Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


Brink: Book Two

My thanks to those who recommended this as much stronger volume than its predecessor, for so it proved to be.

It reads far smoother, as if Abnett and Culbard have a better grasp on what they’re up to with this. Certainly, the book’s combination of corporate skulduggery with ancient horrors subtly manipulating events is far more effective this time around.

Deadpool Vs The Punisher (Panini)

Another MW recommendation, which was also a huge amount of fun.

Shaolin Cowboy: Start Trek

For that this is a truly gonzo tale, utterly unsuited to 20-odd pages a month - at the start Darrow spends 10 pages alone on showing the horde of adversaries that has ambushed the Shaolin Cowboy, before kicking off pages of insanely detailed carnage - but wonderfully suited to an Absolute-size hardback. Yes, this is once again DHC issuing a big hardback at a crazy price that merits being rewarded with purchases.

There’s only one weakness to the volume and that is that it is oddly inconclusive. There is a bridge of kinds in the text intro to the next volume, Shemp Buffet, but for this volume the story builds, becoming ever more madcap and then it just stops.

Star Wars: Rogue One OHC

In the end this didn’t have quite the embellishment I was hoping for - sure, there’s an extra scene or two but nothing that really takes advantage of the medium to contribute more. The Cassian and K-2So one-shot is pretty good, but if that’s your only angle of interest, just buy the comic.

It’s a perfectly adequate rendering of one of my favourite SW movies, but the limits of the comic form, the lack of space mean quite a few of the big moments end up being brutally compressed - to their detriment. Film has a certain grandeur and epic scope that just isn’t here and, regardless of who creates it, can’t be.

Star Wars OHC3

This collects the final issues of Aaron’s run, which had one hell of a start but has been steadily declining ever since. That’s not to say it’s not good, simply that nothing has come close to those first six issues with Cassaday on the art.

Talking of the art, here is where an ongoing controversy begins as they transfer Larroca over to SW, but his run on this book, in contrast to his work on Darth Vader, is far more reliant on photo-reference. At the same time, there are scenes where art and photography are being blended together to provide facial imagery and it does not work. There’s a reason the two are separate and these images demonstrate why. For all I can understand it as a shortcut, they really do break the spell of the story-telling. That said, I would consider the extent of the chatter over this to be quite overblown - as while the faces are an oddity, they are a fractional part of the overall product and I don’t find anything else wrong with Larroca’s work. Clearly other SW fans are less forgiving than I.

As to the stories, there is one arc on Yoda which finishes the Kenobi journal tales. Then there’s a set of shorter stories and, given how they work, it’s a shame Aaron didn’t do more of them. From a story of Luke and Leia stranded - with the only flaw being that an AT-AT is taken out with a bomb arrow! Really? Yeah - to a story of Sana conning everyone - yeah, I’m not convinced Sana is that good - to Han dealing with Jrakkus to SCAR squadron and R2 rescuing 3PO, a long dangling plot thread. Plus a couple of annuals that are OK, but not great.

Aaron’s best work on this were the Skywalker Strikes and Vader Down arcs, but this is a perfectly fine finishing off.


Shaolin Cowboy: Start Trek HC

Even for Shaolin Cowboy, this book is pretty weird.

Presenting the original Burlyman run of the series - published before the two Dark Horse runs that have already been collected into similar HCs - this book offers a precursor to ‘Shemp Buffet’ and ‘Who’ll Stop The Reign?’ that’s just as meticulously detailed and perfectly choreographed as those stories, but which is even more absurd and random in its plotting and in its bafflingly beautiful action setpieces.

Describing the plot of the book wouldn’t do it justice, but suffice it to say there’s plenty of opportunity for outrageous visual concepts as the Shaolin Cowboy flits his way through crowds of weird enemies as he racks up a gigantic bodycount.

So you have him using dual chainsaws on a stick to battle a severed zombie head in the mouth of a shark:

All of which takes place in the belly of a giant lizard with an ancient city on its back:

Darrow has that brilliant knack of capturing a split-second moment in time at its most dynamic, like a photographer managing to capture a ballet dancer at the height of their leap; a gift that a surprising number of comics artists never quite master.

It’s not all action and dynamism either. Even the quiet moments like the opening scene-setting pages are filled with detail and perfectly-posed characters that convey a real sense of form, weight and movement.

If Darrow’s art isn’t your thing, then you won’t find much to enjoy here. But for fans, this is more greatness from one of the best illustrators in comics, and this reissue of the Burlyman run marks the completion of a great three-book set. (And like Ben said in his review above, it’s a high-quality book at a very competitive price.)

They need to get Bourbon Thret into one of these big HCs next! It was announced a few years back but never made it to print as far as I know.


Ah! So there is still a missing piece, thanks.

A read I forgot to post a review of:

Empowered and the Soldier of Love

Gather round, jackanapes for a dire tale of savage love, whirlwinds of hormones and sexual overload that your puny mortal minds cannot possibly withstand! Yea, your limited intellect will wither bef -

Click. Damn, the Demonwolf got out again.

This is a very neat collaboration between Warren and Diaz, while being another tale of Empowered and her motley super-colleagues. What makes it work is that usual, skilful combination of serious topics and comedy in just the right measure.

It’s also notable for the second Warren-only tale, Pew Pew Pew, where I noticed Warren gave a perfect description of Kylo Ren, as a big Technofetish gun! He’s in so much pain he just has to blow up the world and everyone in it. Actually, as a general riff on the dark side, the Technofetish gun really works.

Looking forward to the next one in a few months.


Yeah, although I don’t know if it forms part of the same continuous narrative of these three books. I keep meaning to buy the old French printing but I’m torn between that and waiting for the long-promised Dark Horse version.

There’s also this, which I just started reading.

But it’s a Darrow-illustrated prose story rather than a comic.


James Bond: Case Files

This is a collection of four excellent short stories:

  • Service - Bond deals with new fractures in the ‘special relationship’.
  • Moneypenny - Is what it says it is.
  • Solstice - Bond deals with a delicate situation.
  • M - How does Bond’s boss operate and what is his background?

All four have excellent art, but it’s the stories themselves that really fly. From Gillen’s dissection of politics to Houser’s take on Moneypenny, to M tearing 005 a new one for being an arrogant arse. That one in turn shows up that Bond, despite appearance to the contrary, is quite subtle. Bond may blow some stuff up, he may kill some people but it never gets noticed.


I just saw that there’s a deluxe version of Black Magick on the way in April next year, collecting all eleven issues so far.

I’ll definitely be buying this one in hardcover for the gorgeous art.


I don’t know if anyone is in the market for a cheap(ish) copy of the X-Men Adamantium Collection…

But Zavvi are running an offer where you can get it (and a T-shirt) for £59.99, when the book’s RRP is US$200.


I just hope they don’t keep bumping it - first July then Nov, now April 2019.


Books etc. has the Ex Machina Omnibus for £57.26, which is an absolute bargain.


Talking of whom: For Astro City fans:

Astro City: Volume 16 HC: Broken Century - £10.16



Astro City doesn’t seem to be very consistent in volume numbering. If I search for all hardbacks, some have volume numbers and some don’t. I can work out the order by looking at what’s included, but is there actually a set of consistently numbered volumes?


Well, if you got some sticky notes and a biro…


Anyone know when Lost Light volume 3 is due out? I pre-ordered it from Books Etc. They says it’s out 18th September, yet I got a dispatch notification today, which seems a little early.


TFWiki says it came out two days ago.


Ah, ok. I know online retailers usually have a later date, but a month off (and sending it close to release anyway) is a new record.


Not that I know of. It’s reflective of the book’s wonky publishing schedule over the years with multiple volumes and companies publishing it.

It does happen rarely - don’t know who Books Etc have as their supply agent, but they’re good. How did you do a pre-order? I didn’t think Books Etc did them.


I just bagged the Miles Morales Ultimate Spiderman Omnibus for just under £53.


Is it worth it Ben?
Tempted buuuuut £££ are for artists these days


If it wasn’t going for that price and there wasn’t some follow-on by Bendis, which might in turn get a final omnibus, and I wasn’t a big Ultimate Spidey fan and really liked what they did with Miles, then no.

Even with that qualifier it gets hit by events, restarts and plots that end up going nowhere due to Secret Wars blowing up the Ultimateverse.