Saturday, 31 August 2013

Big Game Hunting Live - Fluxx the Board Game

On Saturday, 7th of September, Proud Lion will once again be hosting their monthly gaming event, Big Game Hunting Live! In a change to our previous schedule, we will be playing the newly released Fluxx: The Board Game!

This brand new board game is inspired by the brilliant series of card games by the same name. In these games, the cards are constantly changing the rules, and even how you win the game.

The board game expands on this, by adding a board made up of tiles whose positions will regularly alter too!

As far as the rules go, many of them will be very familiar to Fluxx players: drawing cards, playing cards, hand limits, and so on all make their appearances. The key change to the gameplay comes down to winning the game. Rather than matching a single goal in play, your mission is to achieve several goals, and be the first to collect the number of goals required to win.

Check the video below if you'd like to watch a demonstration, or check out the rules by reading them here.

In response to feedback from previous BGHL events, the timetable for games will be changed. Rather than having set game times, we will be running open gaming between 10:30am and 2pm, and again between 3pm and 5pm. Feel free to show up during either session to learn, watch, or play.

And don't forget, anyone who participates on the day will get a voucher to purchase Fluxx: The Board Game at 10% off! See you all next week!

Rae is so happy to be back home with her family. And her games.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Mane Event - Trinity War

If you have not read, or do not know what it is about, Trinity War is the culmination of a crossover between Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark wrapped loosely around the Trinity of Sin – Pandora, The Question and The Phantom Stranger.

To support the main cross over storyline held by the League titles there were also tie-in issues of Constantine, The Phantom Stranger and the newly launched Pandora title. Instead of divergent stories, these were character explorations; not necessary purchases to follow the main story, but in my experience of them they are a nice addition to round off the whole offering.

The main thrust of the Trinity War was written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire, giving an intricate continuity throughout. The best thing about the story for me is that it never felt like it lost its focus. Johns and Lemire kept the pace fast and constantly hitting. Unlike previous DC events (like Flashpoint), there are no divergent and disassociated stories to detract from the main theme. Instead it brings together the various New 52 Justice League teams, culminating in something that none of them truly expected.

The story of Trinity War is initially based on the Greek myth of Pandora’s box. Once thought to be a gift from the gods it was opened by Pandora releasing the seven deadly sins upon the world (something which is looked to more in her tie-ins). However, the DC spin is that the box - in the form of a three-eyed golden skull - was not actually from the gods. In fact even they do’t know much about it. So where is it from and what is it’s purpose? Despite this Pandora is on a quest to open the box again, using either the purest or darkest of hearts so that she can put the sins back in the box for good.

To this end Pandora is the catalyst in bringing the Justice League into the story, as she hoped that Superman would be the one who could open it. Sadly during that meeting something goes horribly awry and Superman is tainted. In the process it appears he kills Doctor Light. The JLA are then introduced to the mix as Captain Marvel’s boyish naivety draws both teams into a politically charged international situation. Superman voluntarily places himself into custody but the incident, The Question has been watching from the shadows and putting things together; he realises that there is more than meets the eye, finally stepping in to break Superman out.

It is finally in Justice League Dark we catch up with The Phantom Stranger and discover that Madam Xanadu (who was believed to be killed) is held hostage by an unknown figure. The even bigger bombshell is dropped at the end when this mystery villain claims that there is a mole within the Leagues, casting doubt across almost everyone.

This is the end of what can be perceived as the first act. Interestingly enough the internal conflict, struggle and general chasing of Pandora are reflected in the triptych of adjoining covers. This imagery is then continued through the second act of comics, as another triptych depicts the hunt for the golden skull.

The story explores the idea that motivations can vary, change and evolve. The threat of Pandora's box is its ability to taint even the strongest of hearts and minds making them mad when in its proximity. Noble individuals suddenly covet the box for themselves or their own selfish reasons. Shazam - who has a childish honesty about him - almost managed the feat only to be changed by the box, becoming that which he clearly fears. The knock-on effect of his magic is that it opened everyones' minds to the world around them meaning, revealing the captured Madame Xanadu and dropping the skull into John Constantine’s grasp with no apparent effect. This provided me with the entire story's funniest moment when in typical flippant fashion everyone’s favourite anti-hero quipped that of course he wasn’t affected my the box: “Corrupt me? You can’t spoil an already filthy pot, love.” Brilliant!

There then followed a massive revelation for this story as Xanadu saw that the item that everyone ws fighting over was not the box as they had all thought but instead it was a doorway. Everyone had been played and things would only get worse.

The final issue - released this week - focuses on the identity of Xanadu's mysterious captor as this sinister gentlemen figure opens said doorway, against the backdrop of an outright internal war of heroes, harking back to our brief preview of these events in last year's Free Comic Book Day issue. Other horrors include Cyborg being forcibly removed from his cybernetic systems that transform into a new robotic body for a sentient and overreaching AI, plus the revelation that the traitor in the midst is the Atom. But the coup de grace is this thin man's identity as he stands revealed as the Alfred Pennyworth of Earth-Three. With a tongue in cheek reference of “the butler did it,” he reveals the skull's true purpose as he opens the doorway to his masters. The Trinity was never about the three sinners, it was about the number itself. Behold the Crime Syndicate - the yin to the Justice League’s yang in every way shape and form - and they are here to take over the world.

As a final issue it ties up the storyline brilliantly, and leaves the door open to follow straight into DC’s Villains Month and the Forever Evil event. Have the heroes survived? Is this why every bad guy is running riot? We shall see.

Across all of the issues a plethora of artists including the like of Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke who have produced a concise body of work, which comes into its own in the sixth issue with several single and double page splashes, including interesting use of both portrait and landscape layouts. There are huge impact pieces which punctuate the issue fantastically. All of them are a must-see and choosing one as a stand out would be like choosing a favourite child, although at this particular moment the removal of Cyborg is edging ever so slightly ahead.

In the same vein as Flashpoint, Trinity War is a great piece of work to read on its own yet it also heralds a greater change. Whilst the debacle of the 3D covers has tarnished Villains Month before it even arrives, it seems that Geoff Johns and co are set to rise above that nonsense with the Forever Evil event. The Crime Syndicate aren't a new concept in DC Comics, but this may arguably be the best introduction they've ever had.

Matt Puddy loved the ride, can you tell?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

New Beginnings - Infinity #1

Emblazoned across the cover of this bumper issue of Marvel’s latest summer event is none other than Thanos, mutant Eternal, gem hunter and overall threat to humanity. His inclusion as the “big bad” in this series has not been something that has been hidden or left for a big reveal, instead Marvel have made sure everyone knows he is there due to his imposing nature. His reveal after the credits of The Avengers film will almost certainly precipitated this.

With such a large build up pre-release, I was expecting to see a lot more of the Mad Titan in the first issue, rather than only appearing on the cover image and a page at the end. Then again, as issue #1 of six, this was a lot more about scene setting. To the casual reader, this is actually a big help as there are a lot of players and parties in this issue, including: the Illuminati, the Inhumans, a plethora of Avengers, Spaceknights, the Builders, Skrulls, Thanos and Abigail Brand. Lions and Tigers and Bears – oh my!

The opening shows the Illuminati using a device of huge explosive power for an unknown reason but it is intimated it is for the best and nothing more. Following this the issue breaks into a number of different chapters which - although they do not directly reference the groups - are specific to each individual party and how they fit into the bigger picture. This all serves as compelling exposition; for example you weren’t familiar with who Black Bolt was, you get an idea of him and witness a rare display of his voice as well.

Interestingly this gives two different scenarios to deal with - one open and one hidden – and the Avengers have left their homeworld to deal with the potential threat of the Builders. Meanwhile an agent of Thanos - the Outrider - has invaded Black Bolt’s mind and found what Thanos has been searching for; the bearers of the Infinity Gems. Each of the main members of the Illuminati hold one. Due to the current danger in space as well, Thanos has a prime opportunity to attack Earth as the planet is now largely bereft of the Avengers.

From a writing point of view, Hickman smoothly delivers a huge amount of information to the reader. Of all the miniseries and events I have read, this one comes across as the most reader-friendly in a long time. even if you’ve not come across the characters before. The narrative helps to move the story along through each chapter - even with this wealth of back story and action you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Jim Cheung has provided the artwork for the issue which is full of detail and portrays pretty much everyone in every frame - a lot of time and effort has been put into these pencils. There are a few moments where the fine work gets lost for me, but overall it looks great. There was also another feature that stuck out for me. The first issue of Hickman's rebooted FF had the same sectioning style and feel to the interconnected pages. Very clean and crisp - almost sterile in some cases though.

As a first issue it is BIG, packed with a lot for any reader to get stuck in with. Having rising comic auteur Jonathan Hickman as the writer helps give it further credence as well. For fans of the Avengers or Thanos I think this should be a definite draw for them, but also for anyone who is even interested. What Thanos will do next?

Matt Puddy is glad things are largely back on track.

Proud Lion Digital (powered by Comixology) - new features!

Proud Lion Digital has been updated with some exciting new features thanks to our partners at Comixology!

Based on our feedback and yours, they've rebuilt our affiliate site in HTML5, so now it even works on iOS devices! You can now buy digital comics online and support your friendly neighbourhood comic shop on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, alongside Android devices and any internet connected computer. This is great news, as I know a lot of you enjoy the experience of using the Comxiology app on iOS devices, but now you can get all the same functionality through

All the functionality? Yes indeed, the HTML5 relaunch also adds lots of successful new features to These include:

  • Better branding (the Proud Lion Digital logo now appears on every page so you canbe sure you're in the right place)
  • Gifting (now you can purchase digital comics for friends and family whilst also supporting Proud Lion)
  • Pre Orders
  • Wish Lists
  • Bundles
  • Subscriptions (a fantastic new service from Comixology which essentially adds a digital comics pull list for your favourite titles)
  • Sales page (listing currently active sales)
  • Recent purchases list
  • New "Browse" menu (which lets you browse books by series, top rated, creator, genre and story arcs)

You use your existing Comixology login details to use Proud Lion Digital and everything you buy can be read on Proud Lion Digital or on your Comixology app, because it syncs all of your purchases for ease of reading.

I'd suggest bookmarking to your preferred browser ASAP!

Many thanks to our partners at Comixology and to our lovely customers for your continued support.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Big Game Hunting Live - A Change of Plans

For those of you who enjoy our monthly Big Game Hunting Live sessions, please be aware that the game being showcased on our next event, September 7th, has been changed. Previously we had been scheduled to play Munchkin. Instead - due to its arrival in the UK this week - we are pleased to announce we will instead be playing Fluxx: The Board Game!

More information about the game will be posted soon, as well as further details about the day itself. Just watch this space! Or add yourself to the Facebook event for all the latest information.

If you are disappointed with the change and had your heart set on playing Munchkin, don't worry! We will be looking to reschedule Munchkin for another BGH event in the coming months.

Rae is waltzing about in Northampton this week. Okay, maybe less waltzing and more spirited walking...

New Beginning - Sidekick #1

The sidekick is an integral part in many superheroes' lives. If asked, anyone could name at least one whether it be one of the (many) Robins, or perhaps someone a little more offbeat such as Arthur (sidekick to the Tick). The much harder question to ask would be how many sidekicks can you name who managed to truly step out of their associated hero’s shadow? You may have some fans who mention Young Justice, Teen Titans, Nightwing or Bucky, but even then you open the door for argument.

As a result everyone seems to take sidekicks for granted. Always standing faithfully at the side, taking the role of the trusty apprentice. So what happens when the hero dies? Where does a sidekick go and what do they do? Hot on the heels of the success of Ten Grand, the second title from the Straczynski’s reinvigorated Joe’s Comics imprint looks at just that.

Sidekick revolves around Flyboy, the right hand man to Red Cowl, who once saved the city from a bomb in one shining moment, but has otherwise led a stereotypical sidekick life. Living in the limelight and being appreciated as a team was serving them both well, until a fateful parade. A sniper took advantage and killed Red Cowl.

Without a hero to anchor himself to Flyboy’s life spirals into chaos. He’s not seen as worth much on his own and finds himself going to further lengths to find meaning for himself. He even tries avenues such as the superhero equivalent of Kickstarter but nothing is having effect. To make matters worse, the wealthy real life persona of the late Red Cowl has left nothing behind. Flyboy really can’t catch a break. It’s only at the end of the comic - when a mysterious and buxom woman comes to find him - that things in his mind are on a seeming upswing.

Something tells me that this will spiral further out of control, as the final pages drop a faintly predictable bombshell: the Red Cowl is still alive and living the high life in anonymity. “Being dead is the best life anyone can have.”

Straczynski’s story is dark and truly depressing at times, slowly growing more and more depraved as the story unfolds. The editorial from JMS promises that Flyboy's life will only get even worse. It’s the equivalent of car crash TV to read, akin to watching David Brent in The Office. It’s awkward and uncomfortable - combined with an odd feeling of pity - and it just made me want to read more. I can already tell that this story is going to become a guilty pleasure with an addictive aftertaste.

The artwork is provided by Tom Mandrake who has a huge catalogue of titles to his credit under DC alone. Whereas the overall artwork didn’t have me in complete awe, it was amazing the level of detail and emotion that every face had in it. Emotive and powerful work.

Although it's a little twisted, the story is one that I think will really hook people. The quality of writing is automatically implied simply by the name on the cover and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s living up to the ideals that JMS has stated he wants Joe's Comics to provide to his readers. I was happy to read the issue and happier to read more.

Matt Puddy is not responsible for the late running of this train.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

New Beginnings - Trillium #1

The last time I saw Jeff Lemire’s work, it was on the New 52’s reboot of Animal Man (although Lemire is currently working on Justice League Dark and Green Arrow). For some reason the grittiness and harsh images from the first issue stuck with me and have become synonymous with his work and name, though of course that Animal Man was pencilled by Travel Foreman. I'm not hugely familiar with Lemire's own artwork on things like The Nobody and Sweet Tooth, both Vertigo titles. So it was largely fresh experience for me as I picked up his new Vertigo title: Trillium.

The first issue of Trillium is a tale of two halves in the most literal sense, which is a strange statement to make but easier to explain when you see the comic itself. On the front cover you have the titles, the barcode and price, a large upside down character and then smaller imagery beneath that the right way up. Flip the book over and on the back cover you have exactly the same but with different images. Suddenly you realise it's not the back cover, but another front cover. Trillium #1 is two cleverly entwined stories, both leading to the centre of the issue and the same geographical and chronological point. Just with them both coming from very different starting places.

Chapter one is set in the year 3797 where we meet a scientist, Nika, who is studying a native tribe called the Atabithians located on a far flung planet. Mankind has been hunted across the galaxy by a sentient virus, but now there is a chance for survival in an indigenous plant that is part of the Trillium species. Sadly it's in located within the Atabithians' village, and the previous attempt to enter ended in fatalities to the first team. 

Given that this story can only last for half a comic it moves quickly and before long Nika is finding her way into the village, despite her AI (Essie) trying to persuade her to see sense. Being more culturally sensitive to the situation - or maybe simply lucky - Nika is taken within and experiences a new side of the Trillium. Her limited translation programme can only help out in minor fragments, which means she has a limited idea of what is happening as she is lead away to a temple. Stepping through the temple changes everything though as she is confronted by a man armed with a machete.

Chapter 1.2 is the story of The Soldier set in 1921. Scouring the Amazon as part of an exploration party we meet William. A man who is haunted by his past experiences in the Great War and is having a hard time separating his memories from reality. Whereas Nika’s story has a very current feel to it, William's is more supported with flashbacks and previous events. Essentially a man living very much in his own past.

As they beat their way deeper into the forest, their local guide is getting more and more scared as they approach a “bad village.” Given the sight of strung up bodies and barely compus mentis man (who you may recognise from Nika's story) it's quite understandable. When they are attacked the flimsy line between his mind and the present moment blurs, leaving William fleeing and fighting for his life once more. He barely survives an encounter as he is pounced upon by a native tribesman and fends him off with a machete. Bewildered and disoriented he finds a pyramid temple. Rounding a corner he is confronted by our protagonist scientist from 3797.

Now with the obvious exception of the time and space connotations, I have to be honest that I have no idea of where this is going, but I can think of plenty of ideas. Lemire’s story is a good combination with a unique opening. I have also liked the way in that the individual characters have had their own personalities bleed into their own evolving stories. That said I did find that Nika’s story felt longer and moved quicker.

Lemire's artwork here is reminiscent of Eduardo Risso's work on Spaceman. It's fairly similar if not a lot more colourful. Whilst not the neatest of work, the big expanses convey lots of information without being too intricate. In contrast the smaller frames are filled with nonspecific details. I feel it suffers when it concentrates too much on individuals though, as the faces can lose some of their integrity and look a bit childish.

The presentation of the comic is very interesting and the story itself - coming from two very different angles at the same time - is also intriguing. I'm not sure how it will all unfold but it's definitely worth a look, especially for Lemire fans.

Matt Puddy does his best to not eat strange flowers.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Lion's Share - DC Villains Month debacle FURTHER UPDATE

I just received a press release from DC regarding the current situation on Villains Month. I'll share it with you in full in a moment, but I just want to let you know that I have had the allocations for Proud Lion. We are getting most of our 3D cover orders filled, so for most of the customers who got their orders in by the deadline, you'll be getting the 3D covers.

The two worst affected titles are Batman The Dark Knight #23.1 Ventriloquist and Justice League #23.3 Dial E. There are also some minor shortages on Earth 2 #15.1 Desaad, Justice League Of America #7.1 Deadshot, Earth 2 #15.2 Solomon Grundy, Justice League #23.2 Lobo, Swamp Thing #23.1 Arcane, Batman The Dark Knight #23.4 Jokers Daughter and Wonder Woman #23.2 First Born. Orders will be filled with 3D stock on a first come, first served basis based on when you got your orders into me.

For the people who didn't get back to me, we generated orders for you based on your normal pull lists and these will now be filled with any 3D stock we have left after filling the reservations form those who did order on time, then 2D covers to make up the rest. I'm sorry, it's simply the fairest way to do it in my opinion. If there are any issues with this, please get in touch.

The lovely customers who ordered took me up on the offer to get the full set, plus a free copy of Forever Evil #1 at the bundle price will be receiving their bundle sets (barring any unforeseen complications) which is great news considering they've already paid deposits!

The 2D covers are a dollar cheaper, so if you'd like to save some money and voluntarily downgrade your order please drop me a line at You'll be potentially freeing up 3D stock for other customers who may really want them, so it'll be appreciated by more than just your wallet!

If you have any queries, concerns or questions, please email me, give me a call or pop in. We're behind schedule on a few things because of this, but all the deliveries and reservations have continued unaffected and I'm hoping to get two comics reviews up from Matt Puddy later today (one may go live tomorrow morning though). There's some exciting new developments coming soon too, so watch this space.

Now without further ado, here's that press release from DC. I'm presenting it without any additional commentary on my part, save for this small point.

There's been no apology from DC to either
us as retailers or yourselves as their customers.

Just saying.


August 15, 2013



To give retailers enough time to collect orders from their customers we will resolicit the VILLAINS MONTH 3-D MOTION COMPLETE SET in the October Previews to arrive in stores on February 12, 2014.  Orders placed under the code JUN138292 will be cancelled.



1. What portion of my orders for the Villains Month 3-D Motion Covers will I receive on each title?
The allocations are not based on your orders for the Villains Month 3-D Motion Covers.  Instead, your allocations are based on an average of your orders of each Villains Month titles base title over the past few months.  Allocations will range from approximately 50% fill to nearly 100% fill on different titles.

2.  So my initial orders or FOC orders or order advances… none of these were used?
Correct.  Its also why we did not offer the subsequent weeks of 3-D Motion Covers on FOC.  We considered letting these issues go through on FOC, but due to the allocations there was no way you would receive your full orders on these titles. It seemed unfair to have retailers go to the trouble of going through the process where it would not impact the outcome.  We would rather have you focus on planning your strategy for the allocations, your orders on the 2-D Standard Editions and on the Complete Set.

3.  When will I know my allocated numbers?
The allocation lists for DCs Villains Month 3-D Motion Cover issues are available now please contact your Diamond Customer service for full details.

4.  Okay.  I have the allocation list.  I want to cut my orders on the Villains Month 3-D Motion Cover issues.
If you wish to decrease your orders on any of the 3-D motion cover issues, please contact your Diamond Customer Service Representative or DC Sales Representative. All decreases must be received by Friday, August 23.

5.  Why didnt DC print at least as many copies of each of the 3-D motion cover issues as they do on the regular monthly series?
Orders greatly exceeded DCEs expectations.  We did not anticipate that the demand for these covers would be as large  or larger  than the demand for each monthly series. The 3-D motion covers also required a much longer production time than normal covers, so we had to set print runs on these issues out of cycle. As more retailers saw sample copies, orders continued to build beyond the print runs we had set.  There was also a physical limit to how many copies we could print due to availability of the special cover stock.

6.  Will the 2-D Standard Edition issues be made returnable?
Yes, they will be fully returnable, with the returns window starting in late October, around the time when you will be ordering the complete pack. They will also appear on FOC, you can adjust your orders as you see fit.

7.  I need more 3-D covers!
To meet that demand, well be offering a full solicitation of the $199.99 Villains Month: 3-D Villains Pack. (The rush solicit orders have been cancelled.)  The $199.99 Villains Month: 3-D Villains Pack will be offered in Previews #301, the October catalog.  These orders will lock immediately on the order due date, without an FOC listing.  The target in-store date for the $199.99 Villains Month: 3-D Villains Pack is 2/12/2014.  The complete sets are non-returnable. We expect to fill 100% of the orders received by order due date for the complete set.  In order to make this deadline, we will not be able to offer individual titles for ordering.  Were offering these reprint sets in part to assist retailers who presold full sets.  These are not intended to replace the September Villains Month 3-D motion cover issues. You are welcome to sell them as complete sets or to break them up to sell the issues individually.

8. Are there copies of the 3-D motion cover issues in reserve to cover damages?
Yes, but a substantially smaller percentage than usual.  Our goal will be to get as many copies out to you as possible. Where no replacement copies remain, you will receive a credit.

9.  Will there be reorders available for the Standard Edition covers?
Yes, we anticipate having copies available for reorder.



If you'd like me to pass on any messages directly to DC, please feel free to comment below and note your missive accordingly. I'll make sure it reaches someone at DC Comics.

Ben Fardon is running on fumes.

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Lion's Share - Villains Month debacle UPDATE

Following the news that broke earlier this week from DC regarding the shortages for Villains Month, we've now had confirmation of our allocations for the first week of September from Diamond UK.

It's not as bad as it could have been. We will satisfy most of our orders. But it also could have been better. There are three titles were we simply won't have enough 3D covers to supply all of the orders we received before the deadline in July.

Those are:

  • EARTH 2 #15.1 DESAAD

I'll be ordering 2D covers to cover the shortfall and fill those orders. I'll be contacting the customers affected today to check this is acceptable.

In addition there were seventeen Reservation Customers who didn't respond to the original Villains Month solicits in June/July. For those customers I generated full orders based on their usual DC pulls. Those orders will still be filled with 3D covers where we have remaining allocated stock, but the remainder will obviously have to be filled with 2D covers. I apologise for any inconvenience, but we simply don't have enough stock coming to do otherwise.

Should anyone wish to check their order status, or voluntarily downgrade their order to 2D covers (which are only $2.99 rather than $3.99) please contact me ASAP on 01242 525636 or via email.

News on subsequent weeks of Villains Month is to follow.

OK Comics in Leeds pretty much summed up my thoughts on this whole frustrating debacle on their Facebook page earlier today:

Yeah, thanks DC. Thanks a bunch.

Ben Fardon needs another holiday.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Lion's Share - Villains Month SELLS OUT before release

I've had a fun press release from DC this morning. Some of you will see this news breaking on various other comic sites too:



Due to unprecedented demand for the September 3-D motion covers, DC Entertainment announces that orders on the 52 Villains Month issues will be allocated. These issues are now sold out at the publisher level. 

Now, each 3-D motion cover issue will have a Standard Edition with a 2-D cover, priced at $2.99 US. The Standard Editions are scheduled to arrive in stores on the same day as the 3-D editions."

I'm waiting for the exact figures from Diamond UK, which will allow me to evaluate just how affected our orders are and what that entails for our customers. We will be getting some but not all of our orders for the 3D covers for Villains Month. Priority will be given to customers who took advantage of our Complete Set offer. After that 3D supplies will be allocated on a first come, first served basis that will be based on when we received your Villains Month orders back in July.

If anyone would like to swap out their Villain's Month 3D cover orders in favour of these new cheaper 2D covers, please let me know via email ASAP. Feel free to post comments and reactions here, but NO ORDER CHANGES will be accepted here. 

Please accept my apologies for this ridiculous situation. It is completely out of my hands, and I am very disappointed with the way DC has handled this entire promotional event. Should anyone like me to pass on feedback to DC Comics, please email me and indicate in said that you'd like your comments passed to DC.

More news to follow as soon as I get it.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

New Beginnings - FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics (aka Collider)

Editor's note: since this article was written, Vertigo have retitled this comic for legal reasons as FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics. All subsequent issues and graphic novel collections will be released under this new title.

When I hear the word “collider” for some reason my thoughts switch immediately to Switzerland, and couples “Large” and “Hadron” to it as well. Maybe it’s my keen scientific brain - or more likely it’s because it’s an infrequently used word and those three words are normally associated together by today’s media.

So when I saw this week’s comic for review, yes my mind went to that place as well.

Collider is a new title on DC’s Vertigo label brought to us by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez. Oliver is a known Vertigo writer having been on The Exterminators (his own brainchild), Gen 13 and as part of the Hellblazer 20th anniversary issues. Rodriguez is not as well known, but has been working for the major publishers such as Marvel, for Fear Itself, and Image.

The story opens some time back in Mexico where an experiment, or scientific monitoring, is going wrong and in a final attempt to leave a message for his wife and son, the professor on screen leaves a formidable and lasting message. Given the right conditions, the impossible’s always possible.

Skipping to present day and a 911 call, everything seems normal until the operator utters “..and the nature of your emergency... Fire, Ambulance, Police... or Physics?”

It was at this point I paid a lot more attention. Physics? The first three I expected entirely, maybe even Coastguard, but what on earth did they mean by Physics as an emergency service? It was explained in the next page as the FBP – the Federal Bureau of Physics – were dispatched to the location.

The Bureau specialises in fixing quantum and temporal anomalies as they appear and this is where we meet our main bulk of characters. As individuals they are fairly archetypal. The main male protagonist is dealing with the death of his father (the Professor in the opening scene) whom he never met, whilst also contending with the fact that someone may have stolen his breakthrough research. There's also his partner Jay, an old school Company Man cut from an even older style of cloth and Cicero Deluca, the new by-the-numbers Special Agent leading the team.

As you would guess they are fairly dysfunctional as a team but seem to work well together. It’s only when welding a quantum tear that gravity begins to drop rapidly and unexpectedly things do change. Jay and Adam - who have worked together and built a rapport - know what should be going on, but Deluca isn’t so sure. As a result Adam is dropped into an open vortex. What this will do to him remains to be seen by the end of this first issue.

To complicate matters further, the greedy hands of politics are getting involved with how these matters are dealt with. It seems corruption transcends everything. A shady deal and a shifty conversation open up the back story to show that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.

As a story, Oliver’s tale isn’t anything massively new. The FBP is a really nice twist, but even though this is a mature comic it’s only the mild sexual references that make it so. It’s a fairly easy and understandable premise. Rodriguez’s artwork is clear and gentle on the eyes. It’s very much a foreground style with little in the background (if anything) to distract the reader from the story. This isn’t a bad thing as it makes way for a very colourful depiction especially in the quantum frames and images. To a degree this does sometimes give it a Seventies sci-fi feel to it all, but then again that works too.

As a new comic is light, easy to read and importantly fun. I really enjoyed the physics elements which give it an interesting twist, although it may only be short lived like The Exterminators. Worth a look at if you’re after a new title which isn’t overly serious as it's not quite as dark as your normal Vertigo titles.

Matt Puddy thought he found a God particle once, but it was just a raisin.