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Alex Spencer

Alex's column, The Issue, looks at a stand-out standalone comics single every month. In his life as a non-comics journalist, he writes about videogames and all things mobile for publications including Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun and Killscreen. He also has a dog, who may or may not be named after a comics character. Find all this and more rambling on Twitter @AlexJaySpencer.

Noir on Fire in Kot, Taylor and Loughridge’s ‘Wolf’ #1 [Review]

Wolf 1

Wolf #1, written by Ales Kot with art by Matt Taylor and Lee Loughridge, opens with one of the most beautifully distinct images I've seen in a comic this year: a man on a hillside overlooking LA; the buzzy glow of the city's lights just visible in the distance; the man is singing a blues song, Robert Johnson's Hellhound on My Trail; also, he's on fire. It's a haunting image, all the more because of the complete lack of explanation. “How do you feel about myths?” reads the single caption, and there's something genuinely mythic about these opening pages. This image of a burning man, picked out in flames of unnaturally bright orange by colorist Loughridge, is eerie, primal and immediately iconic.

These pages set the tone for the rest of the issue, and most likely the series to follow --- and even if the rest of the issue's sixty-something pages never quite match the highs of these first few images, it's a promising start.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: Image, Reviews

The Scene of the Crime is the Story in Gillen and Francia’s ‘Mercury Heat’ [Review]

mercuryheat-feat

Doing a police procedural in a fantasy setting isn't an entirely new idea in comics. Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood launched the genre into a fresh orbit last year with The Fuse. Before that, Top 10 and Powers mashed it up with superhero universes. Just last week, the first issue of Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely's The Spire dragged it into a Jim Henson-esque fantasy world.

Now, with Mercury Heat, Kieron Gillen and Omar Francia have transported the murder mystery far enough into the future that Murder She Wrote is studied as one of the classics, and far enough from Earth to reach the solar system's smallest, hottest planet. This first issue doesn't quite reveal how Mercury Heat is going to stack up against the competition, but it does introduce a fascinating, dense setting.

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Thumbnail: Matt Murdock, Super Chef!

Hells Kitchen-feat

Daredevil as the world's greatest cook. It's hard to resist that one-line pitch, so when 'Hell's Kitchen', written by Si Spurrier and drawn by Jonathan Marks, cropped up in solicitations of Secret Wars Journal #2, I started salivating onto my keyboard. Cookery! Puns! Matt Murdock in chef's whites! It's exactly the kind of high-concept silliness I want from my alternate-universe superhero crossovers, and an all-too-rare chance to delve into the fourth and fifth senses of comics' most famous blind person.

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Why ‘The Wicked And The Divine’ is Worth Losing Your Head Over

WicDiv-fandemonium-feat

Fandemonium, the second arc of The Wicked + The Divine, is the work of creators at the top of their games. Jamie McKelvie gets more room than ever to showcase costume designs that tell you everything you need to know about a character at a glance, and expressive facial acting that tells you everything else. Kieron Gillen writes dialogue packed with wordplay and puns – and if they don't make you groan, the plot's gut punches will. Clayton Cowles' letters grant each god a distinct visual voice to match the way they're written and drawn, and Matt Wilson's colors add unique pyrotechnics, at one point reinventing his style between pages to create a convincing drug trip.

The sheer talent on display in these pages is enough to make you jealous and, if you haven't read previous Gillen/McKelvie collaborations Phonogram and Young Avengers, you might wonder where this team got their powers. What makes The Wicked + The Divine especially interesting is that this is exactly what the comic is about.

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‘Cover Versions': Comic Artists Remix Classic Album Covers

1 Abbey Road-feat

Music and comics. Like chocolate and peanut butter, they're two great tastes that taste undeniably great together. Until 14th May, London's Orbital Comics store is celebrating the union of the two art forms with the 'Cover Versions' exhibition.

As part of the event, 14 comic artists have created new cover art for some their favorite albums. If you've ever wanted to see Christian Ward covering Radiohead's Kid A, or a mash-up of The Beatles' Abbey Road with Morrison's New X-Men --- and if you didn't previously know you needed these in your life, you do now --- then look no further.

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Daredevil’s Corridor Fight: A Breakdown of the Smackdown

dd-fight-feat

There is a corridor. At the end of it, there is a closed door. Behind that, a kidnapped boy. Men come and go, speaking in untranslated Russian.

And so, at the end of the second episode of Netflix's Daredevil show, the scene is set for the most memorable action set piece in the entire series — and arguably one of the best in TV history. Thousands of words have been spilled over this fight scene online already. Let's apply our heightened senses to work out why, and whether the show lifted any tricks from its paper-and-ink brethren.

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