, I love this series, and can't wait to see how things go from here, especially if they take the King of Orphans character onboard as a team member, as he adds a good sense of mystery and usable powers to the team.


Amos Walker: The Complete Story Collection
Amos Walker: The Complete Story Collection
by Loren D. Estleman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective noir, 23 Jun 2011
Being a huge fan of private eye novels over many years, I was unaware of Ronal Estlemans Amos Walker series until recently, and am now wholly hooked on this character and the world he inhabits.
All these stories have a gritty, dark edge to them more reminiscent of Chandler/Spillane than the modern Robert Parker novels, but just as good, if not better.
Amos Walker now stands alongside Phillip Marlow and Mike Hammer on my bookshelves, and long may they remain.
Estleman is not a self-aggrandising author, interested in only writing bestsellers like so many others today, and so has remained somewhat in the background, despite being awarded some of the most prestigious awards for his fiction.
This collection of his short stories/novellas is perfect for the rainy day/night reader, who yearns for something to get their teeth into, and has held me in suspense from page one.
I particularly like Estlemans sparse dialogue and first-person narrative, with a descriptive style that many other authors should take note of.
There's not one single story in this book that could be called "padding out," and each is a stand-alone marvel of the type of detective noir sadly missing from todays more modern authors.
There's no political correctness present, as the main character is a grizzled Vietnam Veteran (the first stories were set in the early 70's/80's), who smokes, drinks and takes no prisoners in any of his escapades.
I love the setting of Detroit for these stories, having been there myself, and the gritty urban sprawl is beautifully captured in all of Estlemans stories.
Never has the home of Motown seemed so dark and dangerous before, with characters as flawed as their surroundings.
The most overlooked and underlying mystery in all of the Amos Walker stories is still present in this collection, too, that being just exactly what does Amos Walker look like?
With most detective fiction, you get a good description of the main character in the first few pages, but so far, in these stories, we are left in the dark as to our heroes features.
Estleman has the most wonderful way of describing the people and surroundings in his stories, but never have I seen the description of Amos Walker himself appear.
As Estleman says in his introduction, after more than 30yrs of writing Amos Walker, he's still not on first name terms with the character, which is refreshing in this day and age, as Walker has always seemed like the type of person you wouldn't want anything more than a professional relationship with.
Anyone who loves dark detective fiction should not only buy this collection of short stories, but also go out and buy all the rest of the Amos Walker books, and sit back, open up a bottle of 12yr old scotch, and enjoy the ride.
I'm now going to get the other detective books by Estleman, and also some of his Westerns, as I find his work more addictive with each reading.
Rather like Oliver Twist, I want more.


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