Monday, 3 March 2014

'Big Books' and Comic Books...

I can’t remember the last time I read a ‘fat fantasy’, years ago I reckon and it was probably written by Steven Erikson (feel free to have a look and check for me, I have no inclination to do that right now or at all actually!) I used to love reading these books when I was a lot younger, nothing better than getting lost in a massive book for hours at a time, but I ended up reading much shorter books as, well… I love blogging and wanted to post about books as much as possible. Short books were the way forward here :o)

No longer though, I’m about a hundred and something pages into Anthony Ryan’s ‘Blood Song’ (a beast of a book at just over seven hundred pages long) and really enjoying myself with it. Am I gearing myself up for another crack at the ‘Malazan’ series? Maybe one day, I’m enjoying myself too much now to worry about that. Why didn’t I read ‘Blood Song’ sooner? I don’t know but I’m glad that I’m reading it now, that’s all that matters. All other books are having to wait this week so you might see a few more short stories than normal, it’s all good though :o)
To kick this week off then, here’s a couple of comics that I was reading on my phone last night whilst trying to get Elana to sleep on my shoulder… I’ve stopped buying trades just recently but might just have to start again if these two issues are anything to go by.

‘X’ #11 – Swierczynski, Maia (Dark Horse)

X’s hands were already full with Carmine Tango . . . Then Gamble reappeared! X thought he killed this suave assassin years ago, but the luck-obsessed murderer is still a player, taking his chances on revenge! Welcome to Arcadia, where the odds are bad . . . and the bads are odd!

Every time I think that Swierczynski and Maia have gone as brutal as they can they never fail to surprise me by ramping things up an extra notch. This issue, this means a stand up fight between X and Gamble where you feel every punch and kick land home. I couldn’t help but wince (a lot) but Maia’s handling of the fight scenes meant that I couldn’t take my eyes off it. There’s a real honesty to these scenes that makes you feel like you almost owe it to the characters to see it out with them. Brutal? Yes but also a very necessary depiction that leaves you in no doubt how the characters are feeling (very, very sore…)
The actual plot feels like it meanders a little (there is a big fight going on after all) but Swierczynski makes it clear that the payoff is almost here. Just wait one more issue and the game will completely change… He’d better not be messing me around because I will be there for that next issue.
If you like vigilante comics where the ‘hero’ pulls no punches then I’d be very surprised if you weren’t reading ‘X’ already.

‘Ghost’ #2 – DeConnick, Sook (Dark Horse)

An unlikely ally sneaks Ghost into a secret meeting, where a legion of disguised demons gather around Dr. October—until her cover is blown! Meanwhile, the very human serial killer prowling the streets of Chicago takes a personal interest in Sloane and Tommy!

Wow, it’s all happening here and it’s all good (albeit again, a tiny bit too drawn out for my tastes) . A human serial killer who drinks all your milk before killing you, demons running the city who seem quite content to wait for some kind of signal to engage the ‘masterplan’… Unless they are attacked that is and then it’s a big ol’ fight to the death between Ghost and a nightclub full of well-drawn monstrosities.
Ryan Sook is the standout creative type in this issue for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with Kelly Sue DeConnick’s plot and writing but there’s clearly a long game being played there and Ryan Sook is about the here and now. I’m talking about the moments where Ghost goes on the offensive in the nightclub or the moment, right at the beginning, where you realise just who is in the house. As a team, DeConnick and Sook really work well together but this issue, for me, is all about Sook and what he can do. It’s all good with a couple of moments that will make you gasp if I was anything to go by.


  1. Blood Song is great! I'm in the mood for some thick fantasy book myself.

  2. It's such an engrossing book; I'm halfway through and didn't even realise :o)