Saturday, 9 July 2016

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Enemy

Garth Ennis (writer)
Rob Steen (artist)
Avatar Press

Danny Wormwood is back, and he's brought Jimmy the Talking Rabbit and Jay (formerly known as Jesus Christ, but worse for wear these days) with him! Since averting Armageddon in his last adventure, the world hasn't improved. Danny, the reluctant Anti-Christ, still produces questionable TV shows and pines for Maggie, his lost love. It seems the best these boys can hope for is a quiet drink at their favourite pub. However, the evil Pope Jacko will not let Wormwood rest after his last sound defeat! To dispatch the Anti-Christ once and for all, Jacko calls upon his deadliest Holy Assassin, Brother One the Killer Eunuch! More blasphemy, action, and razor-sharp dialogue by Garth Ennis, creator of PREACHER. 

I really liked the first volume of this series.  It was a giggle seeing the Antichrist and his mate Jay go traipsing around heaven and hell before buggering up the devil and god in one easy motion.

This new, short, book tells of the immediate aftermath of these actions.  Pope Jacko is gravely ill and taking full body blood transfusions from choir boys sends a eunuch assassin after Jay in order to have him miracle him well again.  Neither Jay nor Wormwood are keen on this idea and so hilarity ensues.

Except, it doesn't.

The book never really raised itself to be as good as it could've been and instead it all felt a little flat and formulaic.  Good but not really up to Ennis' optimum standard.

Doctor Who: Borrowed Time

Naomi A. Alderman
BBC Books

'You want more time Mr Brown, of course you do. We all want more time. Let me make you an offer...'
Andrew Brown never has enough time. No time to call his sister, or to prepare for that important presentation at the bank where he works. The train's late, the lift jams. If only he'd had just a little more time. And time is the business of Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop. They'll lend him some - at a very reasonable rate of interest.
Detecting a problem, the Doctor, Amy and Rory go undercover at the bank. But they have to move fast to stop Symington and Blenkinsop before they cash in their investments.

The Doctor and the Ponds head to approximately now-a-days to watch a bank collapse bit when they get there they discover a pair of nasties, sharks no-less, handing out 'time watches' and then charging compound interest on their use.  Needless to say the doctor feels this sort of rampant capitalism is just a tad uncouth and soon puts a stop to it all.

From a dry premise and tedious setting Alderman has rung a more than half decent story but that cover art needed binning.

Battlefields: The Tankies

Garth Ennis
Dynamite Entertainment

After D-Day came the dreadful battle for Normandy, when largely untried Allied soldiers met the seasoned veterans of the German Army. As Panzer units and SS Troops turn the French countryside into a killing ground, a lone British tank crew struggles to rejoin their squadron. Lost behind enemy lines, their only hope lies in their fearsome commander, Corporal Stiles - but can even this wily old trooper overcome their arch-nemesis, Germany's lethal Tiger Tank? Armored titans clash in the most violent way imaginable, in this tale of blazing battle-action and black humor by Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra!

I picked this up for a war story obsessed friend for Xmas last year but grabbed a quick look at it first.  It's pretty typical Ennis really.  Here he's carrying on the stuff he did in 'War Stories' and basically it's 'Warlord', 'Hotspur', or 'Victor' but with the blood, carnage and swearing left in.

Tankies is the story of a lost tank crew trying to find their way to tiger lines whilst avoiding the attention of any German Tiger tanks.  Alongside this we have the story of what's going on with the regiment they're hunting for in a story that's a lot less frivolous than the other.

It isn't as serious as the 'War Stories' books or indeed as one of the other volumes of this series that I read earlier in the year but it was good (not great), solid Ennis and that's never a bad thing.

Zombies vs. Robots Adventure

Chris Ryall (writer)
Various artists
IDW Publishing

I've been seeing this series touted around for a while now so I was happy to see it show up in my local library.  This first one though was pretty bad.

The first story tells of a military unit formed of experimental robot soldiers.  It's barely coherent story is rendered even less so by the ghastly lifeless static artwork of Menton Matthews III.  It's vaguely photo realistic, sub Templesmith tat.

The second story about a cleaner and the suit some robots build for him is slightly more together and the art (by Paul McCaffrey) is much nicer but thew ending is predictable.

The worst story is kept for last with voodoo zombies pitched against actual ones and with the robots turning up halfway through.  The art by Gabriel Hernandez is a muddy mess but again it's Chris Ryall's lack of storytelling chops that brings the whole thing crashing down.

Hopefully the other book will be better but on this evidence I'm not holding out much hope.