World Comic Book Review

2nd December 2023

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.

Read more

Roots of a Mystery

“Trees” Volume 1 (review)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Image Comics, February 2015
Review by DG Stewart, 4 April 2016

World Comic Book Review was hoping this month to review volume 2 of “Trees”, but the publication of the second volume has been delayed until mid-year. The price to pay for enjoying the enormously creative output of British writer Warren Ellis is that his comics frequently suffer from delays in publication. Here is our critique of the first volume, published in 2015.

Read more

Lord Cardigan’s Sabre: “James Bond 007: Vargr” 1-5 (review)

“James Bond 007: Vargr” 1-5
Dynamite Entertainment, 2016
Writer: Warren Ellis
Review by DG Stewart, 26 February 2016

It seems obvious that, given the project of writing a James Bond story, British writer Warren Ellis was always going to return to the source material. Ian Fleming, the English spy who wrote the original James Bond novels from 1953, portrayed the title character as something other than an exemplary English gentleman and Mr Ellis has mixed some of this into the story. One of the characters in this comic notes that Bond does not actually smile with his eyes. Bond’s experiences, Mr Ellis wants you to know, have robbed Bond of any genuine warmth and humour.

Read more

Karnak #1 (review) – “Break a leg”

Karnak #1
Marvel Comics, December 2015
Writer: Warren Ellis

Review by DG Stewart, 3 December 2015

Acclaimed British comic book writer (and occasional novelist) Warren Ellis has a knack for writing droll curmudgeons. These characters are usually male (but not always), socially ill-adjusted, confrontational to the point of being violent, and clever. When Mr Ellis writes comic books featuring teams of characters, often multiple members of the cast exhibit these traits.

Mr Ellis is most commercially successful when he writes superhero comics. There is some irony to this as Mr Ellis has for many, many years expressed his dislike of the genre. A contemporary of Mr Ellis, comics writer Grant Morrison, has lamented the distaste Mr Ellis exhibits for the subject matter with the annotation that Mr Ellis is the paramount writer in that field. That is high praise from Mr Morrison, who is no slouch when it comes to raw creativity. But perhaps it is more accurate to say that Mr Ellis simply has a winning formula.

Mr Ellis is presently writing a new series called Karnak for Marvel Comics. This is an obscure character from a super-powered group called The Inhumans. This package of characters was created in 1965, and is slated to appear in a film in 2019. Marvel Comics have publicly stated that Mr Ellis was engaged to write the series given his track record in revitalising other Marvel Comics assets. It is a natural assumption that the work Mr Ellis does here is likely to shape the character in preparation for the motion picture. In that regard, Mr Ellis does two jobs: write the comic, and engage in pre-production character treatment specifically relating to the motion picture.

Mr Ellis has turned to his usual bag of tricks. First, he has removed the costume from the character (a good thing: the costume would not have been misplaced on a Seaworld-themed striptease performer). Mr Ellis has rarely called upon the archetypical costume conventions of the superhero genre: capes and masks are reserved for his parodies only.

Read more