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The Amazing Spider-Man: Chance Encounter!
The Amazing Spider-Man: Chance Encounter!
by Todd McFarlane
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly naf!, 11 Oct. 2017
How to mess up one of the very best Spider-Man stories ever. This book reprints Amazimg Spider-man 298 and 299 ( Michelinie and Mcfarlane's first two fabulous issues )...but then, instead of reprinting issue 300, (the BIG CLIMAX! ) we get two sub-standard, later Mcfalane issues.. An "amazingly" naf descision! . What were you thinking Boxtree!


Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 8
Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 8
by Chris Claremont
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £62.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Xtraordinary Strange., 4 Aug. 2017
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Masterworks 8 comprises, in the main, all the stories written by Chris (X Men) Claremont, mostly illustrated by the incredible Gene Colan. That said this isn't quite Gene's best work on Doctor Strange.( His work with Steve Englehart on issues 6-18 is just a tad better). This is still cracking stuff though. In particular, the Mordo / Man Thing story (39-41 plus Man Thing 4 ) gives us the best of both writer and artist. Just check out the mystic sacrificial dais and Doctor Strange's "heroic" entrance a couple of pages later. Vintage Colan.
And there are a couple of other gems too. Firstly, as everyone else has mentioned, the five page story "A Moment's Peace" by Roger Stern, Michael Golden and Paul Craig Russell. Every panel is a delight. No super-villains, no fight scenes just a very touching moment of relaxation for Stephen and his extra- dimensional lover, Clea Every panel is a work of art. (and seems even more so being directly preceeded by the worse story in this collection; a dire "filler" with dreadful art by Kerry Gammill.).
Secondly a tale from Marvel Fanfare. This is Claremont's last Doctor Strange story with stunning detailed art by Marshall Rogers and Paul Craig Russell This is a sequel of sorts to an obscure "Clea" story from "Defenders" 53. which I'm so glad is included in this collection. ( The five page story is written by Naomi Basner, with rather nice art by Sandy Plunkett; two creaters I have never heard of before. Clea in particular is very nicely realised ). Back to the Fanfare story which offers a taste of what is to come in a couple of issues time when Rogers begins his epic six issue run on Doctor Strange, Scripted by Roger Stern. ( can't wait for these stories to be reprinted in the next Masterwork; but how will I give a volume more than 5 stars? ).
The collection concludes with an ok "What If" story and The 1980 Doctor Strange calendar.
The only slight disappointment is that Gene Colan's final story of this run is not included (I know it is scripted by Roger Stern but the look and feel of the story would fit this volume nicely and would mean that volume 9 could start cleanly with the Marshall Rogers stories.). A minor gripe though...

My only


Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Omnibus Vol. 1
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Omnibus Vol. 1
by Peter B. Gillis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £67.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange and Wonderful Stories, 24 July 2017
First I'll talk about the product presentation; the second half of the review covers the actual stories. This is a big heavy book (about 4 lbs in old money). The cover illustration is by the legendary Gene Colan. It's a very nice piece of work but not really representative of the book as a whole. Colan only drew one issue of the stories reprinted here; far better, I would have thought, to use a cover by Jackson Guice who drew 18 issues. (I would have chosen his iconic cover to issue 5). Also I found the spine of the book quite garish featuring a relatively large picture of Doctor Strange (ironically take from issue 5) which seems out of place here. I would have much preferred something like the restrained simplicity of the recent "Master of Kung Fu" Omnibus' The cover and spine are replicated beneath the dust jacket, but the back cover is a piece by Jim Starlin. An odd choice as he doesn't illustrate any of the stories here.
My main gripe though is that there is no introduction by any of the creators. Something that one expects in such an up market product. There are reprints of a couple of articles by Roy Thomas written at the time, but nothing contemporary. (It gives the impression of the book being rushed out (to cash in on the sucsess of the recent Doctor Strange film?). Also, after page 144, the pages are unnumbered, again giving the impression of a rushed product.

On the positive side there has been a generally successful attempt to adapt the "Book of Vishanti" back up stories so that they better fit this compilation and do not unnecessarily interrupt the flow of the main story. The book is well made with a strong binding though there is the inevitable loss of some art work when it spreads across a double page.
Now the content. The first four issues are by Peter Gillis and Richard Case Carrying on from the stories in Strange Tales they are less than riveting. The first two are an ok Dormammu story, the second two, (attempting to write a an end to "The Defenders") I found more or less incomprehensible. But then we begin Roy Thomas' and Jackson Guiice's run. Tight story-telling, drama, intrigue, suspense, humour (quite a lot of humour!) topped off with some very nice art from Jackson Guice. Guice draws emotion and the human form very well and this compliments Thomas' aim to "humanise" Strange and his supporting cast. Having said that these stories abound with demons, vampires, immortals and multiple dimensions intertwined with the complex life stories the characters involved. And if Guice does have a slight preoccupation with the female form he usually stays the right side of good taste! Issues 5-24 are unquestionably the highlight of this book, complemented by the "Book of the Vishanti" back up stories that explore the background to the various characters and events of the main story. If the Thomas/Guice stories were the total content of this book it would unquestionably get 5 stars.
Roy Thomas stays with the book for the remaining issues but the art work is never as good, (and sometimes downright awful) and Thomas' story telling becomes very pedestrian. It doesn't help that 6 or 7 issues are crossovers with the "Infinity Gauntlet" mega series and, in my opinion, they don't always work very well. The final three stories do though represent a bit of a last hurrah, with a well written story and some really quite nice art (by Geoff Isherwood).
So there you have it. My take on over 1000 pages. Overall I think its well worth buying despite the high price. But if I'm honest I would have preferred a collection that featured only the Thomas/Guice stories. Then again Doctor Strange becomes more or less unreadable for the next 40 issues or so, so maybe it is good to get Thomas' "lesser" stories while we can. They are still, in my opinion, light years ahead of what is to come!


Spider-Man/Doctor Strange: The Way to Dusty Death
Spider-Man/Doctor Strange: The Way to Dusty Death
by Stan Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ( almost ) complete Xandu saga. with severa tasty extras!, 11 July 2017
I like this book. I hesitated to buy it because I already have the 1994 graphic novel which in isolation is a bit confusing. this edition includes the stories in Spiderman Annual 2, Spiderman Team Up 21 and Marvel Fanfare 6 ; which all lead up to "The Way to Dusty Death" and make the whole saga so much more enjoyable.
All the stories (except Marvel Fanfare) star Spiderman and Doctor Strange. Spiderman Annual 2 is an all time classic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditco featuring the first meeting between Spiderman and Doctor Strange and introducing our villain Xandu. Xandu crops up again in Spiderman Team Up 21 in a well written tale by Len Wein and Sal Buscema The story continues in Marvel Fanfare 6 featuring the Scarlet Witch (with very nice art by Sandy Plunkett and Paul Craig Russell) which leads on to "The Way to Dusty Death" by Roy Thomas and Michael Bair (an artist whose work I have only ever seen on this one story). A nice story, but the art is a bit too intense for my taste.
We then continue with two so-so Team Up stories by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. But the following four Team up stories by Chris Claremont are much stronger.(even if the art is a bit hit and miss). Even better is the 1980 Spiderman Annual with exquisite art by Frank Miller and Tom Palmer. featuring Doctor Doom. The book concludes with a retrospective tale by Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern with some rather odd art by Neil Vokes which I'm not sure if I like or not..
I was going to give the book a 5 star rating except that I suddenly realised that there remains one final chapter in the Xandu story line that could / should have been included.. The Secret Defenders 6-8 features Spiderman Doctor Strange the Scarlet Witch ( and Captain America ) once again in ( final? ) conflict with Xandu. It's not a bad three part tale by Roy Thomas and Andre Coates. An epilogue I suppose rather than a conclusion; but it would have nicely completed Xandu's story. ( the story is available in "Doctor Strange and the Secret Defenders vol. 1"; but I suggest that you only buy it if you can get it cheap as the rest of the Secret Defenders stories are, in my opinion, very second rate ).


Star Hawks, Vol. 1
Star Hawks, Vol. 1
by Ron Goulart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £28.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely art a shame about, in my opinion, the major flaws in the writing., 29 May 2017
This review is from: Star Hawks, Vol. 1 (Hardcover)
I really like Gill Kane's art work. I like his clean clear lines, his excellent story telling and use of perspective. However the story itself by Ron Goulart is another matter. Firmly rooted in the 70's, despite the 25th century setting it seems to have totally missed the social revolutions that were going on at the time. To say it is embarrassingly sexist would be an understatement, and really inexcusable. Many 70's (and 60's) comics and newspaper strips; e.g. Many of the Marvel and DC comics of the era or, in the papers, Modesty Blaine, have far more enlightened, "modern" attitudes. Even leaving this aside I have to say I found the dialogue extremely clunky, and the attempts at humour childish and / or embarrasing. At times it reads more like a children's cartoon ( does anyone out there remember Dogtanion ). But; the stories themselves are not half bad, and there is always that gorgeous Gill Kane art. Just two other points: the book is entirely in black and white; even the Sunday pages which I believe were originally in colour. Also the book ends on a cliff hanger, to be continued in volume 2! So, stars for art and plot, none for diologue.


Ka-Zar: Savage Dawn
Ka-Zar: Savage Dawn
by Bruce Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sensitive savage., 9 April 2017
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This review is from: Ka-Zar: Savage Dawn (Paperback)
As they say a forgotten gem. Fine writing by Bruce Jones, giving our hero some emotional depth and taking him away from being just another Tarzan clone. Jones injects humour and pathos into this jungle tale and sensitively explores the relationship between Ka Zar and Shanna. The art by Brent Anderson and Carlos Garson is also top notch. The story itself is a wild chase through a fantastic hidden land and concludes quite satisfactorily. You may wonder why the book is so thin since Jones wrote 34 consecutive issues; but, in my opinion, later stories became quite convoluted and, despite some standout issues, never regained the focus of these early tales. I just like Jones' writing so I would probably buy a volume 2; but I acknowledge it might not be to everyone's taste. Oh, and if for no other reason buy this book for Ka Zar's parrot joke!


Night Raven: From the Marvel UK Vaults
Night Raven: From the Marvel UK Vaults
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.07

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pulp Noir", 9 April 2017
Originating from Marvel UK's experiments with new material for their predominantly reprint British comics. the first twenty episodes are in comic strip form and are quite enjoyable for what they are, particularly the last six episodes, with art by David Lloyd and John Bolton. These were published on a weekly basis in the "Hulk" (UK) comic, and tell stories of Night Raven; a masked vigilante / hero, fighting crime in the 1930's. All written by Steve Parkhouse. The remainder of the book ( 200 or so pages ) is text only, albeit liberally illustrated by the likes of Mick Austin Paul Neary, David Lloyd, Ivan Allen and predominantly Alan Davis. These artists were, for the most part, just beginning their comics careers and presumably were a cheap resource, suiting Marvel UK's tiny budget. Alan McKensie ( aka Maxwell Stockbridge) writes most of the early stories continuing the "pulp noir" feel of the character. The real gems of this collection are though, the six stories written by a young Alan Moore. Moore builds on all that has gone before, expanding on previous ideas and developing the dark side of Night Raven's stories. Characters are fully rounded and as three dimensional as possible given the constraints of the format. episodes are told from different characters points of view, and the whole six part story concludes in a very satisfying way.( If you've read Moore's "Swamp thing", "Miracle Man" or "V For Vendetta, you'll know the quality of story telling to expect.) The remainder of the book is written by Jamie Delano; following on from Moore much as he did when the latter left the Captain Britain strip. Enjoyable as these stories are, with Alan Davis' art continuing for the most part, they never quite reach the heights of Moore's stories. Originally the text stories were published in a variety of Marvel UK's monthly magazines and, even with the internet, they are devilishly hard to track down. It is a real joy to have the complete collection in one volume. I have only one or two minor criticisms; occasionally some of the text gets slightly obscured in the "gutter" of the book; I only had to gently bend the spine back on a couple of occasions though. (Illustrations that spread across two pages also suffer in the same way.). Also an up to date introduction would have been nice. Generally though this is a very fine collection of some of Marvel UK's best.


Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Future Imperfect
Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Future Imperfect
by Peter David
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Future Imperfect Epic Perfect, 22 Jan. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hulk Epic volume 20.I've been waiting for this for a long time now. This collection of stories, for me at least, represents the last really epic run from Peter David And with the Epic volume 19, "Ghosts of the Past" provides a nice conclusion to the previously published eight "Vsionaries" books. Many would say the 100 page Future Imperfect storyline is the highlight of this run; and it is truly excellent with a fine script and breath-taking art from George Perez. But there are so many other highlights. All of the stories are well told; action, adventure, humour, pathos, triumph and tragedy. The wedding / stag night plots are just glorious. Probably my favourite..... ( no, I can't tell you that it would be too much of a spoiler ). And Annual 20 featuring the Abomination, is just heart wrenching. You really don't expect this quality of writing in a comic book. (except you do if you've read Peter David's previous issues). Add to this the sublime art of Gary Frank. and this is an "Epic" volume worthy of the name. I'd give it 10 stars if I could. Just Buy it. My very highest recommendation


Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 7
Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Vol. 7
by Roger Stern
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £40.62

5.0 out of 5 stars ... to agree with Steven Vincent Kempton this is a great if somewhat eclectic run of Doctor Strange stories that ..., 20 Jan. 2017
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Just writing to agree with Steven Vincent Kempton this is a great if somewhat eclectic run of Doctor Strange stories that benefit greatly from being collected in one volume. Reading one comic every other month (as we had to originally) made it difficult to appreciate the continuity of the whole or to forgive the one or two not quite so well produced episodes. ( Compare Alan Kupperberg's final page of issue 32 to Tom Sutton's first page of issue 33 and you'll see what I mean. Luckily Kupperberg only drew one issue! ) Nebres, Starlin, Sutton and the inimitable Gene Colan all provde sumptuous art though; and Roger Stern and co.tell a series of cracking tales.


Deadly Hands of Kung Fu Omnibus Vol. 1
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu Omnibus Vol. 1
by Doug Moench
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £67.92

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so the text and photo articles about martial arts (and there are a lot of them in this huge omnibus edition) leave me pretty col, 20 Jan. 2017
To be clear from the start, I'm not by any means a a kung fu fan, so the text and photo articles about martial arts (and there are a lot of them in this huge omnibus edition) leave me pretty cold. Also, I don't like books that are so heavy you need to take a years' body building course just to lift and read them; also be advised that apart from the 18 magazine covers this book is entirely in black and white (and shades of grey). But... ( there had to be a but ) I am a huge fan of Marvel's Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu and Iron Fist series' and within these pages are numerous fascinating examples of the early efforts to establish their respective styles and directions. Shang Chi dominates the first half of the book and early on we get two Steve Englehart stories (one with Jim Starlin), and a very early Doug Moench / Paul Gulacy story. For those who don't know, Englehart and Starlin created the Master of Kung Fu colour comic series but very quickly passed it on to Moench, who (with Paul Gulacy and later Mike Zeck and Gene Day ) produced a phenomenal run of stories and it is fascinating to see the early development of writer and artists styles. Also present in this volume are The Sons of the Tiger, created by Gerry Conway but developed by Bill Mantlo and the legendary George Perez. But don't expect to see the dazzling artwork we've come to expect from Perez. George was just at the beginning of his Marvel career and though the art is adequate enough there are only glimpses of the grandeur to come. . Back to Shang Chi and regrettably a lot of the remaining stories here are also pretty ordinary. Moench seems to be sleep-writing and the art, primarily by Mike Vosburg,, is not very exciting., The exception is the six part story The Blood From The Golden Dragon. While the plot is, to say the least, a bit ropey the art, by newcomer Rudy Nebres is a glorious improvement. True, sometimes perspective and anatomy suffer a little, but the overall effect is pleasingly creative and fluid. So, in conclusion, I would suggest that if you are new to Shang Chi you get hold of the first Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu Omnibus edition which is far superior to anything in this volume (and in full colour, and not so heavy) and only having read that decide if these nascent tales are for you. (unless of course you are a 70's kung fu / Bruce Lee fan; in which case you might just want to get this volume for the text articles!) and if you want to read some absolutely top notch Iron fist stories buy the ridiculously cheap Epic volume. (sadly, to the best of my knowledge, there are no really good Sons of the Tiger stories) I gave the book a 4 star rating but, if I'm honest, apart from it's historical / early works of value, it only rates about a 3and a bit.


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