Gamish

In the depths of my past, my first salad days was as a video game journalist. I fell into it really. A lucky break. But just like my game playing ability, I was rubbish at it. Despite that I still love videogames. I’m also fascinated by its history. Oh what’s this? A graphic novel about the history of videogames? Two of my favourite things combined? Just how would this fail to please?

Buying the book from the creator means you can request for a personalised sketch.

I picked this book when I saw it reviewed in The Guardian and it just Super Mario jumped at me. I also kinda knew in the back in my head that Hip Hop Family Tree was an epic fail of a pick last time I went for a non-fiction book for the gang. This was a bit of gamble, particularly as Tom doesn’t play videogames. I’d hoped that the medium might have given him some insight into the joys of videogames and that tastes are much more widely catered for these days.

Well… I was waaaay to optimistic 😅.

The others weren’t so interested in the history of gaming. A couple of them are also into games, but don’t really care that much for how these things came about. Well to an extent, because they’ve seen High Score on telly and it’s a pretty cool documentary. I think the words “worse than a TED Talk, more like a wikipedia page” were mentioned.

And I can see why, as it’s really dryly delivered. The cartoonish style divided opinion further: I didn’t mind it, Tom thought it was really “on-model” and professionally approached. Dan and Jake hated the marshmallow heads and pale palette.

Buying the book from the creator means you can request for a personalised sketch.

Despite the shortcomings the other identified, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved the consistency in the art style so that jumping from one game to the next wasn’t jarring. I had no strong opinions on the look or colour myself, the delivery of content was a bit academic - reflected in the huge appendix.

But I liked the insights and also found a list of games to check out. Jake noted a few himself too.

I liked how the problems with racial stereotypes and the depiction of women were touched upon (the others complained it was a bit lightweight, but I feel the whole book was quite a whistle-stop and in keeping with that).

I also liked how the psychology of games was looked into.

Ultimately it made me want to play some games, which the others did too. Except for Tom.

Me

4* I love games history and the thinking in some of this was fascinating.

Jake

2* Too wordy and not nicely coloured. Thanks but no thanks. Will still take something away from it.

Tom

2* Obvs a lot of work and like looking at it.

DAN!

3* I don’t hate it. I think it has its place. It could have been worthwhile.

Manu

Manu is most definitely an ‘indie’ book.

From the dinky but lovely A6 format, to the ‘direct from creator’ purchase path and the personalised salutations inside the cover, Manu (and its sibling books Lima and Trujillo) screams ‘self-published passion project’.

For some unknown reason I don’t usually buy indies. In the old days - late 80s, early 90s - I may have felt the thrill of rebellion, like I was pushing back against ‘the big two’, by buying books from Dark Horse, Image and Comico. But those were never real indie books, however exciting the idea of ‘creator owned’ seemed at the time. I just wasn’t ever one for titles and publishers that were more… rough around the edges, a little weirder than my standard tastes.

To be honest, I haven’t changed much over the years. My pull-list is pretty much all Image (who’d have thought it!) and the odd edge-case Marvel or DC books. I’m a creature of fairly dull and predictable habit.

Suprise Motherf**ker!

Manu started as an interesting curve ball to throw to my fellow Comic Book Clubbers. I originally planned to pick Dracula Motherfucker - yet another Image book! - but there was a nagging suspicion in the back of my mind that the rest of the crew almost expected me to pick it, probably due to its delightfully sweary title. So I didn’t.

I’d inadvertantly stumbled on the Kickstarter for the sequel to Manu, Puno a few days earlier. The Kickstarter had a few weeks left to run but the creator, Gustavo (Gustaffo?) Vargas, had already self-published a number of books in his cool-looking Aztec-flavoured cyberpunk universe. What the heck, we’ll read those instead!

The easiest way to get hold of his books - Manu and two previous books; Trujillo and Lima - was direct from Mr Vargas’ website. I was only intending to buy Manu, but when I realised I could grab a bundle of all three books for under £15 it seemed like too good a bargain to turn down. And all the money went directly to the creator, which felt pretty good.

Tom is a little more au fait with the indie world and he leapt straight in snapping up all 3 books. Jake followed suit but went for the digital bundle instead. Kelvin also grabbed hard copies which arrived just in time for the meet-up after a slight shipping mixup. He got a free artist’s sketchbook out of it so there wasn’t much to complain about there!

The rule of three

So we all had the same three books. However, it appears we’d all formed very different ideas about the order in which we should read them.

Kelv started with Manu as it clearly states ‘Volume 1’ on the cover. He was initially intrigued by the premise and was excited to get stuck in.

Jaguar attack!

“When they all started talking it went downhill from there”
Kelvin

Unfortunately Kelv found himself struggling with some stilted and unnatural ‘Hardboiled’ language that kept breaking his flow. The art was cool, the setting was full of potential but he just couldn’t find a connection with any of the characters.

So he moved on to Lima and happily Kelv immediately had a better experience. The story made more sense, the art was just as kinetic and visually appealing but the writing felt smoother and more accomplished. Even so Kelv still couldn’t completely figure out what was going on in the story but that mattered less now he wasn’t fighting with the dialogue.

And finally Kelv gave Trujillo a go. Sadly he gave up pretty quickly on this one and didn’t make it all the way through. It just didn’t click for him.

⭐ ⭐

“A lovely bit of self-publishing. Love the format”

The Kelvin sequence

Tom also read the books in what I am now calling the ‘Kelvin sequence’:

  1. Manu
  2. Lima
  3. Trujillo

Happily Tom’s experience with these books was more positive, taking the non-linear nature of the reading sequence as a narrative structure akin to movies like Pulp Fiction, where time is jumbled about and flashbacks fill in details at a later date.

“Has everyone read these in a totally different order?”
Tom

Tom was the first, but not the last, to pick up on the 2000ad-ness of the setting, art and writing. It definitely feels like all three books might’ve been written with an 8-page episodic structure in mind. They’d look right at home in a prog nestled between Dredd and Strontium Dog.

Release the hounds!

Tom had fewer issues with story and dialogue than Kelv, relishing the hard-edged, profanity-laden back and forth between the various protagonists. He too felt like Trujillo was the weakest of the three books. Tom appreciated how each book introduced characters and concepts that are revisited and expanded upon in the other volumes. He could definitely see some fascinating world-building going on and the potential for really crazy, weird sci-fi action in the upcoming books.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“I’m really rooting for the guy as a creator. Really happy to have found him!”

Smash cuts and non-linear narratives

Jake completely disregarded the Kelvin sequence. He started with Lima, then moved on to Manu and finally finished up with Trujillo.

He too was immediately taken with the world building and loved Lima’s pacey, exciting street-level first act. He thought the violence was particularly shocking and found some of the cinematic ‘tricks’ employed later on in the book to be particularly effective.

“Loved the smash cut to the torture scene”
Jake

At the end of Lima Jake’s hopes were high. Moving on to Manu he couldn’t hide his disappointment - tonally it felt like a totally different book! Jake made it part way through before he realised that the two books were connected. Although the threads were a little clearer he felt as though things had jumped a little too far forward. He wasn’t interested in the distant, damaged girl from Lima - he wanted more techno-street-gods, corporate espionage and cyber-squids!

Cyber squid

Unfortunately Jake didn’t make it all the way through Trujillo either. There were too many guns and gangs for his tastes - Jake don’t do crime :-)

Jake purchased the digital versions of the books and was full of praise for the art, and in particular the colour, as it really shone on his iPad.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“I look forward to seeing the art with a story that isn’t his own”

It’s a love story really

I elected to read the books in what I thought was the official, chronological or ‘proper’ order - Trujillo, Lima & Manu. I’m not 100% sure where I derived that order from. It may just mirror the order of publication as set out on the website.

The first thing that hit me was that the setting is pretty cool. It’s maybe not quite as unique as I first thought - I get some hefty Shadowrun RPG vibes from the mix of tech and magic - but that doesn’t mean it didn’t feel fresh and unusual. It’s just nice to see cyberpunk set somewhere else other than Tokyo, Berlin or LA!

Cyber squid

I enjoyed both Trujillo and Lima as books in their own right. Both were pretty easy to digest and weird and creepy enough to keep my interest all the way through. I absolutely loved the Cronenberg-esque animal/computer interfaces and really wanted to see more of it.

“Guinea pig drug mules would make the best stew’
Dan

The art is great and steadily improves over the course of the three books. There’s a distinct progression in the detail levels, with Manu showcasing some dynamic line work and some fluid, exciting layouts. It reminds me of Nick Pitarra’s work on the Manhattan Projects - full of exaggerated forms and gangly, slightly bulbous poses. It really worked for me.

Story-wise, Manu is the most intriguing of the 3. At it’s core it is a very simple story about a complex relationship and hinges on the mundane question “Why don’t you ever stay over at my place?”. I liked the fact that a dark, gritty near-future sci-fi book had essentially been remade as a romance. It did take me a while to pull together the narrative threads from the previous books but, once I got there, I enjoyed the fact that the story built up over time. I’m curious to see where things go from here.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“Bring on the cyber-jaguars”

TL;DR

There’s some great stuff in these three books. The art is sharp, clean and dynamic and is backed up by some fascinating world building that may yet pay greater dividends in upcoming volumes. The format is tight and delightfully well put together. Although we weren’t unanimous in our positivity for these books I think we can all agree that supporting slef-publishing creators is a wholly worthwhile. Go grab the books for yourselves and see what you think :-)

Street Angel: Deadliest Girl Alive

Sometimes choosing a book for CBC is as simple as paying attention to your friends:

Been reading this comic this weekend. Just saw it randomly in a bookshop window display on instagram. Zoomed into this all like ‘what is this perfect comic for Dani!?’ It is SO COOL and wall to wall bad ass girls. it’s by @jimruggart off’ve CartoonistKayfabe! Totally recommend!

— dani abram (@bintykins) 7:08 AM · Sep 28, 2020

Yup, I’m that lazy. Actually, I’d heard of Street Angel before. Back in the depths of time I had much more commuter bandwidth to listen to podcasts and often Jim Rugg’s work would come up.

This particular book is a chunky collection of the later Street Angel strips, mostly put out by Image Comics, and they stand apart from her 2005 debut due to the colour and mix of art styles. When Rugg and Maruca’s Homeless Ninja was first on the stands it was a small press floppy on pink paper. Back then, it stood out compared to the wall of superheroes. Now pink is often the go-to colour for minicomics.

The mix of styles is a blessing and a curse. Opening the book Dan was excited by the appearance of a bandana wearing cat, only for this immediately to be followed by a very cartoony dog. That pretty much did it for him. Jake pointed out one of the dog’s last panels was as deep as it’s likely to get for a cartoon dog: stood in the shower with the water beatind down, trying to wash away his experiences with the Street Angel. Regardless, from this moment on Dan was not going to like the book!

Cat vs dog

The rest of us enjoyed the strips a lot more. Each story has something different going on, resolving in and around Wilksboro (the world of Street Angel) while she herself remains a constant: she’s homeless; she’s hungry; she’ll kick your ass. I compared her to a character in a British humour title, like The Beano or The Dandy. She doesn’t change, her personaliy remains the same. She has an adventure and then it ends. Repeat. This is in no way a bad thing, in fact Kelvin loved being able to pick it up and flick through to wherever, still enjoying the story without worrying about over-complex plots. Throughout the book there are people who know who she is, and they know much better to stay out of her way than the poor saps who feel the end of her blades.

Living up to the hype

Rugg shows off his expert design skills in the book too. In 2015 he won the Best Publication Design Eisner Award for Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Here he has an inventive flair for page layout, FX typography and action. I personally love the pages where he draws Jesse (her real name) with multiple fists or swords or arms, fighting, stabbing or eating in a flurry of motion. My very favourite though is one page-turn where the facing page, which you see first but is technically second shows only a fist, and then your eyes follow the action to the other side where she punches Some Guy. You’ll have to buy it to see what I mean!

killer page turn

This book does require an appreciation of Underground comics in order to get on with it (see Dan’s reaction) and the first volume even more so. But maybe this book is also a way into that material for the uninitiated. I disliked the Bleeders story the first time but it grew on me the second read. Maybe I was in the right mood, or maybe the strip had just clicked with me by then. Jake said something similar; he learnt not to overthink it.

It has some genius moments, and as Kalvin found you can pick it up and leaf through at leisure. It’s almost a coffee table comic, like a collection of Beano strips or the other things that Rebellion have started putting out.

One other thing I noticed is that bad language is missing throughout. The flow of the dialogue is not modified but the swears are special-character replacements. This may well make it more suitable for the teenage readers that it surely will appeal to, at least from the point of view of a parent! This is the audiance I think would enjoy it most: teenage reader just dipping their toes into Underground graphic storytelling.

We found the classificaion of the back “Teen, Girls and Women” to be a little limiting, but given Dani’s reaction that got me to buy it in the first place, it could well be on the money.

-Tom ⭐⭐⭐

I really don’t get it! Couldn’t discern an actual story. Did anything happen? It felt like being shouted at by my teenage daughter.
-Dan ⭐ (for the cat)

A nice, quirky, indie thing. It’s vapid but my kind of vapid.
-Jake ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Asian myths have hobos who are zen and can fuck you up! This feels like a cartoon - it’s candy pop escapism and I love it!.
-Kelvin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Statistically speaking...

Flippin’ heck! The Comic Book Club has now been going for more than 5 years.

The very first meet-up, at the Castle pub in Bradford-on-Avon, was way back in May 2015. As the founder of the CBC, Kelv picked the book for our inaugural session - Tom Scioli’s Transformers vs GI Joe. It was a bit rubbish but we all loved hanging out in the pub, waxing lyrical about comics.

Thus the CBC was born!

Since then we’ve read more than 50 comic books and covered a diverse range of genres from hard sci-fi, through whimsical fantasy, grotesque horror and sophisticated literary adaptations.

Over the 5 years there’s been a 30% chance Kelv will pick a book featuring Batman. However, looking at 2020 alone that figure rises to 100%! Kelv likes Batman a lot.

Meetups and membership

Since May 2015 the CBC has met 54 times across 4 different venues, both real and virtual.

As a rule, we try and meet once a month but tend to take a bit of a summer break as schedules become too crammed for us all to be able to agree a date. Being a grown up is hard work.

The original 4 members - Kelv, Tom, Jake & Dan - also comprise 100% of the current club membership. We have achieved precisely 0% growth over the 5 year period. I suspect this is to do with the fact that we’ve made absolutely no effort to expand beyond the original quartet. Small is beautiful and all that!

Our scoring scale

We score books from 1 - 5. A score of 1 is truly dire and a score of 5 is the best thing ever. We never, ever waver from this robust scoring system. Well, apart from one time…

Dan refused to give an actual score to Daniel Clowes’ Patience as he hated it so very much.

The books

Tom, Jake & Dan have read all 54 books, Kelv has read 39.

We have full scores for 51 of these books. Those without scores are all Jake’s - he’s lost one of his notebooks with scores. Personally, I suspect a cover-up…

The ‘lost’ Jake books are:

  • Tokyo Days/Bangkok Nights (2015)
  • Isaac the Pirate (2018)
  • Sabrina (2018)

With this in mind all stats in this post are based solely on the scores we have available. The missing books have been given 0 (0%) for the sake of completeness. If we locate the scores for the missing books we’ll update the post with the revised figures. The 0’s for 3 of Jake’s books does mean that some of his average scores are slightly lower than they might actually be.

Author’s note: I’m not a statistician or a mathematician. Don’t expect deep, meaningful insight from these figures or assume they are entirely correct!

If you want the raw data then please feel free to Download the CSV and assemble some figures of your own.

The average score, across all 54 books, is 58.58% (10.9 out of the maximum score of 20).

In general we’re a kind, loving bunch who try our best to find the positives in everything we read. 76% of the time we score books at 50% (10 out of 20) or higher.

That’s 41 books out of 54 with a positive score. Go nice guys!

The scores on the doors

The average point score for each CBC member is calculated by dividing the total of all scores given to them by the total number of books they have picked or read.

Kelvin has picked 10, Tom 14 while Jake and Dan have both picked 15.

Individual stats

Kelvin (Picked 10 books)

Reviewing:

  • His own books - 32pts/10 = 3.2pts
  • Tom’s books - 29pts/9 = 3.2pts
  • Jake’s books - 26pts/8 = 3.3pts
  • Dan’s books - 33pts/10 = 3.3pts

Tom (Picked 14 books)

Reviewing:

  • His own books - 52pts/14 = 3.7pts
  • Kelv’s books - 35pts/10 = 3.5pts
  • Jake’s books - 41pts/15 = 2.7pts
  • Dan’s books - 42pts/15 = 2.8pts

Jake (Picked 15 books)

Reviewing:

  • His own books - 38pts/15 = 2.5pts
  • Kelv’s books - 26pts/8 = 3.3pts
  • Tom’s books - 45pts/14 = 3.2pts
  • Dan’s books - 44pts/15 = 2.9pts

Dan (Picked 15 books)

Reviewing:

  • His own books - 42pts/15 = 2.8pts
  • Kelv’s books - 26pts/10 = 2.6pts
  • Tom’s books - 42pts/14 = 3pts
  • Jake’s books - 26pts/15 = 1.7pts

So what can we take from those numbers?

Average point scores

  1. Kelv (3.3pts)
  2. Tom (3.2pts)
  3. Jake (3pts)
  4. Dan (2.6pts)

Kelv’s the most positive reviewer of the bunch, handing out 3pt+ average scores to everyone!

Tom is also a generous marker and he’s particularly fond of his own picks, scoring them an average of 3.7pts out of 5. Tom also scores Kelv over the 3pt threshold but his average scores for Jake and Dan dip down into the 2’s.

Jake and Dan are a bit more circumspect on the subject of self-worth, scoring their own books an average of 2.5pts and 2.8pts respectively.

Inter-club wrangling

Dan and Jake consistently review each other’s books badly, whereas Tom and Kelv score each other fairly well across the board.

Dan dislikes pretty much everything, including books he picked himself. He only gave his choices an average of 2.8pts over the years. He wasn’t massively kinder to most of the other CBC members although Tom is Dan’s ‘favourite’ scraping a 3pt average.

Kelv likes everyone’s stuff, Tom likes Kelv’s stuff, Jake likes Kelv and Tom’s stuff. If given the option no-one would choose to read any of Dan’s books :-)

High fives?

Tom’s top of the fivers list having given top marks 6 times out of 54 books. That’s an 11% chance of high praise from him.

Jake and Dan have both issued 3 ‘5-star’ reviews. Kelv has given 2.

——-

The best of the bunch

The top two books are pretty clear cut - Daniel Warren’s amazing Extremity garnered a 93% approval and the Encyclopaedia of Early Earth was close behind on 90%. Two very different books but both utterly deserving of their high scores.

5 books, all scoring 80%, are in joint third. There are 7 books with 75% at joint 4th and 3 more on 73% that make up the joint 5th spot.

  1. 93% - Extremity (Tom)
  2. 90% - Encyclopaedic of Early Earth (Jake)
  3. 80% - Metabarons(Dan), Yotsuba (Kelv), The Shadow Hero (Kelv), Beasts of Burden (Dan), Batman Universe (Kelv)
  4. 75% - The Auteur (Dan), The Private Eye (Tom), Resident Alien (Dan), Kaijumax (Dan), Black Hammer (Tom), Silver Surfer Black (Tom), The Witches (Jake)
  5. 73% - Rock Candy Mountain (Tom), SnagglePuss (Tom), Bone (Dan)

If you haven’t read any of these then we’d heartily encourage you to do so. We may not have all agreed on their brilliance but you can be certain that at least 3 of us thought they rocked.

Who picked the most ‘good’ books in the top 5?

  1. Tom & Dan (6)
  2. Kelv (3)
  3. Jake (2)

The worst offenders

The worst book we’ve read was Aleister & Adolf with an awful score of 30% (6 out of 20). It was one of Dan’s. It’s safe to say we all thought that was utter pants!

The remaining duffers are pretty evenly spread between CBC members. The second worst reviewed book was one of Jake’s - Square Eyes with a measly 33%. After that we have one of Kelv’s bat-picks - Batman: the doom that came to Gotham. That made a paltry 35%.

Holy batshite Batman!

Other books that we’d recommend you give a big fat miss to are:

  • 40% - Asterix: The chieftains daughter (Jake), Doomsday Clock Vol 1 (Dan), 4 kids walk into a bank (Tom), Mister X (Dan), Transformers vs GI Joe (Kelv)
  • 45% - Everything (Tom), The adventures of John Blake (Jake)

Overall, Dan and Jake have had the most ‘bad’ books, both picking 3 that scored less than 50%. Kelv and Tom fare slightly better having only chosen 2 books we all thought were rubbish.

Congrats on having semblance of good taste lads!

Batman Universe

My second Batbook pick in a row! Something that I’d spotted shining on the shelves, surrounded by the darkness of a billion Metal spin offs. In this dire world we’re living in today, another lighter Batman book was very welcome.

“Whoo! Another Batman!” - Dan

I didn’t read Bendis’s Superman run. But it’s maybe that I just find Superman super boring. Nothing in there seemed intriguing. And ok, maybe I’m super biased too, but Bendis’s take on Batman seemed different to usual.

As I’ve pretty much unplugged myself from fandom, as I find so much of it a toxic swamp soup of fascists, bigots, misogynists and racists, I don’t keep up with what’s what. So I had no idea about this book. Neither did Dan and Jake.

I’d flicked through some when I was in the shop, and I’d also seen this wonderful interaction between Green Lantern and Bats.

Batman and Green Lantern talking about dinosaurs

This scene alone grabbed me. It’s typical Bendis dialogue. A touch of humour that’s slightly self deprecating (with regard to everyone else around Batman that is). A clear Bendis hallmark, but for some of us we were uncertain on what Bendis’s writing style meant. Dan said he of course knew his name, everyone who reads comics does. But he had zero idea what his voice was. For me, it was the expanded narrative he utilised often in the Avengers books and Daredevil. For Tom and Jake it was Powers with Michael Avon Oeming, which I’d never read.

But it pretty much didn’t matter which Brian Michael Bendis this was, as he allowed the characters to just sing in a lighthearted story we all found joy in. This was intended as a short run that allowed Bendis to explore the DC Universe without a Crisis Inducing Summer Crossover Event.

Batman’s encounters feel more like casual introduction than any kind of dramatic incident. Like when Batman and Green Arrow bump into each other while chasing the Riddler individually. So they team up. Later Batman wakes up to Watchtower medical bay with Hal Jordan and Cyborg present. So he teams up with Green Lantern. I loved this Brave and Bold vibe. And you really feel that Bendis is giving each of them a real sense of love and respect. There’s no smug, “look at me and how clever I am at coming up with something original and groundbreaking on this character that no one else has done before”. There’s just pure love and reverence.

Cover image for 100 Page Giant Batman #6

The original concept was for a small number of 100 Giant Specials, and Jake thought perhaps once collected into a single volume it lost some of the magic of reading in instalments.

The narrative isn’t entirely seamless, as we skip from one episode to the next. The story itself being bright and breezy, is maybe a touch too light as no one was blown over. But then again, that was the point. If it had been heavier, we might not have loved it as much.

Punch Riddler

There was no death of a long-standing character of huge heft to make you feel mildly traumatised, and for some tiny little minds to threaten to murder the creators (these aren’t fans, these are maladjusted people). No ridiculous and unnecessary ret-conning. The one thing that did change, which we dubbed No More Batman, was resolved satisfactorily.

We thought about RIP Batman, and the Infinite Crisis Omega Beam “demise” of Batman then returning from being lost in time (didn’t Captain America do that too?). Those were a little drawn out. This entire book was just short and sweet.

I’m also in danger of drawing out this write up. I’ll let Dan summarise, as he does it so well and also because I was so surprised and so pleased that he liked this book:

“Best Batman thing I have read for a while. Thoroughly enjoyed it.” - Dan

The scores

…and why it wasn’t a perfect score:

Dan

“4/5 Batarangs (1 point docked for the dust cover)

Jake

“4/5 Batarangs (because of the stubble!)”

Tom

“4/5 Batarangs (the Bat wings and harness being too convenient)”

Kelv

4/5 Batarangs (-1 for the paper quality)

Issue 4 cover

Bonus material

I tend just edit our notes near verbatim, as I like capturing our chat. I did a proper write-up this time, but as a nod to the “special edition” or collections of series that include the script, sketches, alternate covers and pinups I have decided to include my “behind the scenes notes”.

Dan

Whoo! Another Batman! Never heard of it. Batman’s not something Dan keeps up with. Read Last Night On Earth Snyder/Capullo. Didn’t really like their run nor Tom King’s.

Really struck: oh it’s Bendis. Of course I know that name but couldn’t put in my head what kind of writer he is. What’s his tone.

No idea what to expect tonally.

Powers

Mystery

Opened it up, a genuine surprise. See from cover and reviews, thought had an idea.

I THINK I REALLY RATHER LIKED IT!

Mike Mignola and Starlin’s Cosmic Odyssey

Prestige series after DKR

Stick Batman in a thing where he’s way out of his depth - cosmically. Man with nice toys and martial arts, nice planes and cars against gods and space aliens.

Bendis throughotu the entire thing was just respect, no character no moatter how daft or stupid not treated as not even straight just ast they are. City of apes -> pushed to the other extreme of super serious dark and miserable. This is waht they are bingo run with it.

Not massive fan of the more cosmic of elements these thigns either Marvel or DC really weird stuff

When someone doesn’t deliver and scale it to a weird level of misery

No smugness, how clever I am

No talking down

Playful

Rollicks along

Didn’t understand half of it - not massively concerned

A thing happened and an egg, genuinely laughed a couple of times. I like the writing. the sparring bakc and ofrth between Alfred and Batman - the comms chat

Green ARrow and Lantern being in it

Apart from the end I had no idea what was going on and it suddenlty stopped but ok

Jonah Hex one of faves, re-reading Lansdale from early 90s

Delighted to see him chucked in there as well

Art - yeah, it’s like Frank Quitely and Darwyn Cooke had a bastard child. REally lovely, bit chunkier than Quitely but bendy charactureness without being stupid. Cooke’s pinup style

Genuinely don’t have any apart from lack of DCU and Batman knowledge might have helped with understanding of what’s going on (oh dust jackets are shit - French Folds! that’s the way forward)

A funny little mini series that maybe 20 years ago not dark and horrible enough for me or miserable enough not Batman

Look at it now THANK GOD something else

Not super twee like Batman 66

Best Batman thing I have read for a while. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

4/5 batarangs (1 point docked for the dust cover)

Jake

REally interesting about voice - not knowing what it was

REad quite a lot of his stuff

Wouldn’t have known - humour

Nothing approaching this

Spider-Man

Kinda “Marvel”

Doing his version of this thing - Silver Age DC lovely appreciation without being too pastiche

Kinda Morrison but not so deep and more straight and honour moments of the 60s Batman and revelling

Batman time travelling - went on and on

For that really liked it, a lot of fun

Deliberately non sensical

McGuffin - egg and a ring inside it, there’s a lot of descriuption of what’s going on with ins and outs

Green Lanters and White Lanters - lost from time to time

100 Page Giants of 4 episodes consumed separately

Probably how you’d have read it in the 60s - a homage to that?

The voice and jokiness struggled to start with, like funny Batman but wondered he’s the straight man and has Robin, but he’s giving as he can straight but witty and cutting at the same time, slight departure for the character but read it again and appreciated bit more and aligned with the Silver Age thign

Like Green Arrow nice excahnge on the roof and he’s gone mad, GA if he beat him - Batman: of course I feel shame. Nice to see that

Felt like Morrison’s Dick Grayson Batman

Not always a fan of too many superheroes particularly Batman suspend disbelief what’s the point of having Batman in it at all

Drip fed - not JL or Legion and then one smash up and then disappear

Characterised nicely

Great grandaughter

Alfred bits good - touching: parting message in Crime Alley

Looked super nice, spot on

Story didn’t matter did it at the end of the day?

Stubble though - disappeared in the end? Weird. Stubble for crisis but this didn’t warrant it

4/5 (because of the stubble!)

Tom

Knew this book was out. When it came out was going to subtly poke me to read it. History was 80 Page Giants was going to be mostly reprints, but Bendis was coming onto Superman monthly. Want to do this? Then swap Tom King (Superman in Space?). Listened to Bendis on Word Balloon - heard quite a bit about this. Excuse not just break into Batman without a big run, excuse to explore what part of the DCU gently. Turned out exceptionally well, flavour of the weirdness. Read a lot of Bendis - POWERS

Personally think sounds just like Bendis - with the speech bubbles broken up

Bendis fan going back, not everything: some of the Avengers then fell off

Single character, his Ultimate Spider-Man, Mile Morales, frothiness. Fits that tone well.

Used to his touch of humour. What I’d hoped from a Bendis Batman book.

OK Computer - made me think “OK Google” very these days there’s a smart computer in your pocket

VR moment

Not a whole lot of depth but that’s fine

Right at the end got a bit Infinity Gauntlet - geting all the powers and snapping finger, Wanda “No more mutants” - then “I’m Batman”

Jonah Hex logo - there are two! Two letterers? One each?

Absolutely loved the artwork. He’s an animator, Paul Hope and Frank Quitely

Becky Cloonan - similar eyes on her men

Great really really good book pleased we got to read it

Nice joke with the Hawkpeople - what are you an 8? Bat style wings

Nice bit with Nightwing on the cross-section

4/5 batarangs (the Bat wings and harness being too convenient)

Me

I love dinosaurs

4/5 -1 for the paper quality