Monday, 29 December 2014

Film Review - All Superheroes Must Die

As a reader of superhero comics for decades now it's been quite sad to see the way the idea has largely been treated by cinema, be it Disney serving up generic Silver Age CGI shit or a series of increasingly awful Alan Moore butcherings. Superheroes can be great, it doesn't all have to be Avengers crap.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Comic Review - Mean Team

Quite what made Rebellion put this thing out in TPB form I don't know, as Mean Team has long been something of a joke among British comic fans in general and older 2000AD readers in particular. Initially it's about a team of hardcase future gladiators in one of those super-violent extreme sport things that infected the industry after Rollerball came out. The 'characters' are straight off the shelf, typified by no-nonsense bastard 'Bad' Jack Keller, whose name really is 'Bad' Jack Keller so we know what a bloody nutter he is. 'Bad' Jack looks like every 2000AD anti-hero ever - bald, scars, perma-snarl. 

Midway through the first arc one of the team - psychic Henry Moon - gets blown up and his brain gets put in a panther. Then it gets really silly. The writers realise no-one wants another retread of Death Game 1999 and promptly reset the series by exiling the titular Team to a post-apocalyptic fantasy Earth where they fight all kinds of crap monsters on a half-arsed quest. Then when that collapses in on itself a bunch of spaceships turn up and just execute the main cast in a moment that's so clearly a self-loathing attempt to stop the strip in the most brutal, callous and careless way ever it's actually kind-of audacious.

Sadly there's still a chunk of the undeservedly thick book to go, which is filled by a solo story for Henry Moon, who apparently escaped destruction and heads back to the colonies, so it's basically about a panther sneaking around a space station. Exciting. 

So this is an outright bad series; it's largely too long-winded and repetitive to be the hilarious kind of bad (though if you spot this in a store leaf through to the three-quarter mark to see the team getting killed; you will never, ever see a comic's lead characters genuinely killed off in such an offhand manner). It's a mystery as to why Rebellion have released Mean Team but then it's equally mysterious as to why 2000AD ran it for so long in the first place considering they seem to have no idea what the strip's about.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Toy Review - Machine Robo Gashapon

In a curious one-off revival 'classic' Machine Robo gashapon figures were released in 2001 by Bandai. For those who don't know, gashapon are basically vending machine toys; the ones made in Japan are particularly collectible and are of relatively high quality and complexity compared to their Western equivalent. It's often said they're more expensive but compared to the ones seen in UK Toys R Us stores (usually selling Disney figurines and the like rather than generic licence-free stuff) the price doesn't seem too bad - these retailed at ¥200, which is about £1.50. Of course, it could get more expensive as in shops you'd be getting a random one each time.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

TV Review - The Comic Strip Presents:The Complete Collection

There's never really been anything to quite compare to The Comic Strip Presents..., a cross between a TV series and a film franchise. Started off as a vehicle for the titular club's alternative comedy denziens the series rapidly came under the almost-total control of Peter Richardson as the likes of Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Alexei Sayle found fame elsewhere. They would all be back at various points but there was always a sense they were doing their old mate Pete a favour. Richardson himself is the only constant; even the format's all over the place, varying from 25 minute episodes to full-length features.