World Comic Book Review

10th April 2024

Thunderbolts #1: A Childlike Evil

Thunderbolts #1 (review)
(Marvel Comics, July 2016)
Writer: Jim Zub

In William Gibson’s groundbreaking science fiction novel “Neuromancer” (Ace, 1984), a psychopathic character, the charming and perverted Peter Riviera, is described as being a product of the radioactive ruins of Bonn, one of a group of feral children who engaged in cannibalism to survive. The equally significant science fixtion novel by Robert Harris, “Fatherland” (Hutchinson, 1992), concerned with a parallel universe where Nazi Germany won the war in Europe, sees the cunning betrayal of the lead character to the SS, leading to certain torture and death, by his young son. And Grant Morrison’s graphic novel “Kid Eternity” (Vertigo Comics, 1991) describes a screeching bridge as constructed of the souls of “bad babies”.

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The Totally Awesome Hulk #4: A Korean-American Hulk

“The Totally Awesome Hulk” #4 (review)
(Marvel Comics, May 2016)
Writer: Greg Pak

There is a principle in modern comedy whereby a joke which is racist, sexist, or slights homosexual people is only appropriate when the comedian shares the same ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation as the individual or group which is the target of the joke. In that event, the offensiveness of joke is essentially diluted by being self-deprecating. If, say, a female comedian makes a joke about female bathroom habits, then the audience will laugh rather than heckle in outrage because the comedian by her gender cannot be engaging in sexual discrimination: the comedian is instead engaging in gender self-deprecation. Even female audience members cannot feel insulted, as, so long as the joke is delivered by a member of their gender, it is shorn of its malice. The joke becomes inclusive – “join me in considering our foibles” – rather than exclusionary and vicious.

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Green Lantern #50-#51: Parallax Error (Review)

Green Lantern #50-#51
DC Comics, March, April 2016
Writer: Robert Venditti

In his book “Come in Alone” (AIT/Planet Lar, 2001), British writer Warren Ellis furiously laments the brand loyalties of readers of superhero comics, such that some of them publicly admit on message boards that they would rather read poorly-written material about favourite characters than suffer fundamental changes to those characters. In his book Mr Ellis lambasts readers of this ilk, describing them as essentially responsible for the creative malaise and commercial degeneration of the American comic book industry.

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Micronauts #1 (Review)

Micronauts #1
IDW Publishing, April 2016
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Review by DG Stewart, May 18, 2016

Comics published in support of a line of figurines are often shaky texts. The writer of such a title can at best hope to impart a monochrome backstory and characterisation to the moulded plastic toys: a solid plot to accompany this artistically bleak mission is a rarity.

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