Published on February 10th, 2016 | by JCDoyle


IDW Publishing – On The Shelf

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Another week and another selection of releases from IDW Publishing. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner there’s a new issue of Haunted Horror out and a special Jem issue to add to your collection. Also this week sees a number of franchise tie in’s on the shelf including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek titles.

Speaking of franchise’s:

X-Files Season 11 #7

X files 11 insert

Endgames part 2 is released in the shadow of the brand new TV series which aired its first episode in the UK this week. I will leave the reviewing of that to someone else but there are probably higher expectations for this issue of the comic than usual. It’s quite possible that the new series will bring extra interest to the comic so the fact it’s in the middle of quite a significant story isn’t going to be an easy sell to new readers.

And it isn’t new reader friendly at all. The Endgame story has a lot of history behind it and this issue itself doesn’t have much in the way of memorable moments. That’s not to say it’s a bad read, on the contrary, it’s a very well written section of a story and there are plenty of twists and turns to the ongoing narrative; it’s just laden with X-File baggage which will easily put casual readers off. So this issues biggest problem is scheduling; maybe the answer could have been a special issue month with a break to the ongoing story but maybe IDW thought that the new series wouldn’t warrant enough interest. Time will tell.

Anyway, the Artwork by Matthew Dow Smith is bold and in some places flat but it’s never static; there is a sense of urgency to the story that the original TV series always had at the end of a series. Jordie Bellaire’s colouring continues to impress by using very simple contrasts in the panels; orange against blues and red against grey. Add to this the pop art style likenesses of the characters and you have a solid chapter in an X-File story.

Writer: Joe Harris

Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

Colourist: Jordie Bellaire

Insufferable: On The Road #1

Insufferable insert

Unfortunately this little opening opus by Mark Waid is indeed pretty much insufferable. After a TV recap of what’s happened to the leading characters previously, the narrative follows the disgraced father and son team to the Cayman Islands where their manager has secured them a dodgy endorsement deal. The intention is that they will discover where their money has gone and then be able to return themselves to glory. Trouble is they have to lower themselves to cheap promotions first and no one has seen the lowlife promoter.

The story has an element of humour and is basically a situation comedy in comic book format. Caricatures pass for characterisation and one joke extras fill way too many panels. It feels like half of the comic is taken up by characters telling each other they hate the promoter but don’t know where to find him; it’s almost a relief when he turns up dead. A relief for him as he no longer has to play a part in this downward spiral.

But the bland humour is not the worst part of this comic. Oh no, that would be the artwork. For the most part it’s well drawn and inked and, I want to make this clear, I have no issue with the colouring, Nolan Woodward does a great job colouring this. The problem is that so many of the panels are simple duplicates. The same panel is used again and again, I assume to emphasis one of the gags but it comes off as lazy and tiresome. In one scene Jarod is on stage in his superhero/pirate get up and there is an insert of the disinterested crowd. As the script changes, worming its way through a series of flat speeches, the images remain identical. Even when the insert changes to show an active crowd, the main image fails to follow suit, almost as if the insert isn’t related to the main action.

It’s a disappointing read that tries to salvage itself with gags about alcoholism and wet t-shirt competitions. One to leave on the shelf.

Writer/Artist: Mark Waid & Peter Krause

Colourist: Nolan Woodward

Fistful Of Blood #4

Fistful of blood 4 insert

And finally we come to Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley’s final issue of Fistful of Blood. Out of all the comics screaming for a re-issue this definitely wasn’t one of them and unfortunately none of the re-imaging work has done anything to improve the comic. There will be a fan base for this somewhere but it’ll be a small, niche corner of the market.

In this final issue ‘Blondie’ is dazed and confused and wanders aimlessly, or so it seems, into the desert while the hapless hotel manager tries to distract the Zombie and Vampire clans. His task is made a little bit complicated by the arrival of a biker gang who all line up to become undead fodder. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more banal Blondie returns with a vast amount of sci-fi weaponry at her disposal. Ultimately it turns out that the two undead gangs aren’t even her target as a much larger prey is literally uncovered.

The script has moments of humour but is mostly pointless exposition fitted around clichéd speech and elaborate sound effects. By the end it’s become nothing more than gibberish and returning to the first issue for a little guidance will only confuse you more. Bisley’s Art again has moments of inspiration but for the most part it’s like the Michael Bay of comic book horror: explosions and tits fill the panels.

Both Eastman and Bisley have produced far superior work so it’s kind of a shame that this is the comic that gets the monthly re-release. Never mind, you can’t have it all as proven by Eastman in this comic.

Writer: Kevin Eastman

Artist Simon Bisley



Lover of comics and Art and Sci-Fi in multiple media. Currently teaching my kids the ways of the Geek (while protecting my first editions)

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IDW Publishing – On The Shelf

As per usual, IDW Publishing have a wide mix of comics on offer this week each one a Jem*. These...